Saving your pennies for a jaunt to Paris or Peru?

No need to feel deprived while being thrifty.

Check out these three FREE events for a weekend that’s L.A.-fab and frugal to boot!



FISHEYES  — We’re big fans of DTLA’s FREE Grand Performances AND Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre‘s site-specific performances.  Tonight, Duckler and her troupe of performers will dance under the stars  with a giant fish: a 15 foot stainless steel structure designed by architect Alex Ward. The performance, inspired by themes of water, drought and (of course) fish, will take place, appropriately, in the fountain area of California Plaza. FishEyes is the first segment in an L.A. series (and a larger tour) that includes A Fish Out of Water and Fancy Fish and features a score by Andrew McIntosh, projections by Josephine Wang and costumes designed by Valerj Pobega.  Why: Imagining what it would be like to be Jonah (or Giuseppe and Pinocchio) in the whale.


Mary Austin-Klein

See this painting by Mary-Austin Klein at the Frogtown Art Walk on August 13, 2016


FROGTOWN ART WALK 2016 — The official name of this Los Angeles river-adjacent area is Elysian Valley but it got its “Frogtown” nickname from the (sadly long-ago) days when the river was full enough to deposit croaking critters on either side.   These days, instead of amphibians, the river banks are home to artists who will open their studios this Saturday for the 10th annual FREE art celebration in Northeast Los Angeles. Visit 30 artists studios and listen to music and more at seven stages (one curated by Spaceland of Echo Park).  Art walk guests can also get a sneak preview of the new Los Angeles River VR Experience: a virtual reality documentary produced by Friends of the L.A. River (FoLAR) that “takes viewers on a journey from the mountains to the sea, from the past, through the present, and into the future of the Los Angeles River.” Parking is limited: RIDESHARE HIGHLY ADVISED!  Why: Checking out art installations on the river path via foot or pedi-cab.




CicLAvia – ICONIC WILSHIRE — This Sunday, one of the city’s most historical connectors is once again being opened up for a FREE, all-day, car-free experience as cyclists, walkers, sprinters, peddlers, skaters and scooters travel the boulevard en masse. Explore the neighborhoods of Koreatown, Westlake and Downtown Los Angeles with PokeStops, coffee and water refueling opportunities and public art participation spots at three hubs: One Wilshire, MacArthur Park and the Wiltern in Koreatown.  All three hubs have great giveaways (while supplies last).  Check out the link above for information on a pre-CicLAvia 5K run as well as walks and feeder rides to the main event.  Why:  A chance for open air exploration including pedi-cabs for the less ambulatory.

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go…. 

This is where you kick off the first weekend of summer...

You.  Here.  Friday.

Hey there, summer weather.

You’re just in time for the official start of the season.

Also, Father’s Day.

Good thing the following events fit the bill for all three.

Summer Kick Off.  For Free.

Fountains.  Skyscrapers.  Night skies.  You.

Also, music.  Also, free.

Mix all of the above and you have the aptly named Grand Performances.

This quintessential L.A. experience lasts through August but opening weekend is the perfect way to kick off the season. Grab a blanket, a bottle and a picnic and add your Pops, your BFFs or your best girl/guy. For optimum seating, Metro down to the gorgeous California Plaza up to two hours before shows of which there are two this weekend.

If you missed Gaslamp Killer Experience at Coachella (oh, those rent-check-equivalent tix), check out the L.A. based DJ/producer ‘s signature dubstep, world music, left-field hip-hop and psychedelic sounds — accompanied by a 10-piece band — on Friday.

On Saturday, Wattstax Revisited celebrates the 50th anniversary of the events that inspired the  historic 1973 documentary featuring the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Richard Pryor and Stax Records  artists including Isaac Hayes.  Come Downtown and “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”.

And that’s just opening weekend….

Yep, it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy.

GRAND PERFORMANCES — Fri, 6/19 & Sat, 6/20. Both shows: 8-10:30 pm  FREECalifornia Plaza,  350 S Grand Ave, DTLA 90071  For schedule & more info, go HERE.

