Jewish Journal

Picks and Clicks for Feb. 14–20, 2009

by Dikla Kadosh and Lilly Fowler

Posted on Feb. 13, 2009 at 3:27 am

Roman Polanski’s life is almost too tragic to be true: the famed “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby” director survived the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Poland; years later his pregnant wife was murdered by the Manson Family. After he pleaded guilty to a statutory rape charge in 1978, Polanski fled to Europe where he has continued to direct. He took a Best Director Oscar for the World War II drama, “The Pianist,” but couldn’t attend the ceremony without fear of being arrested. It’s astounding that no one, until now, has attempted a dramatized version of Polanski’s tribulations. Low-budget filmmaker and actor Damian Chapa directed, co-wrote and stars in “Polanksi: Unauthorized,” a biopic that will undoubtedly raise eyebrows and spark conversations about one of the most controversial figures in Hollywood history. Laemmle Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (323) 848-3500. www.polanskiunauthorized.com.

Half-Jewish actor Joaquin Phoenix co-stars with half-Jewish actress Gwyneth Paltrow in a dark romantic flick about a love triangle featuring two Jews and a shiksa. We bet you can guess who plays the shiksa goddess. In “Two Lovers,” Phoenix plays a Jewish Brooklynite in the dry-cleaning business who is torn between a free-spirited, blonde WASP and his parents’ choice — a sweet, stable Jewish girl from a wealthy family. Reviews of James Gray’s film have been positive, and critics laud Phoenix’s performance as emotionally subtle and complex. It’s too bad his retirement from acting might mean this is the last time we see him on the silver screen. Check theaters for showtimes. www.twoloversmovie.com.

Sababa Parties is riding its wave of New Year’s success from Ventura Boulevard all the way to Rodeo Drive. After a packed house at Fuel in Studio City, Sababa is tweaking the vibe for its next holiday-inspired party, “Valentine’s Day Live,” at A Cow Jumped Over the Moon. It will be a classy affair with kosher gourmet sushi and appetizers for purchase and a dance floor under the stars, weather permitting. Sababa staples DJ Ziv and DJ Titus will spin ’70s, ’80s, hip-hop, dance and Israeli music. Sat. 9:30 p.m. $14 (before 10:30 p.m.), $20 (after 10:30 p.m.). A Cow Jumped Over the Moon, 421 N. Rodeo Drive, lower Level, Beverly Hills. (310) 657-6680. www.sababaparties.com.

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of University of California at Irvine’s Law School, will discuss future nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court and the ways they are likely to affect the interpretation of the Constitution, among other hot topics. With Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg battling pancreatic cancer, the topic couldn’t be more relevant. Sponsors (available from $250-$2,500) are invited to a private meeting with the dean in the temple’s library. Sun. 7 p.m. $25-$40. Temple Beth David, 6100 Hefley St., Westminster. (714) 892-6623. www.templebethdavid.org.

Are you trying to avoid becoming a bridezilla as you plan you’re upcoming wedding? “A Wedding Affair,” a Jewish bridal expo featuring an array of services and products, may just be the ticket to more tranquil wedding planning. Calligraphers, florists, honeymoon planners, caterers, beauticians, you name a wedding need, they’ll be there — all in one convenient location. Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $10 (advance online reservations) $12 (door). Marriott Los Angeles Airport, 5855 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 462-3667. www.aweddingaffair.us.

Calling the Yiddish-fluent, Yiddish-challenged and Yiddish-ignorant. The California Institute for Yiddish Culture and Language, along with Sinai Temple, is hosting Shekhter-Tekhter [The Schaechter Daughters] and Binyumen. New York composer, conductor and pianist Binyumen Schaechter, along with his daughters (ages 14 and 9), are staging a musical revue about kids and their relationship with their parents and the world around them that has been much-lauded in Paris, New York and Australia. Sinai Temple is hosting the only West Coast performance. Songs are in Yiddish; translations are provided. Tue. 7:30 p.m. $18, $8 (students), free (children under 6). Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 745-1190. www.sinaitemple.org.

Five soldiers are lost in the middle of the jungle in Vietnam. Are they surrounded by the enemy? Will they make it out alive? Or is all just their imagination? “A Lovely Place for a Picnic” may seem like an unlikely title for a play that deals with such heavy questions, but you’ve got to trust us on this one. Pavel Cerny, the man behind the long-running Yiddish cabaret musical, “BELZ!” directs. Tue. 8 p.m. $20. WhiteFire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (866) 811-4111. www.whitefiretheatre.com.

Family dysfunction and Jewish heritage culminate in paper collage, garment patterns, sewing pins, thread and text in artist Carol Es’ work, which has already been featured at the Getty Museum and Brooklyn Museum. Es will join Bonita Helmer, a highly cerebral abstract painter, “whose large, striking canvases depict vast metaphysical landscapes that deal with such subjects as physics, Kabbalah and the universe,” at a new, not-to-be-missed exhibition. The opening will include a special dessert reception and Es’ show, “Inner Outline,” along with Helmer’s, “Without Beginning, Without End.” The photographic diary, “Save a Child’s Heart,” chronicling the work done by Israeli surgeons for children from developing countries in need of heart surgery, will also be on display. Wed. 7-9 p.m. Free. Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts at UCLA Hillel, 574 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 208-3081. www.uclahillel.org.

