See how they run
Want to test drive an electric car? You can get your chance this weekend at the Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exposition (EVS-20 for short) in Long Beach. The public is invited to test the latest battery, hybrid and fuel-cell electric vehicles, bikes and scooters. There will also be exhibits and demonstrations from more than 100 of the world's leaders in electric drive technologies, plus celebrities and other entertainment. For more details, see www.evs20.org
Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exposition, Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, noon-4 p.m. $10; 12 and younger free. (562) 436-3636.
Teens in trouble
Liz Garbus, whose 1998 documentary "The Farm: Angola USA," was nominated for an Oscar and won two Emmys, returns with a new film, "Girlhood."
Garbus looks at two troubled teens, Shanae and Megan, from East Baltimore, Md., on their passage through the juvenile justice system.
"Girlhood," unrated, opens Friday exclusively at Laemmle's Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-6869.
Three faces of Lucinda
Which Lucinda Williams will turn up on stage Monday and Tuesday at the El Rey Theatre: The introspective folkie of her Grammy-winning 1998 album, "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," the soul and gospel-rooted singer of 2001's "Essence" or the near-Stonesian rocker heard on her latest, "World Without Tears"? Odds are she'll touch on each of those facets of her music, and with the consistent quality of that music over the years, no matter which she emphasizes, the audience will be the winner.
Lucinda Williams, El Rey Theatre, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Monday and Tuesday, 8 p.m. $35. (323) 936-6400.
Death Cab: back in service
In the two years between albums, Death Cab for Cutie has done nothing to diminish a reputation as the poster child for indie rock. Besides the Seattle quartet's successful touring, singer Benjamin Gibbard collaborated on a surprising side project, the Postal Service, and keyboardist-guitarist Chris Walla produced albums by the Long Winters and the Stratford 4 that rate as two of 2003's finest. With the release this month of its fourth album, "Transatlanticism," Death Cab for Cutie mines its melodic aesthetic to reveal nuggets that could possibly warm your heart but are more likely to wrench it.
Death Cab for Cutie, with Nada Surf, Henry Fonda Theatre, 6126 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Friday, 8 p.m. $13.50. (323) 464-0808.
Anne Marie Ketchum's Verdi Chorus celebrates its 20th anniversary with choruses and arias from Verdi's "La Traviata," Bizet's "Carmen," Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffmann" and other operas. Soloists will include soprano Sharon Blake Hill, mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzman, tenor Gabriel Reoyo-Pazos and bass Dean Elzinga.
First United Methodist Church, 1008 11th St., Santa Monica. Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4 p.m. $20. (310) 826-8309.
Tim Robbins will direct the West Coast premiere of his new play, "Embedded," a satire about embedded journalists in a Middle Eastern conflict, the government's shifting rationale for that conflict and how the media spin the experiences of military personnel.
Actors' Gang Theatre, 6209 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Opens Friday. Runs Thurdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Dark Thanksgiving; ends Dec. 21. $20. (323) 465-0566, Ext 15.
Bringing '1972' into the now
Josh Rouse's latest album "1972" -- his follow-up to last year's well-regarded "Under the Cold Blue Stars" -- brims with lush arrangements and melancholic moments that remind you of the kind of sensitive singer-songwriters that you'd run across in ... well, the year of his birth, 1972. But his is not an oppressive nostalgia. Maybe it's his scratchy, guy-next-door vocals or his spiritual themes, but his languid pop/folk comes across as undeniably heartfelt.
Josh Rouse, with Leona Naess, the Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Saturday, 8 p.m. $12.50. (310) 276-6168.
A book fest for the kids
Celebrate Jewish children's authors, illustrators and literature at the area's first Jewish Children's Bookfest. Coordinated by the Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles, the festival includes a host of literature-related activities and entertainment. The Los Angeles Children's Museum Theatre project, puppeteer Len Levitt, cartoon character Shaloman and several authors and illustrators provide the entertainment. Writers and artists will sign their books and some will conduct workshops, while booksellers and food vendors ply their wares.
Jewish Children's Bookfest, the Triangle, Mount Sinai Memorial Park, 6150 Mount Sinai Drive, Simi Valley. Sunday, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (866) 266-5731 or www.jewishchildrensbookfest.org.
The Japanese tea ceremony -- the chanoyu ceremony -- has been observed, studied and imitated in Western culture, but true tea lovers will savor the Fowler Museum of Cultural History demonstrations of Asian tea practices in China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. "The Ways of Tea/Cha Tea Ceremonies" will be highlighted by a Q&A; with documentary filmmaker and tea expert Gaetano Kazuo Maida.
"The Ways of Tea/Cha Tea Ceremonies," UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Sunset and Westwood boulevards, Westwood. Saturday and Sunday, noon and 3 p.m. Free; reservations required. (310) 825-8655.
Cuban stars have thrilled us in recent performances of "Don Quixote" with American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet. Now Alicia Alonso's National Ballet of Cuba brings its own production of the full-length classic to show us how deeply the fusion of Spanish style and classical steps can transform an entire company. "Those looking for passion, Latin or otherwise, will find it in this idiosyncratic 1988 version," wrote the New York Times last month at the beginning of the tour. Defections by dancers earned the Cubans headlines during the troupe's Miami engagement, but such artists as Laura Hormigon, Oscar Torrado, Viengsay Valdes and Joel Carreno remain to uphold Havana's legendary standards of training and coaching.
National Ballet of Cuba in "Don Quixote," Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. $30 to $75. (800) 300-4345.