Young Artists International returns to Los Angeles with its third annual International Laureates Music Festival of classical and chamber music performed by gifted young professional musicians. In concert tonight, soloists Alexandru Tomescu (violin) and Valentina (piano) join members of the I PALPITI chamber orchestra in a program of works by French composers. 8 p.m. $25. Zipper Hall, Colburn School of Performing Arts, 200 S. Grand, Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 281-3303.
The Beverly Hills Civic Center Public Art Walking Tour is offered the first Saturday of each month. Art works viewed on today's tour include sculpture by August Rodin and pieces by Henry Moore and Claes Oldenburg. 1 p.m. Departs from the front of Beverly Hills City Hall, 450 N. Crescent Drive, Beverly Hills. For additional information, call (310) 288-2201.
Celebrate the Jewish cultures of the Middle East at the Mizrahi Festival. Music, dance and storytelling performances highlight the artistry of communities across the Middle East, from world musician Yair Dalal's concerts with AL OL Ensemble, to the Persian dance and music of Banafsheh Sayyad with the Namah Ensemble. Middle Eastern cuisine and an artisan showcase will be included in this family festival at the Skirball Cultural Center. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $8 (general admission); $6 (students/seniors); free for children under 12 and members. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. Advance tickets recommended by calling (323) 655-8587.
Though he was a carpenter by trade, Polish poet Mordecai Gebirtig wrote words that became theme songs of Eastern European Jewish life in the 1920s and '30s. His songs were sung in ghettos and concentration camps during WW II, and provided inspiration for taking up arms against the Nazis. Dr. Sean Martin, scholar-in-residence at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust tonight presents a lecture on Gebirtig's work, with both recorded and live performances of his songs. 7 p.m. 6006 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. RSVP, (323) 761-8170.
In a bravura performance, concert pianist and actor Hershey Felder brings to life the struggles, triumphs and music of America's beloved composer in "George Gershwin Alone," a return engagement at the intimate Tiffany Theatre in West Hollywood. The uninterrupted, 90-minute show includes a generous menu of the man who "made an honest woman out of jazz," ending with a breathtaking rendition of "Rhapsody in Blue" (or, as Gershwin's father insisted on calling it, "Rhapsody for Jews.") Through Aug. 20 at the Tiffany Theatre, 8532 Sunset Blvd. Tickets for Tuesdays-Thursdays and Sundays are $35; Fridays and Saturdays $39.50. For reservations, call (310) 289-2999. - Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
Photography and video art are featured in two exhibitions opening this week at MOCA at California Plaza. "John Gutmann: Culture Shock" focuses on a group of 100 photographs selected by the artist to exemplify more than half a century of work, including documentary photos of the odd and marvelous in Asia, Europe and the U.S., as well as his experiments with Surrealism. Another exhibit, "MEDI(t)Ations: Adrian Piper's Videos, Installations, Performances and Soundworks 1968-1992" shows the artist's increasingly political work in those forms. Both exhibits through Nov. 5. $6 (general admission); $4 (students and seniors). 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 621-2766.
Before the full torrent of this year's political television commercials hits, brush up on the engaging and controversy-filled history of political ads at the Museum of Television and Radio. The new exhibit, "Madison Avenue Goes to Washington: The History of Presidential Campaign Advertising" is a screening of the most memorable and significant presidential ads created from 1952-1996, with narration placing them in historical context. Wed.-Sun., 3 p.m.; through November 12. Suggested contribution: $6 (adults); $4 (students and seniors); $3 (children under 13). 465 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills. (310) 786-1025.
"Aimee and Jaguar", this year's German submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, is a true story. The setting is Berlin in 1943; a love affair blossoms between two women. One of them, Lilly Wust (who told her story to the writer of the book upon which the film is based), was married and the mother of four sons, an exemplar of Nazi motherhood. The other woman, Felice Schragenheim, a Jew and member of the underground, finds in their love a hope for her survival. In German with English subtitles. Times vary. $8.50 (general admission); $6.50 (students); $5.50 (seniors). Laemmle's Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. For recorded program information, call (310) 274-6869.