Jewish Journal

Picks, kicks and plugs for December 15-21

by Dikla Kadosh

Posted on Dec. 13, 2007 at 7:00 pm


pickTart-tongued a capella artists The Kinsey Sicks are drag queens dressed in Jewish and gender angst. "Oy Vey in a Manger!" is a one-of-kind musical comedy that puts a bite in the holidays. During this one-night-only engagement, the fabulous femmes will vent their renditions of "Harried Little Christmas," "God Bless Ye Femmy Lesbians" and "Soylent Night." Having earned national recognition for their performances and five albums, these gals are lauded for being lavish, sensational and outrageous -- but they're also faaaab-u-lous. 8 p.m. $30. Pacific Design Center, SilverScreen Theater, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. For tickets, call (866) 448-7849 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.


Liz Lerman Dance Exchange presents "Gumdrops and the Funny Uncle," which combines dance and theater in a holiday performance that speaks to the shifting demographic of the modern American family. Whether married, divorced, gay, straight or otherwise, this multidimensional experience celebrates the eccentricity, quirkiness and uniqueness present in all families -- a refreshing holiday show for one and all. 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. $15-$28. The New LATC, Theatre 3, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles. For tickets, call (323) 461-3673 or visit www.thenewlatc.com.


Mazel tov to the Getty Center on turning 10 years old this month! The venerable hilltop museum will host a family-friendly birthday party with live music, art activities, refreshments and a photo booth. And since you've already snagged a coveted parking spot, why not stay and check out the latest exhibits, modern outdoor sculptures and the interactive Sketching Gallery. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free (admission), $8 (parking). Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 440-7300. www.getty.edu.


Exhibiting the aesthetic qualities that defined a new age in the art world, the Gallery Selection of California Modernism features 20th century works including oil paintings, watercolors, sculpture and drawing from artists working in the 1920s, '30s and '40s. Often understood as presenting a more "subjective" representation than other American impressionists, California artists were uniquely intimate in their portrayals. Spencer Jon Helfen Fine Arts, 9200 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 200, Beverly Hills. For gallery hours, call (310) 273-8838 or visit www.helfenfinearts.com.


Stephen Macht and Armin Shimerman will present "The Quarrel," a story about a confrontation between the religious and secular and two friends negotiating the difference, as part of the Celebrity Staged Play Reading Series. 7:30 p.m. $12-$16. Friends of Valley Cities Jewish Community Center, 13164 Burbank Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (818) 786-6310.


Dinner, mystery and the chance of romance await you tonight at Elite Jewish Theatre Singles' outing in Pacific Palisades. On the bill is a no-host dinner social at a restaurant near the theater, followed by Agatha Christie's suspenseful thriller "The Unexpected Guest." 5:15 p.m. (dinner), 8 p.m. (show). $18 (pre-paid reservations only). (310) 203-1312.


Stacie Chaiken is amazing. Those are the words of Jewish Journal Arts Editor Naomi Pfefferman. But you don't have to take her word for it. Chaiken's rap sheet speaks for itself: she is the founder of "What's the Story?" a Los Angeles workshop series; she has performed her solo plays worldwide; she has taught at USC, NYU and Bar Ilan; she is a Fulbright Scholar; and she is a cultural ambassador for the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Impressed? Well, if not, you certainly will be when you see Chaiken in "The Dig: Death, Genesis and the Double Helix," her latest workshop production about an American archaeologist who goes digging in the wrong Jordanian desert and winds up in over her head, literally. 8 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m. $12 (suggested donation). The Co-Op at Pacific Resident Theatre, 707 Venice Blvd., Venice. (323) 460-2508. www.whatsthestoryla.com.


With the recent critical success of the documentary "Yiddish Theater: A Love Story" and two sold-out shows of "Una Noche Idishe" at REDCAT, it's clear that Yiddish culture is alive and kickin'. Get intimately acquainted (or reacquainted) with the culture in "A Kiss of Yiddish" -- a weekend-long celebration of the Yiddish wedding. Traditional music, lively discussions and captivating lectures will be mixed in with refreshments, meals and a reception. 7-10 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $20 (Sat.), $55 (Sun.), $70 (both days). Student discounts available. L.A. Yiddish Culture Club (Sat.), 8339 W. Third St., Los Angeles. UCLA Royce Hall (Sun.), Room 314, Westwood. (310) 745-1190 or Miriam@yiddishinstitute.org.


