Russ & Julie's House Concerts

Our House Concert series received some publicity in The Los Angeles Times
on February 3, 1999 when a feature article was published in the OUR TIMES
supplement for the Conejo Valley edition. This photo appeared on the cover
of the day's OUR TIMES section along with the following article.

LA Times Article February 3, 1999

by Chris G. Denina

Russ and Julie used to think the only place to go for a good concert was Los Angeles. For them, that meant enduring hour-long drives from their Oak Park home and fights with other motorists over parking places.

Three years ago, they got fed up with the hassle. Rather than drive to a concert, they decided to have concerts come to them.

Now, the two -- who work as graphic designers out of their two-story house -- open their home to about 50 people for their intimate, coffee house-style concerts featuring light rock and folk music acts.

The morning of a concert, they move their living room furniture in the garage to make way for 50 rented folding chairs. They set up a dessert buffet in the back, a table for performers to sell CDs and t-shirts, and leave a collection plate by the door for the $10 cover charge, with proceeds going to the performer, Julie said.

While they don't attact the same big names as larger venues, the couple have hosted more than a dozen concerts. And now, through word of mouth, they have been able to attract some recognizable names.

In October, they played host to John Hall, the former lead singer of the group Orleans, Russ said, noting the band released a pair of top-10 hits in the 1970s: "Still The One" and "Dance With Me."

"I didn't expect John Hall to say yes. Here's a guy used to playing major arenas. But he said sure, he'd come out and do a show here," Russ said. "I was just floored. He's written a number of hits. It was great when he was performing because everyone knew the words and could sing along."

Severin Browne, a former Motown Records songwriter who now runs a mail-order cookie business in South Pasadena, was the first musician to perform at Russ and Julie's home in February 1997, and he's booked to play again May 22.

"A house concert is really kind of a miracle of capitalism," Browne said. "There's nobody bucking you for a two-drink minimum. You've paid your money, you're in there, and you're up close with the artist. It's just the perfect house concert setting."

Next door, Cheryl Green and her husband said the concerts don't bother them at all. "It's not loud. You don't hear it, at least from our house. You woudn't know anything's going on there," Green said.