This weekend, it's "Northward, ho!" as North Hollywood's NoHo Theatre District hosts the NoHo Theatre and Arts Festival. The two-day theater, performing and visual-arts fest features theater performances at 20 NoHo venues, music and dance acts on outdoor stages, arts workshops for kids and outdoor gallery areas. Two of the many theater performances worth checking out are "Cyma's Story," a play about a Russian Jewish immigrant, and "Grandmothers of the Universe," a solo piece by Miri Hunter Haruach, an African American convert to Judaism.
11 a.m.-8 p.m., May 17 and 18. Free (festival events and
daytime performances). Lankershim Boulevard, between Chandler and Magnolia
boulevards, North Hollywood. (818) 623-7171. www.nohoartsdistrict.com/festival2003/
Miri Hunter Haruach performs "Grandmothers of the Universe." Photo by Veronica Puleo
Arrested artistic development was just one of the many ways Hitler's totalitarian rule influenced German culture. Today, Dance Camera West/Los Angeles International Dance Film Festival focuses the lens more specifically with a screening of the documentary "Dance Under the Swastika." The lives of prominent 20th century choreographers and dancers Mary Wigman, Harald Kreutzberg and Rudolf von Laban are examined through interviews of some of their contemporaries and clips from historical dance films. A panel discussion with dance scholars Susan Manning and Jennifer Fisher follows. 7:30 p.m. $8 (general), $6 (students, Skirball and Dance Resource Center members). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (323) 655-8587.
Head back to NoHo tonight to enjoy a tale of college reunions and famous lesbian folksingers. Eclectic Company Theatre's "A Weekend Near Madison" tells the story of David Rabinowitz and the complexities that arise when his college ex-girlfriend (the aforementioned folksinger) tells him that she and her life partner would like him to father their child. 8 p.m. (Mondays), 7 p.m. (Sundays). Runs through June 16. $12-$15. 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood. 818-508-3003
They're getting the band back together! For the real Mashina reunion, you'll have to book with El Al, as the defunct Israeli rock band comes together for four shows in Israel this summer. But for a variation that some would argue is even better, you can catch Yuval Banai and Shlomi Bracha at the Knitting Factory tonight. The three-guitar acoustic show (Nosshi Paz rounds out the group on guitar, as well) will be equal parts Mashina Unplugged and Yuval and Shlomi Unplugged as they perform songs by the group, as well as solo hits. 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. $45 (in advance), $50 (at the door). 7021 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 463-0204.
The Workmen's Circle explores subtler forms of Jewish activism in a new exhibit titled "Love as Activism: Beyond Egalitarianism in the Contemporary Ketubah." It features original ketubot (Jewish marriage contracts) that use alternative texts or nontraditional artwork to express couples' unions. Accompanying the show is a series of programs, including two panel discussions, a ketubah design workshop and screening of the documentary "Naming Prairie." 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Monday-Friday, but call ahead.) Runs through June 27. 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 552-2007.
Those of a certain generation will recall the term we cannot print, but which Erica Jong coined in her 1973 best-selling novel "Fear of Flying." (Hint: it involves the word "zipless.") But the prosaic writer has produced seven novels and at least four books of poetry since then. She discusses her latest novel, "Sappho's Leap," with writer Anne Taylor Fleming ("Marriage A Duet" and "Motherhood Deferred") in another Writer's Bloc conversation at the Skirball, tonight. 7:30 p.m. $15. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (310) 335-0917.
Voyeurs and ladies looking for a girls' night out find common ground tonight in the form of a new play, "Dial-Logs." Written by Jewish television producers Julie Heimler and Jill Asars, the story is told entirely through telephone conversations and centers on best friends who live on opposite coasts. With the help of good long-distance plans, the two women keep each other updated on the intimacies of their lives. 8 p.m. (Thursday-Saturday). Runs through May 31. $10. The Complex, Ruby Theatre, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 280-2660. Amy Turner, bottom,and Christina Venuti in "Dial-Logs."