About that voice inside his head
In screenwriter Zach Helm and director Marc Forster's reality-twisting comedy "Stranger Than Fiction," the voice inside the head of tax man Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) belongs to a novelist named Karen "Kay" Eiffel (Emma Thompson). Harold finds it most alarming when Kay's narration informs him that he is about to come to a bad end. To rewrite that ending and avoid being consigned to life's remainder bin, Harold must convince Kay that he is not strictly a product of her imagination.
"Stranger Than Fiction," rated PG-13 for some disturbing images, sexuality, brief language and nudity, opens Friday in general release.
Ax to take on Strauss
Richard Strauss was a youthful 20ish Brahms enthusiast when he lifted a theme from the older master as a point of departure for his "Burleske" for piano and orchestra. Emanuel Ax tackles this knuckle-buster, just after he plays Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22. Alexander Mickelthwate will lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic in both pieces, then close the program with Strauss' "Ein Heldenleben" (A Hero's Life), full of quotations from his own works.
Los Angeles Philharmonic, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A., 8 p.m. Friday. $15 to $135. (323) 850-2000. www.laphil.com* Also 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.
'Cloudless' in Cerritos
American choreographer Susan Marshall has gained a reputation and many awards for turning everyday movement into revealing and deeply emotional dance-portraits. For its debut at the Cerritos Center, her five-member company will perform the full-evening "Cloudless," which is structured as 18 dance vignettes. The work features music by Jane Shaw, Philip Glass, Nick Cave and a Bizet composition performed by David Byrne.
Susan Marshall & Company in "Cloudless," Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos, 8 p.m. Friday. $20 to $36. (562) 467-8818. www.cerritoscenter.com
Have I got a story for you ...
The fifth annual Los Angeles Storytelling Festival, a 12-hour marathon of yarns, legends, myths, personal dramas and tales of everyday life, happens Saturday at L.A. Trade Technical College. The theme is "Face to Face ... Heart to Heart." Nationally known storytellers Diane Ferlatte and Ricardo Provencio head the lineup, and there will also be workshops and story swaps. A new afternoon family program geared toward children will feature stories, games and performances.
Los Angeles Storytelling Festival, Los Angeles Trade Technical College, 400 W. Washington Blvd., L.A. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. $15 per concert; $25 to $40 for day; children, $10. (310) 457-2385. lastorytellingfestival.com
Fired up over raku
Raku\o7, \f7a Japanese ceramic technique that dates back to the 16th century, was traditionally used to create bowls for formal tea ceremonies. Contemporary artists since have adopted this ancient firing method that leaves pottery with a distinctive glazed and crackled effect. "Raku: Origins, Impact and Contemporary Expression" focuses on how the raku process has evolved, with examples by American and international artists.
"Raku: Origins, Impact and Contemporary Expression," American Museum of Ceramic Art, 340 S. Garey Ave., Pomona. Opens Saturday. $2 to $3; 12 and younger, free. (909) 865-3146.
* Hours: noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Ends Jan. 6.
A collective showing
The group show "Naive Set Theory" is roughly based on the abstract mathematical premise of collecting objects or sets. Using several types of media, including video, collage, sculpture, MP3, drawing and painting, recent masters of fine arts Brian Bress, Julie Lequin, Jennifer Sullivan and Ami Tallman explore interconnected issues drawn from psychological state, national identity and authority.
"Naive Set Theory," Cirrus Gallery, 542 S. Alameda St., L.A. Opens Saturday. (213) 680-3473.
* Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Ends Dec. 31.
Will energy translate?
Vince Gill has been called country music's triple threat because of his mastery as a singer, guitarist and songwriter. Now he's a quadruple threat as well, having just released a set of four CDs of new material. If all goes well, the Nashville stalwart's prolific state will translate into live shows brimming with creative energy.
Vince Gill, Wiltern LG, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., 8 p.m. Sunday. $45 to $75. (213) 380-5005.
Birthday sets by Mandel