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JANUARY 1-7, 2009 VOL 7 NO 1 LACITYBEAT.COM

MUSIC

NOW! THE BEST OF 2009! P.18

FILM

YES, AS A MATTER OF FACT, WE DID JUST FALL OFF THE TRUCK FROM STUPIDVILLE

BAD FILMS IN A VERY GOOD YEAR! P.11

LETTERS

P.23 READERS WORK ON THEIR ANGER P.05


T:9.375”

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JANUARY 1-7, 2009 3 LACITYBEAT

12/4/08 5:42:50 PM


EVERYWED.

JAN7-MAR11

CONTENTS January 1-7, 2009 volume 7 issue 01

PRESENTS

AT

CREEPY PG. 23 L.A. City Beat’s year-in-review blah blah Steve Lowery blah funny blah blah pixie poon blah bad films, good theater blah blah baton wielding wunderkind blah Bloodbath blah blah future music blah why are you still reading this blah blah go kiss someone, it’s the holidays blah blah someone unlock the office door and let us out. We can hear the roar of noisemakers and revelry outside and we’re ready to put ’08 to bed.

�EVERY� WEDNESDAY JAN 7TH THRU MARCH 11TH

cover photo of ELIZABETH mcgrath by Adam Wallacavage

2 FOR 1: 8 HOUR OR NIGHT LIFT TICKETS TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED AT MTHIGH.COM CANNOT BE PURCHASED AT THE RESORT -------------------------------------------------------� LIVE MUSIC � DJS � RADIO REMOTES � � DRINK SPECIALS � VENDORS VILLAGE � � MOVIE PREMIERS � GIVEAWAYS �

MANAGING Editor Tom Child Senior Editor Matthew Fleischer Arts Editor Ron Garmon Music Editor Chris Ziegler Film Editor Andy Klein Calendar Assistant Arrissia Owen Turner Copy Editor Joshua Sindell Editorial Contributors Ramie Becker, Paul Birchall, Andre Coleman, Michael Collins, Miles Clements, Mick Farren, Richard Foss, Matt Gaffney, Andrew Gumbel, Marc B. Haefele, Tom Hayden, Bill Holdship, Jessica Hundley, Mark Keizer, Carl Kozlowski, Kim Lachance, Ken Layne, Steve Lowery, Wade Major, Browne Molyneux, Anthony Miller, Chris Morris, Amy Nicholson, Arrissia Owen Turner, Donna Perlmutter, Joe Piasecki, Neal Pollack, Ted Rall, Erika Schickel, Tom Sharpe, Don Shirley, Kirk Silsbee, Brent Simon, Coco Tanaka, Don Waller, Jim Washburn Editorial Interns Gabrielle Paluch, Nathan Solis Art Director Paul Takizawa Web & Print Production Manager Meghan Quinn Advertising Art Director Sandy Wachs Classified Production Artist Tac Phun Contributing Artists and Photographers Bob Aul, Jordan Crane, Scott Gandell, John Gilhooley, Alexx Henry, Maura Lanahan, Gary Leonard, Melodie McDaniel, Joe McGarry, Luke McGarry, Nathan Ota, Ethan Pines, Josh Reiss, Rosheila Robles, Gregg Segal, Elliott Shaffner, Bill Smith, Ted Soqui Co-op Advertising Director Spencer Cooper Music & Entertainment Sales Manager Jon Bookatz CLUBS ACCOUNT MANAGER Patrick Hodgins Account Executives Diana James, Sarah Stacey, Bill Child, Andy Enriquez, Andrea Galindo, Alex Kaptsan Classified Supervisor Michael DeFilippo Classified Account Executives Sarah Fink, Jason Rinka, John Schoenkopf, DeKeithrich Johnson, Jean-Paul Lamunyon VP of Operations David Comden VP of Finance Michael Nagami Human Resources Manager Andrea Baker Accounting Ginger Wang, Archie Iskaq, Tracy Lowe, Christie Lee, Angela Wang (Business Manager) Circulation Supervisor Andrew Jackson Receptionist Candon Murry Associate Publisher Mark Kochel Publisher Will Swaim LA CITYBEAT newspaper is published every Thursday and is available free at locations throughout Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. One copy per reader, additional copies are $10 each. Copyright: No articles, illustrations, photographs, or other editorial matter or advertisements herein may be reproduced without written permission of copyright owner. All rights reserved, 2008.

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LACITYBEAT 4 JANUARY 1-7, 2009


letters

Thank You for Your Support The year in letters to the editor of ‘City Beat’ Hopefully in the future, you will do some research before writing an article. What pathetic partisan BS. Good luck, you need it, as well as City Beat. [Your story] is vulgar, uninformative, uninformed, and irresponsible. As a retired teacher who spent a lifetime teaching in innercity schools, I am not at all impressed by the display of profanity. I’m even less impressed by the frequent references to various parts of the female anatomy that appeared in the last issue – as if I didn’t know and needed to be told. Los Angeles City Beat need[s] to grow up. Just my opinion, but I think you could stand to be less in love with your own voice. Unfortunately, your writing reads less like a rewarding mental obstacle course and more like a junkyard labyrinth. Better luck next issue. Not only has L.A. City Beat jumped the shark, but the shark has jumped City Beat. Time to switch to L.A. Xpress for my breaking news. Gratuitous profanity adds no punch to copy, and obscene slang is an even greater insult to your readership. City Beat has become just another useless publication of rants and A&E listings. There is no longer any reason to pick up your paper. Partisan crap! Looks like less content and more ads. Guess printing the truth is just too costly these days. What a lame and flaky (and lazy) article. Man, what a cheesy punk you are. What the hell was the point of that story taking up space in your recent issue except ... to take up space. I would much rather have seen yet another ad about sex. This week’s

City Beat cover is disgusting, saddening, and offends me as an American. You, my dear, are a complete moron! You are just a fountain of hate, mis-information and propaganda that comes straight from your masters’ talking points. Your journalistic prowess is that of a banana slug ... miserable rag. [Your article] was possibly the most asinine thing I have read from a newsweekly in some time. Jesus, what happened to the quality of your newspaper? Shame on you for being so shallow, thoughtless, and misguided. You sound sooo high school! First of all, you are not funny. You should have kept your comments to yourself instead of putting us down and trying to lower our self-esteem. You evil persons. I feel sorry for you. As I see, your whole organization is sick. You are pathetic. I hope you find God before it is too late. This story should be required reading in Journalism 101 as a fine example of yellow journalism and how NOT to write a story. What is this dribble??? You call THAT journalism?? I call it agenda driven TRASH!! TRAITOR!!! Do some fucking homework. Go back to fucking Brooklyn, Indianapolis, Ohio, or wherever the fuck you came from and write about something you know about. I’ll fight all of you, anytime, anywhere. You stupid, stupid, ignorant fucks.✶

JANUARY 1-7, 2009 5 LACITYBEAT


LATTER DAYS

are we there yet? 2008 sails off in a coke submarine by steve lowery Pitiable amounts of hope, change and So hot. I’m in the ancestral hometown hilarious, mind-bending, side-splitting, of Downey today and it is somewhere butt-clenching Old News/Latter Days between 103 and conflagration. columns. Barely worth mentioning.

Love Connection helped usher in a slew – yes, slew! – of tell-all dating shows ranging from The Bachelor to Flavor of Love to Rock of Love to Dude, Where’s My Gonorrhea?

MONDAY, JUNE 2

THURSDAY, JULY 3

JANUARY-MAY

The smoky remains of filmed entertainments and schlocky ’60s TV shows – please let them have saved Land of the Giants – are still smoldering at Universal Studios, which saw a significant amount of its lot burn over the weekend. The fire, reportedly started by workers using blowtorches to heat roof tiles, claimed a famous New York backlot and the King Kong attraction as well as numerous 35mm film prints. One thing not consumed by the fire was the MTV Movie Awards, which – like cockroaches and Ann Coulter – managed to weather the shit well enough to gross everyone out. The show went on at the Universal’s Gibson Amphitheatre without a hitch, save for the hitch where the MTV movie award for best picture went to Transformers, barely edging out Don’t Tase Me, Bro! Though the cause of the blaze is known, officials are concerned about the rather weak response to the fire, owing in large part to low water pressure on the site and workers initially attempting to put out the fire with blowtorches.

FRIDAY, JUNE 20

THURSDAY, JUNE 26

The L.A. Times Building is for sale. Word comes that new Times owner Sam Zell, who looks a lot like a garden gnome only with more  killing power, has decided to sell the building, one of the few recognizable structures downtown. Zell said selling the building is in “our best interest” which most people believe means he’d like to make as  much

Useless.

SUNDAY, JULY 6

I’m thinking of Eric Lieber as I surf my TV and come across an ad for a new game show called Hurl. The premise of Hurl is that contestants eat as much as they can of some American staple –

TUESDAY, JULY 15

Driving my car very slowly, trying to take advantage of any prevailing tailwinds, I hear that the Auto Club is reporting the national average for gas hits an all-time high as Americans are now paying $4.11 a gallon. Where can I find this wonderful $4.11 gas?! I just rushed into an Arco because it was giving it away for the low, low price of $4.41, and I only needed a few gallons. I just like to keep the tank full so I’ll be ready when the bloodletting begins.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4

When you think about it, all weddings are pretty gay.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 16

TUESDAY, JUNE 17

I may have suggested that the Lakers would win game six of the NBA Finals by eight points, thereby forcing a game seven which they would win with Kobe Bryant scoring 56 points. My prediction turns out to be eerily close as the Celtics win the game, and championship, by 39 points.

in 2008, death came in platforms

money  off the building  as he can  so he can chase some sweet, sweet pixie poon. WEDNESDAY, JULY 2

The Mexican navy announces it has seized a submarine transporting cocaine off its southern coast. Who knew Mexico had a navy? The 33-foot submarine is intercepted 125 miles south of Puerto de Salina Cruz in Oaxaca state and was first noticed because it was blasting “Bring tha Noize.” Isn’t it at the point that drug dealers get submarines that we officially declare the drug war over? It’s one thing to put a few bags up your pooper, but a submarine capable of traversing the ocean shows a whole other level of commitment and sophistication. You know who else mac and cheese, for instance – and the builds and mans submarines? Nations. winner is the person who doesn’t throw up. If no one throws up, the winner is SATURDAY, JULY 19 determined by whoever develops the Vista Hermosa Park opens, marking the most severe case of diabetes. America, first park to debut in downtown Los ladies and gentlemen. America. Angeles since 1895. That’s right, 1895 – 113 years ago. Apparently city officials MONDAY, JULY 7 had been waiting for the right time to The LAPD  brings  disciplinary open the next park and now that the charges  against 17 officers and two Kaiser question has been resolved to sergeants stemming from their actions most people’s satisfaction, they set about in the  May Day 2007  confrontation finding the perfect plot of land. And they between  cops, immigration found it. Vista Hermosa – it translates activists,  and journalists  at  MacArthur to “beautiful view” – is built on the old Park. Reporting to the L.A. Police Belmont Learning Center site which, as PHOTO BY JOSH REISS

FRIDAY, JUNE 6

Four California bishops, including our own Roger Mahony, have asked Bishop Geoffrey Robinson of Sydney, Australia, to avoid touring the United States and discussing his book Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church, which deals with the church’s sexual abuse scandal. Mahony prefers to handle the scandal in his own tried and true way: denial and blaming the victims. That’s worked out to the tune of chasing countless from the faith and incurring multimillion dollar settlements that have caused the diocese to close parishes. In related news, in an effort to raise badly needed funds, the archdiocese announced that confessions will come with a two-drink minimum.

Commission, LAPD  Commander Rick Webb  said the charges were related “mostly  around the  force issues,” and indeed, anyone who  saw the videotape  of cops  plunging  into the  crowd,  batons flailing, shooting “non-lethal”  ammo,  wrestling  to the  ground  such  thugs  as  KTTV reporter  Christina Gonzalez – who suffered a  separated shoulder  – knows what he’s talking about. As the footage demonstrates – apparently  shocking  LAPD  brass  – there was a  break  from  department policy  in that it clearly shows many of the protesters  not being beaten, not being slugged, not being shot at, and  not  having their  shoulders separated, moving one longtime police critic to lament  that the police’s performance was “barely cruel and hardly unusual.”

Veteran television producer Eric Lieber dies at Cedars-Sinai at the age of 71. Lieber is most famous for creating the game show Love Connection in 1983. It may seem quaint now, but at the time, the idea that two people would talk in detail about things that went on during a date seemed absolutely scandalous, even if what they revealed is that he didn’t tip the valet and she ate her peas with a fork. As tame as it may now seem,

LACITYBEAT 6 JANUARY 1-7, 2009


LATTER DAYS metro.net

MONDAY, JULY 21 Everyone can  relax  now: The  murder rate in Los Angeles is down all the way to just 204 people slaughtered in the first six months  of this year. That’s a whopping two percent drop from where we were, homicide-wise, last year. Granted, that number is still higher than some places – say, Hungary (203 killings in all of 2007). It’s also a bit higher than the annual number of murders in Greece, Denmark and Austria. Combined. Killings were up in the first few months of this year before dropping the last few, which may mean that the drop in murders has less to do with the victory of human goodness and more with folks reconsidering their bloodlust in terms of  higher gas prices. You gotta ask yourself: “Is this  driveby really necessary?” MONDAY, AUGUST 4

The California Department of Health says that more than 120 employees of the UCLA Medical Center  have been  looking  at the medical  records  of  celebrities, even those who don’t have  venereal disease. Apparently just about everyone over at UCLA has been looking at the records of Maria Shriver, Farrah Fawcett, Britney Spears, and, to a lesser extent,  Shelley Long. Some blame the problem on lax morals, others point to the day Harvey Levin was named chief of staff.

it cutbacks  in  services,  borrow against gambling revenue, and rely on pushing the state’s financial problems into the future while doing nothing about the present $15 billion deficit. Kick! Aaaaass! The budget agreement, which has yet to be signed by Schwarzenegger, who apparently is none too happy with the compromise, is a testament to what Republicans and Democrats do best. For the Republicans, they  stuck firm  to their desire to have  no new taxes  even (especially) if it meant  cutting off services  while the impasse was going on. In fact, during the nearly three months of stalemate, some state vendors and small providers of such luxury services as child day care and health care were forced to close their doors. The  Republican plan  is to  borrow  against the  state lottery, which may sound  crazy  but actually has a rock-solid foundation in circular logic. To wit: 1) Withhold money and services to Californians. 2) Californians become miserable and hopeless. 3) Miserable and hopeless Californians panic and do stupid things like invest money in the state lottery. 4) Millions, billions, kazillions pour into the state lottery. 5) Use money from budget windfall to finally nail Angie Dickinson. As for the  Democrats  who  caved, they once again showed an  inestimable ability to pussy up. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1

Say what you will about O.J. Simpson, at least he never worked at King-Harbor Hospital. According to a report released, more than  10 percent  of the folks who work at the hospital – 152 out of 1,356 – have criminal or arrest records.

