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
Friday, April 17
For fans of scary movies, The Fangoria Weekend of Horrorsis like the prom, Renaissance Fair and Comic-Con all in one. It’s a veritable who’s who of horror spanning three days. Those splattering tangy tales include directors Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Spider-Man), Clive Barker (Hellraiser, Candyman), Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,Poltergeist), Herschell Gordon Lewis (Two Thousand Maniacs!, The Wizard of Gore), Tom Savini (makeup artist on Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th) and Lloyd Kaufman (The Toxic Avenger). But wait — there’s horror! The “Masters of Italian Horror” panel includes Italian horror master Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust), and there’s a “Babysitter Wanted” panel. Actors on (bloodied) hand include Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator) and Doug Bradley, who, if you’re still reading, you know as Hellraiser’s Pinhead. All kinds of contests, too, including a Spooks Model Contest, a Creepy Make-Up Artist Magazine Costume Contest and a Terrifying Savage Tattoo Contest — plus an attempt to break the world’s record for Zombie Walkers (Sat., April 18, 9 a.m.). L.A. Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., West Hall B, downtown, Fri., April 17, 2-8 p.m., Sat.-Sun., April 18-19, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; $20 Fri.; $25 Sat.-Sun.; children $10. (818) 409-0960 or www.fangocon.com. —Libby Molyneaux
THE NIGHTMAN COMETH
Leave it to FX’s perenially cranktasticIt’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia to push the telly-musical envelope, further shaping an entire episode around a “rock opera” with its cast of characters who usually can’t be bothered to take a spare breath when they aren’t shouting putdowns at one another. How would they stand still long enough to hit the high notes? As it turns out, the fourth-season finale, “The Nightman Cometh” (in which Charlie gets the gang to participate in a musical he shaped around the song he wrote back when Dee suspected her rapper boyfriend was handicapped ... ah, good times), was a sweetly melodic opus infused with the kind of oh-so-wrong lyrical imagery you might expect from Philly’s favorite no-goodniks. As actor Charlie Day put it in a behind-the-scenes feature on the episode, “It’s sort of like a hybrid of Al Jolson and Bell Biv Devoe, with just a little bit of Aaron Copeland and a dash of Yanni.” If you missed it when it aired or simply can’t get enough of the “Nightman” magic, the entire cast performs it in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia LIVE at the Troubadour. If you managed to score tickets, get there early so you can sit close enough to see Danny DeVito in his troll outfit, and be ready to sing along with “It’s Nature, Shit Happens.” The Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., April 17-18, 8 p.m.; $20. (310) 276-6168. —Nicole Campos
LET THEM EAT ROCKS
When Zorba’s more formally educated boss despairs at the hardscrabble reality of death and living, Nikos Kazantzakis’ wily wiseman starts to dance, advising that in the face of overwhelming emotion, when words are inadequate, the only thing to do is dance. Choreographers Paula Present and Marie Bergenholtz don’t directly draw on Zorba in Eating Rocks for Hunger, but they share the underlying sentiment about the power of dance in the face of devastating circumstances. In preparing for this premiere, Present and Bergenholtz turned to contemporary examples that include an Iraqi ballet school continuing to nurture young dancers amid the ongoing war, and a cancer patient confronting her disease by dancing through the hospital corridors. This dance work also involves contributions from composers Hanna Levy and Ariel A. Blumenthal, as well as Madeline Leavitt, artistic director of Voices Carry Inc. As the country and the globe suffer the consequences of greedy minds left unsupervised, dance won’t replace unemployment benefits, but Eating Rocks for Hunger is a reminder of the power of dance to heal, or at least aid survival until better times. Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., April 17-18 & 24-25, 8 p.m.; Sun., April 19 & 26, 7:30 p.m.; $20; $10 seniors & students. (800) 838-3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/55361.—Ann Haskins
Saturday, April 18
IT’S LIKE HARPER’S YET COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
What is it with these new online-only magazines? Don’t they know that print’s not dead? And how am I supposed to house-train my pets with it? Furthermore, do we italicize online publications? TheRumpus.net is a new online magazine you can’t read in the places most people read magazines (the gym, the doctor’s office, um, the beach), but it looks very promising by the looks of the column topics by Bad Mommy, who asks, “Tarring and feathering your daughter’s Disney Princesses. Uncool?” The site attempts to focus on culture, “but not People magazine culture.” It has Jerry Stahl blogging about being over 50, lots of film and book reviews, and the aforementioned Bad Mommy, my new idol. The gang is throwing The Rumpus Los Angeles Launch Party, which somehow also involves Skylight Books. Appearing/reading/talking/standing around will be Aimee Bender (The Girl in the Flammable Skirt); Stahl; air-guitar champion Dan Crane; comedians Ian Harvey and Kyle Kinane; and editor Stephen Elliott. Plus, Zak Smith showing pictures of what happens on each page of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sat., April 18, 8 p.m.; $10. (323) 666-4268. —L.M.