L.A. Beer in June.

L.A. Beer Week…now in June in a neighborhood near you.

99+ Bottles of Beer on the Wall….

Go Go’ers, L.A. Beer Week is — thank heavens! — a wee bit guilty of false advertising.  The so-glad-it’s-now-in-June celebration of hops is not seven days but eight.

Yes, starting Saturday and all around town, you can celebrate beer eight days a week.

The suds fest sloshes to a start at its new home in Exposition Park with the LA Brewers Kickoff: the perfect, last-minute Father’s Day gift for slacker offspring.  The expected-to-sell-out afternoon event features 75+ breweries pouring 200 beers, food trucks, music and educational panel discussions.

Is there anything better than learning about drinking while drinking?

If you’re a traditionalist who wants to party/dine with dear old Dad on the actual day, you have plenty of options from L.A. Beer Week Hangover Brunch at Far Bar, a bike-in optional Brunchalicious with Ladyface Ale, Dan Mattern and Roxana Jullapat at the L.A. River adjacent Elysian, Clash of the Burger Titans featuring Oinkster and Grill ‘Em All at Eagle Rock Public House or Angel City Brewery’s  Father’s Day Food Truck & Music Fest.  Or click HERE to find out how to score a FREE $40 ticket to Beerbowl at Roy Choi’s A-Frame.

Tell the Old Man you inherited your financial acumen from him.

So much better than socks.

LA BEER WEEK 2015 — Sat, June 20 – Sun, June 28: various times/locations/prices —  For more info, including the complete schedule, go HERE.

Chalk it up!  (Detail of mural by Karlos Aguilar; photo by Robert Jensen)

Chalk it up! (Detail of mural by Karlos Aguilar; photo by Robert Jensen)

Don’t Step on the Cracks Sidewalk

Let’s face it: all your dad really wants is some hang time with you.

For an urban stroll with something extra, head to Rose City this weekend for the Pasadena Chalk Festival.

Giving new meaning to the phrase “street art”, the FREE, all-day, two-day chalk-stravaganza features an Animation Alley and a Chalk of Fame (murals highlighting film and T.V.)

There’s also Kids Chalkland where your budding Banksy can create a Father’s Day card and get his/her face painted…

…presumably not with chalk.

You’ll also want to check out the Silent Auction and Art Gallery where you can view and bid on the artists’ original works on canvas: an uber-sneaky way to get Dad exactly the present he wants.

That chalked-up portrait of a monkey will look great in the man-cave….

PASADENA CHALK FESTIVAL — Sat, June 20 & Sun, June 21. Chalk fest 10am – 7pm; music starts at 8am.  FREEPaseo Colorado, 300 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena 91101 (btwn Marengo Blvd & Los Robles on Colorado Blvd.)  For more info, including parking, go HERE and HERE.

See the show, see the movie!

See the show, see the movie!

More Weekend Go Go Fun!

La Nuit en Rosé Los Angeles — 40 rosé wines and champagnes with walk-around light buffet!   Rosé Wine Pairing Dinner presented by Wine Enthusiast!  Killer views at the exclusive Mondrian Skybar!  Sat 6/20 & Sun 6/21

Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance — Luxury automobiles!  “Highways to Heaven” ft. USA’s Route 66, Italy’s Autostrade and Germany’s Autobahn!  FREE!  Sun, 6/21

Trainwreck Comedy Tour!  Amy Schumer & Friends!  One night only!  Benefit!  Sun, 6/21

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….



Planet to to man.

They go from planet to planet…man to man.

How to “weekend” in August in L.A.

First, end a boring week with something wild.

Then, drink some sake and stay outside as much you can.

Play.  Dance.

Commune with the dead.

Yeah, you know how to party.

Green and Man-Hungry

Moth Sluts.

