14 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

The Seven Year Itch: see TuesdayEXPAND
The Seven Year Itch: see Tuesday

Friday 2/20

In Greek mythology, Persephone is the goddess queen of the underworld, whose eternal duty is to rise into the upper air each year to bring spring growth to the earth. It's a big job, and though somewhat satisfying, it's also rather begrudgingly carried out, as Persephone was, after all, forced into the role when she was abducted by that wicked chump Hades. Villa Theater Lab's Tungsten (artery), directed and designed by Janie Geiser and written by Erik Ehn, is a modern take on the Persephone saga, melding bunraku puppetry, live performance, video, sound and text to illuminate issues of identity and facing up to our mortality and — yikes — essential purpose in life. Getty Villa Auditorium, 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy., Pacific Palisades; Fri., Feb. 20, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 21, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 22, 2 p.m.; $7. (310) 440-7300, getty.edu. —John Payne

Earlier this year, Mike Epps was wondering the same thing we were: Why wasn't he included in Chris Rock's Top Five? The comedian could challenge Rock's stardom, though, as he prepares to play Richard Pryor in the upcoming Lee Daniels–directed biopic. Epps began his career on Def Comedy Jam, later becoming well-known for his characters in Next Friday and Friday After Next. Before he gets too big for the stage, Epps returns to his stand-up roots for a dose of comedy about relationships, sex and the ongoing peculiarities of white folks. Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway, dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 20 & 21, 8 p.m. (doors open 7 p.m.); $45.50 & $65.50. (877) 677-4386, laorpheum.com. —Siran Babayan

Tungsten (artery)
Tungsten (artery)
Photo by Janie Geiser

Saturday 2/21

Upcoming Events

Is the Industry turning opera — that most old-school of performing arts disciplines — into an L.A. indie hipster's paradise? For the second year, the company is offering a free program peeking into half a dozen of its projects, and this time, First Take is definitely not safe for work. Featuring performances of scenes from operas on topics ranging from the discovery of LSD to coed murder, the story of Bonnie and Clyde, and Revolutionary War–era censorship, First Take rewards the curious and the skeptical alike with some scintillating reasons to take a fresh look at the classical medium. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Sat., Feb. 21, 1-4:30 p.m.; free. (310) 246-3800, theindustryla.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Some basic knowledge of the Oscar-nominated foreign-language films will make the difference between staring blankly during that category and winning your Oscar party betting pool. So at the Academy's Oscar Week: Foreign-Language Films, you can catch the directors of Wild Tales (Argentina), Ida (Poland), Leviathan (Russia), Tangerines (Estonia) and Timbuktu (Mauritania) in conversation with moderator Mark Johnson, producer of Rain Man and chairman of the Academy's foreign-language film committee. The event is technically sold out, but there will be a standby line at the west doors (closest to Almont Drive), with standby numbers given out at approximately 8 a.m. Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Sat., Feb. 21, 10 a.m.; $5, $3 students. (310) 247-3000, oscars.org. —Sascha Bos

Ring in the Lunar New Year with the 116th annual Golden Dragon Parade and Chinese New Year Festival. The Chinatown tradition has swelled into an event with live bands, food, lots of confetti and acrobats and others performing throughout the day on the main stage in Central Plaza. Plus, of course, a parade circles around Hill and Broadway between 1 and 3 p.m. Check out the Culinary Stage for cooking demonstrations and grab a bite at one of the food trucks. Buzzbands L.A.'s Kevin Bronson curated this year's music lineup, headlined by Lili Haydn. Note that Chinatown streets will be very crowded, and the hunt for parking may be intense. Take the Metro. Central and West Plazas, 943-951 N. Broadway, Chinatown; Sat., Feb. 21, noon-9 p.m.; free. (213) 617-0396, chinatownla.com. —Liz Ohanesian

An escape from the earthly realm ruled by consumerism, celebrity and faceless Internet, the Lucent Dossier Experience aims to not merely entertain but to transform reality, providing a rapturous, music- and movement-filled journey that usually takes place only in dreams — or on really great psych drugs. This show promises to be a more interactive experience, encompassing the entire ballroom, plus trippy, electro-tinged soundscapes from DJs/producers Nico Luminous, MartyParty and Dirtwire. As always, Lucent provides a visual tour de force filled with acrobats, aerialists, stilt walkers, fire dancers, theatrical vignettes, live instrumentation and some of the most beautifully elaborate costumery you'll ever see. Club Nokia, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., dwntwn.; Sat., Feb. 21, 8 p.m.; $25-$40. (213) 765-7000, lucentdossier.com. —Lina Lecaro

