5 Chill Things to Do in L.A. This Week for $5 or Less
SPHÆRÆ, one of the projects part of AxS Festival.
This week, take time to chill — at artist Oliver Payne's listening party, Chill Out, or at any number of the chill science-meets-art events that are part of Pasadena's AxS Festival, including this super chill fabric dome called SPHÆRÆ. Sit back and contemplate as you listen to the too-often silenced voices of Native Americans at the Autry. Done chilling? Get energized with a bunch of super-funny nerd talk at Tournament of Champions! and then hit Odd Market, a craft fair with L.A. flair. So go out and enjoy the week! Just keep it chill, man.
5. Access Art
The sixth AxS Festival (pronounced “axis”), themed Curiosity, represents the spot where art and science meet in contemporary culture. It’s inspired by Pasadena’s rich history of innovation in design and engineering, and its equally rich history of supporting modern and contemporary art. In fact, while much of the program is characterized by futuristic daydreams showing off awesome new art toys, many of the exhibitions, installations and dance and music performances excavate the ever-present past. For example, Machine Project’s Field Guide to the Gamble House is a commissioned work reimagining the Arts & Crafts landmark by inviting artists to create new works including “participatory nap concerts, a tableau vivant, puppets, dance, séances, videos, inflatable sculptures, joinery-specific lawn furniture, a secret Swedish-Japanese fusion restaurant” and more. There are two free open houses (otherwise, guided tours cost $20); a series of events and workshops is priced separately. By contrast, a full slate of mostly free programs at something called SPHÆRÆ is a temporary, site-specific, outdoor sculpture–slash-stage by Dutch architect Cocky Eek. Its programming features immersive sound works, video pieces and conversations. And Caltech is staging a musical called Alice Through the Wormhole, Or What’s This Wonderland Up to? So there’s that. Various Pasadena locations including the Gamble House, 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena; Fri., Sept. 19-Sun., Oct. 5; various times; free-$90. (626) 793-8171, axsfestival.org, machineproject/gamblehouse. —Shana Nys Dambrot
4. Find Your Chill
Oliver Payne wants you to chill out. At least that’s the goal of the London-born, L.A.-based artist’s outdoor performance Chill Out, in which participants are invited to listen to the namesake ambient record released in 1990 by British acid house band The KLF. But there’s a catch: Attendees must show up at exactly 7 p.m. and commit to remaining for the entirety of the obscure, 44-minute L.P. According to 356 Mission gallery manager Ethan Swan, a security guard will “make sure that people are chilling out, so to speak” by vigorously enforcing a staunch set of rules: no phones, no talking, no photography, no late entry and no re-entry. Since standing is decidedly un-chill, participants will be asked to lounge on beanbag chairs, futons and AstroTurf or bring their own blankets — basically anything “conducive to chilling out,” Swan says. The rules will no longer apply when Payne DJs post-performance, which means the after-party might be even chiller than the performance itself. 356 Mission, 356 S. Mission Road, Boyle Heights; Sat., Sept. 20, 7 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.); free. (323) 609-3162, 356mission.com. —Jennifer Swann
3. Watch Champions
At the monthly Tournament of Nerds!, the pop culture–obsessed test their oratory skills in front of the Upright Citizens Brigade audience, with celebrity guest judges contributing to the discourse. Hosted by Justin Donaldson and Hal Rudnick, competitors debate the merits of film and TV characters, historical figures, maybe even the Kool-Aid Man. The battles are unexpected — this isn’t your normal Star Wars vs. Star Trek squabble — and the arguments will make you laugh out loud, scratch your head or, possibly, both. This Saturday is the Tournament of Champions!, a best-of-the-best battle featuring eight performers you may have seen around UCB in recent months, competing to win the ultimate crown. Past judging panels have featured Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Paul Scheer, Chris Hardwick and Paul F. Tompkins — so you just might recognize somebody there, too. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hlywd.; Sat., Sept. 20, 11:59 p.m.; $5 (advance purchase only). (323) 908-8702, losangeles.ucbtheatre.com. —Liz Ohanesian
Student body at the Carlisle Indian School, 1884
Cumberland County Historical Society
2. Get Crafty
Imagine Etsy in person: artsy tees, bullet necklaces, pungent artisanal spices, handmade harmonicas, furniture crafted from exotic woods. The offerings at the city’s newest alternative shopping experience, Odd Market at Casa Vertigo, are as unique as anything you can find online and kick any shopping mall’s ass. No fewer than 88 of L.A.’s most creative crafters, including Two Hermanas, Povertees, Detroit Trash, stones glass + bones and Crown Bloom Company, will be selling jewelry, fashions, food and decor at this new weekly market. While you’re perusing scads of one-of-a-kind goods, you also can feast your eyes on the historic building that houses it all: a former Odd Fellows Temple built in 1924, which retains much of its original art deco, Beaux Arts and Spanish Colonial influences. Sustenance can be found at gourmet food trucks including Luckdish, Currywurst, the Griddler and Roadhouse Rotisserie, and live music by local bands plays throughout the day. Odd Market at Casa Vertigo, Casa Vertigo, 1828 Oak St., Pico-Union; Sun., Sept. 21, noon-7 p.m.; $5, free parking. laeventco.com/odd-market. —Heidi Dvorak
1. Listen to Native Voices
Attempts to eradicate Native American culture came in many shapes and forms, the most insidious effort undertaken with books and bunk beds rather than swords and bullets. Native Voices at the Autry — the 20-year-old theater ensemble dedicated to work by Native American, Alaskan Native, Hawaiian and First Nations theater artists — has focused its 2014-15 season on Native American boarding schools and “Indian Education” in the Americas. Established in the late 19th century by Christian missionaries, these schools were places of forced and coerced cultural and religious conversions, as well as sexual, physical and mental abuse against Native American youths. Some even regarded the schools as “labor camps” and “experiments in modified slavery,” according to Harvard Magazine. For a staged reading, Native Voices at the Autry’s First Look Series: Then and Now, Native Voices Ensemble has sourced material from autobiographies and history books, oral histories and an archive of interviews from the Cante Sica Foundation, to edit together a new piece about the experience of living in these boarding schools. Operating in full force through the late 20th century, the schools mostly closed in the 2000s. The remaining schools, many now staffed entirely by Native Americans, have taken on a new role, guiding some youths to collegiate and vocational careers — but the roots of these systems run deep. Autry National Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park; Thu., Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m.; register online for free tickets. (323) 667-2000, theautry.org. —Rena Kosnett
See also: 30 Free Things to Do in L.A. Any Time.
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