Operation Moses, the 1985 mission that airlifted thousands of persecuted Ethiopian Jews from Sudan to Israel, was a turbulent endeavor riddled with cultural, religious and personal conflicts. Families were torn apart, identities questioned and laws rewritten. "Live and Become" is a fictional account of Schlomo, a Christian Ethiopian boy who is smuggled into Israel by a Jewish Ethiopian widow. Once in Israel, Schlomo conceals his identity -- even from the French Israeli couple who adopt him -- and has to face the prejudices of white Jews while embracing a religion and culture not his own. The film, directed by Radu Mihaileanu, was an audience favorite at numerous international film festivals and is coming to Los Angeles for an exclusive run at only four theaters. Opens Fri., June 27. Playing at Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills, Town Center in Encino, One Colorado in Pasadena and Regency's Niguel in Laguna Niguel. For tickets and show times, visit http://www.laemmle.com. For more on the film, visit http://www.menemshafilms.com.
Artist and Santa Barbara native Lawrence Gipe is known for cutting-edge, politically tinged paintings, deriving inspiration from propaganda-emitting advertisements and posters from totalitarian regimes, including those of Hitler and Stalin. Gipe also uses modern-day military recruiting and Web-based corporate "motivational" materials in his work. Look out for his Middle East-themed images, like "Palestine 1946," which depicts two wooden ships packed with European Jewish refugees, and "Saudi Arabia 1948," in which four Americans play golf beside an old oil pipeline in a dusty desert. Gipe's work has been featured in galleries and museums all over the United States, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C. Sat. 5-7 p.m. (artist reception). Through Aug. 2. Free. Lora Schlesinger Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., T3, Santa Monica. (310) 828-1133. http://www.loraschlesinger.com.
Eager to flex its social and philanthropic muscle, Magbit Young Leadership is combining comedy and altruism during the group's annual fundraiser, Jokefest 2008. Maz Jobrani, from the "Axis of Evil Comedy Tour," tops the bill in a show that aims to get young professionals supporting Magbit's interest-free college loan program, available to students studying in Israel. In the past, Magbit's party planning has not disappointed -- expect long buffet tables stocked with kosher Persian food, open bars and lots of guests in their 20s and 30s dancing the night away. Sat. 9 p.m. $80-$100. 627 S. Carondelete St., Los Angeles. (310) 273-2233. http://www.youngmagbit.org.
Pop culture scholar Eddy Portnoy will show-and-tell the long and turbulent history of Jews in cartoons. Once the breeding ground for anti-Semitic propaganda, comics began appearing in the Yiddish press in the late 19th century and represented new images of Jewish culture. Attempting to expose the hypocrisy and wrongdoing in Jewish civil society, Yiddish cartoonists used the medium to challenge Jewish paradigms, often using religious references, texts or custom to contrast intention with reality. With a colorful slide show and historic context, "Comic Strip Jews: Cartoons From the Yiddish Press" will examine the Jewish presence in this timeless and beloved medium. Sat. 8 p.m. $5 (suggested donation). The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring, 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 389-8880. http://www.yiddishkaytla.org.
If you're an adventurous music lover who is always eager to discover a fresh sound or a groovy new band, a night at The Mint, where innovative, up-and-coming musicians are featured nightly, should satisfy that craving. Tonight's lineup includes several of our own -- the Israeli band Moshav, a local favorite; RebbeSoul, a Calendar Girls favorite; and newcomers häaut;MAKOR, an energetic Israeli band that mixes rock, electronica and trance with an earthy Jewish message. Sat. 10:30 p.m. $15. The Mint, 6010 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 954-9400.
Itching for a change in scenery, but don't have the time or money to travel across the country? Temple Beth Haverim's Cantor Kenny Ellis has the perfect solution for you with a Catskills-style weekend of entertainment. Ellis, who is also Congregation Am HaYam's scholar-in-residence, is bringing Borsht Belt flavor to Ventura County. Ellis will serenade, entertain and share insights using his powerful voice, piano skills and booming personality during a dessert social and "KCAH: Jewish Radio" breakfast, co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Ventura County. Sat. 8 p.m. and Sun. 9:30 a.m. $18 (suggested donation). Congregation Am HaYam, 4839 Market St., Unit C, Ventura. R.S.V.P required; call (805) 644-2899 or e-mail email@example.com.
West Hollywood will have to take a break from the matrimonial frenzy to pull off its ambitious first Sunset Strip Music Festival, with live performances at famed venues such as the Roxy, Whisky a Go Go, House of Blues and the Viper Room. Besides being a historical mecca of gay pride, WeHo is also a storied musical neighborhood, and this three-day event, which starts Thu., June 26, will pay tribute to the city's past and present with concerts by Everclear, Soul Asylum, B Real of Cypress Hill featuring Slash, Lisa D'Amato and others. One of tonight's special events is free and open to all ages. Not only does it feature acoustic performances by Camp Freddie and Louis XIV, but gamers can challenge rock stars to "Guitar Hero" or other interactive games, 1-9 p.m. at 8755 Sunset Blvd., the former Tower Records parking lot. Rock on WeHo! Thu.-Sat. Free-$27.50. (323) 848-6431. For tickets, acts, locations and times visit http://www.sunsetstripmusicfestival.com.
Get "lei-ed" with an estimated 200 Jewish singles during another spicy Social Circle Group fete. Dance to the greatest hits of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s by Tommy Tassi & The Authentics. Dress beach casual or island chic for a "Hawaiian Dinner and Dance Party" and receive a free dance lesson. Mingle with 45-65ish singles during a buffet dinner that includes wine and dessert. Sat. 7:30 p.m.-midnight. $20-$25. Stephen S. Wise Temple, Hershenson Hall, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 204-1240. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commencing with the climactic scene and working backward, the revival of Harold Pinter's 1978 play "Betrayal" focuses on Robert and his best friend Jerry, who is also the lover of Robert's wife Emma. But who is betraying whom in this adulterous triangle? Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2:30 p.m. Through Aug. 3. $25. New Place Studio Theatre, 10950 Peach Grove St., North Hollywood. (866) 811-4111.
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