From zoot suits to Philip Treacy hats, a hilarious cover band reviving Fleetwood Mac's infamous drama, a masterful dance company and the director of Wayne's World and W. Kamau Bell taking the stage, here are the 16 best things to do in L.A. this week.
Don't sneer at cover bands. They're guaranteed nostalgic fun, especially when the original artists they're covering are either dead, hate each other or have sued each other into the poor house. Don't Stop: The Musical Misadventures of Fleetwood Mac, however, isn't a traditional tribute show but cover band Rumours' scripted comedy, described as a cross between Three's Company and VH1's Behind the Music. Taylor Locke, Ned Brower, Nick Johns, Rebecca Fishman and Jesika Miller, musicians and actors in their own right, play all the familiar songs and reinterpret Fleetwood Mac's entire 50-year history dating back to the late 1960s. They also fully immerse themselves as Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie and John McVie, and humorously dramatize the infamous intra-group marriages and relationships that made them rock's biggest soap opera. Largo, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Fri., April 13, 8 p.m.; $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —Siran Babayan
Fighting for Women's Rights
After a lifetime of progressive politics, dishing it out and taking it become the yin and yang of daily life. To wit: Noted civic dragon-slayer Cecile Richards discusses her memoir, Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out and Finding the Courage to Lead ($27, Touchstone). Richards — president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and daughter of late Texas Governor Ann "Poor George, he was born with a silver foot in his mouth!" Richards — talks about battling for women's reproductive rights and how she never tires of fighting the good fight even after all these grinding, contentious years. First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, 540 S. Commonwealth Ave., Westlake; Fri., April 13, 7 p.m.; $28 general (includes book). (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —David Cotner
A Gangster Story
"Mob stuff works so well for opera most of the time because you have this hierarchy of bosses and servants," artistic director Josh Shaw says about Pacific Opera Project's gangster-style adaptation of W.A. Mozart's darkly comic opera Don Giovanni. Maggie Green's vibrant costumes meld zoot-suit flair with the colorful, cartoonlike style of the film Dick Tracy, as charismatic vocalists Adrian Rosas, the ever-amusing E. Scott Levin and powerful soprano Daria Somers cavort across the expansive Vortex stage. "The set is enormous," Shaw says. "We were looking for a big, open space where we could do whatever we wanted. ... It's a production on top of a production, at least." The Vortex, 2341 E. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Fri., April 13 & 20, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 14 & 21, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., April 22, 2 p.m.; $15-$200. (323) 739-6122, pacificoperaproject.com. —Falling James
The Monster Mash
Come indulge your fears and fascinations with all things macabre at the 10th Anniversary of Monsterpalooza. The annual event features FX artists, makeup demonstrations, expert panels, hundreds of vendors, and celebrity appearances from the likes of Danny Trejo, Pam Grier and more. There also will be screenings of Corbin Nash, The Terror of Hallow's Eve, Lunch Ladies, Bride of Finklestein and more. Expect to have your mind blown and, perhaps, your stomach churned. Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena; Fri., April 13, 6-11 p.m., Sat-Sun., April 14-15, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; $30-$35. monsterpalooza.com. —Avery Bissett
Chuckling for Canines
Now that it's been scientifically proven that dogs laugh — it sounds a little like panting — come on down and hear them chortle at tonight's Punchline for Paws benefit. Hosted by Conan co-host Andy Richter, the show supports charities Home Dog L.A. and A Purposeful Rescue, which save dogs from area shelters that would otherwise euthanize them. Alongside sets by comedians Whitney Cummings, Nikki Glaser, Matt Ingebretson and Sheng Wang, there's plenty of booze for you boozehounds, a silent auction and vegan tacos. Candela La Brea, 831 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-Wilshire; Sat., April 14, 7:30 p.m.; $75 general/$150 VIP. (323) 936-0533, apurposefulrescue.org. —David Cotner
Rock & Roll Fantasy