Much is being made of the new citizenship exams that go into effect this week. Officials of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services say the new tests are designed to “ensure that naturalization applicants have uniform, consistent testing experiences nationwide, and that the civics test can effectively assess whether applicants have a meaningful understanding of U.S. government and history.” Still, immigrant advocacy groups are wary about the change and wonder if the U.S. isn’t trying to make it tougher to become a citizen. Look, there’s no reason to be concerned, just remember that George Washington is the father of our country because he invented peanut butter while defeating the British at the Battle of Jericho and that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, died, rose again and went on to win the 100 meter dash at Hitler’s Berlin Olympics. Also, at one time – not that long ago – we were a great nation.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15

MONDAY, OCTOBER 6

THURSDAY, AUGUST 7

A bronze bust of surfing pioneer George Freeth  is stolen from its pedestal on the  Redondo Beach Pier. Police believe the bust may have been stolen for its copper which is currently selling for a lot of money. Yep, things have gotten so bad that we’re now in the  melting stuff down phase, which, according to the  ApocaLitmus test, usually comes right before scorched earth. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11

After a  76-day deadlock, the California legislature  reaches a  deal  on a new state budget. And boy, was it worth the wait. The new budget will bring with

Metro Briefs Tra;c Solutions In Your Future

Everyone talks about the tra;c; Metro is doing something about it. More carpool lanes. Freeway improvements. Ambitious bus service expansion. Rail lines to more places. Over the next 30 years, Metro is expecting to spend some $40 billion in tra;c congestion relief projects bringing real solutions to improving your daily travel.

Go Metro Gold Line To Rose Parade Enjoy Pasadena’s Annual Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day on the Metro Gold Line and skip the tra;c and parking hassles. Or ride the Gold Line and special shuttle to view the parade floats at Victory Park following the parade. Find out more at metro.net.

Train Tests Begin On Gold Line Eastside Extension The trains are coming. Train testing is scheduled to begin mid-January on the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension. The six-mile extension linking downtown LA with Little Tokyo/Arts District, Boyle Heights and East LA opens in mid 2009.

Go Metro To L.A. LIVE Metro o=ers convenient bus and rail connections to L.A. LIVE, the new destination for sports, music, dining, and living in LA. The 4 million square-foot sports, residential and entertainment district is adjacent to STAPLES Center and the LA Convention Center. Find connections at metro.net.

TAP Ready For Reduced Fare Customers Metro riders with Senior, College/Vocational or Student K–12 discount passes need to submit an application for a new reusable TAP card. You can get applications at Metro Customer Centers or online. Check metro.net/reducedfares for details or call 213.680.0054.

According to a UCLA report, more gay and lesbian couples were married in the first three months same-sex marriages were legal in California than got hitched ➤

JANUARY 1-7, 2009 7 LACITYBEAT

If you’d like to know more, please call us at 1.800.464.2111, or visit metro.net.

GEN-JE-09-007 ©2008 LACMTA

you’ll remember, was killed because the ground was contaminated and it was an old oil field and there’s an earthquake fault. These are all horrible things for schoolkids, but apparently of no concern to kids at play.


LATTER DAYS in the four years same-sex unions were legal in Massachusetts, just proving what I’ve always said: Massachusetts gays really know how to party. MONDAY, OCTOBER 13

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“Swedish vocalist blends chockablock rhythms, fairy tale instrumentation and dreamlike melodies for music that recalls a spacier, sultrier Feist.” — ROLLING STONE Her current album Hummingbird, Go! is out now on Basin Street Records. Playing live at Hotel Cafe, January 6, 13, 16 and 20.

More free, all ages in-store shows at Amoeba coming soon! In the meantime, check the VIDEO GALLERY on Amoeba.com! We’ve loaded it up with LOTS of new in-store performance videos and interviews. Check out choice clips from Peanut Butter Wolf, Immortal Technique, Pete Rock, Conor Oberst, Dub Trio and many more!

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Los Angeles is burning. Again. Anything with dry grass on it seems to be ablaze, and talk is that some of the fires may burn right down to the sea as the fires are fed by the area’s strong winds and decadent evil. Just as hazardous to one’s health, fire-wise, is local TV stations demanding their reporters get closer and closer to the flames, so they can give us such useful information as “It’s really windy” and “Tell my kids I love them.” THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16

The October newsletter of a Republican women’s group based in Upland features an illustration of Barack Obama’s head affixed to a donkey on money that reads “United States Food Stamps.” In and about that image are pictures of watermelon, ribs, and fried chicken. The author of the newsletter, a charming piece of trash named Diane Fedele, says she is shocked, SHOCKED! that anyone would consider the image racist and if we do, that’s our problem. “If I was a racist, I would have looked at it through racist eyes,” she said, I’m assuming, as she fanned herself upon the porch of her plantation where her family grows meth. “I am not a racist, which is why it probably didn’t register.” That and you’re a fucking idiot, hateful to the core. One of Fedele’s friends defended the image, saying, “Everyone eats those foods, it’s not a racial thing.” This just goes to prove that the issue is not why black people riot, but how they keep themselves from being in a constant state of civil unrest. One of the group’s members, an AfricanAmerican woman named Acquanetta Warren, expressed outrage at the image and said, “I want a written apology.” Whether she gets it remains to be seen, still ... Acquanetta! MONDAY, OCTOBER 27

Um, Iraq? Anyone?

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29

watch television programs with sexual content are much more likely to be involved in pregnancy. Sexual content was defined as depictions of sex as well as dialogue about sex or discussion about sex, which means just about any show on TV including Sesame Street and its foxy and delicious Maria. You know what else has a lot of sexual content? Shakespeare. Also, the Old Testament. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20

House Democrats elect Beverly Hills’s own Henry Waxman to be chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It’s a key move since Waxman unseats former chairman John Dingell of Michigan who was a big honk for the auto industry and tended to work against any environmental initiatives that Detroit didn’t want. Waxman’s environmental record seems more in line with President-elect Barack Obama’s green agenda and it also means that finally, finally, the wants and needs of those who live in Beverly Hills will get a little attention in Washington. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21

The L.A. Auto Show opens at the Convention Center amid talk that faltering General Motors may have to move back in with its parents.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25

Officials reveal that barely a third of all state students tested managed to pass the 2008 California Physical Fitness Test which included such Herculean tasks as a mile run, a “walk test” and something called a “sit and reach.” Parents seem flummoxed, having fed their kids a steady diet of fast food and lethargy; they’ve tried nothing and are plum out of ideas ... mmmmmm, plum ... bacon-wrapped, deep-fried, Lucky Charms-encrusted plum. Believe it or not, this year’s results were actually better than last year’s when a significant number of students could not finish the mile run because they kept slipping on hot gravy secreted from their inner thighs. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30

Something called the Students and Workers for the Liberation of UCLA Primates takes credit for an arson attack on a UCLA researcher. This is bad because violence against anyone is wrong and because the Student and Workers for the Liberation of UCLA Primates, while apparently lovin’ them some monkey, are helpless in figuring out how to use MapQuest. And this is how the Students and Workers for the Liberation of UCLA Primates, who apparently never got over that special THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30 tingly feeling in their pants the first Afghanistan? Nothing? time they saw Bugs Bunny dressed as a woman, came to destroy the wrong car. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6 A study published today in the journal Yes, they set ablaze the car of someone Pediatrics by the Santa Monica-based who was not a UCLA researcher, but an RAND Corporation says teenagers who innocent bystander who, chances are,

In what has progressively become one of the strangest, most chilling, and stupidest presidential campaigns of all time, a Redondo Beach woman named Lisa Castaneda puts up a Halloween display which includes the effigy of Barack Obama hanging by its neck with a meat cleaver stuck in it and blood spattered on its gray suit. Ladies and gentlemen, American political discourse!

LACITYBEAT 8 JANUARY 1-7, 2009


Ask About our

LATTER DAYS we did our parts a lot

59 VIDEO PACKAGE

PHOTO BY GARY LEONARD

$

was probably a student and/or worker. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3

The L.A. City Council stops construction of the L.A. Zoo’s $42 million elephant exhibit, even though they’d already spent about $12 million on it. Critics say the six-acre enclosure isn’t large enough for elephants, and point out that the zoo’s only elephant, Billy, bobs and sways his head because confinement has made him nuts, and not the good kind. Zoo officials counter that Billy bobs and sways to tell his caretakers he’s hungry, and also because an elephant never forgets ... to boogie.

plan where we make the area virtually unlivable, unaffordable and ungovernable – especially by the admiralty – is working like a charm. A big, crowded, expensive, dangerous charm. Now, everyone back in your cars and remember to look especially soul-sucked. It’s the holidays. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18

Does anybody still have a job?

The Los Angeles Times, which has suffered a rapid loss of circulation – coinciding with a rapid gain of Sam Zell – may have come up with a way to get people to read the paper again: surprise endings. Americans love surprise endings, witness the popularity of the O. Henry story “Gift of the Magi”: a heartwarming tale in which a man finds out that his lady love has sold her hair to buy him a present and she in turn finds out that To Serve Man is a cookbook. A COOKBOOK! In that vein, the Times today prints what appears to be a rather run-of-the-mill headline on their obituary page: “D. Carleton Gajdusek dies at 85; Nobel Prize-winner identified exotic disease, was unrepentant pedophile.” Boom! Yes! Now that’s what the people want. I mean, doesn’t NBC owe its continuing existence to a bunch of 40-something dudes showing up with wine coolers and SpongeBob stickers, looking to score with eighth graders? As for Gajdusek, he won the Nobel for his identification and description of the exotic disease kuru, a degenerative brain disease. Yeah, I said “degenerative.” Gajdusek also enjoyed anthropology, writing and having sex with children – according to the story, about 50 of them – and, as the excellent headline suggests, was completely unapologetic about it. You know, like Roman Polanski.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6

Representatives of film director Roman Polanski file for dismissal of child molestation charges, though he readily admits to having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977 when he was 44. The charges stem from his conviction – having sex with a 13-year-old girl, something he readily admits, claiming that the sex he, a 44-year-old man, had with the 13-yearold girl was consensual. Polanski’s motion accuses the case’s prosecutor and judge of acting improperly when prosecuting him for having sex with a 13-year-old girl, a 13-year-old girl who said Polanski, then 44, drugged her and then had oral, vaginal and anal sex with her, a 13-year-old girl. So, good luck and godspeed, Roman Polanski. Yours is an inspiring fight for justice that teaches us this: If a 44-year-old man who readily admits to having sex with 13-year-old girls is not safe from judicial misconduct, who is? TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9

For the fourth straight year, more people left California than moved here. This year the number is 135,173 more people gone. So, good job, everyone. The secret

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JANUARY 1-7, 2009 9 LACITYBEAT


Seven DAYs IN L.A.

Edited by Ron Garmon

Just your Pidgin: Martin Kippenberger at MOCA (see Monday)

Thursday 1

TURN OVER A NEW PETAL This first day of 2009 should be as sweet as a thousand dewy roses – or perhaps 22 men sweating in football gear! The Tournament of Roses Parade, followed by the Rose Bowl Game that matches Penn State against USC, is the ultimate New Year’s Day tradition. If you can’t drag yourself out there right at 8 a.m., there’s a postparade showcase of floats, and scheduled marching-band performances. Feeling crafty? Sign up to help decorate floats in advance. Not as physically invigorating as a jump into ice-cold ocean water, but it should get the year off to a pleasant right-brain centered start. $7-up. 8 a.m. Tournament of Roses, Rose Bowl, Rosemont Pavilion, 700 Seco St., Pasadena, (626) 795-4171. tournamentofroses.com. (Gabrielle Paluch)

Friday 2

COSPLAY: THE NEW BONDAGE? Anime has come a long way since it was first introduced to American audiences in the late 1960s. It was bizarre back then and it’s frequently even more bizarre now, what with all the impossibly proportioned women, large-eyed characters, robots, ninjas, robotic ninjas, tentacle monsters and flying fortresses. Anime Los Angeles

gathers all of those fetishes under one roof. It’s the usual lineup for Otaku fans, with a dealers’ room selling expensive Japanese toys, an artists’ alley, cosplay, and everything else you could be proud to mention in your Craigslist personal. $20-50. Noon. Los Angeles Airport Marriott, 5855 W. Century Blvd., L.A., (310) 641-5700. animelosangeles.org. (Nathan Solis)

Saturday 3

DON’T LICK THE FROG It turns out that if you lick a poisonous frog, you probably won’t experience hallucinogenic visions of Huxley proportions – you might just get sick, though we’re betting that threat won’t stop some people. At the Reptile Super Show, one can trade such nuggets of information and stock up on heat lamps, heat rocks, and anything else to help keep your cold-blooded pets in the pink … or green, as the case may be. $8. 10 p.m. Pomona Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona. reptilesupershow. com. (NS)

Sunday 4

FLAMING NAZI GASBAG No, this isn’t a public lecture by radioranter Michael Savage, but something intrinsically more interesting – a rare

screening of Robert Wise’s 1975 disaster movie The Hindenburg at The Egyptian. See an all-star cast (George C. Scott, Anne Bancroft, Gig Young) wallow in 1930s-period soap-opera before the big silver sausage goes boom! over Lakehurst, New Jersey. This being the Nixon era, of course there’s a conspiracy and a cover-up posited around the infamous explosion. Part of the Cinematheque’s ongoing “Masters of Disaster” series. $10. 7:30 p.m. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. americancinematheque.com. (RG)

Tuesday 6

Monday 5

Wednesday 7

With all those late notices piling up at MOCA’s doorstep, now seems the best time to visit the ailing institution and appreciate Martin Kippenberger’s The Problem Perspective exhibit. This is the first retrospective in the U.S. to feature the late German artist known for casting himself in his work, and the sour notice he posthumously earned from noted art critic Pope Benedict XVI for crucifying a toad. This is the last day to see Kippenberger’s work – paintings, photographs, sculptures and more. $10. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Museum of Contemporary Art, 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A., (213) 626-6222. moca. org. (NS)

