Unsung Heroes: A Celebration of Mike Viola featuring Inara George & Very Special Guests

Unsung Heroes: A Celebration of Mike Viola featuring Inara George & Very Special Guests

Mandy Moore, Susanna Hoffs (of The Bangles), The Living Sisters, Dan Bern, Dan Wilson, Philip Littel, Kate Micucci, Andrew McMahon, Wendy Wang, Bleu McAluley, & Very Special Guest!

Wed, June 25, 2014

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

$30.00 - $75.00

Seat assignments begin at 6:00PM, Doors open for drinks at 7:00PM, Showtime at 8:30PM | When you arrive at Will Call on the night of the show, seats will be assigned first come first served, from the front of the theatre to the back. If you want to sit closer, be sure to come earlier. | NO LATE ENTRY * NO REFUNDS * NO EXCHANGES

Inara George
Inara George
This Unsung Heroes is a little different. It’s a musical. That once led an intense underground existence in LA from 1996 -1997 in a couple of under-the-radar spaces. It was Eliot Douglass’ and Philip Littell’s “The Wandering Whore.” The play is about the birth of the gay world in the criminal culture of London in the 1700s, and it grew its characters and their stories out of the tiny scraps of evidence surviving, a kind of sexual Jurassic Park. It’s about men and women, gender identity, and fragile dangerous love, and crazy poverty and the wild force-field of an out-of-control city, and brief lives lived violently, and ghosts of course. It’s a ghost factory. The people who saw it never forgot it, and nor did the people who sang its songs. Which brings us to Inara George, who was in that company of crazy brave actors, and who has now suggested we bring it back to life and to sing those songs again.

The series will benefit the Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global alliance of individuals, organizations and businesses working together to stop plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals and the environment. http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org
Mandy Moore
Susanna Hoffs (of The Bangles)
Susanna Hoffs (of The Bangles)
Singing, swinging, comedy and a slew of special somebodies stopping by to rock, pop and folk your mind into the next dimension.

You may best know Susanna from The Bangles, but more recently she has collaborated with Matthew Sweet, Fred Armisen and Petra Haden, and was featured as a special guest on Aimee Mann's 2014 Christmas Tour, Mike Campbell's Merry Minstrel Circus, The Watkins Family Hour and Jeff Garlin's The Last Show Before We Go.


It was 26 years ago when most of the world caught their first ear full — and eye full — of Susanna Hoffs as the doe-eyed singer from the Bangles. For some, "Manic Monday" had them hooked; for others, it would be "If She Knew What She Wants," "Walk Like an Egyptian," or, later on, "Eternal Flame" and "In Your Room" that would do the trick. Regardless, most all fans and critics agreed then, as now, that Hoffs has an utterly unique voice among so many in the pop music milieu.

In the years since the Bangles reigned supreme on the Billboard charts, Susanna has spent her time working on a multitude of creative and collaborative projects — from appearing alongside Mike Myers as a member of his character's Ming Tea band in the Austin Powers film franchise to dueting with Matthew Sweet as Sid 'n Susie on their Under the Covers album series. And, yes, she has also released a couple of solo records. The first, When You're a Boy, came on the heels of the Bangles' original run in 1991; the second, Susanna Hoffs, dropped five years later.

