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Sex, Lies and Videotape

Maybe leave the kids at home for this circus. See Thursday.
Brion Topolski

GAY PRIDE WEEK

June Is Out & Proud All Over!
L.A.’s gay community isn’t going to let a little setback like mean ol’ Proposition 8 spoil the party. And what a party the Los Angeles LGBT Pride Festival is. Here’s a handy guide that’ll fit in the hip pocket of your shorty shorts, or whatever you’re planning to wear. (Do leather chaps have pockets?) And we know you’ve already planned your outfit. First things first: Tickets for the two-day festival are cheaper if you buy them online — so do that while your curlers are setting.

The weekend kicks off with Dyke March Rally & Lesbian Visibility After Hours Party. After a presentation of the Third Annual Melissa Etheridge Award, vagitarians and their pals will take to the streets to celebrate all things lesbian. Well, maybe not all things. The march ends at a free party with live music, held on the festival grounds. Starts at intersection of Santa Monica & San Vicente blvds., W. Hlywd.; Fri., June 12, 7:30 p.m.; free. www.weholvc.org.

Is it really necessary to have four separate dance areas for the L.A. Pride Festival? Apparently, it is. You have your choice of the country, Latin, soul and “circuit” pavilions. That’s in addition to the big entertainment stage. Please wear a fabric that breathes, because you are going to be one sweaty dance maniac. Take a break at “Erotic City,” site of the Mr. Christopher Street West Leather Contest, where you can buy items you may need later. Families can gather at the tropical rainforest–themed David Gamboa-Brandhorst Children’s Garden (named for the L.A. boy who died with his two dads on September 11), for a moon bounce, crafts and snacks. The main stage features a slew of singers. Fantasia and Deborah Cox headline on Saturday. And on Sunday, it’s Terri Nunn & Berlin. We can only imagine the undulating flesh when the band kicks into “Sex (I’m A ...).”

Festival organizers promise a surprise act to finish off the weekend. Could it be Liza? Could it? Two entrances: San Vicente Blvd. at both Santa Monica Blvd. and Melrose Ave.; Sat., June 13, noon-mid., Sun., June 14, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; $20, $15 in advance, children under 12 free. (323) 969-8302 or lapride.org.

Sunday morning, it’s the 2009 L.A. Frontrunners Run/Walk for LGBT Pride, with 5K and 10K runs, as well as a 5K Race Walk, the annual Kids’ Race and the Ultra Pride Run. If those are too strenuous, come out and cheer them on. Proceeds benefit Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing. Starting line at West Hollywood City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Sun., June 14, 7:45 a.m. (5K); 8:15 a.m. (10K); 9:30 a.m. (Kids’ Race). To register: www.lafrontrunners.com.

WeHo’s Halloween street procession may have more false eyelashes and glitter, but the L.A. Pride Parade should be a raucous and emotional display. More than 400,000 people are expected to cheer on representatives of the LGBT community “on behalf of legal equality and social acceptance for all members of the human race.” This year’s grand marshal is Chelsea Handler, who once said, “I have no idea why gay men love me, but I would have to assume it’s because they know how much I love the gays! Everyone needs a good gay man in their life.” Santa Monica Blvd., from Crescent Heights Blvd. to the main entrance of the L.A. Pride Festival at San Vicente Blvd., W. Hlywd.; 11 a.m.; free.

—Libby Molyneaux

 

FRIDAY, JUNE 12

FILM

Albert Brooks Is a Soulless Director
Comedies tend not to be hailed for their cultural prescience, but writer-director Albert Brooks’ very funny 1979 feature debut, Real Life, is perhaps most celebrated because of its eerie ability to foresee the self-obsessed reality-show world we now inhabit. But the film’s uncanny skill with prophecy doesn’t end there. Itself a parody of the 1973 PBS documentary series An American Family, which chronicled the daily life of a Santa Barbara clan, Real Life stars Albert Brooks as a soulless Hollywood director named Albert Brooks who has the grandiose notion of spending a year filming the Yeagers, an ordinary Phoenix family headed by Charles Grodin’s veterinarian father. Brooks insists that he wants to capture the authenticity of regular American life, but the presence of his cameras quickly starts to warp the Yeagers’ psychological health — and, even worse for Brooks, makes them boring. The superficial parallels to contemporary society’s fascination with reality programming are obvious, but Real Life’s echoes also reverberate elsewhere in popular culture. The film’s evisceration of suburban mediocrity has become the thematic bread and butter of many an American indie. Its skewering of Hollywood studio buzzwords predates The Player, its commentary on the fallacy of “reality” filmmaking helped birth The Office, and Brooks’ slimy fictional self predicts the lovably egomaniacal doppelgänger hosts of The Larry Sanders Show and The Colbert Report. Brooks is perfection as the shallow, self-centered ringmaster who gleefully oversees the destruction of the Yeagers, but not before he learns a valuable life lesson that’s powered a new generation of reality-show barons: “There’s no law that says, ‘Start real, can’t end fake.’” Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.; Fri., June 12, 8 p.m.; $14. (323) 655-2510. —Tim Grierson

