A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

As we go through life, we first recall those events or situations that gave us the strongest sensations. From love, to hate, to pain, to fear, to pleasure — it’s the ones that made the deepest impact that first come to mind. As of last Saturday, when I went to see “The Wrecking Crew” at the Nuart Theater on Santa Monica Boulevard, when somebody will say the words “work of love,” I will first think of this documentary movie. Although it offers everything to evoke that feeling in those who were 13 years old or older in 1963, this movie transcends generational tastes.  It works at many levels. It’s so good, it made me cry happy tears.

First, it’s a love-filled homage from a son to his father. Denny Tedesco, the film’s producer and the movie’s voice, early on in the movie confesses that he didn’t inherit his father’s extensive skills with string instruments. Tommy Tedesco, Denny’s father, was the non-official leader of the Wrecking Crew, an amorphous group of studio session musicians who played the music behind most of the big names of that era. In spite of his confessed lack of skill on guitars, banjos, mandolins, zithers, etc., in this movie the young Tedesco struck every string of my heart.

Second, it’s a soul-lifting feel-good movie. This movie will lift you out of the deepest depression.

And then it educates and enlightens — and all this while you laugh out loud. It’s a precious slice of history. It’s a brilliant expose of the music of the ’60s, and it slides into the movies and the TV shows of the ’70s, and it helps explain how LA got to be what it is today.

Lastly, it’s a bit like an Aesop fable. But you must go see the movie to get the bit about the fable part.

The interviews with the who’s who of the music world of that time, including Cher, Glen Campbell, Dick Clark, Brian Wilson, Nancy Sinatra, Herb Alpert and Gary Lewis, which were filmed over a period of 18 years (Wow! Talk about patience and stick-to-itiveness) are like time-vault stolen glimpses at brilliant shooting stars, some of which have either left or are soon to leave our firmament. It’s also exceptional that this brilliant work of art was finally put together with funding through Kickstarter. And, in retrospect, I kick myself for not pitching in to help make this movie.

—Ekphrasis Rex, Culture Spot LA