GO L.A.: Survival of the Fittest: Persian Comics, Russian Avant-Garde, Darwin's 200th and Some Tango
FRIDAY, JANUARY 30
Everything Is Booty-ful
The word “booty” has plenty of definitions — my fave is “plunder” but maybe you prefer the nastier meaning. Whatever shakes yer booty, curator and “avant artist” (aren’t they all) Heidi “bluegirl” Calvert loves the word so much she all-capped it for her arty, sexy-pirate party, BOOTY! “Expect a wide variety of art, human art, sexy performances and music, and yes, of course, pirates!” she promises. DJs Shok and the Rev. Dr. Davidian make the noise, and there will be wanton shenanigans by Feminine Oddities, Kimberlee Rose and Jezebelle X, plus actual music by Agness Twin. You pretty much have to come in costume — or experience the wrath of boozed-up hipster pirates. Infusion Gallery, 719 S. Spring St., downtown; Fri., Jan. 30, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.; $8, $6 in costume. (213) 683-8827. —Libby Molyneaux
Make Mine a Castrati on the Rocks
If ever there was a class of artists that attained all the glories of megasuccess through unimaginable suffering, it was the castrati. These unique singers were castrated at a young age, then subjected to arduous training. The boys had no life outside of school; a typical day, according to the records of one singing school in Rome, consisted of “one hour of singing difficult and awkward pieces, one hour practising trills, one hour practising ornamented passaggi, one hour of singing exercises in their teacher’s presence and in front of a mirror so as to avoid unnecessary movement of the body or facial grimaces, and one hour of literary study.” And this was just the prelunch schedule! Operatic superstardom was virtually assured. This week, Mexico’s acclaimed Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes brings us the L.A. premiere of its rollicking farce, Monsters and Prodigies: A History of the Castrati, a broadly comic, impeccably articulated peek into the unrestrained world of early European opera and the temperamental eunuch divas who were the rock stars of their day. Among the delectable characters are a two-headed Siamese twin, a surgeon and an opera columnist, who time-travel from the 18th to the 20th centuries, “from the succulent extremes of the Baroque to the beginnings of the technological age, where beauty has been annihilated by reason.” REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., L.A.; www.redcat.org; Fri., Jan. 30, 8:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 31, 8:30 p.m. $25-$30, $20-$24 students. (213) 237-2800. —Mary Beth Crain
New Image Art gallerist Marsea Goldberg is a cultural badass. With great foresight and taste, she ferrets out new creative subcultures — plus she knows how to throw an art par-tay. Originally out of a 10-by-10 studio, she showed the first Ed Templeton photos and Shepard Fairey prints. Fast-forward 15 years to a sleek and only slightly bigger space in the Fairfax District, where the work of recent art darlings Jim Hauser, Chris Johanson, Neckface and Faile unite for a retrospective: 15 Years of New Image Art. On display for art fans old school and new are Goldberg’s discoveries, amazing, puzzling, snotty and otherwise. At the show’s opening-night party last week, you only had to follow the noisy chaos of NIA vintage performance videos and an impromptu set by NoAge spilling out onto Santa Monica Boulevard to realize Goldberg has done it again. But to really appreciate her accomplishment, a return to the gallery without the crowds is in order. Here’s to another decade of disruption! New Image Art, 7910 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; thru Feb. 20; Wed.-Sat.; or by appointment.
(323) 654-2192 or newimageartgallery.com. —Shelley Leopold
SATURDAY, JANUARY 31
Iranian-born Maz Jobrani is one-third of the successful “Axis of Evil Comedy Tour,” along with Ahmed Ahmed and Aron Kade. He’s also living proof that “Iranian comic” is not an oxymoron.
Maz — what kind of name is that?
Maz Jobrani: One that people never get right. Just think Lamaze, Maserati or Mazatlan. Or how about doing Lamaze while driving a Maserati in Mazatlan?
Who are some other Iranian funny people?
