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Downtown Culture: The Week Ahead

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Friday, January 07, 2011, at 09:32AM
John Lithgow in 'Stories by Heart' Craig Schwartz

John Lithgow in “Stories by Heart,” a special one-man theatrical memoir at the Marp Taper Forum

Downtown is getting back up to speed with events, big and small. From Walt Disney Concert Hall or Staples Center to a comedy club improvised out of a community space and a local choir singing in public space, there are plenty of offerings in the first act of 2011.


'Stories by Heart': Actor John Lithgow uses his life to pen a one-person script for “Stories by Heart,” the theatrical memoir that is a tribute to a family who raised him on literature and theater. Lithgow, whose range reaches from Shakespearean plays to “Shrek,” retraces the stories that shaped his journey as an actor and pays homage to the storytelling skills of his grandmother and father. His only prop, as he says, is an armchair. “Stories by Heart." (LA Times Review)Through Feb 13 / Mark Taper Forum / 135 N. Grand

Dudamel conducts Bernstein and Beethoven: The Los Angeles Philharmonic kicks off its winter season with “Earbox” by John Adams, L.A. Phil’s Creative Chair; Symphony No. 1, “Jeremiah” by Leonard Bernstein; and “Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92” by Beethoven. Through Jan 9 / Walt Disney Concert Hall / 111 S. Grand

Cirque Berzerk: The post-gothic-punk circus that rose from Burning Man, then tented at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, finds a home in the cozy indoors of Club Nokia. Fans are assured by Cirque Berzerk producers that show’s over the top decadence is intact. Runs through January 30. Fri Jan 7 8pm / Club Nokia / 800 W. Olympic

Tammy Jo Dearen: It is the birthday weekend for comedian Tammy Jo Dearen and she is going full throttle with her self-empowered female POV at the Downtown Comedy Club. “Yes, I will come out,” she once told “I am from the other side of the Orange County Curtain." Fri Jan 7 9pm & Sat Jan 8 9pm / Downtown Comedy Club / 114 W. 5th

Devils Drive-In: It was no surprise that “Scrooged” was rained out last month. Oh well. It is a new year, so organizers who bring you the outdoor screenings on top of a parking lot off 4th, between Spring and Broadway, are inviting you to come out to plaaaay with other movie lovers for Walter Hill’s 1979 cult film “The Warriors.” Bikes and walk-ins are welcomed, popcorn services provided, and bats. Sat Jan 8 7:30pm / Devils Night Drive-In / 240 W. 4th

Free Music: There is still time to skate at Pershing Square Downtown On Ice and take in the Winter Concert Series. Friday night’s Classic Rock Tribute features In Color, a Cheap Trick tribute band at 8pm. On January 9, Sunday’s Swing Salsa Blues host acoustical-blues folk from Sean Wiggins and her band, lOan gOat, at 2pm. In the evening, the Pershing Square Community Chorus will perform at 7pm. Pershing Square / 532 S. Olive

Punk Folk: Electro-acoustic folk with High Places; plus Ghost Animal, Butchy Fuego, and David Scott Stone. Fri Jan 7 9pm / The Smell 247 S. Main


'Naked Gun’ and ‘Airplane!’ Drink Along/Beer Pong: Surely you can't miss this drink-along screening dedicated to the late Leslie Nielsen. 'Naked Gun' starts at 8pm, 'Airplane' at 10pm, and afterwards there is a rooftop party. Sat Jan 8 / Downtown Independent Theater / 251 S. Main

Eddie Nichols: The hep-cat vocalist who co-founded the Royal Crown Revue taps into his inner soloist for a night of swing music. Sat Jan 8 9pm / The Redwood Bar & Grill / 316 W. 2nd

The John Beasley Quartet: John Beasley, whose 2010 album “Positootly!” earned a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, hits the Whale. Sat Jan 8 9pm / Blue Whale / 123 Astronaut E.S. Onizuka (Weller Court)

'Street Degrees of Separation': Crewest opens 2011 with a group show featuring international street artists. “While artists prepare for what they will unleash on walls across the planet, they found themselves coming together for this show,” writes Crewest, adding the show explores the global connection and the unified motive shared by street artists: Reinvention. With special guest Danny Gonzalez. The exhibit will be on view during the Art Walk, January 13. The exhibition runs through Sunday, January 30. Opening Night Reception: Jan 8 6pm / Crewest / 110 Winston_


GAME PICKS: With his rim-swinging, ball-catching dunks fed to him by alley-oop passes, or feeding his teammates monster passes for an assist, rookie Blake Griffin has been wowing the crowds. And it is not a solo showtime performance — Griffin had his 22nd consecutive double-double in Wednesday night's 106-93 victory over the Nuggets. The rookie has been selected to join the slam-dunk contest for this years NBA All-Star game, which will be held at Staples on February 20. The Clippers play the Golden State Warriors Sunday, at 12:30pm.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Lakers have been making steps to move past their recent lethargic play and had a 99-95 win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. They play the New Orleans Hornets tonight (7:30pm), and this Sunday night (6:30pm) the Lakers will face the New York Knicks, a team on an eight-game winning streak. Staples Center / 1111 S. Figueroa

Zvartnots Dance Ensemble: Armenian Dance Center celebrates its 20th Anniversary with Zvartnots Dance Ensemble’s “Two Decades in the Making.” Sun Jan 9 7pm / Orpheum Theatre / 824 S. Broadway


Aloud: “NPR at 40: What is the Future of Public Radio”: National Public Radio is not the only 40-year old taking a look down the road. “NPR at 40: What is the Future of Public Radio” is a discussion with NPR correspondent Susan Stamberg, USC Annenberg School for Journalism director Geneva Overholser, and KPCC’s Leslie Berestein Roja. Tue Jan 11 7pm / Central Library Mark Taper Auditorium / 630 W. 5th

The Tina Raymond Group: The young and accomplished Los Angeles-based percussionist and jazz drummer Tina Raymond, who recently finished her Masters degree from the California Institute of the Arts, brings her trio to Little Tokyo. Wed Jan 12 9pm / Blue Whale / 123 Astronaut E.S. Onizuka (Weller Court)


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