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Jewish Journal

Calendar Girls Picks and Clicks August 16-22: Politics, dance, education and music

by Dikla Kadosh and Danielle Berrin

August 15, 2008 | 3:46 pm

Arsen Serobian as Spartacus

Arsen Serobian as Spartacus

SAT | AUGUST 16

(BALLET)

In the role made famous by actor Kirk Douglas, dancer Arsen Serobian reinvents the legendary character of Spartacus for the stage. "An Evening of Khachaturian: The Composer and His Ballets," presents excerpts from three of Aram Khachaturian's great works: "Gayane," about a conflicted woman in Soviet Armenia who denounces her abusive, treasonous husband; "Spartacus," about the slave and gladiator who led a revolt against the Roman Empire; and "Masquerade," a symphonic suite of classical Russian music written in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Sat. 7:30 p.m. $20-$48. The Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. (818) 243-2539. http://www.alextheatre.org.

(NATURE HIKE)

If there's going to be gelato in a body-conscious city like Los Angeles, there must also be exercise. But instead of moving the clothes hanging from your treadmill, head to a night hike in the Santa Monica Mountains, followed by a delicious treat with MOSAIC Outdoor Club of Greater Los Angeles. Enjoy a 360-degree view of Los Angeles from the observation tower at a former military missile control site with your fellow hiking enthusiasts, and then partake in some gelato at Piccomolo in Pacific Palisades. Don't forget some water, snacks, layers and your hiking A-game! Sat. 6:30-9:30 p.m. (hike), 9:45-10 p.m. (gelato). Free (hike), $5 (gelato). Meet at the intersection of Mandeville Canyon Road and Garden Land Road, Los Angeles. Piccomolo, 970 Monument St., Suite 118, Pacific Palisades. (310) 420-3600. http://www.mosaicla.org.

(SINGLES DANCE PARTY)

Join Stephen S. Wise Temple's Social Circle (45-65) for a summer blast with delectable food, wine and dancing to songs from the '50s to the '70s performed by JUSSTUSS. What more could you ask for? How about a free dance lesson? You know you want to join the dancin' and singin' and movin' to the groovin'. Sat. 7:30 p.m.-midnight. Dance lesson at 6:45 p.m. $20 (members), $25 (guests). Hershenson Hall, Stephen S. Wise Temple, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 204-1240. johnseeman@aol.com.

SUN | AUGUST 17

(DARFUR)

Families torn apart. Women raped. Charred bodies. Mass graves. How many times will we have to endure these horrifying images before we make "Never again" finally mean something? Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Paul Freedman's stark new documentary, "Sand and Sorrow," asks that tough question and others as he examines the bleak situation in Darfur. Narrated by George Clooney, the film will be screened at a special gathering hosted by the Long Beach and Orange County Jewish communities with the support of many proactive organizations. A panel discussion featuring the film's director, the executive director of Jewish World Watch and the co-founder of Stop Genocide Now will follow the screening. Sun. 4 p.m. (reception with director), 5 p.m. (screening and discussion). $10 (suggested donation). Marion Knott Studios, Chapman University, 283 N. Cypress St., Orange. (562) 426-7601, ext. 1521. http://www.jewishworldwatch.org.

(ART EXHIBIT)

What do artist Mariona Barkus and photographers Sheila Pinkel and Joe Ravetz have in common? Talent, strong opinions on political and social standards and the "Art and Advocacy" exhibit at the Platt and Borstein Galleries at American Jewish University (AJU). From Barkus's black-and-white images and mixed-media sculptures to Pinkel's and Ravetz's photographs of imprisonment and homelessness, respectively, these artists use their work as a means to provoke thought and action. Meet the man and women behind the images at the exhibit dedicated to the memory of courtroom artist David Rose, a longtime member of AJU's Fine Arts Council. Sun. 3-5 p.m. Exhibition through Nov. 23. Platt/Borstein Galleries, AJU, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (310) 476-9777, ext. 201. http://www.ajula.edu.

(MUSICAL RETREAT)

A group of artists specializing in Middle Eastern music and dance are seeking refuge in Mendocino Woodlands State Park for a week of, well, band camp. In the deep of a redwood forest, Yuval Ron and his closest comrades will lead a weeklong celebration of melody and movement at the Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp. The adventurous types are welcome to camp in the woods, but for urbanites the site comes equipped with enclosed cabins, fireplaces and dining halls. Begins Sun., Aug. 17, 4 p.m. $660 (adults), $140-$270 (children, by age). Through Aug. 24. For location and directions, call (310) 838-5471 or visit http://www.middleeastcamp.com.

