“Drinks by the pool” has a lovely ring to it doesn't it? To those of us who are “old-time kama'ainas,” it reminds me of a simple era when grown-ups bedecked in Ray Ban Cats and Lauhala label ensembles would wander over to our house to enjoy a drink and a weekend sunset as bright as the glowing red cherries in their Manhattans. While the sweet Hawaiian music spun on the old stereo, we kids played in the pool until dark.
Those simple days are long-gone for me but I can still find a casual place with pool-side drinks and fantastic Hawaiian music that re-creates that special feeling of being happy right where you are. The Kani Ka Pila Grille (Hawaiian for “let’s make music”) at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach is a “must visit” for tourists and locals alike. Serving breakfast, all-day dining, and tropical drinks daily, the real draw is the top-notch live entertainment by some of Hawaii’s...
The recently renovated Jeannik Méquet Littlefield Concert Hall, built in 1928, is the main performance space at Mills College in Oakland, and the Bay Area's prime venue for contemporary "new music." Over the past 90 years, the music department at Mills has hosted such faculty, students, and resident musicians as the Port Arte String Quartet, Darius Milhaud, John Cage, Lou Harrison, Luciano Berio, Dave Brubeck, Harry Partch, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, Kronos Quartet, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, and Fred Frith. In the mid-1960s, the legendary San Francisco Tape Music Center moved across the Bay and evolved into the Center for Contemporary Music. If you want to hear what's happening in experimental, electronic, avant-garde classical, and other modern genres, tune into what's happening at Mills. The concert programs are astounding and the campus is serene terrain for...
Brazilian music has many influences. A blend of African, European and indigenous Brazilian music has created unique styles like samba, bossa nova, and choro to name a few. This popular restaurant in the Gamboa neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro hosts bands of all genres. And in true Brazilian fashion, on this evening, party-goers danced to the Afro-Brazilian sounds until the early morning.
Famous and not do famous musicians from all over come to this quaint spot to play music and jam. Only if you are playing music are you allowed at the tables, and crowds gather to listen and drink.
Snaking our way through the crowds, you can literally absorb the energy coming off of the dancing, singing and smiling faces.
Our first introduction to a Bloco, (unofficial street parties that pop up throughout the streets during the week long celebration of Carnival), was a small slice of the fun spirited culture that awaited us.
Moving past hordes of people drinking and dancing into the sunset, you never know who you will pass by. Men and women ditch their suits and upper class roots to dawn wigs, brightly colored costumes and cans of beer. Blending in with the soul of the country, following the samba through the streets.
These Blocos are a great leveler for a city that is notorious for its unbalanced social economic class structure. On these fantastical days of summer, there are only high spirited individuals coming together to celebrate their love of life and their culture.
Late spring and early summer in Seoul: musicians in medieval clothing infuse the grounds of Gyeongbok Palace with a sense of its storied past.
Built in the 1390's when a new dynasty established Seoul as its capital, Gyeongbok-gung ("The Palace of Shining Happiness") was a city unto itself. In the 1590's, in the chaos of the Japanese invasions, the palace was burned and lay largely in ruins until the 19th century. The reconstruction almost bankrupt the kingdom, and then the grounds were the scene of the assassination of Korea's last empress. During the Japanese colonization (1910-1945), eighty-five percent of the palace compound was either destroyed or dismantled...
The last two decades have seen a remarkable period of revival and rebuilding. Today about forty percent of the palace has been restored. With colorful concerts, tea-ceremonies, and the changing of the guard, this palace is...
The village of Schwarzenberg in Vorarlberg (Austria’s westernmost province), only has a population of 1,700. Yet, over time it has established itself as a great festival venue (next to Vienna and Salzburg) and hosts the Schubertiade. Surrounded by lush, green Alpine pastures, extensive forests, and the imposing mountains, the Angelika Kauffmann Hall, with its simple wood construction, is regarded as one of the three acoustically best chamber-music halls in Austria. Here you can satisfy your cultural hunger paired with great hikes in the surrounding Alps.
The Way Station, on Washington Avenue, in Prospect Heights is every bit a Steampunk-lovers paradise. The bathroom is a portal, ala Doctor Who, and the guns hanging on the wall bring to mind an old western bar. Yet, The Way Station's real draw is in the form of live music. I've never been to this bar without a performance being in progress or about to start (they say to expect it six days a week). It has the feel of what CBGB must have been before it became CBGB. The talent always seems too talented to be playing to anything other than a sold-out stadium and the price is always right (tips only). I'm not sure how the bands who do play can afford to do so but I go and tip as heavily as I can afford to. The selection of beer and drinks isn't spectacular but the atmosphere and entertainment make up for it.
Built in 1894, Massey Hall is a Canadian institution. This music venue has played host to iconic acts such as Neil young, Charlie Parker, Rush, and Jeff Healey. Designed by famed architect Sidney Badgley, the building in and of itself is a masterwork of 19th Century art, and is worth checking out even when a show isn't going on.
Besides, Massey Hall is just one more reason to make your way to Toronto's incredible Garden District.
Known as the “live music capital of the world,” Austin earns its title every spring during the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. At this year’s event, March 13 to 18 (with interactive and film segments starting on March 9), see a wide variety of performers—from unsigned soul singers to legendary bluegrass bands—play outdoor BBQ joints, small bars, and downtown street corners.
WHERE TO HEAR
In a town full of music venues, it can be hard to decide where to go first. Will Sheff, lead singer for the Austin indie rock band Okkervil River—whose sixth album, I Am Very Far, comes out in May—pares down the list.
“Emo’s has a lot of local band nights, and they’ve also had legends, including Johnny Cash, play there. It’s the epitome of Austin—an unpretentious, homey, friendly, punk dive.” 603 Red River St., (512) 505-8541,emosaustin.com.
Scottish Rite Community and Children’s Theatre
I saw Reverend Shine Snake Oil Co. play at this dirty little blues bar in Copenhagen. The place was packed with people dancing against each other, singing along, and clapping to the beat. Claudius, the band's captivating frontman, had us eating out of his hand. When he held a note, we held our breath. When he called out to us, we shouted back. And when he commanded us to sweat for him, we made it drip from the walls.
To get a real feel for the Tango culture in Buenos Aires then you must go to a Milonga (Tango club). As I walked into Sueno Porteno Milonga I felt as if I had walked back into a cheesy disco in the 70's. But instead of the BeeGees, the speakers blared tango music.
You can grab a table near the dance floor and simply watch the locals practice their best moves or if you are versed in the tango then you may want to participate. It won't take long until you get asked to dance if you make eye contact with someone.
There was diversity of fashion from casual to formal tango dresses, and a diversity in age ranging from 30 to 80 years old! This is the real deal - tango not for tourists.
Details: Sueno Porteno MIlonga is located at Av. San Juan 3330 in Buenos Aires. Don't show up before 11PM else you will be disappointed as everyone normally comes around midnight. There is a small cover charge...
At the Midnight Rodeo in Amarillo, TX, cowboys and cowgirls swig Shiner Bock, tip their Stetsons till all hours and leave everything on the dance floor or their name isn't, well, Buck or Chick or something cool like that. Some of the finest moves and tightest jeans around.