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Grammy Museum: highlights for January

December 2, 2008 |  3:01 pm

Come early 2009, the new Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles will play host to a series of public events, the centerpiece of which will be a chat and performance by Brian Wilson on Jan. 15.

Executive Director Bob Santelli says the new four-story hall, which will open to the public Saturday, has more than 100 events on tap for the upcoming year. While some are directly tied to the Grammy Awards, such as a Jan. 22 look at the “Masterminds Behind the Grammys,” most, like the museum itself, take a broader focus than the annual awards gala.

The museum is part of the $2.5 billion L.A. Live project undertaken by sports and entertainment behemoth AEG. In addition to the Grammy Museum, L.A. Live is host to concert venues the Nokia Theatre and the Conga Room, and a bevy of restaurants. It is across the street from Staples Center, the home of the Feb. 8 Grammy Awards.

“It's safe to say that I'm taking full advantage of our address,” Santelli said. “Right next to us is Club Nokia, the Conga Room, the Nokia Theatre and the Staples Center, all of which I have access to, thanks to AEG. So when I'm ready to announce a curated jazz concert series, I can go beyond the very intimate soundstage we have at the museum, and curate concerts on this campus.”

Promised are film nights, lectures and discussions with industry insiders, Q&A’s with artists and showcases with young and up-and-coming acts. Here’s a look at what the Grammy Museum will showcase in January, as revealed at a Tuesday morning walk-through for the media.

The Making of the Grammy Museum (Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m.) The museum’s first program will be a look at the young history of the complex. Santelli and others behind the museum will discuss how it came to be at the free event.

An Evening With Brian Wilson (Jan. 15, 8 p.m.) Santelli will interview the legendary artist, who will give the first public concert in the museum’s 200-seat theater. The session promises a Q&A with audience members as well. UPDATE: A Grammy Museum spokersperson stresses this event is largely a chat with the artist, with a very brief concluding performance. Admission is $20 for non-members, and on-sale information has not yet been released.

Duke Jazz Talk with Charlie Haden and Alan Broadbent (Jan. 21, 8 p.m.) Presented in conjunction with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and the Recording Academy, Santelli will host a discussion with jazz composer/bassist Haden and pianist Broadbent. Admission is $18.

Masterminds Behind the Grammys (Jan. 22, 8 p.m.) Longtime Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich will be joined by Recording Academy head Neil Portnow, producers John Cossett and Walter Miller, as well as CBS executive Jack Sussman, promising a behind-the-scenes look at the awards. It’s free, with a reservation.

Recording Academy Retrospective: 50 Years of Legacy & Leadership (Jan. 28, 8 p.m.) Famed producer, and chairman of the Recording Academy, Jimmy Jam, will host a panel discussion looking at the history of the group. This event is free.

For more information, visit the Grammy Museum website, or call (213) 765-6800.

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times