Monday, July 31, 2006

Fab Forever in Culver City, Thursday 8/3, 7 pm

Free with free parking. LINK

I wouldn't ordinarily post on a tribute band, but this is funny. It seems that Fab Forever's manager, Jerry Peluso, originally helped create and manage another Beatles tribute band, Fab Four. But Fab Four dumped Peluso - ungrateful wretches according to him - and he recruited a new band, Fab Forever. I know it's confusing.

But then Fab Four tried to steal Fab Forever's Ringo. The whole sordid story is detailed at Tabloid Baby.

Fab Forever - Unplugged!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

This week's highlights: 8/1/06 - 8/7/06

Here are a few highlights for the coming week, Tue-Mon. For a complete list, check the Event Calendar.

Cheyenne Kimball:

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Poco in Woodland Hills, Sunday 7/30, 6 pm

Free, free parking if you are willing to walk. LINK

I don't have to like all of the bands I feature here, do I?

Poco in N.Y., for Japanese consumption:

If you are sick of my ramblings...

...just bookmark this Event Calendar page, and you and you never have to listen to me again.

Raul Malo

No show, but listen to his entire album released three days ago free. LINK

Light posting, because I just got back from Malo's concert in Vegas. Only had to spend $60+ in gas for a free concert. He'll be at the Coach House on Saturday and in Cabazon on Sunday, for $20 + the Ticketmaster fee.

So here's the freebie. Listen to his entire album here at CMT. Don't know how long it will last.

For those of you unfamiliar, Raul Malo is the former front man of the Mavericks, and has one of the great voices in all of music. Seeing him live for the first time, I was ready for his incredible range, but I was surprised by the power of his voice. His version of Suspicion rivaled the original, and the orignal singer too. I was impressed too by Robert Chevrier on piano. On a couple of numbers, Malo was singing nuevo country while Chevrier backed him with something that sounded a lot like Rachmaninoff. Sounds strange, but it really worked.

And finally, someone has done a great version of Feels Like Home. I've heard versions by Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, but nothing before ever equalled the lyrics from Randy Newman's Faust. Listen to it on the CMT site. It's one of the great love songs.

Update: From Eric Alterman's review of the new album: "A beautiful record, through and through. If you don’t like it, you’re a bad person."

A medley of love songs:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Jeff Hamilton Trio at Hollywood & Highland, Tuesday 7/1, 7 pm

Free, $2 parking with validation. LINK

One of my favorite musical moments comes from Diana Krall's Live in Paris Show. She's singing I Don't Know Enough About You, and just as she's ending a phrase, Jeff Hamilton hammers down with both hands on a couple of cymbals, and it's perfect.

Anyone could do that move. If you sat a five year-old in front of a drum set, it's probably the first thing he'd do. But it's like when Jack Nicholson arches his eyebrows at the camera; you know there's nothing to it, but it's sheer genius all the same.

I've never seen Hamilton with his trio. But if it's anything like his long time collaboration with the John and Jeff Clayton, expect rough, not smooth, jazz. If your idea of jazz is The Wave, you may not enjoy it so much.

For $15 or $20, you can take part in the wine tasting, this week from Hill Family Estate Winery. All of the wine is donated, and all of the proceeds go to Project Angel Food.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bank of the West Beach Games in Huntington Beach, now through Sunday, 7/30

Free, good luck with parking. LINK

The dude pictured above is quadriplegic surfer Jesse Billauer, who will be surfing on Sunday. And like I said, it's Ozomatli on Saturday.

The Games feature surfing, volleyball, skatebording, BMX, FMX, and now, a Texas Hold 'em celebrity contest. But I've never heard of any of the celebrities, because they're all surfers, volleyball players, skateboarders...

According to Transworld Surf, the highlight of the Games in years past has been G-String Mullet Man. Justin Cote observes:

I was watching him stroll under the pier and toward the water's edge when someone shouted, "Here he comes!" as if it were Jesus himself. Once he was positioned smack dab in the middle of the contest area, and with shorebreak lapping against his bare ankles, he stood up straight, put his hand to his forehead like a visor, and checked out the comp-just like any other fan, except he kept running his hand through his mullet, and 99 percent of his ass was there for all to see. The crowd went apeshit, which probably confused the finalists because nobody was riding a wave, but by then they were probably used to surfing being the sideshow.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Los Angeles Opera in Marina del Rey, Thursday 7/27, 7 pm

Free, fee (?) for parking. LINK

They promise to sing "operatic greats," which means opera's greatest hits. Probably the best choice for a short attention span audience at a free outdoor venue.

