Unless you've been living under some ancient ruins, you've probably already heard that America's favorite archaeologist is back in action on the silver screen. The newest Indy adventure, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," is now playing in theaters to undoubtedly ecstatic audiences. The never-aging, eternally handsome Harrison Ford plays professor Jones, who has an adorable new sidekick -- Mutt Williams -- played by Shia LaBeouf of "Transformers" fame. LaBeouf, who grew up eating matzah ball gumbo as a result of his mixed Cajun and Jewish background, started his career as a 9-year-old stand-up comedian and starred in Disney's hit series, "Even Stevens." Apparently, the young actor has a thing for Stevens -- Indiana Jones is the second Steven Spielberg film he's been in. Not a bad career move at all. Check local listings for show times, theater locations and ticket prices. http://www.indianajones.com.
Living in a time when far too many of us are suspicious of a stranger's offer to help, along comes a play that hopes to change our cynicism. In the hit 1937 musical comedy "I'd Rather Be Right," it's not a stranger who helps those in need but President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who meets a young couple in Central Park and balances the country's financial budget to help them get married. The comedy is based on the book by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, with lyrics by Rodgers and Hart. Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. Through June 1. $30. The Hudson Mainstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 960-4429. http://www.plays411.com/bygeorge.
SUN | MAY 25
The Iranian American community is reaching out to American troops in Iraq during a Memorial Day weekend mitzvah event, "You, Me & Our Troops." Nessah Young Professionals and Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles will come together to assemble 1,000 care packages and personal letters of support that will be delivered to military men and women overseas. This thoughtful, important cause is both an opportunity to do a good deed and connect with other members of the Los Angeles Jewish family. Sun. Noon-6 p.m. Free. Nessah Synagogue,142 S. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 273-2400. http://www.nessah.org.
East Los Angeles' punk music scene of the late '70s and early '80s activated a new cultural aesthetic with attitude. Music mixed with poetry. Visual art met sound. And a group of wildly experimental women innovated at the forefront of this cultural phenomenon. An ode to the period, the documentary-style exhibit "Vexing: Female Voices from East L.A. Punk" features photo, video and audio archives, paintings, installations, writings and performances. Accompanying "Vexing" is Jerusalem-born, Los Angeles-based artist Maya Schindler's "Blah, Blah, Blah Revolution," a text-riddled, outdoor sculptural piece that invites the viewer to reject apathy and choose activism. Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Through Aug. 31. $3. Claremont Museum of Art, 536 W. First St., Claremont. (909) 621-3200. http://www.claremontmuseum.org.
MON | MAY 26
On a day that commemorates the losses of war, at a time when religious clashes are responsible for much unrest in the world, clergy -- from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths -- will unite in prayer for peace. The Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative, formed by a group of interfaith religious leaders and designed to encourage religious communities to be peace advocates, will broadcast via satellite a Memorial Day Interfaith Prayer Service throughout the Middle East. Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR, a religious community devoted to the intersection of spirituality and social justice, will offer her thoughts on how dignity, justice and compassion pave the way for peace among all peoples. Mon. 11 a.m. Free. All Saints Church, 132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena. (626) 583-2781.
TUE | MAY 27
What does it mean to be pro-Israel? This is a question that has lingered in the thoughts of The Journal's own Editor-in-Chief Rob Eshman, who recently discussed this on 89.3 KPCC. "The truth is," Eshman said, "too many of us love Israel like young girls love Miley Cyrus, like women love George Clooney, like white guys love Springsteen. We swoon. We idealize. We have a crush." Join Marcia Freedman, founding president of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, in a dialogue discussing "What Does It Mean To Be Pro-Israel?" Freedman has been an outspoken advocate for women's issues and is now an adviser to JStreet and the JStreetPAC, organizations supporting Israel and its desire for peace. Tue. 7:30 p.m. Free. Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center, 1434 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena. (626) 798-1161 or http://www.pjtc.net.
The Friendship Circle, an organization that enriches the lives of both special-needs children and the program's teen volunteers, is hosting its fifth annual Evening of Recognition to honor all 222 of its dedicated volunteers. Teens from more than 30 public and private schools in Los Angeles have spent time playing, talking, teaching and entertaining children with developmental problems. They've led art classes, played sports, sung songs, organized holiday programs for the entire family, staffed a special-needs winter camp and even taught kung fu. Tonight's program, open to the entire community, will pay special tribute to Club Kung Fu and Danit Namvar, winner of the Leader of Tomorrow Award. Tue. 6:30 p.m. (reception), 7:15 p.m. (dinner and program). $180. Nessah Synagogue, 142 S. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 277-3252. http://www.fcla.org.
