Otello at the pier


A lot of great classical stuff, country too.


TONIGHT! 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. Thurs, 7 p.m., Greek Theatre, LA, $39-299.

LA OPERA, “OTELLO” – You’ve gotta understand, I moved to LA for the music. To work in the industry, but even more importantly, to be engulfed by music, the best, of the widest variety, nonstop, every night. Mission accomplished. But the delicious downside is that sometimes there is too much to fit in, and I do have a life outside that (punching bag for the mindless minions of evil politicos). And so it happens, for the second LA Opera presentation in a row, that I cannot see it until the final performance, So, how can I honestly “highly recommend” it? I’ve gone to literally thousands of live shows since college, and often reported on them, and you learn to make accurate judgments based on what has already been proven. And in years of LA Operas, I have been more thrilled some times than others, but never let down, with a bad or even mediocre showing. Like the LA Phil and the old Jazz Bakery, consistently rock solid. I literally bet my reputation on it, with no qualms. You won’t want to miss this powerful achievement by Guiseppe Verdi, along with “Falstaff” his final one-two knockout punch, considered by many to be the zenith of Italian opera. Next week I will give you another solid reason, still sight unseen. Or did you catch the free big screen simulcast on the Pier last weekend? Sat 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA, $29-349.

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.

DUDAMEL, LA PHIL, BEETHOVEN’s “SYMPHONY NO. 7” – Ludwig van? Dudamel? I’m in, and you should be too, especially since we know our multi-talented maestro, groundbreaking music director/conductor is bound for New York. (Yeah, he’s that good, that the once-mighty NY Phil needs what he has displayed in LA, to bring them back to greatness. OK, that scenario may have a tinge of gloating over the center LA has become for all the arts, and a jab back at Manhattanites who once mocked our culture as consisting of yogurt.) The 7th comes after intermission, preceded by two LA Phil-commissioned world premieres, Ellen Reid’s “West Coast Sky Eternal,” and Gabriella Smith’s “Lost Coast: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra.” But don’t show up fashionably late, these unknown pieces are on the program because Gustavo wants them there. That’s good enough for me. Next Thurs, 8 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $67-274


TONIGHT! – LA PHIL, SALONEN, BARTOK, STRAVINSKY – We have a pretty impressive roster of former conductors here who like to do guest turns, and Esa-Pekka is one of the most loved. Since moving on he has done a lot of composing, and will be conducting the U.S. premier of his LA Phil-commissioned “Sinfonia Concertante for Organ and Orchestra,” and any opportunity to hear those mighty Disney Hall pipes should not be missed. You will also get Stravinsky’s “Petrushka” and Bartók’s intriguing “The Miraculous Mandarin Suite.” I would go just for that. But then, I’m a big Béla Bartók booster. Thurs, Fri 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $64-216.

“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.

PACIFIC OPERA PROJECT, “THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE” – This one snuck up on me! And it’s their last show of the season. But I have to recommend it because so many productions of this little opera company that most certainly can, are great fun and artistically exceptional. And they pick great venues (started in Santa Monica), like this one at Forest Lawn. Only six performances and many are already sold out, so get on board, quickly. Fri, Sat, Sun 7:30 p.m., Forest Lawn Museum, Glendale, $30.

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: DUDAMEL, LA PHIL, BEETHOVEN “7TH,” Disney Hall, 5/26, 27; PACIFIC OPERA PROJECT, “THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE,” Forest Lawn, 5/26, 27, 28; LA OPERA, “OTELLO,” Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 5/28; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 5/28, 6/4, 11, 18, 25; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 5/29, 6/5, 12, 19, 26; DUDAMEL CONDUCTS MOZART, Disney Hall, 6/1, 2, 3, 4; SOUTHSIDE SLIM, Harvelle’s, 6/2; “PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE,” Ruskin Group Theatre, 6/2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17; RICK SHEA, Cinema Bar, 6/8; DAN NAVARRO, McCabe’s, 6/10; LIBRARY GIRL, Ruskin Theatre, 6/11.

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