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
MONDAY, APRIL 13
ATTENTION, BLOOD TYPES!
In this age of vampiric lust, True Blood is to adults what Twilight is to tweens. Vampires and mortals alike wreak all sorts of blood-sucking havoc in the tiny TV Louisiana town of Bon Temps, from undead sex to a spree of mysterious murders. You can find out what’s heating up in the bayou this season as the Paley Center (in conjunction with PaleyFest09, see Friday) assembles the cast and crew behind the hit HBO series, including Oscar-winning creator Alan Ball, recent Emmy winner Anna Paquin, head vampire Stephen Moyer, and the rest of the hunky male cast. Garlic and crosses don’t work, but do wear lots of silver. Cinerama Dome at the Arclight, 6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., April 13, 7 p.m.; $45. (323) 464-4226. —Siran Babayan
WE NOW INTERRUPT THIS BLURB ...
Interrupting is rude and socially unacceptable behavior — like offending someone, it should only be done if it’s funny. That’s where Doug Benson comes in. He’s made interrupting an art, and a damn funny one in his show, The Benson Interruption. What’s it about? Here’s Doug to tell you: “I invite my comedian friends to come on stage and work on new material while I sit by with a microphone and interrupt whenever I feel like it. Which is a lot. There are only two things this show needs, me and interrupting!” And what special guests will you have? “Well, that’s the other thing this show needs — amazing guests. And as people who came to the show in our old locale at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and M Bar know, I’ve got some funny friends. But like all great batshit insane artists, they are hard to pin down. So let’s just say that Monday’s show will feature comics from The Sarah Silverman Program, Human Giant, Punk’d, Graham Elwood and that guy who played the talking rat who wanted to become a chef. Maybe. Largo at the Coronet, 427 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; Mon., April 13, 9 p.m.; $20. (310) 855-0350. —L.M.
TUESDAY, APRIL 14
THE NICE-DREAM MAN
Polarizing filmic event Watchmen was mired in developmental hell since the late ’80s, and look how that ultimately turned out: Lotta flash, little discernible soul. In that regard, think of comedian Mike Birbiglia as the anti-Watchmen. There’s only one of him, first off, and he’s as unassuming as they come. An infinitely nice, down-to-earth dude who, as of press time, no one is out to murder or otherwise inflict with bodily harm. Then again, his REM behavior disorder has enabled him to toss cabinets, leap through closed windows (“Like the Hulk! In my underwear, bleeding!”) and battle hovering, insect-like jackals — all in his sleep. The New York comic also possesses the rare superpower of storytelling. His similarly long-in-the-making Sleepwalk with Me has evolved from mere anecdote to workshopped oddity to highlight of the 2008 Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival to off-Broadway success, the latter having been extended several times over since its November debut. The one-man narrative features love gained and lost, father-son bonding, health crises, and, as fans have come to expect, a bear cameo or two thrown in for good measure. “Who Watches the Watchmen?” Somewhere around $103 million grosses’ worth. Who watches the Birbigs man? Only those who prefer their comedy quirky, endearing and leaving no doubt about who the good guy really is. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood; Tues.-Wed., April 14-15, 8 p.m.; $30. (310) 855-0350. —Julie Seabaugh
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15
With her two most recent films — 2006’s Old Joy and last year’s Wendy and Lucy — director Kelly Reichardt has become one of our most perceptive observers of outsiders, turning the Pacific Northwest (specifically, the outlying areas surrounding her hometown of Portland) into a microcosm for the decaying individualist spirit in an increasingly conformist American society. But unlike so many independent filmmakers, there isn’t anything adorable or idealized about her wayward characters. In Old Joy, two college friends reunite in their mid-30s — one, an anxious soon-to-be father (Daniel London), the other an irredeemable drifter (Will Oldham) — for a camping trip that reveals the widening gap separating their worldviews as they face equally uncertain futures. Wendy and Lucy focuses on a younger, less confident wanderer: 20-something Wendy (a never-better Michelle Williams), who has bolted from her Indiana home with her golden retriever Lucy in the hopes of reaching the untamed beauty of Alaska — only to have the plan be sidetracked after Lucy goes missing and the money runs short. Capturing both Oregon’s natural beauty and its sleepy, dazed small-town communities, Reichardt seems to know her characters from the inside out, and although she sympathizes with their existential crises, she doesn’t take sides or play favorites, striving instead to illustrate how external factors and internal desires work together to determine our destiny. Her clear-eyed objectivity intensifies the films’ poignancy, and it makes their endings so achingly unresolved: Is Wendy saved or lost forever? Which of the men in Old Joy is more likely doomed to unhappiness? The West used to be America’s symbol for opportunity, adventure and individual freedom. In Kelly Reichardt’s films, it’s the last safe haven for outsiders — but there’s no guarantee it’ll be here tomorrow. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Wed., Apr. 14-15, 7:30 p.m.; $7. (323) 938-4038. —Tim Grierson
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