Labia, Sarah Silverman, Phantom of the Opera and more!
FRIDAY, JANUARY 23
The Great White Pacific Coast Highway
Face it, you’re not jetting off to the Big Apple to catch Liza (closed), Hairspray (closed), Chicago (long gone) or Cats (ditto) any time soon. But maybe you can afford a few gallons of gas and a ticket for Forbidden Broadway: The 25th Anniversary. This is the same show that won a special Tony Award in 2006 with all-in-fun jabs at Avenue Q, Billy Joel’s Movin’ Out, La Cage Auz Folles, Little Shop of Horrors, Les Miz andf Beauty andthe Beast. Forbidden Broadway is New York’s longest -running musical – but guess what? Yep, that show had its final performance just last week. Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; Fri., Jan. 23, 8 p.m.; $45. (310) 506-4522. —Libby Molyneaux
The Natural History Museum opens its latest, permanent exhibit. Visible Vault: Archaeological Treasures from Ancient Latin America, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the conservation of more than 700 artifacts from the Aztec, Maya, Inca and other ancient civilizations, including ceramic sculptures, carvings, pottery, drinking vessels, and even gold adornments. In conjunction, the museum hosts a Latin festival Sat., Jan. 24 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) featuring a performance by Grammy-nominated Latin Jazz singer conguero Poncho Sanchez, a mask-making workshop and other family activities. Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd.; Fri., Jan. 23, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; $9, $6.50 seniors & students, $2 children 5-12, under 5 free. (213) 763-3466. —Siran Babayan
Go East, Young Man — and Take Your Gorgeous Sculpted Abs With You
You ever want to take a breather from the slick, gay nightlife scene of West Hollywood? You know, skip the lines and cover charges, those anonymous guys you always see at the gym during the week, and the incredibly expensive fancy drinks? Maybe head off into territories unknown or rarely visited? Maybe even meet a new kind of guy? We do all the time. That’s why we like to drive over to Silver Lake on a Friday or Saturday for Akbar’s “Free Dance” Nights, where you can shimmy on an expanded dance floor and not hear the same music over and over again—either Mike Glass or Jonny Cota will be your DJ for the evening. Akbar, which was named the 2008 “Best Gay Bar” in L.A. Weekly, has always been a welcomed, less self-conscious alternative to Boystown, but some people either forget it’s there or don’t know exists. But it does exist, and it’s calling you. And if you’re reading this blurb right now and feel a certain stir in your soul, you must obey it and head over to Akbar immediately. Good things are destined to happen. Akbar, 4356 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; Fri.-Sat., 10 p.m.- 2 a.m.; (323) 665-6810. —Patrick Range McDonald
SATURDAY, JANUARY 24
Sarah Silverman — Call Me!
At first it I was going to recommend Drew Carey at the Laugh Factory try in Long Beach, Then I remembered the post-110-related shock I went into after a Bayou Festival a few years ago after spending AN HOUR AND A HALF driving 11 miles home. Seriously, this paper needs to start a section called “Things Worth Driving to Long Beach For” — and though seeing big-shot Drew Carey in a club might qualify, the drive back (because nobody actually lives in Long Beach) is a deal-breaker. Read my new book: How To Live in Los Angeles and Never Travel More Than 10 Miles! Which brings us to centrally located Sarah Silverman. She’s nasty and cute and funny as a dude.” With Nick Swardson. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd.; Sat., Jan. 24, 8 p.m.; $25. (310) 855-0350. —L.M.
Oni, Oni, Oh!
