VIJAY GUPTA, founder of Street Symphony

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

TONIGHT! (ends Sun)– “DEATH OF A SALESMAN” by ARTHUR MILLER starring ROB MORROW (Tony- and Pulitzer-winning play from the brilliant Arthur Miller, Morrow rocks it, directing and cast stellar, your sands of time have run out, if you don’t catch it this weekend before it leaves you will have to spend the rest of your life listening to friends regale you with how great it was and just what kind of schmuck are you for having three months and not going?), Thurs-Fri-Sat 8 p.m., Sat-Sun 2 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $20-$35.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:
RUSSELL BRAND in Conversation with MARIANNE WILLIAMSON (“an evening of inspiration & information,” if you absolutely can’t take one or both of these people and can’t manage an open mind about it, then this may not be for you, but I guarantee this will be a hoot you won’t forget, Williamson is gaining support as more people get a chance to hear her, and Brand is brilliant but so extreme in his ideas and presentation that some are turned off, he is a comedian but also a lifelong political activist and he is really smart and well-informed, these two personalities in discussion together has entertainment pop that’s off the charts, don’t miss out, this doesn’t happen in Las Cruces), Sun 7:30 p.m., Wanderlust Hollywood, $100, up to $!000 for private meet with food and drink, 6 p.m.

KEN BURNS’ COUNTRY MUSIC (8 years in the making, the hour-long preview knocked me out, this time I’m saying, this Sunday night, stay on your couch!), Sun, don’t know the time or the channel but you’ll find it, wherever you live.

RECOMMENDED:

LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE (this great doc will perhaps open your eyes with more respect for a woman who blazed early trails in male-dominated rock, 11 platinum albums, first artist ever to simultaneously top the Pop, Country, and R&B charts, 26 Grammy nominations, 10 wins, always advocated for human rights, shared a mattress on the floor of the Governor’s Mansion with Jerry Brown, lived life and her art on her own terms and succeeded wildly, and as Dolly Parton declares, “that girl could sing ANYthing!”), Fri-?, Landmark Theater, Westwood.

TONIGHT! — MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL film (musical giant, cultural icon Miles Davis, visionary, innovator, originator who embodied the word cool but was fiercely independent, featuring never-before-seen archival footage, studio outtakes, rare photos, the story of a singular talent unpacks the man behind the horn, I learned a lot, it is so well done), Thurs-?, Landmark Theater, Westwood.

TY SEGALL & FREEDOM BAND (if you’ve never yet caught our local mad guitar scorcher, you have a chance every Fri night through the end of Sept, a rare long residency, I heard a cut off his new album, highly praised by the radio DJ, and it was really good), Fri 9 p.m., Teragram Ballroom, DTLA, $30-$200.

LA BOHEME — LA OPERA (Puccini’s opera debuted in Turin in 1896, conducted by a 28-year-old Arturo Toscanini and 50 years later he became the only original conductor of a Puccini opera to also record it to disk, in the last 15 years it has seen almost 8,000 performances worldwide, fourth most popular, and ol’ Giacomo P, considered by most to be the SECOND-best Italian opera composer after Verdi, has three operas on that most-performed lists’ Top 8, while Verdi has… one… OK, OK, La Traviata is Number One, but so there anyway, there’s no doubt LA Opera will deliver on this favorite, I’m not going to miss it), Sat 6 p.m., also 9/22, 25, 28, 10/2, 6, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA, $27-$349.

“THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH” (set in WWII-era New Jersey and the Ice Age — !?! — Thornton Wilder’s oblique, mysterious, confusing, thought-provoking and wonderful), Sat 4 p.m., also 9/21, 29, W.G.’s Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $10-$42;

“AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE” (check my previous CURIOUS CITY column for some description of this excellently acted, thought-provoking adaptation by Artistic Director Ellen Geer of a classic Ibsen about… a poisoned water supply, and racial tensions, topical enough for ya?), Sat 8 p.m., also 9/22, 28, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $10-$42;

“TWELFTH NIGHT” (they’re known for their mastery of The Bard, forsooth), Sun 4 p.m., also 9/21, 28, Will Geer’s 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 8 p.m., also 9/22, 29, T. Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $10-$42.