Over the next 40 days, the L.A. Opera only has one other performance scheduled. Strangely enough, it's on the same day at the same time; at the Huntington Library for $35/$45. I guess we're getting a bargain.

They recommend bringing a blanket for sitting on the lawn. I recommend bring a jacket in your car - Burton Chase Park is right on the water, and it can get cold. I attended a Shakespeare production there once, and it's very nice sitting on the grass with the sailboats and the pelicans sailing by.

You can park elsewhere in the marina, and take the Waterbus one way for only $1. Or just get there early and cruise the marina for a couple of bucks.

Eddie Money in Newport Beach, Wednesday 7/26, 7 pm

Free, with free parking. LINK

I wasn't an Eddie Money fan until he sang with Ronnie Spector.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ozomatli in Huntington Beach, Saturday 7/29, 6 pm

Free, don't know about parking. LINK

Wow, I just found out about this. I was going to write up the Bank of the West Beach Games, and almost by chance I found this concert. Finding a free concert from Ozomatli is a shocker, and a gift.

Ozo won Grammys in 2002 and 2005 for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album.

So far, Bank of the West is barely publicizing the concert. I'm guessing that since the Games already draw over a half million people over ten days, they don't feel any need to increase the crowd. Another band tba opens for them at 4:00, and I'd get there early.

More about the Beach Games later.

Ozomatli, with an earlier lineup:

This week's highlights: 7/25/06 - 7/31/06

Because the Event Calendar is fully operational, I won't be posting tomorrow's freebies anymore. Every Sunday, I'll just give my take on the coming week's highlights, Tuesday through Monday.


Other events:

People in Planes:

The event calendar is done!

All of the free events I could find through the end of the year are now loaded into the event calendar. The link to it will always be near the top of the right hand column. If you have any suggestions or corrections, please let me know.

I'm going to take a nap.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

What I'm paying to see tonight, 7/22

Tom Jones at the Hollywood Bowl. It's the wife's choice.

Otherwise, I'd be at the last of the spectacular Summer Sessions at the Getty. They are featuring Brave Combo's 21st century polka, as well as up to date versions of folk and klezmer.

Laser polka from Brave Combo:

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Bangles in Alhambra, Saturday 7/22, 6 PM

Free, free parking. LINK

Click here for sample music clips (Amazon).

To me, the Bangles always seemed to be in the shadow of the Go-Go's. They did have two great singles though, Manic Monday and Walk Like an Egyptian.

Manic Monday:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What I'm paying to see tonight, 7/20

"Amadeus" Live, at the Hollywood Bowl - scenes from Peter Schaffer's Amadeus, with Neil Patrick Harris and Michael York. Happy 250th, Wolfie.

Otherwise, I'd want to see Rocco Deluca at the Hammer Museum.

Here's Deluca on Jimmy Kimmel:

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dirty Heads, etc at Hollywood & Highland, Thursday 7/20, 8 PM

Free, $2 parking for four hours with validation. LINK

Do you remember when you used to be embarassed to bring out-of-towners to Hollywood? It's a much nicer place these days, and one of the more accesible places is Hollywood & Highland. It's clean, well-lit, feels safe, and has great parking and trendy shops. For tourists, there are street performers on Hollywood Blvd, the Kodak Theatre, the Chinese Theatre, and across the street, the El Capitan. And in the evenings, you'll notice that many of the women definitely dress to impress.

I already knew that Hollywood & Highland hosted two free concert series; Fridays by the Fountain, and the excellent Wine & Jazz Tuesday.

But Jen at H&H just emailed me, and I learned about a third series called 3rd Thursday. Based on the poster above, the entire scene is probably way to hip for me. In addition to Dirty Heads, tomorrow night's lineup includes the Gray Kid and DJ Green Lantern. They also feature art and beer, not necessarily in that order.

About the Tuesday jazz series: On 8/1, Jeff Hamilton, the World's Greatest jazz drummer according to me, performs with his trio. And on 8/29, see an incredible young pianist, Gerald Clayton. And by the way, Jeff was the best man when Gerald's dad got married. I guess the jazz world is kind of close-knit.

Mavis Staples at the Santa Monica Pier, Thursday 7/20, 7:30 PM

Free, with typical beach parking. LINK

Click here for sample music clips (Amazon).

