GO LA: Rum, Sodomy and John Waters’ Filthy World | LA Life | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

GO LA: Rum, Sodomy and John Waters’ Filthy World 

Plus plenty of high-brow, March 13-19

Wednesday, Mar 11 2009




click to flip through (7) LARRY UNDERHILL - Chapel of the Jesus Ethic: The L.A. Conservancy goes on a religious-sites tour. See Saturday.
  • Larry Underhill
  • Chapel of the Jesus Ethic: The L.A. Conservancy goes on a religious-sites tour. See Saturday.

If you’re looking to catch the latest cycle (not menstrual) of that famous tribute to the female genitalia, keep looking. “It’s just not the crying-vagina show,” explains Alice Johnson, describing her play St. Alice of Chattahoochee. “It’s not about cancer, it’s not sentimental. It’s just a ridiculous one-woman play.” Johnson’s 30-character tall tale, set in her hometown of Columbus, Georgia, is about a girl who wants to become a famous lip-synch artist, but faces the ruthless rejection of youth-group ministers, theater directors, “budding gay-dude divas” and child beauty queens.

“It’s about bruised egos, aspiring to greatness and getting the shit kicked out of you,” Johnson explains. It’s also essentially about the depressing reality of “not getting picked,” something Johnson herself has faced as an actor in New York and L.A. People say, “It must be great to perform by yourself,” says Johnson in her sweet California-infused Southern accent.

“Truth is, I would love to work with other people, but nobody ever picked me. I got sick of wanting people to pick me so I thought, I’ve gotta pick myself!” When the play passed through Johnson’s hometown last year, many appreciated its brilliance, but others were seriously upset. “I thought I was going to get tarred and feathered,” admits Johnson, a hint of satisfaction gleaming in her bright eyes. “There are people in my family who are not speaking to me because they are completely offended. For some people, it speaks to their heart, but a lot of people want me dead!” 

Cavern Club Theater at Casita del Campo Restaurant, 1920 Hyperion  Ave., Silver Lake; Fri.-Sat., March 13-14, 9 p.m.; $15, $12 in advance. (323) 969-2350.  —Erica Wrightson



Who said, “I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty”? Yep, it’s John Waters’ filthy world, we just dirty it up. The esteemed purveyor of pscum gives a “one-man spoken-word lecture” — um, redundant much? — called “This Filthy World.” After the director-writer-mustache-owner talks film shop and shares what inspires him, the floor will be opened up to questions. This is where you show off your ability to recite whole scenes from Polyester and Desperate Living. And don’t forget to mention how you dress up as Divine every Halloween and throw Egg Lady parties. He just loves to hear that stuff.

Cal State Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Fri., March 13, 8 p.m.; $20-$34. (818) 677-7686.  —Libby Molyneaux



Legendary Argentinian pianist Martha Argerich is known not only for her great musicianship; she is also one of the most introspective and private concert artists around, and her frequent retreats from the public eye have given her a certain aura of mystery. In 1981, Argerich took a hiatus from public performance that lasted nearly 20 years. But when she returned, for a benefit performance at Carnegie Hall in 2000, and began a series at Lincoln Center the following year, she was welcomed with the fervor one would expect for a resurrected goddess. There could probably have been no greater praise than New Yorker critic Alex Ross’ observation that “Argerich … is an unaffected interpreter whose native language is music. This may be the quality that sets her apart. A lot of pianists play huge double octaves. But few have the unerring naturalness of phrasing that allows them to embody the music rather than interpret it.” I can’t say it any better.

Argerich never disappoints; she’s an unbeatable combination of passion and precision, with a flawless technique and bold spirit, and this week we’re lucky to have her at Disney Hall, where she’ll perform Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, a work the composer complained “took me two years, you know. … We’ve gone past the days when the composer was thought of as being struck by inspiration, feverishly scribbling down his thoughts on a scrap of paper. Writing music is 75 percent an intellectual activity.” And Argerich is sure to give it the proper intellectual treatment. Also on the program: Ravel’s La Valse and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6. The brilliant young French-Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Fri., March 12-13, 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., March 14-15, 2 p.m.; Upbeat Live preconcert lecture with Asadour Santourian, artistic adviser and administrator of the Aspen Music Festival and School, one hour prior to concerts (except Sat.); $42-$147, $10 student/senior rush; call for ticket availability. (323) 850-2000 or www.laphil.com—Mary Beth Crain




She’s not quite Google, but producer Jamie Nichols certainly is a one-woman search engine for anyone who wants to know about the L.A. dance scene. A longtime presence as a choreographer and head of her own company, Nichols segued in recent years into her current niche as producer and promoter, picking up numerous Lester Horton nominations and awards for her efforts, particularly her annual production, Celebrate Dance.

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