Before someone (named Smith) convinces all the spineless folks to just move on, let me throw my two cents in.
Yes, Chris Rock made an inappropriate, even cruel joke. He’s a comedian, it’s the Oscars; that’s his job description, people expect it, and there have been dozens that were far worse than that one. He made fun of a haircut, and a really bad movie. In the aftermath of being unexpectedly hit in the face on stage, on live TV, he immediately proceeded as a professional. Classy. What words would you use for Will Smith?
The Academy should have immediately had Smith removed from the premises. But I believe they will do nothing unless absolutely forced to by overwhelming public outcry. They are “investigating” the matter. To see which way the wind blows. No moral compass. Reinforcing all the outland bad PR about the entertainment business.
When there are no consequences, things always get worse. At the very least, Smith needs to be banned from acting for two years, required to do public service announcements (that show the incident) on non-violence, perhaps pay the kind of fine to be reinstated that would be significant to someone worth a third of a billion dollars – and give back the statuette that should never have been handed to him, after what he did. Yeah, Academy – let him sue.
Best Actor in a Leading Role, and that can never be taken from him. But his Oscar should go on permanent, prominent display by the Academy, with explanation and a forever looping clip of what he did. Don’t forget the two minutes of nasty expletives he screamed out afterwards. Use that display as a permanent teachable moment. Everyone will want to see it.
Without consequences, this becomes a terrible signpost. For anyone who doesn’t like someone’s joke and would feel like punching them. Or stabbing or shooting them. You can’t let this seed take root.
For me the most shocking moment was when Smith was announced as the top actor less than an hour later, and the crowd rose, all big smiles, to give him a standing ovation. How could you?
Smith’s on stage “apology” was a weeping mess, but his Instagrammed one the next day was nearly perfect, taking responsibility, admitting wrongdoing, and apologizing to everyone. We all make mistakes, and are worthy of forgiveness. But there still must be consequences, or public speakers better start hiring personal security and buying bulletproof vests.
Kudos to LA OPERA for opening their performances of ST. MATTHEW PASSION last week by making the hall dark except for one small, bright spotlight on a Ukrainian flag, in the aisle in front of stage right. The chorus assembled on stage for the opera then performed a stirring version of their national anthem, and nearly everyone stood. It was emotional.
Oh, and BTW — how many spoke to the global audience of that tragic war when receiving their precious Oscars? All of them? Hmmm…
SCOTT FERGUSON MEMORIAL – on the Pier, 5:30 p.m. Monday. Finishes at Rusty’s, with more music.
TONIGHT! – LA PHIL with ZUBIN MEHTA, MOZART’S GREAT MASS IN C – It’s Mozart, it’s his mass-terpiece, some would say, and you get a stage jam-packed with so many exquisitely played instruments and so many angelic voices that you do think you died and went to heaven. Who knew St. Peter looked just like Zubin Mehta? (A pretty good time and place to shuffle off, now that I think about it.) It was Mozart’s last symphony, left unfinished. I guess he was being called to present it on the Big Stage. With the LA Master Chorale, it should be beatific. Tonight Thurs, Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, DTLA, $71-229.
LANG LANG plays BACH’s “Goldberg Variations” – OK, here’s the deal. Tix to see this keyboard phenom are as sold out as Disney Hall ever gets. But you know what I say: if you really really want to see a show, show up at the venue, there just might be a cancellation or someone who has to sell their ducats. In this case, if you are already fortunate to have your Lang Langs, you should add the afternoon performance of Mozart’s Great Mass, catch a great dinner downtown in between and have yourself one incredible day and night of music. I’m tellin’ ya. Sun 3 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, DTLA.
EM the MASTER –Every Tuesday night, witness the multi-talented Em, a force of nature. I’ve been giving EM’s show a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for months now and still do. 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 seemingly limitless. Writes terrific songs perfect for her act. More talent than anyone has a right to. Every Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.
TOLEDO DIAMOND — Have you gone to catch his unique show yet, every Sunday night at Harvelle’s, here in SM? I’ve been recommending him for… decades. Choreographer to the biggest stars, smoky-voiced hep cat, creator of a unique floor show, with his dames, circus hoops, and a band that is truly a knockout. Trust me. You’ve never seen anything like Toledo. You will not forget this show and likely you will be back, friends in tow. Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.
LA PHIL with ZUBIN MEHTA performs BRUCKNER’S NINTH SYMPHONY, BERG’S VIOLIN CONCERTO – Not much of a Berg fan, but the last hour after intermission is well worth it. I love Bruckner’s Ninth. But so did a lot of his well-meaning friends, who apparently didn’t give him the credit they should have, because his life was spent staving off “experts” who made “improvements” to his work. This last symphony was not performed until he was seven years gone, and it was a pretty bad Frankenstein monster, it seems. It went from three movements to four and back. Since then, better scholars (and composers) have settled a lot of scores, and we are fortunate to have this in the conducting hands of Zubin Mehta, recognized as a Bruckner expert. Next Thurs 8 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, DTLA, $20-216
<<< It’s been a tough week. I’m OK, just ran out of hours each day. So here are some RECOMMENDEDs sans flourishes. Just go. You’ll be glad you did.
CELSO SALIM + Kozmi, Lizards – you saw him as half of the great blues duo on Main Street every Sunday. Fri 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, SM, $10.
TOM RUSH – legendary folkie, next Thurs, McCabes, SM, $50.
JACARANDA IS BACK, SM, hooray!! 4/16.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: MEHTA Conducts BRUCKNER, BERG, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 4/8, 10; BLASTERS, Bourbon Room, 4/9; SOUNDS OF LA: “AUKAHI” (Flowing Harmony) with Kumu Hula Kealiʻi Ceballos, Daniel Ho, and Ohana, Getty, 4/9, 10; “YEMANDJA” starring ANGELIQUE KIDJO, Broad Stage; 4/15; ITZHK PERLMAN, ROHAN DE SILVA, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 4/24; ROGER McGUINN, Smothers Theatre, 4/25.
Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 3,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 36 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at email@example.com