From their press release (because I'm busy working on the calendar):

Soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples possesses one of the most recognizable and treasured voices in contemporary music. From her early days sharing lead vocals with her groundbreaking family group, The Staple Singers, to her powerful solo recordings, Mavis is an inspirational force in modern popular culture and music.

A 40-year-plus veteran of the music scene - a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and one of VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll - Staples (both with The Staple Singers and on her own) is responsible for blazing a rhythm & blues trail while never relinquishing her gospel roots. Her voice has influenced artists from Bob Dylan to Prince (who dubbed her "the epitome of soul") and she has appeared with everyone from the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Bill Cosby, Presidents Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton, to Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, Santana, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and many others.

Listen for a segment from All Thing Considered.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Independent Shakespeare at Barnsdall Park

One of the things that's frustrating about being a dilettante is that when I attempt serious criticism, my observations usually have little depth. So I'll just have to resort to comparison instead.

I've seen a couple of lavish Shakespearian productions at the Ahmanson; the Independent Shakespeare productions on their rickety outdoor stage are an improvement. I enjoyed Sir Ian McKellen on stage in Acting Shakespeare; David Melville of Independent Shakespeare could hold his own on the same stage. Melissa Chalsma, who is a wonderful actress and director, is also on my short-list of most beautiful women. And it is a short list.

Their productions are not community theatre pick-up games. All of the actors are professional and excellent. An L.A. Times reviewer raved, and I mean raved, about their current production of As You Like It. Other reviews are posted here.

You can attend either Hamlet or As You Like It every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 through August 13. It's free of course, but bring money anyway. You'll most likely want to make a donation. And bring a coat or blanket; it can get cold up on the hill, even in July and August.

And if you think you don't like Shakespeare, you're wrong. Go.

The Event Calendar is working

Finally got the Event Calendar working. (I referred to it previously as a search by date.) It's only complete and accurate through July 31, 2006. Entries after that date may be squirrely, so don't rely on them - yet.

Now you will be able to go to a particular date, and see the events for yourself. And you don't have to wait for me to tell you about tomorrow's freebies at the last moment.

I'm using Google Calendar, which is still in beta, so this is a bit of an experiment. But there appear to be some great features built in. After I fool with them, I'll let you know what I think.

When you want to view the calendar, just click the Event Calendar link in the right hand column.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Tomorrow's freebies: Tuesday 7/18

Slow posting, because I'm working on the search by date feature.

Pancho Sanchez:

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Search by date coming soon

Good news; you'll no longer be hostage to my posts to learn about an event. In fact, you may be able to go straight to the calendar and avoid Free In L.A. completely. I'm using Google Calendar to enable search by date, and I'm loading it up with everything I know about, through September.

And many more exciting features. ETA: this week.

Tomorrow's freebies: Monday 7/17

  • For kids, Chris Ho plays pop and jazz in Canoga Park at 10 AM.
  • Mozart and Beethoven string quartets at UCLA at 1 PM.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Report: Summer Sessions at the Getty

I just got back from the Getty. They had the second of three sessions, Global Delights, which I previewed here. Although two of the performers were DJs, and another, Karsh Kale, is a percussionist, I was surprised that there was very little dancing. Maybe it's just me, but I don't get watching a DJ.

Although I came to see Kale play the tabla, I actually enjoyed it more when he played on a conventional drum kit. It must have a cultural thing for me. His trio, with bass and keyboards, played with great energy, and the audience seemed involved at every moment.

The crowd was a real mix; lots of families with young children, lots of couples, racially mixed, but fewer Indians that I expected. They had three stages, three or four bars serving beer, wine, and a few mixed drinks, and a snack bar and a hot dog cart.

The galleries were open until 9:00 PM, so we briefly toured the Rubens and Brueghel exhibit, which is on loan. I'm not capable of reviewing the art, architecture, or grounds. But to borrow a line from a priest friend of mine, the Getty is the way God would have done it if he only had the money.

The last session next Saturday starting at 5:45, is 21st-Century Roots, which includes polka, klezmer, folk, and folk-dancing lessons.

Tomorrow's freebies: Sunday, 7/16

and in Orange County...

Groovy video of Gary Puckett & the Union Gap (1968):

Friday, July 14, 2006

Beach Boys in Alhambra, Saturday 7/15, 6:00

Free, with free parking. LINK

Don't know how I missed this one until now. The Beach Boys will be appearing at Alhambra's Summer Jubilee in about 18 hours or so, their schedule isn't specific. I don't know how original these boys are; I know a few of them have died, and of course, Brian is on his own.

