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Summer Splash | Music

Downtown Rocks!

Beausoleil, Ozomatli Culture Clash, among Watercourt attractions.

May 20, 1999|MICHELE BOTWIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Want to travel the world this summer but can't afford a ticket out of town? A few trips downtown might help.

Grand Performances has programmed two concert series for the summer, both full of world music--not to mention jazz, dance and comedy.

The Moonlight & Matinees series, which kicks off Friday, features top world music acts, including Grammy-winning Cajun act Beausoleil, Cubanismo!, the Pacific Zheng Ensemble and the African pop music event Africa Fete. Other highlights include Culture Clash, Loudon Wainwright III and Latin jazz band Tolu.

Celebrations!--a series of noontime concerts--begins June 23 and runs on selected Wednesdays and Fridays through Oct. 22. Highlights include performances by San Jose Taiko and local rock band Ozomatli.

Now in its 12th season, the Moonlight & Matinees series drew audiences of up to 6,500 for a single event last year, according to Grand Performances' artistic director Michael Alexander.

"We're interested in making sure that we reach into the many different parts of Los Angeles," Alexander said. "Part of the reason that some people come is because this is one place where they can really feel that they're rubbing shoulders with lots of other people that make up the mix that is Los Angeles."

Grand Performances, which operates with a budget of about $1.1 million, is largely supported by the One California Plaza and Two California Plaza (the office towers surrounding the Watercourt), the Hotel Inter-Continental and grant money. However, the series has a major fund-raising hurdle to overcome this year to keep up the level of programming, Alexander said.

"We see ourselves almost as a sampler facility for those coming who are coming to test the waters. And what that means is that we have to present a high enough quality level, because quality sells," Alexander explained. "When people see the best, they want to go back and see more of it."

All shows are at the Watercourt, 350 S. Grand Ave., in downtown Los Angeles, (213) 687-2159.

Friday: Very Special Arts: Art & Soul Opening Ceremony. 8 p.m.

June 3-6: "Radio Mambo: Culture Clash Invades Miami." 8:30 p.m.

June 23: El Vez and the Memphis Mariachis. Noon.

June 25: Cajun-Zydeco Beausoleil, led by Michael Doucet, and Hirio. 8 p.m. Hirio also at noon.

July 2: Floyd Dixon, a West Coast blues artist. Noon.

July 9: Tryptich--made up of local pop musicians--performs a blend of ballads and grooves. Noon.

July 13: Emil Zrihan, a Jewish Moroccan countertenor. 8 p.m.

July 16: Loudon Wainwright III, the modern-day troubadour. Noon and 8 p.m.

July 17: Perla Batalla, the Mexican American songstress. 8 p.m.

July 18: Guelaguetza, a Oaxacan festival. 2 p.m. performance, 1:30 p.m. parade.

July 22: Dance Kaleidoscope. 8 p.m.

July 23: Opera Fresca with three soloists and piano. Noon.

July 23: Cubanismo!, 8 p.m.

July 24: Asian Pacific Performance Exchange, with acts from Burma, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Korea. 8 p.m.

July 29-30: American Repertory Dance Company. 8 p.m.

July 30: San Jose Taiko drumming. Noon.

July 31: Opera Under the Stars, with winners of the city's Artists of the Future Competition. 8 p.m.

Aug. 5: Rosanna Gamson/World Wide: "Grand Hope Flower," a dance-theater epic about Los Angeles. 8 p.m.

Aug. 6: Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues, which blends blues with a string quartet. Noon and 8 p.m.

Aug. 7: Pacific Zheng Ensemble plays a mix of American jazz and traditional Chinese instruments. 8 p.m.

Aug. 13: Sam Mangwana and Habib Koite play Caribbean- and African-influenced music. 8 p.m. Mangwana also at noon.

Aug. 14: Tribute to Horace Tapscott with the Watts Prophets, poet Kamau Daaood and An Army of Healers. 8 p.m.

Aug. 15: Southeast Asian Music and Dance. 3 p.m.

Aug. 20: Huayucaltia and Friends, a fusion of South, Central and North American music. Noon and 8 p.m.

Aug. 21: Tolu, an ensemble of Latin Jazz all-stars. 8 p.m.

Aug. 27: David Zasloff & the Whole Band presents comedy and world music-infused jazz. Noon.

Aug. 27: The Louie Bellson Big Band, featuring Dee Dee Bellson, plays a tribute to Duke Ellington. 8 p.m.

Aug. 29: Africa Fe^te, featuring Baaba Maal, Kulanjan (featuring Taj Mahal with Toumani Diabate) and Oliver Mtukudzi. 7 p.m.

Sept. 3: Mariachi Las Adelitas, 10 female mariachi musicians. Noon.

Sept. 10: Ozomatli. The popular local ensemble plays its mix of rock en espanol, street music and hip-hop. Noon.

Sept. 17: Dennis James plays the glass armonica, invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. Noon.

Sept. 24: Kitka, a group blending Eastern European vocal techniques. Noon.

Sept. 26: Marcia Berman Family Sing-A-Long. 3 p.m.

Oct. 1: Adaawe. International female percussionists with poetic lyrics. Noon.

Oct. 8: Los Angeles Guitar Quartet plays popular, folk and jazz-inspired tunes. Noon.

Oct. 15: KHAC CHI Vietnamese Music Ensemble play traditional instruments with percussion and vocals. Noon.

Oct. 16: Pacific Islander Community Center Festival. 3 p.m.

Oct. 22: Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca blend music from both sides of the Atlantic. Noon.

Oct. 29-30: Day of the Dead. 8 p.m.

Botwin No. 1

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