7 Days In Arts


Saturday

UCLA Live continues to impress today with its unique programming. Its exclusive commissioned event unites celebrated cartoonist Chris Ware (“Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth”) with NPR’s Ira Glass, host extraordinaire of “This American Life.” Together, they present “Visible and Invisible Drawings: An Evening With Chris Ware and Ira Glass,” a story presentation by them both, each in his own medium.8 p.m. $17-$40. Royce Hall, UCLA, Westwood. (310) 825-2101.

Sunday

It’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” Israeli-style in “Yossi andJagger,” new out on DVD this month. The bittersweet film is based on the truestory of two Israeli officers, gay and in love and stationed on theIsrael-Lebanon border. An official selection at the Berlin and Tribeca FilmFestivals, the film was also well received by numerous critics. The DVD includesa music video for a hit single from the film, never released in the UnitedStates. $29.99. www.strandreleasing.com

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Monday

Seven Days salutes fellow El Camino Real High Schoolalums Brent Goldberg and David T. Wagner for their latest achievement: Openingthis week is the screenwriters’ new film, “The Girl Next Door,” a bawdy romanticcomedy with a heart of gold about a boy’s infatuation with the girl next door,who turns out to be a former porn star. We’re sure hilarity ensues — after all,these are ECR boys. Opens April 9. www.thegirlnextdoormovie.com

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Tuesday

Dave Frishberg recently performed at Lincoln Center, and has written songs recorded by Diana Krall, Michael Feinstein, Bette Midler and Blossom Dearie. But Gen-X-ers will be most impressed by his contribution to “Schoolhouse Rock” — Frishberg is responsible for that song ingrained in nostalgic memory as the one that taught you how a bill becomes a law, “I’m Just a Bill.” He plays a series at the Jazz Bakery beginning today.April 13-18. 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $25-$30. 3233 Helms Ave., Culver City. (310) 271-9039.

Wednesday

Before it was an Academy Award-winning movie, it was a Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The Rubicon Theatre Company presents Alfred Uhry’s “Driving Miss Daisy” beginning this week. For those who’ve been living under a rock, the play (and the film that followed) tell the story of the 25-year relationship between a Southern Jewish woman and her black chauffeur. See it this evening, in its original form.7 p.m. (Wed), 8 p.m. (Fri.-Sat.). 2 p.m. (Sat.-Sun.). $25-$45. The Laurel, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. (805) 667-2900.

Thursday

First Michael Damian, now Brad Maule and Eric Martsolf. Soap opera stars keeps popping up in productions of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Our theory: Perhaps the cheese factor helps with the crossover? Either way, Maule (of “General Hospital” fame) and Martsolf (Ethan Crane on “Passions”) play Jacob and Pharoah, respectively, in the latest production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. And cheesy or not, the show’s also a classic. Catch it this week only.April 13-18. 8 p.m. (Tues.-Fri.), 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Sat.), 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Sun.). $30-$95. Kodak Theatre, Hollywood and Highland, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (213) 365-3500.

Friday

Philip Kaufman fans work to keep their blood pressure level tonight, as the American Cinematheque kicks off its “Writer and Director: A Retrospective Tribute to Philip Kaufman” with a triple hit. A double-feature of the erotically charged films “Henry and June” and “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” sandwich an in-person appearance and discussion by Kaufman.7:15 p.m. Series runs April 16-18. $9. The Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 466-3456.

Thanks for the Memories, Bob


“Who’s A Jew” may be our tribe’s favorite trivia game, but when it came to Bob Hope — who died July 27 at 100 — his ski-slope nose gave it away: the comedian was not Jewish.

But his comedy, inescapably, was. The British Protestant referred to the Academy Awards, which he hosted 13 times, as “Passover” because he never won an Oscar. And throughout his career, Hope employed Jewish writers.

Hal Kanter, for instance, co-wrote a dozen screenplays for Hope, Leo Robin and Robert Rainger wrote his signature tune, “Thanks for the Memory,” and Norman Panama and Melvin Frank wrote the screenplay for “The Road to Utopia.” Brooklyn-born Melville Shavelson directed him in perhaps his best dramatic film, “The Seven Little Foys.”

“On the simplest level, the New York wise-guy approach to humor appealed to him,” said Lawrence J. Epstein, author of “The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America.”

“He made it look so easy, too,” Epstein said.

Unlike many comics who preceded him, including Groucho Marx, “Hope wasn’t manic,” Epstein added. “He wasn’t up there sweating. There was a sense of being in control. He looked the camera in the eye, and he let the audience in on the joke, as if to say, this is only a movie about nothing — let’s have some fun.”

But Hope’s legacy is richer than comedy alone. He performed during a century fraught with war and conflict — often in venues his peers avoided.

He not only visited burn units and hospitals on hundreds of military bases worldwide, he also raised money for Israel in the 1940s at a rally in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

“It was at the invitation of screenwriter Ben Hecht,” Epstein said. “It wasn’t a popular time, but Hope was a good guy. And by rallying troops around the world in World War II, on a deeper level you could say he was helping Jews around the world.”