June 27, 2008
Calendar Girls picks and clicks for June 28 - July 4
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SUN | JUNE 29
The Los Angeles Festival of Ideas, more commonly known as Nextbook, returns this year with a mix of Jewish intellectuals, writers and artists investigating "Jewish Geography: Place, Design, Memory, Imagination." The all-day fest combines brain food for adults and fun for the kids beginning with a morning family festival and later segueing into heady panel discussions on Jewish identity. Writer and scholar Daniel Mendelsohn, author of "The Lost," appears in conversation with architect Peter Eisenman, who designed the controversial Berlin Holocaust Memorial. Six other panels will feature filmmaker Joan Micklin Silver, photographer Julian Shulman and authors Shalom Auslander and Jonathan Kirsch. For the kids, there is storytelling, music and creating your own mezuzah case or pop-up shtetl. Sun. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (free family festival runs until 1 p.m.). $10 (students and seniors), $15 (general). UCLA's Freud Playhouse and MacGowan Little Theater, Wyton Drive and Hilgard Avenue. Park in Lot 3 ($8). (310) 825-2101. http://www.nextbook.org.
Israeli-born artist Bibi Davidson paints the expressions of her feminine side in the series "My Girl." The daughter of an Israel Defense Forces general received her education at Avni Institute for the Arts in Tel Aviv before jetting off to explore London's art world. After 10 years working in film editing for her director-husband, the cherry-haired Davidson spends her days stroking brushes at the Santa Monica Fine Arts Studios. Her new exhibition highlights her colorful, feminine energy depicting girly gossip, camaraderie and desire. Sun. 7-10 p.m. (opening reception). Through July 10. Free. The Thought Gallery, 1621 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. (213) 400-7884. http://www.bibidavidson.com.
Throughout the upcoming week, choreographer Stephan Koplowitz brings his award-winning, site-specific new work to water throughout L.A. County. "Liquid Landscapes" explores the historic, cultural and ecological significance of places connected by water. His newly formed touring group of eight dancers, TaskForce, will respond to these unusual or challenging locations: Cal Plaza's Water Garden, the Farmers Market, The Banning Center at the Port of Los Angeles, along with the Los Angeles River and Malibu. The one-week tour of Koplowitz's landscape-inspired choreography begins tonight with a film screening of dances inspired by locations in Roman Polanski's "Chinatown," followed by a viewing of the film. The experimental group will then perform each day through July 6. Tonight's performance 8 p.m. All performances free and open to the public. California Plaza Watercourt, 350 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. http://www.taskforceproject.com.
Following the Holocaust, millions of records were salvaged, but many were lost in the chaotic aftermath. The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County has since been dedicated to recovering as much information as possible, tracing the roots of countless Jews. The largest collection of Holocaust victims and survivor records can be found in the International Tracing Service, established in 1955 in Bad Arolsen, Germany. Presenter Peter Landé, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum volunteer, will discuss his strides in creating a database containing the names of all survivors, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Landé will cover topics including what is and isn't in the collection, and how to sift through the 50-million name cards containing information on millions of people. Sun. 3-5 p.m. Free. Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks. (818) 889-6616. http://www.JGSCV.org.
The premier event for the Republican Jewish Coalition is attracting some top statesmen to Simi Valley. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is the featured speaker, along with radio personality Dennis Prager, who will enlighten an agreeable crowd with cheers for Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain. During the afternoon, the program provides for an optional tour of the lavish Reagan Library and Museum followed by the main event -- a kosher dinner with just a tad of politicking for dessert. Sun. 3 p.m. (tour), 5 p.m. (reception). 6:30 p.m. (dinner/program) $180. Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley. (310) 478-0752. http://www.rjchq.org.
At the third installment of Aaron Kemp's triumphal singles-meets-Hollywood showdown JCafeLA, the "Zohan" is in the house. Kemp has rounded up sponsor support from nearly every young Jewish group in town and designated this party to celebrate Israel's 60th. Kemp has already proven he knows how to draw a crowd: start with his several-thousand name e-mail listserv, Aaron's Tent, for the guest list, add a swanky Elton John-has-been-here location in Beverly Hills, and get a big movie studio to throw in exclusive clips of Adam Sandler in his new mojo-role as Zohan. All that's left to do is mix a few cocktails and it's no wonder why, in this atmosphere, several JCafeLA couples are headed down the aisle. Sun. 7-10 p.m. $15-$20. Paperfish, 345 N. Maple Drive, Beverly Hills. For tickets, visit http://www.JCafeLA.com.
MON | JUNE 30
In 1908, New York City Police Commissioner Bingham famously stated that half the city's crimes were committed by Jews. The New York Jewish community was outraged and Bingham quickly retracted his statement, citing incorrect figures; however, the commissioner was not entirely off the mark. Ron Arons, a nationally renowned scholar, writes in the "The Jews of Sing Sing" that thousands of Jewish criminals did time "up the River," including a few notorious gangsters, minor offenders and the only civilians to be executed for treason, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Arons' fascinating research into the history of Jews incarcerated at Sing Sing began with the discovery that his own great-grandfather spent four years at the infamous prison. Arons will discuss his book and the genealogical approach he used to dig up the true stories of Jewish anti-mensches in a lecture sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles and the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles. Mon. 7:30 p.m. Free. Jewish Community Library, 6505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P. required, (323) 761-8644.
Jews have long been accused of having a virtual monopoly in Hollywood. Meet one of the men who contributed to this flattering/offensive stereotype. Walter Mirisch is the embodiment of the American dream, having risen through the ranks of Tinseltown from a lowly movie theater usher to one of the greatest producers of our time. In his recently published autobiography, "I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History," Mirisch relays what went on behind the scenes of the movie industry once the director yelled "cut." What cinema enthusiast's career would be complete without having seen the dust rise from the ground as cowboys roamed wild in "The Magnificent Seven" or singing along to "Tradition" while vicariously living the shtetl life in "Fiddler on the Roof"? Come and meet the man who spent most of his life behind the camera as he discusses the virtues and vices of Hollywood. 8 p.m. Free. The Wine Bar at The Landmark, 10850 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 474-6291.