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Scott Baio, Nanci Griffith, Secret Policeman’s Ball and Other Signs of Aging

Nanci Griffith: She’s got all night to remember you.

FRIDAY, JUNE 5

Film

COMEDIANS: A BUNCH OF CELLULOID-OUTS
Comedians from Upright Citizens Brigade’s Comedy Death-Ray (the popular alt-comedy fiesta headlined by the likes of Mr. Show’s Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, Best Week Ever’s Doug Benson and Paul F. Tompkins, and Comedians of Comedy’s Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Zach Galifianakis and Maria Bamford) screen the films that influenced them the most all this month at the Silent Movie Theatre, thanks to those innocent kids at Cinefamily who surely had no idea what they were getting themselves into. What does Sarah Silverman’s selection of Carl Reiner’s 1970 cult classic Where’s Poppa? (June 5) reveal about her? Nothing more than what we already knew: She’s a sick chick. The plot pits George Segal against his eccentric mom (Ruth Gordon) by virtue of a commitment made to his dead dad not to put her in a “home,” despite her penchant for driving him crazy. Odenkirk’s choice, Albert Brooks’ Real Life (June 12), a prescient 1979 reality-TV parody about a narcissistic filmmaker who can’t help interfering with the family he’s documenting, surely speaks to Odenkirk’s own fear of narcissism, or perhaps his fear of Ben Stiller. Why Patton Oswalt picked schlock thriller God Told Me To (1976, Larry Cohen), I’ll never know (at least not until the screening June 19), but it probably has something to do with Andy Kaufman’s role as a police officer (!) who mows down a crowd. Tim and Eric (of Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) wrap things up June 26 with True Stories, David Byrne’s 1986 pseudo documentary/vanity project about an offbeat Texas town. Why Tim and Eric chose this one is obvious: The good movies had already been taken. Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.; Fridays, 8 p.m., through June 26; $14. (323) 655-2510.

—Derek Thomas

 

Comedy Pick

BOBBY COLLINS
A critic once described Bobby Collins as “the perfect fusion between Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.” Someone get this man his own sitcom — he’s more exasperated than Raymond, more incisive than Archie and more like your dad than Ward.  —Libby Molyneaux

Who do people say you look like?

I’m a cross between James Bond and the Penguin from Batman, quack quack.

Would you ever do a reality show? What would we learn about your life?

Yes. I would do a reality show just to prove to people that there are souls with substance and a spiritual awareness still alive and living in Gotham.

Does your act have a “Margaritaville” that your fans demand you perform?

“Bobby, how’s your dog?”

How has the economic crisis affected you?

My wife and I are wearing helmets and reading stories to Ethiopian children about eating all the food on their plates because there are people in America starving to death.

What’s the worst thing anyone’s said to you?

“If you don’t tell me, I’ll find out where your parents are buried, dig up their graves and fuck their skulls.” I told him what he wanted to know.

What was the best kiss of your life?

When I met my wife and she kissed me and I was no longer a frog.

What type of old man do you think you’ll be?

The type of old man who won’t be able to distinguish between a vagina and a Mardi Gras mask ...

Will you retire to Florida?

Not Florida, but another place where old people go into the pool and it becomes carbonated.

Anything else you’d like to say to L.A. Weekly readers?

I love L.A. I love the people. (Hola, Isabelle!) I love the weather; I now watch Doppler 7000 HD — and a guy named Dallas Raines. I love the earthquakes, it beats the subway. I like the fake breasts (you could chip a tooth). I love the cop chases. (When do they kill them? They don’t, they just follow them!) I love L.A.

Bobby Collins at the Comedy & Magic Club, 1018 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach; Fri., June 5, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 6, 7 & 9:15 p.m.; $25. (310) 372-1193.

 

SATURDAY, JUNE 6

Festival

OH, VENICE, MY VENICE, HOW I CHERISH YOU AND YOUR SACKS OF HACKY
It’s home to a breed of stinky hippies and weirdos that refuses to die, the largest free health clinic in the country, that Sikh guitarist on Rollerblades, and more palm readers per square foot than Kathmandu. There really isn’t a better-suited patch of land in the Greater Los Angeles area than Venice for a colorful event like Carnevale! (Sorry, Topanga Canyon.) Escape the sandy street theater of the boardwalk for loads of live music and entertainment — the Bonedaddys, Harissa Belly Dance Troupe, Kathy Leonardo, Wadada reggae band, Sugarbitch, Hillel: Mr. Balloon Man, Gabriel Rosati & Brazilatafro and many others. A costume contest is where you get some badly needed attention. Time your meds for Mutaytor’s mind-blowing finale featuring countless tribal drums, electronica, fire performers, hoop dancers, aerial artists, not to mention John Avila (Oingo Boingo) on bass, and a live horn section, Chinese parade lions, life-size puppets, giant-screen visuals and dancers who may or may not be part of the group. West end of Windward Ave., Venice Beach; Sat., June 6, noon-10 p.m.; free. www.carnevale.us.

