Whoa, Nellie! You're the Best!
FRIDAY, October 5
What’s that smell? Must be Tarfest! Museum Row is the place to be for a big fat weekend of film, music and art, thanks to the Miracle Mile Players. Few people know just who these players are — but they can be trusted for their superb curating talents in experimental film, outdoor concerts, provocative art installations and loads more. The event’s finale, “Sunday in the Park,” features lots of hands-on activities for both young and old, brought to you by the Korean Cultural Center, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, LACMA, the Natural History Museum, Zimmer Children’s Museum, Scratch DJ Academy and loads more. “Tongue & Groove” exhibit creator Conrad Romo presents a program of short stories, poetry and personal essays between such bands as Bardo, Stewboss and Los Abandoned. At locations along Wilshire Blvd.; Fri.-Sun., Oct. 5-7; all events free. For complete schedule: www.tarfest.com.
SATURDAY, October 6
How to get our attention: Send a press release like this: “This October, Jesus cleans up West Hollywood .?.?. using the real scripts from the Abundant Life Christian Center .?.?. in a haunted Acapulco restaurant.” Add Bill Maher and Richard Belzer and you have the all-new Hell House, a walk-through exhibit that this year adds the Lesbian Slumber Party, Tramp’s Trap and Witchcraft Role Play to the hellfire. The “show” is based on real hell houses begun by the Rev. Jerry Falwell and continued by Abundant Life Church pastor Keenan Roberts as a Halloween alternative to show young people what awaits them if they choose “abortion, adultery, homosexuality, drinking and other things unless they repent and end the behavior.” Also, “Please wear washable/comfortable clothing as fake blood and props may be spewed.” Acapulco, 385 N. La Cienega Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat. thru the end of Oct., starting 8:30 p.m. and running every 15 minutes through 10:45 p.m.; $22.50. (323) 960-7822 or www.hollywoodhellhouse.com.
SUNDAY, October 7
“How did he do that?” is the question you’ll be asking all evening at It’s Magic 2007, a celebration of the 51st anniversary of the famed Magic Castle, where men — literally, don’t look for any broads on this bill — have been practicing the arts of hocus-pocus, sleight of hand and the ever-popular abracadabra since it opened on January 2, 1963. Host Jason Alexander — who made his career disappear, ba-dump-bah! — leads a pack that includes Carl “The Great” Balentine, Bruce Bloch, Eric Buss, Jason Byrne, Lee Grabel, Neil Patrick Harris, Jay Johnson, Ray Pierce, Anthony Reed, Rick Thomas, Fielding West (great name), Steve Valentine and the Amazing Jonathan. The Kodak Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sun., Oct. 7, 7 p.m.; $29.50-$102. (213) 480-3232.
MONDAY, October 8
Remember when you and I were at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and how much we all loved the thriller We Own the Night, starring Oscar-nominated Joaquin Phoenix, Oscar-nominated Mark Wahlberg and Oscar winner Robert Duvall? Good times.* Now we can see it again without the riffraff, i.e. the public, as part of Stephen Farber’s Reel Talk series, with film editor John Axelrad as guest speaker. Wadsworth Theatre, on the Veterans Administration grounds, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., W.L.A.; Mon., Oct. 8, 7 p.m.; $20. (310) 479-3003.
TUESDAY, October 9
You didn’t get Morrissey tickets, and you have no interest in High School Musical: The Ice Tour at the Sports Arena. (Damn! Morrissey really wanted to go!) Instead, stick to something that’s truly best of L.A., which is definitely Tuesday nights at Upright Citizens Brigade. Scott Aukerman and B.J. Porter’s Comedy Death Ray regularly brings out the likes of Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, David Cross, Jim Gaffigan, Sarah Silverman, other names you’ve heard of and some you undoubtedly soon will. Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hlywd.; Tues., Oct. 9, 8:30 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702.
WEDNESDAY, October 10
There will be no smoking or drinking at Smoke and Sympathy: A Toast to Mad Men. The show, which follows Madison Avenue executives during the advertising industry’s golden age in the ’60, boasts — make that coughs up — more smoking and imbibing scenes than a Godard retrospective. Stars Joe Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, John Slattery and Christina Hendricks, along with executive producer/series creator Matthew Weiner, will all be there without that smoky blue halo we’re used to seeing on the tee-vee. The Paley Center for Media (formerly, and more accurately, known as the Museum of Television & Radio), 465 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills; Wed., Oct. 10, 7 p.m.; $25. (310) 786-1025.
THURSDAY, October 11
The best album in the world this week is Nellie McKay’s new Obligatory Villagers. It’s one part Broadway musical, one part social-manners-bashing, one part sophisticated silliness. To wit (seriously, the gal is fucking funny): pairing “Feminists don’t have a sense of humor” with “They have a tumor on their funny bone.” That’s only the beginning. Her wordplay is worthy of Cole Porter, her delivery coy and assured, and she can play piano like Liberace. It’s easy to imagine a song like “Identity Theft” as a scene from a new form of musical-comedy theater (the type abortively invented by Andy Prieboy — speaking of which: An-deeeee? Annnn-deeeee!!!!). And how can you not love a performer who’s late to her Largo gig because she’s at a local Kinko’s madly copying documents pertaining to health-insurance laws to pass out to the audience? Squeeze yourself into little Largo, whatever the price; she plays two nights. Largo, 432 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.; Thurs.-Fri., Oct. 11-12, 9 p.m.; $20. (323) 852-1073.
?*Oops, that was Sharon Stone, not me, and Harrison Ford, not you.
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.