I went to the Brian Wilson concert at the Bowl last year, and it was one of the best ever. Those songs have amazing staying power.

Tomorrow's freebies: Saturday 7/15


  • Aloha-fest at Ho`olaule`a in Lawndale at 10:00.
  • E-zone at the Skirball at noon.
  • The Chris Greene Project at the Sherman Oaks Galleria at 4:00 and the Sam Graham Trio at 7:00.
  • Esther Segovia sings tango at the L.A. County Museum of Art at 4:30.
  • Country sounds from Ann Marie (pdf) at the Redondo Pier at 6:00.
  • Feel-good movie The Dish in Mission Viejo at 6:30.
  • Travelin Band deja vu's CCR in Saugus at 7:00.
  • The music of Vera Cruz from Son de Madera in Pasadena at 8:00.
  • Screwball film The Awful Truth projected outdoors in Pasadena at 8:30.

A Karsh Kale music video:

Global Delights at the Getty, Saturday 7/15, 5:45

Free, $7 parking. Link

I should have done a heads-up on this earlier. It looks good, almost four hours of hip hop and electronica from the Indian subcontinent. Here's the schedule on two stages:

  • 5:45 - 6:30 Dub Lab Soundsystem
  • 6:30 - 7:30 Dhamaal Soundsystem
  • 7:30 - 8:15 Paul Livingstone and Arohi Ensemble
  • 7:45 - 8:15 Dub Lab Soundsystem
  • 8:15 - 9:30 Karsh Kale
Don't miss Tabla Beat Science member Karsh Kale. He plays the tabla, sings, and mixes, creating...tablatronica. Listen here as Kale eloquently explains the tabla, North Indian hand drums. His new CD is Broken English, obviously an ironic title once you listen to him.

Here is what the San Francisco Bay Guardian had to say about Dhamaal Soundsystem:

We can't take credit for our readers' choosing Dhamaal Soundsystem as this year's best electronic music act. But since we gave the collective of DJs, visual artists, and musicians a Best of the Bay award last year, we must admit we're pleased. Dhamaal, who recently put out their debut album, Dhamaal Soundsystem, and perform regularly at Club Six, are known and loved for their mix of breakbeats and live traditional South Asian instrumentation, accompanied by video art. They're loved so well, in fact, that cofounder Janaka Selecta was chosen by our readers as best DJ as well.

You can buy food and wine there, or bring your own food - no wine - as long as your picnic basket isn't too big. The museum itself is open until 9:00.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bastille Day Los Angeles at the Page Museum, Sunday 7/16, noon

Free, parking at the Page Museum is $8. Link

Whether it's an Irishfest or a Cajun festival, the one constant with L.A. festivals seems to be funnel cake. The vendors at these types of events tend to be interchangeable, with little requirement for authentity.

That will not be the case at Bastille Day Los Angeles at the Page Museum. because the French tend to be fairly snooty about their culture. Also, it's being sponsored by the French Consul General for Los Angeles. So don't expect to find churros either.

What you will find is a petanque competition - sort of the French verision of bocce - a waiter's race, street performers, and French wine and food for sale. On stage they will have hip hop, jazz, percussion, jazz, stand-up comedy, Tahitian dancers, and a Piaf tribute.

It goes until 8:00, and we are permitted to speak English.

FYI, Bastille Day is the celebration of a key event in the French Revolution. The rebellion overthrew an absolutist king who helped foster a massive national debt, a grossly inequitable tax system, and an atmosphere of religious intolerance. Thank goodness we could never have someone like that here in America.

Blvd Music Summer Festival in Culver City, Sunday 7/16, 11:00

Free, with free parking. Link

Twenty acts over five hours, playing folk, jazz, blues, classical, and country. I'm not familiar with any of the acts, but maybe you are: Robby Longley, Dawn Hummer, Rick Shea, Bernie Pearl, Bob Jones & Mr. Pete, Matt Cartsonis, Ed Munter, Cerves McNeil, Chad Watson, Bruce White, Harris Levey.

Tomorrow's freebies: Friday, 7/14

Sorry for the late post, I was at the Independent Shakespeare reading of Dr. Faustus.


