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 20
Get a Kluge
Breaking up is hard to do, especially if you’re postwar Germany. LACMA’s survey “Torn Curtain: The Two Germanys on Film” enters its closing weekend with Yesterday Girl, Alexander Kluge’s energetic 1966 portrait of an East German émigré floundering in the West. Buffeted fromone job and affair to the next, the spirited Anita G. becomes a stand-in for the percolating anxieties and upheaval of a prosperous, amnesiac era. But instead of moping, Kluge’s compact, Breathless-style storytelling goes all out to keep up with his agitated young heroine, through hit-and-run plotting, mordant wit, montages, and even time-lapse photography. Anita is resilient and a little reckless, taking potshots against the system (splurging on furs under her boss’s name), and playing fast and loose with rent. Yet she also has to lock horns with a judge who brushes off her travails as the daughter of Jews, and the film rolls out a whole lineup of dismissive authority figures. She’s at peace (like many of us) when in love, as with a caring cultural attaché who warbles opera to her, but her story slides inexorably from manic to depressive. Kluge titled his film Goodbye to Yesterday in the original German, but the filmmaker — a key figure in the New German Cinema and a voluminous public intellectual — knows his way around history’s ironies. Also closing out LACMA’s diverse series is the feminist classic The All-Around Reduced Personality (a kind of 1977 cousin to Anita G.) and two Berlin-set suspense thrillers. The museum’s related art exhibition, “Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures,” continues through April. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Fri., Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 857-6177. —Nicolas Rapold
Does Anybody Remember Laughter?
There’s a a big comedy festival going on in this town, thanks to humor impresario Lawrin Goulston Salazar. The Los Angeles Comedy Festival Spotlight Series at the Theatre Asylum also shares a stage with separate comedy programming from Patrick Bristow’s Improvatorium, Impro Theatre, Piano Fight (from San Francisco), and Theatre Asylum’s Improv Revolution. Basically, there’s hot-and-cold-running funny shit going on like crazy. Check out Big Game Hunters’ (Fri., Feb. 20) “Gay Chicken” and “Klan-Prov” sketches online (do I really have to explain how to do that?). Other upcoming troupes working their keisters off to make you laugh include Shredding the Envelope, Knight of Comedy, Holler, Attention Deficit Disorder, Tuskegee Freedom! and many others. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Wed., Feb. 18, Fri.-Sat., Feb. 20-21; $10. (323) 463-2942 or www.lacomedyfest.com. —Libby Molyneaux
The Heim Maneuver
A kid who sees a swing as something to be climbed on, jumped from and swung in using his or her head as well as bottom exasperates cautious parents and delights other children who never before saw a swing in that light. Choreographer Jacques Heim must have been a kid like that, only he never outgrew his knack for seeing new movement potential in unlikely physical objects like stairs and constructs of metal tubes. While many choreographers use physical objects, Heim’s distinctive vision benefits from the ability of the hyperathletic dancers assembled in his Diavolo Dance Theater to fully realize his sometimes elegant, sometimes quirky, never predictable interaction between human movement and the physical objects. The centerpiece of this performance is the reprise of Foreign Bodies, which premiered last summer at the Hollywood Bowl conducted by no less than Esa-Pekka Salonen who composed the score (expect recorded music this time). Also on the bill, a re-created Tête en l’Air and Diavolo’s signature Trajectoire. With a heavy tour schedule and choreographic stints with Cirque du Soleil, L.A. hasn’t seen much of Diavolo lately. Welcome home. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 20-21, 7:30 p.m.; $39-$75. (310) 434-3200 or www.TheBroadStage.com/tickets. —Ann Haskins
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21
John Pinette looks for his comedy inspiration from water parks, waiting in line and buffets. His latest special is “I’m Starvin’” — which gives you an idea where he’s coming from after his previous CD, Show Me the Buffet. Yes, he’s trimmed down his size, but not his attitude.
L.A. WEEKLY: You’re from the Boston area. Why are there so many funny people there?
PINETTE: I grew up around a lot of funny characters — funny ha ha, funny strange, funny ridiculous and funny insane. If I didn’t learn to laugh at the absurd, I may not have made it. It seems many of the great Boston comics whom I had the privilege of knowing when I started comedy share this point of view.
You used to be an accountant. Were you a funny accountant?
I had no business being an accountant. When I graduated high school, my family told me to get some marketable skills. I was not marketable as an accountant. In my brief stint as an investor-accounting specialist, my job primarily was to distract the auditors with my humor.