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 email@example.com.
Memoirs and survivor testimonies provide detailed accounts of Holocaust atrocities, but a photograph shows more than words can tell. Photographer Michael Kenna's exhibit, "Impossible to Forget: The Nazi Camps Fifty Years After," displays 80 black-and-white photographs of 30 Nazi concentration camps. His work captures the cold, harsh atmosphere of the dreary railroad lines through which Jews and others were transported to their deaths. The renowned English photographer visited the Natzweiler-Struthof camp in 1986 and shortly thereafter launched a 12-year project creating images of commemoration and remembrance. Alongside the emotionally charged exhibition, Zev Garber, professor of Jewish studies at Valley College, will speak on "Nekama: The Last Voice from Auschwitz." Co-sponsored by L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and the Jewish Community Foundation. Mon. 7 p.m. (reception), 8 p.m. (lecture) Free. Through May 8. Los Angeles Valley College, Art Gallery, 5800 Fulton Ave., Valley Glen. (818) 778-5536.
Popular Persian Jewish novelist Gina Nahai joins an eclectic panel of authors for the 19th annual "Words, Wit & Wisdom Author and Book Luncheon," which celebrates the literary expertise of renowned writers who will share their stories and secrets. Sponsored by the Brandeis University National Women's Committee, authors Maggie Anton ("Rashi's Daughters"), Dr. Gary Small ("Longevity Bible") and sports psychiatrist Gregg Steinberg ("Flying Lessons") will spend an afternoon enchanting and enlightening the crowd with the content of their work, reading favorite passages, signing books and helping to raise money for the Brandeis University Students for Science and Research in Neurodegenerative Disease. Mon. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $75. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P. (818) 591-8324.
Laugh through your pain with comedy writer Alan Zweibel at Heritage Pointe's annual fundraiser luncheon, "Celebration of Spring." One of the original writers for "Saturday Night Live," Zweibel will speak about his career in comedy and firsthand experiences with the healing powers of laughter. In an intimate talk, he will discuss how his close friend and fellow comedian Gilda Radner used laughter to help during her battle with ovarian cancer. The event will also raise funds to support senior citizens who cannot afford proper care. Mon. 11:45 a.m. $75. Hyatt Regency Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine. For reservations, call Christine (949) 756-8501.
TUE | APRIL 8
Increasingly, Los Angeles' passionate and political young professionals are searching for ways to actively support Israel. Designed to cater to young leaders on the rise, The Makom is hosting a social soiree at an ultra-chic lounge with special guest Jacob Dayan. Israelis, Israeli Americans and American Jews (ages 21-39) are invited for appetizers and "Cocktails with the Consul General of Israel in L.A.," where they will learn how they can get involved and make a difference in Israel's future. Tue. 7 p.m. $10. Crescent Hotel & Lounge, 403 N. Crescent Drive, Beverly Hills. (949) 230-2353. http://www.themakom.org.
How does one survive a divorce from a three-month marriage? Writer, producer and actor David Landsberg explains how to do just that in his new play, "An Act of Love," directed by Casey Stangl. Landsberg's uber-dysfunctional family comedy about newly divorced insurance salesman, Peter Sandusky (Timothy Horner), details the bachelor's exploits as he juggles dalliances with eccentric, chaotic women. As his drifter sister begs him for a place to crash and his narcissistic, wannabe-actress mother cramps his style, it seems impossible for Peter to take control of his life. His situation makes our lives seem so uncomplicated. Join in on the riotous dysfunction every Jewish family can relate to. Tue. 8 p.m. $32.50-$37.50. Through April 27. Falcon theater, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank. (818) 955-8101. http://www.falcontheater.com.
Inspired by a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, photographer Carol Inez Charney created an intimate storyboard through her camera's lens in an exhibition "Marked For Life." A powerful observer, Charney captures the memories and emotions from survivors of an atrocious war. Her photographs evoke and eternalize a powerful history whose legacy lingers, and demonstrate how beauty can emerge from horror. Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Through May 16. Free. USC Hillel Art Gallery, 3300 S. Hoover St., Los Angeles. Please call ahead, (213) 747-9135, ext. 21.
