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Arts and Entertainment

Sarah Silverman Tonight, Tenacious D Saturday @ WTF?! Festival

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WTF?! Festival. Photo courtesy The Actors' Gang.

As usual, things at the Ivy Substation in Culver City are not status quo. Then again, when you’re trying to keep theatre alive in an economy more suited for food stamps than Shakespeare, nothing is going to be easy. Enter The Actors’ Gang, who for years have been at the Los Angeles forefront of doing things the hard way, and with amazing results. Their productions, workshops, and community outreach programs are second to none, and the current WTF?! Festival is right in line with such forward thinking.

You know The Actors’ Gang as one of Southern California’s premiere places for playwrights, actors, directors, and anyone with a serious interest in theatre. You’re probably also familiar with its Artistic Director, Tim Robbins. But, as is always the case with the Gang, the things they’re up to down there in the Substation transcend one man. The WTF?! Festival is about the art world at large, and finding ways to combine tighter purse strings with more openness and cultural relevance, especially in Los Angeles. And as budgets continue to restrict in classrooms, workplaces and homes all across our state and nation, how can we make sure the dramatic arts aren’t lost? One answer is to host a seriously kickass line-up in order to raise money for the Gang’s prison arts outreach programs, summer in the park shows (LAist review here), and pay-what-you-can nights.

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Tonight, Sarah Silverman takes the stage to film her great stand up / concert / sketch / insanity film “Jesus is Magic”. If you’re not familiar, you can catch the trailer here, and if you are familiar then let’s be best friends forever. Silverman is perhaps the most highly regarded female stand up today, and “Jesus is Magic” offers some of her more hilarious (and raunchier) bits that you might not find elsewhere. Afterwards, Sarah herself will be on hand for some adorably-off color Q & A, so why not toss that $20 towards a ticket and a good cause instead of sitting through another Jay Davis set hoping she drops in.

While Sarah Silverman should be a big draw for the Substation, the whole festival runs through December 19th, offering plenty of other opportunities to see top-flight entertainment. Future events include a veritable who’s who of the music, film, and literary world, including: Jackson Browne, Serj Tankian, Tom Morello, Gore Vidal, Cirque de Soleil performers, and readings by the cast of Shawshank Redemption. Oh, and did we mention Tenacious D?

That’s right, the D will be rocking the Ivy Substation in downtown Culver this Saturday night at 8:30 (bar opens at 7), along with some very special guests. Tickets don’t run on the ‘cheap’ side for this show, but the money is slated for some of the best community arts and rehabilitation programs going in Los Angeles today. Also, consider that only 100 seats are available for this show, so you’re essentially getting an intimate night with the greatest comedy rock band since KISS tried to segue into the 80’s without their face paint.

Other notable shows include William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, a great addition to the Gangs' Documentary Tuesdays line up. And not only is the civil rights lawyer's documented life completely FREE for examination on October 20th (before the film is officially released), there will also be a Q & A with his daughter following the screening. And, of course, Paul Provenza and a few special stand up guests screen The Aristocrats for your raunchy pleasure on October 21st. Tickets are regular movie-priced, but at the Substation Paul and his friends will stick around afterward to hone some great new material, including a few on-the-spot examples of the famous Aristocrats joke itself. Should be amazing.

All tickets and full schedule information can be found at the WTF?! Festival website, along with a more comprehensive mission statement and a better idea of just what your money is going towards. The short answer? A worthwhile cause.

WTF? Festival
October 13th - December 19th
Tuesday - Thursday: 7p (8p showtime)
Friday: 8p (9p showtime)
Saturday: 2p matinee, 7p for music events (8:30p showtime)

The Actors' Gang
The Ivy Substation
9070 Venice Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
310-838-GANG (4264)