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
Monday, April 20
SO, IT’S THE LAUGHTER ...
AFI’s comedy series “100 Laughs” promises that number of guffaws/chortles/chuckles/giggles/snickers/titters for each of the comedy films it screens. This week it’s Young Frankenstein, which, for my money, probably has well over that number just for Madeline Kahn alone. Put the candle back! ArcLight Sherman Oaks, 15301 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Mon., April 20, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (818) 501-7033. —L.M.
Tuesday, April 21
WHAT’S IN A BUMPKIN’S ATTIC?
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Marty Stuart is such a notorious pack rat when it comes to country-music collectibles that he actually has his own warehouse in Nashville to store all the eye-popping swag. Fortunately for us, he finally made an effort to pull out some of the finest, and this exhibit, aptly titled Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart’s American Musical Odyssey, should deliver a sweet kick in the head to even non–country fans. He’s assembled 300 artifacts, from the likes of George Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dolly Parton, Porter Wagoner, even Johnny Horton (one of his toupees?), with more than 30 prime examples of stage wardrobe, more than 20 musical instruments and dozens of pairs of boots. Better still, there are almost 30 sets of handwritten lyrics — including the great Hank Williams’ original scrawls of “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “Cold, Cold Heart” (will the latter reveal any clue as to whether Hank really lifted that line from a mushy 1952 romance comic book?). Also, a fat stash of Patsy Cline’s stuff, including her well-traveled makeup bag and a letter to famed North Hollywood “rodeo tailor” Nudie going over plans for a new outfit she wanted — sent less than a week before her death. Stuart’s former father-in-law, Johnny Cash, is represented by his first black suit from 1955 and handwritten “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Man in Black” lyrics. Rounded out by 100 photographs, it’s a fully realized presentation with “a life-size dressing room, interactive performance stage, listening stations, ambient audio and video documentaries” throughout. Head-spinning, hardcore hillbilly thrills assured. Autry National Center of the American West, 4700 Western Heritage Way, L.A.; daily through August 23. (323) 667-2000 or www.AutryNationalCenter.org. —Jonny Whiteside
I MOP LA
This part of Month of Photography Los Angeles — saddled with the decidedly dowdy acronym MOP LA — involves shutterbugs Markus Klinko and Indrani exhibiting their photographs in a cycle devoted to all things graven and craven: “Icons,” all about celebrity and what it means to you and your hard-won entertainment dollars. The artistic partners and former lovers have shot record covers for David Bowie, Kelis and Beyoncé, as well as slightly more glamorous shots of Kate Winslet, Lindsay Lohan and Anne Hathaway, all on display at tonight’s installation. Looking a gift horse in the mouth — cosmologically speaking — Indrani asks, somewhat blithely, “What makes these individuals so beloved? What do they represent for each of us, what roles have we assigned them to play, that they inspire such passions in us?” Klinko, a champion harpist (!), and Indian model Indrani can be seen in the recently renewed Bravo series Double Exposure — also the name of their studio — in which the gentle viewer watches the dynamic duo sail gaily through fashion both high and low in the pursuit of the fleeting image, bringing to mind Richard Avedon’s words: “My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph.” Proceeds benefit Keep a Child Alive, a charity focusing on pediatric-HIV treatment in Africa — but then, you knew it wasn’t all just about glamour and two-dimensionality, didn’t you? Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Tues., April 21, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 289 5223 or thepacificdesigncenter.com. —David Cotner
Wednesday, April 22
Doug Stanhope talks shock and is an inveterate potty-mouth — but the dude’s smarter than any of us. —Libby Molyneaux
L.A. WEEKLY:Why are you so popular with British audiences?