Manager/music producer spent the 1960s and early '70s in the company of rock's iconic performers — and he was an avid photographer. Between 1969 and 1973 he shot more than 1,000 photos, but he misplaced the negatives before he could print them. Amazingly, the missing negatives were discovered in his attic last year. Rock & Roll Legends: The Lost Negatives of Michael Friedman features 60-plus never-before-seen, candid, B&W photos of The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, The Band and others. "No one was posing for me, because I was not a hired photographer but rather part of their team and a friend," Friedman says. "My hope is that many of the photos will give the viewer a glimpse of the artists as individuals, unself-conscious, relaxed and just being themselves." California Heritage Museum, 2612 Main St., Santa Monica; Sat., April 14-July 15, Wed.-Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; $5. californiaheritagemuseum.org. —Lisa Horowitz
A Blocky Good Time
Not to be confused with a convention for fans of Minesweeper, this weekend is your chance to enjoy the many-splendored thing known as MINEFAIRE: The Ultimate Minecraft Fan Experience. An open-ended, endlessly variable online game of playing with blocks that rivals Lego, it's the perfect chance to meet other players, tournament competitors and YouTube creators, indulge in Minecraft cosplay, witness live themed shows, partake in global mentorships and take advantage of the 300-plus computers that are just waiting for players to take them in their hot little hands and clasp them tightly to their hearts. L.A. Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., West Hall A, downtown; Sat.-Sun., April 14-15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; $45-$69. (800) 448-7775, minefaire.com. —David Cotner
In 1992, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey gave us Wayne's World, a movie about two hard-rocking BFFs who host a public-access cable show from the family basement in Aurora, Illinois. Their only goals were to head-bang to "Bohemian Rhapsody" in an AMC Pacer, buy a 1964 Fender Stratocaster and score with hot chicks. Tia Carrere? Schwing! More than 25 years later, you can party on with Wayne and Garth at this Alamo Drafthouse–hosted event, which includes cover band Pop Gun Rerun, a video and merch pop-up and a discussion with none other than director Penelope Spheeris, who'll no doubt share some behind-the-scenes stories. Trivia: For the film, Paramount Pictures wanted to use music from Guns N' Roses instead of Queen. GNR? They're not worthy. Regent Theater, 448 S. Main St., downtown; Sun., April 15, 6:30 p.m.; $25. (323) 284-5727, spacelandpresents.com. —Siran Babayan
Today's Hammer Forum, Ted Lieu: The Trump-Russia Investigation, sees California's 33rd District (the Fightin' 33rd!) congressman discuss the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian fricker-frackin' with the 2016 elections. Lieu, currently sitting on both the House Foreign Affairs and House Judiciary committees, served in the Air Force's JAG (Judge Advocate General) Corps. Knowing whereof he speaks, he'll lay out exactly where Mueller's going with this whole thing to noted sanity enthusiast and journalist Ian Masters and former U.S. Attorney and deputy assistant attorney general Harry Litman — and you, too, in case your attention span about the inquest hasn't evaporated into a trivia question yet. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., April 15, 2 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —David Cotner
Mission to Mars?
Tired of life on Earth? Dr. Jim Bell has your options covered as he explains his new book, The Ultimate Interplanetary Travel Guide: A Futuristic Journey Through the Cosmos ($25, Sterling). Bell, a professor at Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration, guides you through the finer points of a solar system so violently bereft of life except for the life that thrives on Earth, from its poles to its jungles to its nail salons. You'll glide through boiling hellscapes on Venus, visit yawning lunar craters and marvel at the wonders of the farty methane oceans of Titan. Griffith Observatory, 2800 E. Observatory Road, Griffith Park; Mon., April 16, 7:30 p.m.; $25, $10 members. (213) 473-0800, friendsoftheobservatory.com. —David Cotner
Behind the Scenes
The Hammer Museum hosts a screening of Sophie Fiennes' 2017 Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami and a discussion with the director. Forgoing traditional documentaries (no biographical background or talking heads), Fiennes spent 10 years on and off following model turned singer-actress Jones to cities including Paris, New York and especially her birthplace of Spanish Town, Jamaica, where she visits family, goes to church and discusses her abusive and strict religious upbringing. Fiennes, sister of Ralph and Joseph, also shoots Jones in the recording studio working with legendary reggae producers Sly and Robbie. But the heart of the movie is the fabulous concert scenes with Jones — almost 70, and still looking fierce in corsets and her trademark Philip Treacy hats — who performs hits like "Slave to the Rhythm" and "Pull Up to the Bumper," as well as covers of "Amazing Grace" and "Love Is the Drug." Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., April 17, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Siran Babayan