Cineastes of all stripes can appreciate the eclecticism of silent cinema, with its emphasis on visual storytelling in the absence of a dedicated soundtrack. And when avantgarde artists like Man Ray, Watson & Weber, Fernand Léger and Hans Richter tried their hand at silent filmmaking, the results were just as tripped-out as anything that came out of the ’60s. Don’t be expecting much silence when The Cinefamily hosts ex-Television legend Tom Verlaine & Jimmy Rip’s Music For Experimental Film. Enjoy a series of short films with live music, a hybrid event well worth the price of admission. $18. 8 p.m., 10 p.m. Silent Theater, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A., (323) 655-2510. silentmovietheatre.com. (RG)

JOLLY BLASPHEMER

LACITYBEAT 10 JANUARY 1-7, 2009

CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE Everyone has a story to tell. Not all those stories are interesting, but at least everyone can laugh together at the L.A. Moth StorySLAM going on at El Cid. Those brave enough to tell their stories will do so in front of a crowd of their peers and be judged on their experience – whether it makes you red in the face or proud of your story is entirely up to you. $6. 7 p.m. El Cid, 4212 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 668-0318. themoth.org. (NS)

NOT SO SILENT MOVIE


FILM

unfunny: Funny Games

The Bottom ’08 Even a very good year has its share of very bad movies By Andy Klein From a film critic’s perspective, most years seem like bad years ... or at least worse than they’re likely to seem to the rest of you. You all get to use us (and hopefully friends’ reactions and word of mouth) as a guide to filter out some real atrocities. Critics generally have no such guide, and even when there is “buzz” – positive or negative – it’s a professional responsibility to try to ignore it and view the film without prejudice. (I’d be lying to say that’s always possible.) When you have to see a couple hundred movies, largely selected by criteria that have more to do with practical realities (deadlines, screening time conflicts, illness, burnout) than interest, the chances that the good will outnumber the bad are pretty slim. By that standard, I’m shocked to realize, 2008 has been a very good year. I didn’t feel that way as it was unfolding, but at year’s end, as I plowed through my list, there were roughly 30 titles that survived the first cut for my Top 10 list, while I couldn’t even scrape together 10 pieces of rotting cinematic garbage for my worst films of 2008 list. Who woulda thunk? These are not the absolute worst. That list would include films that have already disappeared into the void; it would also quickly grow dull, with half the titles being marked “bigbudget Hollywood stupidity” and the other half “no-budget indies that make you wish the video revolution had never happened.” I’d rather spotlight

different kinds of bad. But let’s start with Pure Undistilled Plain-Vanilla Wretched Why-Didn’t-IDie-on-the-Way-to-the-Theater Awful, in the form of The Hottie and the Nottie, a romantic comedy that was neither romantic nor comic. Its main selling point – or, for many, avoiding point – was the presence of Paris Hilton in what I believe to be her first starring role – in, like, an actual feature distributed to actual theaters. How bad is this feature from deservedly unknown director Tom Putnam? It’s a blot on Paris Hilton’s dignity. Negatives: a witless script that alternates between the irritating and the incomprehensible; a moral stance that fails egregiously at its attempts to find decent values. Positives: competent editing; competent lighting ... wait: on reflection, that last item ends up being a negative: I would gladly have seen less. In the category of Can’t They Find Better Projects?, we have the one-two punch of 88 Minutes and Righteous Kill. The first stars a great actor (Al Pacino); the second, two great actors (Pacino and Robert De Niro). They were shot two years apart but came out within six months of each other. Why? Because 88 Minutes deservedly stayed on the shelf for a couple years. 88 Minutes isn’t just another bad thriller. While it’s mostly bad in the same ways as all the other lousy thrillers, it is additionally bad in other ways rarely seen. There are a million

little plot stupidities, but we’re used to that. Where it goes beyond your average imbecilic suspense movie is its utter lack of understanding of the plot requirements or the genre ... or of narratives in general. Jon Avnet directed both of these, and one can kindly assert that he seems to be improving: Righteous Kill is a solid D- to 88 Minutes’s F. Its script is built around a trick, one that is simultaneously too clever by half and not clever at all (which itself is quite a trick). It’s an act of extreme bad faith with the audience. Worst TV Show Puked Up on a Big Screen: Speed Racer, in a walk. And it wasn’t just a big screen, it was an IMAX screen. Two hours and 15 minutes of eye candy so sugary that it makes your jaw ache and your temples throb. If The Wachowski Brothers hadn’t eased the transition with the last two Matrix films, the plunge from The Matrix to Speed Racer might have set some sort of steepness record for career arcs. Most Pointless Remake of a Classic: The Day the Earth Stood Still. You could argue there are justifications for redoing the 1951 Robert Wise favorite – to do it in color, to take advantage of vastly more sophisticated special effects, to update the central threat from Cold War atom bomb concerns to environmental irresponsibility. It’s not a great argument, but it becomes moot when you view the result. The changes

JANUARY 1-7, 2009 11 LACITYBEAT

are all for the worse: the storytelling is so muddled that I’m not sure quite what motivates Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) toward the end. It Should Be Possible to Make an Ideologically Right Wing Movie That Doesn’t Suck ... Really: But you wouldn’t know it from Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed and David Zucker’s An American Carol. Hollywood used to occasionally cough up a Gabriel Over the White House or Red Dawn – even as recently as Independence Day – not to mention films that more subtly put forth values associated with the right end of the political spectrum. Maybe the increased polarization of recent years has made it more difficult to bridge the gap between right wing filmmakers and my left wing brain. Or maybe it’s just been a fluke. But Stein’s “intelligent design” documentary has all the red flags – inadequate or misleading identification of interviewees, aggressively manipulative editing, extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence, and extreme leaps of logic ... particularly suggesting guilt by association, even to the point of laying blame for the Holocaust on Darwin. And in Zucker’s comedy the jokes are lame and the caricatures too removed from any defensible reality; the physical humor is clunkily staged; and the story festooned with irrelevant putdowns. (“Ew, Michael Moore is fat. He’s a big, fat, slobby fatty. Ew!” Har de har.) And, for the grand finale, we have Movies of Undeniable Skill But Loathsome Intent: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Michael Haneke’s scene-for-scene American remake of his earlier Funny Games. In Haneke’s mind, it’s a film so nice, he had to make it twice. To a healthy human mind, however, it’s one of the most repugnant, unpleasant, sadistic movies ever made. No matter what virtues of craft one can find within, no matter what themes lie beneath, Funny Games is indefensible. The intent is to torture the audience, and, by that criterion, it’s a roaring success. I’m far from averse to dark content or squirm-inducing movies. I don’t believe there is some single golden criterion that all films must meet. Movies can provide knowledge; they can give us laughter, cleansing tears, excitement, crystallized reality, intellectual stimulation, transcendent moments of emotional catharsis, fresh perspectives, and a finite number of other worthwhile reactions. Few films do all of these, but I do believe that a work of art has to serve at least one of these many goals. Not on my list is “rubbing the audience’s noses in a hopeless world of shit” – which is all Funny Games comes up with. V


LATEST REVIEWS DEFIANCE As World War II rages in Eastern Europe, the Bielski brothers are forced to hide in the Belarusian woods to escape the Nazis, including those who murdered their father. Zus (Liev Schreiber) screams for blood, but older, even-tempered brother Tuvia (Daniel Craig) argues that “we may be hunted like animals, but we will not become animals.” So the brothers star t bringing desperate Jews to their small encampment, which balloons into a mini-society, as others find the Bielski’s hidden community. Eventually, Zus depar ts to fight alongside the Russians, leaving Tuvia to struggle with his responsibilities as the group’s de facto leader. By war’s end, about 1,200 Jews are living in this remarkable, woodsy refuge, ever fear ful of being discovered. Director Ed Zwick’s knack for exhuming forgotten, true-life tales of war time heroism remains intact, but, in comparison to his Oscar-winning masterpiece Glor y, he’s slightly off his game. It’s an amazing stor y, but Zwick is usually better at mixing grand themes, pulsing action, and meaty characters. This time he indulges in some disappointing herecomes-the-cavalr y rescues; and he can’t individualize the brothers much beyond their war time philosophies. Also, Craig is

too masculine for such a conflicted character, and Schreiber’s innate intelligence makes him a questionable choice to play a brute. Zwick presumably trusted this fascinating tale too much to gussy it up with excessive style and fireworks, but the result is, never theless, under whelming. (Mark Keizer) (Pacific’s The Grove)

GOOD If a theme has emerged among this season’s (however unlikely) Oscar bait, it could be a sympathetic look from inside the Nazi regime. Whereas Valkyrie finds heroism there, and The Reader a sor t of unapologetic ignorance, the allegorical Good lies somewhere in between, as German literature professor John Halder (Viggo Mor tensen, conveying chaos by lurching about) transforms from an unassuming intellectual to a Gestapo agent. The compromises are minor at first: He agrees to write a paper. Joins the par ty. Assumes an “honorar y” post. Meanwhile, he takes a lover. Gets promoted. Moves into a swank, furnished house. Suddenly, the camera deftly pulls back to reveal Halder in full SS uniform, his lovely, pregnant new wife on her knees in front of him. The familiar explanations are here – that the erosion of rights was gradual, that the people were captivated by the rhetoric and overlooked the appalling message. But the compelling argument is that Halder is so over whelmed by the chaos in his life – a distant ex-wife, a meddling father-in-law, a senile mother – that he fails to act ®

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until it’s too late. The consequences become personal, when his best friend (Jason Isaacs) disappears. Based on C.P. Taylor’s esteemed play, Vicente Amorim’s film maintains some of the original’s nonlinear structure, but it’s applied so sparingly as to ultimately unnecessar y. The be restrained use of magical realism, however, culminates nicely in Halder’s climactic realization, even if hindsight lessens the impact on an audience all too familiar with the events. (Annlee Ellingson) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3)

SHOWTIMES JAN. 2-8, 2008 Note: Times are p.m., and daily, unless otherwise indicated. All times are subject to change without notice.

BURBANK AMC Burbank 16, 140 E Palm Av, (818) 9539800. Metropolitan Opera: Thais Encore Wed only, 7. AMC Burbank Town Center 8, 210 E Magnolia Bl, (818) 953-9800. Call theater for titles and showtimes. AMC Burbank Town Center 6, 770 N First St, (818) 953-9800. Call theater for titles and showtimes.

LET THEM CHIRP A WHILE Writer-director Jonathan Blitstein’s charming, if slightly self-indulgent feature focuses on the romantic and career misadventures of a group of twentysomething ar tists living in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. The film’s center is angsty Bobby (Justin Rice), an aspiring playwright fresh out of college, who finds himself seething with rage when an acquaintance steals some of his ideas and uses them for an off-Broadway production. Bobby’s best friend, Scott (Brendan Sexton III), works as a banker, but dreams of being a rock star. However, his true ar t is in breaking the hear t of his longtime girlfriend (Pepper Binkley), whom he dumps in favor of someone for whom he feels “passion.” Yes, Blitstein’s film occasionally falls prey to some of the pitfalls of a work by a young director: The piece is peppered with pretentious literar y references that have no purpose other than to show off that the filmmakers took freshman lit. Yet, the film’s por trait of the East Village in what appears to be early fall glitters with bohemian gorgeousness. With its highly cerebral tone, thoughtful introspection, and unexpected flashes of witty farce, the piece sometimes feels like a clever reboot of mid-’80s Woody Allen movies, except with a younger, more brash cast and a hip, fin de millennium cultural context. (Paul Birchall) (Laemmle’s Sunset 5)

CULVER CITY, MARINA DEL REY The Bridge: Cinema De Lux & IMAX Theater, The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, 6081 Center Dr, Westchester, (310) 5683375. Bedtime Stories Fri-Sat 11:05 a.m., 11:35 a.m., 12:05, 1:25, 2:25, 3:45, 4:15, 4:45, 6:15, 6:45, 7:15, 8:45, 9:45, 11:05, 12:05 a.m.; Sun 11:05 a.m., 11:35 a.m., 12:05, 1:25, 2:25, 3:45, 4:15, 4:45, 6:15, 6:45, 7:15, 8:45, 9:45; Mon-Thur 11:35 a.m., 12:05, 1:25, 2:25, 3:45, 4:15, 4:45, 6:15, 6:45, 7:15, 8:45, 9:45. Bolt in Disney Digital 3D Fri-Sun 10:30 a.m., 12:45; Mon-Thur 12:45. Cadillac Records Fri-Sat 9:30, midnight; SunThur 9:30. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 11:30 a.m., 3, 6:30, 10. The Day the Earth Stood Still 7. Doubt Fri-Sat 12:15, 2:40, 5:05, 7:40, 10:15, 12:30 a.m.; Sun-Thur 12:15, 2:40, 5:05, 7:40, 10:15. Four Christmases Fri-Sat 2, 9:15, 11:30; SunThur 2, 9:15. Gran Torino Fri-Sat 11:15 a.m., 2, 3, 4:45, 5:45, 7:30, 8:30, 10:15, 11:15; Sun 11:15 a.m., 2, 3, 4:45, 5:45, 7:30, 8:30, 10:15; Mon-Thur 2, 3, 4:45, 5:45, 7:30, 8:30, 10:15. Marley & Me Fri-Sat 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:35, 2:05, 4:10, 4:40, 7:20, 10, 12:30 a.m.; Sun 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:35, 2:05,

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L.A./BEVERLY HILLS F UNIVERSAL CITY Pacific’s The Grove CityWalk Stadium 19 with IMAX Stadium 14 (800) FANDANGO #707 (323) 692-0829 (#209) Fri. & Sat.: 12:00 • 2:45 • 5:35 • 8:15 • 11:00 Daily: 11:35 • 2:25 Sun.: 12:00 • 2:45 • 5:35 • 8:15 • 10:50 5:15 • 8:05 • 11:05 Mon.- Thurs.: 2:45 • 5:35 • 8:15 • 10:50

F SANTA MONICA F WEST LOS ANGELES F LOS ANGELES AMC Santa Monica 7 The Bridge Cinema De Lux AMC Magic Johnson Crenshaw 15 (310) 289-4AMC (310) 568-3375 (800) FANDANGO #703 Fri.- Sun.: 11:45 • 2:20 • 5:00 • 7:35 • 10:15 Daily: 11:50 • 2:20 • 4:50 • 7:25 • 10:05 Fri. & Sat.: 11:45 • 2:30 • 5:25 • 8:05 • 10:50 Mon.- Thurs.: 2:20 • 5:00 • 7:35 • 10:15 Wed.- Sat. Late Show: 12:35am Sun.: 11:45 • 2:30 • 5:25 • 8:05 • 10:35 Mon.- Thurs.: 12:00 • 2:30 • 5:25 • 8:05 • 10:35 GPresented in

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LACITYBEAT 12 JANUARY 1-7, 2009

DOWNTOWN & SOUTH L.A. Downtown Independent, >251 South Main St, (213) 617-1033. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Laemmle’s Grande 4-Plex, 345 S Figueroa St, (213) 617-0268. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Magic Johnson Theaters, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, 4020 Marlton Av, (323) 2905900. Bedtime Stories 11:55 a.m., 2:40, 5:15, 7:45, 10:15. Cadillac Records Fri only, 11:30 a.m., 2:10, 4:50, 7:25, 10:05. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Fri only, 11:35 a.m., 3:20, 7, 10:45. The Day the Earth Stood Still Fri only, 11:40 a.m., 2:15, 4:55, 7:25, 10. Marley & Me Fri only, 10:30 a.m., 1:20, 4:15, 7:15, 10:10. Seven Pounds Fri only, 11:20 a.m., 2:20, 5:20, 8:20, 11:05. The Tale of Despereaux Fri only, 10:20 a.m., 12:40, 3, 5:35, 8, 10:20. Yes Man Wed only, 11:25 a.m., 2:05, 4:45, 7:20, 9:55. University Village 3, 3323 S Hoover St, (213) 748-6321. Bedtime Stories Fri-Sat 11 a.m., 1:30, 4, 6:30, 9, 11:30; Sun-Thur 11 a.m., 1:30, 4, 6:30, 9. The Spirit Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m., 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30, midnight; Sun-Thur 11:30 a.m., 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30. Yes Man Fri-Sat noon, 2:30, 5, 7:30, 10, 12:20 a.m.; Sun-Thur noon, 2:30, 5, 7:30, 10.