  • Fridays by the Fountain at Hollywood & Highland with Masanga Marimba Ensemble at noon.
  • The Ken Garcia Band in Laguna Niguel (pdf) at 6:30.
  • Classic rock from the Answer in Mission Viejo at 6:30.
  • "Jazz for Moderns" (as opposed to modern jazz) from the Sam Graham Trio at the Sherman Oaks Galleria at 7:00.
  • Film: Movies in the Park presents Toy Story in Placentia (pdf) at dusk.
  • Uni & her Ukelel at Amoeba Music in Hollywood at 7:00.
  • Chicano music from Quetzal at the Levitt in Pasadena at 8:00

Here is Josephine Baker, not from Siren of the Tropics, but from her stage show Revue Negre:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gary Puckett in Woodland Hills, Sunday 7/16, 6:00

Free, with free parking if you are willing to walk. Link

Click here for sample music clips (Amazon).

Bring a folding chair and sunscreen to Warner Center Park. There are plenty of food vendors, and they're not bad.

As I was trying to crib from wiki, I read a claim that Gary Puckett was very unusual for the sixties, because he sang a great deal about female empowerment. And that appears to be true, with Lady Willpower and Woman, Woman, and This Girl Is A Woman Now. But the line that always got me was, "Girl, I know it's hard to be a woman." I always wondered how he knew?

Mason Jennings at the Promenade in Santa Monica, Saturday 7/15, noon

Free, first two hours parking free on 2nd and on 4th. Link

Click here for sample music clips (Amazon).

Although the performance is outside on the Promenade, it's a Tower Records promo, so don't expect a long show. It will be an acoustic set, and he'll talk with fans and sign autographs after. The day before this appearance, he'll be at the Avalon on Vine with his full band, for $28.70 including the Ticketmaster fee.


Singer/songwriter Mason Jennings is a storyteller first and foremost, but he also combines folk, blues and rock with subtle, effortless grace. Alternately backed by a band and accompanied only by his own guitar, Jennings' acoustic pop songs are honest, intimate and inviting.
He was showcased on the World Cafe radio show. Listen here.

Tomorrow's freebies: Thursday 7/13


Here is Dick Dale with Misirlou:

Smoosh at Virgin Megastore in Hollywood, Thursday 7/13 7:00

Free, park at H&H center for $2 with Starbucks $0.75 scone validation. Link

Click here for sample music clips (Amazon).

Asya is 14, Chloe is 12, and they've opened for Pearl Jam and Death Cab for Cutie, among others. They write all their own songs. And two years ago when they were young, they got a solid review from Rolling Stone.

It's a record store, so it's probably going to be a short set. Besides, you don't want them to play past their bedtime.

All Things Considered did a show on them in 2004, here.

Bangkok 5 and Monsters are Waiting at the Hammer, Thursday 7/13, 8:00

Free, $3 parking. Link

The new Bangkok Five music video features five guys in leather, a couple with Big Hair, playing Sammy Hagar-ish music as semi-hot actresses in lingerie dance, lounge, and yes, crawl to the music. Is this 1983? I mean, what channel is Max Headroom on?

Obviously, I am out of touch and the wrong person to be running this blog.

Monsters are Waiting vocal lead Annalee Fery has an appealing, brittle voice, reminiscent of Lisa Loeb. I just wish I could make out the words she is singing more often.

(Come early to view some of Picasso's prints, drawings, and artist's books, because the museum is free on Thursdays.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

King of the Surf Guitar Dick Dale at the Santa Monica Pier, Thursday 7/13, 7:30 - updated

Free, typical beach parking. Link

Click here for sample music clips (Amazon).

I once heard that Ravel's Bolero was inspired by factory machinery, not by the Spanish dance, and the only reason people hear a Spanish influence is because of the title of the song. In the same way, if Dick Dale had positioned himself a little differently, and used his given name - Mansour - he probably could have become known as the King of Middle-Eastern Guitar. Because when he riffs those exotic scales in Misirlou, I don't see Corky Carrol shooting the curl, I see a belly dancer in harem pants. With lots and lots of reverb.

There's no doubt of Dale's influence. But when you listen to live recordings of Hendrix or Van Halen, or Clapton, or Stevie Ray, the audience cheers and whoops the most when they slow down and hold a single note for several beats. It's the slow stuff that sets off the fast stuff. Dale never seems to slow down, and we tend to applaud him more for the degree of difficulty than for the music that results.

