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
SUNDAY, MARCH 8
They’re calling it the “Gold Standard.” Get it? See, it’s a play on the name of L.A. Weekly’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Jonathan Gold and the definition of a paragon of excellence. (Guess they didn’t like “Eat Your Heart of Gold” or “Pots of Gold.”) C’mon, people! This is a Golden opportunity! Anyhoo, when you win a Pulitzer Prize for food writing, you’ll get to curate your own food festival, too. “Contrary to popular belief, nobody at the festival will be serving narwhal, walrus or baby seal,” says Gold. “Although I’d keep an eye on Fred Eric from Tiara if I were you.” Thirty handpicked restaurants, plus beer and wine tasting. A portion of proceeds will go to Heal the Bay. Smashbox Studios, 1011 Fuller Ave., West Hollywood; Sun., March 8, 3-7 p.m.; $60, $10 children. www.laweekly.com/microsites/gold-standard.
L.A. ARTISTS ON PARADE
Hand-knit sweaters and a replica of the grotto at the Playboy mansion are just some of the paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture and video by local artists — Lisa Anne Auerbach, Julie Becker, Llyn Foulkes, Charles Irvin, Hirsch Perlman, Victoria Reynolds, Kaari Upson, Jeffrey Vallance and Charlie White — who contributed to the Hammer’s biannual invitational exhibit, Nine Lives: Visionary Artists from L.A., curated by Ali Subotnick. Upcoming related events include talks with Reynolds and Vallance, a panel discussion and screenings of Splendor in the Grass and two documentaries by Werner Herzog. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tues.-Wed. & Fri., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; opens March 8; through May 31; $7, $5 seniors, free for students and under 17. (310) 443-7000.
MONDAY, MARCH 9
Best War Painter
It’s a shame that Barack Obama didn’t select Yusef Komunyakaa to deliver the invocation poem at the Inauguration ceremonies in January. The Princeton professor is not only this nation’s supreme stylist — conjuring poems that fairly crackle with palpably lavish imagery — but he also has more profoundly intuitive things to say than Elizabeth Alexander, the overmatched and earnestly prosaic writer who was given the honor. Komunyakaa’s masterwork, 1993’s Neon Vernacular, draws upon his childhood in Louisiana and his experience as a soldier in the Vietnam War to paint vivid pictures “through a hallucination of blues/& deep purples that set the day on fire.” His poetry is simultaneously down to earth and lushly evocative, whether he’s describing butterflies (“Incandescent anthologies/semi-zoological alphabets of fire”) or nervous soldiers waiting in ambush (“A tiger circles us, in his broken cage/between sky & what’s human ... & then a sound that makes you jump/in your sleep years later/the cough of a mortar tube”). His poems about music are literally musical, snapping with a bluesy beat and soaring with a jazzy expansiveness. Komunyakaa’s more recent work, as collected in the African-American travelogue/revisionist history lesson Taboo (2004), is just as feverishly enchanting and richly detailed. His latest book, Warhorses, came out in October. Boston Court Performing Arts Center, 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena; Mon., March 9, 7 p.m. (626) 683-6883.
I’D LIKE TO THANK MY STUFFED ANIMALS...
Budding — along with budded — filmmakers latched onto the Fisher Price PXL toy camera like toddlers to sippy cups. Here’s what filmmaker Bryan Konefsky once said: “Pixelvision is the haiku of cinema: the minimum of means delivering the maximum of meaning. The PXL 2000 toy camera’s limited image quality forces moviemakers to focus on essentials, and thereby to produce a richly connotative cinematic experience. In fact, PXL may be the best instantiation of Stan Brakhage’s luminous quote: ‘The true meaning of cinema can be found between the frames.’ ” For PXL This 18, festival director Gerry Fialka has assembled some of the best entries from New Zealand, Canada, Czech Republic and the U.S. Unurban Coffeehouse, 3301 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; Mon., March 9, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 306-7330 or www.indiespace.com/pxlthis.
THE CHAMBER OF MANY SURPRISES
You can always count on Southwest Chamber Music to provide a not-just-your-average chamber music evening, and this week the group again rises to the occasion with a meet-and-greet for the Czech Republic, New England and the Black Church. The program includes Dvorak’s passionate, lively Quintet for Piano and Strings in A major, Op. 81, whose original themes in authentic Czech folk style include a dumka (Ukrainian ballad), a furiant (a rousing Czech dance) and an irrepressible polka finale; Charles Ives’ String Quartet No. 1 (“From the Salvation Army”), flavored with stirring melodies from the New England Protestant hymnal; and Wadada Leo Smith’s provocative String Quartet No. 3, subtitled “Black Church, First Gathering of the World Spirit,” a one-movement work that’s on the one hand atonally difficult to absorb, and on the other definitely worth the experience. Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; Sat., March 7. Also at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, Zipper Auditorium, 200 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Mon., March 9; 7:30 p.m. preconcert talks, 8 p.m. concerts; $38, $28 seniors, $10 students. (800) 726-7147 or www.swmusic.org.
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