If you need a laugh to start your weekend, or if you want to cool down from your week with some music, L.A. has you covered. This week, Angelenos can take in some jazz, enjoy some Real Housewives parody or attend the inaugural "L.A. Opera Off Grand" event. Attending these events will put a smile on your face or a song in your heart -- or both.
5. Watch What Happens Live
Much like last month's staged reading of the 1936 movie Reefer Madness, The Realest Real Housewives at Upright Citizens Brigade aims to seriously spoof the almost spoof-proof reality TV franchise. The cast, including Casey Wilson (Happy Endings), Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) and June Diane Raphael (web series Burning Love), as well as Danielle Schneider, Jessica St. Clair and Morgan Walsh, will represent series favorites from the Beverly Hills millionaires to the Georgia peaches to the New York socialites. The only rooster in this henhouse, Matt McConkey, will play Bravo network honcho Andy Cohen. We'd advise him to wear a sports cup, but the girls, all dressed in black, will be on their best behavior even as they read lines from the Housewives' most trash-talking, table-flipping and dress-twirling episodes. On a lighter note, the cast will sing their rendition of the single from Real Housewives of Atlanta's Kim Zolciak, "Don't Be Tardy for the Party," which, if they're really real, will sound just as awful as the original. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hlywd.; Fri., May 31, 8 p.m.; $10. (323) 908-8702, ucbtheatre.com. -- Siran Babayan
4. Sunday in the Plaza With Jazz
Move over, California Plaza. There's another (perhaps more exciting?) summer concert venue in L.A., and it's the historic Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. The plaza has been scheduling its free summer concert series, BHCP Live!, for the last four years, and this Sunday, that means partnering with Playboy Jazz to help kick off its 35th annual festival season for a concert by storied composer and jazz vocalist Patrice Rushen, percussionist Ndugu Chancler and jazz ensemble 1+ONE, plus special friends and guests. Stretch your legs after the concert or get in cardio beforehand by strolling the 850,000-square-foot shopping center, which completed its $35 million renovation in 2011. Make sure to stop at the third floor of Macy's, where the nonprofit Museum of African American Art, founded in 1975 by artist/art historian Dr. Samella Lewis, is located. The idea of an art museum inside of a shopping mall might jolt you enough to make you drop your corndog, but that's exactly what makes Baldwin Hills Crenshaw so unique. Each week there are yoga classes on the Macy's bridge and a farmers market. Hey, there's a reason why the Space Shuttle Endeavor made one of its few stops at this plaza en route to the California Science Center, and it wasn't to get a pair of runners at Lady Foot Locker. It's not just a mall, it's a community touchstone, and one that will be filled with sultry jazz come Sunday. Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Baldwin Hills; Sun., June 2, 4 p.m.; free. (323) 290-6636, baldwinhillscrenshawplaza.com/bhcplive. -- Rena Kosnett
3. Sweet Rosa, Bitter Realities
If you haven't yet experienced L.A. Opera and the Broad Stage's co-production of Lee Holdridge and Richard Sparks' new opera, Dulce Rosa, which premiered May 17, there's still time. This ambitious work takes on a difficult theme: a young woman's quest for revenge against the brutal guerrilla who murdered her father, during which she is raped. Based on the Isabel Allende short story "Una Venganza" (An Act of Vengeance), Dulce Rosa explores the complexity of the human condition. Resisting the urge to reduce things to black-and-white, it deals instead with conflicting emotions and political realities that defy simple answers. Set in 1950s South America, in a country torn by civil war, the opera artfully translates Allende's message into music both lyrical and violent, like the lives of the main characters. The talented cast -- which includes Maria Antúnez as Rosa, Greg Fedderly as her father, Senator Orellano, and Alfredo Daza as the guerrilla leader Tadeo -- is well up to the demands of the work, and the mesmerizing video projections by Jenny Okun give the production a powerful immediacy. That this is the inaugural effort of L.A. Opera Off Grand, a new series that takes L.A. Opera out of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and into new spaces with more affordable tickets, is even more appealing. The Broad Stage, Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Mon. & Thurs., June 3 & 6, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., June 9, 4 p.m.; $20-$150. (310)-3200, thebroadstage.com. -- Mary Beth Crain
2. Days of Future Passed
Yes Is the Answer (and Other Prog-Rock Tales) is a funny and endlessly quotable look at one of music's least cool genres, and we can't decide who nails it better: Andrew Mellen, who calls prog rock "the chess club or debate team of rock & roll," or Tom Junod, who calls the era's fans "stoned and semi-smart, sensitive and without any real prospects for getting laid." Editors Marc Weingarten and Tyson Cornell have compiled this collection of testimonials, remembrances and near-scholarly examinations by novelists, former L.A. Weekly scribes and musicians who both profess genuine love and lovingly mock the genre's gentle giants, including Yes, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. Among them: Seth Greenland (Emmy-winning writer-producer of HBO's Big Love), who remembers watching The Nice at Fillmore East when he was 12, and Larry Karaszewski (Golden Globe-winning screenwriter of The People vs. Larry Flynt), who claims to have seen Todd Rundgren close to 100 times. The Ice Storm author Rick Moody even provides a two-part list on the pros and cons of ELP that begins: "They were twats." Tonight, Weingarten and Cornell will read excerpts, followed by more events at Skylight Books (June 13) and Cinefamily (June 15), including screenings of 1977's 45-minute CinemaScope film Genesis in Concert and Styx's 1983 Kilroy Was Here. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Tues., June 4, 7 p.m.; free, book is $24. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. -- Siran Babayan
1. Showdown at the OK Promenade
The third annual Westside Stand-Up Showdown Finals is that rare populist moment in stand-up comedy when the opinions of the audience, industry types and other comedians intersect, resulting in a distilled essence of yuks that represents the supposed next big thing in stand-up. Of course, "the next big thing" usually takes 20 years or more to break out, so be sure to remember 20 years from now which comics you laughed at tonight. Some of the comics whose audition tapes were watched and judged worthy of tonight's showdown by the cruel souls at the Westside Comedy Theater: Adam Brown, Nick Cobb, Aaron Covington, Ted Evans, Sean Green, Greg Kashmanian, Cheryl Lueder, Shelagh Ratner, Greg Santos, Londale Theus Jr., Mike Von, Mark Zaverukha and frequent L.A. Weekly contributor Adam Gropman. The first prize is $500 (yay) and a paid show at Loyola Marymount (meh), as well as meetings with power brokers and noted acronyms CAA and WME. Second prize? $50 and "a nice, hard pat on the ass." Third prize? You're fired. Westside Comedy Theater, 1323-A Third Street Promenade (in the alley between Third and Fourth), Santa Monica; Wed., June 5, 7:45 p.m.; free. (310) 451-0850, westsidecomedy.com. -- David Cotner
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