May 29, 2008
Calendar Girls picks and clicks for May 31-June 6
SAT | MAY 31|
Set somewhere between 2500 B.C.E. and 3000 C.E., Tony winner Mel Shapiro's "Homer in Cyberspace" is a wildly innovative remake of the classic Odysseus tale. The high-tech musical, with groundbreaking video gaming technology and digitally enhanced scenery, is the result of a collaboration between UCLA's theater department and its Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance. Shapiro, a Broadway veteran-turned-professor, describes his creation as a "cartoon-like hyperworld" ruled by modernized iGods, but maintains that the real beauty of the play lies in the universality of "The Odyssey's" themes, which he carefully preserved. "When I was writing it, I came to understand that it is very much about a father and son and a husband and wife who are separated, and how they feel about that." Sat. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Also, June 4-7. $7-$17. Macgowan Hall Little Theater, UCLA campus, Westwood. (310) 825-2101. http://www.tickets.ucla.edu.
Los Angeles gets knocked for being light on culture and heavy on driving. Defying both of these stereotypes is Artwalk Culver City, a free daylong walking tour of 45 local art galleries and exhibition spaces, sponsored by Sony Pictures Entertainment and 89.9 FM KCRW. The thriving enclave will fling open its doors and welcome Angelenos for a day of art, live jazz, special promotions from the neighborhood's restaurants and cafes, and, of course, lots of healthy, brisk walking. Following the art walk, the MOCA Contemporaries will throw a bash at the elegant, historic Culver Hotel. Sat. Noon-8 p.m. (gallery tours), 6:30 p.m. (MOCA after-party). Free. Intersection of Washington and La Cienega boulevards. (310) 253-5716. http://www.culvercity.org.
Kentwood Players, an L.A.-based family and community theater group, delivers "Magic Words," a quirky production for parents and children of all ages. In the musical fantasy, directed by Drew Fitzsimmons with music and lyrics by Sam Glaser, Pasha, an off-his-rocker magician, accidentally turns his daughter Serena into a doll. If he can't turn her back into the cute little princess by sundown, the girl will forever remain plastic. Pasha luckily finds the magic words to change her back, but from an unlikely source. Parents are welcome to take pictures during the show. Sat. Also June 7 and 14, 2 p.m. $7 (general), $25 (family four-pack). Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave., Westchester. (310) 645-5156 or http://kentwoodplayers.org.
SUN | JUNE 1
Jewish World Watch's (JWW) promise to "not stand idly by" as genocide or other human rights violations take place around the world will be put to action this weekend at the second Walk For Darfur in the San Fernando Valley. Decked in JWW hats and shirts, walkers will be raising money to support the work of JWW in bringing the killing to an end and providing essential services to those displaced by the attacks. Also at the event will be information booths, solar-cooker demonstrations, speakers and refreshments. Sun. 8-9 a.m. (registration), 9 a.m. (walk), 9:30 a.m.-noon (information fair). $18. Walk begins at Jewish Federation Valley Alliance, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. (818) 501-1836. http://www.walkfordarfur.org.
Zucchini-Leek Matzah Kugel, Yerushalmi Noodle Kugel, Low-Fat Mashed Potato Kugel, Rice Krispies Kugel, Pineapple-Raisin Farfel Kugel, North Shore Haddassah's Lick Your Fingers Noodle Kugel -- these are just a few of the hundreds of recipes online for making what chef and cookbook author Joan Nathan calls "the quintessential American Jewish dish." Share your own unique family recipe for kugel at Yiddishkayt's Kugl Kukh-Off, "back by hungry demand" for its second year. Pulitzer Prize-winning foodie Jonathan Gold will be one of several celebrity judges taste-testing the hundreds of lokshn (noodle), bulbes (potato) and matze (matzah) versions expected to be entered in the carbalicious contest. Attendees get to nosh, enjoy live entertainment, record treasured food memories at an oral history video station and take part in the awards ceremony. Sun. 1 p.m. $10 (general admission includes three tastings). Additional tastings are $1 for two pieces. Participating kugel chefs receive free admission. Valley Cities Jewish Community Center, 13164 Burbank Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (213) 389-8880. http://www.yiddishkaytla.org.