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www.thespiritmovie.com

G HOLLYWOOD ArcLight Cinemas At Sunset & Vine (323) 464-4226 Daily: 11:05 • 1:55 4:45 • 7:45 • 10:15

4:10, 4:40, 7:20, 10; Mon 11:30 a.m., 2:05, 4:10, 4:40, 7:20, 10; Tue-Thur 11:30 a.m., 1:35, 2:05, 4:10, 4:40, 7:20, 10. Metropolitan Opera: Thais Encore Wed only, 7. Seven Pounds Fri-Sat 10:20 a.m., 1:10, 4, 6:50, 9:40, 12:30 a.m.; Sun 10:20 a.m., 1:10, 4, 6:50, 9:40; Mon-Thur 1:10, 4, 6:50, 9:40. The Spirit Fri-Sat 11:50 a.m., 2:20, 4:50, 7:25, 10:05, 12:35 a.m.; Sun-Thur 11:50 a.m., 2:20, 4:50, 7:25, 10:05. The Tale of Despereaux Fri-Sun 11:15 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 1:45, 2:15, 4:15, 4:45, 7:15; Mon-Thur 11:45 a.m., 1:45, 2:15, 4:15, 4:45, 7:15. Twilight Fri-Sat 9:30, 12:10 a.m.; Sun-Thur 9:30. The Unborn Thur only, 12:01 a.m.. Valkyrie Fri-Sat 11:05 a.m., 1:45, 4:25, 7:10, 9:50, 12:25 a.m.; Sun 11:05 a.m., 1:45, 4:25, 7:10, 9:50; Mon-Thur 1:45, 4:25, 7:10, 9:50. Yes Man Fri-Sat 11:55 a.m., 2:25, 4:55, 7:25, 9:55, 12:25 a.m.; Sun-Thur 11:55 a.m., 2:25, 4:55, 7:25, 9:55. Culver Plaza Theatre, 9919 Washington Blvd, (310) 836-5516. Australia Fri-Sun 1:45, 9:40. Bolt Fri-Sun 12:05, 2:05, 4, 6, 8. Cadillac Records Fri-Sun 11:30 a.m., 5:05, 7:25. Four Christmases Fri-Sun noon, 1:50, 3:40, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30. Ghajini Fri-Sun 11:35 a.m., 3:05, 6:35, 10. Nothing Like the Holidays Fri-Sun 12:05, 5:05, 9:50. Quantum of Solace Fri-Sun 2:25, 7:30. Role Models Fri-Sun 10. Twilight Fri-Sun 12:10, 2:30, 5:05, 7:40, 10. Loews Cineplex Marina Marketplace, 13455 Maxella Av, (310) 827-9588. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Pacific Culver Stadium 12, 9500 Culver Bl, (310) 855-7519. Call theater for titles and showtimes. UA Marina, 4335 Glencoe Av, (310) 8231721. Call theater for titles and showtimes.

FPresented in

ArcLight Cinemas Hollywood, 6360 Sunset Bl, (323) 464-4226. Bedtime Stories Fri-Sun 11 a.m., 2, 4:40, 7, 9:30; Mon-Thur 11 a.m., 2, 4:50, 7:10, 9:30. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Fri-Sun 10:25 a.m., 11:50 a.m., 2:05, 3:30, 6:35, 7:30, 10:25, 11:20; Mon-Thur 10:25 a.m., 11:50 a.m., 2:25, 3:30, 6:35, 7:30, 10:25, 11:20. Doubt Fri-Sun 11:40 a.m., 2:40, 5:10, 8, 10:40; Mon-Thur 11:40 a.m., 2:40, 5:10, 8:10, 10:40. Frost/Nixon 10:40 a.m., 1:40, 4:30, 7:40, 10:30. Gran Torino 10:45 a.m., 1:30, 4:15, 7:35, 10:35.


“A Movie That Must Be Experienced,

A MONUMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT.” – Rex Reed,

At once familiar and like nothing ever seen on screen before. The chemistry between Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett is nothing short of glorious.”

“BRAD PITT GIVES A GREAT PERFORMANCE... CATE BLANCHETT IS SIMPLY DAZZLING.

– Karen Durbin

Remarkable. A soul-filling vision.”

“ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES OF THE DECADE.

“SWEEPS YOU AWAY... What David Fincher does is simply extraordinary. He fuses ferocity and feeling and creates a world you want to get lost in.” – Peter Travers

– Joe Morgenstern

5 8

G OLDEN G LOBE N OMINATIONS ®

I N C LUD I NG

B EST PICTURE B EST D IRECTOR B EST ACTOR (Drama)

David Fincher

Brad Pitt

(Drama)

® HFPA

CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS NOMINATIONS I N C LUD I NG

B EST PICTURE B EST ACTOR B EST ACTRESS Brad Pitt

Cate Blanchett

WINNER ONE OF THE BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW • AFI AWARDS 2008

NOW PLAYING IN THEATRES EVERYWHERE Text BEN to 33287 to find a theater near you and to receive movie alerts from Paramount!

Check Local Listing for Theatres and Showtimes

SPECIAL ENGAGEMENT - NO PASSES OR DISCOUNT TICKETS ACCEPTED

Attention all AMPAS, DGA & WGA members: Your guild card will admit you and a guest to any performance, based on seating availability. AMC: AMPAS, ACE, ADG, ASC, BAFTA LA, CAS, DGA, HFPA, MPEG, MPSE, PGA & WGA. ArcLight/Pacific: AMPAS, DGA & WGA. Cinema Palme D’Or (Mon – Thurs only): AMPAS, ACE, ADG, ASC, BAFTA LA, CAS, DGA, HFPA, MPEG, MPSE, PGA & WGA. Landmark Theatres (Mon – Thurs only): AMPAS, DGA, PGA & WGA. Mary Pickford: AMPAS, DGA, PGA & WGA. Mann (Mon – Thurs only): AMPAS, DGA & WGA. Metropolitan: AMPAS, ACE, ADG, ASC, BAFTA LA, CAS, DGA, HFPA, MPEG, MPSE, PGA & WGA. Regal: AMPAS, DGA, WGA & PGA.


Milk Fri-Sun 10:55 a.m., 1:45, 4:55, 7:55, 10:45; Mon-Thur 10:55 a.m., 1:45, 4:55, 7:50, 10:45. Revolutionary Road Fri-Sun 11:25 a.m., 2:15, 5:15, 7:15, 8:05, 10, 10:55; Mon-Wed 11:25 a.m., 2:15, 5:15, 8:05, 11; Thur 11:25 a.m., 2:15, 5:15, 7:15, 8:05, 10, 11. Seven Pounds Fri-Sun 11:10 a.m., 2:10, 5, 7:50, 10:50; Mon-Thur 11:10 a.m., 2:10, 5, 7:55, 10:55.

Slumdog Millionaire Fri-Sun 10:10 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:20, 4:20, 5:25, 7:20, 10:20, 11:05; Mon-Thur 10:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., 1:50, 4:40, 5:25, 8, 10:50, 11:25. The Spirit 11:05 a.m., 1:55, 4:45, 7:45, 10:15. The Wrestler Fri-Sun 10:30 a.m., 1:10, 2:25, 4, 7:10, 8:25, 10:10; Mon-Thur 10:30 a.m., 1:10, 2:45, 4, 7, 8:25, 10:10. Grauman’s Chinese, 6925 Hollywood Bl,

(323) 464-8111. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Los Feliz 3, 1822 N Vermont Av, (323) 6642169. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Mann Chinese 6, 6801 Hollywood Bl, (323) 461-3331. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Pacific’s El Capitan, 6838 Hollywood Bl, (323) 467-7674. Bolt in Disney Digital 3D FriSun 10 a.m., 1, 4, 7, 9:55.

EXPERIENCE THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON “A GIFT FOR MOVIEGOERS, the year’s most unexpected and profoundly moving love story.” Pete Hammond, HOLLYWOOD.COM

Pacific’s The Grove Stadium 14, 189 The Grove Dr, Third St & Fairfax Av, (323) 6920829. Bedtime Stories Fri-Wed 10:50 a.m., 1:25, 4:15, 7:05, 9:50; Thur 10:50 a.m., 1:25, 4:15, 7:05. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Fri-Wed 11:30 a.m., 12:15, 3:15, 4, 7, 7:45, 10:45, 11:30; Thur 11 a.m., 12:15, 2:45, 4, 7:45, 10:45, 11:30. Defiance Fri-Sat 10:30 a.m., 12:40, 1:40, 3:55, 4:55, 7:10, 8:10, 10:25, 11:25, 12:25 a.m.; Sun-Wed 10:30 a.m., 12:40, 1:40, 3:55, 4:55, 7:10, 8:10, 10:25, 11:25; Thur 10:30 a.m., 12:40, 1:40, 3:55, 4:55, 7:10, 8:10, 10:30, 11:25. Doubt 11:05 a.m., 1:50, 4:30, 7:25, 10:10. Last Chance Harvey 11:20 a.m., 2, 4:40, 7:20, 9:55. Marley & Me Fri-Sun 11:10 a.m., 2:05, 5, 7:55, 10:50; Mon 11 a.m., 2:05, 5, 7:55, 10:50; Tue 11:10 a.m., 2:05, 5, 7:55, 10:50; Wed 12:25, 3:20, 10:50; Thur 11:10 a.m., 2:05, 5, 7:55, 10:50. Revolutionary Road Fri-Sat 10:25 a.m., 1:20, 4:25, 7:35, 9:45, 10:35, 12:30 a.m.; SunThur 10:25 a.m., 1:20, 4:25, 7:35, 9:45, 10:35. Seven Pounds 10:40 a.m., 1:35, 4:45, 7:50, 10:55. The Spirit 11:35 a.m., 2:25, 5:15, 8:05, 11:05. The Tale of Despereaux Fri-Wed 11:15 a.m., 1:45, 4:20, 7:15; Thur 11:15 a.m., 1:45, 4:20. Valkyrie 10:35 a.m., 1:30, 4:35, 7:40, 10:40. Yes Man 11:25 a.m., 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:15.

Regent Showcase, 614 N La Brea Av, (323) 934-2944. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Vine, 6321 Hollywood Bl, (323) 463-6819. Vista, 4473 Sunset, (323) 660-6639. Call theater for titles and showtimes.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, UNIVERSAL CITY Century 8, 12827 Victory Bl, (818) 5086004. Bedtime Stories Fri-Wed 12:10, 2:30, 4:50, 7:10, 9:30. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Fri-Wed noon, 3:30, 7, 10:30. Marley & Me Fri-Wed 11:25 a.m., 2:05, 4:45, 7:30, 10:10. Seven Pounds 1:45, 4:35, 7:25, 10:15. The Spirit Fri-Wed 12:20, 2:50, 5:20, 7:50, 10:20. The Tale of Despereaux 11:50 a.m., 2:20, 4:40, 7:05, 9:25. Valkyrie Fri-Wed 11:30 a.m., 2:10, 4:55, 7:40, 10:25. Yes Man 12:05, 2:35, 5:05, 7:35, 10:05. Loews CityWalk Stadium 19 with IMAX, 100 Universal City Dr at Universal CityWalk, (818) 508-0588; IMAX Theater (818) 760-8100. Call theater for titles and showtimes.

NORTHRIDGE, CHATSWORTH, GRANADA HILLS Mann Granada Hills, Devonshire St & Balboa Av, (818) 363-3679. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Pacific’s Northridge Fashion Center All Stadium 10, 9400 N Shirley Av, (818) 501-

A NEW KIND OF MOVIE THAT GOES TO THAT PLACE WHERE MEMORY AND HISTORY COLLIDE

GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD ®

NOMINEE

BEST FOREIGN FILM

©HFPA

4

ANNIE AWARD NOMINATIONS

BEST PICTURE • BEST DIRECTING BEST MUSIC • BEST SCREENPLAY

WINNER

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE LOS ANGELES FILM CRITICS AWARD

WINNER

BEST FOREIGN FILM

BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM AWARD

2

CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARD NOMINATIONS

BEST FOREIGN FILM BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

WINNER

BEST PICTURE

INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY AWARD

WINNER

ONE OF THE TOP 5 FOREIGN FILMS NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW

“IT’S UNLIKE ANY FILM YOU’VE SEEN, PERIOD. A SEAMLESS MIXING OF THE REAL AND THE SURREAL, THE PERSONAL AND THE POLITICAL, ANIMATION AND LIVE ACTION.” – Kenneth Turan, LOS ANGELES TIMES

“AN AMAZING FILM! A WORK OF ASTONISHING AESTHETIC INTEGRITY AND SEARING MORAL POWER.” – A.O. Scott, THE NEW YORK TIMES

ONE OF THE YEAR’S BEST FILMS!

