LA Opera: “OMAR” has two shows in the coming week. Courtesy art


THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – Breakneck, virtuosic 1930s Django-style swing music in the cozy Culver City dive (almost 75 years old) with live music almost every night and never a cover charge. It’s gigs like this that make putting up with the bad side of Santa Monica worth it. 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. Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.


TONIGHT! – CELSO SALIM and JOHNNY STACHELA – Never saw Stachela but unless he is somehow a total loss this should be a good show because I have seen Celso a lot, with Darryl Carriere, and either one of them can carry a show. Salim is one helluva Brazilian bluesman, guitar and vocals. The real deal. Thurs 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10. 

DANNY ELFMAN – It’s a Halloween tradition, for so many years, that Elfman, with all his post-Oingo Boingo success in film (“Batman,” “Edward Scissorhands”) and composition (more than 100 post-Boingo soundtracks), emerges onto the stage only once a year – well, there was Coachella – at spook time. Expect anything from “Little Girls” or “Nasty Habits” to “Nightmare Before Christmas” to bits from “Weird Science” or “Stranger Things.” Quite the trajectory from dank half-filled clubs in Hollywood. Only a lad, indeed. Fri, Sat 7:30 p.m., Hollywood Bowl, $60-1,043.

SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR – Nelson Mandella’s hometown, Soweto is a shortening of South Western Townships, a mining district on the edge of Johannesburg, South Africa. This gospel choir for 20 years has recruited the best voices from the area. I love gospel music, but they also sing of the struggle for freedom in their country and ours, and include songs by James Brown, Aretha, Billie and Otis, and though it may be a long drive from Santa Monica to Northridge, it’s a much longer (and wetter) drive to Soweto for this heavenly inspiration. Sat 3 p.m., The Soraya, Northridge, $36-65.

LA OPERA, “OMAR” – Oh man, I’m so torn on this. Everyone should see it. It is an amazing production in so many ways and a story that needs to be told, with a huge cast nearly always all on stage, fantastic individual costumes like I’ve never seen, thrilling group vocals, powerful and precise, and sets so striking and perfect for the story, the autobiography of an enslaved African Muslim scholar, that as the curtain went up after intermission, the draped set itself got a huge ovation. Next week I’ll mention more of the good parts, and maybe I will feel differently with some distance, and maybe it was partly a matter of expectations. Mine. That were too specific and too high. (“Expectations are the mother of all disappointment.”) The involvement of Rhiannon Giddens, for whom I have the greatest respect, did not result in memorable melodies or a book with much conflict/resolution. Overall the music was terrific, as was the singing, and the orchestra. So, go! But with an open mind and no expectations. Sun 2 p.m., Wed 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA, $18-199.

RICK SHEA, TONY GILKYSON, CINDY BERRYHILL Songwriters Showcase – I know of Berryhill but not much about her, but if she is included in this grouping, I’m sure she’s got something to say, and sing. Shea and Gilkyson I have heard innumerable time, but it’s never enough. They are both mostly low-key but in different ways. Rick Shea’s rich baritone is entrancing while Tony Gilkyson (yes, Eliza’s brother) is also a great storyteller and speaks volumes with his superb guitar playing. This format by McCabe’s gives you something you don’t get with “just a concert,’ and I hope they continue it. It is perfect for them and their history and tradition, and there is an unmined motherlode of pickin’-singin-talkin’ from so many accomplished musicians, not necessarily stadium superstars, both local and national. God bless McCabe’s. Sun 8 p.m., McCabe’s, Santa Monica, $20.

CHAKA KHAN – Yes I do have a tendency to be lazy but sometimes, really, you just have to say the name. Probably not many would have predicted in the ‘70s that the vocalist for funk band Rufus would evolve and survive to be considered one of a handful of premier divas. And how about that household name Yvette Marie Stevens? Yeah, “Chaka Khan” was a better choice. Sun 7:30 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $150-267. 

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.

HERWAY TO HELL – Halloween, four screamin’ wailin’ women rattling the club’s foundations with AC/DC, the perfect rock and roll band and perfectly simple songs, Harvelle’s has a long record of booking really good cover bands, I’ve never seen a female AC/DC band but this is a no-brainer. I’ll be there and unless you have a sure-bet freakin’ fabulous Halloween party to go to that didn’t happen over the weekend, I think you should too. A female Black Sabbath band opens at 9:30 and I was never a huge fan, so I’ll show up at 11. Mon 11 p.m., Harvelle’s, $10.

“THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI” – Here’s a perfect place to celebrate Halloween and you don’t even need to get in costume (though I’ll bet the well-resourced LA Phil crowd will make the Frank Gehry environs look like a Wes Craven set), with a scary screening of the very influential and artistically acclaimed silent 1920 German expressionist horror classic that will come goose-bumpy alive (or undead) with creepy trills and thunderous roars from the mighty, mighty Disney Hall organ. Just one catch: it’s sold out but that doesn’t stop determined NOTEWORTHY readers, does it, oh no. So put on your best pathetic hunchback costume and persona and go drag that deformed foot up and down Grand Avenue until someone takes pity on you and offers a ducat. (And maybe think about buying this ticket early next year, hmm?) Mon 7:30 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA $

COMING ATTRACTIONS: TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 11/6, 13, 20, 27; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 11/7, 14, 21, 28; EM, Harvelle’s, 11/8, 15, 22, 29; LA OPERA, “OMAR,” Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 11/ 5. 9, 13; B-52s, YouTube Theater, 11/4; JEFF BECK, Orpheum Theater, 11/6 (also Thousand Oaks, Anaheim, Temecula); LYLE LOVETT, JOHN HIATT, The Soraya, 11/9; BRET MCKENZIE, Theatre at Ace Hotel, 11/11; RHIANNON GIDDENS, Disney Hall, 11/12; ALBERT LEE, McCabe’s, 11/12; LIBRARY GIRL 13TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW, Ruskin Group Theatre, , 11/13; NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON, Saban Theatre, 11/13; ELTON JOHN, Dodger Stadium, 11/17, 19, 20.

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