Music: Gypsy jazz guitarist DJANGO REINHARDT. Courtesy photo

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:    

TONIGHT! – TAJ MAHAL – 80th birthday celebration, Q&A discussion plus performance. Aren’t we fortunate when the legendary performers don’t check out in the 27 club? Taj has probably covered every single nook and cranny of black music, and this gig should be a blast. Thurs 7:30 p.m., GRAMMY Museum, LA.   

SOUTHSIDE SLIM – is back! With his cool and blazing hot blues guitar and vocals, and a killer band. I really do think you should not skip this one. Really. Fri 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.

THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – Well hallelujah and skip around the ol’corral, the Cinema Bar is back. Not sure when they returned to live music every night, I’ve been checking listings regularly and there was nothing and now there seems to be a cool new website and a full schedule so…there you go! Mostly country and Americana, sometimes acoustic, always no cover and a friendly crowd, but don’t go there planning to show off your swing dance moves because the place is t-i-n-y and usually packed, with people who want to listen and see. I hope THCOLA is picking up where they left off, with years of Monday nights there, but right now they are not written into the July calendar so best scoot on over ASAP. Unless during the hiatus they decided Django was not God, I expect to be amazed again at their musicianship and ‘30s repertoire. Thanks to Dan J for alerting me (first drink’s on you, DJ). Mon 8:30 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, $0.

RECOMMENDED:

 “GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER” – Let’s hear it for all the arts groups struggling to survive a pandemic for two years without box office, only to cautiously return, to limited seating, audience trepidation/absence, having to cancel rehearsals or even performances, losing key players to COVID at the last minute, never knowing what’s around the corner. But here they are, an arts gem of Santa Monica, launching a production everyone would be highly anticipating even in normal times. With the LA premiere of Todd Kriedler’s adaptation of the 1967 film about racial and generational family upheaval that, sadly, still has relevance half a century later. Directed by Lita Gaithers Owens. You can bet on whatever happens on the Ruskin stage. Thurs 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $20-35.

“THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR,” “MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” – Alright! Summer in LA is officially here. We’re off and running on a FULL schedule for our treasured theater-in-the woods, Theatricum Botanicum. If you haven’t EVER, in the last four decades, attended one of their performances or if it has been years, you really are missing out on one of the greatest reasons to put up with LA. To show up is like taking a short vacation. A lot of folks picnic beforehand. But don’t just go for the trees: this is one of the very best theatrical troupes you will find anywhere, period. Shakespeare is their specialty, but everything they choose to do comes out top notch and memorable. (MERRY) Sat 7:30 p.m., (MIDSUMMER) .3:30 p.m., Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $10-60 (discounts for seniors, students, teachers, veterans, AEA, ages 5-15). 

ANTHONY WILSON & FRIENDS – Wilson is an outstanding, veteran jazz guitarist but tonight is special because two of his ‘friends” share a last name and a whole lot of familial talent, with the transcendent Gerald Clayton on piano, playing next to his father John, the legendary bassist (and bandleader, composer, arranger…). Doesn’t happen often. Fri 7, 9 p.m., Sam First, LAX, $25. 

33rd Annual MARIACHI USA FESTIVAL – More Mariachi musicians, singers, dancers, long colorful skirts and large hats than you can swing a pinata stick at! 4-½ hours ending with a sing-along and fireworks!  33 years at the Bowl! Come to this and you can skip Olvera Street for a year. Sat 6 p.m. Hollywood Bowl, $33-365. 

TOLEDO DIAMOND — Every time the thought pops up, what shall I do with my weekend, you should remember you can blow the top off it by ending it in front of Toledo Diamond and his superb, unquestionably unique show at Harvelle’s. The door man there recently told me that someone showed up and said, “I’ve been reading Charles Andrews recommend this for about a year, so I finally have to see for myself.” The report was that the patron was danged pleased he did not miss another Sunday. Every Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.  

AL PACINO, LIVE ON STAGE – A one night only benefit to support Shakespeare Center Los Angeles and American Jewish University, If you’re just nuts about Pacino, this is for you. He’s probably not doing this in Omaha, or even Brooklyn. You can hang with him pre-show, and if you pay enough for your ticket, eat dessert with him after. There’s an audience Q&A, film clips, his talk about his career and a live dramatic reading. And it goes for good causes. It’s your chance to be the insider. This is LA, baby. Next Thurs 8 p.m., American Jewish University, LA, $150-25,000.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: RICK SHEA, Cinema Bar, 6/24; “GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER,” Ruskin Group Theatre, 6/24-25, 7/1-3, 715-16; “THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR,” 6/26-10/2, “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM,” 6/26-10/1, “THE WESTSIDE WALTZ,” 6/25-10/1, Theatricum Botanicum; TOM PAXTON, McCabe’s, 6/24; PIER 360 FESTIVAL, 6/24, 25; BRANDI CARLISLE, Greek Theater, 6/24. 25; HOLLYWOOD BOWL JAZZ FESTIVAL, 6/25; STEVE POSTELL’S NIGHT TRAIN MUSIC CLUB, McCabe’s, 6/26; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 6/27; NORAH JONES, Greek Theater, 6/29; RAY BAILEY, Harvelle’s, 7/1; LIQUID KITTY’S PUNK ROCK BBQ, Harvelle’s, 7/10; OZOMATLI, GRAMMY Museum, 7/14.

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 therealmrmusic@gmail.com