(SPEAKER)

Do you know the cultural differences among Serbs, Albanians, Bosnians and Croats? Did you know that there are dangerous neo-Nazi groups in Croatia? Were you aware that some Palestinians are actually of Bosnian descent? And did you ever think that one of the most complicated and least-understood modern historical events could be presented through comedy? The Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors Los Angeles is hosting comedian, author and pundit Julia Gorin in "Komedy and Kosovo," a thought-provoking presentation that dissects a complex political issue that still holds relevance today. Come learn, come laugh and come with your own questions. Sun. 3 p.m. $12 (suggested donation). 20367 Lander Drive, Woodland Hills. (818) 704-0523. http://www.cjhsla.org.

TUE | AUGUST 19

(POLITICS)

Controversial politician John Bolton, who served as an interim U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005 and 2006 on a recess appointment, has continued to bolster his street cred as an outspoken media presence. Bolton is the guest of honor at the Republican Jewish Coalition's "Evening with Ambassador John Bolton" where, over the course of a dinner and a book signing for his "Surrender Is Not an Option," he'll discuss what's on his mind -- perhaps his provocative Wall Street Journal op-ed "Israel, Iran, and the Bomb." Tue. 6 p.m. $300-$600. Beverly Hilton Hotel, Wilshire Ballroom, 9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 478-0752. http://www.rjchq.org.

WED | AUGUST 20

(BOOK READING)

Peter Ivers was a mischievous composer and host of the L.A.-based punk-comedy cabaret TV show, "New Wave Theatre." West Coast punk acts like Black Flag and The Dead Kennedys shared the stage with such comedy players as John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Harold Ramis on the late '70s and early '80s UHF show. "New Wave Theatre" later aired as part of USA's "Night Flight," but ended in 1983 when Ivers was found bludgeoned to death in his downtown loft. Writer Josh Frank explores the life and mysterious murder of Iver in his new book, "In Heaven Everything is Fine: The Unsolved Life of Peter Ivers and the Lost History of the New Wave Theatre." Wed. 7 p.m. Free ($25, book). Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. (449) 339-5320. http://www.vromansbookstore.com.

(LECTURE AND BOOK READING)

Jews have influenced America's society and culture for more than three centuries. This impact is explored in "The Encyclopedia of American Jewish History," edited by Stephen H. Norwood and Eunice Pollack with contributions from 125 noted scholars of American Jewish history and culture. Spend an afternoon with Norwood at the Museum of Tolerance examining the evolution of Jewish culture and ideology through American history. Wed. 2 p.m. Free. Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 772-2527 (RSVP required). http://www.museumoftolerance.com.

(SHORT FILM)

Chasidic hip-hop sounds like a Saturday Night Live skit. But the unlikely musical genre actually exists, and you can hear its ingenious sounds in "Song of David," a 20-minute film screening that is part of the L.A. Shorts Fest. Directed by Israeli filmmaker Oded Turgeman, "Song of David" centers on a 16-year-old Chasidic boy whose journey to become a rabbi is detoured by a growing fascination, even obsession, with rap music. With original hip-hop provided by Ta-Shma, a Chasidic group straight out of Brooklyn, the film not only explores themes of artistic freedom and honest self-expression, it also proves that the most implausible combinations are sometimes the most divine. Wed. 3 p.m. $12. Laemmle's Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (323) 461-4400. http://www.songofdavidmovie.com, http://www.lashortsfest.com.

FRI | AUGUST 22

(BOOK TALK)

An American Jew living in Berlin confronts the cross section of three different identities -- and that's only the story of the writer. Anna Winger, a contributor to The New York Times Magazine who is currently developing a literary series for NPR, reads and discusses her new novel, "This Must Be the Place." It tells a "Lost in Translation"-like love story about American Jewish expats who forge a deep bond living as neighbors in Berlin. The characters are as wounded and complex as the city in which they live, modern anomalies confronting the ghosts of their pasts. Fri. 7 p.m. Free. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 659-3110. http://www.booksoup.com.

(SHABBAT)

Ethiopian Jew and Los Angeles icon Alula Tzadik is bringing the mountain to Muhammad. The avid musician and community activist figured if the religiously-disconnected Jewish teens loitering at the Third Street Promenade won't come to synagogue for Shabbat services, he'll bring Shabbat to them. Tonight is the first of a series of Promenade services to be held by the familiar dinosaur every fourth Friday of the month, with rabbis, cantors and musicians who are volunteering their time to reach out to the post-bar/bat mitzvah, pre-Birthright set. Fri. 7:30-9 p.m. Free. 1322 Third St., Santa Monica. For more information, contact Alula Tzadik, (323) 472-7484. Alulamusic@aol.com.


-- Jina Davidovich contributed to this article

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