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Pencil This In: Rachael Yamagata Headlines Hotel Cafe, Robert Francis at Bardot and Comedy-Rap Battles at NerdMelt

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Laura Schlesinger Gallery opened a new 'Small Paintings Group Show' this past weekend.
(Rob Rizk, 'Talk')
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Here's what's happening around town tonight. We found that Rachael Yamagata is playing a few shows with Dan Wilson at the Hotel Cafe; there's a great lineup at Bardot for It's a School Night tonight with headliner Robert Francis; and there's a comedy-rap battle at NerdMelt. Read on for all the details.POP MUSIC
Singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata is on 16-date tour to support of her third studio album, Chesapeake, which was released last year. Yamagata plays two shows tonight and one tomorrow night at the Hotel Cafe. Special guest both night is fellow troubadour Dan Wilson of Semisonic. Shows tonight are at 7 and 10:30 pm. Presale tickets sold out but a few standby tickets may be available. We're thinking that she needs to start playing venues that are just a little bigger.
        
SCHOOL NIGHT
It’s a School Night takes over Bardot in Hollywood for an evening of live music and DJs. Performing live tonight are songwriter Robert Francis at 11:30 pm, backed by a full band to preview songs from his upcoming release Strangers in the Place, due out May 22 on Vanguard Records. Also on the live bill are Madi Diaz who celebrates the release of her debut album Plastic Moon (10:30) and new duo The Peach Kings (9:30). The night opens with KCRW’s Chris Douridas andMatt Goldman DJing at 9 pm and Drake Doremus DJing at 10 and 11. The evening closes with Bryan Chenault DJing at midnight. Free with RSVP for those 21+; $10 for 18+ with RSVP. 9 pm to 2 am.
       
COMEDY
Tonight at 8 pm, NerdMelt hosts another episode of The BEATdown. Comedian Eliza Skinner and beatboxer Joshua Silverstein host five comics and one audience volunteer in "TheBEATdown." It's a six-round battle of freestyle rap battles decided by the audience. Think of Eminem in 8 mile with a sense of humor. $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

HAPPY HOUR
As we mentioned earlier, many of Old Pasadena's restaurants, bars and lounges offer extended food and drink specials during the second annual Happy Hour Week, which technically is two weeks: March 1 to March 15. From $1 martinis and $2 beers to $3 gourmet sushi and appetizers, go out and do your part to stimulate the economy.

*Pencil pick of the day

Want more events? Follow me on Twitter (@christineziemba). Or follow Lauren Lloyd—who takes care of Pencil on Wednesdays (@LadyyyLloyd).