MONDAY, February 6
When a press release promises Porn the whole family can enjoy, we take notice. The softcore-porn classic Emmanuelle gets a make-over in the name of funny at this staged reading starring Kris McGaha, Tim Coyne, Murray Valeriano, Gina Manegio, Carol Ann Leif, Wendy Wilkins and Adrian Colesberry, all names that have appeared several million times in this papers often-accurate Comedy listings. Expect lots of panting and bad lighting, just like the movie. M Bar, 1253 Vine St., Hollywood; Mon., Feb. 6, 8 p.m.; no cover, buy some food & drinks. (323) 856-0036. (Libby Molyneaux)
Listing Ship at the EchoWith such delicate acoustic-based tunes as Destroying France and Ichabod Crane, Listing Ships second album, 2005s Time to Dream (True Classical), is a touch more pastoral and traditionally folkie than the bands debut, Dance Class Revolution. Thats not to say that the artfully eclectic group dont have their rocking moments: Crooked Teeth stomps with Velvet Underground stutter-strumming and an exotic, viola-laced buildup, while Sleep of the Beloved layers somber, trancelike vocals over a hazily electric Pink Floydian sprawl that evokes the first CDs shimmering title track. When singer-guitarist Lyman Chaffee intones the old-timey Death or partner Heather Lockie (Eels, W.A.C.O.) gently coos the candy-cane-striped shuffle The Temptation of Miss Piggy, its possible to see how Listing Ships quieter interludes might appeal to fans of Keren Ann and the Cocteau Twins. With bass contributions from guest star Mike Watt (the Minutemen), Time to Dream slowly unwinds as a subtly intoxicating spell of enchantment. Also at Coles, Fri. (Falling James)
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Fall Out Boy at House of Blues
From Under the Cork Tree, the breakthrough album by suburban-Chicago emo rockers Fall Out Boy, was right up there near the top of the list of 2005s guiltiest pleasures. Not because the band play big, bright pop songs with hooks that sound best blaring out of the radio; if that makes you feel guilty in this fucked-up world of ours, youve got bigger problems than your taste in music. Rather, its because FOB use those big, bright pop songs to seduce junior-high boys and girls into believing the absolute worst about one another; the intimations of casual cruelty that run beneath the chugging guitars throughout Cork Tree are no kind of lesson for anyone. That said, killer tunes, guys! (Mikael Wood)
Film Pick: IN THIS SHORT LIFE: BRITTA SJÖGREN IN PERSON
The stippled feathers of a dead blackbird nestled in a bed of leaves and the long, white fingers of a piano player in close-up are just two of the many evocative visual details in Britta Sjögrens graceful second feature, In This Short Life. Shot in black-and-white 16 mm, with languid pacing and a lovely score, the film takes its title from an Emily Dickinson poem about what we can and cant control. Like the poem, Sjögrens film grapples with the details of everyday life like how to pay the rent but also ponders grander themes of love, independence and sacrifice. Structured around the interweaving lives of four characters all facing difficult personal decisions, the film dances between fact and fiction, with parts of the story deriving from the lives of the performers, who are themselves a mix of professional and non-professional actors. The narrative/documentary hybrid may sound contrived, but Sjögren, whose previous work includes the short film a small Domain and her first feature, Jo-Jo at the Gate of Lions, has always had a sure hand and a talent for fashioning complete and beguiling celluloid worlds. She achieves that here, too, in part due to the black-and-white film stock, which feels otherworldly, and the soundtrack, which includes a series of songs by Mark Eitzel and American Music Club that align perfectly with the stories. With the close of the 2006 edition of Sundance, and as pundits argue about the state of American independent filmmaking, Sjögren, a key member of the West Coasts emerging generation of filmmakers in 1992 when Jo-Jo played at Sundance, reminds us of its possibilities, and what can happen when a filmmaker continues to challenge herself in terms of form and personal revelation. The San Franciscobased Sjögren will attend the screening. (REDCAT, Mon., Feb. 6, 8 p.m.; 213-237-2800 or www.redcat.org) (Holly Willis)