—L.M.

 

Dance

RUDY DON’T FAIL
This week’s standout event gathers an impressive clutch of dancers and choreographers to pay A Tribute to Rudy Perez. Although he initially made his name as one of New York’s Judson Church postmodern pioneers, Perez soon left the Big Apple for the Big Orange, where over three decades he has been revered for his teaching, choreography and insistence on artistic integrity in his dance and dancers. This program features Alligator Variations,a reconstruction of Perez’s 1964 Judson Church duet, Take Your Alligator With You,and the premiere of Perez’s Surrender Dorothy! — riffing on the witch’s challenge from The Wizard of Oz and drawing on the rapier poems of Dorothy Parker. Perez’s stature can be measured not only in the many accolades he has received, but more importantly in the caliber of talent he continues to attract. The cast here includes several respected choreographers with their own troupes, who jumped at the chance to pay homage to Perez. Look for Anne & Jeff Grimaldo, Stefan Fabry, Jamie Benson, Tamsin Carlson, Sarah Swenson, Courtney Meadows, and Katrina Obarski. An event not to be missed! Cal State L.A. Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Intimate Theater, 5151 State University Dr.; Sat., June 6, 8:30 p.m.; $30. (323) 343-6600.

—Ann Haskins

 
SUNDAY, JUNE 7

Festival

LOCALS ONLY
It’s a great weekend for festivals. Here’s one that’s as L.A. as they come — The Lummis Day Festival, a celebration of locally made dance, art, stories and music held at the Charles F. Lummis Home and Garden, built on the west bank of the Arroyo Seco some time around 1900. Hometown sons I See Hawks in L.A. and Ozomatli’s Wil-Dog make beautiful music, and there will be performances of Latino, Tagalog, Native American, Anglo and Nigerian traditions. Such as? Blues and roots music by Carlos Guitarlos, Bomba Chante’s salsa, the Native American “round dance” music of Glen Ahhaitty, plus the hilarious socially and politically charged comic-performance group Culture Clash. What else? Dance troupes, poets, painters and chefs all doing their thing. Poets appearing at the morning gala include Ruben Martinez, Suzanne Lummis and Gail Wronsky. Art by J. Michael Walker, Raoul de la Sota, Luis Villanueva, Julie Nagesh and others at the Autry National Center’s Casa de Adobe. Kiddie stuff includes puppetry from the Puppets and Players Little Theater, storytelling by We Tell Stories, and art projects. Lummis Home, 200 E. Avenue 43, L.A.; art exhibitions at Casa de Adobe, 4605 N. Figueroa St., L.A.; musical, dance and theatrical performances at Sycamore Grove Park, 4702 N. Figueroa St.; Sun., June 7, 10:30 a.m.; poetry gala 12:30-7:30 p.m. (323) 222-0546.

—L.M.

 

Classical

A BROAD CHOICE
Pacific Serenades closes its 2008-2009 season with a concert titled Woven of Many Strands, featuring works drawn from a variety of influences. The highlight is the world premiere of Paul Chihara’s new piano quintet, which promises some surprises. “I don’t want to give too much away,” whispers Pacific Serenades founder Mark Carlson, “but I can tell you that it’s very different from anything Paul has done in the past, and it will include a fugue and what Paul calls ‘a big romantic melody.’” Of course, you never can pin Chihara down to any one musical style — this most adventurous composer has utilized everything from 12-tone and Japanese rhythms and harmonies to jazz and standard lyricism in his works, and is equally at home in the classical/avant-garde and film- and TV-music worlds. So it’s always fun to see what the ever-forward-looking Chihara — who, at nearly 71, seems to get younger instead of older — will come up with next. Violinists Miwako Watanabe and Connie Kupka, violist Roland Kato, cellist David Speltz and pianist Edith Orloff perform the Chihara premiere, along with Dvorak’s Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81 and Haydn’s Piano Trio in A major, H.XV:9. Private address, Brentwood; Sat., June 6, 4 p.m.; $55. Also at Neighborhood Church, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena; Sun., June 7, 4 p.m.; $32; and at UCLA Faculty Center, 405 N. Hilgard Ave., Wstwd.; Tues., June 9, 8 p.m.; $32. (213) 534-2424 or www.pacser.org.

