Red Velvet Burlesque gets weird on Wednesday.
Red Velvet Burlesque gets weird on Wednesday.
Courtesy of Olivia Bellafontaine

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

Between a willfully weird burlesque show, an enormous photography-art fair, a wine fest and a chat with Bob Odenkirk, there's loads to do in L.A. this week.

fri 1/22

We're no good at math, but if a picture is worth 1,000 words, 25 years' worth of pictures would be worth a cubic ton of words. The international photo-art expo Photo L.A. — which bills itself as the city's longest-running art fair — hits that quarter-century milestone this year, displaying everything from contemporary works to photography from the 1800s. In addition to exhibits, the weekend event features forums and workshops including one on the "Instagram effect" and another on Robert Mapplethorpe. A special installation showcases the work of Los Angeles–based, postmodern photographer James Welling, this year's honoree. The Reef at L.A. Mart, 1933 S. Broadway, downtown; Fri.-Sun., Jan. 22-24; $20 in advance, $25 at the door. photola.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

It was once the case, dear reader, that Hollywood turned to the radio for source material almost as often as it plundered the literary canon. UCLA's Out of the Ether: Radio Mysteries and Thrillers on Screen looks to investigate this phenomenon over the coming weeks, beginning with The Trial of Vivienne Ware and Night Editor. Made in 1932 and 1946, respectively, these hourlong dramas are dialogue-heavy explorations of the legal system and the darker end of newspaper reportage (use your context clues to determine which title corresponds to which premise). UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine

In keeping with the long-held belief that all acclaimed anime must be watched at midnight on Friday (which I just made up), the Nuart screens Akira. Katsuhiro Otomo's 1988 sci-fi drama is considered by many to be the high-water mark of the genre, its dystopian vision of 2019 Tokyo having long ago garnered a cult following that persists to this day. Loyal devotees may never see the long-rumored live-action adaptation, which has been in one stage of development hell or another for more than a decade now, but at least the original isn't going anywhere. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., Jan. 22, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com. —Michael Nordine

sat 1/23

Here's a bit of culture for you right in your own backyard — Fiesta Mexico-Americana is an all-new, multimedia production that tips its hat to the varied traditions and wide-ranging artistic triumphs of Mexican-Americans through history. This is a bounteous blowout of song, dance, music and film, featuring performances by the Ballet Folklórico Mexicano dancers and true East L.A. representatives Los Lobos, one of the most important rock combos to come out of the City of Angels. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos; Sat., Jan. 23, 8 p.m.; $40-$70. (562) 916-8501, cerritoscenter.com. —John Payne

No disrespect to Beavis or Butt-head, but there was no bigger knucklehead on MTV in the '90s than Tom Green. (Remember when he sucked on a cow's udders and scuba-dived for loose change in a mall water fountain on The Tom Green Show?) So it's only fitting that the Canadian comedian hosts Seriously '90s, his own, live, '90s-themed game show. Though the organizers are tight-lipped about the details, including the surprise celebrity guests, the show's expert contestants will compete in physical challenges, trivia rounds and other games to answer questions about the decade's most popular movies, music, TV, fashion, toys and other trends. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Jan. 23, 8-9:30 p.m.; $11.24. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —Siran Babayan

If you're wont to spend an entire Saturday evening drinking wine, allow the Uncorked Wine Festival to legitimize the affair. On Saturday, more than 50 wineries descend upon Union Station with their pinots and cabs, their zins and rosés for your tasting pleasure, whether you prefer to guzzle, or swish and spit. Food trucks — including KashKash, Slammin' Sliders and Roll 'n Lobster — will be on the scene so you have something to soak up all that booze, and there's live music to set the mood. BYO Wet-Nap to wipe off those wine-stained lips. Union Station, 880 N. Alameda St., downtown; Sat., Jan. 23, 5-9 p.m.; $55. (323) 395-7263, uncorkedwinefestivals.com/losangeles. —Gwynedd Stuart

