SAT FEB 23
PURIM (Saturday through March 3)
From the San Fernando Valley to Hollywood, West Los Angeles to the Eastside, synagogues and organizations celebrate one of the year’s liveliest holidays, which begins Saturday night. Highlights include Nashuva’s megillah rock opera, the Groundlings performing the story of Esther at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and Sinai Temple poking fun at Taylor Swift and Cee Lo Green during its Purim Grammys. Between family-friendly events, activities for teenagers and risqué fare for ages 21 and older, there is something for everyone. Click here for more details.
Best known for her Emmy-winning role as repressed psychiatrist Lilith on the hit sitcom “Cheers,” actress, singer and dancer Bebe Neuwirth is one of today’s most versatile performers. Accompanied by pianist Scott Cady, the glamorous Neuwirth brings the stage to life with “Stories With Piano,” an evening of favorite songs from her critically lauded, one-woman cabaret show. Sat. 8 p.m. $40-$70. Valley Performing Arts Center, Great Hall, California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. (818) 677-3000. valleyperformingartscenter.org.
TUE FEB 26
“LIFE AND FAITH”
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Dean’s Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University; psychologist Eleanor Haspel-Portner; Antioch humanities professor Dale Johnston; and Jonathan Braun, chair of pathology and lab medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, discuss “What does it mean to be human today?” The panelists examine big philosophical issues, including freedom, existence, consciousness, faith, God, technology, morality and psychology. Organized by Beit T’Shuvah, this discussion should appeal to anyone who believes that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Tue. 6 p.m. (hors d’oeuvres), 6:30-8:30 (panel). $18. Beit T’Shuvah, 8831 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 204-5200, ext. 230. beittshuvah.org.
WED FEB 27
The former United States secretary of state and national security adviser to President George W. Bush delivers the 2012-13 Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture. The first African-American and the second woman in history to hold the post of secretary of state, Rice joins an illustrious list of journalists, scholars and policy makers who have spoken in Los Angeles as part of this series. Launched in 2002 in partnership with the Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center at UCLA, this lecture honors the memory of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Wed. 5-6:30 p.m. Free (advance registration required). UCLA campus, Korn Convocation Hall, UCLA Anderson School of Management, Los Angeles. (310) 206-6365. international.ucla.edu/burkle.
This trio of leading Polish musicians — saxophonist and bass clarinetist Mikolaj Trzaska, guitarist Raphael Roginski and drummer Macio Moretti — searches for a common denominator shared by Chasidic music and free jazz at Little Tokyo’s Blue Whale jazz bar. Wed. 9 p.m. $10. Blue Whale, 123 Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka St., downtown. (213) 620-0908. polishculture-nyc.org.
THU FEB 28
WAYNE FEDERMAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Sarah Silverman and the sibling performance duo known as the Sklar Brothers are among the biggest Jewish names in mainstream stand-up comedy. Luckily for Angelenos, they are appearing in the same place on the same night as part of a festival of repertory films curated by comedians. Silverman presents director Woody Allen’s 1989 film, “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” while the Sklar Brothers present the 1979 comedy-drama “Breaking Away.” Silverman and the Sklars participate in a Q-and-A after the screenings. Thu. 7:30 p.m. (Silverman), 10:30 p.m. (Sklar Brothers). $12 (per film). The Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 655-2510. cinefamily.org.
FRI MARCH 1
Celebrate Passover early with this performance installation at the Skirball, riffing off teach-yourself-to-dance floor mats. With “Exodus Steps,” British theater company Stan’s Cafe invites attendees to follow a colorful trail of vinyl footprints, handprints, text bubbles and artworks across campus to re-enact the journey of the biblical Jews from slavery in Egypt toward freedom in the Promised Land. The result is a DIY experience designed to honor Jewish tradition while inspiring cross-cultural dialogue among visitors of all backgrounds. Fri. Through April 28. Noon-5 p.m. (Tuesday-Friday), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Saturday-Sunday). Free. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org.
First-time filmmaker Neil Barsky captures the multifaceted personality of former New York Mayor Edward Irving Koch as well as the ups and down of the city he loved and molded. Released in Koch’s home city on Feb. 1, the same day that Koch died at age 88, the documentary offers an intimate portrait of the quintessential New Yorker. Known for his brash, argumentative and resilient style, Koch launched an ambitious public-housing campaign and cleaned up a porn-ridden Times Square, among other accomplishments. Fri. Various times. $11 (general), $8 (children younger than 12, seniors). Laemmle’s Royal Theatre, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles; Laemmle’s Playhouse 7, 673 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Laemmle’s Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (310) 478-3836. laemmle.com.