OH… THAT WAS ME
Well, now you know. Sometimes I lie.
THE MAGIC FLUTE – LA OPERA (oh lordy lordy the outrageous preview videos were entrancing and it turns out spot on but didn’t fully prepare me for what I saw, LA Opera staged this before, so did Berlin and it garnered the rave reviews it deserves, like nothing I’ve ever seen, Magic Flute the most popular opera there is but this staging with exploding brilliant backdrops of dizzying whirling Betty Boop meets steampunk with Buster Keaton, Nosferatu and animation surrounding the singers coming out of three levels onto small platforms, do not trip on those backstage stairs! – to sing while coordinating their movements with the visuals swirling around them, there were a few scattered moments when the visual chaos overpowered the pure opera, how can they even keep their minds focused, a visual-aural treat you must not miss, only two performances left so don’t dawdle!), next Thurs 7:30 p.m., next Sun 2 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA, $199-$399.
TONIGHT! — BILL FRISSELL & JULIAN LAGE DUO (Frissell, a fave of both my musically aware kids, has been all over the place, trackable perhaps by his recording choices, launching on ECM prestige jazz in the ‘80s and becoming their go-to session guitarist, flipping to odd fellows Rykodisc, back to ECM then 20 years/21 albums on alternative folk-ethnic-classical leader Nonesuch, back to jazz with Savoy then one with buddy John Zorn’s off-kilter Tzadik label, four with former “race records” Okeh, the home of Louie, Little Richard and Billie Holiday, and now he has a new album on prestigious Blue Note jazz so, 300 albums, 50 of his own, expect literally anything tonight but so well-played, I know nothing about his concertmate Lage except if he’s sharing the stage with the legendary Frissell, he’s got it), Thurs 8 P.M., Royce Hall, UCLA, $15-$59.
TONIGHT! — SNOOP DOGG, Warren G (the I Wanna Thank Me Tour but you can go thank him too, I mean, it’s Snoop, who doesn’t love Snoop, you? over there in the corner, wassa matta whichyoo?), Thurs 8 p.m., The Wiltern, LA, $60-$80.
JULIA MIGENES (takes us back to the Paris of Piaf and Picasso, Django and Hemingway, an evening of personal stories from her amazing long career — she debuted at The Met at 3 — and nostalgic French chansons by Aznavour, Ferre, Brel, Legrand, music does elicit the entire spectrum of human emotion and in this show she magically transports us to the romantic Paris that no longer exists, but in those songs always will, at The Odyssey exclusively, like, you will not get to see this show in NY, Paris or London, only WLA), Fri, next Thurs 8 p.m., Sun 7 p.m., Odyssey Theatre, WLA, $40.
LA PHIL performs BEETHOVEN SYMPHONY #3, “Eroica” (with lauded Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki, it remains one of the most revolutionary works in Western music, having expanded the classical symphony in almost every way imaginable, two by longtime LA Phil associate Oliver Knussen precede, Fri morning at 10 Phil patrons at Sonata level up are invited to the rehearsal, better up your level, eh?), Fri 8 p.m., Sat, Sun 2 p.m., Disney Hall, DTLA, $58-$195.
PACIFIC OPERA PROJECT presents LA BOHEME (aka “The Hipsters,” fun and fabulous POP trots out the very popular warhorse every holiday season but sometimes it looks like a zebra or a Clydesdale or maybe Puccini’s 1830s Paris precursor of Friends lands modernly in Echo Park, listen carefully, POP always alters the script for current events and laughs, their shows always sell out so best get busy if you want to see a Boheme you’ll never see again), Fri, Sat, Wed 8 p.m., Highland Park Ebell Club, $15-$30, tables $60-$180 include food, wine, cushioned seats.
BAD HABITS (haven’t seen it yet but when does the Ruskin Group do anything less than terrific and this is a family affair starring Orson Bean and wife Alley Mills of The Wonder Years and The Bold & the Beautiful, written by master Steve Mazur, and it’s full of nuns, I just don’t think you can go wrong), Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SMO, $20-$35.