Maria Gillespie is a riveting dancer and compelling choreographer of whom little has been seen since a shared concert in summer 2007. Gillespie and her troupe, Oni Dance, return with Gillespie’s latest, Wasteland (arrival, staged in the round on dirt-covered terrain. While Gillespie’s choreographic reach sometimes exceeds her grasp, it’s always refreshing to watch a choreographer and dancers explorE unfamiliar turf and stretch toward something more. Another reason to watch, Gillespie’s splendid and dedicated dancers, including Eva Aymami, Yiwen Chen, Nguyen Nguyen, Kevin Williamson and Noelle Bordelet, another brilliant dancer/choreographer, who collaborated with Gillespie on this endeavor. Video at www.OniDance.org. The real thing at Santa Moinca Bay Woman’s Club, 1210 Fourth St., Santa Monica; Sat.-Sun., Jan. 23-24, 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 25, 7 p.m.; $20, $17 students. (310) 395-1308. —Ann Haskins
Newest Opus of the Week
German composer Wolfgang von Schweinitz is one of the great musical explorers of our time. He’s always experimenting and expanding his boundaries, if indeed he has boundaries, and this week he premieres his newest opus, Plainsound Glissando Modulation, a monumental raga in just intonation for violin and double bass that’s the current culmination of his “profound exploration of microtonal phenomena.” It’s perhaps a big jump from the von Schweinitz of 30 years ago, who hit the new music world running in 1977 with his incredible Variations on a Theme by Mozart, a wild work that begins with staid, somber Mozart and suddenly takes off into blaring dissonant space with brass and winds making eerie noises, strings entering the fray, and percussion following suit until all the instruments are shouting at once. And yet, there is beautiful order in the chaos, into which, at various intervals, a Mozartean line is dropped like a delicate dumpling into a boiling pot. Today, von Schweinitz holds the prestigious Roy E. Dinsey Family Compositional Chair at CalArts, but chairs aren’t really for him; his music can’t sit still and we’re all happy about that. Also on the program: von Schweinitz’s Plainsound-Litany for solo cello. Performers include violinist Helge Slaatto, bassist Frank Reinecke and cellist Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick. Redcat, 631 W. Second St., L.A., www.redcat.org; Sat., Jan. 24, 8:30 p.m. $20-$16; student tickets available. (213) 637-2800. —Mary Beth Crain
There’s No Minor Like E Minor
Ever since I was little, the Chopin E minor Piano Concerto has been one of my favorite pieces — so much so that as a teenager, I managed to learn enough of it to put myself in a state of bliss. But oh, that Rondo! Such big chords and gargantuan leaps across the keyboard and glittering fingerwork that culminates in one of the most exciting finales in the piano repertoire! I never quite mastered it, so I’m a bit jealous of the lovely Argentinian pianist Ingrid Filter, who whips it off with such ease and grace that it looks like she could watch TV and ride a Lifecycle at the same time. Chopin wrote this exquisite work when he was just 19, and it’s still hard to believe that one so young had such maturity and passion in his soul. Filter, the informal successor of the great Martha Argerich, sealed her success when she won First Prize at the awesome Busoni competition in Italy and the Silver Medal at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Her Chopin has been likened to the legendary Artur Rubinstein, the “Mr. Chopin” of his day, and this week she performs the Chopin E minor Concerto with Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. The program also includes Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 in A minor (“Scottish”) and the world premiere of Damian Montano’s Introduction and Scherzo. Preceded by a Concert Prelude with Kahane and Montano one hour prior to concerts. Note: This program is repeated at UCLA, Royce Hall; Sun., Jan. 25, 7 p.m.. Alex Theater, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, www.alextheatre.org; Sat., Jan. 24, 8 p.m. $18-$95. (213) 622-7001, ext. 215. —MBC
SUNDAY, JANUARY 25
How Green Was My Weekend?
You’ve been waiting, clutching your burlap Trader Joe’s bags for months and it’s finally here – Go Green Expo. Greenheads Ed Begley Jr., Mariel Hemingway, authors Josh Dorfman and Bryan Au will speak, and you can learn the latest developments in transportation, energy sources, conservation, and more. Catch Sundance Award winning film Fuel and go home with samples of of products to make your neighbors envy your green. Los Angeles Convention Center, 1111 N. Figueroa St., dwntwn.; Fri.-Sun., Jan. 23-25; $10; www.gogreenexpo.com. —L.M.
MONDAY, JANUARY 26
Felon O’Reilly: Jail’s a Funny Thing
Though standup comedy and incarceration have had their connections (I’m talking to you, Andy Dick), Felon O’Reilly may be the first self-proclaimed “standup convict.” Though he’s a free man, dude’s done years of hard time for robbing and drugging. Now he’s performing at recovery centers, prisons and now, Largo. He’s got a book out, Laughing on the the Inside, and is even the subject of an upcoming documentary, Felon By Nature. For his L.A. debut, he proudly says, “This is my first time on the West Coast when I wasn’t in a blackout!”
L.A. WEEKLY: Your past is anything but funny – how do you find humor in your life?
FELON O’REILLY: I think some of my past IS funny! It’s not funny when you are in the middle of all that insanity, but I think one of the reasons I survived all the shit I put myself through is I was always able to laugh at a situation. I probably got that from my old man.
How old when you first were arrested?
I was 16 when I got my first pinch. although I was getting brought home by the cops at 14. My first pinch was for fishing without a license. Seems it was all down hill from there.
How many years total have you been in prison?
I guess around 10 years when you add it all up, perhaps a little more when you count all the parole violations. The longest stretch was three years. I was looking at life sentences on more than one occasion. I was indicted by the feds in 1990 as an armed career criminal. That carried a minimum mandatory 15 years . — got lucky on that one too!
What were the charges?
