Chutzpah: 'Ask the rabbi!' See Saturday night listing
SAT | MARCH 22
We know. March has been one long Purimpalooza with parties, megillah readings, carnivals, face paint and ubiquitous bounce houses. But, this party promises to be different: "Wet Hot American Purim" may not be as titillating as its title would imply, but it will certainly make you laugh. JDub records presents a screening of "Wet Hot American Summer," the classic cult mash-up of summer camps starring Michael Showalter, Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo and David Hyde Pierce, who will reunite on the silver screen of WeHo's Silent Theater followed by a wet, hot party on the patio with Israeli D.J. Soulico spinning all night long. If you wear a camp T-shirt, you get a free Michael Showalter CD -- now that's the holiday spirit. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $20. Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 655-2520. For tickets, visit http://www.jdubrecords.org.
Jews, Arabs and blacks are three minority groups rarely brought together at the same time, but can each speak to the social, racial and economic barriers they encounter in mainstream America. The Levantine Cultural Center will host "The Art of Resistance 2 -- Arabs, Blacks and Jews Question the Man Culture Jam," an evening of music, poetry, drama and discussion by various minority artists and writers. Participants will include African American author Michael Datcher, Middle Eastern Jewish writer Jordan Elgrably, poets Peter Harris and Rachel Kann, hip-hop crew Chutzpah and singer Nailah, among others. Sat., 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m. for an early mixer). $12 (students), $15 (general). Fais Do-Do, 5257 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P. advised. (310) 657-5511. http://www.levantinecenter.org.
A fabulous Purim Ball will be hosted by Second Generation, an organization founded in 1978 that serves children of Holocaust survivors and is dedicated to Holocaust education and remembrance. Enjoy wine and vegetarian refreshments while exploring the unique setting that features Judaica and sports memorabilia in a two-story venue. Costumes are optional. Sat., 8 p.m.-midnight. $40 (members), $50 (general). Elm Collection, 150 S. Elm Drive, Los Angeles. For reservations, call (310) 277-4438 or e-mail email@example.com.
Spice up your Purim with a fragrant hookah, an elaborate henna tattoo and the mesmerizing gyrations of an authentic belly dancer at the steamiest O.C. party of the season, "Hookahs and Hamantaschen." Sip cocktails with single and not-so-single young professionals, ages 21 to 45, and indulge in Middle Eastern cuisine while enjoying a live band and ogle fellow partygoers' funky costumes (guests are encouraged to come dressed up!). Celebrate with the Young Leadership Division in an event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Orange County, Taglit-Birthright Israel, Chemers Gallery and The Buddy Group. Sat., 8 p.m. $40. Dotlot Studios at The Buddy Group, 7 Studebaker, Irvine. (949) 468-0042. http://www.yldoc.org.
There's nothing like a cross-body lead to break the ice between two interested singles. Sensational Singles, the Merage JCC of Orange County's new singles group (40-60), is banking on the sultry style of salsa dancing to heat up the scene at the first of their monthly happenings with "Hot Salsa Night." Live music, professional instruction by David Lopez, appetizers and a no-host bar will keep you sizzling all night long. Sat., 8 p.m. $14-$18 (advance), $25 (at the door). Merage JCC, Samueli Jewish Campus, Salsa Nightclub (a.k.a. Meyers Theater), One Federation Way, Irvine. (949) 435-3400.
Based on the Broadway hit musical about the life and times of burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee and her aggressive stage mother, Mama Rose, "Gypsy" follows the no-talent Louise Hovick as she rises from beneath her younger sister's shadow to become the 1930s queen of burlesque. Join the Elite Jewish Theatre Singles in a no-host dinner prior to the show. Sat., 5:15 p.m. (dinner), 8 p.m. (show) $20. On the Border, 6081 Center Drive, Los Angeles. R.S.V.P required, (310) 203-1312.
SUN | MARCH 23
Ever wondered what makes music particularly Jewish? Award-winning composer Michael Isaacson, recently honored as one of the 10 most distinguished Jewish sacred music composers in America, will delve into this topic during his book launch of "Jewish Music as Midrash: What Makes Music Jewish?" The Juilliard School of Music and Hebrew University trained composer has written and published more than 500 sacred and secular works, conducted and produced more than 50 CDs and albums and is the founding music director of the Israel Pops Orchestra and the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music. Sun., 2 p.m. $5 (suggested donation). The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring, 525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 552-2007. http://www.circlesocal.org.