Melding Sound and Fashion
Dissatisfied with what she describes as the "templates and presets" associated with traditional music instruments, composer-violinist Pauchi Sasaki has constructed her own wearable instrument, a dress made out of small speakers that somehow wraps together sound and movement and air. Performing with bold flutist-vocalist Claire Chase, Sasaki calls up the eerie, echoing underwater bubbles of Gama XV in a performance that's simultaneously visually bizarre and musically dream-laden. Then, Gustavo Dudamel pulls the L.A. Phil New Music Group through the compulsive undulations of Frederic Rzewski's Coming Together, an almost jazzy fusion of piano and the stirringly radical, clear-eyed words of Attica prisoner Samuel Melville. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Tue., April 17, 8 p.m.; $20-$59. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com. —Falling James
Back to the Future
Some spectacles you might have missed at the Survival Research Labs action in downtown L.A.: a skeletal elephantine walker bearing an ass-prone windowpane, a cylindrical Judy Garland, and pig carcasses burnt by fire-spitting machines. You can fill this gaping hole in your psyche at tonight's premiere screening of Survival Research Laboratories Live at the Extreme Futurist Festival, Los Angeles, California, December 22, 2012, followed by a Q&A with SRL founder Mark Pauline and filmmaker Steve Bage. Filmed by 19 cameras, it's a rare glimpse into minds that have influenced everything from maker culture to BattleBots. Ray Stark Family Theatre, George Lucas Bldg., SCA 108, USC, 900 W. 34th St., University Park; Wed., April 18, 7 p.m.; free (RSVP required). (213) 740-2804, cinema.usc.edu/events/event.cfm?id=24592. —David Cotner
Call It a Comeback
Dance Theatre of Harlem is something of a "comeback kid." Founded by Arthur Mitchell after he retired as the first black member of New York City Ballet, DTH made its mark proving Mitchell was not an exception as DTH developed African-American ballet dancers who became known for their mastery of George Balanchine's neoclassical style and stretched the borders of contemporary ballet into realms of street dance. Financial stresses forced the company to retrench for several years, continuing its ballet school and training performances. In 2011, the professional company returned under artistic director Virginia Johnson (a DTH ballerina before founding Pointe Magazine). Now back in full stride under Johnson, DTH stops off at two local venues as part of its current international tour. The program is more contemporary than classical, with choreography from Robert Garland, Ulysses Dove and Darrell Grande Moultrie. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine; Wed., April 18, 8 p.m., $58-$68. thebarclay.org. Also at Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri., April 20, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., April 21, 2 & 7:30 p.m., $60-$115. thebroadstage.org/dancetheatreofharlem. —Ann Haskins
A Good Yarn
The seventh annual L.A. County Yarn Crawl is a four-day dive deep into yarn consciousness as 26 shops open their doors and beckon you into a paradise that ranges from the sumptuous to the slightly itchy. From Needle in a Haystack and the Altered Stitch to La Knitterie Parisienne and Wildfiber, your nethers will boggle at the sheer abundance of yarn shops across the modern textile landscape. Trunk shows, scads of prizes, valuable free patterns, tote bags, pins and a grand prize of mysterious provenance await. Through April 22. Throughout L.A.; Thu., April 19, store hours vary; free. layarncrawl.org. —David Cotner
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
In 2017, W. Kamau Bell published his first book, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell. He also won an Emmy for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program for CNN's United Shades of America. The travel docuseries mixes the San Francisco–based comic/podcaster's stand-up with interviews with subcultures across America, including KKK members, Portland hipsters, San Quentin inmates, Standing Rock protesters, immigrants and refugees. In anticipation of the show's April 29 return, Film Independent at LACMA screens season three's first episode, "The Border," during which Bell visits the U.S./Mexico border, followed by a discussion with the comedian. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Thu., April 19, 7:30 p.m.; free (RSVP required). (323) 857-6010, lacma.org. —Siran Babayan