By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
FRIDAY, November 23
An almost-silent film that will poke you in the ribs countless times — but not too hard — is Jacques Tati’s Mr. Hulot’s Holiday. There’s a scene of a little boy trying to open a door while holding two ice cream cones that never fails to put me in a good mood. Thank you, Jacques Tati! And you too, American Cinematheque! Aero Theater, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 466-FILM.
SATURDAY, November 24
Who said, “I think popular music in this country is one of the few things in the 20th century that have made giant strides in reverse”? If you answered “Bing Crosby,” head north on Lankershim to the El Portal Theater for Holiday Memories of Bing With Kathryn Crosby. The singer’s widow presents her one-woman show, full of the songs made famous by B-B-B-B-Bing, plus home movies and many a memory. Who cares that it’s 85 degrees? Buy yourself a new Christmas sweater and get your “White Christmas” on in style. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 23-24, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 3 p.m.; $35-$100. (818) 508-4200.
SUNDAY, November 25
Silver Lake has never been funny — until now. Comedy comes to Spaceland with Reno in L.A., hosted by Neil Hamburger. Is this a good thing? Mr. Hamburger isn’t everyone’s cup of hip. He’s a faux lounge comic with a hacking cough and corny jokes like this: “Why did the farmer start a punk rock band? Because he was tired of haulin’ oats.” Add phlegmy sounds and that’s what you get. Was that funny to you? Hipsters love him, hence the Tenacious D connection. Luckily, there’s a real comic on the bill — Andy Kindler — who comes with actual talent. Spaceland, 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake; Sun., Nov. 25, 9 p.m.; $8. (323) 661-4380 or www.clubspaceland.com.
Have you ever sung along to “Uncle John’s Band” and said, “Man, I’m a good harmonizer!” You’re probably wrong, but that shouldn’t keep you away from Cubensis Karaoke. Cubensis, the extremely accomplished Grateful Dead tribute band, will lend the microphone to anyone with 20 bucks — the money goes to SHELTER (Supporting Homeless Existence Leading to Enabled Recovery). Says Cubensis leader Craig Marshall, “For $20 they can pick the Grateful Dead song of their choice, or play the instrument of their choice, and we’ll give the song our best shot. I suspect that the requests will be ‘Ripple,’ ‘Shakedown Street,’ ‘Scarlet Begonias.’ Hopefully the results will not be too brutal, or will be so off-key as to be hilarious. We can endure anything for a good cause.” And, hey, you can’t sound any worse than Bob Weir or Jerry Garcia! 14 Below, 1348 14th St., Santa Monica; Sun., Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m.; $8 at the door (only 10 $20 Cubensis slots per night). (310) 451-5040, www.cubensis.com or www.14below.com.
MONDAY, November 26
Yeah, I know, being lowbrow all the time takes its toll. Today was a choice between Emo Phillips and Robert Kuttner in conversation with Arianna Huffington. Let’s pretend to be smart for a change. To quote the wise Homer Simpson: “I am so smart: S-M-R-T!” Though I will be at Emo Phillips: The Shredder (any joke that bombs goes straight into the shredder), you should go to Town Hall’s Writer’s Bloc event with Robert Kuttner, the creator of The American Prospect,to discuss his new book The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity with the Huffer. James Bridges Theater, 1409 Melnitz Hall, UCLA; Mon., Nov. 26, 8 p.m.; $20, registration recommended: www.townhall-la.org. And if you want to join me at Emo: Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Mon., Nov. 26, 8 p.m.; $10. (323) 666-4268 or www.steveallentheater.com.
TUESDAY, November 27
While you were standing in line at Pinkberry, Johnette Napolitano was traveling the continent sharing songs from her deep and haunting and thoroughly chilling new-ish solo album, Scarred. For her L.A. shows, she’ll be joined by David J of Bauhaus — so expect the mood to be on the thick side. The Roxy, 9009 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Tues., Nov. 27, 8 p.m.; $21.50. (213) 480-3232.
WEDNESDAY, November 28
Pornography — we need to talk. Dirty Business: Should the Porn Industry Be Saved? is the topic of Zócalo’s cultural forum moderated by Mariel Garza of the Los Angeles Daily News. The panel includes porn producers and former actors Nina Hartley and Ira Levine, economist Jack Kyser and Sharon Mitchell of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation. The Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd.; Wed., Nov. 28, 7 p.m.; free, resv. required. (213) 403-0416 or www.zocalola.org.
THURSDAY, November 29
It was Sarah Silverman who said, “Guess what, Martin Luther King, I had a fuckin’ dream too!” Now she is helping to make peace in the Middle East in Comedy Without Borders, a benefit show for Friends of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel, starring the cast of The Sarah Silverman Program, including Brian Posehn, Steve Agee, Laura Silverman and Jay Johnston. Roseanne Barr is also on the bill. Reads the press release, “It’s only appropriate that our benefit stars Sarah Silverman, a comedian who makes an entire living out of breaking barriers and going well beyond borders.” Like this: “You have to be able to laugh at yourself. That’s what I tell Asian people all the time.” Bovard Auditorium, USC; Thurs., Nov. 29, 8 p.m.; $20-$100. www.friendsofarava.org.
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