Ahmad Moorfee, Jamsheed Carry and Vilfa Rol. They’re all 20-million-rial stars (about $2,000 a picture).
What do you most love about L.A.?
The fact that I get to practice my Spanish on a daily basis.
What do you most hate about L.A.?
The fact that I have no idea what actual Spanish speakers are saying when they respond.
How do you feel about Obama being in office?
Love it. Did you know he’s half Persian? I swear.
If you had a sitcom about your life, what would be the premise?
Think Curb Your Enthusiasm in Westwood: Me, just trying to be a regular American, with a family that’s disappointed I’m not a doctor and married to a Persian woman, and an outside world that thinks I’m part of a terrorist cell.
When you started doing the “Axis of Evil” shows, were you worried about possible negative reaction?
A little. My thought overall was that people would either love the name and come to the shows, or they’d think it was unpatriotic and not come. I was pretty sure that those who thought the latter wouldn’t have been into my material even if we had called it the “George Bush Rocks” comedy tour. Basically you’re either with me or against me.
What do you actually do all day?
I don’t have an office to go to. I don’t have to punch in anywhere. So basically, I don’t do anything. However, for someone who does nothing I end up being really busy all day long. I’ve got a baby boy now (7 months old) so you could say he’s the boss who keeps me running.
How has the current economy affected you?
I could’ve sworn I had more zeros in my investment portfolio the last time I checked. It feels like they just keep moving that decimal point to the left.
Do you give money to homeless beggars?
A buck usually. It’s easier to get them out of your conversation faster.
How can your comedy change the world?
I plan to go to Waziristan one of these days and laugh Osama out of his cave.
Maz Jobrani performs at the Comedy & Magic Club, 1018 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach; Fri.-Sat., Jan. 30-31. (310) 372-1193.
Who's Gorey Now? Of corset!
The Edwardian Ball does not honor King Edward VII but rather is inspired by the art and writings of Edward Gorey. The event, started in costume-crazed San Francisco, where it runs for three days, is making its L.A. debut. I will be coming as one of Gorey’s many pseudonyms, Madame Goreda Weyrd. Performers and show-offs include Cirque Berzerk, Rosin Coven, Vau De Vire Society, Helios Jibe. Yes, there will be an absinthe bar, plus a portrait studio, ballroom dancing and much more. Tower Theater, 802 S. Broadway; downtown; Sat., Jan. 31, 8 p.m.; $30, $75 VIP. (323) 931-2997. —L.M.
“Step Right Up and Call Me Speedy!”
Want action? Want comedy? Want NYC in glorious 1928 black-and-white? Want Babe Ruth? Do I ask enough questions? Huh? Do I? Here’s today’s no-brainer — Harold Lloyd’s Speedy with live organ accompaniment, part of the Royce Hall Organ & Film series. Just go and you can thank me later. Royce Hall, UCLA, Westwood; www.uclalive.org; Sat., Jan. 31, 2 p.m.; $25, $15 children. (310) 825-2101. —L.M.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1
Ladies and Gentlemen — The Earth Harp!
