Villa Aurora, high above the ocean in Pacific Palisades, was the home of German-Jewish novelist Lion Feuchtwanger and his artist wife Marta, who fled the Nazis for coastal Los Angeles in the late 1930s. The house was home to many salons featuring the likes and thoughts of other emigres such as Thomas Mann and Bertolt Brecht — and Charlie Chaplin, too. Now it’s a cultural institute and artists’ retreat owned by the German government, and Sunday afternoon Claremont Graduate University celebrated the beginning of its new concentration in museum studies for advanced degree students in cultural studies with a salon on the importance and future of museums in America … this gargoyle was leaning out toward the Pacific from a front porch of the mansion.
Rupa and the April Fishes were even hotter, Friday night at the Levitt Pavillion in Memorial Park, than Michelle Mills’ preview in our Scene magazine would have led you to believe.
And that’s pretty hot.
This is the kind of show that gives the odd moniker World Music — we all of us live in the world, after all — a good name.
They rocked, is what it comes down to. Rupa, an M.D. who is a professor at UC San Francisco, never gave the impression that she was slumming — and never pretended to be anything but an American. The French, the Spanish, the Gypsy, the Bollywood influences that she brings to her music felt entirely natural, song to song.
A huge crowd was gathered to picnic and groove, and 100 people danced down front, almost as hard as she did.
If this be the music of the contemporary Bay Area, play on.