When filmmaker Ben Byer sets out on a global quest to find a cure for ALS, the neurodegenerative disease crippling him, he discovers the will to survive. What begins as Byer documenting his life in a series of video diaries explodes into a worldwide journey that spans three years and six countries. Byer travels through breathtaking landscapes and meets fascinating people, including Rabbi Daniel Gordis during a portion of the movie shot in Israel. Hailed by Variety as "intimate, lacerating [and] absorbing," the stunning cinematography and rock-cello score set the tone for Byer proving the power of the human spirit is "Indestructible." $6.50-8.50. Through May 22. Laemmle Theatre Grande 4 Plex, 345 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. http://www.laemmle.com. http://www.indestructiblefilm.com.
Artist Jerome Witkin's modern take on classic masterpieces and encapsulating creative portrayals of Jerusalem caught the attention of critics and now the world, with pieces hanging on walls of major museums, including the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Witkin has been compared to the likes of Lucien Freud, Manet, Ingres and Goya for his technical mastery and psychological insight. The opening reception for "Jerome Witkin: Revelations in Drawing" will feature "Vincent and Death," a dramatic 6-foot piece depicting Van Gogh encountering death through a confessional-like window. Meet the artist who created emotionally charged pieces such as the 2004 portrait of artist R.B. Kitaj, whose recent death sent shockwaves through the art world. Sat. Free. 6-9 p.m. Through July 31. Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, 357 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 938-5222. http://www.jackrutbergfinearts.com.
Come for the music and stay for the Prius! Temple Ramat Zion's "The Magic of a Starry Night" could turn into a dreamy night for the lucky ticket holder who has the choice between a 2008 Toyota Prius Hybrid or $15,000 cash. The raffle is part of the synagogue's major fundraising evening, featuring an array of secular music that ranges from popular rock to hip-hop and stars Cantor Paul Dorman and Cantor Ilysia J. Pierce (she played Evita in the Los Angeles production, so you know the woman's got pipes!). A post-concert dessert reception will be open to all attendees. Sat. 8 p.m. $25 (16 and under), $40-$75 (general). $100 (raffle ticket). Temple Ramat Zion, 17655 Devonshire St., Northridge. (818) 360-1881.
What happens at Adat Shalom stays at Adat Shalom. Win some, lose some with other like-minded Sin City lovers when this Westside house of prayer hosts "Las Vegas Night at Adat Shalom," an evening of blackjack, roulette, craps, raffle, a silent auction and delicious eats. Don't fret too much about your losses -- all proceeds benefit the congregation. Sat. 8:15 p.m.-midnight. $54-$58. Adat Shalom, 3030 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 475-4985.
In a battle where there is no enemy and no victim, young soldiers are pitted against religious settlers, each taking their orders from a higher power. "Unsettled" is an American-made documentary by Adam Hootnick about the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in the summer of 2005, an emotionally taut event that forced a nation to look deep within itself to do what is right. The Forward said "Hootnick has found a way to turn one of the most politicized subjects of our time into a sensitively wrought drama containing both suspense and moral weight." The film opened on May 16 and is now playing, for one week only, at the Laemmle's Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-6869. http://www.unsettledmovie.com.
Youth around the world grew up with fond memories of Judy Blume's coming-of-age books, which sold over 80 million copies and were translated into 31 languages. Blume's funny, impressionable stories jump off the page in Bruce Mason's stage adaptation of the popular "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing," the first book in a series with five humorous sequels. Parents, grandparents and children can all join in on the fun watching fourth-grader Peter Hatcher battle his kid brother Fudge for his oh-so-coveted pet turtle, Dribble. Sat. 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Through June 1. $5-$7. Morgan-Wixson's Y.E.S. for Kids, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 828-7519, http://www.morgan-wixson.org.
SUN | MAY 18
Listen to beautiful music at your local shul, and not from the cantor's mouth, but from a seasoned orchestra comprised of physicians and medical professionals. Not only can they heal you with their medical knowledge, they can also ease suffering with their beautiful music in the Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1953. Relaying classical music from legends such as Rossini and Dvorak, this unique blend of performers from one of the oldest community orchestras in the country is conducted by music director Ivan Shulman and features soloist David Weiss, former oboe principal for the Philharmonic. Funds raised from the concert are donated to medical charities. Sun. 3-5:30 p.m. $18. Temple Judea, 5429 Lindley Ave., Tarzana. (818) 758-3800. http://www.ladso.org.
Chilean artist Desy Safan-Gerard invites you to peek into her studio during the Venice Art Walk and Auctions 2008, benefiting the Venice Family Clinic. If you like what you see -- exuberant works full of color and detail hovering between chaos and restraint -- you are welcome to stay for more than just a peak. Enjoy wine and cheese, mingle with fellow art enthusiasts and engage in one-on-one conversation with the artist herself. The Venice Art Walk gives you the opportunity to visit more than 60 private artists' studios, homes and exhibits and bid on 400 original works of art, including paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics and furniture, all while aiding an indispensable Venice facility. Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. $50. Register at Westminster Avenue Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. Desy Safan-Gerard studio, 502 Rialto Ave., Venice. (310) 392-9255. http://www.venicefamilyclinic.org.
