FRIDAY, May 11

He’s at it again. “Histotainer” (his term), Los Angelexpert (my term) Charles Phoenix (if that is his real name) brings us (you, me, etc.) The United States of Charles Phoenix (abuse of parentheses is a privilege, not a right). It’s “a retro slide-show comedy about midcentury Americana, cooking live onstage and more!” John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, off the 101 fwy. across from the Hollywood Bowl; Fri., May 11, 8:30 p.m.; $25, $12 students. (323) 461-3673.


Esotouric’s Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles: In A Lonely Place takes you to spots where various threads from the life and work of Raymond Chandler come together: Musso & Frank, whose “new room” used to house Stanley Rose’s bookstore, known as Geiger’s bookstore in The Big Sleep; the Mayfair Hotel and the Chancellor Apartments. You’ll learn why the Black Dahlia would have another moniker if it wasn’t for Chandler, and oh, so much more. Tour guide Richard Schave suggests non-Chandler-philes bone up with viewings of The Long Goodbye and The Big Sleep. Or solving a murder and/or drinking heavily. Departs from Lincoln Heights/Cypress Gold Line Metro Station, W. Avenue 26; Sat., May 12, 1 p.m.; $55. (323) 223-2767;

SUNDAY, May 13

It’s Mother’s Day. Trust me, she really doesn’t want to go to brunch again this year. Drinking mimosas too early in the day messes with her cocktail hour later on, though she appreciates the gesture. If your mom’s like mine — and there is scant chance of that — she may enjoy The Music of Dick Van Dyke. The legendary actor/dancer/singer — well, actor/dancer — performs in a benefit for local high school choral programs. He’ll reprise all the songs he made famous from Bye Bye Birdie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and . . . get on your knees . . . Mary Poppins. Kavli Theater, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; Sun., May 13, 4 p.m.; $11-$25. (805) 499-2787.

Mom gets a free ride on Pacific Park’s Pacific Wheel today. All she has to do is show her stretch marks (or something like that) for her complimentary ticket. 380 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica; Sun., May 13, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; free (bumper cars extra). (310) 260-8744;

MONDAY, May 14

You don’t have to call your mother today. How about enjoying the one-krypto-night only production of It’s a Bird . . . It’s a Plane . . . It’s Superman! With songs by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, who wrote Bye Bye Birdie and Applause, this is a retro-licious romp that promises “comic book madness” starring Patrick Cassidy (whose father, Jack, played the role on Broadway), Cheyenne Jackson, Jean Louisa Kelly and Richard Kind. Freud Playhouse, UCLA; Mon., May 14, 8 p.m.; $60. (310) 825-2101.


Next month we have the Los Angeles Improv Festival, but there’s a new comedy fest debuting this week. Ladies and gentlemen, give a warm welcome to the First Annual Los Angeles Comedy Festival! Running May 10 to 20, the event is brought to us by Lawrin Goulston Salazar, who also puts on the successful L.A. Fest of Sketch. Some of the names include Joey Medina, Kyle Cease, Wind-Up Squirrels, Chicago City Limits, Shakespeare Unscripted and loads more from all over the country. McCadden Place Theater, 1157 N. McCadden Pl., Hlywd.; May 10-20; all shows 8 & 9:30 p.m.; $12, passes available. (323) 463-2942.


Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And will that question ever be answered? Elizabeth Taylor is at her “You make me puke,” boozed-up best in this Mike Nichols classic. Part of AFI at ArcLight. ArcLight, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Wed., May 16, 8 p.m.; $11. (323) 464-4226.


Okay, let’s review: This week, we rode the Ferris wheel, laughed at a comedy festival, Chim-Chim-a-Ree-ed with Dick Van Dyke and experienced Liz’s and Dick’s excruciating hangover. Let’s end the week with something ominous and all too scary: a discussion of Homeland Security with 5th District Councilman Jack Weiss, along with the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles. Westwood Branch Library, 1246 Glendon Ave., Wstwd.; Thurs., May 17, 12:30-2:30 p.m.; free. (310) 474-1739.

Just kidding: Here’s something frivolous and fun, promising to be a “Let’s put the Mutha back in Mother’s Day show” — Women’s Night Out features Dr. Patti with sex advice, comic Natasha Leggero, films by the Craft Whore, writer Andrea Abbate, menstruationist© Gina Cloud, Irma Menuz of Mujeres de la Tierra (the first Latina green group) and more. M Bar, 1253 N. Vine St., Hlywd.; Thurs., May 17, 7:30 p.m.; no cover, but $10 min. food; resv. required. (323) 856-0036.

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