JAZZ BAKERY presents SPIDER’S EGG SEPTET (the Jazz Bakery is back! and this sounds like a great launch, I would go if I were you), Sat 8 p.m., Sun 5 p.m., Moss Theater, SM, $35.

LAEMMLE LIVE presents STREET SYMPHONY (“Social Justice at the Heart of Music Making by creating authentic, powerful engagements between professional and emerging artists and communities disenfranchised by homelessness and incarceration in LA County, they believe all people deserve access to a creative and expressive life,” check ‘em out they have a lot of great things going on, an original String Quartet for this performance, founder VIJAY GUPTA had reached a pinnacle in the music world as First Violin for the LA Phil, but then he heard a higher calling and walked away from it, what a story, Spectrum News 1’s Giselle Fernandez did a great interview with him), Sun 11 a.m., Monica Film Center, DTSM, free.

THE L.A. CAFE PLAYS (5 Writers! 5 Directors! 10 Actors! 5 Plays! all in one day, this is such a great concept and very entertaining, writers come in the morning, get a prompt and have four hours to write their play, then it goes to a director and two actors, the writer sits in on one read-through and then goes home to pray until that evening, when their lines and laughs are delivered pretty darn well but it’s that tighttope aspect that keeps you in your seat, for five entertaining plays in one sitting, try it!), Sun (and every third Sun of the month) 7:30 p.m. & 9 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $10-$15.

SOUNDWAVES Series: MICHAEL VLATKOVICH WIND QUINTET (trombone virtuoso Michael Vlatkovich presents a set of compositions with improvisation for brass and reeds an if you don’t think that sounds cool, you’re lacking imagination), Wed 7:30 p.m., Main Library, DTSM, free.

AMPLIFY MUSIC ON THE WESTSIDE (the Amplify Music in LA group seeks to create better, more supportive environments for music and musicians in LA, this sounds pretty cool, I would go even if I weren’t on one of the panels, about the past, present and future of live music — that’s what I love!! — music education and the music industry, with folks who know something about all that, from McCabe’s, Jacaranda, the Broad, KCRW, the Skirball and others, presented by the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Center for Music Innovation, SM Cultural Affairs and the SM Public Library), next Thurs, 7 p.m., Main Library, DTSM, free.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: JACARANDA season opener, ORGANIC RUSH, 9/21,  First Presbyterian Church, DTSM; CHARLES MCPHERSON 80th Birthday Celebration, 9/21, Jazz Bakery, Moss Theater, SM; MARK KNOPFLER, 9/22, Greek Theater, Griffith Park; RICK SHEA, 9/27, Cinema Bar, Culver City.

BODACIOUS BIRTHDAYS:  GEORGE JONES (1931), MARIA MULDAUR (1943), BARRY WHITE (1941), H.L. MENCKEN, newspaper columnist/critic, King of Snark  (1880), LEONARD PELTIER, Native American activist (1944). JOHN NORWOOD FISHER (1965) —

In the early ‘90s and for a dozen years, I had a cable TV show called “Not Just Another LA Music Show,” recorded in the studios of our local Century Cable, here and in Eagle Rock, aire also in NYC and a few other cities. I did about 75 shows, the two most notable starring (not together) Wild Man Fischer and Mick Taylor of the Stones, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, etc. When Larry “Wild Man” (and yes he was) came on it was only the second TV show he had ever done, besides one episode of Laugh In. There is almost no record of even that, except an obit piece by Richard Cromelin of the LA Times, in 2011. And no mention anywhere of his appearance on my show, which was remarkable for many reasons. So IMDB is not complete. I should correct that.

Another really memorable show was centered around Fishbone stalwart Norwood, but that good tale will have to wait for more space.

Maria Muldaur was very sweet when I introduced my 6-year-old son to her backstage after a show in the ‘70s, revealing that they shared the same birthday. She acted like it was a big deal that delighted her, immediately focused on him and chatted with him for a couple minutes. He walked away with a really big grin. I’ll never forget her for that.

And since today is Sept. 12, I must, with a tender and sad but smiling heart, acknowledge that it would have been my son Christopher’s 50th birthday today. Happy birthday, Gopher, wherever you are. I am certain that somehow, he is listening to some great music.

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