Best Events Column, 2006

Praise the Lord. See Friday.

FRIDAY, October 6

Like Tiny Tim and Andy Kaufman, Lord Buckley was a comic oddball impossible to categorize. One of his more famous talents was the retelling of Bible stories, Shakespeare soliloquies and modern poetry in his own brand of hipster slanguage. Though few people remember Buckley, young Jake Broder has brought the “jazz shaman” to life with his much-acclaimed one-man performance, Lord Buckley in Los Angeles: An Evening With His Royal Hipness, a show the publicist rightly brags has been honored by both The New York Times and High Times. M Bar, 1253 N. Vine St., Hlywd.; Fri., Oct. 6, 8 p.m.; also Sun., Oct. 15; Sat., Oct. 28; Sat., Nov. 4; Fri., Nov. 17; $15, plus $10 food minimum. (323) 856-0036.

SATURDAY, October 7

“In one sense, the modern tattoo shop is like the barbershops of yesteryear,” states blues musician Jake La Botz. And he’s walking it like he’s talking it on his Tattoo Across America Tour to promote his new CD, Graveyard Jones. His itinerary will take him to tattoo parlors, where he will compete with the sound of electric needles. Appearances across the country include Tattoomania (TX), Incision Tattoo (AZ) and Fat Ram’s Pumpkin Tattoo (MA). Also, “You need not be tattooed to attend.” Shamrock Social Club, 9026 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Sat., Oct. 7, 6 p.m.; free. (310) 271-9664.

The bull shark, named for its short snout, is an aggressive shark fond of shallow water and attacking people. California has only one of them in captivity, ­incarcerated at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach; daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; feeding presentations at 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.; $19.95, $16.95 seniors, $11.95 children. (562) 590-3100.

SUNDAY, October 8

When a press release promises free cocktails and child care, we take notice. Sandra Tsing Loh knows that navigating LAUSD’s byzantine world of magnet-school applications can drive a parent to drink, so she and Christie Mellor offer Martinis and Magnets: A Short Helpful Introduction to the Los Angeles Unified School District Magnet System. Kids can play in the Art Zone while their folks enjoy “special LAUSD”–themed cocktails along with educational enlightenment. Ms. Loh knows her LAUSD like nobody’s business; read her hilarious and dang useful “Scandalously Informal Guide to the LAUSD” at “It occurred to me we middle-income folk could do better. If four families on a block took their kids out of private school and put them in the corner public school, that one year of saved tuition ($15,000 x 4 = $60,000) could buy an orchestra’s worth of instruments, a 10,000-volume library . . . and there would still be money left over,” she says. “It occurred to me that if just a few more English-speaking middle-income families held their ground and went to L.A. public schools (we have loved our own, Valley Alternative Magnet in Van Nuys), they would save half a million dollars per family, and also democracy (which, according to Thomas Jefferson, can only thrive with a good free public education system). We’ll have EZ one-page handouts at the event, and also backup on the Web at, so you can have 3 martinis, spill them on your handout, and get the same info easily off the Net with coffee the next morning.” Ave. 50 Studio, 131 N. Avenue 50, Highland Park; Sun., Oct. 8, 5 p.m.; free. (323) 258-1435.

Here’s an event whose name tells you all you need to know: Instant Films 22 — A Festival of Short Horror Films Made in 48 Hours. Los Angeles Center Studio, 450 S. Bixel St., dwntwn.; Sun., Oct. 8, 8 p.m.; reception at 7 p.m.; $15, $10 in advance online, includes reception. (213) 250-9500 or

MONDAY, October 9

Not short, horror or made in 48 hours, The Last King of Scotland, as they say in the business — “and by the business, I mean the industry” ** — is getting major buzz for Forest Whitaker’s portrayal of Idi Amin. See the film, listen to Mr. Whitaker talk about it, and spread your own buzz. Part of “Reel Talk” with Stephen Farber. Wadsworth Theater, on the Veterans Administration grounds, Bldg. 226, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., W.L.A.; Mon., Oct. 9, 7 p.m.; $20. (310) 479-3003.

TUESDAY, October 10

The wit and wisdom of It’s Hard to Be Five, Today I Feel Silly and Where Do Balloons Go? put author Jamie Lee Curtis in a rare category: a celebrity children’s-book writer who actually speaks to children and their parents (sorry, Fergie). And the illustrations, by collaborator Laura Cornell, are a delight. But why is Ms. Curtis signing and reading from her latest, Is There Really a Human Race?, on a Tuesday morning, when her readers are in school? Children’s Book World, 10580½ W. Pico Blvd.; Tues., Oct. 10, 10:30-11:30 a.m. (310) 559-2665.

For fans of sketch comedy, or just the creative process, here is a fantastic opportunity to watch the pros in action. Every Tuesday till the end of November, the entire cast of MADtv gets out of the studio and onto the stage at I.O. West to perform an unscripted long-form improv. That’s Ike Barinholtz, Frank Caeti, Crista Flanagan, Nicole Randall Johnson, Keegan-Michael Key, Bobby Lee, Michael McDonald, Arden Myrin, Nicole Parker and Jordan Peele, in case you’ve lost track. Key tells us, “We all really enjoy each other, so we decided to do some extracurricular improvising. This is a real chance to see us walk a tightrope.” Like every other improv troupe since the beginning of Second City, they will take suggestions from the audience, but Key asks that you not shout out “proctologist” when asked for an occupation. “Every audience has someone who always says that,” he laughs. I.O. West, 6366 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; every Tues., 9 p.m.; thru Nov. 28; $10. (323) 962-7560.

WEDNESDAY, October 11

Dear Molly Ringwald: So let me get right to the point. I’m sorry I called you “Molly Ringworm” in print many years ago. That was just mean and childish. Now I hear you’re starring as Charity Hope Valentine in the touring production of Sweet Charity, and I have to say I’m looking forward to seeing you in a performance that has been called “plucky.” I never thought of you as plucky, let alone as a singer or dancer, but if Christina Applegate can pull it off, then anything’s possible. Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Oct. 11 thru 22; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 p.m.; plus Sun., Oct. 15, 6:30 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 22, 6 p.m.; $25-$70. (213) 365-3500 or

THURSDAY, October 12

The most haunting and beautiful pick of the week is Irina Bjorklund, a singing and saw-playing Finn based in L.A. That was probably the first time that previous sentence has ever been typed. Hotel Cafe, 1623½ Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; $10. (323) 461-2040.

**Actual quote heard from actual television executive, late ’80s.

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