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
—Mary Beth Crain
*IT’S AN AREA OF YOUR BRAIN
If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between Latino, Hispanic and Chicano, by golly, now’s your chance to find out. Authors David Reyes and Tom Waldman read from the new, revised edition of Land of a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock ’n’ Roll From Southern California (University of New Mexico Press), their exhaustive, essential chronicle of Chicano rock in SoCal. It’s stuffed to bursting with stories of the music from bands that include, among others, Question Mark and the Mysterians, the Stains, the Plugz, Thee Midniters (who did the song after which the book was named), the Impalas, and the Mars Volta. In a time when so much about the recent past is neglected or forgotten — a trip down Whittier Boulevard past the Golden Gate Theater pretty much sums it up — the book exhumes an aural history that would otherwise stay oral, and is a great companion piece to the DVD of the Edward James Olmos–narrated PBS special that came out in February. If all this weren’t enough, Lysa Flores performs songs from her new album, Immigrant Daughter, melting away your amygdala with lush, moody music. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz, Sun., May 17, 5 p.m.; free. www.skylightbooks.com.
MONDAY, MAY 18
IF ANYONE KNEW ABOUT STAR POWER, IT WAS WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Christina Applegate, Martin Short, Shirley Jones and Peter Graves lend their considerable talents to Simply Shakespeare 2009, a benefit for the Shakespeare Festival/L.A. 2009, an organization that offers youth and education programming and free, professional outdoor productions. This year, the troupe performs The Comedy of Errors. Sound good to you? Think you’ll be okay with the ticket prices? Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; Mon., May 18, 7:30 p.m.; $350/balcony, $500/orchestra. (310) 201-5033 or email@example.com.
TUESDAY, MAY 19
FIND OUT WHAT “MERENGUE” REALLY MEANS!
Not too long ago, local philanthropist and businesswoman Suzanne Saperstein had an idea. With the wild popularity of the TV show Dancing With the Stars and, as a result, a resurgent interest in more formal dancing, Saperstein thought it would be the perfect time to open a dance studio. But she wanted to put a twist on the new venture, so she decided to offer lessons in “versatile” dancing, which teaches same-sex partners to do the Charleston, for example. Saperstein named this different kind of studio Balliamos, a part-Spanish, part Italian word that translates into “we dance.” She also hired world-champion same-sex dancers Jacob Jason and Willem deVries to be instructors, who then organized a couple of weekly events to attract business from a mostly gay, somewhat straight clientele. One of them, which regularly takes place on Monday night at 8 p.m., is “interactive,” where people watch Dancing With the Stars at the studio and, of course, dance with them. The other, every Tuesday night at 8 p.m., is a “dance party.” While Tuesday night attracts a predominantly gay crowd, anyone can join the fun, hit the spring-loaded dance floor and learn a few moves from Jacob and Willem. As people soon find out, the evenings are a nice change of pace from another night of bar hopping. Balliamos, 8936 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd.; every Tues; first lesson free, then $15. (310) 855-9855 or www.balliamos.com.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 20
THE AUCTION IS IN!
Get out your handkerchiefs, people, and weep with joy. Just when you thought you’d had enough art auctioneering (post-Incognito and FRESH) to last till the next recession, LACE comes out with a really cool concept: 25 guest curators (including artists Sterling Ruby, Carlee Fernandez, Soo Kim, George Stoll and Anna Sew Hoy; curators Shamim Momin and Aaron Rose; gallerists Thomas Solomon and John Knuth) have created their own mini exhibitions. Fernandez, for instance, chose four of her favorite painters — Tomory Dodge, Dennis Hollingsworth, Liat Yossifor and Mario Correa — while Momin asked pairs of artists to create collaborative works. And all the works are for sale.
What’s more, they’re for sale on two successive nights. LACE is separating its live and silent auctions into two events: The live auction comes first, on May 20, when you can view and bid on works in the silent auction, which doesn’t close until the end of the second night, May 21. Cocktails will be served both nights. (Added benefit: more parking during the week.) It’s a bold move, and should be a great evening. Er, two evenings.
Speaking of cool concepts, what better form of fundraiser than the one you don’t actually have to attend? That is Side Street Projects’ Phantom Ball, which works this way: Each year, Side Street asks a notable artist to create a “party favor” — one work in an edition of 100. Tim Hawkinson, Sam Durant, Matthew Monahan and Edgar Arceneaux have done it in the past; this year’s artist is man about town Walead Beshty. Until June 1, his print is available unseen for $150; after June 1, the price doubles to $300; after January 1, 2010, it will cost you $600. So buy your ticket now (online is easy) and just stay home. “As always,” says Side Street, “we’ll understand if you can’t make it, because nobody ever has. Nobody ever does.” LACE Benefit Art Auction 2009, 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; live auction Wed., May 20; silent auction, Thurs., May 21. All artwork will be on view at LACE May 7-17. Gallery hours: Wed.-Sun., 12-6 p.m. (323) 957-1777, ext. 12. Side Street Projects’ 16th Annual Phantom Ball: (626) 798-7774 or www.sidestreet.org.