7 Days in the Arts
It’s a night of music, humor and fun in Beverly Hills’ Civic Center Plaza, starting off with multi-instrumentalist jazz comedian David Zasloff. With a blend of monologue, music and insight, Zasloff tells tales of the musician’s life and tries to explain “Zen Judaism.” Adding to the evening’s “Plaza Sweets” lineup is the popular klezmer ensemble The Ellis Island Band, preserving and revitalizing the musical style with American flair. 8 p.m. 450 N. Rexford Dr., Beverly Hills. Reservations are recommended: (310) 285-1045
Realist painter Jerome Witkin’s work includes portraits, urban scenes and work exploring human relationships, but his primary focus is on seminal events of the 20th century, especially the Holocaust. Compassionate yet at times horrific, some of Witkin’s images are graphic enough that museum curators have felt compelled to post cautionary language about their content. This exhibition aims to display the range of the artist’s themes, with more than 50 paintings and drawings. Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Through Sept. 2. Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, 357 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 938-5222.
The new exhibition at the University of Judaism’s Platt and Boorstein Galleries takes its title from the works of philosopher Baruch Spinoza, who believed that God and nature were one. “Natura Naturata” displays recent works by Pat Berger and Harriet Zeitlin, two artists who find their inspiration in natural subjects. Berger’s paintings and works on paper were inspired by her stay at an artists’ colony in Costa Rica, where the surrounding “plantscapes” sparked a series of paintings using abstract patterns and realistic images. Zeitlin’s stimulus is that ubiquitous symbol of the Los Angeles oasis, the palm tree. She has created a “forest of columns” covered with fallen fronds and other natural plant and tree forms. Her exhibit also includes painted palm frond bas-reliefs and sculpture. Sun.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Through Sept. 10. 15600 Mulholland Dr., Bel Air. (310) 440-1282.
“Beyond Boundaries: Contemporary Photography in California” attempts to answer the question “What is the most compelling photography made in California during the past five years?” The resulting exhibit, at the University Art Museum, CSU Long Beach, represents 65 artists nominated by museum curators, gallery directors and art critics and includes a wide variety of themes and subjects. Images encompass a discarded American flag, an electric chair, scenes from a strip mall and life by the train tracks; the only requirement was that the artist be a California resident. Tues.-Thurs., 12 p.m.-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sun., 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Through Aug. 6.
In Neil Simon’s rarely performed play The Good Doctor, the American master of stage comedy took characters suggested by Anton Chekhov, the master of Russian realism, and stitched together an evening of stories mixing humor and pathos. Four-time Emmy winner Michael Learned stars with stage veteran Harry Groener in portrayals of a dizzying array of characters. Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat. 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Through Aug. 20. $15-$42.50. The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. (800) 233-3123; www.pasadenaplayhouse.org
The history and rich diversity of influences that come together in Israel find expression in the unique world music of Guy Kark and Between Times. Using an array of instruments from Western and Eastern musical traditions, this group of Jewish and Arab musicians opens the Sunset Concert Series today at the Skirball Cultural Center. 7:30 p.m. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500.
“Icarus and Aria” is a play in verse concerning a pair of lovers who are seeking nothing more than wedded bliss but are confronted by the reality of the strong, often violent conflict between their families. Sound familiar? Playwright Kirk Wood Bromley was responsible for last year’s critical favorite “Want’s Unwished Work, or A Birthday Play,” a romantic comedy in iambic pentameter inspired by Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labours Lost.” Now the playwright reunites with the director and producer of that play for this update of “Romeo and Juliet,” in which Icarus is a sports phenomenon, the new star quarterback for the Arizona Aztecs, and Aria is the favored daughter of the team’s owner. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m. Through Aug. 5. $10. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hollywood. Reservations and information, (310) 281-8337 or www.SacredFools.org”