Onward and upward! Into 2020 we bravely venture. Another year of art and entertainment to experience and share with like-minded souls. We have a rich legacy of art on the Monterey Peninsula, none more historically relevant than the Carmel Art Association. Its story begins in 1927, filled with the names of artists who have worked to create it and those who are currently showing on its hallowed walls.
Carmel’s oldest gallery, and one of the oldest operating non-profit artist cooperatives in the United States, features the works of more than 100 professional local artists, all residents of the Monterey Peninsula who are brought into the fold through a rigorous peer-based juried application process. In February, the annual new member application process begins anew for 2020. Visit www.carmelart.org for details and to find the fascinating history of this local institution.
On the occasion of a new exhibit running Friday through Feb. 4, “Ron Grauer, Renaissance Man: A Memorial Exhibition,” I thought to begin the year with the announcement of the show’s opening reception Saturday, 5-7 p.m. at CAA, Dolores St. between 5th and 6th. Grauer was born the same year as CAA, and only recently passed away in 2018. Described as a gifted graphic designer, musician, linguist, writer, and teacher, he is being honored with this solo show for his brilliance as a visual fine artist. He’s been called a “painter’s painter” for his rigorous standards set for himself as he created impassioned landscapes, elegant still lifes, and sensitive portraits for more than five decades.
“My every waking moment is spent studying the beauty we all share but few notice … the subtle, mysterious quality of light and color that come and go fleetingly yet leave substance enough to offer us a glimpse of an emotion, almost spiritual, when we recall it in a painting. This is what it’s all about,” said Grauer about his work.
Running concurrently with the Grauer retrospective is an exhibit with current association member Dick Crispo. “Colors of Darkness in a New Light” has its opening reception Saturday, 5-7 p.m., followed the next Saturday, Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. with a Meet the Artist event titled “Masks – Symbols of Culture.” Crispo’s mask series found its inspiration after a trip he took to Mexico in 1972, where he attended a lucha libre wrestling match in an open-air arena.
“I am an abstract journalist of the landscape and a choreographer of the dance of the mind, eye and hand,” Crispo said. “The plastic, the decorative, the horrible and the serene that pepper the visual landscape of the present time challenges the artists who address the age of information. I consider myself a global artist, not an American artist. This galactical view is the true basis of my work – Nature is my teacher – the Master. I’m the apprentice.”
Additionally, CAA has a January Art Sale taking place Friday – Feb. 4, with artist members offering select artworks at a discounted price. You’re invited to browse the gallery and look for the pieces with the discount indicated on the wall tag. CAA’s gallery is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. You can reach the gallery by phone to get any more information at 831-624-6176 or visit the website at www.carmelart.org.
It’s common for columnists to do a review of the year past during this period of time when the events drop off in quantity. I’ve never been one to look back. Instead of the best of 2019, I’m going to look forward to a few local special events that require your attention to get your tickets now before they sell out, and as well to look north to Santa Cruz to see what’s cooking up there for entertainment.
It’s uncommon to get touring Broadway theater productions in town, but we do from time to time at our Performing Arts theaters. I checked out seating options that are still available for Carmel’s Sunset Center for the Feb. 11-12 performances of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” and both dates have nearly full houses already. There are still enough good seats for you to take a look to decide if you’re good to go. Ticket prices are listed at $175 for VIP (with reception), $125, $95 and $75. Here’s the write up to pique your interest, and then visit www.sunsetcenter.org or call the Box Office at 831-620-2048 to secure your seat.
For over five years,”Beautiful,” the Tony and Grammy Award-winning Carole King musical, has thrilled Broadway with the inspiring true story of one woman’s remarkable journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. From the string of pop classics she wrote for the biggest acts in music to her own life-changing, chart-busting success with the album “Tapestry,” “Beautiful” takes you back to where it all began – and takes you on the ride of a lifetime. Featuring over two dozen pop classics, including “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman,” this crowd-pleasing international phenomenon is filled with the songs you remember – and a story you’ll never forget. Check out the video preview online.