COLUMBIA PICTURES PRESENTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH RELATIVITY MEDIMUSICA AN OVERBROOK ENTERTAI NMENT ESCAPE ARTISTS PROPRODDUCTION A FILM BY GABRIELE MUCCINO “SEVEN POUNDS” EXECUTIVE WRITTEN ROSARIO DAWSON MICHAEL EALY WITH BARRY PEPPER AND WOODY HARRELSON BY ANGELO MILLI PRODUCERS DAVID CROCKETT DAVID BLOOMFI ELD KEN STOVITZ DOMENICO PROCACCI BY GRANT NI EPORTE PRODUCED DIRECTED BY TODD BLACK JAMES LASSITER JASON BLUMENTHAL STEVE TISCH WILL SMITH BY GABRI ELE MUCCINO

NEW YORK MAGAZINE ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON POST NEW YORK POST TIME OUT NEW YORK

David Edelstein Stephen King Christy Lemire John Anderson Lou Lumenick Melissa Anderson & David Fear

NOW PLAYING HOLLYWOOD ArcLight Cinemas At Sunset & Vine 323/464-4226 Digital Projection Fri-Sun 11:10 AM, 2:10, 5:00, 7:50 & 10:50 PM Mon-Thur 11:10 AM, 2:10, 5:00, 7:55 & 10:55 PM 4 Hours Validated Parking - $2

CENTURY CITY AMC Century 15 • 310/289-4AMC Fri-Sun 10:20 AM, 1:20, 4:20, 7:40 & 10:45 PM Mon-Thur 1:20, 4:35, 7:50 & 10:45 PM 3 Hours Free Parking Additional 2 Hour Parking $3.00 with AMC Validation

WEST LOS ANGELES The Landmark At Pico & Westwood Blvd. 310/281-8233 Daily 11:00 AM, 1:50, 4:45, 7:35 & 10:25 PM Free Parking

L.A./BEVERLY HILLS Pacific’s The Grove Stadium 14 323/692-0829 #209 Daily 10:40 AM, 1:35, 4:45, 7:50 & 10:55 PM

SHERMAN OAKS ArcLight Cinemas At The Sherman Oaks Galleria 818/501-0753 Daily 11:00 AM, 2:05, 5:00, 7:55 & 11:05 PM

WESTWOOD AMC Avco 310/475-0711 Fri, Mon-Thur 1:35, 4:30, 7:30 & 10:20 PM Sat & Sun 10:40 AM, 1:35, 4:30, 7:30 & 10:20 PM

UNIVERSAL CITY CityWalk Stadium 19 with IMAX® 800/FANDANGO #707 On 2 Screens Fri & Sat 11:00 AM, 12:10, 1:45, 3:10, 4:35, 6:10, 7:50, 9:00 & 10:50 PM Sun 11:00 AM, 12:10, 1:45, 3:10, 4:35, 6:10, 7:50, 9:00 & 10:40 PM Mon-Thur 1:00, 1:45, 3:50, 4:35, 6:45, 7:50, 9:35 & 10:40 PM Fri & Sat Late Show 12:00 Midnight

$4.00 Parking Fri-Sun/$3.00 Parking Mon-Thur At The Avco Center Parking

Movie Parking Rebate $5 General Parking Rebate at Box Office with Movie Ticket Purchase (Excludes Preferred & Valet)

SANTA MONICA Mann Criterion 6 • 310/248-MANN #019 Daily 12:50, 3:50, 7:00 & 9:50 PM

WEST LOS ANGELES The Bridge Cinema De Lux 310/568-3375 On 2 Screens Digital Projection Fri-Sun 10:20 & 10:50 AM, 1:10, 1:40, 4:00, 4:30, 6:50, 7:20, 9:40 & 10:10 PM Mon-Thur 1:10, 1:40, 4:00, 4:30, 6:50, 7:20, 9:40 & 10:10 PM Fri & Sat Late Show 12:30 AM

4 Hours On-Site Validated Parking Only $2.00

OFFICIAL ISRAEL ENTRY

ACADEMY AWARDS ®

4 Hours Free Validated Parking

AND AT A THEATER NEAR YOU FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS. AMPAS and Guild Members: Your card will admit you and a guest to any performance (subject to seating availability). AMC: AMPAS, ACE, ADG, ASC, BAFTA-LA, CAS, DGA, MPEG, MPSE, PGA and WGA Members. ARCLIGHT and PACIFIC: AMPAS, DGA and WGA Members. LANDMARK: AMPAS, DGA, PGA and WGA Members (Mon-Thur only excluding holidays). MANN: AMPAS, DGA and WGA Members (Mon-Thur only). THE BRIDGE: AMPAS, DGA and WGA begins Jan. 2 (cardholders only, no guests).

LACITYBEAT 14 JANUARY 1-7, 2009

WALTZAN ARI WITH BASHIR FOLMAN FILM WWW.SONYCLASSICS.COM SOUNDTRACK AVAILABLE ON

VIEW THE TRAILER AT WWW.WALTZWITHBASHIRMOVIE.COM

EXCLUSIVE ENGAGEMENTS NOW PLAYING! L WEST LOS ANGELES Laemmle’s Royal (310) 477-5581 Daily: 12:30 • 2:45 • 5:00 • 7:30 Fri. - Sun. Late Show: 9:45 pm

G ENCINO Laemmle’s Town Center 5 (818) 981-9811

F IRVINE Edwards Westpark 8 (800) FANDANGO #144

F G L

AMPAS MEMBERS: YOUR CARD WILL ADMIT YOU AND A GUEST TO ANY PERFORMANCE, LIMITED TO SEATING AVAILABILITY AND INDIVIDUAL THEATRE POLICY.


Loews CityWalk Stadium 19 with IMAX, 100 Universal City Dr at Universal CityWalk, (818) 508-0588; IMAX Theater (818) 760-8100. Call theater for titles and showtimes.

NORTHRIDGE, CHATSWORTH, GRANADA HILLS Mann Granada Hills, Devonshire St & Balboa Av, (818) 363-3679. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Pacific’s Northridge Fashion Center All Stadium 10, 9400 N Shirley Av, (818) 501-5121. Bedtime Stories FriSat 11:15 a.m., 2, 4:35, 7:15, 9:55; Sun 11:15 a.m., 2, 4:35, 7:15, 9:45; Mon-Thur 11:15 a.m., 2, 4:35, 7:15. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Fri-Sat 11:40 a.m., 3:20, 7, 10:30; Sun 11:40 a.m., 3:20, 7, 10:35; MonThur 11:40 a.m., 3:20, 7. The Day the Earth Stood Still Fri-Sun 11:35 a.m., 2:15, 5:05, 7:50, 10:25; Mon-Thur 11:35 a.m., 2:15, 5:05, 7:50. Doubt Fri-Sun noon, 2:35, 5:10, 7:45, 10:20; Mon-Thur noon, 2:35, 5:10, 7:45. Marley & Me Fri-Sun 11:05 a.m., 1:50, 4:50, 7:35, 10:15; Mon-Thur 11:05 a.m., 1:50, 4:50, 7:35. Seven Pounds Fri-Sat 11 a.m., 1:45, 4:40, 7:40, 10:35; Sun 11 a.m., 1:45, 4:40, 7:40, 10:30; Mon-Thur 11 a.m., 1:45, 4:40, 7:40. The Spirit Fri-Sat 11:50 a.m., 2:30, 5:15, 8, 10:40; Sun 11:50 a.m., 2:30, 5:15, 8, 10:45; Mon-Thur 11:50 a.m., 2:30, 5:15, 8. The Tale of Despereaux Fri-Sun 11:45 a.m., 2:10, 4:45, 7:10; Mon-Thur 11:45 a.m., 2:10, 4:45. Twilight Fri-Sat 9:40; Sun 9:30; Mon-Thur 7:10. Valkyrie Fri-Sat 11:10 a.m., 2:05, 5, 7:55, 10:45; Sun 11:10 a.m., 2:05, 5, 7:55, 10:40; Mon-Thur 11:10 a.m., 2:05, 5, 7:55. Yes Man Fri-Sat 11:20 a.m., 1:55, 4:30, 7:05, 9:50; Sun 11:20 a.m., 1:55, 4:30, 7:05, 9:35; Mon-Thur 11:20 a.m., 1:55, 4:30, 7:05. Pacific’s Winnetka All Stadium 21, 9201 Winnetka Av, Chatsworth, (818) 501-5121. Bedtime Stories Fri-Sat 10:30 a.m., 11:50 a.m., 12:50, 2:20, 3:20, 4:50, 5:45, 7:20, 8:20, 9:45, 10:50; Sun 10:30 a.m., 11:50 a.m., 12:50, 2:20, 3:20, 4:50, 5:45, 7:20, 8:20, 9:45; MonThur 11:50 a.m., 12:50, 2:20, 3:20, 4:50, 5:45, 7:20, 8:20, 9:45. Bolt 11:05 a.m., 1:35. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 3:10, 4:10, 7, 7:45, 10:40, 11:20; Sun-Thur 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 3:10, 4:10, 7, 7:45, 10:35. The Day the Earth Stood Still Fri-Sat 11:40 a.m., 12:40, 2:15, 3:15, 4:50, 5:50, 7:20, 8:25, 10, 11; Sun-Thur 11:40 a.m., 12:40, 2:15, 3:15, 4:50, 5:50, 7:20, 8:25, 10. Four Christmases 10:05. Marley & Me Fri-Sat 11 a.m., noon, 1:50, 2:50, 4:40, 5:40, 7:30, 8:30, 10:15, 11:15; Sun-Thur 11 a.m., noon, 1:50, 2:50, 4:40, 5:40, 7:30, 8:30, 10:15. Quantum of Solace 12:40, 5:40, 8:15. The Reader Fri-Sat 10:55 a.m., 1:50, 4:45, 7:40, 10:35; Sun 10:55 a.m., 1:50, 4:45, 7:40, 10:30; Mon-Thur 11 a.m., 1:50, 4:45, 7:40, 10:30. Role Models Fri-Sat 3:15, 10:50; Sun-Thur 3:15, 10:45. Seven Pounds Fri-Sat 10:30 a.m., 11:25 a.m., 1:20, 2:20, 4:15, 5:15, 7:05, 8:05, 9:55, 10:55; Sun 10:30 a.m., 11:25 a.m., 1:20, 2:20, 4:15, 5:15, 7:05, 8:05, 9:55; Mon-Thur 11:25 a.m., 1:20, 2:20, 4:15, 5:15, 7:05, 8:05, 9:55. Slumdog Millionaire Fri-Sat 10:45 a.m., 1:40, 4:40, 7:35, 10:30; Sun 10:45 a.m., 1:40, 4:40, 7:35, 10:25; MonThur 1:40, 4:40, 7:35, 10:25. The Spirit Fri-Sat 11:25 a.m., 12:25, 2:05, 3:05, 4:45, 5:45, 7:25, 8:25, 10, 11; Sun-Thur 11:25 a.m., 12:25, 2:05, 3:05, 4:45, 5:45, 7:25, 8:25, 10. The Tale of Despereaux 12:35, 2:55, 5:15, 7:35. Twilight 4:05, 7, 9:50. Valkyrie Fri-Sat 10:35 a.m., 11:35 a.m., 1:25, 2:25, 4:20, 5:20, 7:15, 8:15, 10:10, 11:05; Sun 10:35 a.m., 11:35 a.m., 1:25, 2:25, 4:20, 5:20, 7:15, 8:15, 10:10; MonThur 11:35 a.m., 1:25, 2:25, 4:20, 5:20, 7:15, 8:15, 10:10. Yes Man Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m., 12:35, 2, 3:05, 4:35, 5:35, 7:10, 8:10, 9:40, 10:45; Sun-Thur 11:30 a.m., 12:35, 2, 3:05, 4:35, 5:35, 7:10, 8:10, 9:40, 10:40.

SANTA MONICA AMC Santa Monica 7, 1310 Third Street Promenade, (310) 395-3030. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, 1332 Second St, (310) 3949741. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Loews Cineplex Broadway, 1441 Third Street Promenade, (310) 458-1506. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Mann Criterion, 1313 Third Street Promenade, (310) 3951599. Call theater for titles and showtimes.

SHERMAN OAKS, ENCINO ArcLight Sherman Oaks, 15301 Ventura Bl, Sherman Oaks, (818) 501-0753. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Laemmle’s Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Bl, Encino, (818) 981-9811. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Mann Plant 16, 7876 Van Nuys Bl, Panorama City, (818) 779-0323. Call theater for titles and showtimes.

Pacific’s Sherman Oaks 5, 14424 Millbank St, Sherman Oaks, (818) 501-5121. Call theater for titles and showtimes.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, BEVERLY HILLS, CENTURY CITY AMC Century City 15, 10250 Santa Monica Bl, (310) 277-2011. Metropolitan Opera: Thais Encore Wed only, 7. Laemmle’s Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Bl, (310) 2746869. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theatre, 8000 Sunset Bl, (323) 8483500. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Beverly Center 13 Cinemas, 8522 Beverly Blvd., Suite 835, (310) 652-7760. Call theater for titles and showtimes.