Those two words — and the accompanying mental image of sinister, sexually voracious, insectile femme fatales — pretty much sell the new production of Captain Dan Dixon vs. The Moth Sluts from the Fifth Dimension at ZJU Theater’s Grand Guignol house of fun.  The prior incarnation of writer/performer Matt Sklar’s sly slice of retro B-movie sci-fi was sold out during its entire run; with ZJU veteran Sebastian Munoz  at the helm, the tickets will def go fast so don’t delay.

Need more convincing?  Expect laughs, courageous man hunks, go go dancing, and silver shorts.

Go Go’ers, it doesn’t get more convincing than silver shorts.

CAPTAIN DAN DIXON VS. THE MOTH SLUTS FROM THE FIFTH DIMENSIONFri & Sat, Aug 16 – Sept  14; $15ZJU Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.  Call for reservations: (818) 202- 4120

Slammin' Sake

Do you Shochu?

Slammin’ Sake

If your sake palate is more educated than the question of hot versus cold — or you want it to be — head to Little Tokyo this Saturday for the Sake Shochu Tasting.  The Social Sake Club — yes, it’s a thing — will present 100 of the world’s most interesting  sakes, shochus, and beers plus food. You can listen to experts in the field as you sip  — or slam — and watch a documentary on how to make sake.

So, say hello to your new home brew hobby.

There’s also a “Sake and Shochu Queen” Beauty Pageant, which you can enter and/or vote on; contestants get extra points for kimono wearing.

If only the same applied to real life.

SAKE SHOCHU TASTINGSat, Aug 17, 4-8pm; Advance $50/pp, $90/couple; At the door $60/person; 21+Double Tree Hilton, 120 S Los Angeles St, Garden Level, DTLA 90012 

All hail the King and Queen...

All hail the King and Queen…

Maracatú x Two

True Fact #1: The Brazilian Hour, the highly respected and enormously popular radio show produced and hosted by Sergio Mielniczenko on KXLU, is celebrating its 35th anniversary.

True Fact #2:  A Tale of Two Nations: Nação Estrela Brilhante & Nation Beat  at Saturday’s Grand Performances is the very first time maracatú, the ancient art of drumming from Brazil’s Northeast coast, will be performed in Los Angeles.

That calls for a celebration.

Hey, guess what?  The music IS a party

Lucky Angelenos will get a double dose of maracatú with its colorful, carnivale-esque origins, feel-it-in-the-bones drumming, call-and-response songs, over-the-top costumes, and sweep-you-up dance, on the final night of the A Tale of Two Nations tour.

The evening features Brazil’s Nação Estrela Brilhante (a.k.a. “Bright Star”), which was founded in 1906 and is led by legendary Mestre Walter Ferreira de França and Queen and President Dona Marivalda, and NYC-based Nation Beat, an American-Brazilian collective led by Scott Kettner, that mashes up maracatú  with other Carnivale traditions like New Orleans second line as well as ragtime and blues.

There will be amazing costumes.  There may be a parade.  You’ll want to dress to impress.

True Fact #3: This is the summer dance party you don’t want to miss.

A TALE OF TWO NATIONS: NAÇÃO ESTRELA BRILHANTE & NATION BEATSat, Aug 17, 8-10:30 pm; FREEGrand Performances, 350 S Grand, DTLA 90071

What Would Johnny Do? (Artwork by Vicki Berndt)

What Would Johnny Do?  (Artwork by Vicki Berndt)

 The Johnny Tribute Trifecta

Q: What do you call three Johns in a cemetery?

A: The Ninth Annual Johnny Ramone Tribute.

Johnny Ramone isn’t buried at Hollywood Forever but there’s an eight-foot statue of him there, just the same.  (Fellow founding Ramones member Dee Dee is buried nearby).  Consequently, the statue has been the go-to gathering spot for nearly a decade of love for the late iconic punk guitarist.

On Sunday, August 18th, two more Johns join the love fest.  To honor Johnny’s fondness for cult movies, fellow icon, writer/director  John Waters, will screen his 1990 movie Cry-Baby starring Johnny Depp in his first oddball screen character.  Adding a feminine touch to the Johnny-ness: Cry-Baby  co-star Traci Lords.

