Calendar April 5-11



University of Southern California professor Josh Kun has done some digging to bring you little-known songs about, and from, our City of Angels. Using sheet music archives, Kun shares the evolution of song in our city and how those tunes actually shaped our city. From shout-outs to restaurants, to historical allusions, to identity anthems, L.A. has been singing out loud about itself for ages. Kun, co-founder of the nonprofit record label Reboot Stereophonic, specializes in popular music, cultures of globalization and Jewish-American musical history. Sat. 3 p.m. Free. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 857-6010. ” target=”_blank”>



The West Los Angeles Symphony is delighted to bring back guest conductor Benjamin Wallfisch for its 22nd anniversary Gala Concert: “Strudel and French Pastry.” Wallfisch, who has conducted the English Chamber Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, is also a huge player in film scoring. His credits include “Anna Karenina,” “The Soloist,” “Eragon” and more. Soloist Eric Zuber will also be performing Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto in G Minor. Sun. 7 p.m. Free. Royce Hall at UCLA, 340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 873-7777. ” target=”_blank”>



Don’t freak out. The Jewish Journal, Writers Bloc and Temple Emanuel host an opportunity to face and discuss the imminent. Memoirist and secular thinker Sara Davidson’s meeting with Jewish Renewal Movement leader Rabbi Zalman Schecter resulted in Davidson’s new book, “The December Project,” which explores feelings about mortality and ways to find fearlessness and joy in all your days. Rabbi Laura Geller and Jewish Journal executive editor Susan Freudenheim join her for a discussion on dignity, practicality and spirituality. Wed. 7:30 p.m. $15. Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, 300 N. Clark Drive, Beverly Hills. Call Brown Paper Tickets at (800) 838-3006. THU | APR 10


Get inside the imagination of a groundbreaking Jewish-American author and illustrator. With his landmark “The Snowy Day,” Keats was the first to produce a modern, full-color book that featured an African-American protagonist. The exhibit celebrates the career and life of a man who identified with the downtrodden, and with that empathy, created images and stories of adventure and whimsy. Thu. Various times. Through Sept. 7. $10 (general), $7 (seniors and students), $5 (ages 2-12). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. ” target=”_blank”>

FRI | APR 11


Not every son could make a captivating and significant documentary about his father, but when your dad is one of the most revolutionary directors of contemporary theater, you do just that. Simon Brook immerses audiences in the life and craft of his father, teacher and director Peter Brook. With a career influenced by Antonin Artaud, Jerzy Grotowski and Joan Littlewood, Peter Brook is not only an eminent force in his native England, but across the world. Fri. Various times. $11 (general), $8 (children and seniors). Laemmle Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 478-3836. 

Calendar Picks and Clicks: April 27–May 3, 2013

[Click here for a Lag B'Omer events calendar]



American Friends of Hebrew University’s Los Angeles Regional Annual Leadership Education Forum features leading Hebrew University faculty and alumni as well as local leaders from the fields of academic and political affairs, security and intelligence, and medical science. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong delivers the keynote lecture, “Buying Time Against Cancer.” Other speakers include professor Asher Cohen, rector of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Jewish Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Rob Eshman; Ambassador Carmi Gillon, vice president of external relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Nicholas Goldberg, The New York Times editorial pages editor; and former CIA Director Michael Hayden. Sun. 8:30 a.m. $125. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 843-3100.


Faculty from American Jewish University’s (AJU) Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies host a day of community building and learning. Workshops include “Seeing Yourself as a Sacred Vessel: The Paradox of Overflowing Emptiness,” “… the One Who Loves: Poems That Can Change Our Lives” and “Eros and Thanatos in the Beit Midrash: A Rabbinic Tragedy in Three Acts.” Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson delivers the keynote lecture, “Conservative Judaism: The Passion and Possibility of Dynamic Tradition.” Continental breakfast and barbecue lunch served. Sun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $90 (general), $20 (students). American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 440-1211.