After a hot morning outdoors at the Israel Independence Day Festival at Woodley Park, why not head inside for the cool classical sounds of Beethoven's piano sonatas? The "Coffee, Cookies and Concerts" series produced by The Music Guild, brings you a trio of pianists, Levin, Lysy and Martin, who will delight discerning ears with a program of beautiful melodies accompanied by an array of delicious desserts with which you can satiate your senses. Sun. 3 p.m. $40. University Synagogue, 11960 Sunset Blvd., Brentwood. (323) 954-0404. http://www.themusicguild.org.
Trope is all in the family for this musical mishpacha made up of mother, daughter and two brothers. "The Reich Family in Concert" features Linda Rich, one of the first Conservative female cantors and her San Francisco-based brothers, Brian and Barry, who play tenor to her daughter Rachel's tune: a sixth-generation cantor and genetic spawn of Hazzan Israel Reich, who led the Breed Street Shul in Boyle Heights. The family affair celebrating Israel's 60th consists of cantorial crooning, the best of Broadway and an array of original works composed in Yiddish, Hebrew and English. Sun. 3 p.m. $18-$50. Temple Ner Maarav, 17730 Magnolia Blvd., Encino. (818) 345-7833. http://www.nermaarav.org.
MON | MAY 19
Remember those dreamy summer nights slumped on the leather seats of a convertible next to a special someone at the drive-in movie? OK, well maybe you're too young for that, but the Arclight's Summer Drive-in series captures a bit of that romance with classic movies that were screened at drive-ins across the country. Who cares that they're not actually being screened at an outdoor parking lot -- Steven Spielberg's frightfully scary but uber-successful blockbuster "Jaws" is all the reason you'll need to cozy up with your companion on those luxurious seats. In the era before high-tech visual effects, it's just a sweet little mechanical shark. Still, stay in your seat, and "don't go in the water!" Mon. 7:30 p.m. $11.50. Arclight Sherman Oaks, 15301 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (818) 501-7033. http://www.afi.com/.
Doogie Howser is back igniting excitement with his unrelenting charm as the host of an action-packed show at the Magic Castle. Presenting alongside actor Neil Patrick Harris during "A Magical Night" is Burton Sperber, founder, CEO and chair of ValleyCrest Companies. Let several enchanting magicians wow you during a benefit performance for the WeSPARK Cancer Support Center. Explore the castle's mysterious interiors and watch renowned magicians, including Mike Caveney, Andrew Goldenhersh, Paul Green, Christopher Hart, Mac King, Jonathan Levit, Max Maven, Jeff McBride, Peter Reveena and Steve Valentine. Mon. 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 10 p.m. $250 (includes drinks and hors d'oeuvres) Magic Castle, 7001 Franklin Ave, Hollywood. (818) 906-3022, http://www.wespark.org.
Tackle the weighty issues of the world -- immigration, globalization and the environment -- with comedians, cabaret artists, musical satirists and soloists, who will info-tain the audience with a variety of acts in Parlor Performances' 2008 "Parlor Palooza." The mega-showcase consists of eight mini-performances by entertainers, such as the masters of Middle East comedy the Sultans of Satire, jazz humorist Jay Leonhart, self-deprecating Vicki Juditz and award-winning monologist Jude Narita. Mon. 7:30 p.m. Also, Tue., May 20. $25. Steinway Hall at Fields Pianos, 12121 W. Pico Blvd., West Los Angeles. (310) 471-3979.
TUE | MAY 20
Recall the scene from "Sleepless in Seattle" when Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks meet atop the Empire State Building? Remember the touristy coin-op binoculars in the background? Well maybe not, but you can see an artistic version of the 6-foot-tall binoculars at the innovative art exhibition "Show & Tell: the Art of Vision Exhibit" by Randy Tat, which benefits youTHink, an initiative using art to fuel students' critical thinking about contemporary issues. The entertainment executive, designer and multimedia artist created the piece using vintage tin, recycled wood, metal and found objects hand-painted with acrylics and oils. Amid art from more than 75 artists, humanitarians and social activists, including David Hockney, Raymond Petitbon and Tony Bennett, Tat's work will be on display at "Pop It, See It," the Zimmer Children's Museum annual fundraiser. Mon.-Fri. & Sun, through June 19. Free. The Zimmer Children's Museum, 6505 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100, Los Angeles. For museum hours, call Zoe (323) 761-8141 or visit http://www.zimmermuseum.org.