Update: After writing the above, I checked NPR and they corrected my misimpression. It turns out Misirlou is derived mostly from klezmer. It's traced back to its Greek and Turkish roots here.

Concerts at the Galleria in Sherman Oaks

Free, $3 parking, free for 2 hours with validation. Link

Thanks to John Bwarie, LA Councilmember Greig Smith's Deputy District Director, for reminding me about the series of summer concerts at the Sherman Oaks Galleria.

It's kind of dumb that I needed reminding - I've was at one of the shows a few summers ago. I had just picked up out-of-towners at the airport, and stopping at moon unit's favorite shopping center seemed like a great way to introduce them to the LA experience. (We party like this every night.) The music was fun and competent, you can sit if you arrive early, and you can dance in the back anytime. And they gave multiple helium balloons to my 5 year-old niece.

There are a lot of concerts, every Friday and Saturday through September 4. No big names, unless you count last names only; Gina Eckstein is Billy's daughter. Many of the acts are booked through Rossi Music, meaning they are probably wedding bands for the well-heeled, but not so rich that they can book Tony Bennett for the gig.

Rocco DeLuca at Amoeba Music, Thursday 7/13, 7:00

Free. Typical Sunset Blvd. parking. Link

Click here for sample music clips (Amazon).

If he plays more than one or two tunes, the set at Amoeba will be a serious bargain. Killer songs, great voice, and great on guitar and especially dobro. For myself, I hope he leave the sitar at home. And maybe Keifer will show up.

Listen to an interview and a few songs from WXPN's World Cafe here.

Tomorrow's freebies: Wednesday, 7/12

Classic rock from the Answer in Fullerton at 6:30.
Country western from Sedona in Brea at 6:30.
Chamber music from Brass Pacifica in Pasadena at 7:00.
Bill Medley in Newport Beach at 7:00.
A capella from Perfect Gentlemen in Orange at 7:30.
The Fenians play Celtic Rock in Buena Park at 7:00.

The Fenians in Buena Park, Wednesday 7/12, 7:00

Free, free parking. Link

Click here for sample music clips (Amazon).

Don't even think about hoisting a pint, because alcohol is forbidden in the park. Which begs the question: Can Celtic rock be enjoyed while sober?

From reviewer Tom Nelligan:

...there's the California quintet called The Fenians, who at first glance might appear to be one more typical Irish pub band, but these guys move well beyond beer-chugging singalongs on their recording Every Day's a Hooley [Mizen Head Music(2003)]. This is a witty and somtimes thought-provoking group, clever enough to open the disc with a cheerful account of alcoholic axcess slyly called "Token Whiskey Song" and then follow it up with a great and very unexpected bluegrass banjo and saxophone arrangement of the Tom Campbell/Linda Albertano 1960s classic "2:10 Train." There's a biting cover of Ewan MacColl's politically charged "Go, Move, Shift," a driving arrangement of the traditional "Night Visiting Song" with a soaring melody, and in the title track an optimistic bit of philosophizing that mixes a reggae chorus with a nod to the old chestnut "Tom Dooley." And happily, there's not a single fake Irish accent to be heard anywhere.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Stay tuned: upcoming free concerts

Sugar Ray
Dave Alvin
Mavis Staples
Geno Delafose
Eric Burdon & the Animals
Jeff Hamilton Trio
Raul Malo
Cleo Laine & John Dankworth
Patti Page
Tom Scott
Bill Medley
The Los Angeles Opera
Nels Cline of Wilco
...and many others

Righteous Brother Bill Medley in Newport Beach, Wednesday 7/12, 7:00

Free, don't know about parking. Link

Click here for Righteous Brothers sample music clips (Amazon).

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and Orange County native Bill Medley returns to help Newport Beach celebrate their 100th anniversary. Although he's being billed as "Righteous Brother" (singular), he did have an okay career on his own, including "Time of My Life," featured in the film "Dirty Dancing."

The venue is the Bloomingdale's Courtyard of the Fashion Island shopping center. Free seating starts at 5:00, and will probably fill up fast.

Medley continued performing in the Righteous Brothers though until 2003, when Bobby Hatfield went to Rock & Roll Heaven. Their first single was "Little Latin Lupe Lu." I wonder if today that might offend the fine folks of Orange County.

Tomorrow's freebies: Tuesday 7/11

A preview of Cut Chemist:

Staying home Monday video blogging


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Alan Pasqua at Hollywood & Highland, Tuesday 7/11, 7:00

Free, $2 parking with validation. Link

Click here for sample music clips (Amazon).

