Conflicted, critical and accused of self-hatred, you could call William Kentridge the Phillip Roth of the art world. His works, ranging from films to charcoal drawings, focus on two characters, Soho Eckstein and his alter-ego, Felix Teitlebaum. The white Jewish characters are used to make statements about politics in Kentridge's native South Africa. Some have called his portrayals anti-Semitic, but Kentridge, a Jew himself, has defended them as being honest. You can decide for yourself by viewing the William Kentridge retrospective, on display through Oct. 6 at LACMA. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (Saturdays and Sundays), noon-8 p.m. (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays), noon-9 p.m. (Fridays), closed Wednesdays. $7 (general), $5 (students and seniors), $1 (children), free (children 5 and under). 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 857-6000.
There's a Mikveh at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute that's open to the public. But don't go getting your tzitzit in a twist. It's totally kosher. We're talking Mikveh, as in the all-female klezmer band. And tonight, they've got an open-air concert that both men and women will enjoy. 7:30 p.m. $25 (general), $15 (students). 1101 Peppertree Lane, Brandeis. For more information, call (805) 582-4450.
David De'Or's extraordinary three-and-a-half-octave-range voice is worth hearing in person. Just ask the pope, whose aural sense was stimulated by the singer back in 1995, when De'Or represented Israel in a performance at the Vatican. Today, he's appearing somewhere a bit more accessible. Cal State Northridge hosts the artist in two shows, where a portion of the proceeds benefits Israeli victims of terror. 2 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. $26-$72. 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. For reservations, call (818) 677-2488.
If Christina Aguilera has taught you all you know about Persian culture, you need this book. New out this week is "Harem," a debut novel by Israeli-born Dora Levy Mossanen. The book chronicles the story of three generations of women in Iran, beginning with Rebekah, a girl from the Persian Jewish quarter, and ending with Rebekah's granddaughter, Raven, who will one day rule the empire. There's also harem drama, a handsome shah and a mysterious eunuch to keep you intrigued. So who needs a genie in a bottle? $14. Scribner Paperback Fiction. Available through www.amazon.com, or contact your local bookstore.
"Lady Take a Lover Now" is a new compilation of music and poetry from the ghettos of Renaissance Italy. It moves from humor to irreverence to solemnity to devotion. The music is composed by Salamone Rossi, friend and colleague of Claudio Monteverdi, who was considered the most important Jewish musician of the era. The poems were written by various writers of the time and still hold up today, as this short excerpt by Joseph Tzarfati illustrates: "Your eyebrow, darling, is a charm ... and next to it, a pool, your eye, all sparkle, like a diadem." The CD may be purchased online from www.endpinrecords.com or www.amazon.com.
In the face of pain, loss and sorrow, artists Jody Uttal and Janet Sternberg turned to words and to their individual arts for transcendence. The two women discuss the books that are the products of their struggles, "Painted Prayers" and "Phantom Limb" respectively, tonight at Barnes and Noble Booksellers. 7:30 p.m. 1201 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica. For more information, call (310) 260-9110.
Young musical ambassadors from Israel, Japan and a host of other countries have convened in Los Angeles for a series of concerts at the Fifth Annual Music Laureates Festival from Aug. 1-11. Two highlights of the festival take place today and Saturday, Aug. 10. Today's performance, by members of I PALPITI, features the world premiere of Brahms' "Kammersinfonie," reconstructed for strings by Eduard Schmieder in an orchestral ensemble setting. Saturday's concert is dedicated to world victims of terror, and features distinguished 15-year-old Polish pianist Stanislaw Drzewiecki. 8 p.m. $30. Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Aug. 10, 8 p.m. $30. Zipper Hall, Colburn School of Performing Arts, 200 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. For reservations to either show, call (310) 281-3303.
It's "Musical Mythologies" night at the Hollywood Bowl. John Mauceri conducts the Pacific Chorale and Paulist Choristers through a program of music by composers who are, themselves, the stuff of myth and legend. You'll hear Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries," Holst's "Jupiter" and music from John Williams' "Harry Potter." But the main attraction is sure to be the world-premiere concert of a new suite by Academy Award-winning composer Howard Shore, adapted from his score to "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." 8:30 p.m. $3-$220. 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. For reservations, call (323) 850-2000.