Monthly Archives: February 2017

Michael Smith, singer and songwriter extraordinaire (The Dutchman, and many others), at Caltech Saturday, March 11

Chicago-based Michael Smith returns to Caltech for a show in the intimate Beckman Institute Auditorium (Little Beckman) on Saturday, Mach 11 at 8:00 PM. Michael last appeared here in 2012, and we are ever so proud to be a semi-regular stopping point for him during his rare California appearances. Michael’s songs can be quite moving and poetic, almost literary, such as The Dutchman and I Brought My Father With Me. He can also be hilariously funny, with songs such as Zippy, and Famous in France. Michael’s guitar adds so much to the experience (listen to We Become Birds.) And seeing Michael perform live is a very special experience indeed. Don’t miss this show!

The show will be in Beckman Institute Auditorium (Little Beckman) and tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for Caltech students and children. Tickets can be purchased on the phone (626-395-4652) with a credit card (a service charge will be added per order) or purchased at the Caltech Public Events Ticket Office at the Winnett Student Center for face value (Generally open Monday-Friday 9AM-4PM). See the campus map and they are located at building #51. Always a good idea to call them first to be sure they will be in the office when you go. You can also buy tickets online until Thursday, March 9 by clicking the icon below. We have 2 fine shows coming up in April, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas (Scottish fiddle and cello) on April 1.


NOTE: The Alan Reid/ Rob van Sante show scheduled for April 29 has had to be postponed. If you have already purchased tickets, we are working out refund procures with the Ticket Office. We will let you know when we get it resceduled.

Problems for international touring performers:
The Folk Music Society would like to bring your attention to a problem with United States tax policy for touring performers from outside the country.  You may remember that we have had to postpone a couple of concerts in the last couple of years because of delays in work visas, and Old Blind Dogs had to find a substitute performer last year when longtime member, Johnny Hardie’s papers forced him to bow out on their tour, after it had become necessary to cancel their tour a year before that.  What is going on?  The problems vary a bit, but the United States existing non-immigrant Visa, tax rules and associated costs are becoming an increasing challenge. Most importantly, it is a major disincentive for foreign artists who would like to perform in the US, but many of them have opted to stop touring in the U.S. at all.  It is a complex issue, but the bottom line is that the U.S. is much harsher on foreign touring acts than those countries are on our performers, and the result is that fewer and fewer non-U.S. performers can be heard live here and they are not able to promote their music here.  The performers lose and we lose.  We at the Pasadena Folk Music Society consider ourselves very lucky in the fact that Dàimh and a few other performers have been able to navigate the difficult waters and make a US tour worthwhile.  We would love to be able to at least try to book acts like Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain in our series, but they have virtually given up trying to tour the States because of the costs, the delays, and the frustration of coming here.  The Milwaukee Irish Festival has done a beautiful job of describing the long list of difficulties for performers touring the States.  We urge you to read it here.  What can we do about it?  Let your federal representatives know about the problem.  We need to make them aware of the problem.  

The Folk Music Society was very proud to present the great Utah Phillips, a songwriter, storyteller, historian, and much more, 3 times in the 1980s and 1990s. Singing and talking about unions, hoboes, radical politics, and anarchy, he connected us with the past and and made us think about the present as well as the future. And he made us laugh a lot. He spoke of the “Long memory,” a concept that we need more than ever in our times. If you don’t know about Utah, listen to him sing his songs, All Used Up, Hallelujah I’m a Bum and I Remember Loving You (sung with Priscilla Herdman), just a few of the many that he wrote. Utah died in 2008, and his son, Duncan, is trying to buy the railroad car that Utah lived in for several years, while he was in Vermont, before he returned to the West. Duncan wants to renovate the car and bring it out west to the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture and have a place where people can reconnect to this unique and insightful man. If you would like to find out about this project and perhaps make a contribution, click here. The Folk Music Society is planning to make a donation and we invite you to consider it too.

Mark Sunday, March 5 on your calendar for 626 Golden Streets. This is the make-up date for last year’s 626 Open Streets that was postponed last June because of the heat and the nearby forest fires burning above Azusa. Get your bike in shape or get your walking shoes out for this community event that extends from South Pasadena to Azusa. You can make connections to the Gold Line (it will be the one-year anniversary for the extension to Azusa) and a great chance to get outside and see the neighborhoods and your neighbors. Come and enjoy automobile-free streets. Don’t miss the fun!

Also the same weekend is the 20th annual Native Hope International Pasadena Pow Wow at William Carey International University at 1539 E. Howard street in Pasadena on Saturday and Sunday, March 4 and 5. There is no admission charge and you will hear some incredible drumming and singing! [

And Art Night Pasadena is coming too, one night before Michael Smith’s show! Come to Pasadena on Friday, March 10 and visit the Norton Simon Art Museum, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, take in Taiko drumming at the Shumei Art Council, hear live music at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and much more, all connected by free buses!