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4 Great Free Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Sunset Strip Market
Sunset Strip Market
Christine Chiao

4. Beach Balls

At 53 years old, the Manhattan Beach Open now is older and more established than the dozens of players battling in it for their chance to win a piece of the $200,000 kitty. (For those paying attention at home, that's twice last year's purse.) The tournament, located at the Manhattan Beach Pier, boasts the title of the world's longest-running, continuous beach volleyball event, and its three-day return to the sand this year will draw tens of thousands of fans -- past years have seen as many as 60,000 -- to see which names will be added to the pier in bronze as part of the Volleyball Walk of Fame. Keep an eye out for Olympic medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings, Todd Rogers, Phil Dalhausser, April Ross and Jen Kessy -- where else can you see that many Olympians at once? Manhattan Beach Pier, Manhattan Beach; Thurs., Aug. 22-Sat., Aug. 24, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 25, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. avp.com/mbo. --Kelsey Whipple

3. Magical Mystery Graphics

Of all the factors propelling the cultural revolution of the 1960s, you could argue that none was more pervasive and profound than the music -- and integral to its appeal was the visuals that went with it. The psychedelic avant-garde in the era's iconic album covers, posters and magazine illustrations threatened the status quo as much as anything on the airwaves, as the artists and designers of the time tapped into the broad desire for revolution, peace, beauty, adventure, freedom and the absolutely new. Among the greatest of these greats is the prolific John Van Hamersveld. His more than 50-year career included stints as art director of Surfer Magazine and Capitol Records, and he's responsible for a graphics pantheon that includes album art for The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour and The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street, the Grateful Dead skull, indelible rock images of Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and Bono, and pieces of surfer heaven for Billabong and Endless Summer. CSUN's sensitive and exhaustive exhibition, "John Van Hamersveld: Drawing Attention," chronicles these and many more accomplishments, placing a premium on the artist's vast archive of original drawings both as artifacts of his stellar output and documents of his private creative process. Hamersveld himself takes us deeper down the rabbit hole at both a reception on Saturday, Sept. 7 (from 4-7 p.m.) and a gallery talk on Monday, Sept. 9, at 10 a.m. But there's no reason not to drop by now and let his work blow your mind. CSUN Art Galleries, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Aug. 26-Oct. 12, Mon.-Sat., noon-4 p.m., Thurs., noon-8 p.m.; free. (818) 677-2226, csun.edu/artgalleries. --S.N.D.

2. I'll Show You Mine If You...

An innovative exhibition that ups the ante on the big summer group show format, the Armory Show and Tell invites artists not to be in the show but to be the show themselves. Over the course of July and August, individual artists have been coming to the armory and welcoming the first 20 people through the door on any given day to witness and/or participate in one-hour performances and/or workshops speaking to the nature of their art. A total of 35 artists, including Tracy Nakayama, Ruby Osorio, Gina Osterloh, Shirley Tse, Matt Wardell, Alice K├Ânitz and Edgar Arceneaux, have been taking part; David Earle designed an expanding system for exhibiting the results. The workshops end Aug. 31 but the exhibition will continue to grow, culminating in a closing party Sept. 21 that also features a live petting zoo and a presentation by artist/scholar Micol Hebron on the nature of the "cute" aesthetic and its unsettling applications in our social and sexual discourse. But first, the final week of participatory sessions starts Aug. 28 with Stephanie Allespach's Tainted Love: Totem, a collaborative sculptural project examining our shared tech fetish. Later in the week, Hugo Hopping's The Rich Legacy of an Elegant Problem examines the risks inherent in the creative process, with a performance dramatizing the impossible choices artists make at every creative turn. The last is with Olga Koumoundouros, who will enact one-on-one interviews and collaborative drawings with audience members examining private aspirations for their home and future lives. Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; Wed., Aug. 28-Sat., Aug. 31, 12:45 p.m.; closing party Sat., Sept. 21, 7-9 p.m.; free. (626) 792-5101, armoryarts.org. -- S.N.D.

1. Fooding in WeHo

The Sunset Strip is getting all quaint! It seems that even the biggest party animals of the city aren't immune to the charms of artisanal brie and organic bok choy. A weekly summer event (through October), the Sunset Strip Market has the goal of encouraging local residents, employees, chefs, farmers and visitors to interact while accessing California-grown fruits and veggies as well as other handcrafted goods from local vendors. Some of the farmers hitting the Strip include Dairy Goddess, which specializes in farmstead cheeses from a third-generation dairy farm in Lemoore; Summer Harvest, providing heirloom tomatoes, cherries, peaches and other stone fruit; and Shear Rock Farms, offering squash, greens, herbs and other vegetables. There are children's activities to entertain the young ones, including the ambitiously titled "Farm Style Cooking for Kids," which happens the third Thursday of every month. The Craft Beer and Wine Garden features a rotating selection from a list of California wineries and brewers, and the live music and entertainment is curated by Viper Room booker Dayle Gloria. It's as almost as if Nikki Sixx strapped on an apron and started making lavender chevre, or Drew Barrymore invested her money in a designer pinot grigio -- oh wait, she did: Barrymore Wines was last week's featured wine. City parking lot between Horn Avenue and Sherbourne Drive, 8755 W. Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Thurs., Aug. 29, 6-10 p.m.; free. (310) 659-7368, sunsetstripmarket.com. --Rena Kosnett

See also:

5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Our Calendar Section, Listing More Great Things to Do in L.A.


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