The last time I went to an H&H Wine & Jazz Tuesday, it was a very complete show - two 45 minute sets with a brief intermission. The wine tasting part of the deal costs either $10 or $15 as I recall, and all of the proceeds goes to Project Angel Food. It continues every Tuesday until August 29.

Pasqua is obviously a very versatile guy, having backed Stanley Clarke, having played on Bob Dylan at Budokan, and having co-composed the theme to the CBS Evening News. He's also a professor of jazz studies at USC.

Pasqua will also be performing another free concert at the L.A. County Museum of Art on Friday, July 14.

Cut Chemist at Amoeba Music in Hollywood, Tuesday 7/11, 7:00

Free. Link

Click here for sample music clips. (Amazon)

I had no idea how entertwined bossa nova and hip hop had become until I went to the Sergio Mendes show at the Bowl in June. Fully two-thirds of the show was dedicated to hip hop, including performances by Q-Tip and Marcelo D2. Who knew?

Speaking of which, DJ Cut Chemist's pre-release song "The Garden" is based on Gilberto's "Berimbau." His new album comes out on Tuesday, so you'll sort of be attending the release party. But for me, I still can't get used to the idea of DJs putting out their own CDs.

Cut Chemist was previously with Ozomatli, and just left Jurassic 5.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Prince Diabate at Amoeba Music in Hollywood, Sunday 7/9, 2:00

Free, don't know about parking. Link

Click here for sample music clips. (Amazon)

Master kora musician Prince Diabate will probably be doing a short set at Amoeba. I had to look up kora on wikipedia:

The kora (French: cora) is a 21 string harp-lute used extensively by Mandingo peoples in West Africa.It uses a large calabash cut in half and covered with cow skin as a resonator, and has a notched bridge like a lute or guitar. The sound of a kora is like a harp, though when played in the traditional style, it bears a closer resemblance to flamenco guitar techniques.

Breaking: No lotus blossoms at festival

The Lotus Festival today and tomorrow in Echo Park will be sans lotus blossoms, according to this story in the L.A. Times. Dragon boats will be racing as scheduled.

Friday, July 07, 2006

This weekend's freebies: 7/8 & 7/9

And in Orange County:

  • Film: Nicholas Roeg's Walkabout in Mission Viego on Saturday at 6:30.
  • British Brass in Huntington Beach Sunday at 5:00.
  • Dean Colley (?) in a concert in the park in Yorba Linda on Sunday at 5:30.
  • Caravanserai (pdf) pays tribute to Santana in Dana Point on Sunday at 4:30.

What did I miss?

Click below to watch Ska Cubano:

Transcontinental Rhythms at the Getty, Saturday 7/8, 6:00

Free, $7 parking. Link

Click here for sample music clips from Daby Toure, and here for clips from Janite & Olokun Prophesy.

I'm definitely starting my Saturday off early with this show. The Getty says they are presenting four different "masters of African rhythm." I never heard of any of them, but after watching a Daby Toure video (below), I'm sold. The other performers are Chris Berry and Panjea, Dub Lab Soundsystem, and Najite & Olokun Prophesy.

You are welcome to bring your own picnic in small containers, no alcohol, but you will be able to purchase food, wine and beer on site.

Here's the video from Toure:

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Preservation Hall Jazz Band in Woodland Hills, Sunday 7/9, 6:00

Free, with free parking if you are willing to walk. Link

Click here for sample music clips.

If you can deal with the sun beating down on you for the first 30 minutes you're there, the concerts at Warner Center Park are usually very nice. The acoustics are surprisingly good, and the audience is more appreciative than a typical Hollywood Bowl jazz or pop crowd.

I don't think of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band as a "jazz" band, since I don't sense any improvisation going on. They play a very traditional New Orleans sound, and no doubt some in the audience will bring their parasols to pump up and down to the beat. I understand that they play the same way in funeral marches, which sounds very cool.

They will also be performing at Amoeba Music on Saturday at 3:00, but record store sets are usually pretty short. And they'll do a set for kids at the Madrid in Canoga Park on Monday, 7/10, at 10 AM.

Ska Cubano downtown, Saturday 7/8, 8:00

Free, but they are holding a fundraiser, $5 parking. Link

Click here for sample music clips.

