A week of incredible art and music

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

MOZART’S “THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO,” LA OPERA – Don’t give me any excuses. You’ve always wanted to see if the LA Opera is as good as I have been preaching for years, so what better way to check it out than with a new production of the master Mozart’s reknowned “Figaro,” for crying out loud, and you have five more performances after this one. Which will probably sell out. Sat 7:30pm, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA, $49-399.

SOCAL MUSEUMS ANNUAL FREE-FOR-ALL More than 30 museums all over LA, presenting art, cultural heritage, film, natural history, and science, will be free of charge, every day. To remind us that they all have free days during the year, too. So you really have no excuse to be the uncultured lout you are, do you? I do believe I’ll culture myself starting early, and be the last loud out the door, somewhere, at night. What an opportunity to see and absorb a good deal of the avalanche of art this world city has to offer, in so many locations, in so many genres. From masters to middle brow to experimental. Sponsored by SoCal Sound 88.5 FM (rock and roll!) and SoCal Public Radio KPCC (news. blues and everything!). Sun, many locations, hours vary, check times and other details at each locationfree.

THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – It’s just outside Santa Monica, street parking is easy, it’s a friendly little neighborhood bar where you can see and hear everywhere in the tiny room, the sound is great, the stage is maybe a foot high and right next to the patrons, drinks are reasonable and there is no cover. (But there is no room for swing dancers unless you want to go out on the sidewalk.) 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 this good. It’s a show worth 50 bucks cover, and worth waiting a year for. These guys are masters, individually and collectively. You will find it hard to stop smiling all night. Mon 9 pm, Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.

EM – She’s back! One of the most gifted and dynamic entertainers you will ever see. Really! Go see her and then tell me I’m lyin’. After a little break she might even be over the top with energy and new creativity, so, now’s the time! Tues 9:30 pm, Harvelle’s, $12.

TONIGHT!:“RACHMANINOFF WAS HERE: The Beverly Hills Songbook” – Opening event of a three-Thursday festival of music and music history, under the auspices of the LA Philharmonic. From Virginia Robinson’s lavish parties featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra to George and Ira Gershwin’s weekly salons, Beverly Hills was the center of popular music in the early twentieth century. If you dig music, and might have any curiosity about where it came from – context always adds a lot to enjoyment of any art form – this three week series is right up your alley. Or anyone’s, in my opinion. On site lecture that will inform and delight. But – I hate to inform you once again – the whole series is sold out. But, you know, maybe someone with a ticket dies, or moves, or switches to hip hop, and you get lucky. A safer bet: grab tickets as soon as you see something you like. I mean… that’s a pretty good reason to read this column every Thursday. Thurs 7 pm, The Maybourne, Beverly Hills, sold out.

P-22: CELEBRATION OF LIFE – For probably the world’s most famous cougar/mountain lion, who, like all critters tagged and tracked by the wildlife rangers, was given a number rather than a name, to make it easier to study them as science, rather than get attached as a sort of distant pet. Oh well – LA got very attached to P-22 as he roamed our hills and became an unlikely but humble star. He connected us all, to our wild environment, and will be sorely missed. This celebration includes remembrances by those who encountered him, music and dancing, and is family friendly and free. Sun noon, Greek Theatre, LA free.

TOLEDO DIAMOND – Unique, riveting, first class act. Choreographer to the biggest stars, his stage show is funky but finely crafted. His persona is unique; octaves-low growl vocalizing that is ’50s hipster poet meshed with ghetto cool. His band just keeps getting better and are worth the show themselves. And the dames? – well I remember back when he was on Sunset Strip that we were still taken by surprise when a young woman seemed so moved by the moment that she slid to the dance floor to gyrate to the groove, progressing (by Diamond design of course) to a featured dance number, even incorporating chairs, table and bar tops, and unsuspecting patrons as props. With Toledo barely noticing and never skipping a beat. There’s nothing like it, it’s high performance art and great fun, and he’s been doing it at Harvelle’s every dang Sunday night for more than two decades, no misses, even when he had to fly back from making a film in France. Rarely is degeneracy so well disciplined. Sun 9:30pm, Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: RICK SHEA, Cinema Bar, 2/10; DAREK OLESZKIEWICZ BD CELEBRATION (with PETER ERSKINE 2/11), Sam First, 2/10, 11; MOZART’S “THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO,” LA OPERA, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 2/11, 16, 19, 23, 26; “RACHMANINOFF WAS HERE Festival:Avant-Garde: From Surrealism to the Sunset Strip,” Beverly Hills Women’s Club. 2/11;TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 2/12, 19, 26; JOHN LEGEND, Disney Hall, 2/13; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 2/13, 20, 27; EM, Harvelle’s, 2/14, 21, 28; “RACHMANINOFF WAS HERE”: at the Greystone Mansion & Gardens,” 2/18; DAMN WELL PLEASE ORGAN TRIO, Harvelle’s, 2/21; LANG LANG PLAYS GRIEG, BRAHMS, Disney Hall, 2/23; CHRIS PIERCE, Hotel Cafe, 2/25; WILLIE NELSON 90, Hollywood Bowl, 4/29.

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 [email protected]

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