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Pencil This In: Getting Down with Darwin @ NHM First Fridays

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It's First Friday @ the Natural History Museum. Party with the dinosaurs! / Photo by S.C. Asher via LAist's flickr pool.

It's First Friday @ the Natural History Museum. Party with the dinosaurs! / Photo by S.C. Asher via LAist's flickr pool.
Tonight’s the opening night of John Gabriel Borkman, by Henrik Ibsen at CalArts in Valencia, directed by MFA directing candidate Maureen Huskey. The play’s story is still so familar: A turn-of-the-century family tries to forge a new path through the their past failures. “The clash between generations and the tenuous grip of family loyalty provide the backdrop for a beautifully grotesque dance between the forces of death and destruction and the life-giving impulse to move forward.” The play runs at 8 pm through March 14 (except for March 8) at the Walt Disney Modular Theatre at CalArts. Tickets are free, but reservations are required.

It’s that time of the month -- for the Natural History Museum’s wildy popular “First Friday Series” that combines interactive learning, music and art. This year they’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, and tonight’s focus is on fish. NHM Ichthyology Collections Manager Jeff Seigel shows off some of the museum’s most wonderful, and odd, fish specimens. Following this, Dr. Neil Shubin, a paleontologist and Associate Dean of Organismal and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, answers the question—why do we look the way we do? The Phatal DJ and Anthony Valadez spin in the African Mammal Hall while Fool’s Gold and BLK JKS perform in the museum’s diorama halls. The guided tours with Seigel begin at 5:30 pm, and the museum stays open until 10 pm. Tickets are $9 for adults, $6.50 for children. Everything’s on a first-come, first-served basis, so get your tickets early.

Subliminal Projects gallery is hosting an opening-night reception for John Van Hamersveld’s exhibition “Post-Future” from 8-11 pm tonight. Van Hamersveld is best known for his legendary poster for the 1964 blockbuster surf film The Endless Summer and his album covers for the Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour), The Rolling Stones (Exile on Main Street), the Grateful Dead (Skeletons in the Closet) and others. He’s also done an official poster and mural for the 1984 Olympics in LA.

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There’s a celebration of short films being held tonight at LACMA for the 8th Annual Young Directors Night, showcasing the work of local emerging filmmakers. The participants will by vying for the second annual Art of Film Award, given to best in show and voted on by a host committee of industry figures along with the audience. There’s a cocktail hour at 6 pm across the street at the A+D Museum and catered by Border Grill & Ciudad Catering and an open bar hosted by Grolsch and Kenwood Vineyards. The film program and ensuing Q&A take place in LACMA’s Bing Theatre, beginning at 7:30 pm. After the screening, it’s back across the street to the A+D for a reception/award ceremony and for the opportunity to interact with the directors while enjoying dessert provided in part by Melissa’s Produce, along with more complimentary drinks. Tickets are $30 for the general public.

Tonight and tomorrow late night (11 pm) at the Gardner Stages in Hollywood is the Twelve Shiny Nickels Show, a comedy showcase of some of the young comedians around the country. Twelve comics do only five minutes of their best material. “That way you can see a bunch of great comedy in only 60 minutes or so and then go and get on with your life without being held hostage at a boring, crappy comedy show that drags on for 2 and 1/2 hours or longer.” The show, btw, is completely BYOB. The hosts supply a free case of beer at the beginning of the night, but guests are encouraged to bring in their own beer, wine, spirits, soft drinks and/or snacks to the show.

*Pencil pick of the day