In the mood for some “cosmic human drama”? No, I’m not talking about the Super Bowl, which is also today. Here’s something you may or may not enjoy: Mystic “is a visceral theatrical experience exploring the mystery of human origin, the evolution of consciousness, and galactic destiny through provocative video art, cutting-edge modern dance, and live music featuring The Earth Harp in complete narrative form.” What exactly is the Earth Harp? Bill Close, inventor of the Earth Harp, explains, “The Earth Harp transforms architectural environments into giant musical instruments that connect everyone with sympathetic resonance. The context of the Mystic show, the amazing dancers, and the intimate space of the Electric Lodge will create a truly mystical experience for all who are lucky enough to see it.” Just like the Super Bowl! Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Avenue, Venice; Thurs., Jan. 29-Sun., Feb. 1; $30 & $50. (310) 306-1854 or visit www.electriclodge.org. —L.M.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 2
Did you love Milk? Then you’ll want a signed copy of the screenplay. Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black signs Milk: The Shooting Script. Then go home and act out the whole movie for your cats. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Mon., Feb. 2, 7 p.m.; free, book is $19.95. (310) 659-3110. —L.M.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 3
Charlie Don’t Surf
He’s hot, he’s sexy, and he’s dead. That’s right, I’m talking about Charles Darwin. The Skirball Center celebrates the 200th birthday of the great scientist who gave us The Origin of Species with a series of lectures and films. Who knew Darwin was such an influence on filmmakers? The Skirball know-it-alls, that’s who. As part of “Classic Films: Evolution in Cinema,” Inherit the Wind, director Stanley Kramer’s dramatization of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, is screening. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.; L.A., Tues., Feb. 3, 1:30 p.m.; free. (310) 440-4500. —L.M.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4
F U CN RD THS U CN B AVNT GRD 2
Your cut ’n’ paste event of the week is Explodity: An Evening of Transrational Sound Poetry. “This event provides a rare opportunity to hear both dramatic readings by the Russian scholar Oleg Minin of Russian Futurist zaum’ (‘beyonsense’) and performances by Christian Bök and Steve McCaffery of their own contemporary sound poetry. Gerald Janecek, an expert on 20th-century Russian avant-garde poetry, will introduce the evening. By bringing together sound poetry of the historical and contemporary avant-garde, the program will chronicle the singular influence of poets Velimir Khlebnikov, Alexei Kruchenykh, and Vladimir Mayakovsky on subsequent experimentation, particularly that of Bök and McCaffery, including the use of invented words, the sensical and nonsensical, and the creation of “meaning” through sound. This event is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Tango with Cows: Book Art of the Russian Avant-Garde, 1910–1917.” The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Dr., L.A.; Wed., Feb. 4, 7-8:45 p.m.; free, resv. required. (310) 440-7300.
Argentine dancer Guillermina Quiroga took up tango after a career in classical ballet. With her long lines, flexible back and regal carriage, Quiroga quickly became the partner of choice for many of that country’s premier tango artists, won first place in the first Buenos Aires Tango competition, and starred in various touring tango shows and films before forming her own company. The Guillermina Quiroga Dance Company’s 2006 New York performances drew rave reviews. Now L.A. gets to sample Quiroga’s brand of tango, which injects balletic elements and expands the traditional tangvocabulary. Tango, Historias Breves, consists of three intertwined stories told through a series of group and solo works. In addition to the actual performance, the company offers a Milonga (tango session) with live music and tango instruction on February 3, from 7 to 10 p.m.; the performance at UCLA is free but requires tickets. Call (310) 206-1144. UCLA Royce Hall, Westwood, Wed.-Thurs., Feb. 4-5, 8 p.m.; $38-$60. (310) 825-2101 or www.UCLALive.org. —Ann Haskins
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5
Klezmer, À La Boot
In their U.S. premiere, Italy’s Klezmerata Fiorentina (composed of members of Florence’s Orchestra del Maggio Musicale), perform chamber versions of klezmer music. Led by Kiev-born founder and violinist Igor Polesitsky, the ensemble blends Balkan, gypsy, Turkish, Ukrainian and Yiddish melodies in a program titled Zai Gezunt, Kalinindorf, named after the Kalinindorf Jewish shtetle in the Ukraine. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.; Thurs., Feb. 5, 8 p.m.; $25, $15 students. (310) 440-4500. — Siran Babayan
And by “The Industry,” I Mean “The Business”
Something magical happens twice a month when Jill Soloway, Maggie Rowe and Jaclyn Lafer present Sit ’n’ Spin. It’s an evening of dependably fun ’n’ funny readings of writings by industry folks letting off whatever creative bursts they feel like. Stirling Gardner, C. Brian Smith, Shaz Bennet, Dylan Brody and Carlos Kotkin provide the words of witdom this time. Comedy Central Stage, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Thurs., Feb. 5, 8 p.m.; free, resv. required. (323) 960-5519. —L.M.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Los Angeles, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.