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You’re an expert on buffets. Who has the best buffet? How much is too much to spend on a buffet?
It’s a tie between the Wynn and the Bellagio in Las Vegas. When I think of these, I can hear the angels singing. I have a different buffet philosophy than I used to. Buffets are for special occasions. Buffets are not an everyday occurrence. I abstain from most buffets, due to health reasons and restraining orders. How much to spend on a buffet? As an individual decision, I prefer quality over quantity. When it comes to buffets, I’m a high roller.
What are your favorite things to do in Los Angeles?
Forty weeks of the year I spend on the road. That’s not a complaint. I just bought a condo in Los Angeles, and so I am just beginning to spend more time here. I will have to get back to you on that question. I haven’t even seen the Getty.
Do you have groupies?
Not in the strictest definition. Unfortunately my life is nothing like the movie Almost Famous, but I have been a comic 23 years and I do have people all over the U.S. and Canada who have been at my show 10, 20, 30 times. They are the wind beneath my wings.
How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
This year I’ve been to Tampa, West Palm Beach, Poughkeepsie, Toronto and Ottawa. Most of the shows have been sold out; people need to laugh now more then ever. It is sad to travel around and hear about the struggles of so many. Personally I lost about $40,000 in the stock market. You know things suck when you lose $40,000, and you can say, “Wow! Is that all? Thank God.”
A ticket to your show is $27.50, plus a two-drink minimum. How much does that come out to per laugh?
It varies on the night; I assure you I consistently strive for the most laughs per dollar. —Libby Molyneaux
John Pinette performs at the Comedy & Magic Store, 1018 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach; Thurs.-Sat., Feb. 19-21; $27.50. (310) 372-1193.
Do Brazilians samba on a daily basis? Do hunky capoeiristas teach kindergarten while shoppers bossa nova down grocery-store aisles? Why does each one that the girl from Ipanema passes go “Ah”? Everything seems bigger and more colorful down in Brazil. Its annual Carnaval is a gigantic street party that only guilt-ridden Catholics could come up with. L.A. is lucky to have the largest carnival on the West Coast (take THAT, San Francisco!), known as the Ninth Annual Brazilian Carnaval 2009, six straight hours of Brazilian entertainment by Katia Moraes & Pure Samba Band, Nation Beat, Flávio Ribeiro and Unidos of California Samba School, acrobatic capoeira by Mestre Amen, and Viver Brasil Dance Company. Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Sat., Feb. 21, 8 p.m.; $48- $75. (818) 566-1111. —L.M.
And All That Class
It was probably George Gershwin who wrote the first crossover concerto, Rhapsody in Blue, where classical music and jazz met and fell in love. So the union of the two genres is nothing new. But world-renowned violist and Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra director Yuri Bashmet and Russian jazz idol Igor Butman — lovingly referred to by former President Bill Clinton as “my favorite living tenor saxophonist” — definitely give it a kick in the pants with Crossover Concerto, a program featuring works from the Soloists’ classical repertoire; some jazzed-up Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, performed by Butman and his Big Band; and the evening’s hot ticket: Igor Raykhelson’s Jazz Suite for Viola, Saxophone, Piano, String Orchestra and Big Band. Moscow wails! Wilshire Theater, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Sat., Feb. 21, 8 p.m.; $30-$125. (323) 655-0111 or www.wtbh.org. —Mary Beth Crain
You Are the Wind in My Rotunda
In the imaginative-to-the-extreme world of L.A. architecture, few buildings are more splendid than City Hall. From the opulent four-story Rotunda to the stately Bradley Tower and the lavishly Romanesque City Council Chambers, this amazing structure, rich in historical allusion, has dominated the cityscape since 1928. This week, the supertalented early-wind-instrument ensemble Ciaramella performs works by Gabrieli, Monteverdi and other Italian Renaissance masters in the Rotunda for Civic Music From the Venetian Republic, part of Chamber Music in Historic Sites’ Antiqua Series. Under the ornate domed ceiling, surrounded by marble columns and the glorious sounds of shawms, sackbuts, trumpets and recorders, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to Venice’s great San Marco Basilica. Now, if only you could travel there by gondola instead of the freeway. City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., dwntwn; Sat., Feb. 21, noon, 2:30 & 5 p.m.; $42 & $45. (213) 477-2929 or www.dacamera.org. —MBC