WESTWOOD, WEST L.A. AMC Avco Center, 10840 Wilshire Bl, (310) 475-0711. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Laemmle’s Royal Theatre, 11523 Santa Monica Bl, (310) 477-5581. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Landmark’s Nuart Theater, 11272 Santa Monica Bl, (310) 281-8223. Che Sub-Titled 1:30, 7:15. Raiders of the Lost Ark Midnight Fri only,. The Rocky Horror Picture Show Midnight Sat only,. Landmark’s Regent, 1045 Broxton Av, (310) 281-8223. Bedtime Stories 1, 3:30, 6, 8:30. The Landmark West Los Angeles, 10850 W Pico Bl, (310) 281-8223. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 11:40 a.m., 1:10, 3:20, 4:50, 7:05, 8:30, 10:40. Doubt 11:20 a.m., 2, 4:45, 7:20, 9:50. Last Chance Harvey Fri-Mon 11:40 a.m., 1:40, 2:10, 4, 4:40, 6:30, 7:15, 9:45; Tue-Thur 11:40 a.m., 1:40, 2:10, 4, 4:40, 7:15, 9:45. Milk Fri-Mon 10:50 a.m., 1:15, 4:15, 7:10, 9, 10:05; TueThur 10:50 a.m., 1:15, 4:15, 7:10, 10:05. The Reader 11 a.m., 1:50, 4:40, 7:30, 10:20. Seven Pounds Fri-Wed 11 a.m., 1:50, 4:45, 7:35, 10:25; Thur 11 a.m., 1:50, 10:25. Slumdog Millionaire Fri-Mon 11:20 a.m., 12:40, 2:15, 3:30, 5, 6:20, 7:50, 9:10, 10:35; Tue-Thur 11:20 a.m., 12:40, 2:15, 3:30, 5, 7:50, 10:35. Valkyrie 11:30 a.m., 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:10. The Wrestler 11:50 a.m., 2:30, 5:10, 7:45, 10:20. Majestic Crest Theater, 1262 Westwood Bl, (310) 4747866. The Tale of Despereaux 1, 3, 5, 7. Mann Bruin, 948 Broxton Av, (310) 208-8998. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Mann Festival 1, 10887 Lindbrook Av, (310) 208-4575. Call theater for titles and showtimes. Mann Village, 961 Broxton Av, (310) 208-5576. Call theater for titles and showtimes.

WOODLAND HILLS, WEST HILLS, TARZANA AMC Promenade 16, 21801 Oxnard St, Woodland Hills, (818) 883-2262. Metropolitan Opera: Thais Encore Wed only, 7. Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7 Cinemas, Fallbrook Mall, 6731 Fallbrook Av, West Hills, (818) 340-8710. Call theater for titles and showtimes.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS THURSDAY, JANUARY 1 American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Av, Santa Monica, (323) 466-3456. Aerotheatre.com. Screwball Comedy Holidays – A Night at the Opera, 5:30; followed by Animal Crackers. American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Bl, Hollywood, (323) 466-3456. Egyptiantheatre.com. Movies with Holiday Spirit – It’s a Wonderful Life, 7:30. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Bl, L.A., (323) 938-4038. Newbevcinema.com. Tell No One, 7:30; A Girl Cut in Two, 9:55.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 2 American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre Double Feature – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 7:30; followed by Meet John Doe. American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Masters of Disaster: The Golden Age of Cataclysmic Cinema – The Poseidon Adventure (1972), 7:30. New Beverly Cinema Tell No One, 7:30; A Girl Cut in Two, 9:55.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 3 American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre Monty Python Double Feature – Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 7:30; followed by Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

JANUARY 1-7, 2009 15 LACITYBEAT


LA CITYBEAT DOT COM # WE’RE ALWAY S ON

Official Oscar Submission – Last Stop 174, 7:30. American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Masters of Disaster: The Golden Age of Cataclysmic Cinema – The Hindenburg, 7:30. New Beverly Cinema Vera Cruz, 3:35, 7:30; A Fistful of Dollars, 5:30, 9:25.

MONDAY, JANUARY 5 New Beverly Cinema Vera Cruz, 7:30; A Fistful of Dollars, 9:25.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 6 L.A. County Museum of Art, Leo S. Bing Theatre, 5905 Wilshire Bl, L.A., (323) 857-6010. Lacma.org. Tuesday Matinee – Tortilla Flat, 1. New Beverly Cinema Grindhouse Film Fest – I Love Maria, 7:30; Return of the Demon, 10.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7 American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre Golden Globe Foreign-Language Nominee Series – The Baader-Meinhof Complex, 7:30. New Beverly Cinema Theater closed.

NOW PLAYING The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Newborn Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt, with a lot of makeup and computer tricks, as well as a whole series of body doubles) has the appearance and the worn-out organs of a very old man but is still an infant in size and intellect. While he grows and learns like the rest of us, his body ages backwards – meaning that he and the love of his life (Cate Blanchett) will become age-appropriate after about forty years. David Fincher (Se7en, Zodiac) directed this adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s uncharacteristic (and essentially unadaptable) fantasy tale, from a screenplay by Eric Roth (Forrest Gump). In prose, Fitzgerald could pull off scenes that don't translate to anything in the real world and are therefore almost impossible to treat in the more literal visual medium of film. It's tempting to think of the new film as a second lump of Gump; subject and style both have many similarities, and Roth again fills the script with what can only be called “shallow profundities.” Pitt is the film's calm center, and he brings more nuance than one might think possible to a character living an unimaginable life. Blanchett is perfect as always, despite the thanklessness of her role. Despite its three-hour length and expansive pace, it's never dull. (AK) The Day the Earth Stood Still. There are vague glimmers of hope at the beginning of this ultimately pointless remake of

the 1951 Robert Wise classic: The pre-credit sequence explains just why an alien visitor might look exactly like Keanu Reeves. But, from there on, the changes are all for the worse, no matter how up-to-date the special effects are. Gort the robot looks the same but is ten times bigger and a tenth as interesting – a good metaphor for the whole project. He’s not even really named Gort, so don't sit there waiting to hear, “Klaatu barada nikto”: nary a mention. More significantly, director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose), screenwriter David Scarpa, and the brilliant execs at Fox turn Patricia Neal's everyday single mom into Jennifer Connelly's astrobiologist, expand the geographical scope, add numerous chases and escapes, and thus destroy the sense of an alien passing through an unremarkable swatch of terrestrial turf. The storytelling is so muddled that I'm not sure quite what motivates Klaatu toward the end. Jaden “son-of-Will” Smith plays Connelly's stepson, who is such a snotty proto-fascist that I was irritated every time Klaatu saved his worthless little hide. You'd be way better off renting the original; hell, you'd be better off renting unofficial remakes like The Cosmic Man or Stranger from Venus, which are at least good for a laugh. (AK) Defiance. See Latest Reviews. Doubt. In a Catholic school in Boston, ca. 1964, Sister James (Amy Adams), a wide-eyed young teacher, tells the principal (Meryl Streep) that she saw some odd behavior involving Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and the school's only black student (Joseph Foster II). The principal is instantly convinced that something unsavory is involved, despite the absence of any hard evidence. Is she a mean-spirited persecutor of an innocent man? Or is she a righteous crusader, who knows that the Church's male hierarchy will cover up for their own if she doesn’t take matters into her own hands. Interwoven with this is the question of whether Flynn is or isn't guilty. Playwright John Patrick Shanley has directed and written this adaptation of his own Pulitzer Prize-winning stage hit, opening up the four-character original enough to make it more cinematic without destroying the claustrophobic air of the characters' school-bound, almost medieval, world. The moral issues largely overlap Lillian Hellman's play The Children's Hour (filmed in both 1936 and 1961), but Shanley's parable (as he has described it) operates in a much more ambiguous universe. All the performers deliver, but Hoffman and Adams have less to work with than Streep, who initially makes the principal seem the Wicked Witch of the West – pinched and reactionary, driven by some infinite well of bitterness. (AK) Good. See Latest Reviews. Gran Torino. Recently widowed former auto worker Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood, who also directed, in his first onscreen appearance in four years) is an unabashed racist and not very happy that his Detroit neighborhood has been overrun almost entirely by “gooks” and “chinks.” But, when he’s forced to have dealings with a Hmong teenager (Bee Vang) and his smart, no-nonsense sister Sue (Ahney Her), Walt has to give up all but the most surface aspects of his bigotry. On the Eastwood seriousness scale, Gran Torino sits closest to Honkytonk Man or Bronco Billy; it deals with issues without ever feeling self-consciously “deep dish” (except for one regrettable shot near the end, the filmmaker's single lapse of judgment here). One of its great pleasures is giving

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Eastwood a chance to be funnier than he's been in a long time. It may be “less serious” than Changeling, but it's arguably a better film with more obvious pleasures. Not the least of these, of course, is the casting of its star, who, behind the camera, knows how to exploit and expand his long-lived persona better than any of his other directors in the last 30 years. (AK) Let Them Chirp Awhile. See Latest Reviews. The Reader. Those fearful that plaudits from Oprah's Book Club would lead to a more sanitized film adaptation of Bernhard Schlink's novel will be gratified to know that director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) and writer David Hare have brought their most unsparing A-game to the effort, easily one of the year's best movies. As successful attorney Michael Berg (Ralph Fiennes) reflects on a youthful affair in postwar Germany, flashbacks show how the young Michael (David Kross) is unexpectedly seduced by an older woman named Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet), who becomes his guide in matters of love and worldliness as much as he becomes her guide to the magic of the written word. Fiennes and Kross are both very good, but Winslet carries the film in magnificent, magisterial fashion, fully embodying the conflicted emotions and complex motives that are the story's raison d'etre. It's also something of a small miracle that the film turned out this well given how easily the its production difficulties could have caused the whole thing to unravel in any number of ways. Instead, the result is polished, powerful, and provocative. (WM) Revolutionary Road. The long-awaited film version of Richard Yates's acclaimed 1961 novel comes with a royal pedigree and some compelling marketing hooks – Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet's first reteaming since Titanic and Kate's first-ever collaboration with director husband Sam Mendes – but very little else. Set in ’50s era Connecticut, it details the disintegration of what should have been the perfect American family living the perfect American dream. When Frank and April (DiCaprio and Winslet) first meet, it's magic. An abrupt leap forward, and they're married with two children, increasingly unhappy, and frustrated with each other. Mendes is basically revisiting many of the same themes that pushed his previous American Beauty to Oscar triumph. But where the earlier film employed satire to soften some of its more pungent blows, Mendes's more self-serious new picture simply pulverizes viewers. If the material were up to the level of, say, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? or Carnal Knowledge, or if it had been made at a time when salient social commentar y on the fraudulent idylls of ’50s Americana actually had some relevant proximity – it might have had more impact. Instead, it feels like much unpleasant ado about more unpleasant nothing. (WM) Seven Pounds. Will Smith often shares the screen with aliens and zombies and superheroes, yet this is his first film to be wholly unbelievable. Smith plays Ben Thomas, a miserable IRS agent, who takes his job too seriously, stalking tax offenders (Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, both good, as always) and asking their acquaintances if they're “good people.” He's obviously up to something, but we don't find out what until it's far too late to care – writer Grant Nieporte's clumsy big reveal triggers giggles, not gasps. Smith approaches every film as though a former teenage millionaire, box office king, and two-time Oscar nominee still has something to prove. If his character is going to glower and sulk and plot, then by golly, he's going to out-Hamlet Hamlet. His commitment gives decent-enough movies the verve of a touchdown. Still, Seven Pounds is a stinker that will be immortalized as Smith's first flop; like The Pursuit of Happyness, Smith's last outing with director Gabriele Muccino, it's handsome, self-serious nonsense – an anecdote from Readers Digest that swaggers in like a lifechanging event. (AN) Slumdog Millionaire. As a humble tea runner (Dev Patel) in Mumbai is poised to win the big prize on the popular Indian edition of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, he is picked up and beaten by the police, who want him to admit he’s cheating. His explanations of how he knows each answer constitute an entire autobiography in flashback, as we see him lose his mother to Hindu progrom on Muslims, get “adopted” into a gang of child beggars, and get abandoned by his brother (Madhur Mittal), who becomes a gangster. All along, he is driven to rescue, and reunite with, the girl (Freida Pinto) he has loved since childhood. Director Danny Boyle is best known for hard-edged, even nasty, films like Shallow Grave (1995), Trainspotting (1996), 28 Days Later... (2002), and Sunshine (2007), but here he’s teamed with screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty), who is practically the anti-Boyle. The tension between Beaufoy and Boyle's disparate inclinations that gives Slumdog Millionaire most of its texture. To use a crude analogy, it's a bit like Stanley Kubrick shooting an abandoned Frank Capra project. (AK) The Spirit. After having been killed, a young cop (Gabriel Macht), mysteriously revivified, becomes the Spirit, a rakish masked hero, who’s alive enough to pitch woo to Dr. Ellen Dolan (Sarah Paulson, looking like Sandra Dee) and any other available babes, while tracking super-criminal the Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), his sidekick Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson), and their legion of cloned goofball thugs (Louis Lombardi), who appear to have sprouted from

the mixed DNA of Joe Besser and Edward Brophy. To complicate matters fur ther, Denny's childhood flame, Sand Saref (Eva Mendes), is back in town with illegal intentions of her own. Writer/director Frank Miller's take on Will Eisner's seminal hero uses the technique that Rober t Rodriguez employed on their collaborative Sin City – creating as much as possible with computer graphics, with only the actors and a minimum of props existing in the real world. The visuals are, if anything, even more dynamic and gripping – at times they recall Lars Von Trier's hallucinator y Zentropa – so there's enough eye candy and action to keep your head spinning nonstop. But Miller makes one decision that badly compromises the film's effectiveness – the per formances take place in a campily unreal universe, way broader than in Sin City, The Dark Knight, or Tim Bur ton's Batman, robbing the film of even the stylized emotions of Sin City. It's what you'd expect if Fritz Lang had been hired to direct the backgrounds on the Batman TV show. (AK) Valkyrie. The most famous attempt to assassinate Adolph Hitler is now a sleek, but hollow, film from director Br yan Singer (Superman Returns). Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) joins the German Resistance and masterminds a plot to kill the Führer by placing a bomb underneath a table at his Eastern militar y headquar ters. After the bomb detonates, the plan is to activate Operation Valkyrie, which will use Germany's reser ve army to assume control of Berlin. The bomb goes off as planned, but nobody can confirm whether Hitler is dead. Neither as good as it should have been nor as bad as its well-documented troubles would suggest, the film turns the screws but focuses too little on the moral, ethical, political, and personal considerations that drove the character's treasonous actions. The script, though commendably accurate, is so straightfor ward and efficient that it almost disrespects the incredible sacrifices of those who waited 64 years to have their heroics recounted in big-budget stu-

dio style. Cruise, historically faithful eye patch deployed, stiffly bends his All-American image to fit into a Nazi uniform. Tom Wilkinson leads a terrific suppor ting cast as a co-conspirator playing both sides. (MK) Waltz with Bashir. When Boaz Rein insists on telling his filmmaker friend Ari Folman about his recurring dream of being chased by 26 angr y dogs, the men identify the dream as having something to do with their ser vice, two decades earlier, in the Israeli Defense Forces during the notorious Christian Phalangist massacre of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon. And both men are stunned to realize the extent to which they've blocked out all memor y of the events. Ari locates and inter views old comrades from the period, in hopes of jogging his own repressed memories, resulting in this animated documentar y. The concept of “animated documentar y” may suggest something akin to last year's Persepolis, but the similarities are minimal. To star t with, Waltz is, as the subject matter requires, far more serious and grim. But there are great technical differences as well. Where Persepolis brilliantly used a limited palette and a more primitive, stylized look, Waltz with Bashir is more dazzling, filled with breathtaking visuals. If Ari's quest is less linear and satisfying than it might have been, the style keeps our eyes on the screen, as Folman expands the possibilities of the genre. (AK) The Wrestler. Professional wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke, in a justly touted comeback) is well past his glor y days, but he keeps on keeping on for his diminishing fan base, generating just enough income to be perpetually on (or over) the brink of eviction. But when he has a hear t attack after a bout and is told that he’d be risking his life to enter the ring again, he tries to repair the frayed connections to the rest of his life – approaching his hostile, long-stranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) and coming on to his favorite lap dancer (Marisa

Tomei). Rourke is pretty much of a lock for a Best Actor Oscar nomination, not merely because he deser ves it, but because the parallels between his own bizarre career and Randy’s are obvious to tittillate the Academy. Director Darren Aronofsky – whose previous films (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain)

have been stylistically goosed up, with lots of flashy gimmicks and attempts at thematic profundity – plays it straight, giving us a clear, linear narrative, interrupted only by one intercut flashback. The step away from pyrotechnics becomes him. (AK)

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MUSIC

THE BEST ALBUMS OF 2009 Why wait for last year? By the time you read this, the last bestof lists of 2008 should be done and gone, which makes it time for this semipsychic look forward at 2009. Although fantasy and helpful suggestion have their place – like fantastically suggesting new recorded work next year by the Entrance Band, Warpaint, Nosaj Thing, Gaslamp Killer, Residual Echoes, Gonjasufi, Mika Miko, Happy Hollows, Fol Chen and Fool’s Gold, some of which are almost certainly coming – these below are for the most part done deals. Some are recent signees that haven’t done a song wrong yet and some are albums completely finished except for delivery to the record store. And some just need someone to release them so they can claim a place on the last lists of 2009. But until then – you heard it here first.

