Eccentric. Jewish. Feminist. Just some of the words one could use to describe avant-garde writer Gertrude Stein. The American-born Stein spent most of her life in Paris, and, with her companion, Alice B. Toklas, survived the persecution of sexual minorities and Jews during German occupation of France in World War II. Stein's best-known work, "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas," was actually the author's own autobiography, the title inspired from her more than 30-year relationship with Toklas. Tonight, the City Garage presents "The Gertrude Stein Project," an original work that combines Stein's prose and seldom-seen plays to showcase her wit, playfulness and sensuality. $20 (general admission); $10 (students and seniors). Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. and Sun., 5:30 p.m. For reservations or more information, call (310) 319-9939.
The psychotherapist is supposed to be emotionless and selfless while a patient is lying on the couch. Today, the art exhibit "Insight Out: The Art of the Psychotherapist," curated by Dr. Geoffrey D. White, defies that. The artwork of 15 psychotherapists -- many of them Jewish -- shatters the longstanding taboo against self-revelation by the mental health professional. Through photographs, stained glass, drawing, photography and other media, the artist-therapists grapple with their private feelings about the therapeutic process. Gallery hours: Sat. and Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Through Dec. 2. Gallery 208, 208 S. La Brea Ave., Inglewood. For more information, call (310) 671-9723.
Aaron Copland, Gustave Mahler and George Gershwin all have something in common: they had exceptional musical talents, but neglected to directly influence the Jewish community of which they were a part. In a two-part program, Synergy, the ensemble of the Los Angeles and Israel-based Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity, presents "Lost and Found." The first part of the program tonight highlights the non-Jewish contributions of the artists, while the Dec. 17 show brings to light works such as Benedatto Marcello's cantata based on the Chanukah hymn "Mao Tsur," Dimitri Shostakovich's Piano Trio on a Jewish Theme," that gave to the community the precious gift of cultural affirmation. $15 (in advance); $18 (at the door). 7:30 p.m. For reservations or more information, call (323) 658-5824.
Broadway stars James Barbour ("Beauty and the Beast") and Hershey Felder, ("George Gershwin Alone") have created "Back From Broadway ... A Musical Experience." The show is about the creative process behind some of Broadway's best such as "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Camelot." Through Dec. 31. Tiffany Theatre, 8532 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. For tickets or more information, call (310) 289-2999.
What if someone told you they were making chicken soup, but it took eight years for you to get your bowl? Several years after the release of their first book, the creators of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, have prepared a warm bowl of "Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul," (Health Communications, Inc.; $12.95), like bubbie used to make.
Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, the co-editor of "Jewish Soul," is speaking and signing books tonight at 7 p.m. The collection includes anecdotes from three L.A. area rabbis -- Rabbi Steven Leder of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Rabbi Allen Maller from Temple Akiba in Culver City and Rabbi Scott Aaron, the director of education for the Brandeis-Bardin Institute.
Although the editors give no reason why they waited so long to release a collection of Jewish stories, they say Judaism has a definite link to the entire series because "both chicken soup and stories are quintessentially Jewish."
Elkins will be speaking and signing books at 7 p.m. at the West Valley JCC Bernard Milken Community Campus, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. For more information, contact the JCC at (818) 464-3300. -- Shoshana Lewin, ContributingWriter
Israeli singer, Chava Alberstein, performs tonight at the Skirball Cultural Center. $28 (general admission); $25 (members); $20 (students). 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 655-8587.
The comedy play "Bordertown" illustrates the disparity between the American and Mexican worlds through the talents of the comedy troupe Culture Clash. Actors Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza describe the funny things that happen when natives of either country enter the other. The show is part of L.A. Theatre Works' radio series. $36-$40 (general admission); $10 (student rush); $20 (public rush). Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m., Sat., 2 p.m. and Sun., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. For reservations or more information, call (310) 827-0889.
John Green of Booklist magazine characterized editor Nathalie Handal's new anthology The Poetry of Arab Women as an answer to "a long-felt need." Indeed, the book condemns the widespread repression of these women throughout various Arab countries by allowing them to express their feelings through poetry. Tonight, some of these talented women will perform poetry readings in "Arab Women Poets" hosted by Handal. $5-$7 (general admission). 8 p.m. Levantine Center at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Centre, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice. For reservations or more information, call (323) 650-3157.