Beware the Yiddish Culture Club's karma chameleon. Dwindling membership may mean those who value the group but are slow to join may find themselves without it soon enough. Tonight, they sponsor a concert by Cantor Hershl Fox titled "Let Us Sing Yiddish." Check it out. No more excuses. 7:30 p.m. $5 (members), $8 (guests). 8339 W. Third St., Los Angeles. (310) 275-8455.
The Yiddish are coming. All weekend long, it seems. In addition to Saturday's concert, this weekend Adat Ari El hosts Yiddish playwright, conductor and general cultural authority Zalmen Mlotek. He'll offer stories, a gathering for Yiddish speakers and a "khootenanny," with accompaniment by Golden State Klezmer Band. You know you've always wanted to be able to say you've been to a "khootenanny." Fri., Feb. 7-Sun., Feb. 9. 12020 Burbank Blvd., Valley Village. (818) 788-1679.
Skip out of work early today, prepare the sick excuses for tomorrow morning and make the call to Papa John's. Tonight, February Mondays continue with Star of the Month John Garfield on Turner Classic Movies. "The Breaking Point," "The Sea Wolf," "Four Daughters," "Daughters Courageous," "Four Wives" and "Between Two Worlds" play back to back till the wee hours of morning. It's a commitment perhaps best reserved for die-hard fans of the Jewish tough guy. But you could always tape it. 5 p.m., Turner Classic Movies. www.turnerclassicmovies.com
Sponsored by Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Italian Government Cultural Office), but nonetheless offered in English, is today's talk at Cal State Long Beach on "Representations of the Holocaust in Italian Literature." Speaker Stefania Lucamante gives a free lecture this afternoon. Extra credit for pronouncing her name correctly. 4 p.m. Library West, Cal State Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach. (310) 443-3250.
Improper Brit artist (and grandson of Sigmund) Lucian Freud had the sass to give hint of 5 o'clock shadow in his commissioned portrait painting of the Queen Mum. Fact is, his portraits are often unflattering. But while we don't suggest sitting for him, we do recommend MOCA's "Lucian Freud" retrospective, consisting of 115 of his works from six decades, and now on loan from the Tate Britain. Considered Britain's greatest living realist painter, Freud also debuts his new portrait of David Hockney in this show. 11 a.m.-5 pm. (Tuesday-Sunday), 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (Thursdays). Runs Feb. 9-May 25. $8 (adults), $5 (students and seniors), free (members, children under 12 and everyone on Thursday evenings, 5-8 p.m.). 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 626-6222.
Opening this week at the Los Angeles Jewish Theatre is Richard Freedman's play "Halevai." It's the stuff Harry Chapin songs are made of. The title means "if only" in Hebrew, and centers around the relationship between a father and son, and the "if only's" the son is left to face after the death of his father. 8 p.m. (Thursdays and Saturdays), 2 p.m. (Sundays). Runs Feb. 8-March 16. $14 (Thursdays), $20 (Saturdays and Sundays), $18 (seniors). 1528 Gordon St., Hollywood. (310) 967-1352.
To all the lovelorn and dejected on this, depressing of all holidays, we say, "Chins up!" Personally, we've chosen to keep telling ourselves V-Day is just a stupid, capitalist-driven excuse for the masses to consume chocolates and throw their happy little relationships in our faces. But we're not having it. Our suggestion: Grab a pint -- Ben and Jerry's or Guinness, your choice -- and hit the comic book store for an alternative kind of love story, on shelves today. "The Nine Loves of El Gato, Crime Mangler," written and illustrated by Journal staff writer Michael Aushenker (and others), will distract you from your own sorrows. You'll be reminded that it could be worse -- you could be a big, fat Mexican wrestler with a mask fetish and a distaste for bananas. $5. Available in comic book shops everywhere, or through www.elgatocomics.com