April 3, 2008
Calendar Girls picks and clicks for April 5-11
The artsy, experimental presentation of silent film is reviving interest in the image-rich art form. While the genre has sadly become obsolete in today's digitized, surround-sound cinema, the classics are part of film history -- as in the case of "His People," a 1925 gem set in Manhattan's Lower East Side about the two opposite sons of a poor Russian peddler. The recently restored work will return to the silver screen as part of the Ninth Annual San Diego Jewish Music Festival, accompanied by the sizzling sounds of a new jazz score penned by New York City star Paul Shapiro. His sextet will jam with bluesy acoustics, muted trumpets and a drummer synched with the punches of an onscreen boxing match. Sat. 8:15 p.m. $24-$70. Balboa theater at Horton Plaza, 868 Fourth Ave., San Diego. (858) 362-1348. http://www.lfjcc.org.
The three-movement composition titled "Water From a Stone" was inspired by a gift -- the Jerusalem Fountain -- given to the Catholic Church by the Skirball Foundation and an anonymous Jewish family. Composer Michael Isaacson, founding music director of the Israel Pops Orchestra, has written a work combining Jewish biblical themes, Hebrew prayers and Israeli folksongs. With forceful hands, pianist Andrea Anderson will tell the story that begins when Moses defies God, strikes the rock and incites dramatic confrontation, followed by a second movement that draws its melody from a Hebrew prayer for rain. The end is buoyant and hopeful, echoing the imperative of an Israeli folksong based on the words of Isaiah: "Draw water joyfully from the Fountain of Deliverance," says the prophet, bringing the music and its message back to the symbolic fountain sitting in the cathedral's courtyard. The performance also includes works by Mozart, Debussy, Copeland and Prokofiev. Sat. 8 p.m. $10 (suggested donation). Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles. (213) 680-5200.
It's a scenario not commonly heard: a young Eastern European Jew flees the pogroms of Russia in 1909 and floats his banana boat to Hamilton, Texas. The story made its stage debut as "The Immigrant" in the 1980s. Written by Mark Harelik, the coming-to-America play reveals the true-life tale of Harelik's ï¿½(c)migrï¿½(c) grandparents and will premiere new creative content in an updated musical version. Sarah Knapp's lyrics add dimension, depth and emotionality, buoying the spirit of a story about starting over. Sat. 8 p.m. $37-$42. Through May 4. The Colony theater, 555 N. Third St., Burbank. (818) 558-7000, ext. 15. http://www.colonytheater.org.
In this play-within-a-play about a dysfunctional but comic cast, a writer and his producer-wife lay their struggles bare. Playwright Jerry Sroka's sarcastic and serious account of a couple struggling with infertility is exacerbated by a series of backstage mishaps plaguing their rehearsal stage. "In the Wings," a new, partly autobiographical work, stars Sroka's real-life wife, actress Mariette Hartley, making this a fine example of art imitating life imitating art. 8 p.m. (Fri. and Sat.), 3 p.m. (Sun.). $25. Through May 11. Whitefire theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (323) 960-7735. http://www.plays411.com/wings.
SUN | APRIL 6
Menschs for mitzvahs wanted! Jewish Family Service is enlisting volunteers to help with their three community seders for immigrant families and seniors. Those who are blessed with holiday celebrations filled with family and friends are just the right people to bring those feelings of warmth and comfort to others. Sun. 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Hollywood Temple Beth El, 1317 N. Crescent Heights Blvd., Los Angeles. To sign-up, call Sherri at (323) 761-8800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prepare to answer touchy questions today at a forum organized by UCLA Extension Public Policy that ponders "Can Faith Be Rational? Cooperation and Conflict Among Christians, Jews and Muslims." While these faiths trace their roots to a common source, they can and do clash in the context of contemporary life. Is peaceful coexistence possible? How does the religious diversity of modern society impact public policy decisions on education, scientific research and foreign relations? Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, director of UCLA Hillel, Amir Hussain, associate professor in theology at Loyola Marymount University, and Phyllis Herman, chair of the religious studies department at CSU Northridge, will dialogue during this half-day seminar, explaining their respective faiths' historical backgrounds and spiritual beliefs and how these philosophies can survive in the current world. Sun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $50. UCLA, Semel Institute for Neuroscience, 574 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. (310) 825-9971. http://www.uclaextension.edu/publicpolicy.
Anyone who's read Leviticus knows the Torah doesn't shy away from articulating sexual mores. But when it comes to expounding upon them, the good book leaves something to be desired (no pun intended). That's why we have Rabbi Elliot Dorff, a distinguished professor of philosophy at American Jewish University who has written extensively on Jewish thought, law and ethics -- demonstrating a proclivity for the juicy and provocative topics. His liberal stance on homosexuality is a guiding precedent for integrating gay couples into Torah-observant communities, though his scholarly pursuits also include issues of intimacy, procreation, adoption and divorce. Over breakfast, Dorff will address the topic, "Judaism and Juno: A Jewish Approach to Sexual Ethics," enlightening those who are interested (or disinterested) in the rapidly progressing nature of modern Jewish communities. Sun. 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Free. Temple Sinai of Glendale, 1212 N. Pacific Ave., Glendale. R.S.V.P. to (818) 543-1656. http://www.temple-sinai.net.
New Age Senior Singles could simply never tire of the theater. During their Theater and Dinner Party, they'll first head to the proscenium for "Moonshine," described as a "musical romantic comedy with touches of magical realism." Following the performance, the group will dine at Pomodoro's during a no-host dinner, where schmoozers can air their best art criticism and satiate their appetite after those theater-snack morsels. Sun. 2 p.m. $24. Woodland Hills theater Group, West Valley Playhouse, 7242 Owensmouth, Canoga Park. For reservations, call (818) 347-8355. http://www.whctheater.com.
By now, the notion of Iranian nuclear proliferation is no secret. Arguably the most significant threat to the future of the Jewish state, and perhaps even the western world, is the prospect of a nuclear Iran. Today, some of the best-educated minds in Middle Eastern policy will gather to answer the question "Iran, Israel, and the U.S.: Confrontation of Engagement in 2008?" Featuring a distinguished panel of scholars from The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and an Iranian visiting fellow who is an expert in Shiite politics, as well as an important address from Maj. Gen. Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, former commander of the Israeli air force, this afternoon promises to provide factual evidence and intelligent insight into this looming existential threat. Sun. 1-5:30 p.m. $75. American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. To R.S.V.P., call (818) 461-8180 or e-mail