Only two more weeks until Yom Kippur ... are you mentally and emotionally prepared? Tackling the weighty topics of repentance and forgiveness can seem like a mighty task, but with the entertaining inspiration of "The Gates Are Closing" you can start thinking and discussing those issues long before the holy day arrives. The staged reading of the play by Merle Feld will be directed by Temple Emanuel congregant and seasoned professional director Deborah LaVine. Set in a synagogue on Yom Kippur, the play illuminates the struggles of 10 characters of various ages, backgrounds and professions with issues of identity, betrayal and forgiveness.
8 p.m. Selichot Service at 10 p.m. Free. Temple Emanuel, 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills. (310) 288-3742.
To Life! To Life! L'Chaim! The joyous, dancing-rabbi-filled, celebrity-guest-infused, mitzvah-inspiring Chabad "To Life" Telethon is taking over Channel 9 for six hours of giving today, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Actor and comedian Elon Gold will host the mega celebration and will be joined by stand-up comedian Mark Schiff, broadcaster Larry King, actor Jon Voight, singer/actress Mare Winningham, radio personality Dennis Prager and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Last year's live broadcast raised more than $6 million for Chabad's educational and nonsectarian social services, which include summer camps, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, crisis intervention, senior programs and humanitarian services. Tune in to life, tune in to giving, tune in to the telethon (and don't forget to grab your check book before you settle into the couch)!
4-10 p.m. Channel 9. http://www.tolife.com.
The Utne Reader presented The Sun with its Alternative Press Award for General Excellence and said of the independent, advertising-free publication, "No other magazine provides quite the same atmosphere of intimacy as The Sun. It's a magazine completely unlike any other, always personal, always meaningful, always unexpected." Sy Safransky is the remarkable mind behind that magazine and he will be sharing his own writing and stories about the esteemed literary publication in Beverly Hills tonight. Dedicated readers can get to know The Sun and its founder/editor on a deeper level, and first-timers can discover a new source for provocative essays, poems and opinions.
7:30-9:30 p.m. Free. Beverly Hills Public Library Auditorium, 444 N. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. (919) 942-5282. http://www.thesunmagazine.org.
Santa Rosa had it's 15 minutes of fame back in 1943 when master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock set and filmed "Shadow of a Doubt" on its quaint streets. The now legendary film noir, which Hitchcock considered his favorite among his works, features the seductive serial killer "Uncle Charlie" (Joseph Cotton) and his suspecting young niece (Teresa Wright) as the film's heroine. The Skirball Cultural Center must be particularly pleased to be screening this film as part of its Classic Films series, as "Shadow of a Doubt" was produced by Jack H. Skirball, in whose memory the center was founded.
1:30 p.m. Free. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. http://www.skirball.org.
What's more evocative than a beautiful photograph of an ordinary yet precious moment? A dazzling painting of that moment. Stanley Goldstein's paintings are vivid and tender snapshots of life, including his own, that express the bittersweet desire to relive the moment rather than just preserve it. Dazzling colors and photographic compositions give the viewers the sense that they are peeking into the artist's private photo album. Goldstein's picture-paintings will be on display along with new works on paper by Derek Buckner and color-field paintings by Glenn Ossiander.
Gallery hours are Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Exhibit runs through Oct. 6. George Billis Gallery L.A., 2716 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City. (310) 838-3685.
Toy figurines don't normally strike people as sexy, horrifying or spiritual. But in the capable hands of photographer David Levinthal, these miniature playthings embody complex subjects of obsession in American culture. "Passion" is a provocative photography exhibit that juxtaposes two of Levinthal's latest and most controversial bodies of work: a series of photos depicting the story of Jesus, and a selection of prints capturing voluptuous nude figurines engaged in sensual play. You'll never look at Barbie the same way ...
Gallery hours are Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Exhibit runs through Oct. 20. Stephen Cohen Gallery, 7358 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 937-5525. http://www.stephencohengallery.com.
The Geffen Playhouse calls Wendy Wasserstein's final play, "Third," "the jewel in their season's crown." The acclaimed playwright, who died unexpectedly of cancer at the age of 55, wrote poignant plays with strong intellectual heroines and relevant political discourses. Before the lights of Broadway were dimmed in her honor, Wasserstein completed "Third," a dramatic piece about a modern, politically correct female professor who reveals her own prejudices when she accuses a "red state" jock student of plagiarizing his brilliant paper on King Lear. Starring Christine Lahti, this West Coast premiere promises to be a real highlight of the Geffen's repertoire.
Tue.-Sun., through Oct. 28. $40-$115. Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. (310) 208-5454. http://www.geffenplayhouse.com.