Oh yeah, this will be fun.

Vintage Ramones footage — the debut of “Gabba Gabba Hey”, please! — will precede Cry-Baby; there will also be a Cry-Baby Q&A and Waters will sign autographs.

So, get your Cry-Baby arm tattoo here.

Other special guests include the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones who will judge a Ramones look-a-like contest; come dressed as a founding Ramones member (Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee or Tommy) and win prizes.

Although really, wouldn’t bragging rights be enough?

NINTH ANNUAL JOHNNY RAMONE TRIBUTESun, Aug 18, 5 pm/doors, 5:30pm/event; $10 admission; $10 onsite parkingHollywood Forever, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd, LA 90038

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

How to watch films in L.A. (Courtesy of Downtown Film Festival)

How we watch film in L.A. (Courtesy of Downtown Film Festival)

Your stars and stripes buns were a hit at the grill.

Your spontaneous rendition of Born in the USA inspired a flash mob at the fro-yo stand.

And everyone was jealous of your rocket’s red glare.

Read on to be the hero of your own summer.

How to Be Cool and Beat the Heat

There’s a reason theaters are mobbed in summer.

Air conditioning.

Unlike multiplexes in the ‘burbs, the Downtown Film Festival offers cool with your cool.

Celebrating its fifth year, the award-winning fest presents 100+ indie features, documentaries, and shorts over eleven days;  many are L.A. premieres of award-winning films from national and international fests.

Downtown Film Festival 2013In addition to series that feature both female and Latino filmmakers, fest highlights include: screenings of international digital shorts at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art during this Thursday’s Downtown L.A. Art Walk; a free public screening of the 2013 winners of the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series, presented by Oscar-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious) on Friday, July 12th; and a special showcase of  French 3-D shorts on Sunday, July 14th, which not-so-coincidentally happens to be Bastille Day.

Viva les shorts.

The majority of films will screen at the Downtown Independent Theater; other unique venues include the L.A. Grammy Museum, the Edison, and a free, closing night screening  at Los Angeles Union Station.

Forget it, Jake.  It’s Chinatown.

DOWNTOWN FILM FESTIVALWed, July 10 – Sat, July 20; FREE – $20For more info re: schedules, venues and films, go to:

More music for Moore, OK.

More music for Moore, OK.

Good for OK

This Thursday’s Moore, Oklahoma benefit is practically a country song in itself.

When Angie Taylor’s students lost their instruments in the May 20th tornado that decimated the town of Moore, Oklahoma, the band director vowed that she would replace them.

This Thursday, July 11, a half-dozen of L.A’s best singer-songwriters will help Taylor keep her promise.

Veteran songwriters Tracy Newman and Severin Browne are producing the benefit, which will feature fellow stellar writers/performers Marty Axelrod, Bill Berry, Cynthia Carle, and Kevin Fisher at the Talking Stick in Venice.  100% of the night’s proceeds will go directly to help Taylor and the kids of Highland West Junior High start making music again.

This Thursday, the happy ending is up to you.

TRACY NEWMAN AND SEVERIN BROWNE PRESENT A BENEFIT FOR VICTIMS OF THE TORNADO IN MOORE, OKLAHOMAThurs, July 11 @ 7:00 p.m.; all ages; $20 The Talking Stick, 1411 Lincoln Blvd, Venice 90291

People say funny things.

People say funny things.

Grand UnPerformances

Comedian Beth Lapides’s weekly Sunday night UnCabaret at First & Hope is one of L.A.’s classiest comedy nights.  On Friday, UnCabaret joins with Grand Performances and goes al fresco.

Plan accordingly.  Bring your cocktails in a flask.

Alec Mapa, Mary Beth Abella, Kristina Wong, Suzanne Whang and Charlene Deguzman crack wise at this special UnCabaret under the stars as part of Grand Performances’ “NEA-supported look at Los Angeles as the gateway for Asian immigration”.

You’ll just call it the gateway to laughs.