We can thank the Israel at 60 festivities for the inordinate influx of famous musical talent from Israel, from the star-studded Kodak celebration where Noa, Rami Kleinstein and Idan Raichel shook the stage to the ultra-chic nightclub Avalon in Hollywood where Israeli rock stars Mashina will heat up the dance floor with their ska-infused reggae punk. Los Angeles-based Israeli cover band ram2 will also perform along with DJs Daniel and Udi Maya, who will spin their electro-trance house beats for the 18-and-older crowd. Tue. 7:30 p.m. $55. Avalon Hollywood, 1735 Vine St., Hollywood. (323) 462-8900. http://www.wanttickets.com.
Los Angeles is an active breeding ground for emerging composers, such as Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music for "Wicked." Schwartz is one of the many composers who are participating in the two-month long "Festival of New American Musicals." Featured in the festival is a cleverly composed re-telling of the biblical Noah's Ark story, with musical score by Glen Roven. Writer Jerome Kass tweaks the tale, placing five family members on the rooftop of their home in the midst of a devastating flood. Norman, the patriarch, calms his desperate wife and children by telling the story of Noah's Ark, changing it to "Norman's Ark." The festival also includes an array of staged readings, workshops, cabaret performances, concerts and classes in theaters and colleges throughout Southern California. Norman's Ark: Tue. 8:30 p.m. Through June 8. $34-$65. John Anson Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd., East Los Angeles. http://www.fordamphitheatre.org. For a full lineup of festival events, visit http://www.lafestival.org.
Get behind the wheel of a sleek Beemer and raise money for breast cancer at the same time. Sound too good to be true? It's not! Join breast cancer survivors and their families for the 12th annual BMW Ultimate Drive supporting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Visit selected California BMW dealerships throughout the week and test drive the car of your dreams, decorated with pink ribbons, to raise $1 for every mile you drive. Money raised will go toward advancing breast cancer research, education, screenings and community outreach programs. Tue. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Through June 1. South Bay BMW, 18800 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance. For additional dates and dealership locations visit http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/Experience/Events/Komen/Default.aspx.
WED | MAY 28
The breast cancer epidemic has not only infected the bodies and spirits of those who suffer from it, but also the hearts and minds of loved ones who share in the pain. "Dear God, Do I Have Breast Cancer?" will address this vital health issue and the way it affects the Jewish community through a series of workshops explaining, educating and orienting the community to the realities of breast cancer, a disease that affects a woman's very sense of identity. Beginning tonight, "Gossip Girl" writer/producer Jessica Queller will share her personal story of trauma and triumph, how her discovery that she carried the "breast cancer gene" transformed her life. On June 4, "What Do I Do Now?" will navigate the terrain of healthcare, physicians and treatments, and "Cancer in the Soul, Cancer in the Family" on June 11 will bring together counselors and cancer patients to discuss the intimate ways the cancer experience impacts relationships and self-image. Wed. 7:30 p.m. Free. Valley Beth Shalom, Lopaty Chapel, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 530-4056. http://www.vbs.org.
(ART & CULTURE)
The dynamic Jewish community on UCLA's campus is celebrating Israel's 60th with an Art Gala Open House, sponsored by the Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts. Mix and mingle with distinguished academics, roam the halls lined with exciting new art exhibits, view a student art show or a photography contest while grooving to live music and munching on down-home Jewish comfort food. Most of all, step out to show your support for Bruins For Israel, the productive and proactive pro-Israel group on campus. Wed. 6-8 p.m. Free. UCLA Hillel, 574 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. Park at Lot No. 2 at Hilgard and Westholme. (310) 208-3081 ext. 125. http://www.uclahillel.org.
With more than 200,000 lives lost and 2.5 million Darfurians displaced from their homes, there is still a great need for humanitarian aid in the Sudan. Actors such as Don Cheadle and George Clooney, along with other Hollywood stars, have stepped up to the plate in an effort to stop the genocide, but ordinary folk like you and me can get involved as well. Gather with humanitarians and friends for a screening of "Darfur Now," a powerful documentary produced by Cheadle during "The Darfur Now College Tour." Five colleges from across the country will host musical guests such as OK Go, Rock & Roll, Rhymefest, Nico Vega and Ana Dim Mak to accompany the screening. Wed. 6 p.m. (film screening). UCLA Moore 100, 555 Westwood Plaza, Westwood. Park in lots 4 and 6. Wed. 7-11 p.m. (Mighty Mic Save Darfur Concert). All events free (donations encouraged). UCLA Ackerman Grand Ballroom, 308 Westwood Blvd., Westwood. http://www.darfurnowtour.com.
