LA de noche: Damn the Torpedoes, Mix Me a Molotov…

Genocide in Gaza, civil war in Ukraine, hashishins in Syria, dodging bullets in St. Louis, refugee kids on the border, famine in Sudan, pestilence in Liberia… meh… no big deal… laissez les bon temps rouler…

Driscoll and Kouyate

Driscoll and Kouyate

I don’t know at what point they start calling them ‘dog days’, but if that term fits, then let the dogs run free… in the little time that’s left… of summer, that is. That means entertainment, and lots of it, the jugglers and the clowns that (literally, by definition) ‘hold’ you between the main acts, enough to forget the troubles of the world. That’s what America lives for, we with little history and only sporadic high culture, LA especially, the world’s entertainment capital, with a top-flight jazz musician in every shopping mall’s Friday farmer’s market and a starlet in every bedroom; on the TV screen, that is…

High points of the past week were Dwight Trible and his Ensemble last night at Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena, opening for Ghanaian SK Kakraba and band. Though something of a world music ‘nut’ myself, I’d have to say that Trible stole that show, as usual IMHO, taking the cake and eating it, too, with icing. That man does things with his mouth that no hooker or harlot in Amsterdam could touch with a six-inch pole…

Low point was ‘Mas Out There’, an Ozomatli spin-off best described as guys with big hats and weird costumes, everything but the wrestling and strip-tease (see lucha vavoom). There’s an hour of my life I won’t get back, proves Ozomatli is more than the sum of its parts, gracias a Dios, gotta’ go see Wil-Dog’s side-gig, too, to fully appreciate that…

This week’s best bet looks like Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate, one of world music’s latest odd couples, the former an Anglo-American rapper/dub artist/musician, the latter an African (from Guinea, no less) electric kora phenomenon. If that sounds like the best of both worlds, the ultimate cross-cultural mash-up, the resulting mix is something close… They’re at Grand Performances downtown tonight 8/15 at 8p.m.

Ricardo Lemvo

Ricardo Lemvo

Then there’s Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca tomorrow night Saturday at Levitt Pasadena and next week at LACMA, Lemvo something of a mash-up all by himself, Angolan turned Angeleno turned Cuban and back again, something of a star in Angola now, long after leaving. The music itself is something of a cross between Cuban and Angolan styles, much of the Cuban influence itself having derived from African influences from a much earlier pan-Atlantic miscegenation. I wonder if he learned it from the Cuban soldiers who flooded his country during the long civil war. Paths that cross…

Or there are the original Wailers at Pershing Square downtown same night (big-ass cameras not allowed), or classical Beatles arrangements with Omega String Quartet (yep) at Levitt LA’s McArthur Park and always good jazz and Latin stuff at LACMA… or there’s the weekend-long fest at Echo Park, or… or…

Or you can just stay home and watch TV. TV’s better than the movies, these days… unless you’re going for the off-beat off-Hollywood stuff, where the action is tamer, the dialogue is crisper, and the level of intellectual activity involved is generally a bit higher; if you can only find a venue that’s showing the good stuff. ‘Fifi Howls from Happiness’ sounds good. Or maybe you just fancy a good zombie movie, tired of all the vampire stuff. But ‘Life After Beth’? I can take a rain-check on that one, for reasons I won’t go into. You know who you are…

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