By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
MONDAY, MAY 4
The History of Euro-Trash
If you travel to Naples, in the Campania region, you can take a short trip and see the remains of Pompeii. In addition to being the site of Pink Floyd’s 1971 concert film Live at Pompeii, the ruins of Pompeii provide a fascinating look at high culture at the peak of the Roman Empire. If you take La Brea Avenue to Wilshire, you will be very close to Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture Around the Bay of Naples, LACMA’s new exhibit of rare ancient works of art excavated from the destroyed homes of upper-crust Pompeiians, and neighbors from the nearby Bay of Naples. Boasts Michael Govan, LACMA CEO, and Wallis Annenberg, director, “Pompeii was a place where art and creativity flourished, where patrons and artists alike coalesced to form a thriving cultural hub — much like Los Angeles today.” Hot lava ahead? Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Mon.-Tues., Thurs., noon–8 pm; Fri., noon–9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; closed Wed.; May 3-Oct. 4; $12; students & seniors $8; 17 and under free. (323) 857-6000.
TUESDAY, MAY 5
Everybody in the Reflection Pool!
Portentous but never pretentious, the remote and insular visions of loneliness that manifest throughout Edward Walton Wilcox’s work are on full display in this overview of recent paintings. “When the anxieties of this world become too severe,” he admits, “I create for myself ... a reflection pool for the mind. It is there that I withdraw to the twilight fields and amber vistas of my dreams.” All right, maybe just a tad pretentious, but Wilcox has talent and imagination for miles, so he’s excused — besides, one rarely thinks of such timeless art coming from either the University of Florida or Juxtapoz. The eye swallows up his isolated apocalypses in miniature, which glow with burnished fury as houses go up in flames and twilit sleepwalkers find themselves in the middle of nowhere. In Wilcox’s spaces, no one can hear you scream — they just watch you do it in radiantly muted, sepia-toned slow motion. His images bring to mind that old Night Gallery episode in which Roddy McDowall’s painting of a cemetery changed every time he looked at it, until, one night — in the culmination of implications associated with suddenly empty graves — he hears a knock at his door. Wilcox’s work is a brilliant and romantic star hurtling through the same galaxy as fellow travelers Odd Nerdrum and Hieronymus Bosch, so if you like your aesthetic dread spiked with the imploding placid inevitable, then this is the art for you. Merry Karnowsky Gallery, 170 S. La Brea Ave., Art 170 Bldg., L.A.; Tues.-Sat., noon-6 p.m., through May 23. (323) 933-4408 or www.mkgallery.com.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 6
Darryl Strawberry’s high-leg kick and expansive swing are the purest, most beautiful in the history of baseball. With his bad-boy past — and oh, was he ever bad — behind him, Strawberry now spends much of his time with his DS Foundation for children with autism. That’s all swell and everything, but let’s hope Straw: Finding My Way has as much of the drugs, tax evasion, solicitation and allegations of domestic violence as the buddy-buddy Christ stuff. Because that’s what we want to hear from our heroes, right? Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Wed., May 6, 5 p.m.(626) 449-5320.
THURSDAY, MAY 7
The description on the Comedy & Magic Club’s online calendar says it all: “The Legend returns to our Live at the Lounge Showroom. Show at 7:30. Doors open for dinner at 6:30.” And where some chucklehead’s wry-yet-introspective headshot would ordinarily rest, a floating robot noggin instead flashes an airborne question mark and frowns in dismay over the fact that no photo is available. See, Mort Sahl don’t need to available-ize no stinkin’ photo. He’s Mort friggin’ Sahl. If Mort Sahl wants to leave blank the space in which lengthy, slapped-together comic bios typically run down a list of laughable commercials and Law & Order appearances, Mort Sahl’s gonna do just that. If he wants his numerous credits all in-your-face and readily available — starting out in the ’50s at San Francisco’s legendary hungry i nightclub, popularizing newspaper-headline monologues, writing jokes for JFK, divorcing a Playboy Playmate, getting blacklisted for his edgy political humor, inspiring the likes of Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, Chris Rock and George Carlin in their comedic endeavors, etc. — well, they will be. But Mort Sahl don’t need none of that. He’s always been a different breed, an icon of the counterculture, and his material still reflects it. When you see Mort Sahl, you see an old-school, no-holds-barred, downright legendary performer. Sure, you’ll laugh, but more important, you’ll think. And that’s just the way Mort Sahl likes it. Comedy & Magic Club, 1018 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach; Thurs., May 7, 7:30 p.m.; $20. (310) 372-1193.
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