Jewish Women’s Conference and National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles present this workshop on life transitions. Quarter-life crisis sessions including dealing with post-school transitions and job searching skills; sandwich generation sessions cover balancing aging parents, parenting, careers and more; and third chapter sessions include coping with challenges and finding opportunities later in life. Sun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $15 (breakfast and lunch included). NCJW/LA Council House, 543 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 852-8536.


Celebrate Israel’s 65th birthday with The Jewish Federation and Family Services of Orange County and thousands of Southern California residents. The Expo features shopping, games and rides, live music, Israeli cuisine, theater and a “Kidotopia” space with crafts, performances and activities for children. SpaceIL, Israel’s entrant in the international Google Lunar X-Prize, a global race to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon, appears at the Israel Innovation Showcase. Sun. 1-6 p.m. Free. Samueli Jewish Campus, 1 Federation Way, Irvine. (949) 435-3484.


Christians United for Israel’s evening of celebration and solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people features the Rev. John Hagee, founder and senior pastor of nondenominational megachurch Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas; Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; and Israeli music sensation Dudu Fisher. Sun. 6 p.m. (doors), 6:30 p.m. (show). $18-$24. Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (323) 655-0111.



L.A. Jewish Symphony founding conductor Noreen Green directs this celebration of the historic and contemporary connections between African-American and Jewish music. Participants include singer-songwriter Karen Hart; members of the L.A. Jewish Symphony; the University of La Verne Choir, under the direction of James Calhoun; pianist Grace Zhao; Kol HaEmek; Cantor Paul Buch of Temple Beth Israel and the Reed Gratz Trio. Mon. 8 p.m. $20. University of La Verne, Ann and Steve Morgan Auditorium, 1950 Third St., La Verne. (909) 593-3511, ext. 4696.

Calendar Picks and Clicks: July 28 – August 2, 2012


Tonight’s tasty and spiritual shindig features a taco truck, beer, stories and Havdalah. Afterward, a talented local lineup of queer and ally poets, musicians and storytellers perform. Organized by East Side Jews, the Jewish Federation’s Young Adults of Los Angeles and JQ International. Sat. 7 p.m. $10. Private residence, 2138 Baxter St., Los Angeles. (323) 663-2255.

When a case of mistaken identity draws Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski into a kidnapping scheme, he enlists the help of bowling buddy Walter Sobchak (“I don’t roll on Shabbos!”) in the Coen brothers’ L.A. noir comedy. Attendees bring picnic dinners, drinks (alcohol permitted), pillows and blankets for this screening at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, part of the summer series Cinespia Presents. A DJ spins records before and afterward. All ages welcome. Sat. 7:30 p.m. (door), 9 p.m. (show). $10. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.

“The Hate Syndrome,” a rare 1966 episode of Emmy-winning religious anthology series “Insight,” explores anti-Semitism via a dark morality tale about a violent confrontation between an elderly Hebrew teacher and an unstable former pupil who has become a neo-Nazi. Written by “Twilight Zone” and “Night Gallery” creator Rod Serling, “The Hate Syndrome” screens along with “A Carol for Another Christmas” — Serling’s 1964 Cold War update of “A Christmas Carol” — and a trailer for “Seven Days in May,” Serling’s 1964 film that pits the president against the U.S. military. Part of “Rod Serling: Other Dimensions,” a retrospective of Serling’s contributions to television and cinema that feature his hard-edged narratives, psychologically driven characters and humanist take on controversial issues. Sat. 7:30 p.m. $10. Billy Wilder Theater, Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 462-4921.
“I’ve Got Rhythm,” “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Nice Work, If You Can Get It” will be among the hits performed by local talent during Spotlight the Arts’ fourth annual summer cabaret. Performers include Boston Conservatory students Taylor Shubert, Paige Berkovitz and Rachel Hirschfield; Point Park University student Jenny Lester; and College-Conservatory of Music student Dylan Shubert. Sat. 8 p.m. $12 (general), $10 (seniors, students), $6 (children, 10 and under). Calabasas Library Amphitheatre, 200 Civic Center Way, Calabasas. (818) 436-0530.


