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Performing Arts

Raising the curtain on some post-holiday fun

December 27, 2007|Mindy Farabee

SO Christmas is over and you're more than ready for some cathartic family dramas, backstabbing subterfuge or hilarious misunderstandings with happily-ever-after outcomes. But with the majority of theaters going dark over the holiday lull, where to? Take a cue from the pros. All of life is a stage to this crowd, so here's an eclectic bunch from the local theatrical set offering a selection of inspiring venues.

-- Mindy.Farabee@latimes.com

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HEATHER WOODBURY

Playwright / Performer

"What's happening all around you is pageantry and theater -- the Christmas spectacle is fodder for making theater. Going back to ancient, tree-worshiping pagans, I think it's a human self-preservation thing to give away more than you can afford, to create abundance in a time of scarcity. You can see it in the displays on the houses, where people put up a million lights and candy canes. I love those, especially around my neighborhood in Echo Park."

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FREDERIQUE MICHEL

Artistic Director, City Garage

"To me, one of the pleasures of life is to be with friends. Because I'm French, we love to have huge dinners where we discuss politics and books. We rent a house on Pismo Beach (city info available at: [805] 773-4657; www.classic california.com) where we can be with nature and friends, and cook and read. The surfing is great and it's a great place to dig for clams."

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CORINA GILL

Dancer, Los Angeles Ballet

"If I could pull it all off, I'd head out to Dominick's (8715 Beverly Blvd., [310] 652-2335) for dinner -- that's such a great old place -- then go out to one of the West Hollywood clubs like East / West (8851 Santa Monica Blvd., [310] 360-6186) with my dancer friends, and then end up at my friends' house in Pasadena, watching the Rose Bowl Parade."

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GIL CATES

Producing Director, Geffen Playhouse

"This is the time of year I like to catch up on movies."

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TIM DANG

Producing Artistic Director, East West Players

"When there is down time at East West Players (which is not often) I enjoy traveling, a glass of red wine from Red Carpet Wine (400 E. Glenoaks Blvd., [818] 247-5544), or trying my luck at blackjack at Agua Caliente Casino and Spa (401 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs, [888] 999-1995)."

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DEBBIE McMAHON

Producer / Director, Andre Du Lordes Grand Guignolers Du Paris

"I'll be checking out Benny Brydern, who played with John Reynolds at our last pre-shows and offers the only gypsy jazz Django Reinhardt music of 1930s Paris in Los Angeles. Benny plays with his Hot Club Quartette at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena (2029 N. Lake Ave., [626] 398-7917) and Warszawa patio in Santa Monica (1414 Lincoln Blvd., [310] 393-8831). John plays with his Hollywood Hot Shots at the Steve Allen Theater (4773 Hollywood Blvd., [323] 666-4268). I'll also finally make it to the Dali exhibit at LACMA (5905 Wilshire Blvd., [323] 857-6000) before it leaves. I have an annual pass to Disneyland (West Ball Road and South Disneyland Drive, [714] 781-4565) and I love 'Fantasmic!' That's real spectacle, entertaining and fun!"

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JUSTIN TANNER

Playwright / Director

"I'm striking with my fellow WGA members, but we're on hiatus, so I'll catch up on films I've missed. I start early in the day and see three in a row. My favorite theater is the ArcLight (6360 W. Sunset Blvd., [323] 464-1478). You can have a Maker's Mark Manhattan while watching a movie. It just doesn't get more civilized than that.

"This time of year I also go to the old-timey bar at Taix (1911 Sunset Blvd., [213] 484-1265) where a lot of our favorite unsigned songwriters (Carolyn Edwards, Kristian Hoffman, the Now People, Ruthann Friedman) play for free. The bartenders stock Green Chartreuse, our chosen after-drink drink."

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AMIT ITELMAN

Artistic Director, Steve Allen Theater

"Artistically, I'm just taking the time to think about how I can push the envelope more. I'm also going to see the Melvins with Tweak Bird and the 400 Blows at the Echoplex (1154 Glendale Blvd., [213] 413-8200) on Sunday.

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RICHARD HARRIS

Co-owner, Lucy Florence Cultural Center

"My brother and I are certainly going to the California African American Cultural Center (3018 W. 48th St., [323] 299-6124) and other venues throughout the city to experience Kwanzaa. It's a joyous way to celebrate the season."

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BART DeLORENZO

Director of upcoming "A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress" starring Joan Rivers

"My holiday sources of inspiration: Murakami at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (152 N. Central Ave., [213] 626-6222) -- to be swept up in his crazy audacious vision. Going is my X-mas present to myself.

"Giant Robot Biennale at the Japanese American National Museum (369 E. 1st St., [213] 625-0414) -- right next door, and the fun continues.

" 'There Will Be Blood' -- I've been waiting years for Paul Thomas Anderson's latest, and Daniel Day-Lewis is always a force to be reckoned with. I'll take whatever they've got."

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RICHARD MONTOYA

Actor / Writer, Culture Clash

"As a member of a New Mexican Sephardic tribe of Chicano-Crypto Jews, I find the holiday hustle and shopping bustle a bit, well, blue. I'm not quite at home at a traditional temple or the cathedral, so I have started my own tradition to lift my spirits and honor all of my heritages: I walk from my Angelino Heights home down to El Camino Real (the original Sunset Boulevard) directly to El Compadre Restaurant (1149 Sunset Blvd., [213] 250-4505), where I light nine margaritas on the rocks. Actually, Don Mario, the gentlemanly bartender who used to serve the stars, does it. We light them and they miraculously burn for the entire night, causing a warm light and glow, enough to keep my creative fires burning another year!"

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DAVID EMMES

Producing Artistic Director, South Coast Rep

"I'd revisit the Orange County Museum's 'Birth of the Cool' exhibit (850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, [949] 759-1122). I thought it was extraordinary."

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