In completing the last session in the series, "Israel at 60: A Retrospective Through Israeli Films," will screen "On the Front Line," a film in which Israeli teens confront contemporary social, political and religious issues. Following a light Chinese buffet, Rabbi Daniel Bouskila will lead an open discussion about the film. Tues. 7 p.m. (dinner), 7:30 p.m. (film). $18. Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, 10500 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P required, (310) 475-7311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WED | APRIL 9
The horrifyingly dark world of sex trafficking in Southeast Asia is brought to life through the eyes of Western aid workers at a rescue shelter in Julie Marie Myatt's "Boats on a River." American expatriate Sidney Webb and Sister Margaret, his British colleague, work tirelessly to rehabilitate Cambodian children from the nightmare of prostitution. During its West Coast premiere, the play, produced by Susan Albert Loewenberg, will be recorded on L.A. theater Works nationally syndicated radio theater series, "The Play's The Thing," broadcasting weekly on public and satellite radio. Wed. 8 p.m. $20-$47. Through April 13. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. For tickets and additional times, call (310) 827-0889. http://www.latw.org.
THU | APRIL 10
Critically acclaimed author Jesse Kellerman (photo, right) debuts his upcoming novel, "The Genius." Readers might remember his earlier works, the brainy "Sunstroke" and the unrelenting thriller "Trouble." Now he's back on the scene with a story that peeks into the twisted mind of an undiscovered genius. In the book, Ethan Muller, a 33-year-old Manhattan art dealer and former bad boy, has a knack for finding and cultivating new hot artists. When he stumbles across the work of the mysterious Victor Cracke, Muller is convinced that the artist's intricate, hypnotic drawings are a sign of brilliance. The provocative book treads a fine line between defining what is genius and what is insanity. Join Kellerman, along with his father, best-selling mystery author Jonathan Kellerman, during the book signing. Thu. 7:30 p.m. Free. Barnes & Noble, The Grove, 189 Grove Drive, Los Angeles. (323) 525-0270.
Autism and comedy may seem like strange bedfellows, but Lynette Louise, the mother of four children -- challenged and unchallenged, adopted and biological -- melds the two smoothly together. In her show, "Thing to Thing to Thing: From Crazy To Sane With Biofeedback, Autism and The Brain," Louise shares heartbreaking stories with music and brain science. The one-woman show, performed during National Autism Month, outlines Louise's 20-year search for new ways to help her children develop into independent adults. Disabled adults and parents of autistic children who present a photograph of their child will be admitted free at the door. Thu. 7:30 p.m. Through May 1. $30. The Scherr Forum Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. For tickets, visit http://www.ticketmaster.com.
Photographer, writer and director Mike Spitz will bring his vision of urban life to one of downtown Los Angeles' largest commercial galleries. In the heart of the bustling arts district, Gallery Row, Spitz's photography captures solitude in its many forms in an exhibition that showcases abstract images drawn from the visual landscapes of places where he's lived: Ohio, New York, New Orleans and Chicago. The Angeleno, who teaches photography to kids in South Los Angeles, will show his work alongside an eclectic group of painters and sculptors in an atmosphere of art, drinks and music. Thu. 6-9 p.m. Free. Through April 25. Infusion Gallery, 719 South Spring St., Los Angeles. (213) 683-8827. http://www.infusiongallery.com.
With the music that made it timeless and new performances, director Trevor Nunn's "My Fair Lady" returns to the stage. Revisit Henry Higgins, the opinionated linguist professor and bachelor who makes a risky wager with a colleague and vows to transform the lowly flower-seller Eliza Doolittle into a proper lady of high society. Soak up Broadway's most cherished melodies such as "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "On the Street Where You Live." Thu. 8 p.m. Through April 27. $30-$100. Ahmanson theater, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. For tickets and additional show times, call (213) 628-2772. http://www.centertheatergroup.org.
FRI | APRIL 11
At last! Strong Israeli women get to shine in "Israeli Women: A Portrait in Photographs," an exhibition honoring Israel's 60th birthday. With more than 30 journalistic and documentary photos taken since the birth of Israel, the exhibition portrays a distinct femininity that has evolved over time revealing confident, strong and eager women who were more than willing to grab a weapon and stand alongside men in battle. In contrast, the photos from Central Zionist Archives and the State of Israel National Photo Collection portray conventional images of women exuding sexuality and beauty. Additional photos by acclaimed Hollywood photographer Roman Freulich reveal the true face of "Israeli Women." Fri. Through Aug. 10. Noon-5 p.m. Free. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. http://www.skirball.org
The Skirball is paying tribute to the late Jerusalem-born artist Ziva Sivan. Working mainly from her ground-floor studio, Sivan created a sanctuary-like atmosphere for models and subjects, using the female nude body as inspiration for the art she termed "free painting." The exhibition features some of the Israeli artist's best large-scale drawings, with splashy colors and a sweeping stroke, as well as paintings and sculpture meant to express her inventive, experimental use of drawing media. 12-5 p.m., Tue.-Fri. $5-$10. Free on Thursdays. Through June 30. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 440-4500. http://www.skirball.com.
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