Going to the Hollywood Bowl this summer

It’s that time of year again! The truly “Angeleno” summer experience that is going to a concert at The Hollywood Bowl is here.

Tickets go on sale to the general public this Saturday. If you’ve never been, and you plan on visiting LA during the summer, this should be included in your to-do list.  Click here for a handy guide in English and en Español.

This is the way we do it in LA:

  • Get a group of friends confirmed, and somebody volunteers to go buy your tickets in advance. I love the cheap seats, but if you score a 4 seat box at the Bowl, kudos amiguitos.
  • On the day of the event you carpool or take the Shuttle. Parking at the Bowl es un don de Dios. It can get a bit jammed, but with a little patience you can get in and out fairly smoothly.
  • Get there early in the afternoon and have a picnic at the benches or the communal area. Seating can also get crowded, but people are friendly and accommodating. Set up your table with manteles, cubiertos, cheese and wine, and bring your favorite picnic stuff. Enjoy a classic California bon vivant evening pre-concert time.

This year I am particularly excited about the “America and Americans” Festival, where “The Dude” himself, the amazing LA Phil Conductor Gustavo Dudamel will hold court over a week long series, including one night with Juan Luis Guerra and culminating with a not to be missed concert with Mr. Plácido Domingo.

También viene Juanes, with a very interesting collaboration with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, for two nights in a row. I may just have to camp out at the Bowl all throughout that week in August. Aren’t we just spoiled in Los Angeles?

Here’s a few noteworthy concerts:

Liza Minelli. Saturday August 11, 2012, 8 pm.

Gustavo Dudamel conducts Verdi’s Rigoletto. Sunday August 12, 7:30 pm.

Gustavo Dudamel and Juan Luis Guerra. Tuesday August 14, 8 pm.

Ruben Blades and Eddie Palmieri. Wednesday August 15, 8pm.

Dudamel conducts Copland. Thursday August 16, 8pm

Juanes with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Plus Fireworks! Friday August 17 and Saturday August 18, both nights at 8pm.

Dudamel and Domingo! Sunday August 19, 7:30 pm

Dudamel and Domingo. Detail from Hollywoodbowl.com

Francisca Valenzuela: I’m a new fan

“I’m half gringa and half chilena,” said Francisca Valenzuela a few nights ago as she started her performace at the R Bar in Korea Town. The good people of Sala de Espera Radio organized a pre SxSW (South by SouthWest) appearance in Los Angeles and it was a a great night for the singer, songwriter, producer and indie star. It was a double treat since the opening act was Fernanda Ulibarri, another chilena (en route to Mexico City) and she was also a great surprise. Arriba las mujeres del indie-rock!

I first heard Francisca a few months ago on KCRW and was intrigued by her music and lyrics, porque canta en español, and rarely do you hear any female Spanish indie rock being played on radio stations in Los Angeles. So when my friend Rocio Gutierrez of DigitalGirl invited me, I didn’t miss the chance. (Thank you Rocio!)

Francisca has a great voice and sings with intelligent lyrics, mostly about love, lust, life, disappointments, the what if’s… plus, she also plays her own keyboard. ¡Muy talentosa esta chava! I enjoyed the set very much. She also speaks perfect English, which is nice to hear, and that means of course that Spanglish was spoken here.

Her upcoming performance is at SxSW next week, and if you’re reading this in Austin, make sure to check her out. I have a feeling we’ll be listening more of her pretty soon.

Website for Francisca Valenzuela: www.franciscavalenzuela.com

MySpace for Fernanda Ulibarri: http://www.myspace.com/fernandaulibarri

Francisca Valenzuela during her L.A. perfomance for Sala de Espera Radio at the R Bar. March 7, 2012.

Nice show, intimate setting with Francisca.

Catch her in Austin at SxSw. Click on the image to go to the link.

Fernanda Ulibarri was the opening set for the evening. A great night for indie rock.

L.U.V. = MDNA!

It was a very good week for Madonna, in all her amazing glory.  Her Super Bowl performance last Sunday was one of the best ever. On Tuesday she announced her World Tour for 2012 (she’ll be in LA on October 10th); and according to iTunes, preorders for her new album MDNA hit the top spot in 50 countries.

