An obsession with Jodie Foster. A thriving stage career. A friendship with Charles Manson. These are just a few of the fascinating details of the lives of nine presidential assassins profiled in the thrilling Tony-winning musical aptly titled, "Assassins." Based on the book by John Weidman, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the dark comedy offers a compelling look at the legacies of nine men and women who were determined to change the course of American history with one sinister act. 2 and 8 p.m., Fri.-Sun., through Mar. 16. $45 (opening-night gala tonight). $27-$30. Chance Theater, 5552 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim Hills. (714) 777-3033. http://www.chancetheater.com.
You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, and maybe that's also true of this movie's title: "Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran and the Revolt of Islam." The documentary highlights Islam's susceptibility to Western influence and its trials with Jews and the State of Israel. Told from a Muslim viewpoint, the documentary suggests Western misunderstanding of Islam will incite a disastrous war -- devastating to the modern world and most of all, to Israel. 7:30 p.m. $7. Congregation Shaarei Tefila, 7269 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 938-7147. http://www.farewellisrael.com.
Ethics and ethnicities collide in Richard Martin Hirsch's explosive play, "The Monkey Jar." In this Theatre 40 production, a young Asian American student with adoptive Jewish parents brings a gun to school and finds himself in a confrontation with his Japanese American teacher, who has yet to come out of the closet. The first-year African American principal is forced to deal with the situation while trying to keep the esteemed charter school's pristine reputation intact. 2 and 8 p.m., through March 9. $20-$22. Beverly Hills High School Campus, Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 364-0535. http://www.theatre40.org.
SUN | FEBRUARY 3
The Foundation for Jewish Education invites you to partake in their "Yiddish English Variety Night." No, that does not mean you have to get up on stage and belt out an old folk song. It means you get to enjoy an evening of laughter and entertainment, delicious desserts and hors d'oeuvres and pleasant company. 7:30 p.m. $50 (tax-deductible donation). Beverly Hills residence. R.S.V.P. for exact address, (310) 273-8612 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 1924 Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb thrill-killing of a Chicago teenage boy is garnering lots of attention in the Los Angeles theater scene with the recent opening of "Thrill Me" at the Hudson Backstage Theatre. Now the Blank Theatre Company is staging "Dickie and Babe: The Truth About Leopold and Loeb." Writer and director Daniel Henning did research for two years before creating this riveting documentary play based on trial transcripts, medical reports and newly discovered primary source materials. Sun., 2 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m. $22. 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. (866) 811-4111. http://www.theblank.com/mainstage.htm.
MON | FEBRUARY 4
You've heard of Rabbi Hillel; Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life; and a Hillel sandwich. But what about Hillel the Balloon Man? Mysterious Argentine-born entertainer Hillel Gitter describes himself as a magician, actor, mime and clown, and he brings his balloon tricks to the Magic Castle for a tantalizing live performance. Be warned, this Academy of Magical Arts requires an elegant dress code, and the only way in to "The Palace of Mystery" is through Mr. Balloon Man himself. Once admitted, magic-seekers have the option of five different shows in three showrooms. 21 and over. Through Feb. 10. $20-$25. The Magic Castle, Academy of Magical Arts, 7001 Franklin Ave., Hollywood. For guest passes, visit http://www.mrballoonman.com.
Jack Gould is best known for human and environmental portraiture. There is a whimsy in his subject matter, which often features bright colors and smiling faces. This exhibition of his work, titled "People and Things: A Photographic Meditation and Exploration," features triptych photograph portraits accompanied by his subjects' personal essays about their most treasured possessions. Through March 26. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (Mon.-Fri.). Free. UCLA Hillel, Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts, 574 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles. Park in lot No. 2 on Westholme and Hilgard avenues, $8. (310) 208-3081 ext. 125. http://www.uclahillel.org.
TUE | FEBRUARY 5
Even for an accomplished writer like David Rieff, writing about the death of one's mother is with difficult -- especially when your mother happens to be Susan Sontag, who was one of New York's leading intellectuals before her death from leukemia in 2004. In "Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son's Memoir," Rieff writes, "This is a book of questions about what we know and, perhaps more importantly, what we can take in when confronted by the death of a loved one." He'll appear at ALOUD with L.A. Times columnist Tim Rutten. 7 p.m. Free. Central Library Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., Los Angeles. Reservations required. (213) 228-7025. http://www.aloudla.org.
Who do you think will snag the big pot on "Super Tuesday"? Watch the results stream in while schmoozing with the Republican Jewish Coalition at a no-host "California Primary Election Night Viewing." Free. 8 p.m., Barney's Beanery, 1351 Third St., Santa Monica. http://www.rjchq.org/events.asp.
WED | FEBRUARY 6
Israeli storyteller Noa Baum has crafted a tender and complex performance exploring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the perspectives of four women at different periods in history and their lives. What she reveals in weaving these disparate stories together is that the complicated, polarizing idea of a "A Land Twice Promised" isn't a story about "sides" but about people. Co-sponsored by the Levantine Cultural Center and the Craft and Folk Art Museum. 8 p.m. $10-$15. Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 657-5511. http://www.levantinecenter.org/pages/land_twice_promised.html.
(HEALTH) What modern girl-in-the-know isn't familiar with "Sex and the City"? At Women's Health Day, naturopathic physician Brett Jacques will speak about something a little different, "Stress in the City." A variety of speakers will discuss an array of contemporary health issues for women. 8:15 a.m.-3 p.m. $50- $60 (includes breakfast, lunch and two passes to the Skirball Cultural Center). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 276-0036.
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