Today’s double feature at the Skirball includes two films that provide vastly different views on the relationship between Israel and Latin America. “The Valderama Sisters” follows former Catholics who seek a path to Judaism and Israel, while “My Own Telenovela” accompanies a filmmaker who leaves Israel and travels back to his native Argentina to care for family members. Part of the Skirball’s annual film series “Documentos.” Sun. 2 p.m. $6 (general), $5 (Skirball members, students). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500.


Israeli-American pianist Bronfman performs Johannes Brahms’ finger-busting “Piano Concerto No. 2,” which at 50 dramatic minutes has the length of a four-movement symphony. The program also features the Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Lionel Bringuier. A rendition of Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” rounds out the evening. Tue. 8 p.m. $1-$133. 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. (323) 850-2000.


Blending Central Asian, Turkish, Persian and Russian traditions as well as the Jewish music of Bukhara, the Israel-based multigenerational eight-member ensemble performs tonight at Skirball. Part of the museum’s “Sunset Concerts” live music series. Arrive early to dine under the stars, tour the Skirball’s galleries and explore the museum’s architecture and hillside setting. Thu. 8 p.m. Free (concert), $10 (parking per car, cash only). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500.

Dance, discover romance, and mingle in the moonlight during Jewlicious’ cocktail garden party in celebration of Tu b’Av, the Jewish holiday of love. A live performance by gypsy trio Kimera, aphrodisiac snacks and more highlight the festivities. Thu. 9 p.m.-midnight. $10 (advance), $15 (door). Rabbi Yonah and Rachel Bookstein’s private residence, 1134 S. Crest Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 277-5544.

Calendar Picks and Clicks: June 30 – July 6, 2012



When Jewish sisters Selma and Jenny agree to discuss their Holocaust experiences with the younger generation of Osnabrück, the German city of their youth, they’re flooded by emotions and memories. Back home in Paris, the 80-something sisters open up about the anti-Semitism that colored their past as they cook in the kitchen together. Written by Helene Cixous and directed by Georges Bigot. Don’t miss tonight’s U.S. premiere. Sat. Through July 28. 7 p.m. $20 (general), $15 (students and seniors). Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. (310) 838-4264.


DJ Jermaine Dupri knows talent. The producer-songwriter-rapper behind hip-hop indie label So So Def has collaborated with Mariah Carey, Nelly, Da Brat and Bow Wow, among others. Tonight, Dupri spins for Bet Tzedek’s annual fundraiser, now in its 16th year. DJ Chris Kennedy, a regular on the club circuit, opens. Sat. 9 p.m. $100 (general), $175 (VIP). The BookBindery Building, 8870 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (323) 939-0506.



Experience American treasures from the Gershwin songbook at Grand Performances, featuring pianists Alan Chapman and Victoria Kirsch, sopranos Karen Benjamin and Shana Blake Hill, tenor Haqumai Waring Sharpe and bass-baritone Cedric Berry. Sun. 8 p.m. Free. California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown. (213) 687-2159.



Fanilows rejoice! The pop singer-songwriter behind the hits “Mandy,” “Copacabana,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “I Write the Songs,” “Can’t Smile” and more performs at the Bowl. Surviving the constant changes of the music biz, he remains a strong force in the world of adult contemporary. Tonight, Manilow aims to please during this holiday spectacular. The program also features fireworks, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Sarah Hicks. Mon. Through July 4. 7:30 p.m. $13-$220. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. (323) 850-2000.



The Getty retrospective showcases the Viennese master’s fascination with the human figure. Featuring more than 100 drawings by the artist, including some never exhibited before in North America, “The Magic of Line” traces Klimt’s evolution from early academic realism and historical subjects in the 1880s to his celebrated Modernist icons that broke new ground in the early 20th century. Tue. Free. Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 440-7300.