Amen Madonna!

We’ll have to wait a bit for her new album, which drops on March 26th. In the meantime, here’s her latest video to get the weekend going. It’s from her new single “Give Me All You Luvin'” and it features Niki Minaj and M.I.A., because that’s how you do it in this day and age to stay fresh.


Even NPR practically raves on her existence: Madonna at Halftime: What it Takes to Last.

Don’t you just admire the fact that she’s been on top of her game ever since we met her back in the 80’s?  We all remember when she was still “Like A Virgin” and declaring to Dick Clark on American Bandstand that she was going to rule the world.

She was right, you know.

Madonna at Danceteria. Courtesy Affordable Art Fair. (Love this image from Fabrik Magazine, Issue 015)

So camp! Loving the new Ximena Sariñana video& música

Here’s a new song and video that I recently heard and just fell in love with. Ximena Sariñana is putting it all out there with her new self-titled album completely EN INGLES and I think she’s found herself some new fans.

Even the New York Times is taking notice! Click here to read the article.

Ximena rocks the house at Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena. Fab concert.

We had a chance to see her live in a fabulous free concert in Pasadena’s Levitt Pavillion last week. She rocked the venue with her cool, eclectic, and kind of nerdy music. I think it’s really refreshing to see a smart girl playing her music exactly like she wants to, without having to sell out to the conventional commercial expectations. Even her image is nice to see, without having to expose herself as all sexy and voluptuous, like all the lady singers out there…ya saben cuales.

Ximena fans, the gang at the concert.

Enjoy the video and, if you can, catch her in concert. I hear she’s traveling to a city near you.

Love this video….just released this week.

It’s “Different”

¡Coldplay está copiando a Los Sacados!! No lo puedo creer.

Hoy salió el nuevo single de Coldplay y casi me desmayo del “coincidence” y las similitudes con otra canción (hey, there are NO coincidences!). The new song is “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” and it sounds EXACTLY like “Ritmo de la Noche” from back int he early 90’s. Nooo puede ser.

Either this is a blatant copy or a very respectful “homage” from Coldplay to los argentinos.

Of course it wouldn’t be the first time Coldplay sounds similar to someone else, remember the controversy over Viva la Vida back when it came out? There was a copyright issue, which was settled, but still.

Anyway, you be the judge:

Coldplay’s song: “Every Tear is a Waterfall”:

And now: The Sacados “Ritmo de la Noche”:

Spanglish from La Madre Patria: Introducing Facto y los Amigos del Norte.

It’s new music Thursday and I’ve just been introduced to my newest pop music indulgence.

My friend April told me about to Facto y los Amigos del Norte, a new band from Spain who is making ears turn for their interesting pop meets kitschy rock meets electrónica meets hip hop culture, mixing up “el castellano” con frases en inglés. I’m assuming our Spanglish tendencies have reached the Mother Land and some purists will be non too pleased. (Oh the horror!)

The first song is “El Burrito Catalán” and I liked it. I also liked the video with it’s 80’s flashback feel and video game graphics. Very cool! The new album debuts June 14 in Spain and hopefully we’ll see them soon stateside. Check out the video for ‘El Burrito Catalán” here:

Roxy Nite with La Santa Cecilia and Bomba Estéreo

Se acuerdan del the Roxy? That vintage old staple on Sunset Blvd. is EXACTLY as you remember it from your punk rock-grungy days. I just went and I can tell you.

My good friend Xesus Naranjo invited me to check out a great show last Tuesday with La Santa Cecilia and Bomba Estereo and it was awesome. Hace mucho que no bailaba tanto. (Gracias Mr. X!)

La Santa Cecilia rocks the house at the Roxy.

Super cool music. Bomba Estereo, from Colombia, blew us away.

Both bands are great, alternative, and unique. La Santa Cecilia me encantó con su rollo de latino fusion, cumbia meets rockabilly. Bomba Estereo blew me away with its electronica meets hiphop meets you name it! Very original.  Each band came with its own following, with La Santa Cecilia opening the night and even rendering their own take of “Groove is in the Heart.” Very cool.

The Roxy on Sunset. Still crazy after all these years.

Here’s a video from La Santa Cecilia, “La Negra.” Check it out, it’s good stuff!