Landlord Fred Trump (L), former tenant Woody Guthrie (R)



Of the horrible fires: the Paramount Ranch burned and the old Western town was severely damaged, and besides the loss of an historic, quaint movie set, much more importantly it was the ideal home for 24 years of the Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival, a treasure of our local music scene, 58 years and counting. The location of the next one is at this point uncertain but the organizers are assuring everyone that it will take place as scheduled, the third Sunday in May, May 19, 2019.


In 1950, ‪Woody Guthrie wrote a song about his landlord. It took over half a century for these lyrics to surface, but in 2016 Guthrie scholar Will Kaufman unearthed the handwritten lyrics while doing research at the Woody Guthrie Archives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Normally a discovery like this would be notable mainly for the folkies and Guthrie fanatics, but this song is different. Woody’s landlord was none other than Fred Trump, father of Donald J. Trump, and the subject matter could have been pulled directly from the campaign of 2016.

Now, in partnership with the Guthrie archives and the Guthrie family, Woody’s words have been put to music by California rock band U.S. Elevator, fronted by Johnny Irion, who is married to Sarah Lee Guthrie, Woody’s granddaughter.

See the lyrics below.


GARY CLARK JR., Bambaata Marley (Oh My Sweet Lord Jah Rasta-fari, now there are Bob GRANDkids coming out of the woodwork, this one is Ziggy’s boy, a good lineage but as a longtime fan I’m showing up for Gary Clark Jr., already playing and gigging at 12 in Austin, he does drop your jaw when you first hear him and brings the blues to every style he plays, simply one of the very best electric guitar players alive), Thurs 8:30 p.m., the Fonda Theatre, Hollywood, $40.

LA PHILHARMONIC: CAMERON CARPENTER (plays Saint-Saëns on the mighty Disney Hall organ — yes I wanted to find a different modifier for that bodaciously powerful instrument-unlike-any-other-instrument other than the overused mighty but came up empty so I’ll just stick with that — but I do love the sound of a mighty organ well-played, caught a few mini-concerts before and after services in cathedrals all over Europe, the Saint-Saëns is the warhorse, for good reason but the Poulenc is also beautiful and dramatic, plus there is the premier of Christopher Cerrone’s “The Insects Became Magnetic” and doesn’t that sound intriguing, and Carpenter with his muscular physique and modified Mohawk will command the eyes as well as the ears, having been quoted in a New York Times interview as “describing his sexuality as ‘radically inclusive,'” a description also applied to his unorthodox interpretations of the standard organ repertoire), Fri 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, downtown LA, $20-$204.

SNOOP DOGG (who’s more entertaining than Snoop? — right, nobody), Fri 8 p.m., Microsoft Theater, downtown LA, $45-$130.

I SEE HAWKS IN LA, Bandini Mountaineers, Groovy Rednecks (the Hawks’ unique brand of alt country-folk-rock-whatever with expert but intelligently restrained musicianship and Rob Waller’s affecting vocals is, obviously, hard to accurately describe as to why it is so mesmerizing and authentic while also often unlike anything you’d expect), Fri 8:30 p.m., Cafe NELA, Glassell Park, $5.

LA OPERA: Hansel & Gretel (Engelbert Humperdinck ain’t no Puccini, Verdi or Strauss but H&G is considered his greatest work and Strauss dug him and conducted the premier, a smashing success, and he also ain’t the schmaltzy crooner who stole his name in the ‘60s, but don’t get too distracted from the superb Wagnerian score, by the 12-foot magical characters on stage, the fantastical sets and special effects of this production and it’s also got laughs and I plan to catch it and report firsthand), Sat 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, downtown LA, $16-$294.

TALLINN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (I can’t tell you much about this group except that they must be some of the best musicians in Estonia and they will be doing some Arvo Pärt, I love me some Arvo, because he’s their national treasure and you can bet they’re not playing Albuquerque or Moscow, Idaho so take advantage of where you live, the cultural center of the universe, oh yes it is, New Yorkers, sorry, thank you UCLA and Royce Hall for bringing us so much great world music), Sat 8 p.m., UCLA, Royce Hall, $29-$49.

THE TOLEDO SHOW (on a slow week you can always count on Sunday evening and Toledo Diamond, right here in SM, great music, choreography, drama, sensuality, for 10 bucks, what a town), Sun 9 p.m., Harvelle’s, downtown Santa Monica, $10.

FARTBARF, Jesika von Rabbit (you know how much I love Fartbarf, everyone who experiences them does, playing this night in a cool dive for only 10 bills with Jesika von Gram/Rabbit, regular denizens at the too-hip Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace in Joshua Tree, who you will probably also love but I can’t guarantee it like Fartbarf), Wed 8:30 p.m., Bootleg Theater, LA, $10.

BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: The Southwest Biscuit Company, Jerry’s Middle Finger, Birdy Bardot, Talkin’ Treason, Blitzen Trapper, Trampled by Turtles, Deer Tick, Chet Happens, Burning Manilow, Flogging Seagulls, Devastating Karate, Giants in the Trees, Dahli Mamas, Angry Samoans: The Later Years, Japanese Breakfast, Bad Advice, Joe Finkle & the 7/10 Splits, Whiskey & Knives, Waxahatchee, Beach Ball of Death.

LYRICS OF THE WEEK: “I suppose that Old Man Trump knows

Just how much racial hate he stirred up in that bloodpot of human hearts

When he drawed that color line here at his Beach Haven family project


Beach Haven ain’t my home! No, I just can’t pay this rent!

My money’s down the drain and my soul is badly bent!

Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower where no black folks come to roam,

No, no, Old Man Trump! Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!


I’m calling out my welcome to you and your man both,

Welcoming you here to Beach Haven to love in any way you please

And to have some kind of a decent place to have your kids raised up in.”

— Woody Guthrie (“Old Man Trump,” 1950)

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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