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RECREATION | Best of Ventura County 2017

Sep 21, 2017 | Best place for visual and audio entertainment

Four Friends Gallery
1414 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Suite 111

Steve Brogden loves music as much as he loves books. When he was the deputy director at the Thousand Oaks Library, he established a concert series for people who, like himself, craved live music away from the huge audiences of concert halls; the loud, boisterous crowds in bars; and the city traffic of Los Angeles. Calling on his connections in the folk music industry (a former roadie, he’s been involved with Folk Alliance Region West for decades), he’d book acts such as Albert Lee, Perla Battala and Vonda Shepard for his popular “Live at the Library” series.

Brogden retired in 2014, but loved those small-venue shows so much that this Pied Piper played his tune, luring musicians and his library-concert fans to a new location. His concert series, Brogden Bay Presents, is now held at Four Friends Gallery, an art space that specializes in vintage and fine art photography as well as “Outsider Art,” or works that demonstrate little influence from the mainstream artworld.

An art gallery may at first glance seem as unusual a venue for a music concert as a library. But acoustic performances, particularly those with a storytelling aspect, are arguably best enjoyed in an intimate space. The folk and Americana genres, in which Brogden Bay Presents specializes, have their own “outside the establishment” element, with many artists enjoying a following within their niche, even if widespread success eludes them. A gallery that makes space for Outsider Art seems an apt home for non-mainstream music as well.

So come on down to Four Friends Gallery in Thousand Oaks. Concerts are offered every month or so, with the likes of Corky Siegel, Jerry Vivino, Bettman and Halpin and other luminaries in the Americana scene taking the stage. You and just 80 of your fellow audience members will be able to enjoy good tunes in a warm, intimate setting, and take in some of the first-rate artwork up on the walls, too. Music for the ears, art for the eyes . . . it’s a truly immersive cultural experience.

PICTURED: Tall Men Group performs at Four Friends Gallery in April 2017. Photo by Christopher Broughton