Summer in LA Ciudad, Another City of Angels…

 

 

Richard Thompson at McArthur Park

Richard Thompson at McArthur Park

I’m back; I’m rested. I’ve just submitted another book for publication. Hey, I’ve only been in eight countries in the last seven months and only five thousand miles on third-class trains, so that’s no big deal for a sixty-year old with prostate cancer—all in a day’s work. When do I get paid? Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: Welcome to the ‘Summer in LA’ version of my blog…

 

Seems like no matter what I do my life still revolves around these two monster cities of angels—Bangkok and LA. Could be worse. People ask which part of Bangkok is the city and which part is the angel, usually with a little grin. No, the real Thai name is Krung Thep, City of Angels; impress a bar-girl with that nugget of knowledge…

Loudon Wainwright

Loudon Wainwright

Say what you want about LA—I do: the sprawl, the crime, the traffic, el esmog, y los eslums. But the weather ain’t too bad, food either, and when summertime finally rolls in and it might just be a tad too warm inside, well you can bet there’ll be a party outside—mostly music, including world music, and mostly free.

Sure you can fly to Europe on those expensive summer schedule flights or sell a body part in order to go to Womadelaide in Australia. OR… you can just stay home in LA and let it all come to you. Or if you’re from somewhere else, you could summer over in LA in some student’s summer sub-let and do the same.

 

Ricardo Lemvo

Ricardo Lemvo

The sheer volume and variety are more than I can list here… so I’ll have to edit… I have to write it all down just to organize my own activities. The hot (mostly music) tickets for LA this summer look like Omar Suleyman at the Santa Monica Pier 7-31, Noura Mint Seymali at the Skirball 7-24, Rocky Dawuni at the Hammer 7-24, Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate at Grand Performances 8-15. Whew! That’s nothing.

The main venues, for world music at least, and much more, are the two Levitt Pavilions at Pasadena and McArthur Park in LA, with such listenable luminaries at Pete Escovedo, David Lindley, Buyepongo, Ricardo Lemvo, Quetzal and La Santa Cecilia But tonight Thursday 7-17, I’ll have to choose between Loudon Wainwright or experimental jazz with Kumasi Washington. That’s tough. Being both places simultaneously is difficult. I know; I’ve tried it. I’ve been to as many as four venues in a single evening, but it takes planning.

 

La Santa Cecilia

La Santa Cecilia

There are many many more, too. Did I mention that all these shows are free? Welcome to the New World Order. Everything’s free. ‘Likes’ are currency. When I get paid, they’ll get paid. There is lots of film stuff, too, including festivals, but that costs money. But this is old news, really. The season is already half over, and Ozomatli, Pistolera, Very Be Careful, and many others have already played. Did I mention that Richard Thompson rocked last Thursday at McArthur Park? The Latinos loved it.

But I have another ulterior motive for doing an LA gig this summer—my swan song to LA, another swan song in my life, a veritable bucket list of singing water fowl. Where’s that, you’re thinking? Hollywood, maybe, or Venice Beach, Sunset Strip, Topanga Canyon, Santa Monica or what? Naah, more like Thai Town, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, Japan Town, China Town, Little Iran, Little Russia, and more, mostly Latino. Do you have any idea how many nationalities claim Los Angeles as one of their ten largest cities? That’s my LA…

 

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