Music: JONI rocks Newport. Courtesy photo


Had I been in the area last week, I hope I would have chosen to brave the heat and attend the venerable folk festival because this one was historic. JONI MITCHELL showed up for the first time since 1969, and performed her first show anywhere in 21 years. Paul Simon, 80, had never before performed at Newport, and my first notice of it all was when some guy wrote online that listening to him sing “The Boxer” made him weep. I’m with ya, man. Such a profound human portrait.

The next day Joni shows up, also unannounced, with BRANDI CARLILE, and does an entire set ending with “Both Sides Now”and the last line, “I really don’t know life… at all…” It’s no wonder WINONA JUDD, seated behind her, was wiping away tears the whole time.

I’ve written about Joni a few times, and you may want to revisit my tale of our dinner date. (

I always say, you’ve got to hang onto life, because you never know what’s around the corner. Sure, the world sucks badly in so many ways, but I’ve got a brand new grandnephew in Austin, sweet Jude Penoli, and his smile lights up the world. I hope to visit him soon if damned COVID will leave me alone.

So now, I have room for only abbreviated recommendations, because there is so much going on in the next week that you must know about. Take vitamins, then get out there and grab the magic.


TONIGHT! – LA PHIL, DUDAMEL, LA MASTER CHORALE – “CARMINA BURANA ‘’ – One of my very favorite pieces, of any genre. Sounds like opera but it’s not. It is Carl Orff’s powerful choral pastiche that you’ve heard in countless films, but hearing it live is unforgettable. TONIGHT! -Thurs 8 p.m., Hollywood Bowl, $14-140. 

“GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER” – Superb production, overcoming multiple disasters. You will likely see some of these actors for a long time, on bigger stages. Sadly, the excellent adaptation is every bit as relevant now as when the Tracy-Hepburn classic film was released in 1967. Last two weekends! Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $20-35.

JOHN FOGERTY –Still, at 77, a rock and roll force of nature. That voice like a bayou hurricane (but born in Berkeley), guitar basics perfection, and songwriting that probably produced the highest percentage of great and really good songs over the seven album, four year life of Creedence Clearwater Revival, exceeded perhaps only by the Beatles. He promises to play the hits, so fasten seat belts. Sat 8 p.m., Hollywood Bowl, $19-99.

THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – Virtuosic breakneck Django-style swing music (but no room for swing dancing!) in the tiny Culver City dive celebrating 75 years. Every Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.

EM – Still amazing, every Tuesday night. But nothing good lasts forever, so don’t push your luck. Go this Tuesday. Betcha, you’ll thank me. Every Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.


THEATRICUM BOTANICUM – Seriously – everything they do is top rate, – acting, staging, costumes, writing. And often offering a banquet of food for thought. “WESTSIDE WALTZ” – Fri 7:30 p.m. (“Pay What You Will” performance), “MERRY WIVES” – Sat 7:30 p.m., “TROUBLE THE WATER” – Sun 3:30 p.m., “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” – Sun 7:30 p.m. All shows Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $10-60 (discounts for seniors, students, teachers, veterans, AEA, ages 5-15).

DANCE DTLA, Argentine TANGO – Lessons, live bands, lots of room outdoors at The Music Center to make your moves. Yango is serious, dammit, so grab your tight pants and slit-to-the-hip skirt and come learn to strut like a peacock while perfecting your penetrating gaze. Fri 7 p.m., The Music Center; Moss Plaza DTLA, free. 

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

ENCUENTROS ORCHESTRA, DUDAMEL, ESPERANZA SPALDING – Dudamel leads a hand-picked all star orchestra of young performers from 22 countries across 5 continents, reflecting his successful El Sistema philosophy, playing the first half with giant jazz talent on the big double bass and vocals, Esperanza Spalding and her band, and after intermission, Dvořák’s “New World Symphony.” Tues 8 p.m., Hollywood Bowl, $1-155. (Yes, one dollah. If you hurry.)

JEFF “SKUNK” BAXTER – I’m a little hesitant on this one because I don’t know his band, but… if his name is headline chances are you will hear more of him, and that’s a good thing. No pesky Doobie Brothers or Steely Dans to get in his way. And how many RnR Hall of Famers can say they’ve worked as a defense consultant and advised members of Congress on missile defense? Tues 8 p.m., Troubadour, West Hollywood, $35.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: Poetry Reading with MARIANO ZARO, HOLADAY MASON, JUDITH PACHT, Beyond Baroque, 8/5; KAMASI WASHINGTON, Ford Theatre, 8/5; “TROUBLE THE WATER,” 8/5, 14, 20, 26; “THE WESTSIDE WALTZ,” 8/6, 12, 21, 27; “THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR,” 8/7, 13, 19, 28; Theatricum Botanicum; ASH GROVE ALUMNI with JOE CHAMBERS, WENDY WALDMAN, McCabe’s, 8/7; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 8/7, 14, 21, 28; TROMBONE SHORTY’S VOODOO BREAKDOWN, Hollywood Bowl, 8/10; BOOKER T. JONES, Skirball, 8/11; CHEECH & CHONG, Saban Theatre, 8/13; LIBRARY GIRL, Ruskin Group Theatre, 8/14; ROBERT PLANT, ALISON KRAUSS, Greek Theater, 8/18; “GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER,” Ruskin Group Theatre, 8/19, 20, 21; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 8/8, 15,22, 29; EM, Harvelle’s, 8/9, 16, 23, 30; NATHANIEL RATELIFF & THE NIGHT SWEATS, Hollywood Bowl, 8/14; TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND, Greek Theater, 8/19; STEVE EARLE & The Dukes, 8/23, 24; DIANA ROSS, Hollywood Bowl, 8/26, 27; BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA, Burton Chace Park, 8/27. 

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