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 1
This whale would rather be watching the game. See Sunday. (Click to enlarge)
Grammys, schmammies. The one album that should win in every category — including rap! — wasn't even nominated. For shame, Grammy people. The nine songs on Nellie McKay's Obligatory Villagers are wonderfully melodic, literate, twisty and grown-up-sounding yet with a mischievous sense of fun. Grab a little piece of floor to stand on; you are in for a real treat. Largo, 432 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.; Fri., Feb. 1 & 8, 9 p.m.; $20. (323) 852-1073.
When a press release is preceded by a personal note from the publicist saying, "You could play this straight or have some fun with it and us 'organizing nerds,'" what's a blurbologist to do? Hmmm... let's play it straight: "Sherri Shepherd, co-host of The View, will host the Third Annual Los Angeles Organizing Awards, presented by the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO-LA)." Ah, hell, let's have some fun at their expense. Awards for organizing? What are the acceptance speeches like? "Um, I'd like to thank my shoe tree." And what about the losers? Do they go home, revamp their junk drawers and rethink their Day Runner strategies? And... Sherri Shepherd? Luxe Hotel Sunset Blvd., 11461 Sunset Blvd., Bel Air; Fri., Feb. 1, 7 p.m.; $125 includes dinner. www.napola.org.
SATURDAY, February 2
Don't expect children's musical artist Dan Zanes to get all Barney on your bottom. His shows start with a laid-back, hi-how-are-ya-doin' vibe and slowly build into one giant, somewhat dorky dance party. No flash, no fake pep — Zanes sorta saunters out and begins his set. The kids hush up and gaze at first, then slo-o-o-owly the grooving escalates into Grateful Dead–like rapture. These fans don't indulge in magical substances, but they do twirl around unsteadily, wear bright, comfy clothes and talk in streams of consciousness. They often smell bad too. For us parents, Zanes plays songs that refreshingly don't make us want to throw up (sorry, Wiggles). His goal is to inspire family bands wherever he goes, through old-timey classics like "Waltzing Matilda" and new-timey, antiwhiny winners from Catch That Train, his Grammy-winning CD. Royce Hall, UCLA; Sat., Feb. 2, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.; $25, $15 children 12 and under. (310) 825-2101.
It had to happen: "Carnaval goes Green — preserving the Environment and our Planet." So, dress up in something loud and fabulous and hit The 8th Annual Brazilian Carnival 2008 aboard the Queen Mary, which hasn't seen this many sequins and feathers since its heyday. The entertainment is wild and fun and includes Dandara, "Brazil's Tina Turner," along with Pra Gandaia Band performing classic sambas, axe, marchinhas and frevo, plus Maisa Duke, the Samba Queen from San Francisco, and scads of scantily clad samba dancers. The Queen Mary, Long Beach; Sat., Feb. 2, 8 p.m.-2 a.m.; $38-$55. (818) 566-1111.
SUNDAY, February 3
There's a big football game on the tee-vee today, so that means a lot of people will be inside and not outside, which means you can actually go places in L.A. today. So how about whale-watching? Pacific gray whales are currently moving south, and the Cabrillo Whale Watch Program will take you out and explain what the heck they are doing. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Dr., San Pedro; boats go out daily; $12-$15 per adult. For reservations, call Nancee Kioudjian at (310) 548-8397.
MONDAY, February 4
Did you see Rickie Lee Jones on Letterman a while back? She still looks and sounds great, as you can see for yourself by taking advantage of the following information about her monthlong Echoplex residency. Echoplex (below the Echo), 1822 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; Mon., Feb. 4, 11, 18 & 25, 8 p.m.; $20 & $25. www.attheecho.com.
TUESDAY, February 5
Speaking of still looking and sounding great, Joan Rivers doesn't especially rate on either count, but she does have a new one-woman show called Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress. In this "four-character autobiographical comedy set in a dressing room just before Hollywood's biggest award show," the press release synopsizes, "Joan must muster all her strength and ingenuity to survive yet another year."Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4:30 & 8:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; thru March 30; $35-$74. (310) 208-5454.
WEDNESDAY, February 6
AFI, like the Smithsonian but for movies, ranks Funny Girl 16th among AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals and 41st on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions: America's Greatest Love Stories list. The songs "People" and "Don't Rain on My Parade" are 13th and 46th respectively on AFI'S 100 Years... 100 Songs, and the quote "Hello, gorgeous" is 81st on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes: The Greatest Lines from American Film. ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 W. Sunset Blvd.; Wed., Feb. 6, 8 p.m.; $12. (323) 464-4226.
THURSDAY, February 7
Author, urban theorist, historian and smart guy Mike Davis was raised in El Cajon, which means "the box" in Spanish. When he was a boy, his teachers would say, "Michael, one day you will grow up and become successful, but you have to think outside the box." Being the literal sort, he hightailed it out of El Cajon as fast as a jackal and has never looked back. Davis discusses his latest book, Planet of Slums, which looks at "what happens when urbanization of poverty meets global warming."Aquarium of the Pacific's Honda Theater, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach; Thurs., Feb. 7, 7 p.m.; $7. (562) 590-3100.