Kathleen WilhoiteWILHOITE'S LIVING ROOM
By Vernor Rodgers

For those living in the Los Angeles area who would like to have a unique and entertaining evening that is not crazy expensive, consider checking out Wilhoite's Living Room. Wilhoite's Living Room is a show that lasts about two hours and takes place in the E Spot Lounge, located upstairs in Vitellos Restaurant, 4349 Tujunga Ave. in Studio City, Californa. It is offered the first Monday of the month at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Actress and musician Kathleen Wilhoite serves as host/performer for the program, which is described as "music, spoken word, song writing and performing."

Wilhoite's  acting career began in 1983, and has included more than 100 appearances in movies ("Road House," "The Morning After" and "Lorenzo's Oil") and television, including being a guest star in multiple episodes of "L.A. Law," "Gilmore Girls," "ER" and "Pepper Ann." In addition, she has written music and has released CDs such as "Pitch Like a Girl" in 1997 and "Shiva" in 2000.

Wilhoite opened the February 2016 show by singing a couple of solos while playing the piano, including a soulful rendition of "Desperado." She then turned the show over to the other performers. Two singers, Jaq McKenzie, who was a contestant on "American Idol" in 2015 and made it to the final 48, and Kristen Matson, were seated on the stage and switched off singing songs in acoustic performances. Between these two singers' songs were storytelling interludes. Both singers received enthusiastic responses to their songs.

The stories ranged from comedic, such as Laura House's wickedly funny detailing of a hillbilly beach party, to stirring personal stories, such as actor Jeff Kober ("China Beach" and a guest-starring role in "The Walking Dead") presenting a moving story about a dark emotional time in his life and subsequent spiritual renewal. Another storyteller, Rick Reddick, who confessed before the show he had never done a storytelling gig like this before, offered a funny and chilling recollection of a harrowing experience he had during a brief stint as a taxi driver in Los Angeles. In addition, Nate Goodman and Mick Betancourt presented humorous and touching stories about family life.

Jaq McKenzieWhen the storytelling and singing was done, a brief intermission allowed the audience to stretch their legs. Then Wilhoite returned to the stage with her band to perform four songs. One of the pieces was what she called the "mystery song," meaning she did not tell her band what it was going to be -- just the basics in terms of chords and tempo. The song turned out to be 10cc's "I'm Not in Love," and the highlight was  Wilhoite doing the whispering interlude of "big boys don't cry," except she said "big boys don't cwy."

The E Spot Lounge provides an intimate venue where patrons can sit at tables and drink or dine. There is a two-item minimum and the menu, aside from a variety of alcoholic beverages and teas, has appetizers and full meals.

The cover price is $10, although advanced seating reservations cost an additional $2.

For reservations, go to http://www.opentable.com/vitellos?rid=32521&ref=1068

By phone, Vitellos can be reached at 818-769-0905 or by fax at 818-769-0928.

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