MICHAEL FRANTI

By CHARLES ANDREWS

Grammys coming up Sunday at Staples, all those music stars here have time on their hands, some inevitably pop up and perform at local venues, just for fun. If you hear of a good’n, email me right away.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

Artists Talk: A Conversation with PUSSY RIOT founder NADYA TOLOKONNIKOVA, and SHEPARD FAIREY, Catherine Opie and Tavares Strachanthis, followed by a live performance by Pussy Riot (OK maybe not everyone’s bowl of borscht but if you care about the intersection of art and politics this should be landmark, forget easy chatter about suffering for your art, Tolokonnikova and two other PRs spent two years in Siberian prisons for their Moscow-based activist art collective’s unrelentingly anti-Putin songs and performances, were released and promptly ran onto the field at the World Cup Final last June in Moscow to demand freedom for all political prisoners, Fairey’s guerilla street art has made him also a star of risky political art, note that the original Pussy Riot is long gone but Nadya IS PR so this will be voices and music of real experience, hard knocks and danger), Mon 7:30, The Broad Theater, Santa Monica, $59-$89.

RECOMMENDED:

TONIGHT! — MICHAEL FRANTI (Godbless Michael Franti, as I look around and wonder why our artists are not rising up to use their talents and popularity to fight what’s gone terribly wrong with our country, I remember Franti has always been a force for the positive, for love and mother earth, equality and justice, always made really good music that has a healing message rather than a best-selling sexy one, catch up with his work then go see him, new album out, Stay Human Vol. II, watch his video for The Flower and see if you can hold back tears, I couldn’t, but his music is barefoot spin, stomp and dance joyful for the most part, we need lots more Michael Frantis, this is a film screening followed by Q&A and a short acoustic performance after), Thurs 8 p.m., El Rey Theatre, $40.

TONIGHT! — A BOWIE Celebration with MIKE GARSON, EARL SLICK, CARMINE ROJAS, Lee John, Corey Glover, Bernard Fowler, Evan Rachel Wood (can’t bet the farm, these put-togethers are always iffy, but this could be musically very good because the first three actually played with Bowie a lot, Garson and Slick were essential and Garson went on to make his mark as a respected jazz pianist, and the others are mostly established pros in their own right), Thurs 9 p.m., The Orpheum Theatre, DTLA, $50-$75.

TRAVIS SCOTT (I like rapper Scott’s imaginative, kind of psychedelic videos and he promises his stage show will be epic, and though he kind of fizzled in his Superbowl slot it was set up for failure, having to weave around that Maroon moron, but this Forum gig will give him lots of space and time, let’s see what you got, Scott, and then two days later you’ll see him again on the Grammys), Fri 7:30 p.m., The Forum, Inglewood, $99-$249.

SLEEPLESS: The Music Center After Hours: Quinceanera Reimagined (is the theme for this year’s nocturnal nonsense event, twirl and party from almost midnight till 3 a.m.), Sat, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA, $20.

LIBRARY GIRL presents I Love You A Thousand Ways (what better way to for-real celebrate love with all its many faces, a few days before the commercial candy- and flower-selling holiday, with real couples reading of their real love, this could make you smile big or cry big, ‘cause, love makes the world go ‘round, right?), Sun 7 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, Santa Monica Airport, $10.

ACCADEMIA BIZANTINA (you like Vivaldi? all Vivaldi, from this oversized “quartet”), Sun 7:30 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, DTLA, $42-$109.

JOHN McEUEN & the String Wizards (it’s a long trek from SM and not cheap but it’s a great, intimate room for acoustic music, and mostly… it’s the great John McEuen, almost-founder — he replaced a departing Jackson Browne four months in — of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the first Western band allowed to tour the Soviet Union, in ‘77, playing 28 sold-out concerts and a televised appearance estimated to have been watched by 145 million people, who will be performing and narrating an overview of his amazing half-century career, what an opportunity, and if he says his band are String Wizards, you best believe it), Mon, Tues 8 p.m., The Coffee Gallery Backstage, Altadena, $30.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: THE JOY WHEEL (I saw the table reading a while back, really good, now directed by JASON ALEXANDER, can’t wait, these Ruskin plays usually sell out), Ruskin Group Theatre, Feb. 16; JAZZ BAKERY — DON BRADEN QUARTET (go just to hear the great Billy Childs on piano), Feb. 16; Malibu Fire Relief Fundraiser — INGER LORRE, TEXACALA JONES, Fifi, The Harsh Carpets, The Bye Byes (wow, what an ‘80s-’90s LA punk all-star lineup, for a good cause, right here in SM), Casa Escobar, Feb. 16; ROSANNE CASH (a gem in a royal music family), The Saroya, Feb. 17; RICHARD THOMPSON (superb multi-instrumentalist, always an excellent show), The Teragram Ballroom, Feb. 19, 20; LA Phil Chamber concert, All Brahms, with complimentary wine reception, Feb. 19; BOB SEGER & the SILVER BULLET BAND (last chance! farewell tour! he’s been rockin’ hard for half a century, hope he does Katmandu), The Forum, Feb. 23.

BODACIOUS BIRTHDAY: KING CURTIS (1934) — only 37 when he was murdered on the steps of his Manhattan apartment in a fight started by a pair of drug dealers, Aretha and Stevie Wonder sang at his funeral, he was R&B, a honker, jazz, a rocker and a soul sax man who left school as a teen to tour with Lionel Hampton, later famously backing and boosting a host of music royalty like Aretha on “Respect” (he led her backing band The Kingpins, who opened for The Beatles at Shea Stadium, can you imagine trying to hold that crowd? with instrumentals?) and on her incomparable Aretha Live at The Fillmore West double album (killed the crowd with Zep’s “Whole Lotta Love”), soloed on John Lennon’s Imagine album, on The Coasters’ “Yakety Yak” and “Charlie Brown,” LaVern Baker’s “I Cried a Tear,” Joe South’s “Games People Play” (with the great slide guitarist Duane Allman), Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party,” Gladys Knight’s “Heard It Through the Grapevine,” on the original theme song for Soul Train, with HS schoolmate Ornette Coleman, with Solomon Burke, Nat “King” Cole, The Shirelles, Nina Simone, Nat Adderley, Buddy Holly, Ruth Brown, Waylon Jennings, Brook Benton, The Isley Brothers, Eric Clapton, Champion Jack Dupree, Bobby Darin, Wilson Pickett, Chuck Willis, Andy Williams, Joe Turner, The Drifters, Neil Sedaka, Wynton Kelly, Sunnyland Slim, Herbie Mann, Roosevelt Sykes, The McGuire Sisters, Buck Clayton, Delaney & Bonnie and about 100 more, and recorded three songs with Jimi that were lost in a fire before they could be released — there, now you have some idea how heavy this cat was, but, of course, the best way to know is to go listen.

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 33 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at therealmrmusic@gmail.com

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