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Free Shows Mark the Summer of 2008

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Tuesday, July 08, 2008, at 08:28AM
Concert Goers Ed Fuentes

Chuck Grub and Trinidad Ventura at a recent lunchtime Pershing Square concert.

Chuck Grub, 80, and his girlfriend of fifteen years, Trinidad Ventura (who proudly states she is 100) are regulars at Pershing Square's Summer Lunchtime series. "It's every Tuesday and Thursday, ya know," said Grub, a retired Technicolor cameraman.

Last Thursday, he caught my eye with the way his hand bounced to the beat coming from the Undercover Girls, an all-female band who play rock and roll covers. And the song Grub was practicing his moves to? Why, "Born to be Wild" of course.

Like Chuck, Downtown's free summer programs are hitting a full stride.

Pershing Square: In the Downtown park you love to comment on, the Summer Lunchtime Series has found a comfortable niche; bands that remind you of other bands. Southbound, an Allman Brothers Tribute Band, opened the series June 3rd. Last Tuesday, Joel Gilbert had appreciative Bob Dylan fans blowing in the wind and baking in the sun. It's a good idea. Lunchtime work crowds seeking escape can get lost in time with tribute bands, complimenting the series that features folk solo singers, jazz trios, and the acoustic groups.

Also free is the Wednesday night series that kicks off July 30th with Jim Bianco and Ambrosia (8pm to 10pm). Sunday, July 13th, is the start of the Salsa Series with Charengoa.

Grand Performances: After a brief 4th of July weekend break, Grand Performances starts back up on July 10th with Musicolgy 202: Alan Chapman–Brass Action, Music Theory with a Metallic Twist. On July 11 (12pm), Beastie Boys' Money Mark takes his keyboard and mixes 70s and Hip-Hop sounds to make a Mystery Mix Tape. July 12 (8pm) will see Rachid Taha's Paris-based Algerian rock-fusion, with a touch of funk via traditional Arabic instruments.

Shakespeare Festival/LA: On July 9th through 13th, and then July 16th through the 20th, Shakespeare Festival/LA will stage “Taming of the Shrew” at the Catheral of Our Lady of the Angels' plaza. The company’s tradition of using Los Angeles as a backdrop for the Bard continues as the players ride on alternative wheels, such as bikes and rollerblades. Commuting in Los Angeles is, after all, a shrew that can’t be tamed. General tickets are free and go fast. VIP and member seating is also available.

MacArthur Park: Outside of Downtown is the Levitt Pavilion at West 6th St and S. Park View in MacArthur Park. With 50 shows slated, it’s worth a Metro ride in. They run the days as themes; Wednesday is Musica Latina night, Thursday features World Music, Friday is the eclectic Night Rhythms, Saturday is American Roots, and Sunday is Children’s Night.

Between all those venues, there is something for everyone.


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