The following article appeared in the July 4, 2002 edition of The Beverly Hills Outlook:
Russ and Julie Throw a Party
BY CYNTHIA CITRON
There was a party at Russ and Julie's house last Saturday night and about 100 people showed up. Russ and Julie have a party once a month and their house fills up with friendly strangers who are fans of folk guitar. They are people of all ages -- even some old enough to remember the coffee houses of the '50s, when the best musicians of the day would show up to jam.
The featured performer the other night was Darryl Purpose, a great big mountain of a man whose shaved head was covered by a big black hat. He looked like someone you wouldn't want to run into in a dark alley, but when he began to sing in his soft, gentle baritone you sat forward in your chair to listen to every word.
Purpose is a singer/songwriter whose lyrics and twangy style are reminiscent of James Taylor. His songs tell personal stories of his life as a professional gambler ("I've been barred from casinos on six continents," he said) and from his adventures as a wandering minstrel. They are interesting, well-written, and beautifully melodious.
Purpose's masterful guitar-playing was complemented by the extraordinary performance of Julie Beaver on the fiddle. Actually, her playing was too elegant to be called fiddle-playing. Call her a folk violinist. She also had a sweet voice which she used to harmonize on some of Purpose's songs.
The "opening act" for Purpose and Beaver was folk guitarist Claudia Russell. She was joined by her husband, Bruce Kaplan, on the mandolin. They were terrific, and a wonderful counterpoint to the performance that followed.
A 20-minute intermission allows the audience to mingle, talk to the performers, and enjoy a dessert buffet, coffee, and cold drinks. You can also purchase CDs by the performers. It's a delightful way to spend a Saturday night.
As for me, I came home and ordered a CD by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.
Russ and Julie's house is in Oak Park, a suburb near Agoura Hills. It's a beautiful venue, but it fills up quickly, so reservations are required. To reserve, and get directions, call 818-707-2179. There is a donation of $15, with all moneys going to the performers.
For more information, and the summer schedule, join them on-line at www.houseconcerts.us.