“DEATH OF A SALESMAN” by ARTHUR MILLER starring Rob Morrow (Tony, and Pulitzer!-winning play from 1949, this group of actors gives this very challenging material all it deserves, Morrow is nuanced and riveting but so is everyone else, Sarah Spitz did an interview with Morrow for her Culturewatch column last Thursday, Tatiana Blackington James did an excellent review, and there was a piece in the LA Times recently about Morrow), Fri-Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $20-$35.
ENDS TONIGHT! — “PAVAROTTI” (haven’t seen it but a reliable source said I must, perhaps it will make us Angelenos appreciate more our gift of another of the world’s greatest tenors, LA Opera’s director Placido Domingo), Thurs, Monica Film Center, SM;
TONIGHT! — “YESTERDAY” (it would seem the LA Times film critic Justin Chang is one of the few people who didn’t like this movie, even the remaining Beatles’ families did and gave their rare permission to use the songs, and so in his long review pointing out that they didn’t make the movie based on this premise that he would have me, he then violates the cardinal SPOILER ALERT! rule of Hollywood and reveals, straight off, practically every device and joke in the movie and so I have applied for a position at the Times because I too can go to a movie and with my illuminated pen take notes and tell you the story, no analytical skills needed), ArcLight, SM; The Landmark, West LA.
TONIGHT! — “ECHO IN THE CANYON” (another first-person account of rock and roll history, of the creative denizens of Laurel Canyon, but no “Lady of the Canyon” herself, Joni Mitchell? — maybe she didn’t want to, knowing how much dishing would be put on film, it’s good but Jakob Dylan is not the most dynamic front man and sadly several other really good, more worthwhile music films came and went after only a week and this one’s been round month now), Thurs, Monica Film Center, SM; The Landmark, West LA.
TODAY ONLY! — SANTA MONICA HISTORY MUSEUM (free admission day, includes all galleries and exhibitions), noon-8 p.m., Main Library, SM.
TONIGHT! — MARINA DEL REY SYMPHONY (Puccini’s tear-jerker “La Bohème”), Thurs 7 p.m., Burton W. Chace Park, MdR, free.
KENNY G!!! – Burbank – bwah-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaaa! Just kidding of course, Charles, you sick man, but how could anyone with ears book this guy in LA?
WILL GEER’S THEATRICUM BOTANICUM presents ‘TWELFTH NIGHT” (they’re known for their mastery of The Bard), Sat, Sun 4 p.m. and various Fri-Sat-Sun through Sept. 28, W.G.’s Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $10-$42;
“THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH” (“set in 20th century New Jersey and the Ice Age, Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play from 1942 uses humor, history and mythology to highlight humanity’s drive to carry on”), Sat, Sun 8 p.m. and various Fri-Sat-Sun through Sept. 29, Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $10-$42;
“MOBY DICK – REHEARSED” (based on Orson Welles’ 1955 adaptation of the novel, it sounds like it requires a lot of “acting,” no whales, no ship — cool!) Sun 4 p.m. and various Fri-Sat-Sun through Sept. 29, T. Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $10-$42;
“AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE” (“Freely Adapted and Directed by Ellen Geer” but that’s a good thing, a very good thing, as the daughter of founder Will Geer has maintained a standard at this magical outdoor canyon theater that has lasted 46 years), Sun 8 p.m. and various Fri-Sat-Sun through Sept. 28, W.G.’s T. Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $10-$42.
THE JAZZ BAKERY presents THE BILL HOLMAN BIG BAND (eventually you’re probably going to have to go beyond SM borders to catch all the great acts the Jazz Bakery’s Ruth Price books so go ahead and practice now, well worth the short drive to Culver City to hear Holman’s big band playing his award-winning arrangements — how about 14 Grammy nominations and three wins and his scores and memorabilia are in the Smithsonian), Sat 8 p.m., Kirk Douglas Theatre, Culver City, $30-$40.
MEET ME AT REED presents STRING THEORY (I don’t really know what this will be but the teaser means I will be there to find out: “this L.A. genre-bending super group continues to captivate audiences with their long-string harp installations, where architecture is transformed into giant musical instruments”), Sat 5-7 p.m., Reed Park, SM, free.
MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO (I can’t recall if I’ve seen her since her late-’90s appearance at Virgin Records, what a record store that was, and some great concerts, my then-5-year-old daughter blew adult minds by saying her name perfectly when they couldn’t even begin, but I have followed her and she is one most interesting bassist-everything-else-ist and you should probably catch what she’s doing now), Sat 8 p.m., John Anson Ford Amphitheater, Hollywood, $35-$55.
SANTA MONICA CHORUS – 70th Anniversary Show (who knew? barbershop? — well it’s music and it’s singing and it’s harmonies and it’s tradition and it’s bound to be good, and 70?! c’mon, give these folks some love), Sun 6:30 p.m., Kirk Douglas Theatre, Culver City, $15.
PAUL MCCARTNEY (say no more, yes you will have a great time and despite a soupçon of lame songs — but done well — you’ll be glad you went, go now, his marvelous voice is slipping just a little but still sounds like The Beatle), Dodger Stadium, Echo Park, officially sold out but at Stubhub you can get a pair of seats in the front row for $23,750 or front row in the top deck, one ticket for twice that, also some as low as $150, when I went a few years ago on his last buzz through we had distant Dodger seats and it was still fine.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: LED KAAPANA, 7/26, PETER ASHER & ALBERT LEE, 8/2, 8/4, PAUL BARRERE & FRED TACKETT, 8/3. McCabe’s, SM; SANTA MONICA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, 7/27, Meet Me at Reed Park, SM, free.
BODACIOUS BIRTHDAYS: BONNIE POINTER (1950), so many have forgotten or never knew what a bombshell The Pointer Sisters were when they burst on the scene in the early ‘70s, four sisters from Oakland lookin’ so fine and dressing ‘40s, from thrift store acumen, to the hilt and singing harmonies like nobody’s business while they pranced their choreography to fabulous arrangements. It had all been done before, but no one put it all together like they did, the visual and the aural, and they were huge stars for quite a while. 13 Top 20 hits, winning a Grammy in ‘75 for Best COUNTRY Vocal Performance for “Fairytale.” Their first single, “Yes We Can Can,” went to no. 11 and their second, “Wang Dang Doodle,” to no. 12. They did Bruce’s “Fire” better than he did and it hit no. 2. Their audience often showed up dressed like they were ready to hit the stage with them.
Bonnie formed the group as a duo, and was the first to leave, in 1978, for a solo career that had some moderate success. Over the years the group shifted from three to four members with children and even grandchildren joining in.
I’ll always remember them from a seat very close to the stage at The Roxy in the mid-’70s, courtesy of their record label Blue Thumb, a quirky, creative label. It was on one of my forays to LA from Albuquerque in anticipation of my eventual move, and I milked it for all it was worth. My car sagged on the drive home from all the albums I scored as I went from one label contact to the next, and I saw some fantastic shows. The Pointers were one of the best. They knocked me out.
It was also memorable because I preceded the show by catching a drink at the famous Sunset Strip rock and roll hang The Rainbow Room next door, and when a beautiful young woman of color plopped down next to me and we chatted, I was pretty sure I’d be able to use my “+1” for that show. I don’t remember her name and I’m sure she doesn’t remember mine, but 40 years later, I’ll bet she remembers that show as vividly as I do.
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 email@example.com