Lucient Dossier Experience
Lucient Dossier Experience
Peter Leal Photography

Sunday 2/22

In this latest one-hour installment in the art-for-kids salon Look Together: How to Throw a Party About Art, families wander through the Hammer galleries and make a game out of what they see. The idea is to take what you've learned and enjoyed in today's party and apply it to your own fantastic happenings at other museums throughout Los Angeles. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwd.; Sun., Feb. 22, 10:30 a.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —David Cotner

In Los Angeles especially, it's impossible to imagine the contemporary art landscape without the subversive vision of the lowbrow art movement. Equally hard to imagine, Juxtapoz — the magazine synonymous with the revolution — is now 20 years old. The survey "20 Years Under the Influence," co-curated by Thinkspace and Copro Nason galleries, celebrates with a new show at Barnsdall. It's paired with "SLANG Aesthetics!," a solo show by the journal's founding father, legendary painter Robert Williams, in his first offering of major new work in L.A. in more than 10 years. This afternoon's public viewing features a screening of the uproarious biographical documentary on Williams, Mr. Bitchin'. Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sun., Feb. 22, noon-5 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues Thu.-Sun., noon-5 p.m., through April 19. (323) 660-4254, barnsdall.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Robert Williams’ The Girl With the Faberge Ass
Robert Williams’ The Girl With the Faberge Ass
Courtesy of Robert Williams

Monday 2/23

Remember story hour? That soothing voice reading children's stories as you sat wide-eyed on a rug? The Moth GrandSLAM Championship isn't like that. Think: fast-paced, funny, tear-jerking, humanity-inducing and completely true. Featuring winners of the past 10 L.A. Moth Story SLAMs, it's a great way to experience live storytelling for the first (or 14th) time. The Moth, which takes its name from the way storytellers attract listeners like moths to a flame, was founded in New York by poet-novelist George Dawes Green. It has since expanded to include nationwide events, competitions and a radio show. Echoplex, 1822 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Mon., Feb. 23, 8 p.m., doors open 7 p.m.; $25. theecho.com. —Sascha Bos

Tuesday 2/24

This week's LACMA Tuesday matinee is Billy Wilder's The Seven Year Itch, which spawned perhaps the most iconic image of the 20th century's most famous sex symbol: standing above a subway grate, her white dress flaring in the wind. If it's easy to forget all these decades later how gifted a comic actress Monroe really was, it's just as easy to be reminded of that talent by her performance here as the temptress next door. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; Tue., Feb. 24, 1 p.m.; $5, $3 Academy members, LACMA Film Club members and students with ID. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

Cary Elwes, center, spills secrets on The Princess BrideEXPAND
Cary Elwes, center, spills secrets on The Princess Bride

Wednesday 2/25

Occasionally a film so breathlessly joyous slips into theaters, lodging itself firmly in the heart of the body politic. At USC's Movies We Love series' An Evening With Cary Elwes and screening of The Princess Bride, Elwes will sign copies of his New York Times best-seller As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride, which includes everything from how Elwes researched his famous sword fight to his crush on co-star Robin Wright. Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Bldg., USC, 900 W. 34th St., University Park; Wed., Feb. 25, 7 p.m.; free. (213) 740-2804, cinema.usc.edu. —David Cotner

Organized by Zócalo and UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, and moderated by The Hollywood Reporter executive editor Matthew Belloni, Why Can't Hollywood Look Like America? addresses that age-old question, namely how, even in 2015, there's still a disproportionate lack of people of color in film and TV roles. Panelists include the Black List founder-CEO Franklin Leonard; Brian Dobbins, executive producer of ABC's Black-ish; UCLA Bunche Center director Darnell Hunt; and CAA agent Christy Haubegger, whose clients include Sophia Vergara and Salma Hayek. ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Wed., Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m.; free, resv. required. (213) 381-2541, zocalopublicsqure.org. —Siran Babayan

A dance work by Victor Quijada
A dance work by Victor Quijada
Photo by Christopher Duggan

Thursday 2/26

L.A.-based contemporary company BODYTRAFFIC was named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch," partly for the dancing, partly for the ability of its directors, Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, to attract internationally recognized choreographers. The troupe returns with the program that had a successful run last month at New York City's Joyce Theater, including new works from hot choreographers Hofesh Shecter, Victor Quijada and Richard Siegel. The New York Times praised the "wonderfully precise dancers." Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Thu.-Fri., Feb. 26-27, 7:30 p.m.; $32-$55. (310) 434-3200, thebroadstage.com. —Ann Haskins

Jim Bell discusses his new book, The Interstellar Age: Inside the 40-Year Voyager Mission, in which he chronicles how NASA launched the twin Voyager probes to explore the outer planets in our solar system. The author also goes behind the team responsible for the mission, including Voyager's chief scientist and former director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Ed Stone. Bell is an Arizona State University professor who's been involved in many NASA space exploration missions. Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Thu., Feb. 26, 7 p.m.; free, book is $27.95. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —Siran Babayan


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