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Pencil This In: Short Play Competition @ Theatre Asylum, Afghanistan: Obama's Vietnam? @ the Hammer

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Money in the mail. We love the randomness. / Photo by kpe II via LAist's flickr pool.
ShortLived 2.0 is SF-based PianoFight’s short playwriting competition, and it’s making its LA debut as ShortLived LA at 8 pm tonight at Theatre Asylum. Tickets are $15-$20. Last week, eight original pieces written by local LA writers hit the stage; the highest scoring piece will automatically get a spot in the SF Championship Weekend for a chance to win the grand prize: an invitation to pen a full-length piece produced by PianoFight and staged for a one-month in San Francisco.

Tonight at 7:30 pm, the Writers Guild Foundation hosts an event with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, one of the most successful sci-fi/action writing teams in the business. They started together after college to write for Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess, where they quickly became head writers at the age of 23. In 2003, the two were approached to write for J.J. Abrams’s Alias, and eventually ascended to be executive producers of the show. Now they’re working with Abrams again on FOX’s Fringe with Abrams. Their feature film credits include Star Trek, Transformers, The Island and Mission: Impossible 3. There's a light reception included in the ticket price ($10-$20).

The Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park has served as home to a weekly poetry reading series, hosted since 1994 by Los Angeles poet Rick Lupert. The reading starts at 9 pm, but sign up for the open reading starting at 8:30 pm. Presenters are limited to seven minutes at the microphone.There’s a one drink minimum (sodas, bottled water. No Alcohol.).

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Tonight the Hammer Museum welcomes Chris Fair and Nake Kamrany to discuss whether Afghanistan becomes President Barack Obama’s Vietnam. Fair, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, an expert on U.S. relations with India and Pakistan who spent much of 2008 in Afghanistan working for the United Nations, will sit down with Dr. Kamrany, professor of Economics and director of the Program in Law and Economics at the University of Southern California. From Afghanistan, Dr. Kamrany has known and studied the various political movements and players who have participated in the de-evolution of this war-ravaged country since the Soviet occupation. The evening’s discussion will be moderated by Ian Masters—journalist, commentator, author, screenwriter, documentary filmmaker, and the host of the radio program Background Briefing on KPFK 90.7FM. The event is free to the public and begins at 7 pm.