Israeli artist Yom Tov is making quite a trek to get here from Jerusalem to showcase his work at the Pacific Jewish Center -- more popularly known as "The Shul on the Beach." With detailed depictions of rabbis and Jewish traditions in motion, Tov's work expands on realism with abstract prisms highlighted by rich colors and light. Trained in Russia, the artist's work crosses international bounds with paintings hanging on the walls of the National Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C., and multiple museums in Moscow. Take this rare opportunity to approach the artist and get an in-depth look at his spellbinding creations. Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Free. Pacific Jewish Center, 505 Ocean Front Walk, Venice. http://www.yomtovart.com.
What better way to support Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Genetics Institute than to join your favorite athletes and entertainers during Cedars' 23rd Annual Sports Spectacular. This year's honorees include professional volleyball player Gabrielle Reece, L.A. Laker Derek Fisher and N.Y. Giant Michael Strahan. Snoop Dogg will light up the stage with other star-studded performances. Celebrity sightings aside, the event raised more than $17 million last year to further cutting-edge research into genetic disorders that affect children and adults, including mental retardation, dwarfism, deafness, malformation syndromes, as well as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Sun. 4-6:30 p.m. (silent auction and kids carnival), 6:30-9 p.m. (dinner and awards). $500. Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, 2025 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles. (310) 858-9217 or http://www.sportsspectacular.com.
With 49 prayer-filled years under its belt, Temple B'nai Hayim is celebrating it's 50th Anniversary with Rabbi Tsafreer Lev, temple staff, congregants and friends dancing the night away to a live band. Share stories and about the temple's countless mitzvot projects over a buffet dinner and look forward to 50 more years of accomplishments and success. The conservative congregation prides itself on its social action services and spiritual outreach, hoping to attract additional enthusiastic participants to join their close-knit family. Sun. 8 p.m. $118 (tax-deductible). Temple B'nai Hayim, 4302 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks. R.S.V.P required. (818) 788-4664.
Batter-up at the Homerun Derby, where you can pitch and swing to fight cancer while supporting the L.A. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Organized by 12-year-old Logan Goldberg, this ambitious undertaking grew to be more than simply his bar mitzvah project. Hundreds of kids, ages 5 to 12, are expected to enjoy music, food and activities, and have a chance to win tons of prizes donated by a Disneyland toy-maker. This is one game you can't lose. Sun. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $10 (pre-registration), $12 (door). Sunrise Little League Fields, 6400 Winnetka Ave. Woodland Hills. For more information, call Marci at (818) 883-5565 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who says you need to travel to Israel for your favorite regional goods? Israel Expo 2008: International Elegance and Beauty recreates an Israeli shuk with all the requisite offerings: Dead Sea skincare and beauty products, Israeli food and wine tasting. There will also be Israeli dancing, a fashion show, games, rides and live music. Don't miss the grand finale musical performance with Hedva Amrani and the Sunlight Orchestra. At 60, the party never stops! Sun. 1 p.m.-6 p.m. $6-$8 (children under 13 free). Samueli Jewish Campus (JCC), 1 Federation Way, Irvine. (949) 554-4541. http://www.internationalelegance.com.
Do you really even need an excuse to stay active and healthy? If you do, Temple Beth Hillel's Ninth Annual 5K Run/Walk/Stroll is a terrific reason. Get your heart rate up while raising money for the Yachad Program, which benefits special-needs children, and the Moses Program for Jews with disabilities. Even your little ones can participate in the short-track Kiddie K! If you raise more than $250 for the cause you can win two tickets to Disneyland. Don't forget to visit the health fair for tips from specialists including macrobiotic cooks, physicians and yogis. Sun. 8 a.m.- noon. $10 (18 and under), $20 (adults). Temple Beth Hillel, 12326 Riverside Drive, Valley Village. (818) 763-9148. http://www.tbhla.org.