UNCABARET AT GRAND PERFORMANCESFri, July 12 @ 8pm; FREECalifornia Plaza, 350 S Grand, DTLA 90071

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

Yay, Hawaii!

It’s August and BOOM, triple digit heat is here.

Not to mention earthquakes.

Do not give in to the temptation to lie around like a limp noodle, Go Go’ers.  This is the season for hot summer fun.

To review: limp noodleness out; hot summer fun in.

Get it?  Got it?  Good.  Now go go.

If You Happen to Like Food and Wine….

Really, there is no weekend so busy that you can’t squeeze in some food and wine.

And if you are, Ms. Go Go does not want to hear your sad excuses.

There May Be Blood….

Even time-challenged foodies will want to clear their calendars for  The Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival, which stands out for the quality and quantity of participants: 100 Big Deal chefs and 200 wineries and breweries.

Bet you won’t be able try just one…

Grabbing a bite is easy and good; the fest  takes place over four days (August 9-12) in four L.A. locations (Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, DTLA) with all of the lunch, dinner, demo, event, and seminar options benefitting St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels.

Ms. Go Go knows you have time for a do-gooder sip and snack.

On Thursday, Giada De Laurentiis’s Festa Italiana  kicks off the long, delicious weekend; fest highlights include:  I Heart Champagne and Caviar hosted on the rooftop of the Montage Beverly Hills  by Lukshon’s Sang Yoon; the Indulge Dinner at the Fairmont, Santa Monica (with chefs from Melisse, Fig, Jiraffe, and Joe’s Restaurant); cooking demos by former Top Chef bad boys and bros Bryan and Michael Voltaggio; and “He Said, She Said” wine seminars with John Robinson and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson.

Sadly, the $2000 per person Founders Dinner is sold out.

LOS ANGELES FOOD AND WINE FESTIVALThurs, Aug 9 – Sun, Aug 12; $50-$500/21+ —  Tickets and the full event lineup, including locations, at

Way beyond “Blue Hawaii”

Grass Skirts Unlikely

Is your idea of hula a lei, shaking hips, and a coconut bra?

You should know that one of those things is unlikely to make an appearance Friday and Saturday nights when Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu takes the Grand Performances stage.

Ms. Go Go is not betting on coconut bras making an appearance.

The hips, however, are guaranteed to deliver at least a 4.5 magnitude shake-a-thon at the WaterCourt Stage.  (Watch out for spontaneous geysers!)

Raconteur Patrick Makuakane created hula mua (translation: hula that evolves) and also helms the San Francisco-based hula troupe, which incorporates  opera, pop, and electronica into traditional Hawaiian dance for a show that’s as much spectacle as sway .

The last time  Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu shook it like a Polaroid in L.A. was seven years ago  so this weekend is your chance to finally scratch that Hawaiian itch.  And like all Grand Performances, it’s free.

This is one time when navel-gazing is encouraged.

NA LEI HULU I KA WEKIU — Fri, Aug 10 & Sat, Aug 11 @ 8 pm; Free/All ages –  Grand Performances, 300-350 So Grand Ave, DTLA 90071.  For parking and general info go to:

Twisted Mister Brian Tolley made these.

Twist and Shout

If you’re a fan of outside art — your Popsicle stick frame collection routinely inspires gasps, for instance — you’ll definitely want to head to Future Studio Gallery this Saturday for the Mr. Twister Twisted Art Show.

When most three-year-olds were banging Legos on the floor (and each other’s heads), Brian Tolley was making art out of white twist ties: the kind that clutter most people’s kitchen drawers.

Yours too; Ms. Go Go knows.

Brian’s creations turned into increasingly complex sculptures of monsters, food stuffs, and faux footwear, which will be on display at Future Studio Gallery as part of  NELA 2nd Saturday Gallery NightThink you can twist like Mr. Twister?  During opening night, Future Studio proprietress Amy Inouye will provide twist ties for the curious and the dexterous.