Anne V. Coates was recently honored with a Career Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Her career spans more than six decades and any number of classics — The Elephant Man and Out of Sight among them — but her legacy has always been defined chiefly by her revolutionary work on Lawrence of Arabia. The Aero screens David Lean's enduring epic as part of the American Cinematheque's Seeing the Big Picture: 70mm Favorites program, which includes the likes of Ben-Hur and VertigoAero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

sun 1/24

People who like jazz presume to have discerning tastes, which is why it's frustrating not to have better dining options paired with live music. Enter Bacchus' Kitchen, famous caterer Claud Beltran's newest Pasadena hot spot, where the music and the food are both quality. On Sunday, the featured artists are bassist Katie Thiroux, drummer Matt Witek and blind pianist Justin Kauflin, who was the subject of an acclaimed 2014 documentary, Keep on Keepin' On, about the young phenom's unique friendship with trumpeter and jazz legend Clark Terry, who also lost his sight late in life. The full-package deal gets you a three-course meal and two sets of music. Sounds good, in more ways than one. Bacchus' Kitchen, 1384 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena; Sun., Jan. 24, 6 p.m.; $30, $80 with dinner. (626) 594-6377, bacchuskitchen.com. —Gary Fukushima

At Art & Sushi: Minoru Ohira and Mori Onodera, Michelin-starred chef Mori Onodera (retired owner of Mori Sushi) will serve an omakase meal of traditional edomae-style sushi on carved yellow cedar "I beams" inside artist Minoru Ohira's solo exhibition, "Iki and Yabo." It's a rare collaboration between two accomplished masters blending two very different art forms. Tickets will be sold for four seatings, with two to four people at each seating. Offramp Gallery, 1702 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena; Sun., Jan. 24, noon-9 p.m.; $200. (626) 298-6931, offrampgallery.com. —Garrett Snyder

Not every Akira Kurosawa film is marked by samurai and swordplay. Red Beard, which closes the Egyptian's two-weekend retrospective devoted to the Japanese luminary, is about something ostensibly mundane: a doctor. (It is a period piece, however.) Constant Kurosawa collaborator Toshiro Mifune is the physician in question, and in addition to healing people he's also given to speechifying. The result may not be the pair's most traditionally rousing effort, but it does rank among their most humanist. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.; Sun., Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira screens on Friday.
Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira screens on Friday.

mon 1/25

With David Bowie's passing, the world has one fewer storyteller. Luckily, the Moth consistently introduces us to new ones. The latest edition of the Moth's GrandSLAM, featuring the winners of the past 10 grueling StorySLAMS and hosted by comedian Brian Babylon, has its proverbial finger on the pulse of what's happening right now — its theme is "Now or Never," and you'll hear all sorts of gripping, revelatory, mind-shattering tales of taking the plunge, leaping without looking and double-fucking-dog-dares that changed multiple lives on different levels in the space of moments. The Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park; Mon., Jan. 25, 7 p.m.; $25. (213) 413-8200, theecho.com/event/1053133-moth-grandslam-los-angeles. —David Cotner

You know Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, or half of Mr. Show With Bob and David. Comedian-writer Chris Witaske knows him as his manager Naomi's husband. The Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad actor will be the first guest on Witaske's monthly interview show, So, you do comedy ...?, where famous funny folk talk about working in the business. Witaske will grill Odenkirk about his start in Chicago, how to maintain career longevity, etc. If you're lucky, you might get to ask Odenkirk a few questions in a Q&A. Originally from Chicago, Witaske — whose credits include Second City and iO — has performed and toured with Odenkirk, and will appear in the upcoming Judd Apatow–produced Netflix comedy series, Love. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood; Mon., Jan. 25, 7 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

"Tidying is the act of confronting yourself; cleaning is the act of confronting nature," writes Marie Kondo in Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. The Japanese organizing expert discusses her new book as part of Live Talks Los Angeles. Kondo first wrote about her cleanliness-is-next-to-nirvana message — also known as the KonMari method — in 2014's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Her follow-up gives more advice on keeping only what gives you joy, and includes her six rules of tidying and a tidying encyclopedia with tips on how to put away everything from clothes to sentimental items. William Turner Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., E-1 (Bergamot Station), Santa Monica; Mon., Jan. 25, 8 p.m.; $20-$95. livetalksla.org. —Siran Babayan

tue 1/26

The Syrian civil war and the refugees that have been displaced by it have become the biggest humanitarian crisis in recent times. More than 4 million refugees have fled to safety in neighboring countries and Europe, and there are more than 7 million displaced people within Syria. As part of the Hammer Museum's Hammer Forum, KPFK host Ian Masters leads The Migrant Tide From Syria, a discussion on how European countries — and the United States — are responding to the migrant situation. Panelists include Jana Mason, a senior adviser for the U.N. Refugee Agency; Daryl Grisgraber, a senior advocate for the Middle East and North Africa for Refugees International; and, according to the museum, a recently arrived Syrian refugee who goes by the name "Yazan." Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Siran Babayan