For a brief afternoon, Robertson Boulevard will be closed to traffic and open for community commiserating at "It's a SoRo World," the 11th annual community festival that flaunts the flavor of the neighborhood. Pico-Robertson locals will parade the streets, promote their businesses, eat, dance, shop and schmooze during this fun-filled street festival. Bring your wallets and your kids, fill your bellies and meet your kosher neighbors. Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Robertson Boulevard (between Beverlywood Street and Cattaraugus Avenue). (310) 838-0870. http://www.soro.org.
MON | JUNE 2
Veteran Israeli folk dance instructor James Zimmer is hosting a Special Dance Celebration in honor of two milestones, one universal and the other personal. June 2 is Yom Yerushalayim, which commemorates the liberation of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War. The day also marks Zimmer's 500th week of leading free Israeli folk dance sessions at UCLA. Sponsored by the International Folk Dance Club at UCLA, the evening will include folk dances from and about Jerusalem, swing lessons and a swing dance party with live music by a 17-piece band led by Dennis Kaye. Mon. 7-11:30 p.m. Free. UCLA Kerckhoff Hall Grand Salon, 405 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. (310) 284-3638. IsraeliDance@yahoo.com.
WED | JUNE 4
The feeling of your heart sinking into your stomach while reading Anne Frank's harrowing diary will be intensified tenfold in Grigori Frid's emotionally charged opera "The Diary of Anne Frank." Frank's candid first-person account of life while hiding from the Nazis inspired Frid to compose an opera in 1969 using Frank's diary excerpts as the libretto. After unveiling the production in his Russian hometown of Kislovodsk, Frid realized the score would need to be smuggled to the United States if it were ever to be seen uncensored. Ani Maldjian, an Armenian American soprano who plays Frank, delivers a strong breakthrough performance. Intertwined in the already taxing plot is the story of 16-year-old Laura Hillman, who finds love in a concentration camp and is lucky to be among the more than 1,100 Jews on Schindler's List. Wed.-Thu. 8 p.m., Sun. 4 p.m. $15-$95. Sinai Temple Garage, 10400 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. For tickets call, (562) 432-5934 or http://www.longbeachopera.org.
Smokin' novelist and screenwriter David Benioff, responsible for such Hollywood hits as "25th Hour," "Troy" and "The Kite Runner," and married to actress Amanda Peet, will chat with an intimate crowd about his latest book "City of Thieves." The haunting thriller tells the story of two young men who meet in a Russian prison at the height of the Siege of Leningrad. Narrowly escaping death by firing squad, a powerful colonel tasks the desperate men with an impossible mission that sets them on a journey across war-torn Russia as they seek their one shot at survival. Wed. 7 p.m. Free. Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. (626) 449-5320. http://www.vromansbookstore.com.
THU | JUNE 5
Escape to the plush hills of Ojai for four days of groundbreaking music performances mixed with modern technology -- from a "spoken opera" set to seven erotic poems to an outdoor screening of Charlie Chaplin's silent film "Modern Times" with orchestral accompaniment Chaplin composed himself. The 62nd Ojai Music Festival opens with "Daniel Variations" by special guest artist Steve Reich, who created a four-movement tribute to murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, drawing on texts from the biblical book of Daniel and Pearl's writings. Reich, who will be in residence throughout the weekend, closes the festival with "Tehillim," a melodic composition inspired by Hebrew psalms that attempts to resurrect or recreate an oral tradition based on the festival's theme "The Intersection of Words and Music." There's also opera, documentary film, percussion ensembles and a mecca of musical expression you don't want to miss. Thu. 8 p.m. Through Sun. $20-$75. Libbey Bowl, 205 E. Ojai Ave. (805) 646-2094. http://www.ojaifestival.org.
