This week, a Skid Row - based collective improvises downtown while blow-up stick figures dance in Westwood.
5. The starlet who wasn't
Glamorous rebel Priscilla Prescott, who took control of her 1930s movie career, purportedly died 25 years ago, in 1989. So Day magazine is releasing a commemorative issue. Day looks a lot like People, with the same bubbly font, but less clutter on its cover, and artist Lenae Day, who invented Prescott, wrote the whole thing. She'll lecture at Skylight Books in the guise of a film historian and enthusiast named Phyllis, and if it's anything like her recent show of Prescott memorabilia at Mark Moore Gallery, it will be visually arresting but a bit too eccentric to fit in with classic Hollywood narratives. 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Fri., April 4, 7:30 p.m. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com.
4. Turn that smile upside down
The too-attractive-to-be-true, bashfully happy look of the model in Zoe Ghertner's photograph? Her Smile is genuinely arresting. She has her hand resting on her hair, and sunlight, shining through what must be a fence, casts gridded shadows across her face and perfectly starched blazer and blouse. Since Ghertner installed the photo upside down, the blazer's collar is at the top, and the model's fingers and hair at the bottom, which compels you to pay more attention to the components of what would make perfect sense as a Calvin Klein ad. Other work in "Lens Reflex," curated by artist Steven Baldi at Thomas Duncan Gallery, tries to turn smooth stylishness on its head, too. 6109 Melrose Ave.; through April 19. (310) 494-1177, thomasduncangallery.com.
3. Music for inflatables
Composer Terry Riley, whose long, white beard and patterned skullcaps make him look as if he's just back from meditating on a mountain, began In C on a bus in 1964. The score would stipulate that one performer play the note C repetitively, and that 35 movements be performed sequentially, but otherwise the ethereal, improvisational composition could be as long or short as performers wanted. Yuval Sharon, director of experimental opera group The Industry, got the idea for his In C rendition in a car, listening to Riley while driving by a number of those fan-blown, inflatable stick figures waving around on a lot. They seemed to fit the music perfectly, so towering fan-blown figures will be in the Hammer's courtyard while musicians play during the Industry's four-hour In C performance. Visitors can stay for however long they choose. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd.; Saturday, April 5 & 12, 1-5 p.m. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu.
2. Not the police
Art collective Los Angeles Poverty Department goes by its acronym, LAPD, which can cause confusion. Is it associated with the police department? Parodying the police department? It's doing neither, but since all participants of the group that's existed since 1985 live and work on Skid Row, the police are part of the reality they're always grappling with. For the performance Settlement, LAPD is once again working with the Belgian performance group Stay Only If Temporary, abbreviated SOIT. They spent the past three weeks working in the Box gallery, developing a performance that will be about finding common ground but that won't be totally finished until they debut it this weekend. 805 Traction Ave., dwntwn.; Friday-Saturday, April 4-5, 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 6, 4 p.m. (213) 625-1747, theboxla.com.
1. Escape routes
Math Bass' performances, paintings and sculptures often have an unpretentious lightness, soundness and rhythm to them, which accompanies a feeling of impending doom, though not necessarily an end-all-be-all sort of doom. It's more like an acknowledgment that the world's not always sunny and we're all navigating that. In her current show at Overduin & Co., paintings done in a graphic, stenciled style show alligators with mouths wide open, ready to eat other alligators, and smoking cigarettes floating and falling through space. The gates, bent steel arches and ladders that also populate the space are like escape routes that don't actually take you away. 6693 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; through April 19. (323) 464-3600, overduinandco.com.
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