There hasn’t been a better pure-pop album this year than “100% Fun,” the sixth career release by Matthew Sweet.
Sweet’s style is based in smart-pop’s heritage of bands that could woo listeners with a lovely melody but also knock them back with a brawny punch. The Beatles, Badfinger and Big Star are among his sources; so are Television and Richard Hell and the Voidoids, from whom Sweet has drawn distinctive veteran lead guitarists Richard Lloyd and Ivan Julian for his studio and touring bands.
With a distinctive reedy but chesty voice and songs that don’t shirk from thorny emotions, Sweet keeps the pure-pop legacy going strong at a time when it’s not the fashion.
* Who: Matthew Sweet, with Three Pound Thrill.
* When: Sunday, 8 p.m.
* Where: Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano.
* Whereabouts: Take Interstate 5 to the San Juan Creek Road exit and turn left onto Camino Capistrano. The Coach House is in the Esplanade Plaza.
* Wherewithal: $18.50.
* Where to call: (714) 496-8930.
Objects that look highly mechanized but don’t actually do anything useful are at the core of “Machine,” a show by 10 artists at Newport Harbor Art Museum through Nov. 26.
While some of the pieces vibrate or whirl or emit loud sounds, others--such as Erik Levine’s “Apparatus"--are concerned with the structures and materials of machinery. Several of the works incorporate moving parts as a sly way of getting at other subjects, including media antics (Tim Hawkinson’s “Untitled [Spinning Headlines]”), Asian laborers in California (Daniel Wheeler’s “Empire Builders”) or the spectacle of a wealthy victim on life support (Terri Friedman’s “Sunny Side Down”).
* What: “Machine.”
* When: Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (7 p.m. on Fridays) and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Through Nov. 26.
* Where: Newport Harbor Art Museum, 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach.
* Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (405) Freeway to Jamboree Boulevard and head south. Turn left onto Santa Barbara Drive, then left again onto San Clemente.
* Wherewithal: $4 adults, $2 students and seniors, free for children under 12. Free to everyone Tuesdays.
* Where to call: (714) 759-1122.
Tchaikovsky isn’t regarded too much as an experimenter these days, but innovations in his Sixth Symphony (“Pathetique”) drew brickbats from famed critic Eduard Hanslick at the Vienna premiere in 1895. Ending the work with an adagio instead of a fast movement, Hanslick wrote, was “peculiar,” while the 5/4 time of the scherzo was a “disagreeable rhythm . . . disturbing to listeners and players alike.”
The Pacific Symphony tackles this famous work on a program that also includes Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto and William Bolcom’s “Commedia.”
* Who: Pacific Symphony led by Carl St.Clair.
* When: Today, 8 p.m.
* Where: Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.
* Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (405) Freeway to Bristol Street and exit north. Turn right onto Town Center Drive.
* Wherewithal: $15 to $43.
* Where to call: (714) 566-2787.
You can buy hundreds of different kinds of blooming orchids, learn how to create hybrids or repot your cattleyas at hourly lectures and admire orchid displays competing for prizes at a Fall Orchid Festival this weekend at the UC Irvine Arboretum.
“It’s a judged show,” said Brad Carter, the arboretum’s assistant director. “The displays are artistic, and the plants are labeled so you can see what species of orchids are used. They’re almost like mini-floats from the Rose Parade.”
* What: Fall Orchid Festival.
* When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
* Where: UC Irvine Arboretum, near Campus Drive and Jamboree Road, Irvine.
* Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (405) Freeway to Jamboree Road. Head south. Turn left onto Campus Drive, right into the parking lot.
* Wherewithal: FREE.
* Where to call: (714) 824-5833.