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

Poster art for Villains, a gender-switching take on Disney bad guys
Poster art for Villains, a gender-switching take on Disney bad guys
Illustration by Martin Matamoros

fri 3/20

The New Beverly has set aside the month of March for classics from the '90s, with tonight's double feature of Speed and Rush Hour being perhaps the most purely enjoyable of them all. Anyone who thinks Keanu Reeves can't act should revisit his performance in the classic action flick about a bus rigged to explode if it dips below 50 mph; the perennially underrated star's quiet charisma is on full display as he defuses a life-or-death situation. Chris Tucker cemented his stardom alongside Jackie Chan in Rush Hour, and has appeared in only one movie outside the buddy-cop series since it began in 1998. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri., March 20, Speed 7:30 p.m., Rush Hour 9:55 p.m.; Sat., March 21, Speed 7:30 p.m., Rush Hour 5:15 & 9:55 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

Villains star/co-director Martin Mata­moros knows how to turn pop culture and fantasy worlds into wonderfully whimsical performance works. With his old band, Sounds of Asteroth, he spun out-of-this-world tales into theatrical, sci-fi rock. He riffed on '80s pop in the hysterical, and moving, piece of music-fiction Wham! The Boys Behind the Shorts. This time around, Matamoros and collaborators are taking the trend for gender-bent characters further than online fan art and Comic-Con costumes do. Villains takes swapped-gender versions of Snow White's Evil Queen, Cruella de Vil and Ursula the Sea Witch and sends them out on a Wizard of Oz–like journey through Hollywood. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., March 20-21, 8:30 p.m.; $20 advance, $25 at the door. (310) 315-1459, highwaysperformances.org. —Liz Ohanesian

The two-hour triptych The Flying Camera shows rarely seen shorts full of shots taken from hovering consumer drone aircraft. Be it via UAV, GoPro or DJI, the way we see the world is changing rapidly. The angelic angles that will be revealed take you into places the likes of which few knew they could ever reach. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., March 20, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —David Cotner

Go see Speed again. You'll realize Keanu Reeves can act.
Go see Speed again. You'll realize Keanu Reeves can act.

sat 3/21

It's not just a catchy title. YouTube proto-megastar Shane Dawson has body dysmorphic disorder and he'll tell you all about it when he presents and signs I Hate Myselfie: A Collection of Essays by Shane Dawson. It seems like forever ago (2008, at age 20) that he began his ascent to the top echelon of YouTube. Naturally, in that rise, a person tends to learn something about himself, and deep within Dawson's comedies were some realizations and hard truths. Think of his book as a sort of psychic unboxing. Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Sat., March 21, noon.; free. (626) 449-5320, vromansookstore.com. —David Cotner

Attack on Titan is a Japanese mega-hit manga that tells the story of a bunch of giant beasts that snack on people. To escape the insatiable appetites of the titular Titans, the story's humans gather inside a walled city, but they have only 60 minutes before they become extinct. The Japanese company SCRAP Entertainment brings this tale to life with Escape From the Walled City, a Real Escape Game (REG) where the imagined walled city is a real stadium. Participants (who need no prior knowledge of the manga) become part of the story and solve puzzles before the Titans eat them alive. Weingart Stadium at East Los Angeles College, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, East L.A.; Sat, March 21, 10:30 a.m., 2:30 & 6:30 p.m.; $30 in advance, $35 at the door. realescapegame.com/sp/la. —Tanja M. Laden

In one of the most anticipated exhibitions of the season — and an impressive coming out for MOCA's newly empowered regime — the museum opens the largest institutional exhibition to date of work by American artist William Pope.L. Though he's based in Chicago, his seminal work in the twin realms of performance and installation have influenced generations of L.A. artists, informing this city's embrace of nontraditional genres and high-impact production value within new contemporary art. In the Geffen Contemporary's post-industrial vaults, a dramatic terrain of large-scale pieces culminates in a 45-foot, windblown U.S. flag that functions as both operatic sculpture and incisive sociopolitical commentary. Tonight's opening is for members only, but you can join at the door, and Sunday's talk with both artist and exhibit curator is free with regular admission. MOCA Geffen Contemporary, 152 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo; opening Sat., March 21, 7 p.m.; talk Sun., March 22, 3 p.m.; $12. Exhibition continues Thu., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Mon., 11 a.m.-5 p.m., through June 28. (213) 626-6222, moca.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot

sun 3/22

Time to party like it's 1394 at LACMA'S seventh annual Nowruz Celebration to ring in the Persian New Year. Farhang Foundation and LACMA again join forces to present music, dance, short-film screenings, art exhibits, special cuisines and, yes, a backgammon tournament. The internationally acclaimed Iranian-American band KIOSK will close the night with an outdoor concert sure to make a fan of anyone experiencing their unique alternative sound for the first time. With the exception of Zohreh Jooya's multimedia performance, The Sounds of a Persian Spring, all events are free. (There's also a celebration downtown in Grand Park on March 21 from 1 to 5 p.m.) LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Sun., March 22, 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; free, Zohreh Jooya's performance $20. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org. —Orly Minazad

iO West hosts its third annual Scripted Comedy Festival, which features U.S. and international comedians performing stand-up, sketch, storytelling, film and even podcasts across three stages. Winners in several categories will walk away with stage time at iO West and the Comedy Central Stage, as well as other prizes. And if you want to improve your skills, the festival offers writing workshops on topics ranging from screenplays to Saturday Night Live, taught by iO West instructors, as well as guests from the Emmys, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Conan. Some proceeds benefit the Chris Farley House, a drug-treatment facility in Madison, Wisconsin. iO West, 6366 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun.-Sat., March 22-29, various times; free, $25 application fee, $25 for workshops. (323) 962-7560, ioimprov.com. —Siran Babayan

