FRIDAY, December 12
Hey, film snob — yeah, you with the tiny glasses and pasty skin and the basset hounds called “Pauline” and “Kael.” Nice messenger bag. Really impress your afilmionado friends after attending the Los Angeles Taiwanese Film Festival. Taiwan has produced such directors as Ang Lee, Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Edward Yang. The fest features the Taiwanese Academy Award contender Cape No. 7, along with documentary and feature films exploring “a new take on an old martial arts film, where breakdancing replaces kung fu in a Taiwanese street-dance/breakdance competition; a glimpse at the lives of Chiang Kai-shek’s displaced soldiers; the estrangement of young lesbians in contemporary Taiwan; Asia’s “King of Pop” Jay Chou in an epic romance about a piano prodigy; the design and creation of the fastest-running solar-powered car for a 3,000-kilometer race in Australia; creating new spawning grounds for squids; and a documentary about Taiwan’s Golden Dance Age of the 1920s and ’30s.” All free except for Cape No. 7. James Bridges Theatre, 1409 Melnitz Hall, UCLA, Westwood; Fri., Dec. 12-Sun., Dec. 14. (310) 206-8013 or www.tufusa.org.
SUNDAY, December 14
Mother on Fire author Sandra Tsing Loh is on a tear in the name of public schools, getting us to laugh while raising attention to the how-the-hell-did-we-let-them-get-this bad state of Los Angeles public schools. Witness the Burning Moms Gala Featuring The Burning Momologues. “The Burning Moms are a guerrilla squad of L.A. public school mothers outraged by both continual California education budget cuts (the eighth largest global economy, California is 48th out of 50 states in per-pupil public school funding) and, on the other hand, the sheer bureaucratic waste of the LAUSD ($79 million this year alone has been budgeted for ‘consultants’). Meanwhile, it’s California’s children who are being squeezed — the only group that has no lobby. Most days it feels like only the Burning Moms’ burnt snickerdoodles are keeping our children in P.E., art, music, etc.” This benefit for the Moms Clubs of L.A. and for public school’s Burning Moms features The Burning Momologues (think Vagina Monologues but for moms) with nonmom John C. Reilly, gay antimom Marga Gomez, California poet laureate Carol Muske Dukes performing a special mystical “Ode to California Mothers,” and Wendie Malick. Largo at the Coronet Theatre, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; Sun., Dec. 14, 6:30-7:15 p.m. Martinis and Magnets ($10 donation for M&M only); 7:30-9 p.m. Burning Moms Gala/Burning Momologues ($28 whole evening). (310) 855 0530.
Hate kids and don’t give a crap about their future? Same with blues/jazz legend Bessie Smith. Not really, but you can still enjoy Christmas With Bessie. A variety of spelunking musicians, including Killsonic, The Cathair Ensemble, Dorian Wood and Smells Like Flan, pay tribute to Smith in a “modern vaudeville” atmosphere (I think that means there will be arty types people there). Edgar Varela Fine Arts, 542 S. Alameda St., downtown; Sun., Dec. 14, 7 p.m.; $5. (213) 494-7608.
MONDAY, December 15
Be the first in your gated community to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the new David Fincher film starring Brad Pitt. No, Mr. Pitt probably won’t attend the screening, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up for him. The screening, part of Reel Talk With Stephen Farber, concludes with a talk by writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood. Wadsworth Theatre, Veterans Administration grounds, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Mon., Dec. 15, 7 p.m.; $20. (213) 365-3500.
TUESDAY, December 16
Who said, “I was street smart, but unfortunately the street was Rodeo Drive”? Love that Carrie Fisher. She should be some sort of honorary L.A. something-or-other. She signs her new memoir, Wishful Drinking, in which she shares tales of growing up as “a product of “Hollywood in-breeding.” Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hollywood.; Tues., Dec. 16, 7 p.m.; free, book is $21. (310) 659-3110.
WEDNESDAY, December 17
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This week’s cut-and-paste special is from the gals of The Apple Sisters’ Holidoozy Christ-mess Special. “There’s a war going on, food is being rationed, and the economy is in the tank.” Sound familiar? It’s 1943! Well, turn that frown upside down, pal. The singin’ and dancin’ Apple Sisters present their Holidoozy Christ-mess Special — a throwback to the days of big bands, fireside chats and modest product endorsement (sponsored by Pink Wine — the mysteriously bubbly treat for the stressed-out woman). Candy, Cora and Seedy Apple entertain the troops in three-part harmony with their favorite Christmas tunes: “No Room at the Inn” teaches the real lesson of Christmas (Mary and Joseph should have made reservations), “Make it Snow NOW!” — less of a Christmas wish, more of a Christmas demand — and “Father Christmas Is My Boyfriend.” The evening ends with a visit from Father Christmas himself, who’s got a belly full of booze and a head full of jelly. The Apple Sisters promise to be messy, to be funny, and to look great in dresses. See you at the show, sailors! We just love seamen! Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; Wed., Dec. 17, 8 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702
THURSDAY, December 18
Sit ’n’ Spin, the monthly personal-essay show run by Jill Soloway, Maggie Rowe and Jaclyn Lafer, features a bunch of witty souls all on a holiday theme. Taylor Negron, who is readying his off-Broadway show, The Unbearable Lightness of Being Taylor Negron, tips us off on the new piece he will be reading, “A California Gothic Christmas.” Through the magic of computers, he says, “I have written a story about my famous cousin Chuck Negron, the lead vocalist from Three Dog Night, who came to our house on Xmas when I was in the seventh grade and played his new song ‘Joy to the World,’ and when the lyric ‘Jeremia was a bull frog’ came on, my grandmother began to dance with my pet monkey — the perfect California Gothic Xmas. There are also Charles Manson references.” I’m sure we can all relate. Also with Ron Zimmerman, Gary Shapiro and C. Brian Smith. Comedy Central Stage, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Thurs., Dec. 18, 8 p.m.; free, resv. required. (213) 960-5519.