Willie nelson: The performer takes the stage on Sunday at the Rose Bowl. Courtesy photo

Excellent turnout, perfect beach weather, lots of families, and it was wise to put the Santa Monica Daily Press truck last again because we always bring the best music, IMNSHO. I do appreciate all the bands and musicians who play for us. Usually SMDP has had the famous Brig Band  (or parts thereof) on our truck, who play every Tuesday night (10 year anniversary) at the popular bar of the same name on Abbot Kinney, 8:30 – 11:30, if you didn’t get enough on the 4th. Sitting in the cab with publisher Ross Furukawa, I think we had the best seats of anyone. Thanks to parade honcho Jeff Jarow and all the Santa Monicans who worked so hard to make it such a great hometown event.


THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – How can you not love this band if you know great playing and a great musical era, ‘30s swing, Django-style? I tell you, it’s gigs like this that make moving to LA completely worth it. I did, even though it was years before they first power strummed at the intimate Cinema Grill. But there is always someone like this if you explore all the nooks of this great city. But you don’t have to. I do it for you, in this column. Every Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, $0.

EM – She’s back! And she’s still amazing. But nothing good lasts forever, you know. So, why not this Tues? Every Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10. Every Tuesday. 9:30 p.m., , Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10. 


 “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, a performing 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. Fri, Sat, next Thurs 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m, Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $20-35.

 THEATRUCUM BOTANICUM – You can get the full summer program this weekend. Bring a sleeping bag and two days’ picnic breakfasts, lunches and dinners. (Not a serious suggestion.)

“MERRY WIVES” is transported to small town America, 1950s, with music to match the rollicking fun. Wait until you see Falstaff ride in on a big Harley. But it’s not all hilarity – there is an undercurrent of the blossoming women’s rights movement. Sat 3:30 p.m.

‘TROUBLE THE WATER” – is the riveting, barely believable true story of Robert Smalls’ escape from slavery. in a most creative and bold way. Making real the notion that slavery is so abhorrent that one will do anything, anything, to end it. TB is so good at these kinds of topical plays that leave you with a lot to think about. Sat 7:30 p.m.

“A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM ‘’ – It’s their signature Shakespeare, presented every season for decades, and why not? It’s an enduring audience favorite for more than 400 years, a magical tale of unrequited love taking place in an enchanted forest, and TB is already nestled into their own forest. Sun 3:30 p.m.

“WESTSIDE WALTZ” – TB artistic director Ellen Geer (daughter of legendary TB founder actor-activist Will Geer), her sister Melora Marshall; and daughter Willow Geer take on the roles of an aging concert pianist, her violinist spinster neighbor, and a would-be actress on New York’s Upper West Side in the tumultuous ‘80s. What an amazing acting lineage on display in this play, penned by Oscar-winner Ernest Thompson (“On Golden Pond”). Sun 7:30 p.m.

All shows Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $10-60 (discounts for seniors, students, teachers, veterans, AEA, ages 5-15).

LIBRARY GIRL Presents “FIRST READER, ABSOLUTELY” – a quote from John Gregory Dunne, referencing his relationship with Joan Didion, this month’s LG celebrates writer couples, and why not, since founder Susan Hayden has been co-curating most of these for a while with new husband, writer-music journalist Steve Hochman. At least one reader is a celebrated local musician, Paul Lacques of I See Hawks in LA.  Sun 7 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, Santa Monica Airport, $20.

WILLIE NELSON & Family, KACEY MUSGRAVES, JASON ISBELL and the 400 Unit, Old OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW. The COMPTON COWBOYS – I know Willie seems indestructible, but My God he’s 89 – go see this American legend and icon while you can. He is still an amazing (jazz) vocalist and takes pride in his phenomenal guitar picking. Good  supporting acts too, especially Isbell and Musgraves. Sun 12N, Brookside at the Rose Bowl, $173-999.

LIQUID KITTY’S PUNK ROCK BBQ – Hooray! The tradition continues, moving west  from the dark, hip, late lamented Liquid Kitty in West LA to where current Harvelle’s co-owners Jason and Damian hold forth, five punk bands, including Lawndale and “Pedro”bassman Mike Watt & the Missing Men, and… free hot dogs with all the fixin’s! Sun 1 – 6 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $0

Then come back a few hours later for something completely different…

TOLEDO DIAMOND — The true hipster (when that sobriquet meant something way cool), choreographer to the stars, smoky Svengali, showman supreme. Toledo and his  unquestionably unique show always pleases, if you are ready for the very different. Every Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12. 

OZOMATLI – one of our great homegrown LA bands that has endured for decades, I remember them drawing the biggest crowd I had ever seen at a Pier concert up to that time, and also leading a conga line out into the street from At My Place. They have a new album out the next day and will be discussing it and their career, and then performing. Don’t get the date wrong and show up the night before: you will find Richie Furay, rightfully celebrated as a founding member of both Buffalo Springfield and Poco, but now more of a fire and brimstone bible thumper on social media whose long scripture quotes are red meat for his many followers, supporting a lot of causes that I feel bring a lot of pain in our world. But, you know, God’s will. Always an issue – separating the artist from the person. The museum has some great exhibits right now: “Marley – A Family Legacy,” “The Power of Women in Country Music,” and “100 Years of Peggy Lee.” Next Thurs 7:30 p.m., GRAMMY Museum, LA, $30.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: “GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER,” Ruskin Group Theatre, 7/15, 16, 17;  “THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR,” 7/15, 16, 17; “TROUBLE THE WATER,” 7/16, 23, 31, “THE WESTSIDE WALTZ,” 7/17, 24, 29, “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM,” 7/17, 22, 31, Theatricum Botanicum; DANCE DTLA, Bollywood 7/15, Argentine Tango 7/29, The Music Center; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 7/17, 24; 31; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 7/17, 24, 31; EM, Harvelle’s, 7/19, 26; PETER MAX EXPERIENCE, Santa Monica Place, 7/15 – 24, CALIFORNIA GUITAR TRIO, McCabe’s, 7/17; LA PHIL, DUDAMEL, “The Valkyries,” Hollywood Bowl, 7/17; LA PHIL, DUDAMEL, PARIS OPERA BALLET, Hollywood Bowl, 7/20, 21; BURNING SPEAR, Youtube Theater, 7/24; LA PHIL, DUDAMEL, BEETHOVEN’S 5th, Hollywood Bowl, 7/26; BILLIE EILISH, DEBBY HARRY, SETH MCFARLANE, DIANNE REEVES, BETTYE LAVETTE – Tribute to PEGGY and FRANK, Hollywood Bowl, 7/27; LA PHIL, DUDAMEL, LA MASTER CHORALE – CARMINA BURANA, Hollywood Bowl, 7/28; JOHN FOGERTY, Hollywood Bowl, 7/30; MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD, The Ford, 7/31. 

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