By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
THEATER SPECIAL EVENTS
HOW MANY SHOWSTOPPERS IS TOO MANY?
Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals are the theatrical equivalent of Pinkberry. They pop up everywhere whether you crave one or not. And if you’re a closet Broadway baby, you can sing your heart out without judgment, scorn or any actual vocal ability at The Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Diane Ketchie, Valerie Perri, Raymond Saar and Scott Harlan — all stars of Webber musicals on Broadway and beyond — will perform the best of Cats, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Starlight Express, Jesus Christ Superstar and more, from the tearjerking “Memory” to the inspirational “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.” Cal State Northridge, Plaza del Sol Performance Hall, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Sat., April 18, 8 p.m. $45, seniors $36. (818) 677-5768. —Siran Babayan
Sunday, April 19
THE ANTI-TOYOTA GRAND PRIX: HEY, EARTHLINGS
This is the big final day of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, definitely your loudest event option this weekend (See Events, p.48). Or you could head to the peaceful easy-feelingness of Topanga Canyon for the 10th Annual Topanga Earth Day Festival. Organizers are proud to announce it’s a “90 percent waste-free event.” You can trudge up the hill to the site, or take a biodiesel-powered shuttle made by Bio-Beetle. Music is of the soothing yet uplifting variety by Leon Mobley & Da Lion, Marc Ford, Lili Haydn and many others. Learn massage therapy, reflexology, acupuncture, Oriental medical perspectives, Tibetan herbal remedies, yoga, tai chi, reiki and more. Dig the 3D Stage — the D’s stand for “Drum, Didge & Dance!” Bring your own instruments and join “an amazing journey through sound.” By the time you’ve experienced the spiritual love of Govindas and Radha, a bhakti yogi/kirtan husband-and-wife duo who will lead you in traditional yogic practices of India, you’ll be a better person. Meanwhile, Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Bay Aquarium celebrates Earth Weekend with beach and creek cleanups, shark feeding (Sunday only), recycled art activities and prizes for the kid who writes and draws the best story about the two-spotted octopus hoodlum that made news when it messed with some valves and flooded the aquarium with 200 gallons of water. Topanga Community House Fair Grounds, 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; Sat.-Sun., April 18-19, 10 a.m.-sunset; $10 donation requested. www.topangaearthday.org. Heal the Bay Santa Monica Bay Aquarium, 1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica. Sat.-Sun., April 18-19, 12:30-6 p.m. Kids 12 and under free; adults suggested donation $5. (310) 393-6149 or www.healthebay.org/smpa —L.M.
MAKE LOVE NOT 8
Back in November, Dave Valk, a political-science major at UCLA, was leading marches through L.A.’s streets, protesting the passage of Proposition 8. The events changed him, and Valk, who had always taken a keen interest in the gay-rights movement, realized the power of one person in making a difference. He also came to understand that many other students — straight and gay — wanted to join him in the fight for full marriage equality in California, as well as other equal-rights issues. To get the ball rolling, Valk and Won Together, a UCLA civil-rights student group, will throw a festival to unite like-minded youth from across the state. Featuring gay-rights activist Cleve Jones, student speakers, good food, “action booths” and live bands such as Adam Stern, Blackcowboy, Elevaters, Electric Valentine, Girls Are Robots and Margaux Permutt, 1Fest will undoubtedly rock UCLA’s Wilson Plaza to its core on Sunday. It may also turn into one of those days for the history books, when civil-rights leaders of the future met and got politicized. UCLA Wilson Plaza, Westwood; Sun., April 19, 12-6 p.m.; free. www.1fest.org. —Patrick Range McDonald
MAHLER? I DON’T EVEN LIKE HER!
Imagine anybody telling Gustav Mahler that he had no future as a composer! The nerve! Unfortunately, this shining light of German music was no stranger to discouragement. When Gustav was only 20, his music was so misunderstood that a conservative jury refused to award him the coveted Vienna Beethoven Prize, plunging him into despair and a long stint in the theater, which he cynically described as a “prison sentence in hell.” Still, in 1889, at age 29, he composed his first symphony. Unable to get anybody of note to perform it, he conducted it himself in Budapest. Mahler was sure the work would be embraced, but instead, according to one historian, the public “reacted with stupefaction that quickly gave way to indignation.” Critics screamed that Symphony No. 1 — which we know today as “The Titan” — was “bizarre, cacophonous and vulgar.” Fortunately, the world eventually gave this masterpiece its due, and this week the amazing members of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, led by new director Case Scaglione, will tackle “The Titan” — a titanic teen feat. Also: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with 17-year-old soloist Connie Kim-Sheng, former YMF Concerto Competition winner, who’s been blazing away at the ivories since she was 3 1/2. Wilshire Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Sun., April 19, 4 p.m.; free. (310) 859-7660 or www.ymf.org. —Mary Beth Crain