pickSephardic Winter Films presents Golden Globe Award-winner and Oscar nominee Chaim Topol in the 1965 Israeli comedy "Salah Shabati," which plays on the rampant stereotypes of Sephardic Jews in Israel. Stage and film veteran Topol plays a Sephardic refugee who just arrived in Israel. Contrary to his hardy, nation-building neighbors, Topol is lazy and always looking for the easiest way to make money. In a comical twist, the protagonist becomes a hero when he discovers corruption in the country's housing industry. Hang around after the film for a discussion of stereotypes and a reception courtesy of SELA (Sephardic Legacy Alliance). 6 p.m. $5-$10 (suggested donation). Kahal Joseph Congregation, 10505 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 474-0559. www.kahaljoseph.org.


During An Afternoon With Mark Russell, the comedian will perform his musical/comedy mixed bag starring the day's news headlines. 4 p.m.- 6 p.m. $45. American Jewish University, Brandeis-Bardin Campus, 1101 Peppertree Lane, Simi Valley. (310) 476-9777. www.ajula.edu.


Rick Recht, who's been called "the Jewish Dave Matthews," will be performing his brand of upbeat Jewish rock for the entire family in Culver City tonight. His contagious energy and enthusiasm are sure to have the whole crowd singing, clapping and dancing along -- so wear comfy shoes! 6 p.m. $5-$18. Temple Akiba, 5249 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City. (310) 398-5783. www.rickrecht.com.


Award-winning jazz artists The Seeds of Sun take traditional Israeli folk music and "jazz" it up. A five-piece band blends Brazilian beats and other hints of world fusion to transform music you may have heard into an entirely new experience. They'll appear thanks to the Jewish Music Commission of L.A. Noon. $5-$10. Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 788-6000. www.vbs.org


Radical Islam is taking hold of Egypt and Turkey, warns Samira Tamer. The Lebanese Christian will be speaking at the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors Los Angeles Parlor Series on "Egypt and Turkey -- Moving to the Extreme: A Personal Journey." Tamer will share, through her own experiences and photographs, the changes that have taken place in those countries over the past twenty years. 2 p.m. $10 (suggested donation). Private home in Woodland Hills. Please R.S.V.P. to (818) 704-0523 or doris@cjhsla.org.



pickOnce a year, the Mavlevi mystics commemorate the death of the Turkish poet Rumi in a spiritual turning ritual known as Sema Ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes. The prayer dance is a metaphorical composition whereby a spiritual seeker travels the universe to engage God's presence. As the dervishes, or semazens turn, they envelop the audience, chanting and dancing as vessels bringing divine blessings to the earth. A fascinating mystical tradition that draws on the Quran as well as poetry, the evening will feature master Sufi musicians from Turkey in a ceremony that advocates unity of all religious and spiritual traditions through love. 8 p.m. $25-$45. UCLA, Royce Hall. For tickets, call (310) 825-2101 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. For more on the traditions of the Mavlevi, visit www.hayatidede.org.


Nazi-era looted art is making big headlines lately. In "State of the Art: Restitution and Resolutions," art historian, genealogist and former Jewish museum director Karen Franklin will give you the inside scoop on how her expertise in genealogy has helped solve prominent cases of stolen valuables and reveal some of her sleuthing techniques. Clips from recent films "The Rape of Europa" and "Stealing Klimt" will also be shown to further illuminate the internationally relevant matter. Guests are invited to bring their own examples of recovered artifacts and/or information about family possessions they would like to track down. 7:30 p.m. $5. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, contact the sponsor, Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles at (818) 771-5554 or visit www.jgsla.org.



pickThe historic Pico House Gallery is putting a well-deserved spotlight on the contributions of early French immigrants to the development of Los Angeles in "Pioneers and Entrepreneurs: The French Immigrants in the Making of Los Angeles 1827-1927."

The exhibition contains 70 historical photographs of the French community's stores, businesses, organizations and prominent figures, such as Jean-Louis Vignes, who owned a sprawling vineyard in the early 1800s. The Consulate General of France is hosting the inauguration tonight, but if you would rather avoid the fanfare, the exhibition is up through Jan.13, 2008. 6 p.m. Free. Pico House Gallery, 424 N. Main St., Los Angeles. (213) 485-6855.


