Music, especially discovering new music, is one of my greatest passions. My husband and I are music fiends. We have extremely eclectic tastes and appreciate all kinds of musical genres and styles from all over the world. His 160 gigabyte iPod Classic is full. Our iTunes library contains 72 days, 10 hours, and 32 minutes’ worth of music. That’s 25,108 songs.
As much as we enjoy collecting music and listening to recordings, there’s nothing like being at a live show, whether it’s an intimate club gathering, a stadium show, or one of the myriad venue options in between. Aside from the Skirball, some of my favorite small venues are the Bootleg Bar/Theater and the Troubadour. For medium-sized to larger venues, I like the Wiltern, Gibson Amphitheatre, and Greek Theatre.
When I’m at a concert, I get swept up, allowing the emotion and power of the music and lyrics to envelop me. I love feeling the energy between the performers and the audience. My May 22 Facebook status update—which I posted during the Lianne LaHavas show at the Bootleg—said it all: “If there’s something better than music please enlighten me!”
I haven’t tallied up the live shows we’ve attended in the first half of 2012 yet, but we’re off to a pretty good start with acts like Lianne LaHavas, Bahamas, Quantic + Alice Russell, and Robert Glasper Experiment. My better half is especially adept at scouting new sounds for us to check out and will frequently insist that we go out to see a show even after a long workday. He’s got a great track record, and has led me to discover some of my favorite bands. In 2011, we attended more than 100 performances, ranging from solo singer/songwriters in bars and clubs to major productions like the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. (The 2012 PBJF took place just a few weeks ago and Sheila E. totally stole the show with her electrifying performance and beautiful samba dancers!) One weekend last November, we saw Noel Gallagher of Oasis fame at Royce Hall and powerful Pakistani singer Riffat Sultana at the Skirball. We loved both experiences, delighting in the contrast.
With all of the amazing live shows we enjoyed last year, one of the best nights of 2011 was the Skirball’s Into the Night: Music and Magic late-night party. (It was also the night that got me back on coffee!)
KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez took control of the turntables and mic while LA faves Autolux and Superhumanoids performed live sets under a gorgeous canopy of jacaranda trees. It was a magical evening! As I stood in the packed courtyard, swaying to the music and looking up at the stars, I was overwhelmed by the pure beauty of the moment.
I couldn’t be happier that we’re bringing Into the Night back this summer for “Playtime,” which takes inspiration from Noah’s Ark at the Skirball and the exhibition Project Mah Jongg and welcomes everyone (21 and up, that is!) to have some after-dark summer fun and great times with friends. We’re presenting two amazing bands that I’m really excited to see perform in our courtyard. There’s Sea Wolf, an indie folk ensemble headed by Alex Brown Church, who are putting the finishing touches on their next album, Old World Romance, just in time for them to give our Into the Night audience an advance listen. I already love the first single, “Old Friend,” which is previewed in this LA Times Pop & Hiss blog post. I can’t wait to hear more new tracks, as well as past hits.
Opening for Sea Wolf are Geographer, a trio from San Francisco, making their mark with their synth grooves. Modern, with a touch of retro. Good stuff! I wonder if they’ll unplug for a song or two like they did at a recent live session.
One of my favorite DJs (and favorite people in LA, period), DJ Anthony Valadez of KCRW, will be spinning throughout the evening, getting the party started and then closing out the night, so bring your dancing shoes! Check out the EPK for Anthony’s latest album, Just Visiting, available at iTunes purchase it at iTunes.
As awesome as the music is going to be, we have even more to offer that night. For the first time, Noah’s Ark is going to be open past midnight, with roaming one-of-a-kind animal puppets coming out to play, plus challenge games and activities to spark your curiosity and get your creativity flowing. Next, channel that energy into taking silly photos with your friends and making a unique craft project keepsake with the good people from CraftNight while sipping a “mahj-tini” or another one of our creative cocktails. There’ll also be high-tech fun (that is, newly developed video games from UCLA Game Lab), low-tech classics (think Twister, hula hooping, oversized Jenga, checkers, and Connect Four), balloon hats and accessories, screenings of Jacques Tati’s classic film Play Time and Charlie Chaplin shorts, and much more. Or, better yet, start the evening with a scavenger hunt that will take you all over the campus to partake of everything Into the Night: Playtime offers.
I invite you to come out and play, roam the campus, and dance into the wee hours. It only happens once a year—for now! Buy your $15 advance tickets today through Thursday (at the door, the price goes up to $20).
Check out more pix from last year’s Into the Night: Music and Magic: