“A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE ‘’ – Yes, the brilliant author Arthur Miller’s story and words are the stars here, but they would be wasted without gifted actors to deliver them properly, and the Ruskin stage is overflowing with them. The story is as contemporary and compelling as the evening news: immigrants trying so hard to fit into the American fabric. Sentence by sentence, we are left hanging on where this will take us next, and it is often revelatory. You feel you are watching your neighbors. When the Ruskin folks got Abruzzo, 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.
VAN MORRISON, TAJ MAHAL – Yes, I know, Van and Clapton and their anti-vax nonsense. But if you knew much about Morrison you weren’t surprised. He has always been militantly anti-authority; total freedom for the artist. My friend Barry, who for decades was a high level ticket seller and concert promoter, was around all the big names, developed a philosophy that answers all such dilemmas: Trust the art, not the artist. Taj Mahal opening? He could headline the Greek himself. He has evolved through a lot of black music genres through the decades, always sounding like he had played them all his life. This is quite a double bill. Sun, Tues 7 p.m., Greek Theatre, LA, $60-266.
GERALD CLAYTON, ELENA PINDERHUGHES – Is there a better jazz pianist than Clayton? If so I haven’t heard them, and I have sampled a lot. He seems to have a special gift for connecting with the music that is flowing through him, and guiding it rather than being overtaken by it, or letting it pass by because that requires too much. He can keep up with anybody but I like the more ethereal moments the best. A solo, duo, or even trio performance is something you simply should not miss, because then he will be dominant instead of just part of a large ensemble. This pairing, with far-ranging flautist Pinderhughes, is just jumping with great possibilities. Looks like Ruth Price is back big time at the Jazz Bakery, and that’s headline news for the whole planet. Sun 7 p.m., Zipper Hall, LA, $25-35.
RONNIE MACK’S BARN DANCE – Ronnie Mack was the centerpiece, the MC, of the scattered but vital country music scene in LA, when I arrived in 1980. His monthly Barn Dance moved around but was always a good show, with sometimes great performances, and Big Names came out of the audience to take that stage. He never took a penny, believing the musicians should always be paid. He is resurrecting the tradition tonight at McCabe’s (thank you, Wayne), after some years off, with an all star tribute to Hank Williams. If you don’t already have tickets – it is completely sold out. The good news is, booker Wayne Griffith thinks Ronnie might be persuaded to do it every six months or so. Sun 7 p.m., McCabe’s, Santa Monica, $25 (sold out).
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! – 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. Thurs 9 p.m., Teragram Ballroom, LA, $32.
Tonight! –“A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” – TB specializes in Shakespeare, and they do “Midsummer” every year. They do tinker with it a little, and that means if you saw it last year, or 10 years ago, you will see something a bit different. Who doesn’t love it? Puck, yes! Mon 6:30 p.m., Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $15-60. “
MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD – Very hard to describe a Franti show, except to say there will be a lot of joy and positivity presented with the highest musicianship. “Hip hop, funk, reggae, jazz, folk, jam band, ska punk, rock, dancehall, pop, reggae fusion, industrial, avant-garde… an American rapper, musician, poet, activist, documentarian and singer-songwriter known for his participation in many musical projects, most with a political and social emphasis.” But number one to remember: this is his “Big, Big Love Tour.” – Fri 7 p.m., Greek Theatre, LA, $20-175.
“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. Sun 7:30 p.m., Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $15-60.
“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.. Sat 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.
“MACBETH” – In this bloody, depraved corner, M’Lord and M’Lady, reigning still as the unchallenged monstrous couple of murderous mayhem, gruesome greed, political pushiness and absolute ambition. Some things never change. But when Macbeth breaks a finger bone, his understudy is called in on short notice for a big role, and on the night I attended, he was superb. (Sorry I don’t have the name.) But that’s how good this theatrical company celebrating 50 years is. Sun 7:30 p.m., Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Canyon, $15-60.,
“HAVE YOU GOT IT YET? SYD BARETT & PINK FLOYD” film screening – You missed it recently in SM, now you have to drive to downtown LA, oh well, worth it. Don’t blow it again. Tues 7 p,m., Regent Theater, LA, $15.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM,” Theatricum Botanicum, 9/21; “A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE,” Ruskin Group Theatre, 9/22, 23, 29, 30, 10/1; MOZART’S “DON GIOVANNI,” LA OPERA, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 9/23 (including free live broadcast SM Pier), 10/1. 4, 7, 12, 15; ERIC CLAPTON’S CROSSROADS GUITAR FESTIVAL 2023, Crypto.com Arena, 9/23, 24;”MACBETH,” Theatricum Botanicum, 9/23; JOHN LEGEND with Orchestra, Gospel Choir, Hollywood Bowl, 9/23; JASON BONHAM’S LED ZEPPELIN EVENING, Greek Theatre, 9/23; “A PERFECT GANESH,” 9/24, 30; “QUEEN MARGARET’S VERSION OF SHAKESPEARE’S WAR OF THE ROSES,” Theatricum Botanicum, 9/24; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 9/24; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 9/25; JETHRO TULL, Greek Theatre, 9/27; SILVERSUN PICKUPS, Bellwether, 9/27; ARCTIC MONKEYS, Kia Forum, 9/29, 30, 10/1; DOHENY FESTIVAL, Doheny State Beach, 9/29, 30, 10/1; JACKSHIT, McCabe’s, 9/30; 65 YEARS OF BOS NOVA, Jazz Bakery/Moss Auditorium, 10/1; PRETENDERS, Regent Theater 10/2; LA PHIL GALA Celebrating FRANK GEHRY, Disney Hall, 10/5; STRAVINSKY, SHOSTAKOVICH, DUDAMEL, Disney Hall, 10/6, 7, 8; ZOMBIES, Alex Theatre, 10/6; STING, JOE STRUMMER, Hollywood Bowl, 10/7; KURT ELLING, CHARLIE HUNTER, Teragram Ballroom, 10/7; JOHN BEASLEY’S MONK’estra, Jazz Bakery/Zipper Hall, 10/7; LIBRARY GIRL, Ruskin Group Theatre, 10/8; PETER GABRIEL, Kia Forum, 10/13; PORNO FOR PYROS, Wiltern Theater, 10/13; BRANDI CARLILE & Friends, Hollywood Bowl, 10/14; EDDIE HENDERSON BND, Jazz Bakery/Moss Theater, 10/14; BILL FRISSELL, Theatre at Ace Hotel, 10/14; RUSSELL MALONE QUARTET, Jazz Bakery/Moss Theater, 10/15; RICKIE LEE JONES, Roxy, 10/18.
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…)