Beats the fuck outta me. They definitely have a better appreciation for live entertainment and more patience as an audience, and I suppose that stems from having really shitty television. Once they have 300 channels and DVR they will become chatty, short-attention-span bores like American crowds.
If this Wikipedia is to be believed, you live in Bisbee, Arizona. Why?
Wikipedia is not to be believed, especially mine. It used to say I was a cast member of The View and born a hermaphrodite. But I do live in Bisbee, Arizona. I can’t tell you why. To make it big, I guess. Plus, I have a wall of stolen clocks as a collection and Arizona doesn’t do daylight-savings time, saving me a lot of trouble every six months. L.A. got to a point where it wasn’t worth living there despite the free money they’d throw at you every year to do shitty projects. I’m a standup and that’s all I want to do right now. There’s no reason to live someplace you loathe.
What religious group hates you the most?
Christians get most airtime in my act but none are less retarded than the next. Alcoholics Anonymous might be the silliest in that they tell agnostics to invent your own god and then bow down to it. If you can’t tell that the religion you invented is fake, maybe drinking isn’t your worst problem.
What about you would most surprise your fans?
At home, I hang around with neighbor Dave talking about weed killer. I know the folks at Safeway by name and watch a lot of Wife Swap and Intervention. I’m producing a documentary about a local Bisbee guy trying to become the NFL’s oldest rookie.
Is Obama joke-proof? Have you made fun of him yet?
He’s not inherently funny — he doesn’t inspire comedy. His election defused racial tension almost immediately so far as standup is concerned. But the role of government in our private lives is so completely out of control that it doesn’t matter who sits in the throne, those issues will always be omnipresent. Omnipresent. Like I’d ever use that word in a bar conversation. Pompous douche bag, fake intellectual wannabe. I probably misused it anyway.
I think you might be a comic genius. Comment?
Oh, I’d say I am without question a genius — until they come up with a stronger word, which I should really be working on inventing. I think I can be good at what I do, which is narrow in scope, attractive to a limited audience and, like most standup comedy, will be as timeless as organic mayonnaise in hot tropical sun. But for now it’s fun.
What’s the most intoxicated you’ve ever performed?
If I could remember, then I couldn’t have been that fucked up. The only times I remember that I was super out of control were in shows that didn’t matter (to me), where I wasn’t the headliner or it was a showcase 15-minute spot at an L.A. comedy club, etc. Times where it was gonna fuck up people’s entire night. I’m sure if I sat here long enough, I’d pull up some memory of someone telling me I’d never be back.
You won the Strathmore Press Award. Who else has won that?
Nobody. It was an award invented at the Edinburgh Festival by people who thought I deserved the Perrier Award, when I hadn’t performed the required minimum performances to qualify. It doesn’t matter. All awards are just somebody’s opinion, no different than the hate mail from some shithead who thinks I suck for whatever reason. But it’s something for Wikipedia to take the place of the bullshit.
You also said you’d like to end your career with an “End of the World” concert on 12/20/12 — the eve of the purported end of time according to the Mayan calendar. Is that still your plan?
I don’t know if it will be the end of my career, but we’re certainly gonna put on a fucking monster show down in Bisbee with only a very limited amount of tickets and one hell of an after-party at the house. Fuck the mess, it’s the end of the world. And if it’s not, I’ll be selling the Mayan Calendar Part II on Amazon the next day.
Anything else you’d like to tell L.A. Weeklyreaders?
Your coffee is getting cold and you’ve been taking up that seat for two hours. Maybe she meant she’d meet you at a different Starbucks.
Doug Stanhope performs at King King, 6555 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Wed.-Thurs., April 22-23, 8 p.m.; $20. www.dougstanhope.com.
