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Stew and the Negro Problem to perform in L.A. for the first time in five years

Stew & heidi 8753 hi res

It's with a little hesitation that we announce the following news, given that the first song on former L.A. band the Negro Problem's debut album from 1997, "Post-Minstrel Syndrome," is a condemnation of The Times called "Birdcage." In the song, lead singer Mark "Stew" Stewart cites us as one reason why he had to leave Los Angeles for Berlin: "It's nice to know that Goldie Hawn has a tortured soul," sang Stew, "but what does Robert Hilburn know about rock and roll?/See why I had to run?"

But despite our everlasting allegiance to The Times' former pop critic Hilburn -- who knows more than Stew will ever know about rock and  roll -- time passes. And if, indeed, we were a prime reason why Stew left L.A., we'll take a little bit of credit for what's happened to him in the intervening years: most notably, the singer-songwriter created "Passing Strange," a Tony-winning musical about his time spent in Berlin as a struggling musician. The musical went on to become a Spike Lee-directed film, and earned Stew and his longtime collaborator Heidi Rodewald international acclaim.

All the while, the Negro Problem was on hiatus, one that will end when Stew, Rodewald and band embark on their first tour in half a decade, starting Oct. 20 with four nights at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theater. The band will travel to eight cities, landing in Los Angeles for two dates at the Getty Museum and the Echoplex.

Full schedule below:

Oct. 20-23, Brooklyn, N.Y. Brooklyn Academy of Music, Harvey Theater
Oct. 26-27, 8 p.m. Davis, Calif. UC Davis, Vanderhoef Studio Theatre
Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.  San Francisco. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m.   Los Angeles. Getty Museum, Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Nov. 2, 9 p.m.  Los Angeles.  The Echoplex
Nov. 5-6   Seattle. The Triple Door
Nov. 7, 9 p.m.  Portland, Ore. Aladdin Theater
Nov. 12-13, 7:30 p.m.  Chicago.  Museum of Contemporary Art, MCA Stage
Nov. 18-20  Ann Arbor, Mich. 523 S. Main

-- Randall Roberts

Photo, left to right: Heidi Rodewald and Stew. Credit: Jeff Fasano.

Comments () | Archives (9)

>But despite our everlasting allegiance to The Times' former pop critic Hilburn -- who knows more >than Stew will ever know about rock and roll

So wait, a dance critic who wrote about music knows more about rock and roll than a guy who has been doing it all his life?

"See why I had to run", indeed.

>>we'll take a little bit of credit for what's happened to him in the intervening >>years:

How can you when you had nothing to do with it?

I have no beef personally with you sir -- but your spin on my little band's return to LA is conveniently avoiding the glaring fact that we had to leave LA in order to make a living cuz you guys didn't get it and New York did.


Stew and Heidi know more about music then anyone in the LA Times will ever know in this or in any other lifetime.

Yeah, I was kinda scratching my head when I read that.

Anyhow - Yay Stew!

Hey,isn't that the dude that played in Vinsula's Gutbucket band?

Nice to see Stew is back, and nice to read his response . . .
the condscending tone of those remarks by the times just floored me. I realize a pop music writer for the Times must worship at the altar of Hilburn, but really, Stew makes a great point . . . while Hilburn may have interviewed Springsteen and Bono a million times, that’s not the same as being in a band and playing music . . .

It's just a shame that we couldn't have sent Hilburn to New York and Stew could have become successful here.

Robert Hilburn, you're not welcome to ever play a concert in my living room. So there!

Don't bite the hand that might feed you !

They look thrilled to be here. In fact they look like my mom and dad trying to look hip. Maybe they get a lot of underwhelmed responses like this and they're just tired of it.

rock on Stew - we love you here in NYC!


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