FRIDAY, MARCH 6
THERE’S NO FUSION LIKE GAY FUSION
A day after the California Supreme Court hears oral arguments for the repeal of Proposition 8, cinephiles of all stripes and sexual orientations will gather in Hollywood for two days of movie-watching at Fusion 2009: The Los Angeles LGBT People of Color Film Festival, presented by Outfest. The film that will generate a whole bunch of interest is Pedro, which was written by Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk. Black once again tackles the subject matter of a gay icon in Pedro Zamora, about the AIDS activist and MTV Real World cast member in San Francisco, who died from AIDS complications in 1994. Zamora worked endlessly to put a human face on the AIDS crisis and eventually became so respected and well-known that President Bill Clinton gave him a call. It’s a good film with an inspiring story, but there are other entries at Fusion that also deserve attention, particularly a meditative three-minute short film by director Dino Dinco, who created a lovely portrait of San Antonio educator and poet Joe Jimenez, called El Abuelo. Dish, a short film by director Brian Harris Krinsky, which follows the wanderings of teenage emo kids in East L.A., is also a thoughtful treat. Fusion 2009, Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., March 6-7. (213) 480-7088 or www.outfest.org/fusion/.
—Patrick Range McDonald
IF A MIME PERFORMS AT UCB AND EVERYONE LAUGHS, DID HE MAKE A SOUND?
Sure, Man on Wire deserved the hell out of last month’s Best Documentary Oscar, but we as a nation still have many a reality-film inroad to pave. Let us not forget the criminally overlooked, Academy-snubbed 2005 docu-gem The Aristocrats, in which Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette cajoled dozens of dirty-minded comedians into interpreting the titillating titular narrative as his or her own. And just like the nutty Frenchman at Wire’s perfectly balanced center, Billy the Mime stole the show. The Jimmy Kimmel Show and comedy-festival vet (and past L.A. Weekly Theater Award winner) opted to forgo lewd language, instead wordlessly and mesmerizingly mimicking an equally disturbing version that began with a cordial opening handshake and culminated in the anal violation of the fictitious family dog. In stark contrast to the esteemed likes of George Carlin, Pat Cooper, Don Rickles and Chris Rock, Billy the Mime spoke volumes without saying a single thing. Sans makeup, the man otherwise known as Steven Banks serves as a SpongeBob SquarePants writer, but this weekend he’ll re-apply the whiteface for one show only. With a repertoire including “Dreams of a Young Crippled Boy,” “Rape and Revenge,” “Columbine: School’s Out” and “A Hurricane Called Katrina,” he ain’t subtle, but he’s in a category of his own. Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; Fri., March 6, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 908-8702.
SATURDAY, MARCH 7
Think you know L.A.? Need more stress in your weekend? Got sensible shoes? Then you’ll want to set your alarm for Hollywood: Past, Present and Future, the latest “fast-paced, clue-solving adventure” from the fun-loving sadists of Race/L.A. You and your teammates — teams are two to four players — will have to be quick on your feet as you bolt/sprint/tear through Hollywood, solving puzzles, cracking codes and learning little-known factoids about Hollywood. Call for reservations. Sat., March 7, 10 a.m.; $35 (tours last about three hours). (310) 360-6950 or www.racela.com.
Your Virtuosi or Mine?
This charming Music and Conversations series delivers a unique experience on a variety of levels. Not only does the classical/jazz combo program feature world-class virtuosi, but you can also enjoy one-on-one conversations with the artists in an intimate private-home setting with a to-die-for view of the city. This week, Nancy Wu, associate concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; John Walz, L.A. Opera principal cellist; and the one and only Delores Stevens, pianist extraordinaire, perform the West Coast premiere of Morton Subotnick’s Then and Now Forever (Wu and Stevens were among the musicians who premiered the work at last August’s Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Festival); Bach’s Suite for Unaccompanied Cello No. 3 in C major; and Schumann’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor. The program changes gears when Grammy-winning pianist Alan Broadbent joins Gary Foster on sax and Putter Smith on bass for some cool-hot jazz. Oh, yeah, throw in some hors d’oeuvres and a wine tasting courtesy of Casa Torelli, and you’ve got something approaching the music lover’s perfect evening. Goldman Custom Performance Space, private residence in Mt. Washington; Sat., March 7, wine & hors d’oeuvres 7:30 p.m., concert 8 p.m.; $35, $20 students. (310) 453-6278 or www.musicandconversations.org.
—Mary Beth Crain
Bodies By Balanchine & Backhaus
Devotees of George Balanchine used to have to leave town for New York or other cities with ballet companies up to the challenges of the legendary choreographer’s ballets, but in its first two seasons, homegrown Los Angeles Ballet has already offered an impressive array of Balanchine masterpieces, including Serenade, Concerto Barocco, Apollo, Agon, Four Temperaments, Allegro Brillante, Rubies and Who Cares? — all to high critical praise. A segment of LAB’s Who Cares? was even showcased on So You Think You Can Dance. This week, artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary open LAB’s three-week spring season with Balanchine’s Prodigal Son and Stravinsky Violin Concerto, joined by a new work from award-winning SoCal dance maker Jennifer Backhaus. Prodigal Son was staged by former New York City Ballet star Pat Neary and features guest artist Eddy Tovar from Orlando Ballet in the title role and Melissa Barak as the femme fatale who takes him for all he is worth and knows how to work a cape. This marks Backhaus’ second new work set on LAB dancers and continues LAB’s promising commitment to new choreography alongside top-notch productions of existing masterworks. After this weekend’s opening in Redondo Beach, the company moves to Santa Monica next week for LAB’s debut at the new Broad Stage, then on to Glendale for the final weekend. Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., March 7, 7:30 p.m. Also at the Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Sat., March 14, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., March 15, 2 p.m. Also at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., March 21, 7:30 p.m.; $30-$95. (310) 998-7782 or www.LosAngelesBallet.org.