FRIDAY, May 19
The weather’s warming, and it’s shorts season again as Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story returns with the delicious theme “Food Fictions.” Friday’s “Much Ado About Dinner” kicks off the three-day series with Samantha Eggar, Fionnula Flanagan and René Auberjonois reading works by Alice McDermott, V.S. Pritchett and Kenneth Grahame, among others, plus John Lithgow’s sure-to-be-biting rendition of a truly twisted story by Roald Dahl. On Saturday, it’s Christina Pickles and Isaiah Sheffer, and on Sunday, Jane Kaczmarek and Bradley Whitford serve up the prose. The Getty, Harold M. Williams Auditorium; Fri.-Sat., May 19-20, 8 p.m.; Sun., May 21, 3 p.m.; $30, includes reception. (310) 440-7300.
SATURDAY, May 20
Who ya calling NoHo? The area wants soooooo badly to be your number-one artsy-neighborhood destination. Every year, they throw the impressive NoHo Theater & Arts Festival, which gets bigger and better each time. For ’06, they’ve got the Platters, hot Mexican singer Rozenda Bernal, plus scads of exciting dance troupes and theater companies — and of course, arts & crafts, food, amazing chalk depictions of vintage King Kong posters, a carnival and shopping. Lankershim & Magnolia blvds., North Hollywood; Sat.-Sun., May 20-21, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; free. (310) 537-4240; nohoartsdistrict.com.
SUNDAY, May 21
Wicket, wicket good, Or, if you prefer, something wicket this way comes. Just remember: “The order of play is according to the color of the ball and the order it is in the colors on each mallet.” If that makes any sense, it’s time to put on your dress whites for the annual Hollyhock Croquet Classic. Come dressed in a 1920s costume and enjoy a few games and a picnic. Hollyhock House and Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., noon-3 p.m.; $35, includes croquet match, tea, light refreshments and tour. (626) 254-1014.
As of press time, you could buy a single floor ticket to Madonna for $350. The Forum, Prairie & Manchester aves., Inglewood; Sun., Tues & Wed., May 21, 23 & 24, 8 p.m.; $350. (213) 480-3232.
MONDAY, May 22
“Remember when you were considered an environmentalist when you didn’t throw junk out the car window? I sure do miss that simpler, happier time.” Musings like that are exactly why we love Paula Poundstone. The last time I saw her perform, she did not stop for two and a half hours — making her the Bruce Springsteen in endurance of comedy shows. The Orpheum Theater, 842 S. Broadway, downtown; Mon., May 22, 8 p.m.; $15. (213) 480-3232.
TUESDAY, May 23
Warning: Audience members have been known to leap out of their seats and start doing the twist or the pony during Hairspray. Please note, these people are not professionals and are not inviting you to dance with them. If you must also get up and dance, be aware that some audience members have sneaked in plastic cups filled with wine and would appreciate you not twisting or ponying and causing them to spill. Thank you. The Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6 p.m.; May 23 thru June 4; $25-$68. (213) 365-3500.
WEDNESDAY, ?May 24
The one and only time I saw Joan Rivers, she was being presented with the Jack Benny Award for comedy at UCLA in 1983. Upon receiving the award, she took one look at it and threw it on the ground. Yeah, Joan Rivers is not that likable. But she is among comedy’s pioneering female comics. “I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking,” she once said, defending her barbs, such as, “A woman went to a plastic surgeon and asked him to make her like Bo Derek. He gave her a lobotomy.” But at least she can joke about herself: “I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.” The Orpheum Theater, 842 S. Broadway, downtown; Wed., May 24, 8 p.m.; $15. (213) 480-3232.
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As of press time, you can probably score a scalper ticket to watch Madonna from the loge for a few hundred bucks. Maybe. See Sunday.
THURSDAY, May 25
Identi-Palooza: Comedy Project 2006, where comics take a good look at themselves, kicks off a series of performances of, in the words of Un-Cabaret founder Beth Lapides, “individuals with compelling, idiosyncratic comic points of view to illuminate the things that really do make us unique — and the things that connect us to each other.” Okay, maybe that doesn’t sound all that funny, but with names like Kevin Rooney (Politically Incorrect), Cindy Chupack (Sex and the City), Rob Cohen (The Simpsons) and Stephen Glass (The Fabulist) — and that’s just this week — Joan Rivers could learn a thing or two. In the coming weeks, Margaret Cho, Julia Sweeney, Greg Behrendt and Kevin Nealon perform. The Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.; Thurs., May 25, 8 p.m.; $15. (866) 468-3399.
Dumbo is 65, making the film the same age as Dick Cheney, Pete Rose and Bob Dylan. A special two-week engagement at the glorious El Capitan Theater kicks off today with a panel discussion featuring songwriter Richard Sherman and Disney animator Eric Goldberg, among others. El Capitan Theater, 6838 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thurs;, May 25, 7 p.m.; runs thru June 7. (800) DISNEY6.