Our pick for Black History month: Lena Horne tributes

Film · Music
Author James Gavin, who penned “Stormy Weather: The Life Of Lena Horne” will explore the life and career of a legendary superstar as part of Black History month February 13. The fun and informative event will take place at The Barn, with all the barn animals. And that proudly includes ME. Lena Horne was one ...

Standout artist round-robin

Film · Music

‘Sans toi,’ Michel Legrand

With choking sadness after a brutal week of perhaps too much Americana we learn of the death of singer/composer Michael Legrand (1932 – 2019) whose sweet-yet-dolorous songs we have found so enchanting. We floated on his ethereal music in the operatic movie-musicals Les parapluies de Cherbourg and Les demoiselles de Rochefort. And then his great, ...

Beautiful unburdening: Rosanne Cash at the Soraya

In promoting her new album, She Remembers Everything, country singer Rosanne Cash features photos of fellow female songbirds, among them Janis Joplin, accompanied by a plaintive lyric, “Who know who she used to be before it all went dark?” That’s a gripping start — as if she needed one, she doesn’t, following her triple Grammy-winning ...

To be young, gifted & Aretha Franklin: Queen of Soul in ‘Amazing Grace’

Film · Music
“Amazing Grace,” with two-million vinyl discs exiting record stores, was the top-selling gospel record of all time and Aretha Franklin‘s top-selling album. Released in June 1972, the album coincided with the very same month I graduated from an all-white high school in suburban Pittsburgh. Right around that time, on Sunday afternoons, I used my new ...

Channel your inner ‘Black Cat’ — at Long Beach Opera

Dance · Music
Alcoholism, horror and haunting — a day in the life under the Trump administration, right? No such thing! Now you can be traumatized by Trump by day and then, again, at the opera, in the evening. Seriously, Long Beach Opera‘s upcoming production based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat — in conjunction with Musica ...

‘Little Sparrow’ to Long Beach: ‘Piaf! The Show’

Featured · Music
Karen Carpenter would approve. She would be thrilled to learn that the noble performing arts center named in her honor will be presenting a concert by The Little Sparrow. Well, almost! The Sparrow once removed. “Piaf! The Show,” a delicious way to pass a Sunday afternoon, popped out at me when I studied the season ...

John Sebastian’s Greenwich Village memories to Malibu 4

John Sebastian’s songs for the Lovin’ Spoonful placed him firmly in the elite 1960s songwriting fraternity that helped turn rock from entertainment to an art form. Like Paul Simon, John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas and Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Sebastian was one of the prime architects of folk-rock. That crop of folk ...

‘Ballets With a Twist’ leads the way in reaching new audiences

Dance · Fashion · Music
It doesn’t feel like they do it to fulfill a foundation, or government, ‘outreach’ grant — although they certainly deserve one. They seem to do it by instinct, by coupling brains, creativity and talent with a genuine desire to connect and entertain. That’s why I applaud boutique ballet company ‘Ballets With a Twist‘ for its ...

A thoughtful, joyous Kurt Elling Christmas at Segerstrom

Two years ago, jazz singer Kurt Elling released The Beautiful Day: Kurt Elling Sings Christmas. As he’s a vocalist who likes to have his way with a song to the point of redesigning it, that CD was a bit of a surprise. But for anyone familiar with Elling’s background, it made perfect sense. The son ...