You’ve got to have a place to play, act, dance, where people can come and witness and enjoy
What does every show I’ve ever recommended, every show we all have seen in our lives, have in common?
A venue. You’ve got to have a place to play, act, dance, where people can come and witness and enjoy. No venue, no performance. We sure got that taught to us during COVID.
When I moved to the LA area in 1980 Santa Monica had a lot more venues. Now, very few. Do you think it would be a good idea to have a professional promoter book the 3,000 seat Santa Monica Civic, along with Barnum Hall and the outdoor Greek Theatre at Samohi?
I sure think so. It’s going to be a tough haul, to bring it back to life, but I can tell you this: if we sell it off or tear it down, that ain’t never going to happen. Keep hope alive. Keep the Civic until we can come up with a rescue plan. There is no other venue in the world with its history.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: .
“A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE ‘’ – I know, it’s barely September, but time to hand out the 2023 Santa Monica Theater Awards. Sure, the Ruskin Group could come up with another blockbuster by the end of the year, and “Library Girl,” also at the Ruskin, is a threat every month to blow your literary mind, but – Arthur Miller. A stunning piece of writing and storytelling, and unforgettable character sketches, plumbing the human condition and soul, from that brilliant author’s mind. On the subject of immigrants in America, and how they fit into the fabric. In a very human, personal way. Scene by scene, sentence by sentence, we are left hanging on where he will next take us, and it is often revelatory. But not without the proper delivery, and award #2 goes to the actors here, top to bottom, but especially the four principles, who made you feel you were watching your neighbors, despite the setting and the time. When the Ruskin folks got Ray Abruzzo (“The Sopranos”) for the lead, they probably set off fireworks. He is a force of nature. Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SMO, $20-30.
THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – from their website: “Hot Club’s brand of virtuoso, Django-style 1930s gypsy swing jazz is found nowhere else and even if it were, it couldn’t possibly be this good. These guys are masters, individually and collectively. You will find it hard to stop smiling all night. – Santa Monica Daily Press” And they still show up every Monday night here, for 12 years. Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.
Tonight! – BACH, MENDELSOHN, LA PHIL – OK, maybe Bach isn’t at the top of my list but dang he was good and every genius composer after had to give him ups, and Felix M’s “Italian” is just gorgeous in part, so are you telling me you can get anything even close for six bucks? Thurs 8 p.m., Hollywood Bowl, $6-134.
“QUEEN MARGARET’S VERSION OF SHAKESPEARE’S WAR OF THE ROSES” – This Theatricum production encompassing Henry VI Part I, II, III, and Richard III, is stitched together in a way that becomes a bit confusing, and as far as it “centers on the women and children of this UK civil war saga,” well, a whole lot of them wound up dead. The acting is, as always, top notch, but – nearly three hours seemed just a bit long despite the fantastic sword fights. Sat 7:30 p.m., Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $15-60.
LIBRARY GIRL – “El Martillo Press + FlowerSong Press ” – Who knows? Maybe this month’s LG will be the one that snatches away the made-up Santa Monica Theater Performance of the Year Award I gave last week to the Ruskin Theatre Group’s “A View from the Bridge.” As I said then, LG is always a threat to go over the top, and this edition seems ripe for greatness. Matt Sedillo, David A Romero, Sonia Gutiérrez, Iris De Anda, Ceasar K. Avelar, Margaret Elysia Garcia, Fernando Salinas – get a good night’s sleep, we’re ready for you. Library Girl founder Susan Hayden calls it “historic,” potentially “incendiary,” and “a night to remember.” Don’t say I didn’t tell ya. Sun 7 p.m.,Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $20 (includes dessert and free parking).
“A PERFECT GANESH” – Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is celebrating its 50th year – amazing! – and while their forte is Shakespeare they always throw in one other unusual play per season, to make us think. This Terrence McNally play finds humor within the self-searching American abroad. Two friends travel to India with heavy baggage, reeling from loss and personal demons.. Sun 7:30 p.m., Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $15-60.
TOLEDO DIAMOND – Unique, riveting, first class act. There’s nothing like it, it is high performance art and great decadent fun. Degeneracy is rarely so well disciplined. Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.
HOLST “THE PLANETS,” PHILIP GLASS , LA PHIL – Were you at the Bowl a couple of weeks ago to take Hal’s last ride, with the screening of “2001” with live soundtrack from the Phil? It was fantastic, and I wasn’t even high (except maybe a contact high from all the other Bowlers). Now, travel the rest of our solar system with Holst, and explore inner space with Philip Glass’s “Violin Concerto No. 1.” demonstrating by the mid-’80s he had advanced his minimalist bleeps into the ranks of great 20th century composers. You will also get to hear a commissioned piece that comes in at “0.5 mins.” Don’t sneeze or we’ll all miss it. Tues 8 p.m., Hollywood Bowl, $6-134 (much less than Jeff Bozo would charge you for a space ride, and a lot less danger).
Next Thurs – SAMANTHA FISH — the hip Teragram Ballroom in downtown LA is booking a slew of female performers this month, and few of any gender ID sling a meaner axe than Ms. Fish, while singing rock and blues in an appropriately threatening manner. Next Thurs, Teragram Ballroom, LA, $32.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: SAMANTHA FISH, Teragram Ballroom, 9/14; “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM,” Theatricum Botanicum, 9/14, 21; “A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE,” Ruskin Group Theatre, 9/15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24; MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD, LUPE FIASCO, , Greek Theatre, 9/15; “A PERFECT GANESH,” 9/16, 24, 30; VAN MORRISON, TAJ MAHAL, Greek Theatre, 9/17, 19; “QUEEN MARGARET’S VERSION OF SHAKESPEARE’S WAR OF THE ROSES,” Theatricum Botanicum, 9/17, 24; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 9/17, 24; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 9/18, 25; “MACBETH,” Theatricum Botanicum, 9/17, 23; GERALD CLAYTON, ELENA PINDERHUGHES, Jazz Bakery/Zipper Hall, 9/17; RONNIE MACK’S BARN DANCE, McCabe’s, 9/17; JOHN LEGEND with Orchestra, Gospel Choir, Hollywood Bowl, 9/23; JASON BONHAM’S LED ZEPPELIN EVENING, Greek Theatre, 9/23; JETHRO TULL, Greek Theatre, 9/27; JACKSHIT, McCabe’s, 9/30; LA PHIL GALA Celebrating FRANK GEHRY, Disney Hall, 10/5; STRAVINSKY, SHOSTAKOVICH, DUDAMEL, Disney Hall, 10/6, 7, 8; STING, JOE STRUMMER, Hollywood Bowl, 10/7; KURT ELLING, CHARLIE HUNTER, Teragram Ballroom, 10/7; LIBRARY GIRL, Ruskin Group Theatre, 10/8; BRANDI CARLILE & Friends, Hollywood Bowl, 10/14; THE BAD PLUS, MARC RIBOT, Teragram Ballroom, 10/20; WILL FERRELL’S BEST NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE 2, Greek Theatre, 10/21.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (the real mr music…)