Set somewhere between 2500 B.C.E. and 3000 C.E., Tony winner Mel Shapiro's "Homer in Cyberspace" is a wildly innovative remake of the classic Odysseus tale. The high-tech musical, with groundbreaking video gaming technology and digitally enhanced scenery, is the result of a collaboration between UCLA's theater department and its Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance. Shapiro, a Broadway veteran-turned-professor, describes his creation as a "cartoon-like hyperworld" ruled by modernized iGods, but maintains that the real beauty of the play lies in the universality of "The Odyssey's" themes, which he carefully preserved. "When I was writing it, I came to understand that it is very much about a father and son and a husband and wife who are separated, and how they feel about that." Sat. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Also, June 4-7. $7-$17. Macgowan Hall Little Theater, UCLA campus, Westwood. (310) 825-2101. http://www.tickets.ucla.edu.
Los Angeles gets knocked for being light on culture and heavy on driving. Defying both of these stereotypes is Artwalk Culver City, a free daylong walking tour of 45 local art galleries and exhibition spaces, sponsored by Sony Pictures Entertainment and 89.9 FM KCRW. The thriving enclave will fling open its doors and welcome Angelenos for a day of art, live jazz, special promotions from the neighborhood's restaurants and cafes, and, of course, lots of healthy, brisk walking. Following the art walk, the MOCA Contemporaries will throw a bash at the elegant, historic Culver Hotel. Sat. Noon-8 p.m. (gallery tours), 6:30 p.m. (MOCA after-party). Free. Intersection of Washington and La Cienega boulevards. (310) 253-5716. http://www.culvercity.org.
Kentwood Players, an L.A.-based family and community theater group, delivers "Magic Words," a quirky production for parents and children of all ages. In the musical fantasy, directed by Drew Fitzsimmons with music and lyrics by Sam Glaser, Pasha, an off-his-rocker magician, accidentally turns his daughter Serena into a doll. If he can't turn her back into the cute little princess by sundown, the girl will forever remain plastic. Pasha luckily finds the magic words to change her back, but from an unlikely source. Parents are welcome to take pictures during the show. Sat. Also June 7 and 14, 2 p.m. $7 (general), $25 (family four-pack). Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave., Westchester. (310) 645-5156 or http://kentwoodplayers.org.
SUN | JUNE 1
Jewish World Watch's (JWW) promise to "not stand idly by" as genocide or other human rights violations take place around the world will be put to action this weekend at the second Walk For Darfur in the San Fernando Valley. Decked in JWW hats and shirts, walkers will be raising money to support the work of JWW in bringing the killing to an end and providing essential services to those displaced by the attacks. Also at the event will be information booths, solar-cooker demonstrations, speakers and refreshments. Sun. 8-9 a.m. (registration), 9 a.m. (walk), 9:30 a.m.-noon (information fair). $18. Walk begins at Jewish Federation Valley Alliance, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. (818) 501-1836. http://www.walkfordarfur.org.
Zucchini-Leek Matzah Kugel, Yerushalmi Noodle Kugel, Low-Fat Mashed Potato Kugel, Rice Krispies Kugel, Pineapple-Raisin Farfel Kugel, North Shore Haddassah's Lick Your Fingers Noodle Kugel -- these are just a few of the hundreds of recipes online for making what chef and cookbook author Joan Nathan calls "the quintessential American Jewish dish." Share your own unique family recipe for kugel at Yiddishkayt's Kugl Kukh-Off, "back by hungry demand" for its second year. Pulitzer Prize-winning foodie Jonathan Gold will be one of several celebrity judges taste-testing the hundreds of lokshn (noodle), bulbes (potato) and matze (matzah) versions expected to be entered in the carbalicious contest. Attendees get to nosh, enjoy live entertainment, record treasured food memories at an oral history video station and take part in the awards ceremony. Sun. 1 p.m. $10 (general admission includes three tastings). Additional tastings are $1 for two pieces. Participating kugel chefs receive free admission. Valley Cities Jewish Community Center, 13164 Burbank Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (213) 389-8880. http://www.yiddishkaytla.org.
Israeli artist Yom Tov is making quite a trek to get here from Jerusalem to showcase his work at the Pacific Jewish Center -- more popularly known as "The Shul on the Beach." With detailed depictions of rabbis and Jewish traditions in motion, Tov's work expands on realism with abstract prisms highlighted by rich colors and light. Trained in Russia, the artist's work crosses international bounds with paintings hanging on the walls of the National Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C., and multiple museums in Moscow. Take this rare opportunity to approach the artist and get an in-depth look at his spellbinding creations. Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Free. Pacific Jewish Center, 505 Ocean Front Walk, Venice. http://www.yomtovart.com.
What better way to support Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Genetics Institute than to join your favorite athletes and entertainers during Cedars' 23rd Annual Sports Spectacular. This year's honorees include professional volleyball player Gabrielle Reece, L.A. Laker Derek Fisher and N.Y. Giant Michael Strahan. Snoop Dogg will light up the stage with other star-studded performances. Celebrity sightings aside, the event raised more than $17 million last year to further cutting-edge research into genetic disorders that affect children and adults, including mental retardation, dwarfism, deafness, malformation syndromes, as well as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Sun. 4-6:30 p.m. (silent auction and kids carnival), 6:30-9 p.m. (dinner and awards). $500. Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, 2025 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles. (310) 858-9217 or http://www.sportsspectacular.com.
With 49 prayer-filled years under its belt, Temple B'nai Hayim is celebrating it's 50th Anniversary with Rabbi Tsafreer Lev, temple staff, congregants and friends dancing the night away to a live band. Share stories and about the temple's countless mitzvot projects over a buffet dinner and look forward to 50 more years of accomplishments and success. The conservative congregation prides itself on its social action services and spiritual outreach, hoping to attract additional enthusiastic participants to join their close-knit family. Sun. 8 p.m. $118 (tax-deductible). Temple B'nai Hayim, 4302 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks. R.S.V.P required. (818) 788-4664.
Batter-up at the Homerun Derby, where you can pitch and swing to fight cancer while supporting the L.A. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Organized by 12-year-old Logan Goldberg, this ambitious undertaking grew to be more than simply his bar mitzvah project. Hundreds of kids, ages 5 to 12, are expected to enjoy music, food and activities, and have a chance to win tons of prizes donated by a Disneyland toy-maker. This is one game you can't lose. Sun. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $10 (pre-registration), $12 (door). Sunrise Little League Fields, 6400 Winnetka Ave. Woodland Hills. For more information, call Marci at (818) 883-5565 or e-mail
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