True story: Less than a week before Valentine's Day, 1976. First serious boyfriend Eric Basart (real name) calls. “Go listen to the last song on side one of Silk Degrees.” (The Boz Scaggs album that was huge at the time.) He hangs up. I already knew what song he was steering me to, and it goes like this: “Why can't you just get it through your head/It's over, it's over now/Yes, you heard me clearly now I said/It's over, it's over now.” Ouch, to say the least. Broken hearts are on the bill for Beth Lapides' Say the Word: Bleeding Hearts with Wayne Federman, Merrill Markoe, Tim Bagley and Jon Kinnally. Federman tips us off on his tale: “I'll be talking about my unsuccessful 'Searching for Mrs. Federman' — a quest to find the one. I may just be averse to marriage but I've noticed every time I try on a wedding ring — it feels very heavy and constricting around my throat.” Markoe's contribution eschews her own brilliantly funny writing to read a letter she's saved since her days working on David Letterman's show in the '80s. “I have it in an honorary place all this time and occasionally I fish it out to read it at dinner parties at my house. The letter is 20 pages long, but the handwriting is so large it averages 25 words on a page. The opening line is: 'My dearest darling David Letterman. I want you to know I would like so much to go on your television show because I hurt a certain man Mr. Irving Shapiro's feelings so deeply on Christmas day in 1979, and therefore I would like to apologize to him. Believe me. I will make it worth your while. I am a woman of my word. If you allow me to appear before your national audience I will buy you a brand new blue or navy terry cloth bathrobe for $20 and two large cheese babka cakes at $6 each at a Jewish bakery.' By page 10, we have found our way to this sentence: 'How long must I hunger for your love Mr. Irving Shapiro? I know and understand you're a happily married man and I have no right to take that happiness away from you because that is the law of nature.” I guess you can call this letter The Love Song of Mr. Irving Shapiro. Markoe assures us, “It always gets laughs at dinner.” Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.; Fri., Feb. 8, 8 p.m.; $15. (310) 440-4500.

Fri., Feb. 8, 8 p.m., 2013

LA Weekly