By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
FRIDAY, February 9
Thank God it’s Friday, now also known on the Sunset Strip as Ester Goldberg Day. Starting tonight, the Aqua Netted one (also known as Michael Airington, channeler of Paul Lynde par excellence) takes over the Comedy Store for Ester Goldberg’s The Big Show. And if the oversize martini glass she’s seen waving around onstage is any indication, this will be one loosey-goosey, boozy affair with the backup band the Archibald Leeches, who specialize in cocktail fare like Henry Mancini, Lalo Schifrin and Nino Rota. Ester’s like the gabby, colorful Jewish aunt you never wanted, prone to breaking out with Louis Armstrong or Jim Nabors impersonations. She’s lovable enough to make even the draggiest aficionados bob their wigs and exclaim, “Dame who?” The Comedy Store, 8433 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; every Fri., 9 p.m.; $25, plus two-drink minimum (with $20 for parking, that comes to . . . let’s see . . . $288 per person). (323) 656-3225.
SATURDAY, February 10
Amigos y Amantes (Friends and Lovers) Art Exhibit and Auction includes Valentine-themed work by noted Latino artists Miguel Angel Reyes, Diane Gamboa, Carlos Vargas, Tony de Carlo, Joey Terrill and Ana Landeros, among others, with the proceeds going to AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s free AIDS treatment centers in Mexico. East L.A. spoken-word artist Marisela Norte will perform, and appetizers are included. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Conference Center, 555 W. Temple St., dwntwn.; Sat., Feb. 10, 6-11 p.m.; $25 (entrance fee applies to first bid). (213) 680-5200.
And while you’re in an artful, giving mood, there’s Charity by Numbers, featuring a tremendous number of famous and not-so-famous artists who’ve donated “transformed paint-by-numbers” paintings for the Alliance for Children’s Rights. A few names: Tim Biskup, Gary Baseman, Shag, Shepard Fairey, Gary Panter, Paul Frank. Corey Helford Gallery, 8522 Washington Blvd., Culver City; opening reception Sat., Feb. 10, 10 p.m.-mid. (310) 287-2340.
SUNDAY, February 11
If it takes guts for a guitarist to cover Jimi Hendrix, it takes even more guts for a singer to do Ella Fitzgerald. Luckily for us, Freda Payne has the guts and the cords, vocal cords, that is. In Freda Payne Stars in a Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Payne sticks mainly to the classics — “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and “Mack the Knife” — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Catalina Jazz Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 9-10, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m.; $20-$30. (323) 466-2210.
MONDAY, February 12
They’re blue. They’re men. They’re a group. To misquote Spinal Tap, “In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history . . . No one knows who they were or what they were doing.” Just what is The Blue Man Group doing? Where do they get all the blue paint? How much laundry do they have to do? Do their wives get sick of them always leaving blue smudges everywhere? Is it always the same shade of blue? And would it kill them to smile once in a while? Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk; Mon., Feb. 12, 8:15 p.m.; $75 & $105. (213) 480-3232.
TUESDAY, February 13
What comic jokes: “I prefer phone sex. It’s the only time you can have sex and a corned-beef special at the same time . . . you know . . . without getting that weird look”? If you answered Lesley Wolff, you already have your tickets to her Killer Valentine’s Special with some of the funniest standups in town making fun of their love lives, including Maria Bamford, Melinda Hill, Melissa Paull, Natasha Leggero, Stephanie Escajeda, Jamie Kaler and many more. Hollywood Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd.; Tues., Feb. 13, 8 p.m.; $12. (323) 651-2583.
WEDNESDAY, February 14
If you’re one of those people who made a reservation for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner weeks ago, then you probably aren’t reading this. Even Lucha Va Voom is a tough ticket if you wait till the last minute — though you get a lot of panting, gyrating and sweating for your dollar. It’s not too late to give your smoochy-face a copy of the muy calienteA Date With John Waters CD, which has such hot ’n’ heavy make-out songs as “I’d Love to Take Orders From You” by Mildred Bailey and “Sometimes I Wish I Had a Gun” by Mink Stole. If you want to show your sweetie what an old-fashioned romantic devil you are, there’s Bike Winter’s Tandemonium, a bike ride just for two-seaters (http://bikela.org).
You also have two opportunities for a fake Neil Diamond concert: Hot August Nights at the Coach House and Fantastic Diamond at the Canyon Club, though you’ll have to leave town. If all else fails, there’s always The Knights of Prosperity and takeout. Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano; Wed., Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m.; $13.50. (949) 496-8930. The Canyon Club, 28912 Roadside Dr., Agoura Hills; Wed., Feb. 14, 8 p.m.; $15. (818) 879-5016.
THURSDAY, February 15
Hooray for the return of The Adventures of Helen & Ellen. We’d been wondering where Julia Wolov (“the shorter, softer lady”) and Dana Goodman (“the hard, nasty weirdo”) have been lately, and luckily for us, they’ve brought back their hilarious two-lady play about a pair of divorcées sharing a studio apartment after being fired from Ross Dress for Less. It’s kinda too bad that sitcoms like Till Death still exist while these two go unloved by the masses. As one of them — does it really matter which? — said a year ago, “We’re going to continue to pull each other’s pants down onstage, call it ‘art’ and force our friends to come watch us perform it — for free — for the rest of our lives. Ha-ha, everyone, ha-ha. Wait, joke’s on us.” I.O. West, 6366 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs., Feb. 8 & 15, 9 p.m.; $10. (323) 962-7560 or www.iowest.com.