Thursday, April 23
A BEAVER’S TALE
Impossibly sad. That’s the immediate reaction to Life’s That Way, a new memoir by actor Jim Beaver (Harper’s Island, Deadwood, Supernatural), who shares the story of his wife’s cancer battle while dealing with their baby daughter’s autism diagnosis. However, the more of this tragic story you read, the greater the emotional payoff as you share Beaver’s nightly e-mail updates to a growing list of friends. The incredible outpouring of support the family gets is truly uplifting, and Beaver’s prose feels immediate and genuine. It’s a hell of a sad read, but beautiful, too. (Full disclosure: Our kids have hokey-pokeyed together.) “I wanted to share this story for two reasons: I was unable to ignore the amount of encouragement I got from readers of the original e-mails, who impressed me deeply with the sense that, whether I fully understood it or not, there was something meaningful and helpful about what I had written and how I had written it,” says Beaver. “And I wanted the world to know Cecily for the extraordinary, passionate, determined, loving and sparkling woman she was.” Also, to all you Supernatural fanatics: Here’s your big chance to get Mr. Beaver’s autograph for just the price of the book. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Thurs., April 23, 7 p.m.; free, book is $24.95. (323) 659-3110. —L.M.
LOOKING FOR TROUBLE?
Fake it may be, since it’s not actually broadcast on air, but comedy troupe Fake Radio’s re-creation of vintage radio dramas comes complete with scripts in hand, period costumes and an uncanny sense of a time warp gone horribly right. The troupers stay so true to their premise, they even include the commercials. Tonight’s show is an episode of the 1940s spy series Dangerous Assignment, an NBC Radio program whose name should have won an award or two for most uncreative spy-series title. Secret agent Steve Mitchell’s adventures take him to an atlas’ worth of exotic locales: “A lot of places I can’t even pronounce. They all spell the same thing, though — trouble.” While reverent of the source material, the proceedings are often spiked with improv, so expect innuendo. Also expect an appearance by celebrity guest Kevin McDonald from The Kids in the Hall. If you really want to get all meta, you can buffer the stream on Fake Radio’s Web site (www.fakeradio.net), turn off your monitor and listen to the broadcast just like they did in the good old days, back when chicken cost 3 cents a pound and you bought them alive. Comedy Central Stage at the Hudson, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs., April 23, 8 p.m. Free, but resv. required. (323) 960-5519. —Derek Thomas
OLIVER SACKS REALLY WANTED TO BE A DRUMMER
Riding high on the success of his 2007 book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, neurologist and raconteur Oliver Sacks disproves the notion that you need another boring lecture like you need a hole in the head. Sacks, the author of the groundbreaking 1966 study on L-dopa treatments for sleeping-sickness victims on which the 1990 film Awakenings was based, will talk about Music, Healing and the Brain, and will probably get lots of questions during the Q&A like, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this — what should I do?” Making clinical studies far less clinical with popular, populist coverage of neurology in The New Yorker, The New York Times and publications without “New” or “York” in their title, Sacks deftly portrays victims of neurological annihilation as perfect subjects for the study of music’s organic effects on the mind. Most memorable: the victim struck by lightning who gave up everything but music after the bolt from the blue; epileptics who hear certain music only during seizures; those with brain damage who can communicate only through song. Sacks’ explorations of music’s psychosomatic effects — its ability to inspire action despite pain, or to re-educate the body to move a particular way — are cautionary tales that really hit home. UCLA Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Plaza, L.A.; Thurs., April 23, 8 p.m.; $50, $40, $25 ($15 UCLA students). (310) 825-2101 or www.uclalive.org. —David Cotner
BRAIN, MEET HEART. HEART, BRAIN
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s Westside Connections, that invigorating chamber-music and discussion series that explores “the intricate connections between various art forms,” concludes its 2008-09 season with a program of music and poetry guaranteed to get those brain cells and heartstrings working. The evening’s special guests include California’s new Poet Laureate, Carol Muske-Dukes, whose work has been lauded for its “emotional accuracy” and “acid clairvoyance,” and acclaimed baritone Sanford Sylvan, singing Samuel Barber’s arrangement of “Dover Beach,” Matthew Arnold’s classic lyric poem lamenting the loss of faith and truth in the hardened industrial age. LACO members also perform Benjamin Britten’s Phantasy Quartet in F minor, Op. 2 for violin, viola and oboe, a fascinating work influenced by Purcell and the baroque “fantasie” concept, all the more amazing because Britten was only 19 when he wrote it; and Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor, the composer’s only foray into the string-quartet genre, influenced by Cesar Franck, Alexander Borodin and the mysterious strains of the Javanese gamelan. Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Thurs., April 23, 7 p.m.; $37. (213) 622-7001, Ext. 15 or www.laco.org. —MBC