Show: ALICIA KEYS at The Greek. Courtesy photo


TONIGHT! – LA PHIL, BEETHOVEN’S 9TH – When I was there at Disney Hall a few months ago for Beethoven’s Ninth, it was a privilege I will never forget. Perhaps the greatest symphony by a titan composer, and the LA Phil killed it under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. A profound music experience. So now it’s at the Bowl, the LA Master Chorale returns, superb soloist vocalists, conducted by Eva Ollikainen. What a way to end the summer. Thurs, 8 p.m., Hollywood Bowl, $12-130.

THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – One of LA’s music treasures, holding forth with their breakneck 1930s Django-style swing music in the cozy Culver City dive, on Sepulveda just over the line from Santa Monica, that is also a treasure. I will mention every so often that Santa Monica’s Harvelle’s dates from 1931, but the Cinema Bar is almost 75. That’s a long time to build up a following, character, reputation and a vibe, and both venues have them. But the music is the thing, right? You could go from Harvelle’s on Sunday night (see below) to The Hot Club on Monday then back to Harvelle’s Tuesday (see below). Three very different shows, rare or unique, and all top caliber. You would spend a total of $22 for cover charges. I tell you, it’s gigs like this that make putting up with Santa Monica worth it. Every Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.

EM – She’s still amazing. But nothing good lasts forever, you know. Don’t push your luck. So why not go this Tuesday night? Betcha, you’ll thank me. Every Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.


THEATRICUM BOTANICUM – Finally, with the return of “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” on the schedule, you have an opportunity to satiate your live theater jones in one weekend, with all four of TB’s 2022 lineup available. Bring a sleeping bag! Camp out in lovely Topanga Canyon! For half a century TB has presented thoughtful, often socially conscious, even cutting edge stage dramas, but their flag and forte is Shakespeare, and every single year they do “MIDSUMMER,” perhaps the Bard’s most popular comedy. And you don’t have to sit indoors and imagine a forest – it’s surrounding the massive TB stage. If you really loved ‘MIDSUMMER” or want to bring friends, you can even come back on Monday – Fri 7:30 p.m., Mon 6 p.m., “WESTSIDE WALTZ” features three generations of great actors, the Geer women who have kept this rare top shelf arts enterprise going for so many decades – Sat 7:30 p.m., “TROUBLE THE WATER” is the riveting, barely believable true story of Robert Smalls’ bold plan to escape slavery, with his family, by commandeering the Confederate warship he was serving on and impersonating the captain through three nail biting checkpoints. TB is so good at these kinds of topical plays that leave you with a lot to think about – Sun 3:30 p.m., “THE MERRY WIVES of WINDSOR” oh lordy was I faced with writing a rare criticism of a TB show? The acts before intermission were so dry and confusing I wanted to run (blame the Bard for catering to his comedy audience who just l-o-v-e-d confused identities and genders) but the second half paid off in gold, and an inspired ‘50s setting adaptation allowed the injection of pop songs of the era that fit the narrative and were familiar and lots of fun – Sun 7:30 p.m.

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

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.

MOZART UNDER THE STARS, LA PHIL – Or this isn’t a shabby way to end your musical summer, either. It’s a Bowl tradition for good reason. Tues 8 p.m., Hollywood Bowl, $12-130.

ALICIA KEYS – I liked her the first time I saw her sing so many years ago, but I really didn’t guess that she would grow into such a multi-talented big star. Her piano skills are superb, her songwriting has become a major asset, and she’s one of those rare performers who just takes over a stage and grabs you and charms you. Like an old friend. Tues, Wed 8 p.m., Greek Theater, $70-170.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: “THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR” 9/ 9, 17, 25, “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” 9/10, 18, 25, “TROUBLE THE WATER” 9/11, 16, 24, “THE WESTSIDE WALTZ” 9/11, 18, 23, Theatricum Botanicum; MUSEIQUE/ 2022, THE SONGS AND STORIES OF CENTRAL AVENUE, Jefferson HS Auditorium, 9/11; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 9/11, 18, 25; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 9/12, 19, 26; EM, Harvelle’9/12, 19, 26: JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA with WYNTON MARSALIS, MANHATTAN TRANSFER, Hollywood Bowl, 9/8; LADY GAGA, Dodger Stadium, 9/10; CLASSIC CAR SHOW on The Pier, 9/10; ITZAK PERLMAN, LA PHIL, Hollywood Bowl, 9/13; ELIZA GILKYSON, NINA GERBER, McCabe’s, 9/16; I SEE HAWKS IN LA, Gandara Park concerts, 9/18; REGGAE NIGHT XX: UB40, THE WAILERS, Hollywood Bowl, 918; TINARIWEN, Fonda Theater, 9/20; REDMAN-MEHLDAU- MCBRIDE-BLADE, The Soraya, 9/22; BONNIE RAITT with MAVIS STAPLES, Greek Theater, 9/24; LITTLE WILLIE G, Gandara Park concerts, 9/25; GRACE JONES, Hollywood Bowl, 9/25; ROGER WATERS, Arena. 9/27, 28; ROXY MUSIC, ST. VINCENT, Kia Forum, 9/28; HERBIE HANCOCK, Hollywood Bowl, 9/28; PORCUPINE TREE, Greek Theater, 9/30.

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