THU | MAY 29
The name Ronald McDonald conjures up visions of big red clown shoes and a bright yellow jumpsuit. The Young Leadership Division of Orange County's Jewish Federation joins Gesher City to put a new picture of the fast-food clown in your head: one of tikkun olam (repairing the world). Volunteers -- singles and couples in their mid-20s to mid-40s -- will visit the Ronald McDonald House in Orange, a home-away-from-home for families who have seriously ill children being treated at nearby hospitals, and cook dinner for 15 families. Do a mitzvah, make a new friend and show off your frying finesse -- by the end of the night you'll never look at those golden arches the same way again. Thu. 4-6:30 p.m. Free. Call or e-mail for meeting location, (714) 673-2300, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lucinda Franks seemed to grow up with two different fathers -- one was distant and rarely showed any signs of emotion while the other was an intrepid secret agent who infiltrated the Nazi regime during World War II and succeeded in blowing up numerous ammunition caches. Franks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, only discovered her father's heroic past in the last years of his life. She detailed his wartime exploits in her memoir, "My Father's Secret War," which she will be speaking about and signing at the Museum of Tolerance tonight. Thu. 7 p.m. Free. Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P. required, (310) 772-2526. http://www.museumoftolerance.com.
Jack Gould is best known for human and environmental portraiture. This exhibition is about human nature and how it is revealed through material attachments. "People and Things: A Photographic Meditation and Exploration" features triptych photograph portraits of his subjects with their possessions, from the serious (a paraplegic focuses on his high-tech wheelchair) to the sublime (a boy admires his soccer trophies) and captures the relationships people have with their most treasured belongings. Tue.-Sun., 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Through Aug. 15. Free. Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 474-1518. http://www.sinaitemple.org.
FRI | MAY 30
There's a whole lot more to getting (and staying) married than centerpieces and color schemes, and American Jewish University (AJU) would like to help you plan the "ever after" part of your marriage. AJU's Marriage Weekends, held on the lush grounds of the 3,000-acre Brandeis-Bardin Campus in the Santa Susana Mountains, give couples the opportunity to meet with licensed therapists, a rabbi, a financial planner and other couples to explore topics such as communication, conflict resolution, love, family planning, money managing and even sex. Split into three tracks -- "Making Marriage Work" for engaged or recently married couples, "Newly Married" for alumni of the first track and couples who have been married for less than two years, and "Marriage Check-Up" for couples who have been married for two to 10 years -- the three-day retreat also includes a Shabbat celebration, free time to hike, ride horses, swim, play tennis and enjoy the outdoors, and social activities so you can get to know other similarly situated couples and swap gushy/crazy/exasperating anecdotes. Fri.-Sun. Also, Feb. 6-8, 2009. $300 per couple. Brandeis-Bardin Campus, 1101 Peppertree Lane, Brandeis. To register, call (310) 440-1566 or visit http://marriage.whizincenter.org
"Don't you know? Auschwitz isn't just for the Jews anymore," says Lukas, the disturbed (and disturbing) protagonist of "The Memory Thief," a melancholy film by Gil Kofman that was screened at the L.A. Jewish Film Festival this month and opens in theaters today. Lukas is a non-Jewish young man working as a tollbooth clerk who becomes suddenly and frighteningly obsessed with the Holocaust, to the point where he convinces himself that he is a survivor. A psychological twister, this disquieting film will haunt your thoughts for days, which is more than you can say about most other movies. The film's theater run is a limited engagement for one week only. Kofman will participate in Q-and-A sessions after the screenings on May 30, May 31 and June 1. Check theater for show times. $7-$10. Laemmle's Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-6869. http://www.memorythiefmovie.com.
Hundreds of impassioned teens will gather on the Santa Monica Pier to raise money for refugees in Darfur. Meet 13-year-old Hayley Frankel, organizer of the ambitious event and founder of Teens4Tolerance, a group dedicated to aiding victims of the genocide. Frankel has raised more than $6,000 during her recent bat mitzvah campaign and purchased 200 solar cookers for women and children in the war-torn region. Support her efforts and register for the fun-filled fundraiser soon -- only the first 250 R.S.V.P.'s are guaranteed admission. Dance for Darfur encourages teens to dance, sing and chow down for a good cause. Fri. 7-10 p.m. $25 (online), $30 (at the door). Santa Monica Pier Carousel, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica. email@example.com. http://www.teens4tolerance.org.
(ISRAEL @ 60)
Celebrate Synaplex Shabbat with more than 200 temple-goers commemorating Israel's 60th birthday. Grab your prayer books and enjoy music, Israeli dancing, gourmet Israeli cuisine and wine, meditation and a compelling short film. Appetizers will be served during the temple's social hour, which will be followed by erev Shabbat services featuring a special address by Israel's Consul General Jacob Dayan. Also speaking will be Jason Fenton, a faculty member at Saddleback College, who will speak about his experience in 1948 as a volunteer in Israel during the country's War of Independence. Fri. 5 p.m. (social hour), 6 p.m. (dinner), 8 p.m. (Kabbalat Shabbat service). Free (2 and under), $5 (12 and under), $19 (members), $22 (general). Temple Beth David, 6100 Hefley St., Westminster. (714) 892-6623. http://www.templebethdavid.org/.
Celia Soudry contributed to this article
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