On July 17, her long-awaited third solo set, Someday, takes flight. It is an intensely personal song cycle that doubles as a musical love letter to the music of the 1960s. Produced and orchestrated by Mitchell Froom, the album is heartfelt and immediate, oozing refinement but without a trace of pretense. Elvis Costello's Imposters rhythm section — drummer Pete Thomas and bassist Davey Faragher — played on the initial sessions in June of 2011, with Val McCallum and Andrew Brassell playing guitar. A few of the songs were tracked with Michael Urbano on drums and Bob Glaub on bass. Froom played keyboards. "The album was inspired by my yearning to sing songs that were as melodic and emotional as my favorite music of the 1960s," Hoffs says. "We recorded 10 original songs, eight of which I wrote with Andrew Brassell, a musician from Nashville."
The Living Sisters
L.A.-based indie supergroup The Living Sisters—Inara George (The Bird and the Bee), Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond), Eleni Mandell and newest "sister" Alex Lilly—have followed up their critically adored 2010 album Love to Live with the standards collection Run for Cover . The EP, with its intricate retro harmonies and righteously old-school instrumentation from the likes of drummer Don Heffington (Lone Justice, The Jayhawks) and pedal steel master Greg Leisz, provides listeners with some perspective as to the various sources of The Living Sisters' zesty musical recipe, which "weave[s] together '40s pop vocalizing, '50s doo-wop, jazz, folk and country elements in a seamless mélange," according to the L.A. Times' Randy Lewis.

The EP begins with the group's Andrews Sisters-like rendition of the standard "Make Love to Me," in essence picking up where Love to Live left off. From there, though, they enter previously unexplored territory with an improbably ballsy take on Funkadelic's "Can You Get to That?" followed by a similarly soulful cover of "Que Sera, Sera" based not on Doris Day's 1956 hit but instead on a later reimagining from Sly & the Family Stone. "The Living Sisters get funky!" Alex quips. The vibe then turns palpably rustic with wistful performances of a pair of Patsy Cline-associated ballads, "Poor Man's Roses" and "Sweet Dreams," sandwiching a haunting a cappella performance of Dolly Parton's "Jolene."

"We'd been talking about how our next album was going to be a Pointer Sisters-style dance-soul record—that's been the fantasy," says Stark of their surprising foray into vintage R&B. She may be stretching the truth about the Pointers Sisters concept, but don't put it past them. "When I was in high school, I was obsessed with 'Can You Get to That?' It has such a beautiful message of being in the present moment and not holding back." It was Mandell's idea to cover Sly's gospel-infused rearrangement of "Que Sera, Sera."

The Living Sisters worked up the six songs for various live events, most significantly a Patsy Cline tribute at Disney Hall in May 2011, which the group hosted. They premiered "Can You Get to That" at a wedding reception, and they broke out "Jolene" during a Dolly Parton tribute, part of an annual series of fundraisers hosted by Inara at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon in the Los Angeles area. "We'd put so much work into the Patsy Cline tribute that it seemed like an opportune time to record them," says Mandell. "Greg Leisz and Don Heffington were also part of the tribute concert, and all of the musicians are so good that we knocked it out pretty quickly. The toughest part was just scheduling all of us. We're all very busy."

That's an understatement. Time is at a premium for all four women, but especially for Mandell and George, each of whom is the mother of twins. Eleni's arrived in 2010 and Inara's in 2012; the latter also has a two-and-a-half year-old son. Because they're all so busy with their lives and individual careers, choosing to come together and blend their voices whenever their busy schedules permit, the group can be seen as the product of a collective act of generosity—toward their fans, toward each other and toward the unique organism they've created. "Because it's something we choose to do, it feels special," says Lilly. "It almost feels like a vacation when we get together." Lilly, who first sang and played with the girls while George was on pregnancy leave, became a full-fledged family member upon Inara's return. "We liked Alex so much and she's such an asset that we decided to keep her," says Eleni. "And then there were four."

"There's a really pure idea to The Living Sisters, but also a cheeky filter that I don't want to disturb," says Alex. "Everyone takes a corner, so I guess I'm the fourth corner. I just put myself into it and see what happens."

"Inara and Alex are both excellent at the intricate stuff," Eleni says of the group's astral blend. "I'm always the low end, so my part's pretty obvious, and then the rest of the girls pile up on top of me."

"When Eleni, Inara and I started singing together years ago, it immediately enriched our lives," Becky marvels. "It was like medicine. And when Alex joined, it felt even better. It's a privilege to sing with these amazing women. Having Eleni, Inara and Alex in my life is something I treasure. We all lead complex lives, but when all the stars align and we carve out the time together, it's just magical. Our motto is 'Harmony is real.'"

