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Pencil This In: Mel Brooks Panel, Ed Ruscha in Conversation, LA Comedy Fest and Sara Watkins in Concert

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We sort through a lot of events and happenings around LA so you don’t have to. Tonight, we found a few noteworthy comedy items, including an evening of stories you wouldn’t want to tell your mother; the LA Comedy Festival opens; comedian Margot Leitman reads from her new memoir; and Mel Brooks is at the Paley Center. We also found that Ed Ruscha is in conversation at the Getty; and there are shows by the Milk Carton Kids and Sara Watkins for the neo-folkies out there. Read on for all the details and more.

READING
Comedian and author Margot Leitman just released her new memoir Gawky: Tales of an Extra Long Awkward Phase, and reads from and signs it tonight at 7:30 pm at Skylight Books. She’s a regular sketch performer on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, who built a cult following on her character “Gyno-blast.” The book is a celebration of growing up gangly—reaching nearly six feet in high school—and ways she coped with a sometimes cruel world, ensuring that her height was not the only way to stick out in a crowd.

EXPERIMENTAL FILM
Tonight at 7 pm, Los Angeles Filmforum at MOCA presents the program Time as Material. In the mid-20th century, artists working in cinema “ceased trying to represent time and began to work with it directly.” This program includes works by Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, Joyce Wieland, Morgan Fisher, Hollis Frampton, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Ernie Gehr and others. Tickets: $12 general admission, $7 students with valid I.D. FREE for MOCA and Los Angeles Filmforum members; must present current membership card to claim free ticket.

STORYTELLING*
Nikki Levy brings her monthly evening of storytelling/readings Don’t Tell My Mother! to Cafe Fais Do-Do tonight at 8 pm. It’s a monthly gathering of comics, actors and award-winning screenwriters are hand-selected to share stories they’d never want their mothers to know. This month’s performers include: Diane Neal (Law & Order: SVU), Jen Kober (The Mindy Project), Tom Lenk (Argo, Buffy), Nancy Lee Grahn (General Hospital), Davy Rothbart (Found Magazine) and Levy herself. Musical interludes provided by Abby Posner and guests. Doors at 7, Show at 8. Tickets: $15. This show is 21+.

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COMEDY FEST
The LA Comedy Festival opens tonight at Let Live Theatre and runs through May 19 (but dark on Tuesday, May 14). The festival is a mix of feature film, shorts, TV, web comedies, panels and live standup. There are 87 short films in 10 blocks alone playing throughout the festival and all new shows by local comedy groups Lost Moon Radio, Top Story Weekly! and Mannerhouse Manor. Tickets: $10 online and $12 at the door.

MEL BROOKS
The Paley Center holds an LA premiere screening and panel discussion tonight at 7 pm to celebrate the upcoming PBS show American Masters Mel Brooks: Make a Noise, which debuts on May 20. The panel will be streamed live and will feature Mel Brooks, filmmaker Robert Trachtenberg and Series Creator/Executive Producer Susan Lacy in conversation with film interviewee Richard Benjamin. They’ll discuss the PBS documentary and Brooks’ career from his live television days to his iconic movies. If you’d like to attend in person, there are still a few tickets available for the onsite screening room (but not in the main theater). Tickets: $7.

MUSIC
A couple of great shows tonight if you dig the neo-folk scene. At the Bootleg, singer-songwriter-violinist Sara Watkins headlines with Fiction Family (her brother Sean’s duo) and Kris Orlowski band opening. Doors: 7:30 pm and the show is at 8 pm. Tickets: $20. The Milk Carton Kids with their sweet harmonies and acoustic guitars play Largo tonight at 8 pm. They’re playing to support their album The Ash & Clay, which was released earlier this year. Check out our coverage here. Tickets: $25.

CONVERSATION
Tonight at 7 pm, the Getty Center welcomes artist Ed Ruscha who’ll be in conversation with Madeleine Brand of KCET and Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez. The program complements the Getty’s current exhibition In Focus: Ed Ruscha. Held at the Harold M. Williams Auditorium at the Getty Center. Free, but reservations required.

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CLASSIC FILM
Film Independent at LACMA presents a Roberto Rossellini Restored - Double Bill tonight at 7:30 pm. Both films feature the luminous Ingrid Bergman, who starred in a series of iconic Rossellini films. Up first is Journey to Italy, followed by Stromboli at 9:30 pm. Tickets: $10 / $5 for Film Independent members.

READING
Tonight at 8 pm, the Echo Park Film Center plays host to The Voluptuous Third Eye Realist Observatory Club. The evening includes a new works fiction reading series featuring Daniel Weizmann and Steve Abee, and other local literary scene members.

*Pencil pick of the day

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