Solo artist Danny Hoch performs his latest piece, “Taking Over.” Photo by Joan Marcus
SAT | JANUARY 31
(MIDDLE EAST CONFERENCE)
The violence in the Middle East has been center stage lately, but what are some of the diplomatic, nonviolent solutions to the region’s problems? “Whither the Levant? The Crisis of the Nation-State: Lebanon, Israel, Palestine,” organized by the Levantine Cultural Center, will focus on just that question, as well as the future of the Middle East under an Obama administration, through films and panels. Among the featured films is “Lebanon Summer 2006,” a documentary about the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. Panels include “Regional Forces: Lebanon, Israel, Palestine” and “The Obama-Biden Administration and Foreign Policy vis-à-vis the Middle East: Same-Old or New Era?” Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. $8-$10 (single film), $20 (single panel), $40-$55 for entire conference, free to UCI students and faculty. UC Irvine Student Center, E. Peltason Drive, Irvine. (949) 824-2419. www.levantinecenter.org.
Architect Moshe Safdie has been actively involved in rebuilding Jerusalem, both the Old City and the new center. He has led efforts to build the U.S. Institute of Peace headquarters on the Washington, D.C., Mall; two airports, including one in Tel Aviv, and perhaps most pertinent to Angelenos, the Skirball Cultural Center. Safdie has also taught his craft at Harvard, Yale and other institutions. Now, the American Institute of Architecture San Fernando Valley Chapter is honoring this esteemed and accomplished architect with a lifetime achievement award. Sat. 6:30 p.m. $110. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (818) 907-7151. www.aiasfv.org.
Before “Bennifer” and “Brangelina,” gifted Israeli musicians Shirley Brill and Jonathan Aner fused their names to form a single identity. The Brillaner Duo are a couple off and on stage — Shirley playing the clarinet and Jonathan the piano — who will be performing two shows in Los Angeles this week. The America-Israel Cultural Foundation will host the Brillaners in a classical music concert and reception tonight, and Pepperdine University will be the site of their second program tomorrow. Sat. 5 p.m. $75 (requested donation). UCLA Faculty Center, 480 Charles Young Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 476-5397. Sun. 2 p.m. $25. Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. (310) 506-4522. www.arts.pepperdine.edu.
Jewish ice-skater Sasha Cohen will be headlining the Smucker’s Stars on Ice figure-skating production, “On the Edge.” The Olympic silver medalist will sit, spin and salchow along with Olympic bronze medalist Jeffrey Buttle and other Olympic, world and national champions in a spectacular display of lights, music and costumes that have earned the show several Emmy Awards. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Sat. 3 p.m. $11-$137. Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim. (714) 740-2000. www.starsonice.com.
SUN | FEBRUARY 1
Obie Award-winning solo artist Danny Hoch addresses an issue that New Yorkers take very personally in his new piece, “Taking Over.” Using his hometown, the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, as the setting for this much-acclaimed theater work, Hoch portrays various characters of different backgrounds whose lives are being altered by the forces of gentrification. The transition of this neighborhood from a low-income urban community rich with a variety of cultures into a wealthier, whiter and less interesting residential region is a change that is currently affecting many American cities. Sun. 6:30 p.m. Through Feb. 22. $20-$45. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (213) 628-2772. www.centertheatregroup.org.
Marc Prowisor, a security expert in Israel, is making his only public appearance in Southern California to speak about the recent events in Israel in “Israel Under Fire.” Prowisor, who has first-hand experience in combating Hamas-led terrorist attacks, has advised the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the matter. His focus tonight will be on the Judea and Samaria regions. Sponsored by the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors Los Angeles and Simi Hills Christian Church. Sun. 7:30 p.m. Free. Simi Hills Christian Church, 4307 Walnut Ave., Simi Valley. (805) 527-0123. www.cjhsla.org.
MON | FEBRUARY 2
Israeli actress Naomi Ackerman tackles a subject not often explored in the Jewish community: relationship abuse. In her one-woman show, “Flowers Are Not Enough,” she portrays a young abused woman as she struggles through denial, guilt, shame and despair before she ultimately saves herself. Ackerman, who is also a professional clown, street performer and stilt walker, has performed this play more than 750 times in front of audiences that range from school children to U.N. ambassadors. Mon. 6:30 p.m. Free. University Synagogue, 11960 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P. required. (310) 472-1255. www.unisyn.org.
WED | FEBRUARY 4
“Reynold Levy is a master at persuading people to give money — lots of money — to worthy causes,” Tom Brokaw said of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts president. Levy will be revealing the secrets of his fundraising success in a presentation based on his recently published book, “Yours for the Asking: An Indispensable Guide to Fundraising and Management.” Particularly relevant in today’s gloomy economic climate, Levy’s talk will offer advice on how to attract donors, build endowments and manage nonprofits in the stormiest of times. Wed. 8:30 p.m. $5-$10. Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, 631 W. Second St., Los Angeles. (213) 237-2800. www.redcat.org.
