October 9, 2009
One of the great little music scenes in the U.S. is at a small club called Largo in Los Angeles. The spot keeps the focus on music – there is a strict policy banning not only cell phones, but talking – which has made regulars of Aimee Mann, Grant-Lee Phillips and producer extraordinaire Jon Brion, who has a long-standing Friday night gig. The scene has been a crucible for musical relationships, and one of the more ambitious is WPA, also known as Works Progress Administration. The full group, which appears on a new, eponymous CD, features a member of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, former Nickel Creek fiddler Sara Watkins, and the rhythm section from Elvis Costello & the Imposters. The core of the group – Glen Phillips from Toad the Wet Sprocket, Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek and fiddler Luke Bulla, from the Jerry Douglas Band – is bringing the music out of L.A. on its current tour; their folk-pop comes to the Wheeler Opera House on Friday, Oct. 16.
OK folks, listen up, pay attention, get your butts in gear. Sunday, Oct. 11 is the last chance to check out one of the great art exhibitions this town has seen: Fred Tomaselli, an ambitious mid-career survey that occupies both galleries at the Aspen Art Museum. You might have heard that Tomaselli’s work dabbles in psychedelia, and that it is not only influenced by drugs but actually features drugs (pills and pot) as materials. But the Brooklyn-based collage painter can’t be relegated to the pile of artists influenced by the standard colors and forms of the ’60s. His ideas are smart, original and intended to wake up the eyes. The exhibition, co-organized by the Aspen Art Museum, travels on to upstate New York and Brooklyn next year.
Make no mistake: “The Cove,” a documentary by Coloradan Louie Psihoyos, will enrage, depress and sicken you. The film is about a group of men in the coastal Japanese village of Taiji who kill dolphins. The group comes off as secretive, menacing and cold-hearted; they seem to take pleasure in the killing itself. But “The Cove” is also a testament to the power of film; already, countries are cutting ties with Taiji to protest the slaughter. While delivering its message, “The Cove” is also vastly entertaining – part spy thriller, part eco-adventure film with gorgeous, touching imagery of dolphins at play. The copy of the film shown in August at the Mountain Summit festival was inadvertently missing subtitles; it gets an encore screening Saturday, Oct. 17 at the Wheeler Opera House. Gina Papabeis, from the Oceanic Preservation Society, the film’s producer, will participate in a Q&A session.