By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
FRIDAY, MAY 15
THIS NEW TOM WAITS BIO IS SO AUTHENTIC THE PAGES SMELL LIKE CHEAP GIN
Barney Hoskyns may be a music journalist (or “rock critic,” to use the vulgate), but like any good writer, he’s a poet first. In his classic 1996 study Waiting for the Sun: A Rock ’n’ Roll History of Los Angeles (just reprinted with new material by Backbeat Books), he wrote of Frank Zappa that prior to the latter’s death he “was still hard at work in his basement composing nonglandular music for nonidiots,” a line I’ve remembered for 13 years. His new book is a thoroughly researched, finely writ biography of Tom Waits called Lowside of the Road (Broadway Books). Personally, I don’t like Tom Waits very much, even though he wrote a handful of killer songs (“The Heart of Saturday Night” and “Ol’ ’55,” for example) about a hundred years ago. That studied lounge lizard cum Bowery Bum routine was — and is — pretentious. Plus once at a friend’s party, I interrupted Waits’ poseuring when someone playfully knocked a drink out of my hand and a drop came within 12 feet of King Tom. He gave me his best, studied Clint Eastwood squint and I just thought, “Suck my Bukowski, barfly,” while smiling my way out of a scene. In all fairness, Waits has led an interesting life and Hoskyns captures all of it. The best part is how he got the story without any cooperation from Waits and his Queen, but plenty from those who’ve been excommunicated from the Royal Couple’s “circle of trust.” Come hear Hoskyns talk about his adventures and read from his books. Mr. Musichead Gallery, 7511 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri., May 15, 7 p.m. (323) 876-0042. Also at Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Sat., May 16, 5 p.m. (310) 659-3110.
Call it a metaphor for composer John Adams and his old buddy/collaborator Peter Sellars’ relationship, which seems to be a tree that never stops flowering. So, A Flowering Tree is a fitting title for the dazzling duo’s fourth co-opera, which, in typical Adams/Sellars style, draws from a number of intriguing creative sources. Inspired by Mozart’s The Magic Flute and based on a 2,000-year-old South Indian folk tale about a young girl who tries to help her destitute family by turning herself into a tree that bears enchanted flowers, A Flowering Tree makes for irresistible theater. It’s a story of passionate love, transformation, suffering and redemption, with a little magic thrown in. The music is pure Adams — delicate, ethereal, pulsing, jarring — with some obvious nods to Carl Orff and Richard Strauss, and three spellbinding stars, soprano Jessica Rivera, tenor Russell Thomas and bass-baritone Eric Owens, belt it out. Adams, recently announced the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Creative Chair, conducts the orchestra, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Indonesian dance virtuosi Rusini Sidi, Eko Supriyanto and Astri Kusama Wardani, who double the characters. Walt Disney Concert Hall; Fri., May 15, 8 p.m., & Sun., May 17, 2 p.m.; $17-$125, $10 student/senior rush. (323) 850-2000 or www.laphil.com.
MR. WILSON AND HIS PROFANE COPS
Remember that guy who put a jar of “celebrity air” up for sale on eBay that contained actual air trapped near the breathing orifices of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt? That guy is comic Joe Wilson. He’s since gone on to make Swear Police, which won best comedy shortie-short at the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival. Now he wants us to help him make Swear Police 2: The Interrogation, and has put together this production benefit with comics Jackie Kashian, Robert Yasumura, Elizabeth Beckwith, Steve Benaquist, John Colella, Kyle Kinane and others.
You remind me of someone, but I can’t figure it out. Any ideas?
When my grandmother died, we had a funeral, with deli platters, the whole thing. It was in Peekskill, New York, where I was born. This woman I’ve never met walks up to me and says I remind her of Stanley Tucci, who was also born in Peekskill. She’s friends with the Tuccis and told me how they were all invited to the “Big Night” premiere, which was held in Peekskill. I wonder if there was a mailman there who knew our moms.
Where is the jar of celebrity air right now?
The online casino that bought it, which I’m not naming (take that, casino marketing plan!) was supposed to build some kind of museum of crap they nabbed off eBay, located in Washington, D.C., which seems like the perfect setting.
Where did you get the idea for Swear Police?
Bernard, my former mailman. (Hi, Bernard!)
I lived in the same neighborhood in Hollywood for 10 years and worked at home the entire time. When I’d get tired of talking to my cat, Dave, I’d chat with Bernard. Usually about the mail. The United States Postal Service has people follow mail carriers on their route once in a while, I’m guessing to audit their performance. Bernard and I never discussed it. When I saw someone following Bernard, taking notes, as he delivered mail, that was the start of it.
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