Tom Brosseau


But, you’re going to build a high school before you organize a philharmonic orchestra. (Our own Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra is not far behind, at 78.)

In classical music as in all other genres, LA has a rich history and plenty to brag about now. Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Salonen, Zubin Mehta, Placido Domingo, John Cage, Frank Zappa, the Los Angeles Opera Company, the LA Phil.

Having moved to the area in 1980, I can remember when the LA Phil was respected but never mentioned in the same breath with the world’s greatest orchestras, or even the best in the US, The Big Five: New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Cleveland. Now, we’re on everyone’s global Top 10 list, and gaining more respect every year, thanks in great part to the dynamic, innovative leadership of music director-conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

The orchestra was actually founded in 1919 but this is their 100th season, so they’re celebrating, for a whole year. And what a kickoff.

In conjunction with CicLAvia, the open streets event that started as once a year and is now moving to a monthly, where a stretch of streets in LA is closed to all auto and bus traffic and opened up to walkers, skaters, cyclists and all other non-auto modes, this one will close a route from the LA Phil’s downtown Disney Hall home to their summer home at the Hollywood Bowl from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and all along the eight-mile route it will be a street party with 1,800 musicians, artists, dancers, family activities, refreshments of all sorts, and much more.

There will be pop-ups and six hubs: Grand Avenue, MacArthur Park, Koreatown, Melrose, Hollywood and Hollywood Bowl. You should check the website if you want to catch specific performances, like Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the Calder Quartet, Ozomatli, Jeff Goldblum, Las Cafeteras, Lula Washington Dance Theater, Pancho Sanchez or Pink Martini. Of course, it’s hard to be everywhere in eight miles at once so I’ll probably camp out at Koreatown around 1:30 to catch Dustbowl Revival followed by Dengue Fever, from Americana to Long Beach Cambodian ‘60s rock. Now, that’s LA music.


TONIGHT! — DakhaBrakha (my favorite Ukrainian quartet! they are weird and wonderful, they sing like birds — literally — and play so many exotic-to-us instruments so well and harmonize to knock your socks off, I have their album, my daughter saw them at UCLA and raved, you will be so entertained and will leave the show grinning and will never forget them, I guarantee), Thurs 8 p.m., the Theatre at Ace Hotel, downtown LA, $26-$46.

TOM BROSSEAU, Izaak Opatz (I’ve written about Tom Brosseau so many times, he’s such a delightfully different folk singer, with a sense of humor but an oft-melancholy tone to his beautiful bell-clear high tenor that lends quiet drama to his tales, he’s a great storyteller, of the lives of ordinary people, I predict you will walk away a fan), Fri 8 p.m., McCabe’s, Santa Monica, $20.

PLACIDO DOMINGO, LA OPERA – “DON CARLO” (talk about musical treasures, the fabled Spaniard buddy of Pau Gasol lives here, has directed and elevated our opera company to world-class, doesn’t often perform a star singing role on stage so jump on this, dramatic fiery Spanish Inquisition set, Verdi’s epic, ), Sat, Mon, next Thurs 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, downtown LA, $27-$324.

L.A. PHILHARMONIC 100TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION (see above! what a party!), Sun 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., from Disney Hall downtown LA to the Hollywood Bowl, free.

LA PHILHARMONIC with GUSTAVO DUDAMEL conducting (the start of the 100th season kicks off very LA with a highly-lauded composition by our previous great music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, “LA Variations,” followed by Beethoven’s “Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano” and finishing with a new work — there will be many this season, and works by provocative LA composers of the near-past like Cage and Zappa — by Andrew Norman, the world premiere of “Sustain”), next Thurs 8 p.m., Walt Disney Hall, downtown LA, $20-$202.


RINGO STARR & HIS ALL-STAR BAND (philanthropist-peace activist-funny guy-world’s richest drummer and one of the best, Ringo has been doing this all-star band thing since 1989, it’s his 13th different lineup, always with outstanding players and famous rockers who insert their hits, and shows no sign at 78 of slowing down, who wouldn’t want to spend an evening with Ringo?) Sat 8 p.m., the Greek Theatre, Los Feliz, $40-$165.

ROKY ERIKSON, Death Valley Girls (it would help to know the insane legend of Roky Erikson, Texas psychedelic music pioneer, victim of mental illness and more victimized by asylum incarceration and electroshock “therapy,” gone and back numerous times, but when he steps up to howl his “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” written and recorded as a teen in ‘65, especially if he plays harp like a madman, you’ll understand), Wed 8 p.m., the Teragram Ballroom, downtown LA, $30.

B-52s, BOY GEORGE & CULTURE CLUB, Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins (not a Boy George fan but I would go for the bombers — B-52s, saw them not too long ago and they put on a great show), Wed 7 p.m., the Greek Theatre, Los Feliz, $60-$499.

Twilight on the Pier featuring FELA THE CONCERT, Tiffany Gouche, Twilight Drum Circle, DJ Nnamdi (I feel obligated to list this because I support the continuation of the longstanding Pier concert series, and so far the acts have been good and you can’t go very wrong with live music out over the water on a clear night in Santa Monica but I’ll probably skip this one myself because, well, I saw the real Fela Kuti onstage at the Palladium in Hollywood with more than 40 musicians and dancers and that memory is good for a lifetime), Wed 6:30 p.m., Santa Monica Pier, free.

BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: Half the Animal, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Parquet Courts, Grampa’s Grass, Freeman’s Dead, the Vardan Ovsepian Extended Trio, Judas Priest, the Sax Offenders, Release the Bats, 16 Again, Man Hands, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Music Tastes Good, Middle Age Sensations, (playing with) the Living Dolls (sounds geriatric, is not), Sun Kil Moon, Adult, Cello Pudding,


“Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I heard

Was a song outside my window, and the traffic wrote the words

It came a-reeling up like Christmas bells and rapping up like pipes and drums

Oh, won’t you stay

We’ll put on the day

And we’ll wear it ’till the night comes” — Joni Mitchell

Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 32 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at

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