I recently saw JANET KLEIN AND HER PARLOR BOYS at THE COFFEE GALLERY BACKSTAGE in Altadena California. This was the second time I saw her and was impressed by her 1920’s period performance. Her rotating cast of Parlor Boys exhibits a high level of virtuosity in their “hot” style of playing. Prior to this show, I saw Woody Allen’s new movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. Afterwards I began looking where I might see Janet Klein again. I found the right spot. THE COFFEE GALLERY BACKSTAGE is a decades old neighborhood venue that features quality shows in a picturesque setting. Being a firm believer that going out into the world, mixing with people, and being part of spontaneous and random events in important, I was not disappointed with this outing.
Walking into the Coffee Gallery off the street I passed several people playing chess. Inside the Coffee Gallery is homey and spacious. I then walked toward the rear of what appeared to be an employee storeroom and entered another door into the performance space. I immediately thought of Woody Allen’s portal into the past. In this darkened room, I was hit by the unique set design, murals, and stage lighting. When the performers walked on stage, the 1920’s era really kicked in. During the show I accidentally knocked over someone’s bottle of root beer. This drew a quick response from some of the performers. Meanwhile the owner, Bob Stane graciously mopped up the mess. I have been to similar venues such as McCABES GUITAR STORE in Santa Monica, and THE FOLK MUSIC STORE in Claremont. Each have their own unique slant on presentation.
The BACKSTAGE is a wide and somewhat shallow space. I would recommend getting there at least 45 minutes early depending on the show to avoid sitting on the sides even though the sound mix is good everywhere. When I mentioned the transition from the street to the stage to Bob Stane, he agreed the passage was not unlike a Wizard Of Oz sequence.
The COFFEE GALLERY BACKSTAGE is located at 2029 N. Lake Street in Altadena.
The calendar of events is available at their website.