WED | MAY 21
(ISRAEL @ 60)
One of the largest and most enthusiastic celebrations in Los Angeles of Israel's 60th anniversary will not be organized by a Jewish synagogue or the Israeli Consulate or even The Jewish Federation. The Israel Christian Nexus (ICN) is responsible for the mega-gathering at The Forum, "Israel at Sixty: Honoring Heroes of Israel," which will warmly welcome both the Jewish and the Christian communities of Los Angeles to toast the Jewish homeland. With the support of many Jewish organizations, including the Consulate and the Federation, ICN will be bestowing the prestigious King David Award for courage and leadership in defense of the State of Israel to Lt. Gen. Moshe "Bogi" Yaalon, Brig. Gen. "Dovik" Tamari and Col. Shimon "Katcha" Cahaner. Join the unity-fest, which will also feature choir performances and other entertainment. Wed. 7:15 p.m. Free admission and parking. The Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood. (310) 444-3065. http://www.icnexus.org.
Adam Mansbach's latest novel, "The End of the Jews," has garnered a lot of attention, and not just because the title sounds like a Nazi primer. The fictional novel, which does not have any apocalyptic moments but rather weaves a dramatic tale of a Jewish family of artists facing issues of identity, race, religion and loyalty through three generations, has received critical praise from the New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times and Haartez, among many others. "Reboot and JDub Ponder: The End of the Jews?" brings the author to the intimate Vanguard lounge for a conversation with journalist/professor Josh Kun. After revealing the origins of the book's doomsday title, as well as other interesting tidbits, guests are invited to chill to music by Soulsides and DJ O-Dub and get their books signed by Mansbach. Wed. 7 p.m. Free. Vanguard, 6021 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. R.S.V.P. to Jaclyn@rebooters.net. http://www.adammansbach.com.
When filmmaker Paul Mazursky caught word that 25,000 Chasidic Jews make an annual pilgrimage to Uman, Ukraine, to visit the burial site of the legendary Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, he decided to join the three-day religious romp and document his adventure. The award-winning artist shows his heartwarming and humorous road movie "Yippee" to a UCLA audience during a special visit co-sponsored by the Save A Heart Foundation, the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies and the Academy for Jewish Religion. Wed. 7:30 p.m. $12. UCLA Hillel, Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts, 574 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. (310) 208-3081, ext. 108. http://www.uclahillel.org.
World-class juggler, playwright, monologist and all-around "shtickmeister" Sara Felder struts her comic stuff in a new solo work "Out of Sight," which deftly uses Jewish humor to deal with hard subjects. The play tells the story of a nearly blind American mother and her adult lesbian daughter, whose generational differences are exemplified when they discuss their views of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. As a woman who came of age during the Holocaust, and her daughter, who grew up in the age of Israeli folk dancing, the mother-daughter relationship reflects the shifting reality of modern Israel. Wed. 8 p.m. $12-$18. Also, Fri., May 23. Felder will also enlighten her audience on the Jewish comic legacy when she discusses Purim spiels, Yiddish theater, the Marx Brothers and Lenny Bruce at a lecture titled, "From Fanny Brice to Woody Allen to You: A Short History of Jewish Humor". Thu., May 22. 7:30 p.m. $6-$10. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (877) 722-4849. http://www.skirball.org.
THU | MAY 22
Sink your bare feet into the sand at Nashuva's Lag B'Omer Bonfire, an earthy and musical celebration on the beach that marks the 33rd day of the Omer, the counting of days between Pesach and Shavuot, from when the Jews left Egypt until they received the Torah at Mount Sinai. Everyone is invited to commemorate the spirits of Rabbi Akiva, a great Talmudic scholar, and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a teacher of deep secrets of kabbalah, by bringing drums and percussion instruments for a mystical Jewish jam. When you're feeling spiritually rejuvenated, toss some kosher meat on the barbeque and feast on a picnic in the sand. Thu. 6:30 p.m. Free. Dockweiler State Beach, Playa Del Rey (between lifeguard stations 52 and 53). For directions and suggestions on what to bring, visit http://www.nashuva.com.
He's leaned like a gringo, cranked that kosha boy, ate it, licked it, snorted it and we can't write the end of that infamous (and crude) Britney Spears line. Smooth E (a.k.a. Eric Schwartz), is the brilliantly silly mind behind numerous videos mocking the likes of Britney, Paris, Lindsay, Sanjaya and other pop culture catastrophes. Don't miss the Hebrew homeboy performing his clever satire live in Pasadena. Thu. 7:30 p.m. $12 (presale), $17 (at the door). Ice House Annex, 24 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena. (626) 577-1894. http://www.smoothe.tv.
When the Third Reich took over Germany and Nazis began carting Jews off to concentration camps, thousands of German artists and intellectuals fled the creative hotbed of Berlin to live in exile in the United States. Some of them prospered. Some of them managed to get by. Others committed suicide. Many of those German Ã©migrÃ©s -- musicians, writers and filmmakers -- brought their creative intensity to Los Angeles. "Shadows in Paradise" shows how the afterglow of aesthetic innovation in Germany began a golden era in Southern California. Don't miss this fascinating documentary about the people who left everything behind for the dream of artistic freedom. Thu. 9 p.m. KCET. http://www.kcet.org.
Celia Soudry contributed to this article
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