—Mary Beth Crain

 

Galleries

THERE GOES THE HOOD
If Retna and El Mac were a team that worked in a more corporate environment, Retna would be the type guy, El Mac would be the photographer. But they don’t make ads or album covers (yet), and they identify as graffiti artists. Retna, one of L.A.’s most prominent writers (and an L.A. Weekly favorite), who has graced most of our city’s billboards and blank walls with stunning hieroglyphic type forms and textures, is now concentrating on legal spaces. El Mac hails from Phoenix and creates beautiful photorealistic portraits of monumental scale, mostly of women. They team up on a regular basis, notably for the towering Buddha murals at the gas station on Marathon and Western, and the long-standing Girl With Headphones at La Brea and Third.

This new show of work at the recently configured Mid-City Arts space will feature live painting and a large-scale indoor mural installation accompanied by smaller pieces, and is an homage to the neighborhood, something Retna promises with every work he completes, whether inside a gallery or out in an alley. “These blocks and corners were where I was given the opportunity to do my art and was shown a lot of support by the community,” Retna explains. “Communities like these are where we come from, and it feels good to give something back to the future generation of kids doing this.” Word. Mid-City Arts, 5113 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; Mon.-Sun., noon-8 p.m.; through July 5; reception Sun., June 7, noon-6 p.m. www.midcity-arts.com.

—Shelley Leopold

 

Classical

THIS CONCERTO KEEPS BOBBIN IN MY HEAD
Did you know that we have the Singer sewing machine to thank for Francis Poulenc’s Organ Concerto in G minor? Ain’t that a stitch? It seems that one of the French composer’s most avid patrons was the Princess Edmond de Polignac, née Winnaretta (now there’s a name!) Singer, heiress to the sewing-machine fortune. At her huge Greek Revival mansion in Paris’ tony XVIth Arrondissement, Winnie installed an organ and commissioned works for the magnificent instrument — among which was a concerto that would be simple enough for her to play. Jean Françaix was offered the job first, but he was too busy writing a film score and suggested his pal Poulenc instead. So Poulenc — who, like Françaix and the other members of Paris’ irreverent “Les Six,” was known for his witty, playful compositions — set to work, and discovered that the task was far more complicated than he’d imagined. Never having composed for the organ, Poulenc nevertheless ended up writing a work that went far beyond the princess’ expectations. When the Organ Concerto in G minor premiered at the Hotel Singer-Polignac in December 1938, it was with none other than Maurice Duruflé as soloist and the legendary Nadia Boulanger conducting. Written for string orchestra and timpani instead of a full orchestra, the concerto recalls Bach’s great organ fantasias. You can hear it this weekend at A Festival of Music, performed by the Los Angeles Concert Orchestra with Christoph Bull as soloist, along with Beethoven’s Mass in C major and Puccini’s “Gloria” from Messa di Gloria, with tenor soloist Rodel Rosell. First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica, 1008 11th St., Santa Monica; Sun., June 7, 7:30 p.m.; $20, $15 students & seniors. (310) 393-8528 or www.santamonicaumc.org.

—M.B.C.

 

Film

LITTLE RASCALS GONE BAD
Before directing Midnight Express, 1978’s feel-good movie about an American trapped and sodomized in a Turkish prison, Alan Parker, inspired by his own family, gave the kiddie world his first feature film, 1976’s musical Bugsy Malone. The movie is filmed in the U.K. and set in Prohibition-era Chicago, and its entire cast is child actors 16 and younger who play flapper girls with kewpie-doll voices and midget mobsters with penciled mustaches and names like Fizzy and Knuckles, including rival bosses Dandy Dan and Fat Sam (John Cassisi, a chubby Brooklyn kid plucked from obscurity). They sing and fight in the streets and in Fat Sam’s speakeasy, and in the film’s finale, which culminates in a giant pie fight — cream pies, not bullets, were used. A pre–Happy Days Scott Baio was cast as head henchman Bugsy, while a post–Taxi Driver Jodie Foster played the tough-talking main dame Tallulah, who got all the film’s best lines: “I like my men at my feet.” Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Sun., June 7, 11 a.m.; free. (310) 443-7000.

—Siran Babayan

 

MONDAY, JUNE 8

Talk

THE NANCI GRIFFITH SHOW
If you caught the always-lovely Nanci Griffith at the Acoustic Music Festival on the Santa Monica Pier yesterday, you won’t want to miss this super-rare chance to hear the country-folk singer/songwriter speak about her swoon-worthy new album, The Loving Kind, at the Grammy Museum. The museum’s new series, called “The Drop,” puts artists in a chair on the Grammy Sound Stage for a little interview about the creative process, followed by questions from you, the well-prepared, reverential audience. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., dwntwn.; Mon., June 8, 8 p.m.; $14.95. (213) 745-6800.