The Broadway star (“Wicked,” “Hairspray”) and singer-songwriter appears in Los Feliz to perform songs from her second album, “The Offering.” Each ticket purchased comes with a signed copy of the upcoming album, due out in September. Tue. 9 p.m. $30-300. The Rockwell, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 661-6163.



The folks at JConnectLA, The Chai Center and AMIT host a party with food, music and good times at a private residence in Beverly Hills. Young professionals (ages 21-39) only. ID required. Wed. 2-6 p.m. $13 (advance, until July 2), $18 (door). 602 N. Whittier Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 391-7995.



An eclectic lineup of musicians, including the Yuval Ron Ensemble, vocalist Rabbi Hagai Batzri and Roma musicians Ferit Benli and Ali Durac, perform Israeli, Armenian, Greek and Turkish songs about the Mediterranean Sea during tonight’s concert. Israeli dancer Maya Karasso also performs. Presented by Mati. Thu. 8 p.m. $20 (advance), $30 (door). Temple Emanuel, 300 N. Clark Drive, Beverly Hills. (818) 612-8771.



Set in Italy, writer-director Woody Allen’s latest follows the stories of various people — some American, some Italian — and the romances, adventures and predicaments they get into. The ensemble cast includes Alec Baldwin as a writer revisiting the scenes of an old love; Jesse Eisenberg as a young man torn between his girlfriend (Greta Gerwig) and an aspiring actress (Ellen Page); Penelope Cruz as a woman of the streets; Roberto Benigni as an ordinary Roman contending with sudden fame; and Allen as an eccentric opera director who comes to Rome with his wife (Judy Davis). Fri. Various times. $11 (general), $8 (children under 12 and seniors). Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7, 6731 Fallbrook Ave., West Hills; Laemmle’s NoHo 7, 5240 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, 1332 Second St., Santa Monica. (310) 478-3836.

7 Days in the Arts

Saturday the 30th

Funny Jewess Rita Rudner takes a break from her regular Vegas shtick to entertain us Angelenos this evening. Pepperdine’s Smothers Theatre hosts the comedian before she returns to the City o’ Sin for a new contract with Harrah’s on Oct. 2.

8 p.m. $65. 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. (310) 506-4522.

Sunday the 1st

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Wednesday the 4th

Still some time for some “Summertime.” The Gershwins’ classic American opera, “Porgy and Bess,” plays tonight and tomorrow night as part of the opening celebration for the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Hear arias, including “Bess, You Is My Woman Now” and “I Loves You, Porgy,” through the hall’s impressive acoustics.
8 p.m. $50-$140. 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. (800) 346-7372.

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Friday the 6th

Inspired by the essay “The Grey Zone,” written by Primo Levi, Tim Blake Nelson penned a play and screenplay of the same name, telling the obscure story of the Sonderkommandos-Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz/Birkenau who worked in the gas chambers in exchange for better treatment. The controversial film was released in 2001, and the play now makes its Los Angeles debut in a guest production at Deaf West Theatre.

Sept. 29-Nov. 5. $20-$30. 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. (800) 838-3006.

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7 Days in the Arts

Saturday the 2nd

This weekend represents a final opportunity to view two Skirball Center multimedia exhibitions. “Jewish Identity Project: New American Photography” presents photos, video and multimedia pieces by emerging and mid-career artists, exploring the theme of Jewish identity. “L.A. River Reborn” focuses in closer to home, on the Los Angeles River and the relationship between society and the environment.

Through Sept. 3. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. ” border = 0 align = left vspace = 6 hspace = 6 alt = “”>

Monday the 4th

This Labor Day the Workmen’s Circle hosts an opening reception for “Peter Whittenberg: Prints,” an exhibition of politically minded graphic art. The decidedly adult-only show features Whittenberger’s recurring character, Robert P. Vonruenhousen IV, who has male sex organs for a head, and represents what the artist feels is wrong with America today.

