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.


John Clayton’s jazz continuum prospers 1

Music
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 ...

A mid-century moment for LACMA

Reviews · Visual arts
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Most everyone who has lived in Los Angeles any length of time has intersected with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Since its 1965 inception, LACMA has been inextricably woven into the city’s cultural history. Maybe you remember the imbroglio over Ed Kienholz’s 1966 “Backseat Dodge” tableau that had the city council up on ...

Billie Holiday in Los Angeles: the blues were brewing

Music
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Billie Holiday and her dog Mister, New York, c. June 1946, William P. Gottleib One of the greatest jazz singers who ever lived had a small voice, never more than 15 notes at her disposal, and recorded many throwaway tunes. But Billie Holiday (1915-1959) was great by virtue of her sure-footed musical gifts: behind-the-beat phrasing, ...

Let ’em dance: Bobby Fuller Four recalled

Music · Reviews
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The Hollywood Renaissance of the 1960s didn’t need the Bobby Fuller Four. That unique conflagration of bands, managers, impresarios, producers, studios, engineers, session players, record labels and executives, radio stations, deejays, and TV shows incubated the Byrds, Sonny & Cher, the Mamas and Papas, Love, the Mothers of Invention, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the ...

Thelonious Monk, dancer

Dance · Music
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Just as James P. Johnson, George Gershwin, Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington took musical inspiration from New York City, it’s impossible to divorce pianist/composer Thelonious Monk’s music from Gotham. In Monk, the erotic and the athletic intertwine at the Savoy Ballroom, subways vibrate with propulsive rhythms, congregational choirs shake church foundations, young girls skip rope ...