NO VAN, MAN, DAMN!
The info out there that I went by was apparently incorrect or it has changed. No Van Morrison concerts this weekend at the Shrine. The following weekend, yes, but you will have to go to Copenhagen. Not a bad idea, actually. Cool city. But Van – Charles! Don’t you know…? Yes, of course, with mate Eric Clapton, anti-science, anti-vax nonsense, but this anti-authority stance is not new territory for Morrison. As my longtime concert ticket mogul friend Barry Finkenberg says, paraphrasing the great philosopher Charles Barkley: trust the art, not the artist.
LA OPERA, “OTELLO” – I’ll have more to say about this next week, but you won’t want to miss this powerful achievement by Guiseppe Verdi, along with “Falstaff” his final two, and considered by many to be the zenith of Italian opera. Sat, Wed 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA, $29-349.
LA OPERA, “OTELLO” live big screen simulcast – OK, you’ve ignored my supplications for years, oh, opera, that’s not for me, you wouldn’t even throw down the cost of lunch to see a three-hour extravaganza, fully costumed, spectacular scenery, great acting and even better magnificent singing, to superb compositions by masters. And you didn’t want to drive downtown and pay for parking and a couple hundred per ticket. Well, what’s your excuse now?…. chick-kennnnn! Sat 7:30 p.m., Santa Monica Pier, free.
THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – Hot Club’s brand of virtuoso, sometimes breakneck Django-style 1930s gypsy swing jazz is found nowhere else and even if it was, it couldn’t possibly be better than this. These guys are masters, individually and collectively. They manage to record and play high-profile gigs and still show up every Monday night here, for years. Aren’t we lucky? Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.
EMMYLOU HARRIS, DWIGHT YOAKAM – What a great pairing. Emmylou has been all over the place in her long recording career, but her bedrock is deep respect and understanding of true country music. The same exploration can’t be said of Yoakam (though he did put out a fine bluegrass album), but his similar reverence for authentic country led him from Kentucky to Bakersfield, to mine those fields for the ghosts of the masters of that niche, sometimes overlooked but very rich vein of country music. They are very different troubadours of country, but both sitting in exactly the same place. I hope they do quite a few duets. Next Thurs, 7 p.m., Greek Theatre, LA, $39-299.
TODAY! – ENDS SUNDAY! – BOB MARLEY ONE LOVE EXPERIENCE – Finally got to go this past weekend. Glad it was so worthwhile because that drive into the heart of Hollyweird is no fun. We added to the value of the effort by going a few blocks east to Musso & Frank’s, where the food is still good, the drinks strong, the history and atmosphere thick, and attitudes can be curt. I guess in that dicey neighborhood you have to shoo away the looky loos. Such fun. This traveling exhibit about one of the most incredible performers ever is about to travel on, so hurry to book the 1:00 or 3:00 tours Saturday or Sunday because those are the ones led by Silverlake’s Roger Steffens, the world’s foremost authority on Marley, if not reggae itself, and his personal insights and anecdotes are priceless. Forget the sometimes tacky or overblown settings, Steffens will take you straight to the heart of the man who so influences world music and politics 40 years after his early death from cancer. This covers only “the Island (record label) years,” but that’s what most people are familiar with. One more reason, and opportunity, why living in LA is so special. Thurs-Sun-Wed 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m. -10 p.m., Mon-Tues 11 a.m. -5:30 p.m., Ovation Hollywood, $20-70, kids under 6 free.
TONIGHT! – LA PHIL, BEETHOVEN, STRAUSS – Ludwig’s 4th Piano Concerto is, as you might guess, luscious and powerful, and the Strauss is from “Der Rosenkavalier” and is less sweet and cliched than some Strauss I don’t care for (but there are waltzes here), and more heroic. Should be a great evening. Next Thurs 8 p.m., Sat, Sun 2 p.m.,Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $40-209.
“PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE” – Read carefully. It’s an “absurdist comedy.” By the inarguably absurd comic Steve Martin. I laughed, but it is not intended to have you in stitches the entire time. It is the absurd and thought-provoking fantasy that Picasso and Einstein may have hung out together in a Paris cafe in the early 20th century, before either was famous. What might they have been like? Who else might have passed through? No one knows so Martin could go anywhere. One place he went was to make the “ordinary” women involved sound smarter than those two wise guys. People are diggin’ this show – it’s been extended through May 21. But some shows are selling out, so… Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, Santa Monica Airport, $20-35.
LIBRARY GIRL – I’m serious: treat your mother to this tonight. She may be fine with it or she my say oh no, thanks dear but not my cuppa tea, but that’s all the more reason to hogtie her if you must and just keep telling her, these are always great, Mom, you may not love every reader but some you will want to adopt and the others you will invite over to talk about why they have such issues with their sweet mothers. You are going to thank me for this, Mom, and want to go next month too. Sun 7 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre Santa Monica airport, $20 (includes free parking and dessert).
TOLEDO DIAMOND – Unique, riveting, first class act. There’s nothing like it, it is high performance art and great fun. Degeneracy is rarely so well disciplined. Could be the most memorable 12 bucks you ever spent. Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s,
COMING ATTRACTIONS: EMMYLOU HARRIS, DWIGHT YOAKAM, Greek Theatre, 5/18; BOB MARLEY ONE LOVE EXPERIENCE, Ovation Hollywood, 5/19, 20, 21; “PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE,” Ruskin Group Theatre, 5/19, 20, 21; LA OPERA, “OTELLO,” Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 5/20, 28; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 5/21, 28; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 5/22, 29; LA PHIL, SALONEN, BARTOK, STRAVINSKY, Disney Hall, 5/18, 19, 21; DUDAMEL, LA PHIL, “BEETHOVEN 7TH,” Disney Hall, 5/25, 26, 27; DUDAMEL CONDUCTS MOZART, 6/1, 2, 3, 4.
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 37 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at Charles Andrews