April 10, 2008
Calendar Girls picks and clicks for April 12- 18
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TUE | APRIL 15
(SEX AND SCIENCE)
Mary Roach's bio on the ALOUD at Central Library Web site says that the author has always gravitated toward the "peculiar": Eskimo food, flatulence, vaginal weight-lifting, carrot addiction and amputee bowling leagues. Her New York Times bestseller, "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers," has been translated into 16 languages. In Roach's most recent book, the comedy-tinged science writer takes on a less eccentric subject: sex. Roach will be conversing about "Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex" with multitalented writer-performer Beth Lapides, who is sure to douse the exchange with her own offbeat humor. Tue. 7 p.m. Free. Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, Fifth and Flower streets, Los Angeles. Reservations strongly recommended. (213) 228-7025. http://www.aloudla.org.
Billy Collins has been criticized for being too popular a poet and not quite highbrow enough for the literati -- or for the prestigious title of U.S. Poet Laureate, to which he has twice laid claim. Certainly one of America's most beloved poets, his accolades also include New York State Poet and the Poetry Foundation's Mark Twain Award for humorous poetry. "An Evening With Billy Collins" will reveal why poetry lovers flock to this earthy, everyman's poet when he reads from his various collections, including "Questions About Angels," "Sailing Alone Around the Room" and "The Trouble With Poetry." A few stanzas and you'll know why his work is poetry's equivalent of a theater blockbuster. Tue. 7:30 p.m. $8-$15. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 440-4500. http://www.skirball.com.
WED | APRIL 16
With the success of her graphic novel, "Persepolis," and its subsequent film adaptation, Marjane Satrapi made a name for herself with her irreverent, feminist critique on the politics of both pre- and post-revolutionary Iran. Azar Nafisi is the best-selling author of "Reading Lolita in Tehran," who established herself as a gender advocate on behalf of a country that restricts its female population. Both rebellious and subversive, Nafisi and Satrapi will join their feminist voices at UCLA Live to discuss the confused values of a nation and how their roots have influenced their artistic output. Wed. 8 p.m. $15-$38. UCLA, Royce Hall, 405 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. (310) 825-2101. http://www.uclalive.org.
In line with the Jewish theme of the few versus the many, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky wasn't afraid to challenge the Los Angeles Police Department for its "excessive use of force and intelligence gathering policies" when he served on the Los Angeles City Council, bringing a similar approach to fiscal, health care, transportation and environmental matters. True to form, he says his rich Jewish heritage has deeply influenced his political orientation. During the keynote address at the 10th annual Carmen and Louis Warschaw Distinguished Lecture at USC, as part of the Casden Institute's ongoing investigation of the Jewish role in American life, Yaroslavsky will relate "From the Plains of Czarist Russia to Los Angeles: How Three Generations of Russian Jewish Idealism Informed My Life and My Politics." Budding leaders and concerned citizens will benefit from Yaroslavsky's personal, religious and political history. Wed. 7:30 p.m. Free. USC Davidson Conference Center, 3415 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. (213) 740-3405. http://www.usc.edu/casdeninstitute.
THU | APRIL 17
Tonight is double-David night, as Mamet is spotlighted in both an American Cinematheque retrospective and a production of his 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Glengarry Glen Ross." This brilliant work, about four real estate agents willing to do anything to make their commissions, delves into the seedy underworld of unethical real estate transactions and seems more relevant than ever given today's subprime mortgage crisis. The dark drama features equally sinister language, as a Curtain Up reviewer once noted: "There's no one who cusses more creatively than David Mamet ... according to one recorded tally, the F word is used 152 times." Don't let that scare you off though -- the opening-night gala tonight is especially worth attending, as it benefits the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, founded by Steven Spielberg. Opening Night: Thu. 8 p.m. $108. Regular show times: Thu.-Sun. 8 p.m. Through May 25. $35. Macha Theatre, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood. (323) 960-4412. http://www.plays411.com/glengarry.
Schmuley Boteach brought us "Kosher Sex." But what about "Kosher Comedy"? The folks at the Laugh Factory think they have it figured out, and they're raising the curtain on a monthly series of "Kosher Comedy" events featuring some of L. A.'s Jewish comedians. Following the tradition of Jewish comic legends Lenny Bruce, George Burns, Woody Allen and Jerry Seinfeld, to name a few, the "Kosher Comedy" newbies will attempt to raise, or at least meet, the bar on Jewish humor. Host Sunda will usher in special appearances by Elon Gold, Modi, Jordin Rubin and others who think their schtick don't stink. Thu. 8 p.m. $20. Laugh Factory, 8001 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 656-1336, ext. 1. http://www.laughfactory.com.
Author, essayist, playwright and screenwriter, the incomparable David Mamet is not only an original force in American theater and cinema, but a serious chronicler of Jewish identity politics. How fitting then that just as we recall the Exodus story and ask the question posed by the Wicked Son (also the title of Mamet's controversial 2006 book), "Why does this matter to you?" We might be able to discern the answer during the "David Mamet in Person Retrospective" or at least, ask him ourselves. Programmed by the American Cinematheque, the series of screenings presents the diversity of Mamet's art, from large-scale action films to nuanced comedies to suspenseful dramas, and includes "Glengarry Glen Ross," "American Buffalo" and "Heist." Tonight, Mamet himself will host a sneak preview of his soon-to-be-released movie with Sony Pictures Classics (title to be announced) and entertain a Q and A afterwards. Don't miss this comprehensive look at what makes Mamet one of Hollywood's most valuable Jewish talents. Thu. 7:30 p.m. Through April 23. $7-$10. The Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. (323) 634-4878. http://www.americancinematheque.com.
Hip, hip happy hour! The chic and contemporary W Group of Stephen S. Wise Temple is pairing revelry and philanthropy once again. The young professionals crowd is invited to Happy Hour at X-Bar, Century City's superhip lounge where you're also asked to bring canned goods to support the SOVA food pantries, which provide food to low-income and needy families. Join the cause by socializing your way into contributing a little social welfare. Thu. 7 p.m. Free entry. Hyatt Regency's X Bar, 2025 Avenue of the Stars, Century City. (310) 476-8561, ext. 2230.