AND SANTA MONICA HAS IT
EM DER MEISTER – Yes, it was officially upgraded from RECOMMENDED to the sublime podium of HÖCHSEM RECOMMENDED (make room, Dudamel). I thought that day was coming, but I got a little nervous. I had only seen her once.
Would my crush on this actor who performs every Tuesday night at Lil ol’Harvelle’s here in downtown Santa Monica and who I’ve included in previous NOTABLE columns of around five weeks or more haunt me? Digital is forever.
It is a danger to an art critic’s job. I burned myself badly in college when I finally fell off the fence – in the wrong direction – on REO Speedwagon’s multi-mega-hit album “Hi Infidelity”. It just hung around selling 10x platinum. One hit single after the other, six and two more that weren’t singles, but still hit the charts. I started to think maybe I had missed something. After much agony, I finally decided to give it a good review, didn’t sleep that night, and at dawn tried to figure out how to collect and burn each distributed copy.
It’s a tough tightrope act. You need to be honest and informed, call spades of spades, but recognize and praise the good things, and always remember that the only thing you have is your credibility. (Well, and that fancy yellow sports car I got from REO’s record label, but that was an afterthought and it just made me feel worse and … it’s irrelevant to this discussion, and I’ve already dealt with the prosecutor and the IRS resigned.)
So I stopped by Harvelles Tuesday and even though I only got four or five numbers, all doubts were gone. EM is the real deal. You hear this catchphrase often, but it really has “everything”. Probably not the best voice you’ve ever heard, but that’s not a distraction and it can sell a song. Do you want opera or a rock show? She is one of the best actresses you will ever see and that is worth gold. Mick Jagger is not the greatest singer in the world. Neither does Elton John, but a goddamn entertainer. Madonna did not become famous with her singing. Rhianna, Janet Jackson. EM might remind you of Lady Gaga, not a small compliment. I know she spent some time in New York and wrote a book with Gaga that made it onto the NY Times bestseller list – !!
EM not only rules the stage (and the floor she crawls across and the top of the bar stomps over her and pounds melodic rhythms with glow drumsticks on every surface, all with incredible and uninterrupted energy), she’s backed by a damn good band and, very, very important, has fantastic arrangements that I assume are yours too. And she writes her own songs, which are excellent both musically and lyrically and keep inventing new ones. I heard two on Tuesday and they were both winners.
Every Tuesday 9pm, Harvelles DTSM, $ 10.
THIS EVENING! HAMILTON – No, I didn’t see it damn it, but I think the only way I can go wrong is if I don’t recommend it, right? 6:30 pm, $ 55-200.
Friday – 8 p.m., $ 55-225
Saturday – 2:00 p.m., $ 75-449; 8 p.m., $ 55-449
Sunday – 2pm, $ 55-449
Tue, Wed, next Thu, 8 p.m., $ 55-369
All performances at the Pantages Theater, Hollywood
THEATRICUM BOTANICUM presents “THE LETZTE, BESTE KLEINE TADT” – this moving, contemporary original with the themes of racism, small town life, economic disparity, stereotypes, youthful rebellion, the value of education, family expectations and dynamism, tradition – in other words: the human State. Sa 7:30 p.m.
SHAKESPEARES “A SUMMER NIGHT DREAM” – one of the best “AMND” I can remember since my daughter played a fairy when she was little. Loved the inventive body comedy and these fairies were really good. Who could not be enchanted by their little chirping noises? Sun 4 p.m.
SHAKESPEARES “JULIUS CAESAR” – Wordful, Will, but historically informative and brings everything to life. In school, Shakespeare’s dialogue was often Greek to me, but now every word shimmers through the performance of the TB thesps. Christopher W. Jones stood out as the contradicting villain Brutus, as did Willow Geer as Portia, and special linguistic laurels go to Melora Marshall as Cassius, who was created for this role even though it is a male role. So much distinction in your performance, it pulls you right into the moment. Sun 7:30 p.m.
All services TB. Topanga Canyon, $ 10- $ 26 general admission.
LIBRARY GIRL (is back !!) presents “THE BOOK OF LIGHT – TRIBUTE TO LUCILLE CLIFTON” – actually they came back after a year and a half last month, but I missed it, boo hoo, won’t miss this one because I have in many years I haven’t seen a show that wasn’t thoughtful, memorable, or even inspiring.
Eight poets will read their own works related to Clifton. A format like this, like the old long line of improv comics, is always a good choice because unless you’re crazy about who’s on top, just wait for the next one. And as carefully, expertly curated as this series has been for 13 years (by founder Susan Hayden, now supported by husband Steve Hochman, a well-known music journalist) – you may like any reader.
Music performance by The Prickly Pair (Mason Summit and Irene Greene). Managing Director: Mike Myers. Production support: Nicole Millar and Paul Denk. All proceeds from each LG show will be donated to the Ruskin Group Theater.
Proof of vaccination is required and it is mandatory to wear a mask during the show. Sun 7pm, Ruskin Group Theater, SM Airport, $ 15, dessert included.
REST IN PEACE DON EVERLY (1937-2021) – The only surviving Everly Brother. The first song I ever learned to play the guitar was their number one hit “Bye Bye Love” from 1957. I was lucky enough to see them open to Simon & Garfunkel when I was ten. I didn’t really hear Simon & Garfunkel, but I was excited just to see the opening act! I’m always grateful for the music Don and his brother made together and shared with the world … some of the greatest harmonies ever recorded.
They had so many great songs, but I’ve been stuck on Don’t Forget to Cry for a few days now.
Charles Andrews has heard a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 34 years and would not live anywhere else in the world. For real. Send your love and / or criticism to [email protected]