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Downtown Calendar: The Week Ahead

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Thursday, January 27, 2011, at 05:13PM
Joan Marcus

Jane Fonda stars in "33 Variations" at Ahmanson Theatre through March 24.

Another full week of events has Jane Fonda returning to the stage, Jesus in the Arts District, brilliant dancing from Brazil with Grupo Corpo, the godmother of Los Angeles punk in a small club for a solo set, and the next chapter of basketball's biggest rivalry may see a former Laker center recover in time to play against his former teammates.


Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: You may think you are not familiar with the cultural institution that is LACO, but you know of them. LACO is the subject of Kent Twitchell's mural 90s era "Harbor Freeway Overture." You can get to know the current crop of musicians Sunday evening. After a concert, they engage an audience with intellectual patter about Handel, Bach and Vivaldi with their Baroque Conversations series. The concert begins at 7pm and ends around 8:45pm. Thu Jan 27 7pm (NOW PENDING) / The Colburn School of Music / Zipper Concert Hall

Aloud: Carlos Fuentes: ADD: ALOUD LA tweets "Carlos Fuentes is NOT speaking 2nt. He will reschedule soon. If you're already downtown, head to @MOCAlosangeles 4 FREE Thursdays." Seems he was stuck in snow, somewhere.

Author Carlos Fuentes' “Destiny and Desire” is his 24th novel, a “saga that explores passion, magic and corruption in modern Mexico, mixing ancient mythologies with the avarice of the twenty-first century,” i.e. dirty politics, narco-trafficking, and a telecommunications dictatorship through the eyes of two protagonists. Needless to say Fuentes will be in conversation to promote his book and talk about his career (he is joined by journalist Sergio Muoz Bata), it will be a full house so reservations are recommended, and he is not related to the author of this post. Jan 27 7pm / Mark Taper Auditorium Central Library / 630 W. 5th

La Santa Cecilia: Comiserate with ballads filled with love, loss and heartbreak as performed by guitarist Gloria Estrada, accordionist and requintero Jose Carlos, bassist Alex Bendana, percussionist Miguel Ramirez and drummer Hugo Vargas. Lead vocalist MariSoul will provide the dramatic arc. Thu Jan 27 9pm / Bordello / 901 E. 1st

LATC Second Annual Playwrights Festival: Here is a chance to look into the creative process with this presentation of table readings of works-in-progress by emerging playwrights. Each reading ends with a conversation between cast, playwright and audience. Admission is free. Light refreshments will be provided. Thu Jan 27 7pm / Los Angeles Theater Center / 514 S. Spring

S’Talking Zappa: A all-Zappa view of the Composer in Residence at the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen (UMRK), where Zappa hung his wide-brimmed pointy hat. This inside/multi/track discussion is presented by Gail Zappa with Todd Yvega and Joe Travers. Moderated by Scott Goldman, VP, GRAMMY Foundation, followed by audience Q & A. Thu Jan 27 7:30pm / The Grammy Museum / 800 W. Olympic

CEAIT Festival Iannis Xenakis: Now and Tomorrow The L.A. premiere of three concerts by music and architecture pioneer Iannis Xenakis, who mixes electronic and high-tech sound events with instrumental pieces. The three programs feature new pieces by composers inspired by Xenakis. Guest artists include cellist Rohan de Saram, composer Curtis Roads, and remix and sound artist Takuro Mizuta Lippit (aka dj sniff). The three separate programs will be on Friday, January 28 (8:30pm), Saturday, January 29 (8:30pm), and Sunday, January 30 (7pm). REDCAT / 631 W. 2nd


Opening Reception: The Jesus Show According to R&R’s website, this exhibition will celebrate the Arts District gallery’s “very first trip around the sun with a salute to The Man” with a collection of street art and illustration inspired by the images of Jesus. The group show runs through February 11. Fri Jan 28 7pm / The R&R Gallery / 929 E. 2nd St Suite 106

Grupo Corpo: Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center welcomes contemporary Brazilian urban dance company Grupo Corpo. A mix of ballet, modern dance, and erotically-charged movement, Grupo Corp’s classically-trained ensemble is athletic and disciplined. The Music Center debut, a feature of L.A. Arts Month, includes the inventive dance of emotional attraction and rejection of “ÍMÃ,” and the multi-textured art-rock fueled “Parabelo.” Fri Jan 28 7:30pm / Dorothy Chandler Pavilion / 135 N. Grand