LUKE McGARRY

CHRIS DARROW, CHRIS DARROW/ UNDER MY DISGUISE (Everloving, March) Darrow founded the offbeat L.A. band Kaleidoscope with guitarist David Lindley in the late ’60s; he went on to become something of a rock Zelig, turning up with everyone from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Leonard Cohen to Kim Fowley. In 1973-74 he authored these two somewhat zany solo albums. The sound is generally blues/country roots, but curveballs whiz by with regularity – a fiddle tune with a turnedaround reggae beat, Celtic and Middle Eastern instrumentation, and covers like Hoagy Carmichael’s “Hong Kong Blues.” Local indie Everloving is doing up this package of wild ’n’ woolly stuff royally: the two-CD/two-LP set will arrive with a jumbo 12-by-12 booklet. (Chris Morris) CRYSTAL ANTLERS, CURRENTLY UNTITLED (Touch and Go, April) They were born beneath a Blue Cheer comparison but Long Beach’s Crystal Antlers pull apart whole decades for parts now, colliding garage tough-guys like the Misunderstood and the Music Machine with red-eyed Krautrock noiseniks and the overamplified motorsoul of Osmium-era Parliament. If it howls, they’ll throw it a bone; if it screams, they’ll chase it back into the dark; if it beats a hole through the floor, let’s consider the job well done. And if they pull in some gospel back-up singers, it could be album of the year. (Chris Ziegler) DAVID SERBY, HONKY TONK AND VINE (Harbor Grove, late April/early May) South Pasadena-based singer-

LACITYBEAT 18 JANUARY 1-7, 2009


MUSIC

songwriter Serby’s albums I Just Don’t Go Home and Another Sleepless Night established him as a formidable tunesmith who knows the honky-tonk template by heart. Honky Tonk and Vine finds Serby and his terrific band the Sidewinders (led by his producer and guitarist Ed Tree) in superb form. Beyond primo country like “Get It in Gear,” “Permanent Position,” and “I Only Smoke When I’m Drinkin’,” he stretches comfortably into Southern soul (“Honky Tonk Affair”) and Tex-Mex (“For Cryin’ Out Loud”). Qualitatively, Serby continues to nip at the heels of his principal role model Dave Alvin, crafting songs that are by turns good-humored and touching, played with fire and sung with conviction. (CM) DIOS (MALOS), WE ARE DIOS (No label or release date set) After three quiet years, dios (malos) surface with we are dios, which plays like the Beatles’ “White Album” with extra help from Skip Spence (“Oh Don Fil Baad”) or like SMiLE session boots (the pocket symphony “Teem Tu”) transmitted over a secret shortwave numbers station. It’s dusty, distant, lonely, hopeful, sad, sarcastic, unexpectedly sophisticated and produced to idiosyncratic perfection from their practice space somewhere in the South Bay. Release this and then book the tour with Black Mountain and Kurt Vile; if it doesn’t go classic now, it’ll be a lost classic later. (CZ) ELENI MANDELL, ARTIFICIAL FIRE (Zedtone, February) Singer-songwriter Eleni Mandell goes full-band electric for this fearlessly diverse record – pop Eleni on “Right Side,” desolate Eleni on “Two Faces,” slinky Eleni on “God is Love,” which almost sounds ready for Betty Davis and even Buzzcocks basher Eleni on “Cracked,” which blows out the back of the album with fireworks probably nobody expected. “It Wasn’t the Time (It Was the Color)” starts as a heartbreaker – an Eleni octave this way or that slides the sun up or down – and tears open at the end as the guitar roars and the lightbulbs all burst. Proof here that possibilities are endless. (CZ) GLASSER, CURRENTLY UNTITLED SINGLE AND EP (Various labels and release dates) Glasser mastermind Cameron Mesirow sings with almost-ritual solemnity (like White Magic’s Mira Billotte) over drums and keys that breathe like some asleep and dreaming animal. Linda Perhacs loved to

echo-repeat her voice the same way but Glasser points a mirror into a mirror and makes it into a song. (All of which she recorded herself on Garageband!) A single on U.K. prestige-label XL should put flowers on her doorstep; a domestic EP on a pending indie should get Brian Eno sending postcards to the same address. (CZ)

LACO$TE, CURRENTLY UNTITLED (Manimal, summer) Just in time for summer 2009, Manimal Vinyl will release Laco$te’s as-yet-untitled debut album. If only they could package lead singer X and deliver her from the Smell to your living room. She’d come cartwheeling out of a cardboard box and crawl all over the furniture while rapping over grungy electronic beats with syllabic GRAM RABBIT, CURRENTLY UNTITLED reinforcement from her two partners (No label or release date set) in crime. The band describes itself as Furball synth and digital drums conceived French rap from Los Angeles – perhaps in Joshua Tree’s psychedelic landscape by French they just mean accented and delivered by a group that hands out oddly? (DF) bunny headbands at shows. Gram Rabbit teams up with producer Ethan Allen to MIKE STINSON, THE JUKEBOX IN deliver what a cosmic cowboy wrapped YOUR HEART (no label or release date in the Banshees would sound like. Their set) three previous albums contained a Mike Stinson, the uncrowned king smattering of song styles, and it’s likely of L.A. honky tonk, has released two they’ll continue exploring the frontiers homegrown albums packed with track by track – so expect breakbeats memorable songs like “The Late Great where the sun don’t shine. In an effort to Golden State,” covered by Dwight fund the album themselves, they’ve set Yoakam and Billy Bob Thornton. up a donor plan on their website. Give Stinson takes another crack at that some dough and they’ll give you presents. latter-day Cali country classic on his Truly, Gram Rabbit knows what it takes new album, produced by Austin singerto build a cult. (Daiana Feuer) guitarist Jesse Dayton and cut at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studio. It shows HECUBA, YOURS off his magnificent writing, from saloon (No label or release date set) shakers like “No One to Drink With” Singer Isabelle Albuquerque (whose and “I Will Live to Drink Again” to heartgrandmother was a Tunisian bandleader) tuggers like “Square With the World” and made the Yoko Ono reference herself on “Angel of the Evening.” What’re different this year’s excellent Sir EP; now she recalls here are the ace production values and unstoppables like Patti Smith and Annette Stinson’s full-bodied singing, which has Peacock over crystalline production by never sounded finer on record. (CM) partner Jon Beasley. Lee Perry would appreciate the ethic (samping sirens for the RAINBOW ARABIA, CURRENTLY hypnotic “Miles Away,” the love-supreme UNTITLED (Manimal, spring) bells that intro “Magic,” the thundering cat’s Single “Let Them Dance” off Rainbow purr that holds together “Tom and Jerry”) Arabia’s 2008 EP The Basta garnered the and Arthur Russell would appreciate the band some national praise and endless aesthetic. An album of mutant electro-disco comparisons to M.I.A. While husbandsongs that bloom like ink into water. (CZ) and-wife duo Tiffany and Danny Preston are hardly a booty-shaking political diva JAIL WEDDINGS, CURRENTLY from another continent, their music UNTITLED EP (Tru-Vow, spring) does meld Middle Eastern rhythms with Ten-deep alley-soul revue fronted by Gabe dance-track energy. Expect catchy hooks Hart (Starvations and Fortune’s Flesh) encrypted with exotic backing – a snakeand distaff obliterators Katya Hubiak (the charmer’s pungi, a Fisher Price keyboard incandescent blonde) and Tornado Jane – on sandy bangers from their upcoming (the smoldering brunette) and braced out full-length album. (DF) by a Wrecking Crew (including brass!) hauled up from beneath the Hollywood RAS G, GHETTO SCI FI (Poobah, Hills. Be ready for songs that scan like January) vintage Sam Fuller (“You Will Surrender,” Space remains the place for another of “How Am I Alive?” and “(Do You Think L.A.’s free-thinking new beatmakers – We’re Gonna End Up On) Skid Row?”) Low End Theory/Brainfeeder fellow and stretch like tinsel between darkside traveler Ras G puts together spare but crooners like Del Shannon and Dion and sinuous instrumentals crackling with melodrama-drippers like the Shangri-La’s. the same righteous sentiment as Sun Ra, Archie Shepp and Pharoah Sanders. The world’s a mess; it’s on this EP. (CZ)

JANUARY 1-7, 2009 19 LACITYBEAT

“Afrikan Space Rhythms” makes möbius out of what sounds like Jackie Mittoo; “Sign Me Up” is filthy drums and a melody that’s still got roots dangling; “One for GLK and Elvin” snips a second of the Millennium’s saddest song and finale “El Saturn-Day” attempts to pixelate the birth pains of a tiny black hole. Someone could come put words on top of this but there’s plenty to talk about already. (CZ) THE SOFT PACK, CURRENTLY UNTITLED (no label or release date set) Formerly (and more formidably) called the Muslims, this L.A. four-piece last year issued a promising self-titled LP (with each album cover specially shot to pieces by an actual cop!) and the winning single “Extinction,” a stripped-to-theligaments rock ’n’ roll 45 that sounded like later/louder Feelies or earlier/ burlier Modern Lovers. But their most recent single “Parasites” puts them on this list – a vicious Fall ripper produced to maximum ferocity by Darker My Love’s Rob Barbato. Nine more like that for a new label and 50,000 Soft Pack fans won’t be wrong. (CZ) THAVIUS BECK, DIALOGUE (Mush, no release date set) Producer (as heard on Saul Williams’ NiggyTardust!) and rapper (as heard on the punishing Lab Waste 45 earlier this year) Thavius Beck’s in ultra-concentrated form for a solo album with an iron core. The “GO!”/“Money”/“Violence” suite in the center finds him focused and ferocious – overdriven digital production (Memphis made more dense and intense) and lyric slashes at the soft point where society and media rub most closely together. Gunshot samples and shuddering 1989 kick drums make this the 2009 that digital was expecting. (CZ) WOOLFY, IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YA!! (DFA/Rong, spring/summer) When U.K.-to-L.A. transplant Woolfy releases this remixed and remastered full-length this year, he’ll become the first local to get an album out on New York’s powerhouse DFA, thanks to a disco-distribution treaty with his current home label Rong Music. If You Know What’s Good For Ya!! is pure atmosphere – dissipated vocals and melody on tiptoe (“Odyssey”) or guitar and neon hum (“Sonic Monday”) that sounds like the sweeter side of Spectrum. When Can said they wanted more, maybe this is what they meant. (CZ) ✶


clubland

Photograph by Josh Reiss

November: DecAdence at Miss Kitty’s

The Clubland Year in Review Despite killjoy cops and some lousy clubowners, Clubland denizens leave 2008 noticeably buoyant BY RON GARMON Since Clubland itself suffers a 90 percent population turnover every half-decade or so, any informal survivor’s guild can’t help but notice the new crop o’ young’uns coming up are a bit more, well, lively than their predecessors. The prior run of clubkids, from the hi-gloss jades of the Strip to the art-for-fuck’s-sake Silver Lake types, tended toward the sessile. Inert on the dance floor and impassive before the most determined feedback barrage, this generation of stickwood gave the L.A. scene a nationwide bad name, as one touring act after another affirmed in not-forattribution pissing and moaning once the interview wound down. Having stood in the audience and wondered after such lizardlike lack of feeling and animation, I couldn’t help but agree. No more. The last year has seen a return of enthusiasm, idealism and movement, as clubkids hoot and/or holler like their geezer-rock forebears. I refer not to the kind of ritualized throwdown one sees at

great rolling big-wow tourbait as Parliament-Funkadelic, The North Mississippi All-Stars, Mötley Crüe and others with built-in hullabaloo. I speak instead of the almost startling audience reaction at such citadels of Cool as Spaceland, where hipster acts as diverse as Imperial Teen, Noah & the Whale, The Parson Red Heads and many more drew howls and set feet to dancing. This is kind of like seeing the corner Episcopalian church suddenly taken over by snakehandlers and holy rollers, and this flaunting of proprieties becomes more open the further down the Clubland magma one infra-digs. Safari Sam Lanni’s 2008 woes you already know, but other venues like Goa, Crash Mansion and The Knitting Factory also took hits from City Hall nabobs seemingly determined to eradicate public enjoyment of music by anyone under age 70. Indeed, Crash Mansion’s June closure came after a dance-floor brawl ended in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Joseph Cosina in the

parking lot; it’s unlikely that would have shut down say, Staples Center, had it occurred there. The Knit’s problems were happily overcome and the L.A. branch of this Manhattan hot spot still thrives in newly upscale Hollywood. Zero-Point, an artspace/ party pad/music venue opened in the USC ghetto last February by some of the crew around the defunct Il Corral, was unhappily gone by July, a victim of sound complaints. WeHo officials pulled a fast little ramadoola on activists who wanted to preserve the old Tower Records building on Sunset as a sort of “scene museum,” rejecting their efforts through pettifogging bureaucratic trickery while handing over the spot to a Chicago developer bent on yet another dreary office complex. With the aboveground served thus, the underground’s troubles begin to make a certain vicious sense. Beginning with the gala Lucent L’Amour Valentine’s party in February, cops began raiding and shutting down events in the downtown Arts District

