Ian Whitcomb, Altadena’s ukelele/accordion stylist, Tin Pan Alley expert and songwriter extraordinaire, has kept a daily journal of his adventures in Los Angeles since 1972. A born raconteur, with a well-educated Englishman’s command of the mother tongue and a biting wit, Whitcomb sees all, tells all, and makes it incredibly, wryly funny. The Huntington Library has the originals in its Rare Manuscripts collection; now mere mortals can get a taste of his charming take on life, both in the general lunacy of L.A. (Christopher Isherwood to Van Dyke Parks!) and out in the ‘burbs (Altadena!) in Letters from Lotusland: An Englishman n Exile. It’s a collection of his monthly writings from 1996 on, which flow back and forth through time. “I suppose the self-absorption is similar to Proust,” Whitcomb says. “But I find him unreadable.”
Fox-trot on down to Vroman’s on Tuesday, when Whitcomb will sign — and sing — whilst regaling the crowd with titillating tales from Tinseltown and beyond. Once you get hold of the book, set aside some time with a cup of tea or a very dry martini — you won’t want to leave his charming, cynical company till you absolutely have to.
Ian Whitcomb Signs & Sings
Tuesday, February 2, 7 p.m.
695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena