Stephen Ludwig, Key Member of OC Storefront Theater Scene, Dies in France

stephenludwig.jpg
Dave Barton
Stephen Ludwig, in Montparnasse Cemetery, on his way to Samuel Beckett's grave
Irony is a staple of theater, so consider the irony of an indispensable member of Orange County's playrighting community, Stephen Ludwig, traveling to France for a writing vacation,only to die in the place that inspired him so much.
Yet, there is also something romantic about both dying in the place you love, and to do so while doing what you loved. Ludwig, who passed away at the age of 65 of apparently normal causes in Arles, France, May 10, was found near his laptop. He was working on a novel.


More »

Remembering Sherman Hemsley's Electro-Funk Legacy

Categories: WTF, obit

shermanpromo.jpeg
Rest in Power: The Great Sherman Hemsley

We at the Weekly were saddened yesterday to hear about the passing of the great Sherman Hemsley. While he was most known for his acting roles on television and in film, it's worth mentioning that the 74-year old actor, who died at his home in El Paso Texas, had many talents also included singing. It is with our glasses raised that we reflect on his song "Ain't That a Kick in the Head."

More »

We Remember Adam Yauch, MCA of Beastie Boys, Dead at 47

Categories: obit

Beastie+Boys.jpg
Yauch, far left
By Daniel Kohn and Ned Raggett

First posted at 10:28 a.m.

Adam Yauch, better known as MCA of legendary hip-hop trio Beastie Boys, has died at 47.

For the past few years, Yauch has been battling cancer. News of his passing was reported less than an hour ago by TMZ.

Below, Ned Raggett remembers Yauch, one of hip-hop's most pivotal figures.

More »

Obit: Marvin Marker

Categories: obit
lrg-8-gg013.jpg

According to a story by Al Rudis in today's Press-Telegram (a paper I worked at for three years), Long Beach Junior Concert Band founder/leader Marvin Marker passed away Sunday at a Denver airport. He was 74.

Sure, the Stones have been around for what feels like forever, but Marker had them beat as he started the LBJCB in 1952. In 2007, Marker was given the title "Music Man of Long Beach" by the city council. And for 47 years, the LBJCB was part of the Hollywood Christmas Parade. The 2009 version of the event, which took place Nov. 29, airs Thursday and features--you guessed it --Marker.

The group was scheduled to rehearse tonight and Thursday and perform Saturday at the Bell Holiday Parade.


RIP Captain Lou Albano

Categories: obit
albano.jpg
Captain Lou Albano passed away yesterday at the age of 76. Who's Captain Lou Albano, you ask? He was a former wrestler-turned manager best known for the rubber bands he wore in his facial hair. He was great at getting the crowd fired up and even made the leap to non-wrestling success.

Which leads me to my point. What's Albano's passing have to do with music? Click here, here and here. I'd post these videos, but Cyndi Lauper must have a killer team of lawyers because most versions of these have the embedding disabled.



RIP Jim Carroll

Categories: obit
Writer/musician Jim Carroll passed away Friday due to an apparent heart attack. He was 59 years old.

Most know Carroll as the man who wrote the book The Basketball Diaries, which was later turned into a shit film starring Leonardo DiCrappyo. But like every book-turned-movie, Carroll's tale was much better than Hollywood's. But in my humble opinion, 1987's Forced Entries was even better.

Carroll was a highly-respected poet and even dabbled in music. Maybe you remember this tune?



More »

RIP Les Paul

Categories: obit
les paul.jpg


Les Paul, the man behind the signature guitar of the same died, passed away today at the age of 94.

I had already been playing guitar for a few years after I realized that not only was Les Paul a real guy, but he was still alive. Somehow I think Jimmy Page, Slash, Eric Clapton, Wes Montgomery, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend and seven zillion others players more famous than I already knew that.

Along with his massive influence on six stringers, Paul is credited as the man who pioneered multi-track recording, which basically gave way to an entirely new way of putting sound on tape.

