GO L.A.: Inauguration Subversion, Harry Shearer, Dirty Sketches and more
FRIDAY, JANUARY 16
Naughty, not Nice
Rude, crude and lewd French finger puppets? Count me in! A Grand Guignol Children’s Show is definitely not for kids. The show boasts horror-ified versions of “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “The Ugly Duckling” and other classic folk tales, along with “absinthe, blood, birthday cake and witch burning.” Art/Works Theatre, 6569 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; Sun., 7:30; thru Jan. 31; $20-$30; Sun. is pay-what-you-can. (800) 838-3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com. —Libby Molyneaux
Seven choreographers performing plus another 11 dance-makers and photographers contributing to an accompanying exhibition is definitely an impressive number of participants, but it’s just a sampling of the eclectic spectrum of dance genres produced by the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures (WAC) over the past three decades. Any One Home: The Reunion Tourfeatures works by Banafsheh Sayyad, whose Namah Ensemble combines Persian Dance and Sufi Ritual; Amrapali Ambegaokar, known for exploring the possibilities of traditional Indian Kathak with other dance forms; Jackie Lopez, whose VERSA-Style explores the intersections of hip-hop culture and salsa; Li Chiao-Ping, whose eponymous troupe showcases both solo works and multimedia productions; I Made Bandem, who was the first Balinese dancer to study in the West; Linda Gold, who heads Santa Monica College’s dance program and SMC’s Synapse Dance Theater; and Tamica Washington-Miller, who is something of a second-generation UCLA dance grad. Her mother, founder of the respected Lula Washington Dance Theater, graduated from WAC’s predecessor dance department. Intercultural choreography is now as widely accepted as fusion food in restaurants, but the necessary audience acceptance has been built up over time by WAC and graduates like these. For a complete list of the other contributors to the exhibition, go to www.wac.ucla.edu. UCLA Glorya Kaufman Dance Theater, Wstwd.; Fri.-Sat., Jan. 16-17, 7:30 p.m.; $10; $8 students. (310) 825-3951. —Ann Haskins
SATURDAY, JANUARY 17
The Dirtiest Blurb You Will Ever Read
If you’re going to work blue — work really blue. As in filthy. As in quadruple-X, dripping with images so pornographic you’ll send audiences straight to church to cleanse themselves. That’s more or less the philosophy of the sickos behind The Dirtiest Sketch in L.A. Contest, which turns crudeness into a sport. That’s right. Joe Hartzler and Amanda Egge dreamed up the concept. Sketch writers are given three simple rules: “It has to be dirty. It has to be written. It has to be less than three minutes.” Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hlywd.; Sat., Jan. 17, mid.; $5. (323) 908-8702. —L.M.
Le Pick Musique de la Semaine
Despite her fragile frame, Simone Weil was one of the towering figures of the 20th century. Born in 1909, the French philosopher, social activist and Christian mystic spent her short life working tirelessly to further her ideal of a world in which politics was spiritually driven, class systems abolished, and the physical and psychological needs of humanity could at last be fulfilled. Weil’s lectures in philosophy were famous, and her passionate involvement in the causes of the oppressed even more so. A victim of tuberculosis, she nonetheless joined the French Resistance during World War II and went on a hunger strike in solidarity with the deprived residents of German-occupied France, which led to her death at age 34. And now, Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho has immortalized Weil’s philosophy and vision in her rich, complex oratorio La Passion de Simone, which receives its West Coast premiere this week. Weil has been a lifelong influence on Saariaho: “I have been reading [her] writings since my youth,” says the composer, “and the Finnish translation of her book Gravity and Grace was one of the few things I packed into my suitcase when I traveled to Germany in 1981 to continue my studies in composition.” La Passion de Simone, a collaboration between Saariaho, librettist Amin Maalouf and director Peter Sellars, is an attempt, says Saariaho, to express, through music, the “combination of Weil’s severe asceticism and her passionate quest for truth.” Written for solo soprano, choir, orchestra and electronics, the work consists of 15 “stations,” in the tradition of the Passion Play, each of which explores different moments in Weil’s life and interprets some of her ideas, while Weil’s own texts are presented in the electronics surrounding the audience. Conducted by fellow Finn and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen and featuring the Los Angeles Master Chorale, dancer Michael Schumacher, and that great soprano Dawn Upshaw, Saariaho’s own vision couldn’t be in more capable hands. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A.; Sat., Jan. 17, 8 p.m.; $42-$147. (323) 850-2000.—Mary Beth Crain
SUNDAY, JANUARY 18
Doo dah? Doo dah!
(To the tune of “Camptown Races”)
Doo Dah, Doo Dah!
Pasadena’s big hurrah!
Oh, de Doo Dah Deh
Look, there’s Charles Phoenix!
What a dapper gent!