 

 

FILM

Hooray for Holy Land!
The Israel Film Festival
celebrates its 24th year as the largest showcase of Israeli cinema in the United States. Continuing through June 18, it features more than 30 films, documentaries and TV dramas, offering filmgoers the rare chance to see movies — in their U.S. and West Coast premieres — such as Lost Islands (June 13, 14, 17 and 18), Israel’s highest-grossing and most honored film last year. The festival hosts an encore presentation of the Academy Award–nominated Waltz With Bashir (June 15), as well as Legend in the Dunes (June 16), in honor of the centennial celebrations of the founding of Tel Aviv. From filmmaker Yaakov Gross, Legend showcases the 40 dramatic years which have defined the once-small neighborhood that grew into one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. Fine Arts Theatre, 8557 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Laemmle Fallbrook 7, 6731 Fallbrook Ave., West Hills. www.israelfilmfestival.com. —Steven Zeller

 

COMEDY

The Angry Divorcé
“When you’re an asshole and your wife leaves you, there’s a part of you that thinks, ‘Good for her. That took a lot of guts to leave me,’” reasons beleaguered standup, author and Air America Media host Marc Maron. “I’m a little jealous. I’ve been trying to leave me for years. I had her convinced that this intense mixture of neediness, hostility and fear of abandonment was passion. Now, the jig is up.” Really, who would ever want to break from a marital union so blessed with unpredictability? (Maron’s second wife would.) Scorching the Earth is a one-man show that promises the official verbiage, “explores the concepts of love, need, hate, sex, anger, as well as the choice between humility and bitterness. And cats . lots of cats.” As a social critic, Maron has taken the world to task over the course of three albums and numerous specials brimming with cerebral, unapologetic ire. When he targets his own emotional shortcomings, however, the result is honest and cathartic. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hlywd.; Fri., June 12, 8 p.m.; $8. (323) 908-8702. —Julie Seabaugh

 

SATURDAY, JUNE 13

CONVENTION

Bongs, Schlongs and Other Phallic Things
Doobies or boobies? This weekend, you don’t have to choose. Under one roof, you can hit (pot humor!) both Erotica L.A. and the THC Expo. At the former, tons of porn actors (yes, I call them “actors”) will be on hand (not on your hand, sir). Best name: Faye Runaway. Also, the Pleasure Chest presents sex seminars. Sample topic: “Expanding Your Orgasm: Backdoor Basics and Beyond With Amy Sung.” At the latter, you can listen to talks by Aaron McGruder (“Boondocks” comic), Julia Butterfly Hill and many others, and have a really hard time choosing your new bong. Both at Los Angeles Convention Center, 1101 N. Figueroa St., dwntwn. Erotica L.A.: Fri.-Sun., June 12-14; $35; three-day pass $75; www.erotica-la.com. THC Expo: Sat.-Sun., June 13-14; $10; www.thcexpo.com. —Libby Molyneaux

 

FILM

The Other Marilyn
Though adult-film icon Marilyn Chambers is no longer with us (she died in April at age 56), her legend lives on as the embodiment (and what a body!) of a seminal moment in the history of pornography (yes, I said seminal): Chambers starred in Behind the Green Door, the Mitchell Brothers’ landmark 1972 XXX film, which set the ball(s?) rolling for porn’s evolution into mainstream entertainment. The pervs behind the Grindhouse Film Festival screen an X-rated Tribute to Marilyn Chambers and her many talents (including but not limited to frenzied fellatio and manic masturbation), as featured in the psychedelic hardcore of Behind the Green Door, 1973’s Resurrection of Eve, and an assortment of trailers and clips. Settle into your seat, unbutton your raincoat and take it all in, slowly, then faster, and with lotion if you like. Special guests include veteran porn director Fred J. Lincoln and adult-entertainment advocate William Margold. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Sat., June 13, mid.; $7. (323) 938-4038. —Derek Thomas

 