mon 3/23

With a trio of locals and a duo from Seattle, REDCAT brims with dance this week. In the quarterly showcase Studio, three local choreographers offer distinctly different approaches. Victoria Marks employs live percussive music from Joe Westerlund for Solar Duplex, featuring Willy Souly and Alexx Shilling. Choreographer Sarah Leddy's ensemble explores soccer in A Beautiful Game. The five women who comprise Szalt unveil F L W R 1, previewed during two recent weekends of sold-out art-gallery performances. Later in the week, Seattle-based choreographer Zoe Scofield and visual artist Juniper Shuey combine contemporary dance with video and multicolored paper sculptures in BeginAgain. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Studio, Sun.-Mon., March 22-23, 8:30 p.m.; $15, $12 students. BeginAgain, Thu.-Sat., March 26-28, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., March 29, 7 p.m.; $20-$25. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org. —Ann Haskins

Upcoming Events

tue 3/24

The Getty Museum's "J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free" features more than 60 watercolors and oil paintings that the British artist (1775-1851) created after the age of 60. In conjunction with the exhibit, "Does Artistic Greatness Only Come with Age?" poses the question of whether art is a young man's game, or, more broadly: "Is experience — in life, in art, in love and loss — necessary to create works that stand the test of time?" L.A. Times arts reporter Mike Boehm moderates a panel featuring painter Ed Moses, muralist Judithe Hernández and University of Minnesota music professor Karen Painter. Getty Museum, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; Tue., March 24, 7 p.m.; free, resv. suggested. (310) 440-7300, getty.edu. —Siran Babayan

wed 3/25

Midcentury modernism, sustainable practices, independent local designers, historic Manhattan renovations, Champagne receptions, eclectic contemporary on-site art gallery programs, state-of-the-art product releases, a national array of the shelter industry's editorial giants and, of course, reality television: These are just a few of the topics, figures and experiences that await attendees at Westweek, the iconic two-day symposium of art and design. The 2015 edition is officially called "Design Comes of Age" but, based on the explication of event topics, it really should be called "California Uber Alles," in honor of the proud boosterism of our homegrown visionaries. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Wed., March 25-Thu., March 26, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. (310) 657-0800, pacificdesigncenter.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

A different university hosts each edition of the biennial &NOW new-writing festival conference, and this year it's CalArts. It's the perfect year for this eclectic juggernaut of words and deeds to land there, since the 2015 edition's theme, "Blast Radius: Writing and the Other Arts," is tailor-made for CalArts' doggedly interdisciplinary approach. It's a celebration of our age of hybridity, in which poetry, performance, film, painting, music, film and all things Internet are merging into a giant global cloud of transcendent individual expression. There are receptions, readings, screenings and panels, mostly at the campus but sometimes off-site, mixing heavy theory with ebullient artistry. CalArts, 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia; Wed., March 25, 6-10 p.m.; Thu., March 26-Sat., March 28, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; $35 per day, $100 full pass. (661) 255-1050, andnow2015.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Opponents of the hotly discussed redesign of LACMA will face off with director Michael Govan in a Debate Over the New LACMA. Presented by KPCC and the 3rd Los Angeles Project, and moderated by the ever level-headed L.A. Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne, the discussion will address the proposed dramatic reinvention of the museum complex — with its curved, amoeba-like design — and its effects on the Mid-Wilshire area. How will the coming Metro affect traffic? Will there really be a suspended train that toots every hour? And are they going to remove the fountains into which I've been throwing blue pennies for the past 20 years? I'd like to keep doing that. Thorne Hall, Occidental College, 1600 Campus Road, Eagle Rock; Wed., March 25, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 259-2677, oxy.edu/third-los-angeles-project. —David Cotner

Kirk Honeycutt discusses his new book, John Hughes: A Life in Film. Honeycutt chronicles the life and career of the "Teen King" director of such coming-of-age classics as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Honeycutt, former chief film critic at The Hollywood Reporter, interviewed the filmmaker, who died in 2009. The book includes behind-the-scenes stories of some of Hughes' productions, as well as new interviews with Judd Nelson, Matthew Broderick, Christopher Columbus, Steve Martin and others. The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring St., downtown; Wed., March 25, 7:30 p.m.; free. (213) 488-0599, lastbookstorela.com —Siran Babayan

Movies made by drones! See Friday
Movies made by drones! See Friday

thu 3/26

Sci-Fiesta! would like to show you that "new science fiction from Bangladesh and Cuba" is a real thing. And not only real but apparently innovative, vibrant and, sort of like soccer, wildly popular everywhere else around the globe already. The good news is, tonight's free event helps U.S. audiences get all caught up with the future, by way of the fresh new work of two leading authors — Bangladesh's Saad Hossain and Cuba's Yoss, who is the subject of a new short film premiering tonight — along with lively conversation and music by Kennedy's Space Station. Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, 2225 Colorado Blvd.; Thu., March 26, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 226-1617, phonemebooks.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Tonight's Hammer Conversations discusses the challenges facing travelers by bringing together Department of Transportation managers from two of the biggest metropolises on the planet. L.A. DOT general manager Seleta Reynolds wrangles 2,000 employees and 6,500 miles of streets with an annual budget of slightly over half a billion dollars. Janette Sadik-Khan was the innovative NYC DOT commissioner from 2007 to 2013, and she had to deal with all that and ferries, too. Some potential questions at hand: why some street lamps stay on all day, how to solve the pothole problem and why is this light taking so long to change. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Thu., March 26, 7:30 p.m., free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —David Cotner

Upcoming Events


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