Fatigue: A night of two plays, “The Ballad of Sad Young Men” and “Scar Tissue,” has been extended. $5 off admission with donated item for Operation Gratitude Care Packages. Through Jan 29 / Company of Angels / 501 S. Spring (The Alexandria)

Jessi Campbell: Comedienne Jessi Campbell was a finalist in CMT’s Next Big Comic before “losing by a narrow margin and gaining a secret hatred for the winner.” She headlines the 8pm show. A clump of comics, dubbed ‘the All-Stars,” perform at 9pm. Fri Jan 28 9pm / Downtown Comedy Club / 114 W. 5th St

Exene Cervenka: Known for her work as poet-lyricist and vocalist for vanguard punk band X, then The Knitters and The Original Sinners, Exene will take the stage of the Redwood Bar and Grill at midnight to perform her solo works. Cervenka tweeted that she will take to the stage at midnight. Fri Jan 28 9pm / The Redwood Bar & Grill / 316 W. 2nd


Cirque Berzerk: It is the last weekend to see the gothic-erotic Cirgue Berzerk come up from the underground to the stages of Club Nokia. Last call is from Thursday, January 27; Friday January 28; Saturday, January 29; and Sunday January 30, with two shows Friday and Saturday night. Those who went to multiple shows say the 11pm Friday and Saturday performances bring in a livelier crowd. The final late show on the 29th may be the one to attend if you haven't already made a performance. Club Nokia / 800 W. Olympic


‘London Bridges’ The all-British program that showcase the 700-year-old English choral tradition of harmony. The evening will feature “Four-Part Mass in D” by William Byrd, the centerpiece for the evening, John Tavener’s “Song for Athene” (heard during Princess Diana’s funeral), and 1995’s “Two Human Hymns.” This musical survey also introduces Lesley Leighton, recently appointed Assistant Conductor, who will makes her Los Angeles Master Chorale conducting debut with “Hymn to St. Cecelia." Sun Jan 30 7pm / Walt Disney Concert Hall / 111 S. Grand

‘33 Variations’: “We started tech rehearsals at 1pm today in the Ahmanson Theatre. We are all so happy to finally be in here. It is a nice theatre. Big, but not scary. Friendly, even,” blogged Jane Fonda after her January 24 rehearsal for “33 Variations.” Clearly not intimidated by the space, Fonda wrote, “I’m the scholar on a mission, after all,” referring to her role as Musicologist Dr. Katherine Brandt.

Brandt drives herself to solve the mystery of why Beethoven (Zach Grenier) spent his final years writing 33 variations of a waltz. Diagnosed with ALS, and regardless of the protest of her daughter, she travels to research Beethoven’s papers. The audience is taken back and forth from present day to 19th century Austria, as both Brandt and Beethoven discuss--sometimes with humor--the idea of mortality while driven by personal obsessions.

Fonda and Grenier reprise their Tony-nominated roles in this Tectonic Theater Project, which ran on Broadway in 2009. After previews, “33 Variations” opens February 9 and continues through March 24. Ahmanson Theatre / 135 N. Grand

Lakers: The first of two regular season games between the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics, this rematch of the 2010 NBA Finals has a twist. Former Laker Shaquille O’Neal now dons Celtic green in a quest for more rings than Kobe. With Shaq nursing a twisted hip, it was thought he may miss this West Coast road trip. Now the Boston Herald reports The Big Shamrock may join the team just in time to play the Lakers. Sun Jan 30 7:30pm / Staples Center / 1111 S. Figueroa


Clippers: The Clippers take on the Bucks . . . and the bandwagon continues. ESPN announces a Blake Griffin top ten highlight with a special graphic, and the NY Times's "Off The Dribble" just wrote "It’s become something of a sports media ritual to pay daily tribute to Blake Griffin." Earlier in the week, the Clippers play the Bobcats on Saturday, January 29, and later will take on the Bulls Wednesday, February 2. Mon Jan 31 7:30pm / Staples Center / 1111 S. Figueroa


School of Seven Bells: What was booked as School of Seven Bells is now Seven Bells Sans-One-Sis. The hypnotic vocals fronted by identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza is a solo act now; Claudia left the band “for personal reasons.” You may be seeing a well-regarded act in transition, but word is the band’s dreamy vocals with hypnotic beats by Benjamin Curtis are finding their way just fine. Tue Feb 1 8pm / The Conga Room / 800 W. Olympic


Gram Rabbit: Scheduled: Gram Rabbit takes up residency at Bordello. February 2 will include Spindrift, Sky Parade. Wed Feb 2 9pm / The Bordello / 901 E. 1st


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