Upcoming live pop/rock musical concerts at Sunset are Eric Johnson Classics: Present and Past, Thursday, Jan. 16, 8 p.m.; Take 6 – Georgia On My Mind: Celebrating The Music of Ray Charles, Sunday, Feb. 9, 7 p.m.; The Chieftains “The Irish Goodbye, Thursday, Feb. 27, 8 p.m.; and Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives: Marty Stuart is The Pilgrim, Thursday, April 23, 8 p.m. The Marty Stuart concert has sold most of the downstairs section of the theater, so I think it’s wise to get on the hook for that one if you’re thinking at all you’d like to see that. The others listed above still have a good selection. In regards to another Broadway play “Rent,” Wednesday, May 6, 8 p.m., there still is a good selection of tickets. I saw this on Broadway and it was riveting, although a very serious subject is covered in the story.
It’s been quite awhile since I covered the Santa Cruz scene in my previous column “Cruzin’,” and I do not go up to shows there much these days. But there’s always a great selection and Kuumbwa Jazz Center was my favorite place to hang out. Just a heads up for its upcoming concert with the Benny Green Trio this Monday, 7 p.m. Pianist Green remains a tasteful hard bop devotee, so you’ll be sure to have a swinging good time. Kuumbwa Jazz Center is an all ages venue located at 320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. Tickets for this show are $36.75 adv/$42 door. Call 831-427-2227 for more info or visit www.kuumbwajazz.org.
Monterey Museum of Art First Friday: 5-7 p.m., 559 Pacific St., Monterey, $5 suggested donation. Meet and greet with artists, curators, and designers while celebrating the opening of new exhibitions at MMA’s favorite monthly social event featuring Currents artist Mahir Agha, FLUX artist Gyongy Laky, and singer/songwriter Jessie Marks.
The Charities: Saturday, 10 p.m., Fernwood Resort’s Tavern, 47200 Highway 1, Big Sur, no cover. The Charities are on a mission to bring their twist on funk and soul music to the ears of the world. They are a band of six brothers from Hermosa Beach. Bonded not by blood, but by their love for each other and the music they create. Their music draws influence from funk, soul, Motown, jazz, disco, R&B, jamband music and even rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a melting pot of groovy intentions. Soon after this gig they appear in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico as part of the Tropic of Cancer Music Series, Jan. 15-19.
Aireene Espiritu: Saturday, 7 p.m., East Village Coffee Lounge, 498 Washington St., Monterey, $10 donation. Espiritu is a singer/songwriter playing mostly original songs accompanied by Latin/African rhythms, folk, bluegrass pickings and inspirations from gospel music – a mix of stompin’, swayin’, and timeless Americana. She was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States at ten years old, growing up in the third culture: the old country, the new country and a blend of both worlds. Mainly influenced by listening to Alan Lomax’s field recordings from the South and growing up listening to her uncles’ Filipino folk guitar fingerpicking, her music is reminiscent of front porch storytelling, of ghosts and the living, times of laughter and tears.
Dave “Nomad” Miller: Saturday, 8:30 p.m., Cooper’s Pub & Restaurant, 653 Cannery Row, Monterey, no cover. Lead singer for popular Santa Cruz rock ‘n’ roll band Drifting Compass, Miller returns to Monterey to perform solo. He writes songs filled with thought-provoking lyrics and great melodies that linger. He shares original heart-on-sleeve, travel-worn songs as well as select covers. More info: www.nomadicbliss.com.
Jazz @ East Village presents the George Young Quartet: Sunday, 5-7:30 p.m., East Village Coffee Lounge, 498 Washington St., Monterey, $10 donation, all ages welcome. Known as Mr. Saxophone, George Young is one of the most frequently heard musicians of our time. Young has played with Eric Clapton, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Pavarotti, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, James Brown, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Dizziy Gillespie, Sony & Cher, Tony Bennett, and the list goes on. Young plays over ten instruments, including tenor, alto, soprano & sopranino saxophones, clarinet, alto flute, C flute, East Indian ethnic flutes and piccolo. Having resided in Carmel Valley for a number of years, he celebrates a homecoming at this special East Village appearance with local favorites Bob Phillips, piano; Joe Dolister, bass; and Andy Weis, drums.