DANCE/FILM

Dances With Films
Is it any surprise that the film capital of the world has spawned one of the premier dance-film festivals in the world? The eighth annual Dance Camera West opened downtown last weekend, but moves west this week, erupting in full bloom with its signature blend of eclectic filmed dance screening at intriguing venues all over metro L.A. Start Saturday afternoon at the Skirball Cultural Center with a free showing of the BBC-produced The Dancing Room, capturing the choreography of Kate Flatt, with music by the Hungarian band Muzsikas, then head to Westwood, where UCLA’s Hammer Museum hosts three free screenings, including a documentary on choreographer Jerome Robbins (7 p.m.). Sunday at the Hammer features four short films commissioned by Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center (2 p.m.) and documentaries on choreographers Akram Khan and Emio Greco (6 p.m.). Next week, head to Hollywood for the Choreography Media Honors panel discussion and artists’ reception, then to the Valley for a screening of Latin American dance films. The festival concludes at Griffith Park’s Autry Museum, with dance films on First Nation and Native American dance. For festival details: www.dancecamerawest.com. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Bel Air; Sat., June 13, 2:30 p.m.; free. (310) 440-4500 or www.skirball.org. Also at UCLA Hammer Museum, Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd., Sat., June 13, 7 p.m.; Sun., June 14, 2 & 6 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000 or www.hammer.ucla.edu. —Ann Haskins

 

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 14

COMEDY

Would You Like Fries With That?
“I like rice. Rice is great when you’re hungry and you want two thousand of something.” That’s Mitch Hedberg, and that’s the kind of joke that secured his status as a master of comedy simultaneously insightful and completely absurd. Hedberg’s gone now, taken too soon by cruel gods who obviously didn’t get the joke, but Cinefamily celebrates his memory with Mitch Hedberg Tribute Night, an evening of video clips of rare live performances and TV appearances, his unreleased MTV pilot, The Mitch Hedberg Project, and remembrances by friends and fellow comedians. The night’s highlight: Los Enchiladas, the 1999 feature film Hedberg wrote and directed, about slackers at a Mexican restaurant abandoned by management and left to their own devices. Speaking of food: “Every McDonald’s commercial ends the same way: ‘Prices and participation may vary.’ I want to open a McDonald’s and not participate in anything. ‘Cheeseburgers? Nope! We got spaghetti ... and blankets.’” Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.; Sun., June 14, 8 p.m.; $14. (323) 655-2510. —D.T.

 

FOOD FESTIVAL

End Hunger
Whatever you choose to do today, beware of nasty Gay Pride–related traffic and street closures in West Hollywood. Culver Shitty — ha! I meant City! — is probably safe. Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Los Angeles is a deliciously worthy destination. With more than 40 restaurants and mixologists offering sublime snacks, tastes and sips, you could easily be in a food coma before the sun goes down. Chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken lead the pack of foodists cooking up specialties, and you’ll be helping to end childhood hunger in the U.S. Media Park, Venice Blvd. & Culver Blvd., Culver City; Sun., June 14, 1-4 p.m.; $125, $115 in advance. (877) 26-TASTE or www.tasteofthenation.org. —L.M.

 

MONDAY, JUNE 15

CLASSICAL

Dido and Aeneas Crash L.A.
At the famed Indiana University School of Music, where I was a piano major many years ago, no opera could surpass Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas for rude jokes. First of all, as you might expect, all the voice majors referred to it as “Dildo and Anus.” As if that weren’t bad enough, the most famous aria happened to be “When I Am Laid in Earth,” which of course got shortened to “When I Am Laid.” Add the fact that the work was heavily influenced by the baroque opera Venus and Adonis, by composer John Blow ... who could make all this up?

The story of Dido, Queen of Carthage, and her doomed romance with shipwrecked Trojan refugee Aeneas has fascinated composers ever since it appeared in Virgil’s Aeneid. Prior to Purcell, Francesco Cavalli based his 1641 baroque opera La Didone around the ancient tale, and now the notoriously eccentric, outrageously talented Wooster Group brings its acclaimed version of La Didone to REDCAT. Combining 17th-century aesthetics with a big hit of future shock, the stunning production is inspired by both Cavalli’s opera and whacked-out Italian horror meister Mario Bava’s 1965 sci-fi cult film Planet of the Vampires, in which the spaceship Argos crashes on the planet Aura and its astronauts encounter hostile zombies. When La Didone premiered several months ago in New York, The New York Times went gaga over its “mind-blowing pyrotechnics, visual, aural and intellectual.” The production excels in both artistry and irony, as lutes share the stage with electric guitars, and the supremely talented, space-suited cast infuses surreal planetary landscapes with the graceful grandeur of the baroque. One thing’s for sure: If Dido gets laid, it won’t be on Earth. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., L.A.; Tues.-Sat., 8:30 p.m., Sun., 7 p.m., through June 21 (no perf June 18); $40-$55, student discounts available. (213) 237-2800 or www.redcat.org. —Mary Beth Crain

