'MANGO BLOOD" - courtesy photo

I NEVER DO THIS! (never say never): 1) recommend a book (though it is within the purview of this NOTEWORTHY column covering mostly music but also other art forms; 2) a book that is not about music per se (but the rock and roll bass playing author MARYVONNE FENT made her heroine Minouche a student of the ancient Indian instrument veena, a form of bass sitar she herself took up as a young Parisian woman who relocated to India, for love; 3) a book I haven’t yet read.

Now wait a minute. I just got it in the mail yesterday. But I feel on safe ground with this plug because: 1) my wife read her first book in this trilogy, “The 35c Dowry,” and loved it. (And she’s a good judge of good/bad writing because she has proofread and edited all of my 600+ columns.); 2) both my wife’s mother and sister read it and also loved it, and they are both published authors (as is my daughter – I’m the only one in the family who hasn’t written a book.) They both praise Fent’s style and descriptive powers. To top it off, both Fent and her heroine studied ethnomuicology, which my daughter degreed in at UCLA, and the cover is cool with a young woman wailing on the veena. Fent also taught at UCLA, and Wesleyan. She’s already writing the follow-up so you’d better catch up.

You can buy it through Amazon but don’t you think maybe Jeff Bozos has enough billions? Order it through the author – contact her at mvf@greenmanrecords.com – and she will send you two copies for the price of one, there you go, one more holiday gift taken care of.
MANGO BLOOD” by Maryvonne Fent, 464 p., Amazon Books, $20.95 paperback.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

CELSO & DARRYL – I give a lot of credit to “the new kids” at our own cool, hip, swingin’, rockin’, oozing with history oldest live music bar in LA (1931) Harvelle’s. When the much-loved Liquid Kitty shut down a few years ago two of the longtime employees, Jason and Damian, became partners with decades-long owner Cevin and have done a brilliant job of keeping the club thriving, surviving COVID and now better than ever. It’s the booking, mostly done by Jason. But Damian is there almost every night behind the bar, keeping it all cool. They came up with the notion of finding a few really good acts that could build a following, and charging a ridiculously low $10-$12 cover. So you have the brilliant performers Toledo Diamond every Sunday and EM every Tuesday, with a raft of other outstanding bands they rotate in regularly. One of those great acts is the blues duo Celso & Darryl. I’ve praised them many times. If you love the blues or even just like it, these two will put a smile on your face all night long. Guitars, harmonica, and gritty growlin’ vocals. Sat 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.

THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – I have to confess: I’m not at their show every Monday night. But I should be. Don’t get lazy, Charles. It’s just outside Santa Monica, street parking is easy, it’s a friendly little neighborhood bar where you can see and hear everywhere in the tiny room, the sound is great, the stage is maybe a foot high and right next to the patrons, drinks are reasonable and there is no cover. Smothers Auditorium at Pepperdine had a Django-style group a few weeks ago and I think tickets were at least $25. THCOLA plays breakneck, virtuoso 1930s Django-style swing music. You will find it hard to stop smiling all night. Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.

EM – She’s unique, compelling, and right here in Santa Monica. You will be mesmerized. By her piano pounding, singing, songs (mostly her own), her hot band and how she orchestrates them, her unbelievable energy and passion, her insightful ballads, her dancing and cavorting off the stage while never missing a note, and did I mention she had a book, co-written with Lady Gaga, on the NYT bestseller list? Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.

RECOMMENDED:

LA OPERA, PUCCINI’S “TOSCA” – I’m no expert on the history of opera but it seems to me that some of these composer-authors were not men of the world. Some plots are so unrealistic, even downright silly – not talking comedies here – that it makes you think they never got out of the house and milked a cow or a maiden. But there is a reason Giacomo Puccini is considered a master and we are still thrilled with his operas, and the enduring popularity of “Tosca” testifies to that. Napoleon is invading Italy and everyone, especially in the Kingdom of Napoli, is freaked. It’s the end of the world! (as we know it). Flora Tosca had it all, unrivaled artistic success and the adoration of fans, but suddenly she is torn from her lover to deal with an outrageous sociopath bent on breaking her. What’s a poor soprano to do? Get your hands dirty, even bloody, in a real life drama with no guaranteed happy curtain call. Starring LA’s own GRAMMY-winning soprano Angel Blue. You don’t want to miss this one. “Tosca,” Sun 2 p.m., next Thurs 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA, $34-384.

TOLEDO DIAMOND –Who’s going to die first, you, or Toledo Diamond before you catch his unique, riveting, first class act. “Dang!” you’ll exclaim when you read the news that at 96 his choreographer’s legs finally went, and the rest of him just couldn’t soldier on. “Every Sunday night for half a century, he was just around the corner here in downton Santa Monica,” you’ll moan, “at Harvelle’s, for only 12 bucks, until runaway inflation under the Republicans in the ‘20s raised the ticket price to $250 but never mind because my salary went to $2M/yr… and still I never saw him! Major life regret.” So don’t let the ghosts of Thanksgivings past haunt you, just trot your stuffed carcass down this Sunday night and see what you’ve been missing. Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: “TOSCA,” LA OPERA , Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 12/4, 7, 10; LOVE, The Wayfarer, 12/4; SAMANTHA FISH, JESSE DAYTON, Whisky A Go Go, 12/4; THE LAST WALTZ TOUR 2022, Orpheum Theater, 12/4; LIQUID KITTY PUNK ROCK BBQ, Harvelle’s, 12/4 (afternoon); TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 12/4, 11, 18; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 12/5, 12, 19, 26; EM, Harvelle’s, 12/6, 13, 20, 27; DUDAMEL, THE TRISTAN PROJECT: I,II,III, Disney Hall, 12/9. 10. 11. 15, 16, 17; MAVIS STAPLES, Segerstrom Concert Hal, 12/9; LA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA Tribute to Lucha Libre!, GIL SHAHAN, Ambassador Auditorium, 12/11; BILLIE EILISH, Kia Forum, 12/13, 15, 16; X, Orpheum Theater, 12/16; STEVIE WONDER, Microsoft Theater, 12/17; MAVERICKS, JD MCPHERSON, Theatre at Ace Hotel, 12/17; ENGLISH BEAT, Bourbon Room, 12/30; NYE: LA PHIL with The ROOTS.

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@zafar123