Our neighbor to the south is hosting the 19th annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival, running Feb. 4-15. Showcasing 50 short-subject, documentary and feature-length films from around the world, the festival will also include panel discussions with actors and filmmakers, as well as special-themed evenings, such as “Baby & Me Movie,” “Teen Screen Night” and “Flix Mix Evening.” The Joyce Forum, which spotlights work by students and emerging filmmakers, is going to be a sure buzz-generator with its screening of “We Must Remember.” Created by broadcast journalism students at Carlsbad High School, the documentary aims to reintroduce the Holocaust to a generation of students whose awareness is alarmingly low. Wed. Through Feb. 15. $13-$15 (opening-night films), $7.50-$13 (most other films). Festival passes are available. For a full list of events and locations, call (858) 362-1348 or visit www.lfjcc.org/sdjff.
How does one cope and have faith when a tragedy strikes? How are we to respond to the suffering of others? Can faith and suffering go hand in hand? How do we lead a “meaningful life” if life is filled with pain? These are just some of the questions that Rabbi Moshe Bryski, executive director of Chabad of the Conejo and the Conejo Jewish Academy, will address at “Faith and Suffering: Where Is G-d When It Hurts?” Reservations are required. Wed. 8 p.m. $4. Conejo Jewish Academy, 30345 Canwood St., Agoura Hills. (818) 991-0991. www.jewishacademy.com/2009Winter.
THU | FEBRUARY 5
Come admire the work of some of Long Beach’s most talented art students in the 25th annual Norman Gottlieb Youth Art Show. Displayed at the Pauline and Zena Gatov Gallery, “the show is truly the capstone of our school districts’ artwork, representing the best work from our students,” said Sandy Lucas, visual arts and curriculum leader for the Long Beach Unified School District. The top three middle- or high-school participants will be awarded gifts and all participants will receive a certificate at a special awards ceremony. Thu. 6:30-8 p.m. (Awards Ceremony) Art show on display through Feb. 17. Free. Alpert Jewish Community Center, 3801 E. Willow St., Long Beach. (562) 426-7601, ext. 1067. www.alpertjcc.org. (LF)
Despite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s infamous call for the destruction of Israel, Persian Jews have lived in Iran — and survived — for thousands of years. Now the Iranian Jewish Cultural Organization of California is letting everyone in on how they’ve done it with “Secrets to Survival: How Jews Survived 2,700 Years in Iran.” The event, with Nahid Pirnazar, lecturer of Iranian studies at UCLA, and Daniel Tsadik, assistant professor of Sephardic and Iranian studies at Yeshiva University, New York, marks the inaugural Amnon Netzer Memorial Lecture. Thu. 7 p.m. Free. Nessah Synagogue, 142 S. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. (424) 230-4055.
When Katherine falls in love with a more experienced gentleman, she not only goes “all the way” for the first time, she also sings classic, soft-rock tunes with him as they promise to love one another forever. A parody based on a Judy Blume novel and the wacky world of the ’70s, “Forever: The Musical” is a play L.A. Weekly called “wickedly perverted ... hilarious.” Thu. 8 p.m. Also Feb. 12 and Feb. 27-28. $15. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Hollywood. (310) 281-8337. www.sacredfools.org.
As part of its People of the Book series, Temple Beth Am presents Rabbi Elliot Dorff, rector and distinguished professor of philosophy at American Jewish University and chair of the Conservative movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. The author of several books and many responsa, Dorff will delve into matters of the flesh and the wallet in “Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: Money and Body.” He’ll cover topics such as exercising, eating properly, tattoos, piercing, financial obligations, giving to charity and income. Thu. 8-9:30 p.m. Free. Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 652-7354, ext. 215. www.tbala.org/lehrhaus.
FRI | FEBRUARY 6
Accountant Stan Cooper crunches numbers all day, but by night he’s analyzing figures of a different kind. “Surviving Sex” is a raunchy comedy about one man’s intimate misadventures by David Landsberg, whose writing and producing credits include “Blossom,” “Herman’s Head” and “The Cosby Show.” Part of the Falcon Theatre’s All-Comedy Season, “Surviving Sex” is Landsberg’s second production at the 130-seat Burbank theater, founded by Garry Marshall. Fri. 8 p.m. Wed.-Sun. Through March 1. $50-$55 (opening night), $32-$40 (general). Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank. (818) 955-8101. www.falcontheatre.com.