 

 

READING

More Proof: Making Fun of People Can Lead to a Fulfilling Career
Like most things in L.A. that are really good, Celebrity Autobiography: In Their Own Words readings from celebrity autobiographies — split for New York City. The show’s creator, Eugene Pack, brings it back for a special one-night-only performance benefiting Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, with guest readers Craig Bierko, Matthew Perry, Carrie Fisher, Fred Willard and Ryan Reynolds. “We have added such authors as the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus and Eminem’s The Way I Am — which has turned into a Hamletesque soliloquy,” says Pack. “Of course, some of our favorites are epic ensemble pieces which combine the autobiographies of Burt Reynolds, Loni Anderson and Burt’s secretary Elaine Blake Hall. We juxtapose three memoirs to tell one story. And, of course, the combined memoirs of Eddie Fisher, Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Reynolds — which we refer to as ‘Rashomon and on and on and on ...’

“The material is endless,” Pack continues, “but the classic readings remain, and everyone does it differently — and hilariously. For example, Star Jones’ autobiography has been read by Joy Behar, Bruce Vilanch and The Sopranos’ Steve Schirripa. Who knew such material could be interpreted in so many different ways?

“We love when we read from the memoir To the Stars by Star Trek’s George Takei and find out he’s in the audience ... laughing! It’s also a blast when Vanessa Williams is in the crowd and winds up jumping onstage to read from Ivana Trump’s book.” Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd.; Mon., June 15, 8 p.m.; $60, $120 VIP. For tickets: Memeharry@llu.edu or (909) 558-3560. —L.M.

 

TUESDAY, JUNE 16

ART

Stephen Glassman at LNR Warner Center
White Tail Plaza
is the name of sculptor Stephen Glassman’s latest opus. Glassman’s creations — sprawling and epic as they tend to be — have appeared everywhere from the Paris Opera to the Moscow Circus, and spectacle is part and parcel of the work. Yet it’s a bracing, humanist kind of spectacle, the kind that actually draws the spectator into the frame instead of alienating emotional connection due to the sense of scale. Coming to local attention in the ’90s with his skeletal bamboo constructs, placed in spaces annihilated by earthquake, fire and uprising, Glassman now turns his focus on transforming corporate workspaces into something a little less square and inhuman. In White Tail Plaza, Glassman dazzles in slo-mo with two islands that glow from within as the sun goes down, arched steel reminiscent of bird flight or the gentle waving of grasses that once spilled over the banks of the nearby Los Angeles River to merge with the land of Warner Center itself — the sum effect being transcendence and reminiscence. “Whom the gods notice, they destroy,” it’s been said, although it’s likely that the hour or two it takes to revel in Glassman’s creations might stay the hand of heaven. LNR Warner Center, near Intuit’s Innovative Merchant Solutions Building, 21215 Burbank Blvd., Woodland Hills; artist’s reception, Tues., June 16, 5 p.m.; free. (213) 840-1201. —David Cotner

 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17

TELEVISION

The Doctor Is In With the In Crowd
What television character said, “Nobel invented dynamite. I won’t accept his blood money”? If you answered “Gregory House,” you already have your tickets for The Creative Process: Inside House. The show’s star, Hugh Laurie, and executive producers David Shore and Katie Jacobs, along with other panelists, will “explore why bad bedside manners make good television, even after more than 100 episodes.” Paley Center for Media, 465 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills; Wed., June 17, 7 p.m.; $25. (310) 786-1091. —L.M.

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 18

CIRCUS

The Greatest Show on Earth
Never has running away to join the circus been more fetching an option — modern circus folk can be sexy! Exciting! Well-adjusted! Cirque Berzerk is in town, with seven performances per weekend during its run at the soon-to-be-closed State Historic Park. Founded in 2005 at Burning Man, the troupe boasts a cast and crew of 150, including very sassy acrobats and aerialists, astonishing men on stilts, and nauseating contortionists and magicians who’ll make your sense of propriety disappear. Enjoy the nightly wrap parties in the Berzerk Lounge, the seething/seedy stylings of Vaud & the Villains, the voluptuousness, the surreality and the fire, fire, fire. You get a 10 percent discount if you come by public transport, and a part of merchandising sales goes to Marriage Equality Rights in California. Kids 9 to 90 are welcome — but parental discretion is advised! Los Angeles State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring St., L.A.; Thurs., 8:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 7 & 10 p.m., Sun., 5 & 8 p.m., through July 5; $25-$80. (213) 840 1201 or www.cirqueberzerk.com. —D.C.


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