December 17, 2018

Calendar: July 24-30



From rags to riches, Sophie Tucker and her big personality paved the way for performers such as Madonna, Bette Midler and Lady Gaga. The opening-night film of this year’s Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival is now in theaters around Los Angeles. It was written and produced by Susan and Lloyd Ecker, who went through more than 400 of Tucker’s personal scrapbooks and met with many of her friends and family members to get the full story that you will see on the screen. Directed by Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker William Gazecki. Times vary. Playhouse 7, 673 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino.



Two funny Jewish guys … what a great way to end the weekend and get ready for the week ahead. Fred Sokolow, best known for his 150 instructional books and DVDs for guitar, banjo, ukulele, mandolin and many more, is a multistring performer and recording artist with a passion that shines through, whether he’s playing the blues, a ragtime piece or a screaming rock-guitar solo. Lil Rev, often called the Jewish Pete Seeger, will bring his high energy to this heartfelt concert as he seamlessly moves among song, story, poetry and humor. 7 p.m. $20. The Coffee Gallery Backstage, 2029 N. Lake Ave., Altadena. (626) 798-6236.


The New York Times calls it “the best comedy of the season” — and tonight is the last night to see it in Los Angeles. Joshua Harmon’s off-Broadway play explores the question: Is there such thing as a “bad Jew”? Daphna swears she is the most devout Jew of her family. But after the death of her grandfather, her less-observant cousin Liam comes to town, and the two argue about who is the rightful heir to their grandfather’s chai necklace, which he kept safe during his time in a concentration camp by hiding it under his tongue. Despite their differing sense of Judaism, they learn to navigate through their kvetching with chutzpah and humor. Directed by Matt Shakman and starring Ari Brand, Molly Ephraim, Lili Fuller and Raviv Ullman. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. $37-$72. Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 208-5454.



This is the first major U.S. revival of Martin Sherman’s “Bent” since its Broadway premiere in 1979. From director Moises Kaufman (“The Laramie Project”) comes this groundbreaking drama about the power of love under some of history’s most inhumane conditions. “Bent” chronicles the struggles of two gay men in Nazi Germany who are fighting not just for their right to love, but also for their right to live. The beautiful and moving story is brought to life on stage and shows the unbreakable force of the human spirit. 8 p.m. Through Aug. 23. $55-$75. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 628-2772.



Greet the end of summer with a bang — or a hike, or a bonfire, or a tour through Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The annual citywide celebration of love and Tu b’Av is back with a new twist: Instead of one big party, East Side Jews is collaborating with organizations all over the city for three days of fun events. The fest kicks off Thursday night on the Eastside with “Love After Dark: Griffith Park Sunset Hike.” Hike through the canyons of Griffith Park up to the observatory and see why this spot is considered one of L.A.’s most famous lookouts. Snacks will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. Don’t forget to pack a picnic blanket! Over on the Westside, join Moishe House Venice and NuRoots for “Ignite Your Fire: A Midsummer’s Night Beach Bonfire” with camp games, s’mores and drinks. Other offerings of Love Fest include a Shabbat potluck dinner at the revamped Echo Park Lake and a garden cocktail party under a full moon. Hike: 7:15 p.m. Free. 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles. Bonfire: 7 p.m. Free. Dockweiler Beach, near lifeguard tower 53. RSVP requested. (323) 663-2255.