Twisty snacks like pretzels and Red Vines provided for the rest of us thumb-challenged admirers.

There’s a Mister Twister (Brian’s chosen moniker) documentary in the works and collectors have been snapping up the pieces  at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market where Eagle Rock High Schooler Brian sells his work.

Ms. Go Go will take a pound of rutabagas and a giant, pink cupcake, please.

MR. TWISTER’S TWISTED ART SHOWSat, Aug 11, 7-10pm; free/all agesFuture Studio Gallery, 5558 No Figueroa St, Highland Park/Los Angeles, 90042;

You’ll want to hear what these lips have to say….

Lip Service

Hot lips and air conditioning: it’s a win-win summer combo made even more appealing when the hot lips belong to cool writers, comedians, and performers telling tales that producer Wendy Hammers describes “hilarious and horrifying”.

Case in point: Carlos Kotkin’s “Please God, Let it Be Herpes”.

The Hot and Tasty Show: a Summertime Salon — a one-off that may morph into a monthly event — will feature Hammers plus pals Kotkin, Monica Piper,and Elizabeth Payne with  musical stylings by singer/songwriter Eric Schwartz. Special Guest Stephen Toblowsky will share a story from his upcoming book The Dangerous Animals Club.

Or as you call it, “Feeding Fido”.

THE HOT AND TASTY SHOWSun, Aug 12 @ 7pm; advance tix $20; $25 @ door (plus two-item food or drink minimum)Flappers Comedy Club Burbank, 102 E Magnolia, Burbank, 91502.  NOTE: Flappers Comedy Club is all ages but Hammers advises that the Hot and Tasty material might not interest teens under 14.

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

Have weenie tree, will travel.

Just about now, you’re hoping it’s YOU who’ll  get run over by a reindeer what with the Muzak-mauled carols, the mall-maddened crowds, and the 7-11-icky eggnog.

De rigueur holiday gift: a cocktail guide stocking stuffer for the office party planner.

To put you out of your seasonal misery, Ms. Go Go advises cutting the sugar with a little spice — say,  juniper berries taken in the form of gin — and adding a theatrical chaser — or four — with the following So-Not-Taking-the-Season-Seriously shows. You’ll have to move fast; these theatrical events are late-breaking, ending soon, or sure to be sold out.

You’re obviously not the only Grinch in town. 

True Tales, Retro Slides, and Astro Weenie Trees

STOP!  Before reading on, clickety-clack those computer keys to grab tickets to kitsch historian Charles Phoenix’s just-added, sure-to-be-sold-out  Retro Holiday Slide Show this Sunday, December 18th at 3:00 p.m. Gape at the glory of a Kodachrome year in vintage slides that start with politically incorrect Rose Bowl Parade floats and end with a Christmas bondage party.

Sure, you can take notes for your next birthday bash.

LATE BREAKING NEWS!  Now that you’ve got Sunday scheduled, cancel your Hump Day lunch and head downtown for True Holiday Tales With Charles Phoenix and Friends, a FREE Grand Performances midday event today, Wednesday, December 14th from noon to 1:00 p.m.   Joining the Ambassador of Americana are tellers of true tales such as Ric Salinas (one-third of the comedy group Culture Clash) and Kristina Wong (who tours with her one-woman show Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest while feuding with James Franco).   You’d go mano  a mano with Franco any time.

And yes, Grand Performances dares you to bring an Astro Weenie Tree.

(TRUE HOLIDAY TALES with Charles Phoenix and Friends — Today! Wed, Dec 14th from noon-1pm/FREEGrand Performances, California Plaza Watercourt, 350 South Grand, DTLA 213.687.2159,

(CHARLES PHOENIX RETRO HOLIDAY SLIDE SHOWSun, Dec 18 @ 3pm; $30REDCAT Theater, 631 West 2nd St, LA 90012;

Buk up!

Buk the Season

What better antidote to Xmas than the man who said, “I don’t like jail, they have the wrong kind of bars in there.”

Happy holidays!

