GO LA: Dead Poets, Dead Writers and Denis Leary 

Plus lots more to mourn and celebrate in town (not necessarily in that order), April 3-9

Wednesday, Apr 1 2009




click to flip through (11) ALLAN TANNENBAUM - Debbie Harry and Chris Stein: - Could they be any fucking cooler? See Monday.
  • Allan Tannenbaum
  • Debbie Harry and Chris Stein: Could they be any fucking cooler? See Monday.

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Amit Itelman is the lovable sicko who programs the always adventurous Steve Allen Theatre. Last year’s Masters of Horror Drive-In Series in the theater’s parking lot was a huge success; now he’s back with more gore for your buck. Screenings, made drive-in-able by Eric Curtland’s Hollywood Mob Mov, are followed by talks with the directors, so you can get some good fake-blood stories. “I think it’s a shame that so many people have never been to a drive-in,” Itelman says. “It’s such a distinctively American experience. Making out with your girl in your car while a werewolf transformation reflects on your windshield is about the most patriotic thing you can do. A lot is said about the ‘safe scare’ experience that horror films give you. I think people have a morbid fascination with death and the fragility of the human body. We’re genetically wired to be afraid of being eaten alive; we’re still afraid of being hunted. Horror films wake up those dormant fears. Then again ... a dude wearing a mask made out of human skin with a chain saw is kind of intriguing, don’t ya think?” Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Howling) kicks things off tonight. In coming weeks, it’s Tobe Hooper, Don Coscarelli, Mick Garris and many more white men. Steve Allen Theater at the Center for Inquiry–West, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; every Fri., 8 p.m.; $8. (323) 666-4268, or steveallentheater.com. —Libby Molyneaux





An island where it is always a soft, lazy afternoon with beautiful inhabitants bearing mind-numbing lotus fruit — a 23-line episode from Homer’s The Odyssey, which Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Lotus Eaters elaborated into a 173-line poem arrives in a 21st-century incarnation with help from choreographer Laura Gorenstein Miller and her Helios Dance Theater. After the show’s preview last fall, Miller and her handpicked team of collaborators and dancers expanded and polished The Lotus Eaters for this premiere. With costumes from Project Runway alum Rami Kashou, set design by Alison van Pelt, original music composed and performed by Grant-Lee Phillips plus original compositions from Rob Cairns, this Lotus Eaters is as much intergalactic epic as Greek mythology. In Homer’s Odyssey, sailors sent to explore the island fall under the lotus fruit’s dreamlike lethargy, content to languish there and abandon the struggle to return home from the Trojan War. As the debate continues on whether to confront or ignore the world’s current harsh economic realities, the different resolutions in the poems are striking. Homer’s Odysseus hauls his entranced sailors back to the ship to sail home, Tennyson leaves the sailors on the island dreaming of home but now both figuratively and literally lost forever. A post-performance benefit features Phillips. Benefit ticket info at www.heliosdancetheater.org. Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri., April 3, 7:30 p.m.; $29-$75; (310) 434-3200 or www.thebroadstage.com.  —Ann Haskins




The harpsichord is one of those misunderstood musical instruments that delivers a whole lot more than most people expect from it. I fell in love with the harpsichord when I was in high school, and even though my piano teacher, good old Mrs. Melman, pooh-poohed it as “silly” and “tinkly,” a poor cousin to the full-bodied modern piano, I went on to study it in college, where I learned that Mrs. Melman basically had no idea what she was talking about. There are lots of different kinds of harpsichords, from the thin-sounding, “tinkly” one-manual low-end jobs to the great grand piano–size Pleyels, Zuckermanns and Grimaldis, and the sound and capabilities of the best harpsichords are pretty much limitless. This week, the Harpsichord Center, possibly Eagle Rock’s best kept secret, continues its Friday Evening Artist’s Series with Musical Espionage: Close Encounters During the 30 Years’ War, by noted early-music keyboardist Gilbert Martinez, who performs 17th-century works by Bull, Tomkins, Chambonnieres, Froberger, Schneidermann and others, on an instrument guaranteed to charm and amaze you. Trinity Lutheran Church, 997 Walnut Ave., Pasadena; Fri., April 3, 8 p.m.; $20, $15 students & seniors. (323) 254-9613.  —Mary Beth Crain





Bohemia ain’t what it used to be. Rampant faux-bohemianism has replaced lush and mainlining with gelato and yoga and Brangelina forbid you’ve been up all night with your reprobate pals when you oughta be waking up to dress the tot (adopted or homemade) in a Ramones T-shirt for Daddy Day. The urban landscape is lousy with FoBos because the real ones WENT AND DIED. Thankfully la bohème elite left behind lots of evidence as both creators and subjects. Bukowski and Burroughs pays tribute to two late literary outlaws, as well as to their living conspirators. Sam Cherry is a 95-years-young photographer who took lots of gritty black-and-whites of Buk in the ’60s and ’70s, San Fran’s Black Cat Café in the ’40s and L.A.’s Skid Row in the ’80s. He is a wizard of light and shadow, whose subjects never ate gelato. Paired with Cherry’s earthy pics is the Left Coast premiere of the lost art of Ah POOK IS HERE, a never-pubbed 1970s graphic-novel collab twixt Burroughs and artist Malcolm McNeill based on Lonesome Cowboy Bill’s ruminations about the Mayan death god. (Many will remember Burroughs’ recitation of “Ah Pook the Destroyer” from his 1990 Dead City Radio recording.) McNeill perfectly captured Bill’s twisted, funny mythopoetic landscape with his own detailed, realistic fantasy art. These four masters of their mediums transport us poor 21st-century suckers into worlds real and imagined, which share a serrated edge currently lacking in art, literature and the everyday lives of those who claim to be edge dwellers because of their choice of T-shirt. (Opening reception on Saturday, April 4, 6-9 p.m.) Track 16 Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., Bldg. C-1, Santa Monica; runs Sat., April 4-Sat., May 2. (310) 264-4678 or www.track16.com.  —Michael Simmons

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