ART: A drawing by Woody Guthrie. Courtesy photo


Fifty years after his death, “the sad truth” about the great American troubadour, social activist and writer of iconic songs Woody Guthrie, “is that so much of what Woody wrote about — racism, economic inequality, the un-American treatment of immigrants, war, corruption from capitalism gone wild — is still very much with us today,” wrote Robert Santelli in his introduction to the just-released tome, “Woody Guthrie: Songs and Art * Words and Wisdom.” (Chronicle Books, 346 p., $40)

It’s “curated” by his daughter Nora Guthrie. A visually stunning record of his work in his own words and in his own hand, it’s a thematic archive featuring his handwritten and typed journals and song lyrics, and personal photos. I found the artwork by Woody surprising and impressive. I never knew he could draw. It reminded me of James Thurber. I would guess it was the inspiration for Bob Dylan, who worshiped Woody, to start sketching and painting while on tour. Dylan became quite accomplished, and a few years ago I saw an impressive gallery show of his work at Bergamot. (You know, that silly old art center we are going to trade for housing and a hotel.)

Yes, his song about Donald Trump’s notorious racist slumlord father Fred Trump is here, written while his family lived in one of Fred’s apartments in Brooklyn. Too bad he probably did not know that The Donald’s grandfather Frederick was kicked out of Germany for draft dodging and tax fraud. Huh. Could have added a whole other verse or two.


EM THE MASTER — I’ve been giving EM’s show a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for months now and still do. “The Master”? Too much hype on the marquee? Not if you can back it up, and EM does. She sings, dances, has dancers. She crawls across the floor like a reptile, gripping the mic and never missing a beat. She doesn’t play the piano, she attacks it. Uses her voice as an instrument in creative ways. Her energy is nonstop and seemingly limitless. Writes terrific songs perfect for her act, and she may remind you some of a more energetic Lady Gaga. Every Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, DTSM, $10.


TONIGHT! – HAMILTON — I think I can only go wrong by not recommending it, from what I’ve heard and read. Tonight – Thurs, Fri, Sat, Tues, Wed, next Thurs 8 p.m., Sun 1 p.m., 6:30 p.m., also Sat 2 p.m., Pantages Theater, Hollywood, $49-3000+, depending on date/time.

LA OPERA presents ROSSINI’s “CINDERELLA” — What gives? Within the same week we have opera going kindergarten twice. What happened to cosmic questioning? The human condition? Sturm und Drang? Frankly, I’m a little tired of making allowances for stories based on antiquated 18th and 19th century morality that just seems silly in the 21st. What’s wrong with comedy with your superb music score and spectacular sets? And comedy acting ain’t easy, you know. What’s wrong with telling the tale of poor Cinderella bucking her imposed social status and wanting to snag the hottest dude in the kingdom and live happily ever after? With all the screen time lately for Princess Diana, another one who wouldn’t settle for her imposed status, this is in fact timely. Sat 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA, $18-282.

PACIFIC OPERA PROJECT presents HANSEL AND GRETEL — A few years ago the LA Opera did H&G and I had some misgivings, I mean really, a children’s fairy tale, not the heavyweight moral issues opera usually tackles? But it was superb and funny, and I expect the POP to deliver their own unique brand of that genre, sung in English, family-friendly, outdoors at Forest Lawn Cemetery, it’s the perfect introduction to opera for children and adults who act like children about opera. Co-founder Josh Shaw directing is a big plus. Gates will open at 4 p.m. with table seating available for picnicking before and during each show. Free parking available. Sat, Sun 5 p.m.; Forest Lawn Glendale, $10-125.

BONEDADDYS — They were already a favorite LA band when I moved here in 1980. Hard to pigeonhole or even describe what they play, but here’s they give it a try on their website: “funk, rock, blues mambo, soca, Latin, rock-steady and psycho-billy two-step to an afro-surf twang meets spaghetti-western instrumental.” A lot of bands throw eclectic labels around, but The Bonedaddys have been perfecting all that for 40 years. A fluid line-up, of course, and some members have spun off to form other local legends like I See Hawks in LA and Burning Sensations (“Belly of the Whale,” and one of the best band names ever), but as long as founder Mike Tempo is on percussion, you’re good. There’s a sax too so I expect… Bonedaddys and that’s a good thing. Sun 8 p.m., Venice West, $10.

THE TOLEDO SHOW — There is little in this life you can count on, especially in the world of live music, but two of them are Toledo Diamond: 1) showing up at Harvelle’s every Sunday night, without fail, for 20 (!) years, and 2) delivering a great show. I’m now in my fourth decade of being entertained by The Toledo Show, stretching back to off-Sunset Strip beginnings, and the show and his band have only gotten better over the years. Every Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, DTSM, $12.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: JEFF ELLWOOD QUARTET, Sam First, 11/26; LA OPERA presents ROSSINI’s “CINDERELLA,” Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 11/28-12/12; THE SKATALITES, Venice West, 12/3; CHARLIE HUNTER – SCOTT AMANDOLA DUO, Venice West, 12/4; PONCHO SANCHEZ and His Latin Jazz Band, Catalina Jazz Club, 12/10-12; JOHN MAYALL, WALTER TROUT, Saban Montclair, 12/12; TAKE 6 CHRISTMAS, Pepperdine, 12/15; X, BLASTERS, Henry Fonda, 12/16; STEVIE WONDER’S 23rd HOUSE FULL OF TOYS BENEFIT CONCERT, Microsoft Theater, 12/18; MUSICARES honors JONI MITCHELL, LA Convention Center, 1/29/22.

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 34 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at