MON | MARCH 24
Our old "friend" David Schwimmer has left Central Perk and now makes his directorial debut with "Run, Fat Boy, Run," a raucous comedy about an overweight fellow who decides to get in shape and compete in the London Marathon. The new auteur will appear at "Reel Talk With Stephen Farber" and presumptively get grilled on what it was like to make his very first film -- oh, and what it was like to kiss Jennifer Aniston. Mon., 7 p.m. $20. Wadsworth Theatre, Veterans Administration grounds, building 226, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 365-3500. http://www.runfatboyrunmovie.com.
TUE | MARCH 25
In 1980, autism affected one in 10,000 U.S. children. Less than 30 years later, one child in every 150 is diagnosed with the disorder. However, the gloomy statistic is no match for the uplifting new HBO documentary, "Autism: The Musical," a day-by-day chronicle of a remarkable woman, Elaine Hall, herself the mother of an autistic child, who gathers a group of autistic children and teaches them to channel their emotions through the power of theater. The film focuses on the Los Angeles-based Miracle Project , which was designed to foster the writing, rehearsing and performing of autistic children's own musical productions. Director Tricia Regan documented this powerfully cathartic process for six months, and the result is a moving tale of triumph over tragedy. Tue., 8 p.m. on HBO. For more show times, visit http://www.homeboxoffice.com.
The 12th annual Liana Cohen Music Festival, in honor of former piano player Liana Cohen, brings together talented winners of the citywide Liana Cohen music competition along with surprise guest artists. The organization was created by the Cohen family in memory of Liana, an 18-year-old girl who was the victim of a drunk driver. With the hope of providing a forum for young minds such as Liana's to pursue their musical dreams, the foundation gives aspiring musicians a chance to shine. During the festival, contest winners will perform pieces by Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart and Bach using an array of instruments. Available for purchase are vibrantly colored, hand-painted scarves created by Liana's mother, with proceeds going to the nonprofit organization. Tue., 7:30 p.m. Free. Skirball Cultural Center, Magnum Hall, 2701 Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4501. http://www.lianacohen.org.
After his mother's death, Oscar Speace found a letter she had written about her experiences during the Holocaust. The Emmy Award-winning television producer then wrote Janka Festinger's story, which begins under Nazi occupation and continues on to the United States, where she married an American solider. Years after her death, a one-woman play still survives. "Janka" will be performed by the protagonist's own daughter-in-law, Janice Noga, in a moving recreation of a family tale. Tue., 7 p.m. $5. Whittier College, 13406 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier. (866) 637-3812. http://www.JankaProject.com.
WED | MARCH 26
Just imagine the nostalgic delight of a Yiddish Variety Show! A little song, a little dance, perhaps a joke or two .... Join the members of the Valley Yiddish Culture Club for a memorable evening that will zip you right back into the golden days of Yiddishkayt. Wed., 7:30 p.m. Free (members or guests under 21), $5 (general). Adat Ari El, David Familian Chapel, 12020 Burbank Blvd., Valley Village. (818) 766-9426.
THU | MARCH 27
Writer Lori Gottlieb recently sparked a heated dating debate across the country when she published "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough" in The Atlantic's March 2008 issue. Here is an excerpt: "My advice is this: Settle! That's right. Don't worry about passion or intense connection. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go." Agree? Disagree? Come hear Rabbi David Wolpe engage Gottlieb in a riveting discussion sponsored by ATID and join in with your insights, opinions and/or vehement defense of old-fashioned romance. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served. For singles and couples ages 21-39. Thu., 7 p.m. Free (members), $10 (advance), $15 (at the door). Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 481-3244. http://www.atidla.com.
In the fall, Jewish Family Service's freshly launched Young Leaders group, for professionals ages 21-40, hosted a lively get together at Celadon. Their inaugural event was a success: Young professionals streamed into the posh restaurant's bar all night long, the food was fabulous (by Israeli Japanese chef Danny Elmaleh) and the enthusiasm ran high. Now the ambitious new organization is back with a fun spring gathering: Team Trivia Night. You are welcome to come with your own team of brainiacs in tow, or you can just show up solo and join teams forming on the spot. Thu., 7:30 p.m. $15 (includes appetizers). Life Restaurant, 6311 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P. not required but encouraged, (323) 761-8800, ext. 1220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plato. Socrates. Confucius. It's not an easy task coming up with a definitive list of the most sophisticated minds in the world, but here's one most of us could agree upon: Albert Einstein. "The Smartest Man in the World," or at the very least, one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, has now been memorialized in a world-premiere musical that illuminates the life and lady loves of the Jewish genius, brought to you by West Coast Jewish Theatre. Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m. $35. Pico Playhouse, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 860-6620. http://www.westcoastjewishtheatre.org/.