For 15 years, the Southern California Israel Chamber of Commerce has been connecting local businesses to businesses in Israel, fostering alliances, technology sharing and learning. The organization is celebrating its milestone with a dinner and awards ceremony, withDavid Nahai as keynote speaker. Nahai, general manager of the L.A. Department of Water and Power, recently accompanied L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on a trip to Israel and signed a co-operation agreement with an Israeli company that develops water technologies. Wed. 7-9 p.m. $60. 142 S. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 410-2300 ext. 310. admin@scicc.biz. www.scicc.biz.

There is perhaps no one better qualified to talk about terrorism and ideology than Judea Pearl, the father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Pearl is the co-founder and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, an organization dedicated to dialogue and understanding the root causes of his tragedy, as well as the Daniel Pearl Dialogue for Muslim-Jewish Understanding. Pearl will present “Being Jewish, American, Western in the Post-9/11 Era” as the 2009 Feinberg Lecture, a series dedicated to discussing the role of Judaism in the world today. R.S.V.P. is required. Thu. 7:30 p.m. Free. Whittier College, AJ Villalobos Hall, 7214 Painter Ave., Whittier. (562) 907-4912 or (562) 907-4219. www.whittier.edu.

The Young Professional division of StandWithUs understands that before you can stand, you must laugh, which is why the group is inviting you to a night of stand-up comedy at the Improv. “Laugh With Us” is an opportunity for those interested in joining the pro-Israel advocates to see the lighter side of the organization. Avi Liberman, Chris Spencer, Mike Loftus and Tom Papa will be providing the laughs, and StandWithUs will be providing the posters and signs. Just kidding. Thu. 8 p.m. $25 (general), $36 (reserved seating). All prices include two drinks. Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. standwithusYP@gmail.com. www.standwithus.com.

Long before Israel was a state, the Palestinians were a people and the Middle East was a war zone, the civilizations that thrived in the region shared musical traditions. Arabs, Jews, Turks and Armenians alike blew on the ney, pounded the darbukkah and strummed the oud. Reviving these ancient exotic sounds, Eliyahu and The Qadim Ensemble also hope to reawaken the sense of community between the now-warring cultures. Made up of both Jewish and Arab musicians, the group is touring the West Coast promoting their new CD, “Eastern Wind,” and performing their soulful, rhythmic blend using Persian stick fiddles, Indian tablas, Turkish lutes, Arabic percussion and other eclectic instruments, accompanied by vocals. Thu. 8:30 p.m. $12 (advance), $15 (at the door). Levantine Cultural Center, 5774 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 657-5511. www.eliyahusills.com.

From egg-freezing to marriage to end of life issues, a panel of local and international medical experts will weigh in on them all at this weekendlong symposium, Medicine and Judaism: Implications of Jewish Law for Medical Practice. Presented by Nessah Israel Young Professionals and Simcha Hall Ritual Group. Fri. 7 p.m. $30. Sat. 1 p.m. $40 and 8 p.m. $10. Sun. 10:30 a.m. $25. Nessah Synagogue, 142 S. Rexford Dr., Beverly Hills. (310) 273-2400. www.nessah.org.

Thieves, whores and melodic melodies. It’s all included in “The Threepenny Opera.” First performed in 1928, the play — by Bertolt Brecht, an outspoken Nazi critic, and composer Kurt Weill, the son of a cantor — has made the story of “Mac the Knife” and his cohort of criminals legendary. “It’s a satire on capitalism and corruption told from the viewpoint of the ‘little people,’” notes Jules Aaron, director of the play. “If there was ever time to revive this show, it’s now.” Fri. 8 p.m. $35-$60. Through Mar. 22. International City Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. (562) 436-4610. www.ictlongbeach.org.

There will be glitz and glamour, a red carpet and loads of talent in West Hollywood even before the Oscars. One night before the televised celeb-fest, The Men of Kol Ami will be giving the Jewish community the star treatment at Klub Ami with a grand red carpet, a champagne reception, “celebrity” photos and an evening of entertainment that includes Broadway singer Sean McDermott, magician Michael Gutenplan and “The Queer Queen of Comedy,” Poppy Champlin. In true Jewish fashion, this lavish night out has a greater purpose than mere self-indulgence: A portion of the proceeds benefit AIDS charities and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. Sat. Feb. 21. 8-11 p.m. $40 (orchestra), $75 (front row sponsor table), $20 (with a one-hour commitment to help before the show; call (310) 429-2009 to sign up). Congregation Kol Ami, 1200 N. La Brea Ave., West Hollywood. (323) 606-0996. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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