5-7 p.m. Free. 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 552-2007. ” TARGET=”_blank”>

Wednesday the 6th

Community spirit can be found at the Robertson Branch Library tonight. Families and kids of all ages are invited for “Neighbors Celebrating Neighbors: An Evening of Music and Stories.” The event features Uncle Ruthie Buell of KPFK, children’s book author Barney Saltzberg ,singer and recording artist Tiana Marquez and singer Tonyia Jor’dan.

6:30 p.m. Free. 1719 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 840-2147.

Thursday the 7th

The Academy does it short and sweet, this week. The Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is the largest fest of its kind. Included among this year’s films are “George Lucas in Love,” directed by Joe Nussbaum (“American Pie 5: The Naked Mile”) and “In God We Trust,” by Jason Reitman, director of “Thank You For Smoking” and son of director Ivan.

Sept. 5-14. ArcLight Cinemas, 6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. ” align = right vspace = 6 hspace = 6 border = 0 alt = “”>
Homage is paid to the brothers Gershwin in the 1983 Tony-winner “My One and Only.” Head to UCLA’s Freud Playhouse to see Reprise’s production of this “Funny Face” adaptation, that also includes Gershwin music from other sources.

Sept. 5-17. $60-$75 (single tickets), $165-$195 (season tickets). Macgowan Hall, UCLA, Westwood. (310) 825-2101.

Gershwin at CSUN

Joseph Vass, creator of the acclaimed revue, “Gershwin the Klezmer,” didn’t know what klezmer music was until he was well into his 40’s. “I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as Jewish music,” admits the founder of the Minnesota Klezmer Band, which will perform “Gershwin” at Cal State Northridge Nov. 18-19.

After all, the jazz pianist hadn’t had a whit of Jewish education while growing up the son of a refugee from the Nazis in Illinois. He couldn’t tell you what a Torah was.

Then, while attending the New Orleans Jazz Festival in 1990, he chanced to wander into a coffee house where a klezmer band was playing. “I felt I was hearing a language I’d been meant to speak,” recalls Vass, now 53, who began scouring record stores for elusive klezmer recordings and inserting Jewish themes into his jazz compositions. “Jewish music became my obsession.”

Along the way, Vass joined a synagogue, began studying Hebrew and the Talmud, and listened with new ears to the music of the Jewish American composer George Gershwin. Though Gershwin is largely perceived as a popularizer of jazz, Vass heard something else in “Porgy and Bess” and the clarinet slide of “Rhapsody in Blue.””I recognized a certain kind of rhythm; a long, flowing melody that reminded me of Jewish music,” says Vass, whose research underscored Gershwin’s Jewish roots.

In “Gershwin the Klezmer,” we learn that the composer recorded piano rolls of Yiddish songs, now lost; that he wrote a klezmer tune called “Vodka” and started work on an opera, based on “The Dybbuk,” for the Metropolitan Opera. We learn that “It Ain’t Necessarily So” draws on the rhythm of “Avinu Malkeinu” and “S’Wonderful” on the Yiddish tune, “Noach’s Teiveh,” by Abraham Goldfaden. We learn about the other Jewish American composers – Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Rodgers – who drew on cantorial and other Jewish music for inspiration.

The revue also includes Vass’ tune, “Bulka’s Song,” that commemorates the day he learned he lost family in the Shoah. The 13-year-old pianist was practicing in the basement when his father showed him a photograph of the Holocaust memorial in his Hungarian hometown. Inscribed upon it were the names of his martyred relatives. “That was how I learned I was named for my grandfather, who died in Auschwitz,” says Vass, who feels he’s continuing the tradition of klezmorim interrupted by the Shoah.

“Gershwin the Klezmer” aims to show their continuing contribution to the musical zeitgeist: “It’s really about the Jewish soul of American music,” Vass says.

See “7 Days in the Arts,” for ticket information.