Wednesday nights at The Space

Stew, one of the best things out of Los Angeles in recent years.

Stew, one of the best things out of Los Angeles in recent years.

A new venue is a thing to cheer. These days, news about changes in booking policies at a local club usually mentions that the club used to book live music but that nobody bothered to show up, so now the club plays records instead.

So, the word that Abandon Productions has opened its performance space at 2509 R Street—named, rather literally, The Space—to live music is a good thing.

The first show was scheduled to happen on Wednesday, January 15; the announcement came too late to write any kind of preview, and the show happened a couple of days too late to write a review. The ambitious bill included Sherman Baker, Elena Powell, Hans Eberbach’s duo Looking Star, James Finch Jr., Aaron Ross, Richard March, Kate & Alex, and Dre—most of them singer-songwriters, although Eberbach is perhaps better known for his now-defunct band Sweet Vine.

The second show, on Wednesday, January 22, will feature Stew, the brilliant Los Angeles singer-songwriter who sometimes fronts a band called the Negro Problem, along with Columbia Records artist Mia Doi Todd and local sensation Jackie Greene. The show starts at 8 p.m., and admission is $10.

Perhaps this is a good place to tout Stew, whose independent-label CDs Guest Host (Telegraph, 2000) and The Naked Dutch Painter and Other Stories (Smile/Image, 2002) both contain music that is intelligent, ambitious, witty and complex. Stew has been compared to such musical fountains of cool as Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb, which either will mean something to you or won’t. Having seen Stew solo and with the Negro Problem numerous times, I’ll just tell you that this will be $10 well spent and leave it at that.

Also announced is a January 29 date with singer-songwriters Michael Fracasso and Sherman Baker, and more shows are planned—especially if people show up. Got that?

The Space is where Abandon Productions stages its theatrical presentations, under the artistic direction of Doniel Soto. But on Wednesday nights the theater had been dark; hence, this nascent series.

Oh, and one caveat: Because this is January and because The Space doesn’t exactly have a state-of-the-art heating and air-conditioning unit, you might want to bring a blanket to stay warm. As the venue’s press release put it, it’s great for a first date.