Whether you already love the chronicler of L.A.’s low life or just wanna say Scrooge the season, don’t miss the final performance of  Christmas 4 Bukowski this Friday, December 16th at 8:30 p.m. at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater.  Jessica Lynn Verdi serenades with carols as you enter the black box theatre but don’t get your pom-pom panties in a twist; director Josh T. Ryan cuts the cheer with a healthy dose of Bukowski’s cyanide-sharp prose and poetry.  By the time you leave the theater, all Xmas sentiment will have been scoured away so you can wade into the holiday fray once more. 

Bukowski would definitely approve your post-performance, wading-into-the-fray nightcap.

(CHRISTMAS 4 BUKOWSKI — FINAL PERFORMANCE!  Fri, Dec 16th @ 8:30 p.m./$10 — Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd, No Hollywood;  818.202.4120

'Cause he's your best friend.... (Courtesy of Santasia)

Merry Full Monty and the Little Penguin That Could

The bad boys of Santasia, all alumni of ImprovOlympics, Second City, and ComedySportz,  have been gleefully skewering holiday traditions for over a decade — that’s 40 reindeer years to you — with their R-rated mix of  original claymation (penguin), film shorts (penguin again), and laugh-’til-you-choke sketches such as an epic get-the-bully snowball brawl and the sleigh ride from hell.

Just in case you’ve been dreaming of a  James Cameron-does-White Christmas….

And if you’ve been dragged to one too many performances of The Nutcracker and The Snow Queen, you’ll appreciate the definitely-not-Kringle-approved choreography in musical parodies ranging from Chicago to Fame to The Full Monty

Nothing says holiday like a scantily clad man wearing a Menorah.

(SANTASIA through Sat, Dec 24; various days/times; $23 on line/$35 at the door; Rated R — Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, 91423, for info and tix

Parno Graszt stir things up at the Skirball. (Photo courtesy of Yonas Media)

The moon may not be full until Sunday but that doesn’t mean your blood isn’t already stirring with the heat and the anticipation….

What better way to work off that agita than with Parno Graszt‘s high energy brew of soulful and oh-so-danceable Hungarian/Romani music.  Described as “THE SOURCE of Gypsy music” by Songlines Magazine, the eight-piece, twenty-year folk veterans (whose name in Romani means “White Horse”, the symbol of purity and freedom)  make their Los Angeles debut at the Skirball Cultural Center on Thursday to kick-off the institution’s oh-so-brief Summer Concert season.   Expect to hear instruments ranging from guitars, double bass, tambura and accordions to spoons, water cans, milk churns and ‘oral bass’ (a “continuous vocal improvisation made by the percussionist”).   And really, when was your last oral bass experience in public?

Party in the Pushkar. (Film still from "Ramblers, Roamers, Vagabonds - Parno Graszt" courtesy of podium productions)

In 2008, the Paszabi gypsies were invited to India (the purported motherland of the Roma people) where they searched for musical roots,  familiar customs, and source melodies while playing with local musicians in the Pushkar Desert and elsewhere. On Wednesday, the day before the concert, the Skirball screens Ramblers, Roamers, Vagabonds – Parno Graszt, Sandor Sillo’s color-drenched documentary of the journey.  (Free but reservations recommended so don’t delay, Go Go’ers!)

Eastsiders/downtown wage slaves can also check out the group  on Friday at the noon Grand Performances at the Water Court at California Plaza but those lucky enough to be able to plan an extended stay at the Skirball can dine before dancing (but sadly, not before film viewing) at the reservation only dinner buffet at Zeidler’s Cafe.   Post-dinner/pre-concert,  check out “Jews on Vinyl”; album highlights of the Roger Bennett/Josh Kun guest-curated exhibit include  “Batman and Rubin” and “Bagels and Bongos”.  (The latter may be the only instrument not utilized by Parno Graszt.)   Feel your Inner Don Draper relax in the retro Fifties living room where listening stations await.

The choice of whether to fill your hip flask with Mad Men scotch or Mad Hungarians is, of course, up to you….

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….