If you haven't seen North by Northwest, all you really need to know is that Alfred Hitchcock directed it, Bernard Herrmann composed the score and Saul Bass designed the title sequence. As tends to be the case when those three conditions are met, the film is a classic of suspense. Also very much of note: the screenplay by Ernest Lehman, who set out to write "the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures." North by Northwest doesn't lack for competition in that regard, but neither does it have much difficulty standing out among so many other masterworks. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Jan. 26, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

Storytellers go head to head at Moth's GrandSlam on Monday.
Storytellers go head to head at Moth's GrandSlam on Monday.
Photo by Denise Ofelia Mangen

wed 1/27

There's a fine line between the erotic and the disturbing — or at least that's the idea behind the House of Red Velvet burlesque, described on producer-performer Olivia Bellafontaine's Tumblr as "[a] euphoric and darkly strange burlesque art show ... or simply sexy women doing weird shit." Bellafontaine is joined by Kristina Nekyia, Miss Miranda, Brynn Route and Erica Snap to put on a show that's equal parts sexy and bizarre, kind of like a David Lynch movie being performed live. Bar Lubitsch, 7702 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; Wed., Jan. 27, 8:30 p.m.; $15, $20 at the door. thehouseofredvelvet.brownpapertickets.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

For being a visual event, L.A. Art Show boasts a lot of big numbers, featuring art from 120 galleries in 22 countries and welcoming tens of thousands — 50,000 in 2015 — collectors and gawkers into its expansive maze of exhibit spaces. In addition to its breadth and popularity, L.A. Art Show prides itself on importing significant amounts of work from Chinese, Korean and Japanese galleries, the most outside of Asia, and for supporting established and emerging artists alike. The four-day exposition, which officially opens on Thursday, Jan. 28, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 31, kicks off on Wednesday night with a fancy-ass opening-night premiere party hosted by Anne Hathaway and her husband, actor-producer Adam Shulman, to benefit St. Jude. Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Wed., Jan. 27, 8 p.m.; $125-$250. laartshow.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

thu 1/28

Choreographer Meg Wolfe says New Faithful Disco is a "queer love power trio" and promises that the three performers — she, taisha paggett and Marbles (aka Rae Shao-Lan) — will exhibit the awkwardness and contradictions inherent in that description. The title and the choreography borrow freely from the DJ practice of remixing sounds and recordings, but Wolfe expands the concept to human relationships. As a postmodern choreographer, Wolfe is highly regarded in Los Angeles and has also made her mark in New York's dance scene. Her national stature is underscored by this event being co-commissioned by REDCAT, San Francisco's Z Space, Portland, Oregon's Institute of Contemporary Art and Houston's Diverse Works. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown.; Thu.-Sat., Jan. 28-30, 8:30 p.m.; $25. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org. —Ann Haskins

Were you ever to host your dream dinner party, the guest list might look something like the lineup for The Dinner Party Download. Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano host their biweekly KPCC radio show and podcast on which actors and celebrities discuss their careers; and writers, musicians, chefs and artists discuss everything from history and music to what's trendy in food and cocktails. Past guests have included Al Pacino, Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Spike Lee, Willie Nelson, Patti Smith and Gus Van Sant. Tonight's live taping features actor Jason Schwartzman, singer Father John Misty and comedian Jenny Slate. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Thu., Jan. 28, 8 p.m.; $32.50. (213) 623-3233, acehotel.com/losangeles/theatre. —Siran Babayan

La Collectionneuse, Cinefamily's monthly soiree geared toward Francophiles, presents 8 Femmes on 35mm. Included in the octet are such icons as Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux and Isabelle Huppert; director François Ozon draws on the ensemble's collective body of work among many, many other sources of inspiration — originally conceived as a remake of George Cukor's The Women, it's a musical/dark comedy/farce described by Roger Ebert as "the first Agatha Christie musical." For their efforts, all eight femmes received a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Thu., Jan. 28, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine

Acropolis Cinema's second screening is another L.A. premiere. Eight short works (the longest of which runs 15 minutes) comprise Pleats of Matter: The Films of Blake Williams, which will be divided into two sections: part one in 2-D, part two in 3-D. Williams will appear in person to discuss his sensory approach toward experimental filmmaking. Automata, 504 Chung King Court, Chinatown; Thu., Jan. 28, 8 p.m.; (213) 819-6855, acropoliscinema.com. —Michael Nordine

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