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Eight Things

January 03, 2008

1. LET US NOW PRAISE ONE MAN: The preeminent visual poet of the Great Depression, Walker Evans found transcendent beauty in subjects that most of us would regard as mundane, even ugly. A derelict gas station. An abandoned shantytown. The dirty faces of a sharecropper family. Starting Saturday, nearly 40 of the photographer's best-known images will go on display at Stephen Cohen Gallery in new, high-resolution prints. The exhibition spans Evans' work from 1930 to 1940, and includes portraits, landscapes and interiors. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat (until Feb. 23), Stephen Cohen Gallery, Beverly Hills; www.stephencohengallery.com

2. RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS SVENGALI

If John Cassavetes is the patron saint of American indie filmmaking, John Sayles is its parish priest, consistently turning out heartfelt, carefully observed dramas capturing the texture of day-to-day life. Kicking off with his latest effort, "Honeydripper," a rock 'n' roll fable set in the Jim Crow South, the five-film mini-fest stretches back to 1984. Sayles, above, will be on hand for Q&As. Fri.-Sun., Aero Theatre. $10. www.aerotheatre.com

3. URBAN BRIGHT

What would a concert celebrating the sounds of L.A. actually sound like? Ranchero music coupled with car crashes and sizzling bacon-wrapped hot dogs? The LA Phil's Concrete Frequency program does that one better with "Songs of the City," a concert-in-the-round featuring low-key performances on city life from Zooey Deschanel (pictured), John Doe, members of Belle & Sebastian and others. A follow-up show next week features Tokyo's gonzo multimedia genius Cornelius performing the mind-melting noise extravaganza "Man-Machine in the Digital City." 8 p.m. Tues., Walt Disney Concert Hall. $15-$26, (323) 850-2000; Cornelius: 9 p.m. Jan. 17. $28-$37

4. MR. BLUE

No doubt the ghost of Robert Altman will be smiling down on Garrison Keillor and company as they bring to life Guy Noir, Pastor Inqvist and a stable of Lake Wobegoners for tall tales, music and fake radio ads. 3 p.m. Sun., Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. Sold out; consult your favorite Web scalper. www.cerritos center.com

5. SWEET JESUS (it's still Christmas)

Don't pack away your holiday spirit quite yet. The 8th Annual Nacimiento Bike Tour of Northeast L.A. celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany by touring homegrown nacimientos (Nativity scenes). Stops allow you to engage with the creators of these elaborate folk art displays -- fog machines included. 10 a.m., Sun. River and Gardens Center, 570 W. Ave. 26. Free. (626) 437-4446.

6. REINDEER GAMES

It's apt that film flourishes in the lands of the midnight sun, which the ninth annual Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. proves over the next two weekends. The festival shines the spotlight on features, docs and short subjects from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Highlights include 2006's Icelandic thriller "Jar City." Jan. 5-6 and 12-13, Writers Guild of America Theatre, Beverly Hills. Tickets from $10. www.asfla.org

7. AND IF YOU CAN'T SING IT . . .

Jackie Ryan's still not a major name in the short-sighted jazz record business, but her multilingual skills (she sings in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese), smoldering rhythms, inventive phrasing and swinging scat vocalese make her one of the scene's most inventive and exciting artists. 8 and 9:30 p.m., today and Fri., the Jazz Bakery, Culver City. $25. (310) 271-9039

8. NORTHERN EXPOSURE

Long before indie bands and strong coffee, the Tsimshian people roamed the Pacific Northwest, living off the land and following the salmon upriver in the spring. The Git-Hoan Dancers ("people of the salmon") honor the Tsimshian's nomadic ways with music and dance. Catch them before they pack up their carved masks and drums and head back up the coast. 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Sat., W.M. Keck Foundation Children's Amphitheatre; www.musiccenter.org

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