Bet he loves to be grand marshal
And doesn’t get a cent!
It’s the 32nd year
Doo Dah, Doo Dah!
Snotty Scotty & the Hankies
Have never missed — so give a cheer!
Help: What rhymes with Claude Rains & the 20-Man Memorial Invisible Man Marching Drill Team?
Old Town Pasadena, Raymond Ave. & Colorado Blvd.; Sun., Jan. 18, 11:30 a.m.; free, bring lawn chairs. (626) 205-4029. —L.M.
The Jung and the Talented
Ever since hot and sexy press photos of musicians became the order of the day, silly pictures of classical artists have proliferated. The younger ones are usually provocatively clad in sultry poses, caressing their instruments, while the aging ones make awkward attempts to cavort in staid tuxes and gowns. But this photo of The Jung Trio emerging from the sea in their evening gowns like three bedraggled naiads is, like, huh? Oh, well, who needs a point to the image when you’re one of the most talented ensembles in the world? The Canadian-born musical sisters — pianist Jennie, violinist Ellen and cellist Julie -— have been winning awards ever since they picked up their instruments and decided to go trio. 2002 was a particularly good year for the three gorgeous ladies, who marched off with the Grand Prize at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition and the Bronze Medal at the legendary Fischoff Competition. Degreed to the max from the U. of Toronto, New England Conservatory of Music, Yale and Juilliard, the Jung sisters bring their inimitable combination of brains, passion and virtuosity to the table when they perform piano trios by Haydn and Brahms at both Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan Beach on Jan. 17 and Greystone Mansion on Jan. 18. Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills; Sun., Jan. 18, 2 p.m. $20, $15 students, seniors & children 10 & older. (310) 285-6850. —MBC
MONDAY, JANUARY 19
“Harry Shearer” is a funny name, but not as funny as “Bald Barber”
Today, Monday, January 19, is the last day in office for that guy in Washington we are all really sick of. Bush spoofer and possible comic genius Harry Shearer pays appropriate tribute with his Grammy-nominated album Songs of the Bushmen, which features such titles as “935 Lies” and “The Head of Alberto Gonzalez.” Join this good-riddance fest, dubbed Bye Bye Bushmen Concert With Shear and the High-Value Detainers mocking and rocking and maybe even shocking. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; Mon., Jan. 19, 9 p.m.; $25. (310) 855-0350. —L.M.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 20
Read It and Weep
While many of us will spend Inauguration Day dancing in the streets, passing out homemade treats to strangers and wiping away tears of joy, we can also opt for this pretty cool related event. Stories L.A., a new indie bookstore I will never make the effort to visit and therefore I don’t give a year before it closes, hosts Inauguration Subversion Event. Reading will be writer Jason Flores-Williams, who once said of himself, “I would hope I would be considered a literary heir to Friedrich Nietzsche.” Talk about audacity of hope. Also sharing their prose will be Artillery magazine editor Tulsa Kinney and artist Gordy Grundy. Stories L.A., 1716 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Tues., Jan. 20, 7 p.m.; free. (213) 413-3733. —L.M.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21
Battle of the Literary Sexes
Author and L.A. Times columnist Meghan Daum heads the panel discussion Writing Like a Girl: Do All Novels by Women Get Packaged as “Chick Lit?,” featuring fella authors (and N.Y. Times best-sellers) Elisabeth Robinson and Laura Zigman. Robinson was a producer on Braveheart, while Zigman’s 2001 book Animal Husbandry was the inspiration for the movie Someone Like You. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Wed., Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m.; free, resv. suggested. (310) 440-4500. —Siran Babayan
THURSDAY, JANUARY 22
Good Golly, Miss Dolly
Never meet your idols. How do I know this? Let’s just say it has something to do with an encounter with Patti Smith and leave it at that. Amy Turner worships Dolly Parton. She’s written DP: Dolly Parton, Domestic Partners & Other Female Mysteries, which she describes as “a pilgrimage with her best friend to the church of all that is ladylike and business-savvy — Dollywood — to examine what it means to be in a relationship, and why that connection, for her and other ambitious chicks, tends to be with a female despite being heterosexual.” Bang Comedy Studio, 457 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.; Thurs., Jan. 22 & 29, 8 p.m.; $12.; (323) 653-6886. —L.M.
The United States of Addicts
Benoit Denizet-Lewis tackles the subject of addiction in American Anonymous, by chronicling the lives of eight people over three years, including drug addicts, alcoholics, overeaters, compulsive gamblers and sex addicts. And let’s face it, Tales of self-abuse can be pretty damn entertaining. Denizet-Lewis signs his book; ask him to make it out to “David Duchovny.” Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.;
Thurs., Jan. 22, 7 p.m.; free, book is $26.
(310) 659-3110. —L.M.
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