Russ & Julie's House Concerts

This article appeared in The Los Angeles Times on February 23, 1999
on page two of the OUR TIMES supplement for the Conejo Valley
edition with an extensive review of this web site!

Please note that this website has been redesigned and
streamlined several times since this review was written.
It was also written before DSL lines were prevalent.


by Maija-Liisa Nagarajan

Attending concerts has become steadily more expensive and less intimate. There was a time when going to a concert meant you could see the performer without binoculars, and it meant that you didn't have to promise your firstborn as collateral, either.

Russ and Julie of Oak Park, California found a way to capture that intimate concert setting by offering their house as a coffeeshop-like venue for musicians. The couple began hosting house concerts in the winter of 1997; their most recent show was held earlier this month.

Those who are curious about this unique form of entertainment can look up their web site at

One huge problem with the site was downloading the home page because of the large amount of graphics. I don't doubt the pictures add more information to the web page and compliment the text, but it does take some time to load. So for the impatient web surfer, beware.

The web site opens with an explanation of what a house concert is and why they Russ and Julie have them. At the bottom of the page, there is more information about the concerts and the couple who open their homes to musicians and strangers.

Now maybe my journalistic senses want me to see the who, what, where, when and why at the beginning of any piece of information, but I do think others would also prefer to see that material at the top of the page.

A picture of each concert held at the couple's home is posted on the page with a summary of the musician. Reading this information is not only educational, but entertaining as well -- and not just about the musicians. This couple is really dedicated to promoting these artists.

With each summary of a past concert, a link is provided to learn more about the that particular artist. This was very helpful when I saw a musician that caught my eye, and wanted to learn more about him.

A schedule of future concerts is posted at the end of the page so those who are interested can make plans well in advance. Reservations should be made early because there is a space limitation. Russ and Julie's living room is emptied out, the couches are moved to the garage and chairs are set up for about 60 people.

This is a fun page to look at and I will definitely visit more often to read concert reviews and check up on the musicians... but only when I have time to wait for all the graphics to download.