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, JANUARY 16
Naughty, not Nice
Rude, crude and lewd French finger puppets? Count me in! A Grand Guignol Children’s Show is definitely not for kids. The show boasts horror-ified versions of “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “The Ugly Duckling” and other classic folk tales, along with “absinthe, blood, birthday cake and witch burning.” Art/Works Theatre, 6569 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; Sun., 7:30; thru Jan. 31; $20-$30; Sun. is pay-what-you-can. (800) 838-3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com. —Libby Molyneaux
Seven choreographers performing plus another 11 dance-makers and photographers contributing to an accompanying exhibition is definitely an impressive number of participants, but it’s just a sampling of the eclectic spectrum of dance genres produced by the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures (WAC) over the past three decades. Any One Home: The Reunion Tourfeatures works by Banafsheh Sayyad, whose Namah Ensemble combines Persian Dance and Sufi Ritual; Amrapali Ambegaokar, known for exploring the possibilities of traditional Indian Kathak with other dance forms; Jackie Lopez, whose VERSA-Style explores the intersections of hip-hop culture and salsa; Li Chiao-Ping, whose eponymous troupe showcases both solo works and multimedia productions; I Made Bandem, who was the first Balinese dancer to study in the West; Linda Gold, who heads Santa Monica College’s dance program and SMC’s Synapse Dance Theater; and Tamica Washington-Miller, who is something of a second-generation UCLA dance grad. Her mother, founder of the respected Lula Washington Dance Theater, graduated from WAC’s predecessor dance department. Intercultural choreography is now as widely accepted as fusion food in restaurants, but the necessary audience acceptance has been built up over time by WAC and graduates like these. For a complete list of the other contributors to the exhibition, go to www.wac.ucla.edu. UCLA Glorya Kaufman Dance Theater, Wstwd.; Fri.-Sat., Jan. 16-17, 7:30 p.m.; $10; $8 students. (310) 825-3951. —Ann Haskins
SATURDAY, JANUARY 17
The Dirtiest Blurb You Will Ever Read
If you’re going to work blue — work really blue. As in filthy. As in quadruple-X, dripping with images so pornographic you’ll send audiences straight to church to cleanse themselves. That’s more or less the philosophy of the sickos behind The Dirtiest Sketch in L.A. Contest, which turns crudeness into a sport. That’s right. Joe Hartzler and Amanda Egge dreamed up the concept. Sketch writers are given three simple rules: “It has to be dirty. It has to be written. It has to be less than three minutes.” Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hlywd.; Sat., Jan. 17, mid.; $5. (323) 908-8702. —L.M.
Le Pick Musique de la Semaine
Despite her fragile frame, Simone Weil was one of the towering figures of the 20th century. Born in 1909, the French philosopher, social activist and Christian mystic spent her short life working tirelessly to further her ideal of a world in which politics was spiritually driven, class systems abolished, and the physical and psychological needs of humanity could at last be fulfilled. Weil’s lectures in philosophy were famous, and her passionate involvement in the causes of the oppressed even more so. A victim of tuberculosis, she nonetheless joined the French Resistance during World War II and went on a hunger strike in solidarity with the deprived residents of German-occupied France, which led to her death at age 34. And now, Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho has immortalized Weil’s philosophy and vision in her rich, complex oratorio La Passion de Simone, which receives its West Coast premiere this week. Weil has been a lifelong influence on Saariaho: “I have been reading [her] writings since my youth,” says the composer, “and the Finnish translation of her book Gravity and Grace was one of the few things I packed into my suitcase when I traveled to Germany in 1981 to continue my studies in composition.” La Passion de Simone, a collaboration between Saariaho, librettist Amin Maalouf and director Peter Sellars, is an attempt, says Saariaho, to express, through music, the “combination of Weil’s severe asceticism and her passionate quest for truth.” Written for solo soprano, choir, orchestra and electronics, the work consists of 15 “stations,” in the tradition of the Passion Play, each of which explores different moments in Weil’s life and interprets some of her ideas, while Weil’s own texts are presented in the electronics surrounding the audience. Conducted by fellow Finn and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen and featuring the Los Angeles Master Chorale, dancer Michael Schumacher, and that great soprano Dawn Upshaw, Saariaho’s own vision couldn’t be in more capable hands. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A.; Sat., Jan. 17, 8 p.m.; $42-$147. (323) 850-2000.—Mary Beth Crain
SUNDAY, JANUARY 18
Doo dah? Doo dah!
(To the tune of “Camptown Races”)
Doo Dah, Doo Dah!
Pasadena’s big hurrah!
Oh, de Doo Dah Deh
Look, there’s Charles Phoenix!
What a dapper gent!
Bet he loves to be grand marshal
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city