The music is a meld of Jamaican and Cuban, but the stagecraft of Ska Cubano seems more like Desi Arnaz - or Ricky Ricardo even. I keep waiting for Lucy to come out from the wings. In trying to crib a little from online reviews, I had a hard time finding one that did not use the word "infectious." Dancing is optional, but smiling will be unavoidable.

It's at California Plaza as part of the Grand Performances series. Their new album comes out Tuesday.

Lotus Festival in Echo Park, Saturday & Sunday 7/8 & 7/9, noon

Free, with free parking. Link

Ever hear of dragon boats? Apparently, there is a serious subculture devoted to them; there are at least 50 local teams devoted to paddling in dragon-shaped boats, as drummers pound out the beats. And unlike, say NASCAR, these races have the added effect of driving away evil and disease.

In addition to the races, the Lotus Festival features food from Asia and the Pacific Islands, traditional performers, an art show, health fair, arts and crafts for the kiddies, and fireworks to the beat of taiko drums. Last year's attendance was over 100,000.

Tomorrow's freebies: Friday 7/7

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"Dance Downtown" at the Music Center Plaza, Friday 7/7, 6:30

Free, $8 parking. Link

Shake it like a Polaroid picture to live music from the Hollywood Combo. There's a free dance lesson for beginners at 6:30, and the dancing goes on until 10. Dance Downtown is a free series of dances that goes on at least until October. Swing dancing lessons will be offered this Friday, and other dances such as bhangra (?), salsa, and cha cha will be featured over the next few weeks.

And remember: Slow....Slow....Quick-Quick

Tomorrow's freebies: Thursday 7/6

Click below for a great Indigo Girls song:

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Indigo Girls at the Santa Monica Pier, Thursday 7/6, 7:30

Free. Link

Click here for sample music clips.

Amy and Emily have been together for over 20 years now. From an Amazon review:
Try to think of an enduring, widely respected, artistically progressive female songwriting duo. Now, try to think of one besides the Indigo Girls. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have been pounding the folk-rock pavement since the early 1980s, filling the ears of eager listeners with their ethereal harmonies, lush arrangements, and evocative lyrics.
It will be interesting to see how their act goes over with the casual beach crowd. It's not their usual audience.

Tomorrow's freebies: Wednesday 7/5

  • Classical music at the Santa Monica Pier at 7:00.
  • Children's entertainer Joanie Bartels appearing at the Levitt in Pasadena at 7:00.

Film: Shakespeare Behind Bars at Barnsdall Park, Thursday 7/6, 7:30

Free with free parking, reservations recommended, donations accepted. Link

I've never been disappointed with anything from Independent Shakespeare, so I am looking forward to this film. This is from an their email:

SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS is an unexpectedly delightful documentary that follows the casting, rehearsal, and presentation of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, by convicted felons inside Kentucky’s Luther Luckett Correctional Complex. Winner of ten film festival awards, SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS smashes many of our long-held notions about prisoners and criminals as we watch these remarkably unique actors prepare. First they cast themselves in roles reflecting their personal histories; then we see their individual stories interwoven with the plot of The Tempest as they delve deeply into the characters they portray and confront their personal demons.

A few years ago, an episode of the This American Life covered the same ground and it was fascinating. The filmmaker, Hank Rogerson, will be there at the Gallery Theatre to answer questions.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Fireworks on the 4th - updated

The L.A. Times has posted over sixty fireworks demonstrations, most of them free.

As I've said before, if you like loooong fireworks shows, go to Woodland Hills.

If you want to dance to the 60's music of Gary Puckett and the Association, Moreno Valley (pdf) is the place.

The jazz and blues festival at Leimert Park from 1:00 to 7:00, followed by fireworks from the Coliseum, sounds intriguing. But I haven't been able to find anything from the Dept. of Cultural Affairs about who is performing, and when. So who knows.

For myself, I helped enrich Ticketmaster by buying tickets for Kenny Loggins at the Bowl.

Update: The Times has a new and improved list.

Report: Arizona Charlie's guaranteed no-lose gambling

From L.A.'s largest suburb, Las Vegas.

Four of us went to Arizona Charlie's on Decatur to try our luck on the slot machines. Three of us won money, so the special promo had no effect on us, except that we were willing to bet larger stakes than usual - $3 a pull - because we had no way to lose.

But one member of our group dropped an even hundred, went to the cage with her Rewards Card, and received a $100 refund, just as advertised. Recommended - for as long as it lasts.

This weekend's freebies: 7/1 & 7/2

Click below for Sidestepper