Bring two bags of popcorn for tonight's double feature at the Workmen's Circle, "Interfaith Activists Overcome Polarization Through Film." Activist, documentary filmmaker and journalist Ruth Broyde-Sharone will be screening her post-Sept. 11 film, "God and Allah Need to Talk," and will be around after the program to discuss her grassroots interfaith work. The second film, "Peace Building as an Art and a Practice," profiles an ultra-Orthodox rabbi who struggles to find a balance between practicing his religion and respecting others' faiths. 7:30 p.m. $5 (members), $10 (general). Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring, 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 552-2007.


Rabbi Elliot Dorff is the scholar-in-residence presenting a series of lectures tied to Jewish ethics. Tonight the theme is business ethics, and the topic is "Did You Conduct Your Business Honestly?" 8 p.m. Free. Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 652-7353.


Want to know why Americans are hated abroad? Then come hear what Bruce Bawer, author of "While Europe Slept," Andrei Markovits, author of "Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America," and James Q. Wilson, author of "The Moral Sense" have to say on the subject in "The Causes and Consequences of Anti-Americanism Around the World." The colloquium is sponsored by the American Freedom Alliance and the Republican Jewish Coalition. 7 p.m. $10 (students), $20 (presale), $25 (at the door). Skirball Cultural Center, Magnin Auditorium, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 444-3085. www.americanfreedomalliance.org.



pickTorah Trekkie Rabbi Mike Comins, who graced the cover of The Journal less than a year ago with his innovative combination of spirituality and nature, will share his thoughts and a vegetarian dinner with the Workmen's Circle Community for Health, Ecology and Freedom group. In addition to leading one-day religiously infused hikes, the ordained rabbi and certified Israeli desert guide is also working on several writing projects. His latest book is titled, "A Wild Faith: Jewish Ways Into Wilderness, Wilderness Ways Into Judaism." Join the torah-and-tofu gathering by bringing a vegan dish or drinks for 8-10 people. 7 p.m. Free. Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring, 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. Please R.S.V.P. to (310) 552-2007 or circle@circlesocal.org.


The Orthodox Union will be toasting Los Angeles as a major center of Torah life in their 17th Annual West Coast Torah Convention, held at various locations around town. Not one, but two themes will illuminate this six-day religious round-up: "Highlighting Our Home Grown Talent" and "Guaranteeing Continuity: Keeping Our Children Jewish and Orthodox." Some highlights will include a symposium on the high cost of Jewish education, a talk by noted author and talk show host Michael Medved on "Media Messages vs. Jewish Messages" and the declaration that West Coast Jewry is no longer dependent on the East Coast for ideas and energy. Through Dec. 25. For more information and to register for meals and lodging at the Crowne Plaza, call (310) 229-9000 ext. 200 or email westcoast@ou.org.



pick"It Could Have Been A Wonderful Life" is a different spin on the classic Christmas special. This time, failed stand-up comedian Phil Resnick leaves Hollywood and finds small-time success hosting a talent show in New York. When his guardian angel Jack Benny takes him on a tour of what could have been, Phil and show biz are stripped to their hardcore values. The show is worth a go just to see famous impressionist Fred Raker (Phil's alter ego) inhabit the voice and mannerisms of a dozen characters, including comic greats Woody Allen and Jackie Mason. Through Dec. 23. 8 p.m. $25. Two Roads Theatre, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City. For tickets, call (800) 838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.


Strap on your dancing shoes for this Salsa Shabbat, a cultural celebration featuring the Adat Shalom band, delicious tapas and tropical drinks. Every third Friday the temple organizes a themed Shabbat, and future evenings include: Shabbat Shira (Jan. 18), Chocolate Shabbat (Feb. 15) and a kosher wine tasting (March 21). 7:30 p.m. Free. Adat Shalom, 3030 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 475-4985. www.adatshalomla.org.



Lions and tigers and bears ... in an art gallery! Jill Greenberg is a unique photographer whose portraiture of grizzly, polar and black bears in "Ursine" will adorn walls alongside vignette photographs of young girls suspended in space in "Performance." The visually contrasting works explore both the real and the unreal, in subject matter and setting, where animals reveal human expressions and femininity is almost compulsively posed. Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fahey/Klein Gallery, 148 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 934-2250. www.faheykleingallery.com.

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