Posts by Kirk Silsbee

arts•meme contributor Kirk Silsbee writes about jazz and culture, as he has for nearly 40 years. He can be read in many publications including Downbeat, the Burbank Leader, the Glendale News-Press, Downtown News, and Jewish Journal. He makes a mean plate of pancakes and is known to be a terrific kisser.


Michael Vlatkovich’s unpredictable musical universe @ the Hammer

Music
by 
Michael Vlatkovich’s idiosyncratic music balances the meticulous writer with the laissez faire bandleader. The trombonist/composer has the uncommon luxury of convening seven pieces at the Hammer Museum’s free JazzPOP series this coming Thursday night. Drummer Chris Garcia, who has played with Vlatkovich since 1991, recalls a tour. “We had a new bass player,” Garcia says. ...

Jeff Parker’s guitar twists & turns @ The Blue Whale

Music
by 
Jeff Parker knows about harmonic color. His current CD, The New Breed (International Anthem Recording Company) is lush with it. It hangs like audible clouds, created by slow-moving electronic keyboard backgrounds, nudged along by discreet electric bass currents, and seeded by Parker’s pungent single-note improvisations. The KORG MS20 adds grainy keyboard impasto to those scrims ...

Jazz singer Jeri Southern, appreciated

Music
by 
There were other female jazz pianists who also sang in the 1950s, but none shared Jeri Southern’s formidable pianistic technique, vocal individuality, and unerring choice of good material. She sang the most bittersweet love songs in the most intimate manner. And few could inspire the nightclub reveries Southern conjured—of melancholy, infatuation, optimism, idolatry, disconsolation, and ...

It’s in the details: California photographer Brett Weston @ PMCA 1

Visual arts
by 
You’re forgiven if the mention of an exhibition of historic photographs by an artist named Weston suggests Edward Weston (1886-1958). The pioneering photographer gave a modernist profile to Southern California with his soft-focus studies of light and texture and their attendant implied narratives. The Pasadena Museum of California Art currently hosts a potent show of ...

John Clayton’s jazz continuum prospers 1

Music
by 
Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
above: jazz musicians John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Jeff Clayton The California Jazz Foundation has been investing in the jazz community for a decade, with a generous track record of financial, counseling and material aid to 200 musicians in need. The Foundation doesn’t take its role, especially as an aid organization, lightly. “Give the Band a ...

Infectious holiday fun: “Salsa Navidad” at VPAC

Dance · Music
by 
Oscar Hernandez came of age in the burgeoning New York Latin music scene of the 1970s and ‘80s, when the Fania label recorded many of the greats canonized today: Willie Colón, Bobby Valentín, Pete Rodriquez, Johnny Pacheco, Cheo Feliciano, Larry Harlow, Hector Lavóe, Ray Barretto, Luis ‘Perico’ Ortíz, and Papo Lucca among others. It was ...

Burlesque dancer Rosie Mitchell remembered

Dance
by 
arts•meme‘s Kirk Silsbee published this obit/honoring of stripper Rosie Mitchell this week in the L.A. Weekly. In an excerpt of Silsbee’s story, Mitchell, also known as Novita, shared Los Angeles memories: Mitchell met Lenny Bruce and his stripper wife, Honey, on the burly circuit. With her first husband, drummer Buddy Greve, Mitchell doubled dated with ...

Where they live: SoCal artists draw at Liz’s 2

Visual arts
by 
Sixth and La Brea is populated with vintage clothing stores, trendy furniture outlets and hip boutique concerns. Liz’s Antique Hardware, at 453 South, isn’t much to look at from the outside. Inside it’s not much better. The store is filled with ancient doors, old light fixtures, bins of tarnished doorknobs, decorative heating grates. Liz Gordon ...

Bill Graham, Ziegfeld of Aquarius 1

Music
by 
We pay over a hundred dollars for a decent seat at a Staples Center rock show without thinking twice, but it wasn’t always so. There had been rock events here and there as early as the late 1950s—Elvis at the Pan-Pacific Auditorium and the Beatles at Dodger Stadium—but they were occasional. Bill Graham (1931-1991) made ...

Jazz cooking at the Bakery, all ’round town

Music
by 
While the Jazz Bakery’s next, new home is being prepared in Culver City, Ruth Price books her floating concert series in some of the best listening venues around town. One of them is the Moss Theatre on the campus of the Herb Alpert Educational Village in Santa Monica. A horseshoe-shaped stage with wrap-around seating, fine ...