Eleni seconds that emotion. "When we're around one microphone looking at each other and our harmonies are combining, we get totally locked together," she says. "It's a spiritual feeling."

Run for Cover is the latest in a string of accomplishments for these all-stars, who have been collaborating off and on since 2006 while simultaneously conducting their respective individual careers. Mandell's most recent album is 2012's I Can See the Future. George and musical partner Greg Kurstin are nearing completion of a new Bird and the Bee album.  Stark's Lavender Diamond recently released their second album, Incorruptible Heart. She recently teamed with duet partner John C. Reilly and producer Jack White on the seven-inch single "I'll Be There If You Ever Want" b/w "I'm Making Plans" for White's Third Man Records. Lilly, who broke into the L.A. scene fronting the group Obi Best, recently formed Touché with her friend and musical partner Bram Inscore. But with all that, these four talented artists hold a special place for the music they make together.

"If it sounds beautiful, that's because it felt beautiful—because we were really listening to each other and experiencing the union of our voices," Becky reflects. It's a pretty simple principal that we are committed to as a musical endeavor. The Living Sisters are about a collective spirit and about our relationship to one another—the fun we have the friendship and love that we share. It just works."
Dan Bern
Dan Bern
You'd be hard pressed to find anyone more prolific than Dan Bern. Bern is a consummate generalist, logging time as a singer songwriter, guitarist, novelist, and painter. His output includes twenty albums with three released in 2012 alone. His writing has drawn comparisons to the likes of Bob Dylan, and Woody Guthrie. Bern's work in all of his fields showcases a biting wit and a sardonic sense of the world; tackling a variety of topics, and eloquently skirting faux pas from the religious to the the explicitly political "Bush Must Be Defeated." He even pokes fun at his own influences with the "Talkin Woody, Bob, Bruce, And Dan Blues."

His sense of humor has gotten him work in film as well, penning sixteen songs for the spoof bio pic "Walk Hard," and Get Him To The Greek." As a Novelist, he has produced "Quitting Science" under the pen name Cunliffe Merriwether, and a number of short stories. To toss the term Renaissance man around might be appropriate when you're dealing with an artist as multi faceted as Dan Bern.
Dan Wilson
Dan Wilson
“Words & Music by Dan Wilson” is an evening of songs and stories that pulls back the curtain on the art and practice of songwriting. Between stripped-down renditions of some of the modern-day classics he has written on his own and with such collaborators as Adele, Taylor Swift, the Dixie Chicks and Carole King, Grammy winning singer-songwriter and producer Dan Wilson shares his insights into songwriting and relates the moments of discovery that led to them. 
Dan Wilson is best known as the lead singer of the band Semisonic, for which he wrote the Grammy-nominated smash "Closing Time" as well as other international hits including "Secret Smile" and "Chemistry."  Since Semisonic, Dan has released two solo albums: Free Life (produced with Rick Rubin) and Live at the Pantages.  He has also become a highly sought-after songwriting collaborator, working with a diverse group of artists which also includes: Pink, Dierks Bentley, John Legend, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jim James, Nas, Josh Groban, Weezer, and many others.

Dan Wilson is releasing his third solo album Love Without Fear on April 15th. The album “is about being left alone and desperately wishing for connection and togetherness,” explains Wilson. “The sound lives at the intersection of Americana and Beatles-influenced rock and roll, a little bit of twang and a lot of cinematic emotion.”
Andrew McMahon
Throughout the last several years I have had the pleasure of making music with many talented people in a variety of settings; my most notable work being the music of Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate. Upon the completion of my last album I began to sense a new time was close at hand; one that would require an availability to change, exploration into new forms of self expression and a commitment to creating constantly and without consideration for the potential windfalls of that process' success. With this in mind, I will now operate with as few layers if any, between myself and what is posted here. The goal is to use this space to share experiences via art with those who wish to visit. Enjoy.
Venue Information:
Largo at the Coronet
366 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90048
http://www.largo-la.com