1984 (stage adaptation of the chilling George Orwell novel, returning from a world tour with Tim Robbins directing and in the role of Big Bro’s buddy O’Brien, tricky, daring, imaginative, excellent staging, adaptation from the novel by Michael Gene Sullivan, use of sound is really really good, innovative, Will Thomas McFadden’s Winston is a good mix of defiance and crushed spirit, was completely sold out but now has been extended through 12/15, there are no bad seats in this theater), Sat, Wed 8 p.m., The Actors’ Gang Theater, Culver City, $20-$35.
JACARANDA presents GIDEON’S SUITCASE: 100th Birthday (what a story, he packed his scores in a suitcase for his sister to hide as he fled the Nazis and she hid it so well it wasn’t found until 1990, tonight also the Lyris Quartet, love those guy, and gals), Sat 8 p.m., First Presbyterian of SM, DTSM, $20-$45.
RACHAEL & VILRAY (she’s the mesmerizing pipes from Lake Street Dive, he’s her husband, and they like to dig out really obscure songs they think deserve to be heard, sold out but you know the story, go and beg but don’t cut in front of me), Sun 8:30 p.m., The Pico Union Project, LA, $28-$33.
JAZZ BAKERY presents KEN PEPLOWSKI (welcome back, JB, we missed ya, but, a jazz clarinetist? – you’re always surprising us with the unusual that’s usually magical, and some guy with a show on BBC2 dubbed him “Arguably the greatest living jazz clarinetist” so that’s good enough for me), Sun 8 p.m., The Jazz Bakery, Moss Theater, New Roads School, SM, $25-$35.
KALEIDOSCOPE (celebrates its 6th Season with really diverse music played well, I caught them at the Laemmle Theater upstairs!, for free right here in Santa Monica, Bach to Viet Cuong, what more do you want, Peter & the Wolf?! I love Peter & the Wolf, too bad they didn’t ask me to narrate but then none of you would go), Sun 2 p.m., First Presbyterian Church of SM, DTSM, free.
LIBRARY GIRL (Holy Moley I nearly forgot this! and it’s always so good, remember Charles, and all y’all, second Sun of the month, “Dark Days Are Over”), Sun 7 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SMO, $10 includes cupcake!
ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC (I love this stuff, olde songs, ancient instruments, makes me feel downright medie-evil), Wed 8 p.m., Disney Hall, DTLA, $56-$114.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: SAMOHI CHOIRS Winter Concert, 12/13, Barnum Hall, SM; X, LOS STRAITJACKETS, 12/19-20, Teragram Ballroom, DTLA; YOUNG DUBLINERS, 12/28. Harvelles, DTSM; A VIENNESE NEW YEAR, Mozart and Strauss, 1//2020, MEHTA’S MAHLER, #2, “Resurrection,” 1/3, 4, 5/2020) with ZUBIN MEHTA, Disney Hall, DTLA.
BODACIOUS BIRTHDAYS: LITTLE RICHARD [R. Wayne Penniman] – co-invented, at least, rock and roll, oh! my soul! (1932); FRANCESCO SCARLATTI – Italian composer (1666); SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON II [Aleck Miller] – American blues harp player, singer, songwriter, “II” is a long story, look it up (1899 – disputed); J.J. CALE [After Midnight, Cocaine] (1938); KIM SIMMONDS – Welsh founder, guitarist of blues band Savoy Brown (1947); FRITZ LANG – Austrian-German-American filmmaker, screenwriter [Metropolis] (1890); ALEXANDER RODCHENKO – Russian painter, designer, sculptor, photographer (1891); WALT DISNEY (1901); JOAN DIDION – author, journalist (1934); WERNER HEISENBERG – German physicist who discovered the uncertainty principle, co-starred in Breaking Bad (1901).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org