Tribute to an angel
Even listeners resistant to 12-tone music usually find Berg’s Violin Concerto to be the exception. A work of beauty and deep sadness, the concerto is dedicated “to the memory of an angel,” Manon Gropius, the daughter of Alma Mahler and architect Walter Gropius, who died of poliomyelitis when she was 18. Pierre Boulez will lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Berg Concerto, his last completed work, with Jennifer Frautschi as the soloist. The programs also will include Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9.
Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2:30 p.m. $14 to $82. (323) 850-2000.
It’s too bad Warren Zevon already came up with “lawyers, guns and money,” because the phrase would have been a perfect refrain for 50 Cent. The New York rapper set the stage for his debut album with such record-label-spooking activities as playing the target for a gun-wielding assailant. And the first sound on his hit album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” is that of a rolling coin. If all that wasn’t enough to put Cent front and center, there’s always the album’s executive producer team: Dr. Dre and Eminem.
50 Cent, House of Blues, 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Sunday and Monday, 7:30 p.m. Sold out. (323) 848-5100.
In memory: Malcolm X
The 11th annual Malcolm X Arts, Culture & Education Festival will honor the memory and legacy of the human rights activist with live music, spoken word performances, visual artists, rides, games, a petting zoo, a health fair, fashion shows and workshops. Performers will include Gerald Wilson, Dwight Trible, Teena Marie, Phil Upchurch, Norman Connors and Jean Carne. The event will also honor jazz legends Horace Silver, Benny Carter, Teddy Edwards and other artists.
Malcolm X Arts, Culture & Education Festival, Leimert Park Village, 43rd Place and Crenshaw Boulevard, Leimert Park. Friday, 3-10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon-10 p.m. Free. (323) 692-3545.
Heaven and Earthworks
Considering his background as a member of the 1960s-'70s art-rock band King Crimson, it’s not surprising that when drummer Bill Bruford first formed Earthworks in 1986, the band was noted for its stylish marriage of rock technology and jazz sensibility. The ensemble was Bruford’s attempt to return to his jazz roots, bringing with him his penchant for melodic, electronic percussion. The band’s current lineup, with sax man Tim Garland, keyboardist Steve Hamilton, bassist Mark Hodgson, now relies upon a primarily acoustic sound.
Bill Bruford’s Earthworks, Catalina Bar & Grill, 1640 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. $20 to $30. (323) 466-2210.
Life with the down and out
Stage and screen veteran Ruben Santiago-Hudson plays more than 20 characters in “Lackawanna Blues,” his bittersweet, Obie Award-winning re-creation of life in a milltown boarding house filled with ne’er-do-wells and down-and-outers, run by “Nanny,” the bighearted woman who raised him. Live accompaniment by blues guitarist Bill Sims Jr.
“Lackawanna Blues,” Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. Opens Wednesday. Runs Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 2 p.m.; ends May 25. $20 to $40. (800) 300-4345.
A feast for the ears too
The California Strawberry Festival takes its inspiration from the area’s rich agricultural heritage, but this 20-year-old gig has always been about a weekend full of music. Strawberry pizza? Sure. And a lot of other gastronomic treats too. But the most varied condiments here are the tunes. This year’s bill includes Juice Newton, Beatlemania, the Sounds of the Supremes, plus ska, blues, jazz, country, Latin funk and Elvis impersonator Raymond Michael.
California Strawberry Festival, College Park, 3250 S. Rose Ave., Oxnard. Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. $9, general; $5, senior citizens, active military and children 5 to 12; free, 4 years and younger.
(805) 385-4739. www.strawberry-fest.org.
Call it a junkyard requiem
Rosamond Purcell spent 20 years pursuing her passion and following her dream in visits to a junkyard in Owls Head, Maine. She brought back scrap metal, glass, farming equipment, industrial machinery and a library of petrified books. Purcell has also acquired the work of other collectors, in particular 17th century Danish naturalist Olaus Worm. Both collections are on display in “Rosamond Purcell: Two Rooms.” Worm gathered such things as the tooth of a narwhal, a preserved baby polar bear and the branch of a tree growing around the jaw of a horse.
“Rosamond Purcell: Two Rooms,” Santa Monica Museum of Art, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Opening reception, Friday, 7-8:30 p.m. $8 to $12. Show opens Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. $3. (310) 586-6488.
A bee’s dramatic pollination
It’s not Hitchcock, nor does it try to be, but it is a thriller of sorts. Jeff Blitz’s documentary “Spellbound” takes the National Spelling Bee, featuring kids striving for the pinnacle of middle-school intellectualism -- I-N-T-E-L-L-E-C-T-U-A-L-I-S-M, intellectualism -- and turns it into grand drama, complete with suspense, reversals and triumph.
“Spellbound,” rated G, opens Friday in selected theaters.
Nothing like a child’s fantasy
If you think the personal life of composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was anything like the children’s fantasies he created in “The Nutcracker” and “Sleeping Beauty,” get ready for a shock when the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg performs “Tchaikovsky: the Mystery of Life and Death” in Costa Mesa. In that homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia just six years ago, Tchaikovsky’s private needs and relationships are only now being openly acknowledged and depicted in his homeland through such groundbreaking portraits as this full-evening dance drama. So don’t expect a sugarplum divertissement, but rather Boris Eifman’s probing expose of the Russia nobody knows.
Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg in “Tchaikovsky: The Mystery of Life and Death,” Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. $10 to $65. (714) 556-2787.
A father’s inspiration
Daena Title used to exhibit lighthearted work -- pastel nudes, for instance, as befits the wife of comic actor Jason Alexander (“Seinfeld’s” George Costanza and current co-star of “The Producers”). A year ago, Title’s father died, just before she was to open an exhibition, which she canceled. Title painted 17 new works in a more serious vein to honor her father, who had encouraged her artistic ambition and exercised a profound influence on her career. “One Year After: In Memory of Her Father” opens Saturday at DoubleVision Gallery. The show consists of 17 figurative paintings, all of women, mostly oils with a few acrylics and pastels.
“One Year After: In Memory of Her Father,” DoubleVision Gallery, 5820 Wilshire Blvd. #100, Los Angeles. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., or by appointment. Opening reception, Saturdays, 5-8 p.m. Free. (323) 936-1553.