FRI | MARCH 28
In a moving film about spiritual awakening, loss and hope, a young child with Down syndrome, Lior Liebling (photo, above) , emerges as "the little rebbe." "Praying With Lior" is about a motherless child, whose name means "lost light" and is thought to be closer to God because he spends much of his time praying with fervor. At the same time, he is often seen as a burden to family members and friends because of his disorder. As he approaches his bar mitzvah, various people around him provide differing perspectives on praying with Lior. Attend the film's opening in an exclusive Los Angeles engagement presented by Laemmle Theatres and First Run Features, playing in two locations. Fri. $7-$10. Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-6869. Also, Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino, (818) 981-9811.
You've heard about the enigmatic "G-Spot," but did you know she had a cousin? The emotionally tandem "V-Spot," so dubbed by psychotherapist Joan Lachkar, is the deeply sensitive area of emotional vulnerability where one partner hits an emotional raw spot in the other. As the very last speaker and book signer at the beloved Dutton's neighborhood bookstore, Lachkar will discuss "The V-Spot: Healing Your Innermost Vulnerabilities From Emotional Abuse," and simultaneously bid adieu to the community institution that will close its doors for the last time April 30. Fri., 7 p.m. Free. Dutton's Brentwood Books, 11975 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood. (310) 476-6263. http://www.joanlachkarphd.com.
The Yarden Trio, who have spent the past two years playing for soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces and have performed for the United Nations in New York, are bringing their musical talents to local Temple Adat Ari El. Don't miss the trio's first West Coast performance, sponsored by the Adat Ari El annual campaign. Celebrate Shabbat with services, dinner and a beautiful musical evening with Nitzan Vigdorovish on violin, Noa Ayali on cello and Raviv Leibzirer on piano. Fri., 6 p.m. (services), 7 p.m. (dinner), 8 p.m. (concert). $16-$22 (dinner), free (concert). Temple Adat Ari El, 12020 Burbank Blvd., Valley Village. (818) 755-3480 ext. 223. http://www.adatariel.org.
We have all made sacrifices for the well-being of our family, sometimes at the expense of our own dreams and desires. Zach is one such figure, who has become so accustomed to putting others' needs before his own he begins to lose sight of his own self. That is until Shaun comes along and shows Zach how to unleash his creative potential, while dangerously igniting dormant emotions Zach had forgotten how to feel. "Shelter" is a gay romantic drama by Jonah Markowitz that begins its run tonight on the Sunset Strip. Various show times. $7-$10. Laemmle Sunset 5. 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (323) 848-3500. http://www.laemmle.com
Neshama means soul or spirit in Hebrew, and the Neshama Minyan at Temple Beth Am prides itself on its "spirited" Kabbalat Shabbat services, which include singing, dancing and praying every Friday night. Led by Rabbi Susan Leider, the joyous service uses the melodies of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and is followed by a lovely Shabbat dinner. BYOKW (kosher wine). Fri., 6:15 p.m. $10 (children older than 5), $17 (adults and teens over 13). Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 652-7354 ext. 230. http://www.tbala.org.
Meraviglioso! Bravo! Delizioso! These are good exclamations to learn if you're going to partake in the Skirball's Italian Passover With Chef Sean Sheridan. The five-course kosher meal, a delicious tribute to the ancient Jewish community of Rome, will include Charoset Italiano with figs, dates and oranges; Branzino -- Mediterranean white fish grilled with leeks, parsley and lemon dressing; Osso Buco of veal served with gremolata and garlic spinach, and Gelato Cioccolato with almond biscotti. Fantastico! Sun., March 30. 6:30 p.m. $65-$75 (dinner), $80-$90 (with kosher wine). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. Advance tickets required; ticket sales end on Tue., March 25. (877) 722-4849. http://www.skirball.org.