There's a whole lot to be said about Paul, but the one thing I'll remember at him is how we kept a weekly Monday night residence at the Iridium in New York from 1996 until June 2009. The man literally played regularly until he died. That's an artist.

Rest in peace, Les. We'll see ya on the other side. 

RIP Koko Taylor

Categories: obit
The Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor, passed away Wednesday in Chicago due to complications following a May 19 surgery to correct a gastrointestinal bleed. She was 80 years young.

The woman born Cora Walton was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1997, was nominated for eight Grammys and one won in 1985. Her final show was May 7 in Memphis. If you've got to have a last performance, Memphis is a pretty damn good spot for that sort of thing.

I saw Taylor once. It was at the Long Beach Blues Festival in 2001. For a woman in her 70s, she was fired up. I mean, she wasn't young Mick Jagger fired up, but you know what I mean.

I have this cryptic urge to write about the passing of blues men and women because we are literally seeing the final chapter of a once great and important style of music. Yes, there are others who are younger (and whiter) who do a damn fine job of keeping the blues alive, but any new player worth checking out would tell you it's just not the same.

Services will take place Thursday and Friday in Chicago and a funeral will be held at 6 p.m. Friday.

Hey Koko, if you're reading this, get Willie Dixon and start playing that "Wang Dang Doodle" one time for me, wouldya?

Gary Finneran Benefit

Categories: noble causes, obit
Gary Finneran, former lead singer of the HB-based Ex-Idols, passed away recently. I don't have all the details about his death, but I do have info on a memorial show in his honor.

The gig takes place Friday, June 5 at the 3 Clubs in Hollywood. Right now, the lineup includes Lit, Ex-Idols, Tuscarora, She Died, Motochrist, Charlie and the Valentine Killers, the Flash Express, Rodleen, Satiate, the Crazy Squeeze and Silver Needle.

Cover is $20. Profits go to Finneran's sons. Showtime is 8 p.m.

I met and played with Finneran once. My friend Alfunction called me and asked to play bass in a makeshift band with the singer. Mr. Function's friend Lauren (who sings in SiX) was having a birthday party and the Ex-Idols were one of his favorite bands. Well, the Ex-Idols weren't available because they broke up years earlier, but Al wanted to do something cool for Lauren. I had to learn four Ex-Idols songs in about a week. We didn't practice and I was pretty nervous considering how unprepared we were, but I think it went off well. At least that's what Finneran told me. We said a few words before we played and he seemed like a decent guy. I kept looking at him during the songs because he was guiding the three of us through the patchy spots. Afterwards, we spoke and he was grinning widely. He told me he had a lot of fun and that was good enough for me.

Freddie Hubbard, R.I.P.

Freddie Hubbard died today at Sherman Oaks Hospital. He was 70.

Freddie_Hubbard.jpgI've always been a freak for the jazz trumpeter and still remember the first time I caught him live, in the early '80s at, of all places, Carnation Gardens at Disneyland--about as far as one can get from a smoke-filled gin joint. Back in those days, the Anaheim theme park drew some pretty righteous performers for jazz and blues festivals that had acts sprinkled all over the Magic Kingdom. I also recall seeing Leon Russell there only a few years after men with hair that long were not allowed through the gates.

Blocking an unrelenting sun with shades that had slid to the end of his nose, Freddie blew his horn with gusto alongside a tight group of sidemen for three or four shows that day, and I was there each time, watching this legend from mere yards away, with no more than 50 or 100 people around the makeshift stage.

Besides seeing him live at the Big D and at one of those jazz festivals in Long Beach that was either at Long Beach State, next to the Queen Mary or in the ocean-front park where they hold everything these days, I built up a collection of Hubbard vinyls that are still collecting dust in my garage. Most are solo albums, some shared efforts with another late, great jazzman, tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine.

It's time to break out the record player--and some gin.

Loading...