Safety: Happy New Year’s Eve. Courtesy photo

MORAL DILEMMA?

I thought I was going to have one, especially for New Year’s Eve, recommending shows, as is my calling and this column, but knowing that NYE is usually a packed-in affair, throw caution and good sense to the wind, whooping and hollering in the next person’s face, with few paying attention that night to masks or – social distancing. To say the least. Do my recommendations send people into the jaws of death?

Well, possibly, but I’m not your Daddy. Do with the information what you will. You’re grown-ups now. But please be careful, so you will be around when live music comes back full strength. I have faith that it will. It almost did, in spurts, this past year. In fact – just stay home New Year’s Eve, OK? There’s not that much going on, anyway.

So, dilemma solved! We’re in a deep dark hole with omicron raging, and many venues have cut way back on the extravaganza attempts, or canceled altogether.

Even our terrific local spoken word monthly LIBRARY GIRL, at the Ruskin Group Theatre, has looked ahead and postponed its scheduled Jan. 9 “Tent” show. (Waaah! Where’s my tacos and teasing wordplay?!)

HARVELLE’S?

Our local nearly-century-old blues club HARVELLE’S looks like they are still going ahead with their announced NYE show, with 2000 LBS OF BLUES. I’ve never caught them, though aws always intrigued with the great name. I can tell you that Harvelle’s is extremely strict about checking vaccinations/boosters at the door, and people do mask inside but, not everyone, of course.

Pink Martini is still shaken not stirred as of the moment I write this, and will be performing their New Year’s Eve show again at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and I’m sure a little pandemic gone suddenly ballistic won’t stop the hard core fans, but I wouldn’t have recommended that show anyway.

You could pretend that the Dead… aren’t, and go see Grateful Shred at the Regent Theatre DTLA. That just sounds depressing on too many levels. You could see a hit Broadway show, “Hamilton,”on hold on the Great White Way but still kicking King George’s behind at the Pantages.

The Beverly Hills Hotel celebration will give you access to an open premium bar, only $1,000. I’ll take a Johnny Walker Blue, please… triple. Just pour it in this thermos. How many will be dragged out on their heels from trying to get their money’s worth?

BILTMORE?

For 200 bucks less you can revel in a recreation of the Golden Age at the Golden Stag Speakeasy in the (1923) Biltmore Hotel , DTLA, with Prohibition Era costumes, characters, jazz, cars, and the secret passageways to other hotels, not seen for 80 years, that kept the booze flowing during the brief reign of the Teetotalers. No open bar, but champagne is promised, and special cocktails of that gin-soaked time. Sounds pretty cool, actually – the Biltmore is gorgeous – but when you click on “more info” you find… they just canceled it. I wonder how many others now scheduled will change their mind by Friday night? Best call and check before you hop on your horse.

Quite a few places that would have booked their hottest act possible months ago – as the husband of a singer I know musicians look forward to NYE gigs because they usually get triple pay – are scheduling “DJ and Dancing.”

And as I wrote in my previous CURIOUS CITY, besides always having reservations about the frantic celebration attached to New Year’s Eve, this particular end of year, because of the swift, deadly rise of the omicron strain, bodes less hope for a big change and great news ahead than any I can remember. Even war or pandemic can offer hope for an end to come in the coming year. NYE 1918 certainly saw people wildly celebrating the end to a bloody WWI (22 million dead), but they had no clue that a global pandemic lurked around the corner that would kill two to five times as many. That’s an unfathomable body count in five years.

Now that I’ve really put you in a celebratory mood…

I have to repeat that I am nonetheless optimistic that after two years’ practice we will be better equipped to live and love despite masks, restrictions, risks and death tolls, because that’s what humans do, we adapt, we recalibrate, we make the best out of it. I don’t know about you but I’m done with despair, defeat, blame and anger. I’ve got a life to live, no matter what the stage looks like.

JAZZ BAKERY!

And one last late news flash, good news: the JAZZ BAKERY, offering for decades the very best in jazz concerts by longtime founder, booker and hostess Ruth Price, just announced that they will be back with live shows in 2022. I hadn’t heard boo for such a long time, so this is, hopefully, a good sign. Their home in the Moss Theater at New Roads School is an acoustically and visually superb venue.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: ORIANTHI, Venice West, 1/7; Lenore Raphael Trio featuring BARBARA MORRISON, Vibrato, 1/9; LA PHIL with Michael Tilson Thomas, EMANUEL AX Ax plays BRAHMS, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 1/13, 14, 16; RACHAEL & VILRAY, Troubadour, 1/16; LA PHIL with Michael Tilson Thomas, GERALD CLAYTON plays Symphonic ELLINGTON, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 1/20, 21; COLIN BLUNSTONE, Joe Wong, The Downtown Palace Theatre, 1/22; ITZAK PERLMAN, Rohan De Silva, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 1/26; BJORK, Shrine Auditorium, 1/26, 29; 2/2; NATHANIEL RATELIFF & The Night Sweats The Novo, 1/28; THE ENGLISH BEAT, The Bourbon Room, 1/28, 29; RAUL MALO, The Canyon Agoura Hills 1/28, The Canyon Santa Clarita 1/30; MUSICARES honors JONI MITCHELL, LA Convention Center, 1/29; FEE WAYBILL, Troubadour, 1/29.

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 therealmrmusic@gmail.com