After World War II, 27-year-old bomber pilot Hal Halvorsen defied strict military code to drop candy to the children of occupied Berlin. His sensitive act paved the way for a great humanitarian effort on behalf of the United States, which supplied war-ravaged Germany with sustenance and hope. It also inspired author Andrei Cherny's historical nonfiction "The Candy Bombers: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America's Finest Hour," which depicts a civic-minded America and parallels the occupation in Iraq only in their sharp contrast. The author will read from the book and discuss its tacit suggestion of how to spread democracy "the right way." Thu. 7 p.m. Free. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 659-3110. http://www.booksoup.com.
FRI | JUNE 6
Sam Baum is a manipulative, self-absorbed and threatening studio head in 1946 Hollywood who plans to make a movie about anti-Semitism in America. Eager to assimilate, Baum hires a non-Jewish writer to pen the script in order to depict Jews as more American than Jewish, but the more Baum tries to bury his identity, the more it seems to emerge. A penetrating character portrait written by Daniel Goldfarb and reportedly based on movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, "Adam Baum and the Jew Movie" tells the story of an immigrant Jew whose assimilation impacts not only his own work, but the life of his 13-year-old son. Fri. 8 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.), 7 p.m. (Sun.). $25-$30. Through July 20. The Hayworth Theatre, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 960-4442. http://www.thehayworth.com.
Graffiti -- is it a highly urbanized form of art or just an obnoxious defacement of public space? Before you cast your vote with the majority of society's respected citizenry who abhor the sight of colorful scrawlings on freeway overpasses, consider this: Pablo Picasso was an early graffiti artist. He said, "Graffiti belongs to everyone and no one." The long-debated issue of graffiti's place in society is depicted brilliantly in "Bomb It," a comprehensive documentary by award-winning director Jon Reiss. Shot in Los Angeles, New York, Tijuana, Paris, Barcelona and other cities, the film not only meticulously chronicles the development of graffiti art as an unsanctioned form of self-expression, it also tracks the now global debate from all perspectives and reveals the cutting-edge beauty that has evolved from urban blight. Fri. Limited one-week engagement. Check theater for show times. $7-$10. Laemmle's Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (323) 848-3500. To purchase tickets online, http://www.laemmle.com. For more on "Bomb It," http://www.bombit-themovie.com.
The most famously branded mishpacha in America has enjoyed success in virtually every type of media -- from a television series to cartoon installments to feature films. But tonight, Mike, Carol and their perfectly gender-balanced children will leap onto the stage during the world premiere of "A Very Brady Musical." When the kids overhear an argument that signals pending divorce, they conspire to raise money to send their beloved 'rents to marital counseling. Unbeknownst to them, Mom and Dad are desperately trying to evade their kids and find some quiet time to "get it on" in this not-so-innocent "Brady Bunch" satire, directed by Lloyd Schwartz, with music and lyrics by Hope and Laurence Juber (son, daughter and son-in-law, respecitvely of the TV show's creator, Sherwood Schwartz). Fri. 8 p.m. (Fri. and Sat.), 2 p.m. (Sun.). $15-$35. Through July 20. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Los Angeles. (323) 851-7977. http://www.averybradymusical.com.
Alfred Uhry's classic comedy about Southern Jewish socialites gearing up for a lavish ball as Hitler invades Poland, "The Last Night of Ballyhoo," was written especially for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Commissioned by the Olympic Games' Cultural Olympiad, the play won Uhry his second Tony Award. La Mirada Theatre is bringing back Uncle Adolph, Lala, Boo, Peachy and Sunny in a production directed by veteran Jules Aaron, who also directed the recent benefit performance of the play at the Wilshire Theatre. Fri. 8 p.m. Through June 22. $37-$45. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. (562) 944-9801. http://www.lamiradatheatre.com.