1. Comedian Amanda Seales (of HBO’s “Insecure”) is about to take you to school. Sick of the stereotypes about African Americans in media and the overall lack of knowledge of black history, Seales mixes humor and her doctorate in African American studies with her love of games and music to create the pseudo-game show Smart, Funny & Black, coming to The Novo on Friday, March 20. Kicking off at 8 p.m., Seales will test her guests’ knowledge of black history, culture and experiences with one taking the “L,” and the other being inducted into the “Illustrious League of Master Blacksperts.” At 800 W. Olympic Blvd., or smartfunnyandblack.com.
2. Have you ever thought about what your brain is doing as you listen to music? A quarter-century ago neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote of a brain tumor patient who had particular improvements while listening to the Grateful Dead. Today, the impact of music on the brain, from helping children develop, to improving the performance of athletes is being explored by scholars, and that discipline will be discussed at the latest Zocalo Public Square event at the 800 Wilshire building on Thursday, March 19. Moderated by NPR international correspondent Elise Hu, discussion will be streamed online and includes songwriter and actress Mary Steenburgen, psychologist Assal Habibi, and director of the Institute for Music and Brain Science, will discuss the phenomenon when the event begins at 7:30 p.m. At 800 Wilshire Blvd. or zocalopublicsquare.org.