LACITYBEAT 20 JANUARY 1-7, 2009

with monotonous regularity. The dominant state sense that free citizens out after dark should be treated like parole violators inadvertently creates a certain esprit in the underground, making it that much harder for municipal jobholders to control. Despite in-the-tank officials, killjoy cops, defaulting clubowners, shuttered record shops, here-todaygone-tomorrow venues and a scene as balkanized as ever, Clubland denizens leave 2008 noticeably buoyant. The latest evidence came after 3 a.m. just two Saturdays ago at some industrial barracks called The Compound: Harleys were booming in nearby alleyways and a parcel of piss-drunk bikers and their ladies were deep in beery brouhaha. The Lords of Altamont were long gone, but the event still had almost three hours to run and the kegs were far from exhausted, even though the music was over. My friend Dance Commander and I split for the cold comfort of a disco nap on a colder warehouse floor. Privation is more fun when voluntary. V


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currently playing A Grand Guignol Children’s Show. An asterisk after the title emphatically explains “NOT for children.” True, but the material consists of classic children’s tales. Here, however, they’re enacted with a maximum of violence, sexual references, and in the case of “Little Red Riding Hood,” an unhappy ending. Also on the bill: “The Ugly Duckling,” a hand-puppet version of “Rapunzel” and that ghastly chamber of horrors, “Hansel and Gretel.” Providing commentary from the sidelines are larger puppet versions of Guignol and his cousin Punch. A Gallic aura pervades Debbie McMahon’s production (absinthe for sale). It sags a bit during “Rapunzel” but comes back to life – and death – with “Hansel and Gretel.” Art/Works Theatre, Hollywood. (323) 871-1912. brownpapertickets.com. Dark Dec. 26. Closes Jan. 10. Inspecting Carol. A strapped nonprofit theater troupe struggles to mount its annual cash cow, A Christmas Carol, while suspecting that a new actor (Doug Haverty) who has arrived to audition is actually an inspector for the National Endowment for the Arts. This Gogollike comedy by Daniel Sullivan and Seattle Repertory Theatre is becoming almost as much a theatrical holiday tradition as the Carol itself. Judith E. and Chris Winfield’s staging gets most of the laughs, but the play’s shift in tone in its last minutes, from more to less realistic, is hard to handle. Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre, North Hollywood. (818) 700-4878. lcgrt.com. Closes Jan. 11. It’s Just Sex. Jeff Gould’s comedy is back for its second L.A. production in less than two years. It isn’t just the title or the premise – three thirtysomething couples in L.A. are goaded by a vengeful wife into swapping spouses while the kids are away, with very mixed results. Gould’s writing is savvy if schematic, probing with some sensitivity into three different kinds of couples. The action is considerably more convincing than the would-be swapping in the recently revived I Love My Wife. The opening scene isn’t as graphic as in the 2007 production, but with no intermission, director Mark Blanchard’s production feels somewhat brisker. His cast is attractive and well-timed. Two Roads Theatre, Studio City. (818) 762-2282. nohoartsdistrict. com. Closes Jan. 11. –D.S. For more reviews, click on Currently Playing at lacitybeat.com.

West Coast Ensemble: A Head in Showbiz

2008 on the Boards Our critic accentuates the positive BY DON SHIRLEY This year, I suddenly realized that Orange County was the place to see interesting new plays by women in larger theaters. Sarah Treem’s A Feminine Ending, Kate Robin’s What They Have, and Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone were at South Coast Repertory in 2008. Laguna Playhouse opened Catherine Butterfield’s Brownstone and the less successful Alexandros by Melinda Lopez. Meanwhile, in L.A., new women’s voices in larger theaters were rare and undistinguished. Women made up much of the creative teams of two new musicals, Mask at Pasadena Playhouse and 9 to 5 at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson, but both need plenty of work. At least CTG imported Nilaja Sun’s wonderful solo No Child ..., set in a New York public school, to the Kirk Douglas Theatre. It was about 10 times better than the Douglas premiere of Tanya Barfield’s Of Equal Measure, and about 20 times better than Geffen Playhouse’s Joan Rivers show. The Pasadena Playhouse announced in July “a cross-season series” called “Women: The Heart and Soul of the Theatre.” It began with two productions about women – written by men. Fortunately, the next three scheduled installments of the series, beginning

next year, are by women. Some of the year’s political drama popped up in the theater, in indirect but illuminating ways. A House With No Walls, staged by Robey Theatre at Los Angeles Theatre Center, uncannily dramatized some of the themes articulated by Barack Obama in his famous speech on race, although Thomas Gibbons wrote the play before anyone heard the speech. Athol Fugard’s Victory, at the Fountain Theatre, offered a much more despairing view of race relations. Although set in South Africa, not the U.S., it serves as a cautionary note in the wake of Obama’s victory. Speaking of the president, Sacred Fools Theater spoke of all his predecessors in 43 Plays for 43 Presidents, a Chicagooriginated collection of fascinating sketches. As American casualties declined in Iraq, so did the number of plays about Iraq. But a rash of revivals demonstrated dehumanization within the military ranks – most graphically in the Odyssey Theatre’s startling rendition of Kenneth Brown’s The Brig. And Theatre Neo’s revival of Lee Blessing’s Fortinbras was a biting look at a national leader that resonated strongly in the final year

JANUARY 1-7, 2009 21 LACITYBEAT

of the Bush reign. Troubadour Theater is always topical as well as howlingly funny. If you think the current It’s a Stevie Wonderful Life achieves those aims, you should have seen As U2 Like It last summer, combining Shakespeare and U2 music. Ah, there I go with the taunting. But topicality wasn’t an essential element of other favorite shows – Jonathan Tolins’ Secrets of the Trade at the Black Dahlia, about children and parents and the theater, or A Noise Within’s The Night of the Iguana. Christopher Durang’s Miss Witherspoon, a satire about more cosmic matters, roared in West Coast Ensemble’s production. New young companies made impressive marks this year in disparate areas of the city: Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble in Santa Monica, the Production Company in Valley Village, Hollywood’s Musical Theatre of Los Angeles, which staged Ragtime and West Side Story in unbelievably small quarters with impressive results. Likewise, I saw the L.A. premiere of the award-winning musical Parade at the Neighborhood Playhouse in Palos Verdes, a year before it will finally arrive at the Mark Taper Forum. V


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Megastar Maestro: Dudamel at the Phil

The Exhilaration of Abandon The day conductor Gustavo Dudamel took the Phil sky high By Donna Perlmutter One of the great classical music moments of 2008 came December 7, when the Philharmonic’s podium-chiefelect Gustavo Dudamel made a down payment on his Disney Hall tenure, which began full-time in October. It turned out that the hype about the megastar maestro isn’t hype. His take on Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony blew us out of our seats, with Dudamel driving into the heart of the score – past its surface beauties, glistening enchantments, the pleasingly predictable all’s-right-with-the-world tempos, whipping the thing into a miracle of moment-to-moment vibrancy. There were no unchanging tempos, no beating-time metronomics to lull us. This was a study in momentum, and it came in places others pass over. The same with crescendos that emerged

within rhythmic frames that came alive, as beats were masterfully broken down within beats. What he gave us was the exhilaration of abandon. Dudamel’s “Pastoral” reflects his youth, not just his huge talent. It’s all sunshine, full of character. Even the thunderstorm is a Technicolor close-up. And he dances, involuntarily, it seems: His whole body becomes the music, or at least the medium through which it passes. Don’t listen to those who talk about a conductor’s left-hand codes (except for signaling an instrumentalist’s entry). Nothing is designed here. It’s a case of spontaneity, of riding in the now. Of course there’s no forgetting Carlo Maria Giulini’s very different way with the “Pastoral.” The late oldworld Italian maestro who led the Phil for a few years in the ’80s found, in

Beethoven’s Sixth, a mystical spirit, a hushed, tensile lyricism – sustaining the slow movement as a single breath. And for all the brilliance of outgoing director Esa-Pekka Salonen’s account of Beethoven’s Fourth, so full of big architectural sites and needing only to be churned to a rhythmic fury, his “Pastoral” was anemic. Though Dudamel is just 27, he can do another thing, too: ride in the past, as Richard Strauss did, saying a wistful farewell to a long life with the bittersweet aching of his Four Last Songs. For these, Dudamel and his fabulously well-honed band accompanied Christine Brewer, whose gorgeously blooming soprano seemed made for the high-winding rapture and sky-opening orchestration for which the composer was famous. It was ravishing.

LACITYBEAT 22 JANUARY 1-7, 2009

It wasn’t a perfect day. Dudamel went from this to Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony, which was performed four times. It was one tortuous sit: a recycling of themes and materials from his other works; multitudinous, roaring climaxes with cymbals crashing, intermittently contrasted with the composer’s well-known oozing nostalgia (which we so love in Rosenkavalier), but here, amid the pileon of climaxes, it seemed like knee-jerk relief. You could write the whole thing off as an exercise in  übermenschen narcissism, the kind we sometimes rub up against in Germanic music. And rap. It was as if he were giving the musicians a physical workout; why else program this 45-minute behemoth of bloat and bombast? Let’s hope our hero will enlighten us someday. V


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ARTIST OF THE YEAR Elizabeth McGrath gets right with God By Greg Stacy

in real estate, it's all about location

Elizabeth McGrath survived a punk kid’s worst nightmare. It was the early ’80s, and McGrath was a 13-yearold L.A. hellion with spiky boots and a tri-hawk haircut. One day, her parents said they were taking her to the zoo. Instead, they took her to Victory Christian Academy, a Fundamentalist Baptist correctional school. She was there a year, spending her first month locked in a closet-like space called the Get Right With God Room. Girls would sit in the hall praying for her in shifts while she was subjected to bright lights and loud religious tapes 24/7. She had to pee in a bucket. Flash-forward a couple of decades, and McGrath, now nicknamed Bloodbath McGrath by pals, has blossomed into one of L.A.’s wildest, sexiest characters. She is a rising star in the lowbrow art movement, a punk princess who sculpts bizarre little monsters, fronts a band called Miss Derringer with her tattoo artist husband, and does the occasional modeling job dolled up in corsets and fishnets. Not only did Victory Christian Academy fail to crush McGrath’s rebellious spirit, it’s possible the tortuous treatment she received there gave her the touch of madness that makes her art so unforgettable. McGrath’s subject matter can be the stuff of goth cliché – she’s big on sideshow freaks, tragicomic humananimal hybrids and folks with an extra head or two. But there’s nothing cliché about her execution, and each piece seethes with life. She bases her sculptures on the foam animal forms sold in taxidermy supply places, building them up with resin, roofing tar, leather and whatever else is handy to create beasties that are both cartoonish and disturbingly lifelike. Their skin is pale and mottled, and they look like they’re in the final stages of some terrible consumptive disease.... But those sweet,

JANUARY 1-7, 2009 23 LACITYBEAT

sparkling glass eyes can make you fall in love at first sight. You could exhaust yourself exploring a single McGrath piece. She places many of her sculptures inside elaborate shadow boxes – works of art in themselves, their surfaces squirming with carved monkeys, painted mermaids, and messages spelled out in grand sideshow fonts. Inside those boxes McGrath’s characters inhabit their own claustrophobic little worlds, decorated with dollhouse furniture and still more pictures on the walls. You can’t help but think of McGrath’s own confinement in the Get Right With God room, when she was locked away and treated like a monster. Her creatures stare out from their strange little cells, and some of them are sinister, some of them are lonesome, but all are unashamed of what they are. They don’t need your prayers. In 2008, McGrath’s career has reached a kind of crossroads. Her sculptures are widely exhibited (she shows regularly at the Billy Shire gallery in Culver City) and she is just starting to get noticed in a big way. But as she gets famous and branches out into other art forms, she risks losing her focus. Her watercolors are cute but they lack the feral fascination of her sculptures. Her website sells T-shirts, cups and more, some of it looking a bit too much like the stuff on the shelves of your local Hot Topic. She puts a lot of time and energy into her band, but while Miss Derringer is fun, every minute she spends touring is a minute she’s not spending making the art that will be her true legacy. Frankly, there are a million other ladies who could arguably do what McGrath does in Miss Derringer. But nobody else in the world can bring a lovesick, twoheaded freak to life like McGrath can. The folks at Victory Christian Academy would surely disagree.... But McGrath is doing God’s work, in her own wonderfully twisted way. Elizabeth McGrath’s work can be seen at elizabethmcgrath.com. V


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The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) is the nation’s Largest provider of treated drinking water. Maintaining its waste distributing system Each day the district moves more than 1.5 billion gallons of water through its distribution system delivering supplies to 26 member agencies, Intake Pumping Plant F.E. Weymouth on the Colorado Water Treatment Plant which sell that water to more than 300 sub-agencies or directly to consumers. In all 18 million Southern Californians rely on MWD for some or all of the water they use in their homes and businesses. Since 1928, MWD has proudly served the people of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. Its award-winning success relies on state-of-the-art technology, and efficient operation and maintenance by MWD’s professionals, who have built an intricate supply system through innovation, teamwork, diversity and hard work. Now you too can contribute to our success.

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Immediate Need for Principal Aduitor Also Hiring For: • Accounting & Finance • Electronics • Information Technology • Maintenance

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Real Estate

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AWESOME MARSTON HILLS (92103) LOCATION: Charming 2bdrm craftsman home. Quaint front porch. Trellised backyard patio with built in BBQ, sink & fire pit. Priced to sell! $610,000. Coldwell Banker. Call Janice: (619) 5189184 or email jmb765@ att.net FIND WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR? Advertise your business LACityBeat. Goto www.lacitylist.com

$1395, 1 bed, 1 bath in excellent location-- Compston Ave. and Lankershim North Hollywood Arts District. Brand new building, tiles, granite, marble and carpeting. Close to Metro, schools and shopping. 1 month FREE rent with approved credit!

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Prop 215 SB 420 medicinal provider



Vol 07 Issue 01