God! Everything but rape and homicide! A lot of assaults, drug charges, and a whole lot of larceny and theft. I think the first incarceration was for assault and battery with a deadly weapon on a police officer. I think I did a year on that. It’s not as bad as it sounds, He was trying to bust me for dope and i ran him over. so they considered the vehicle a deadly weapon. I got away with the dope though!
What’s the funniest thing that happened to you in prison?
I could tell you funny stories all day about prison! I guess one of my favorites was the time this Vietnamese kid came to me with his Vietnamese to English dictionary. One of the problems he was having was getting to use the shower. There were four single showers for a hundred plus guys. He finally managed to make me understand that he wanted to learn how to say “Can I be next?” So he goes over to one of the showers, nothing but a towel on, and yells to the guy in there. The problem was instead of “Can I be next?” I taught him how to say “Wanna touch it”! All hell broke lose and the guy in the shower was chasing him around the unit. I finally had to intervene so the kid wouldn’t get killed. I ran into him years later on my last bid and we laughed our asses off again!
What’s the universal truth about comedy?
If you can tell a joke and not offend the person it’s directed toward, then it’s funny. I was doing an uptown bid (state prison) in Massachusetts my last time in. I went up to two tables in the cafeteria. There were 33 Hispanics, so I stood there and told a Hispanic joke. There was dead silence for about 15 seconds, a very long 15 seconds, then they all cracked up laughing. I knew i had delivered it well when i didn’t get stabbed.
What other comics do you admire?
I grew up watching Jackie Gleason, and Rodney Dangerfield; they had a huge impact. Lenny Clarke, another Bostonian, was a real role model. In fact it was Lenny who convinced me to try comedy. I think Margaret Cho is a genius. The funniest guy i ever worked with is George Hamm out of portland maine.There are a ton of them — but they never did any prison time. Not yet anyway.
Felon O’Reilly performs at the Ian Harvie Show at Largo in the Little Room, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd.; Mon., Jan. 26, 9 p.m .; $10. (310) 855-0347. —L.M.
Let’s Get Small
826LA, the nice people who offer free writing and tutoring programs for kids, now host a monthly thingy called The Tiny Vaudeville Series. Each features a different lineup of performers of the gifted variety doing things that could be defined as humorous. For this first show, Craig Cackowski (great name) hosts cutups Dave (Gruber) Allen, The Eban Schletter Orchestra, Dave Foley, Garfunkel & Oates, James Adomian, Derek Hughes, Marc Horowitz’s live 24/7 talkshow, Jeremy Konner, Al Madrigal, and more! With musical guest Pop LeviAny act called “Garfunkel and Oaktes” can’t be bad, I say. Echoplex, underneath the Echo, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park; Mon., Jan. 26, 8:30 p.m.; $10; www.826la.org. —L.M.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 27
Who’s Your Phantom?
Another reason we don’t need no stinkin’ Big Apple (note to any NYC editors: Yes, I am available to move East). Broadway’s longest-running show, The Phantom of the Opera, comes to town. It’s especially great news to West Coast members of PhantonOfTheOpera.com’s message board thread called “You know you’re addicted to POTO when. . . .” Some examples? “You use your pinky finger for the universal ‘quiet’ sign as Erik does.” And “You sunbathe while wearing a half-mask so you’ll have a Phantom tan line.”The Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; opens Fri., Jan. 23-Feb. 21; $29.50-$85. (213) 365-3500. —L.M.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28
Come for the Labia, Stay for the Blueberry Pie!
How do the locals react when soon-to-be transsexuals descend on their tiny Colorado town? “Bigger bone structures” is one assessment of the newcomers. This is one of the revelations of Trinidad. No, it’s not a the latest reality show (although . . .). It’s the award-winning documentary about little Trinidad, Colorado, “the sex-change capital of the world.” The film follows three transgender women who open a recovery bed-and-breakfast in Trinidad. Part of Outfest. American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre, 6212 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Wed., Jan. 28, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 466-FILM. —L.M.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 29
Hey, You, Get Off of My Image!
When your last name is “Bragman,” your best career options are professional wrestler or public relations flak. PR honcho Howard Bragman has been pimping stars and gadgets for years with respected firm Bragman Nyman Cafarelli. Now he’s written a book called Where’s My Fifteen Minutes? for the rest of us. Bragman tells us we should buy his book “because public images are no longer reserved for actors, athletes and politicians. In the age of Google, Facebook, iPhones and YouTube we all have public images—and if we don’t define ourselves we will still be defined; and probably in a way that doesn’t make us happy.” He’ll do a little Q&A at this event, which sounds like something we’ll regret not attending. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Thurs., Jan. 29, 7 p.m.; free, book is $25.95. (310) 659-3110. —L.M.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.