—L.M.

 

TUESDAY, JUNE 9

Books

ORDEAL OR MOVIE DEAL
Every kid wants to have “Fun Dad.” Norman Ollestad had “Extreme Fun Dad.” From the age of 3, little Norman was surfing, skiing on the competitive circuit when he really would rather have been riding bikes with other kids his age in his own neighborhood. Then the chartered Cessna he was on with his father, a former child star and FBI agent, crashed in the San Gabriel Mountains in a blizzard, leaving only 11-year-old Norman alive. He managed to survive a nine-hour ordeal descending a mountain, and tells his story in Crazy for the Storm. “The actual hours spent writing were not as hard as the aftermath each day,” Ollestad says of the creative process for this difficult memory. “After working, my throat would get sore and my head would ache with a low-grade feverlike feeling. I forced myself to exercise — surf or swim or bike — then I tried to take a nap. I did a lot of yoga every morning to prepare me for the writing ahead. Now that the book is finished, behind me, I feel a sense of weight having shed from me — a post-catharsis lightness.” Had the crash never happened, he says, “I would have probably gone to an Ivy League college — as my dad had wanted — and be active in politics. My dad and I would still be surfing and skiing together, though.” Yes, a movie is in the making. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Tues., June 9, 7 p.m. (310) 659-3110.

—L.M.

 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10

Student Festival

GO BRUINS!
You want to see a wide offering of films of the “I saw it first” variety? Plus see new work in the fields of costume, scenic, lighting and sound design? Look no further than the 2009 UCLA Festival of New Creative Work.It runs June 5-13 and offers separate programs in animation (Sat., June 6); a design showcase (Sat., June 6); feature films (Mon., June 8); and staged readings of award-winning screenplays (Wed., June 10; also honoring Milk’s Dustin Lance Black). It’s all free and you can thank me later. UCLA; June 5-13. For full schedule: legacy.tft.ucla.edu/festival.

—L.M.

 

Tea Time

IT’S HIGH TIME!
If you’re bored with metal devil fingers — or perhaps you’re just that lazy — hoist that pinky high for the Langham, Huntington Hotel & Spa’s afternoon tea. It’ll cost just 15 cents today (one shilling and sixpence for the more evolved time-travelers among us), reflecting the 1865 prices inherent to the London original of the hotel chain. Served that day will be scones with Devonshire cream (clotted cream made with only the finest, unpasteurized milk), strawberries with Grand Marnier sauce, chocolate-mousse tortes and, of course, the obligatory panoply of teas from around the world. Just in case your schadenfreude hasn’t married your trusty lifelong sense of cynicism, there’ll be people wandering the grounds and dining room in period costume, so be sure to point to the sky and say, “Eeeyah, iron bird!” when they engage you in their gently dull Victorian repartee. Whether taken on the terrace or in the lobby lounge, which boasts a rather stellar view of San Marino rivaled only by the stellar views of San Marino, Italy, it’s a tradition that exhumes lost values of grace, poise, manners and hew-mah — priceless. Langham, Huntington Hotel & Spa, 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena; Wed., June 10, 2 p.m. (626) 568-3900.

—David Cotner

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 11

Film

THE SECRET IS OUT!
Just in case you thought the only balls secret policemen held were the ones they’d severed from unfortunate prisoners, here come two world premieres of the latest episodes in the long-running and deeply respected Secret Policeman’s Ball live concert-film series. Tonight’s debut sees Neil Innes and co-creator Martin Lewis introducing the cycle, which includes Remember the Secret Policeman’s Ball (2004), commemorating the 25th anniversary of the series. Previously a candidate for incessant airings on cable (along with War Games, Bill Cosby: Himself and First Blood), this latest installment is a retrospective featuring Monty Python’s John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, along with Rowan Atkinson, Bob Geldof and Sting, all reminiscing about what it was all about to begin with — namely, Amnesty International’s research and prevention of world human-rights abuses. Bob Geldof went on to spread the meme through the larger rock community with Band Aid, which begat Live Aid, which begat Farm Aid and scads of other benefit concerts working on the same principle. Also showing: The Secret Policeman Rocks (2009), celebrating the series’ 30th anniversary, so expect the usual perfunctory brilliance from Jeff Beck, Peter Gabriel, David Gilmour, Phil Collins and Kate “Let’s Not Beat Around The” Bush. Charity fatigue? Not with this lot rocking the way they do. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs., June 11, 9:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 466-FILM or www.egyptiantheatre.com, www.secretpolicemansball.com.

—D.C.


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