FRIDAY, January 11
“I can’t explain it, but spiritually it makes sense — though I don’t understand how it does make sense.” Okay, so maybe Kevin McDonald isn’t known for his pithy quotes, but the Kids in the Hall vet is presenting his one-man show, Hammy and the Kids, in which he talks about his alcoholic father (“Hammy”) and how the Kids in the Hall came to be “the Kids.” He sings, though not well. Sounds like a hoot. The Steve Allen Theater at the Center for Inquiry–West, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., L. A.; Fri., Jan. 11, 8 p.m.; $15. (323) 666-4268 or (800) 595-4TIX.
SATURDAY, January 12
How L.A. Invented the Backyard Barbecue is the title of a lecture by Charles Perry, L.A. Times food writer and president of the Culinary Historians of Southern California, who traces the history of the barbecue to the 16th century but emphasizes that it was here, in the 1930s, that outdoor grilling came into its own. I know some Texans who may take issue with this theory and who may be protesting outside with sharpened grilling tools. Los Angeles Public Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., dwntwn.; Sat., Jan. 12, 10:30 a.m.; free — includes refreshments! (213) 228-7202.
SUNDAY, January 13
Its proper name is The 17th Annual International Los Angeles Photographic Art Exposition, but you can just call it photo L.A. Now in the airport-hangar-like Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport, the fest can house 35,000 square feet of photo art, including digital and video works. LACMA hosts a “Conversations With the Artists” series, and a lifetime-achievement award will be presented to Julius Shulman. Santa Monica Airport, Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Jan. 11-12, noon-8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 13, noon-6 p.m.; $20, $30 three-day pass. (323) 932-5846.
The New Shanghai Circus is sold out. Sorry.
MONDAY, January 14
Who said, “Do you think you have a problem when you refer to all alcohol as ‘pain-go-bye-bye juice’?”? If you said Patton Oswalt, you may proceed to try and find a parking space on Fairfax for Patton Oswalt & Friends. Largo, 432 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.; Mon., Jan. 14, 9 p.m.; $5. (323) 852-1073.
TUESDAY, January 15
Lynn Goldsmith, who has photographed every rock star in the universe except maybe two, gets a major exhibit called Lynn Goldsmith: Icons of Rock and the Imagination. And believe me — there’s a shot she did of Robert Plant that did A LOT to my imagination. Sorry, the opening reception on Friday wasn’t open to the general public — how un-rock! — but we common folks can still see the photos of Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Zappa and more, more, more. She even dated Bruce along the way. Man, if she could talk . . . wait, she can. Frank Pictures Gallery, Bergamot Station A-5, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; Tues.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Jan. 10-Feb. 13. (310) 828-0211.
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WEDNESDAY, January 16
With all the fantastic new movies out, how about seeing a fantastic old one? The Apartment, starring Jack Lemmon (stressing out at his best) and Shirley MacLaine (cuter than ever), ain’t a bad way to shake off Sweeney Todd’s blood and gore. AFI at the ArcLight, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Wed., Jan. 16, 8 p.m.; $12. (323) 464-4226.
THURSDAY, January 17
When artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude covered 23 miles of Central Park with saffron-colored flags, people either loved or hated them. Now there’s The Gates, a new HBO documentary directed by Antonio Ferrera, Albert Maysles, David Maysles and Matthew Prinzing to get people talking about whether or not it was art. LACMA presents a free screening, followed by a discussion with the artists. Leo S. Bing Theatre, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Thurs., Jan. 17, 6:30 p. m.; free. (888) 745-7425.