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5 Ways to Sing and Laugh Your Week Away in L.A.

Big Black Delta, pictured here in January while opening for M83 at L.A. Live, is one of the many acts performing at Echo Park Rising this week.
Big Black Delta, pictured here in January while opening for M83 at L.A. Live, is one of the many acts performing at Echo Park Rising this week.
Timothy Norris

It's a highly musical week here in L.A., with a live music and ballet fusion, an Echo Park music fest and even an art exhibition opening with live music. But for all those beat-phobic Angelenos worried about having to stay inside, have no fear! Chicagoans are on their way with their own brand of comedy to save the day. Here are five ways to sing and laugh your week away.

5. The Only Music That Makes Them Dance

Starting a ballet company in L.A. has never been easy, but new companies keep popping up. There's much to admire about how American Contemporary Ballet has approached that task, starting with its partnership with the respected Da Camera Society, known for presenting live music in historical and architecturally interesting venues. Da Camera provides the live music for the company's endeavors, making for an expansion of its programming beyond strictly music. After relocating from New York City, ACB artistic director Lincoln Jones and principal dancer Theresa Farrell began presenting informal lecture demonstrations, with Da Camera providing top-notch classical musicians to accompany the dancers. And earlier this summer, when the ballet company opened its studios across from LACMA, added more dancers to its roster and debuted Music+Dance, an expanded program of Jones' choreography, it was again with live music, thanks to Da Camera. The initial Music+Dance program gave both the musicians and the dancers a chance to shine -- when the dancers needed time to catch their breath and change costumes, the musicians took a turn by themselves. The second and final installment of this summer's ballet company programming offers four opportunities to enjoy the music and the dance. As with most Da Camera events, a postperformance reception includes light refreshments and a chance to chat with the artists. American Contemporary Ballet Studios, 5900 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-City; Fri.-Sat., Aug. 16-17, 7 & 9 p.m.; $40. (213) 477-2929, americancontemporaryballet.org, 
dacamera.org. -- Ann Haskins

4. Mojo Rising

When Sunset Junction was canceled in 2011, Echo Park Rising came out of nowhere with a free neighborhood festival packed to the sidewalk's edge with local music. Now in its third year, the shindig is more colossal and more awesome than ever, and still free, to boot. Now spanning two days and 20 music venues and (counts carefully) including approximately 2,935.6 local bands -- with Saturday highlights like Gap Dream, The Soft Pack, White Arrows, Happy Hollows, Henry Clay People, Big Black Delta, The Abigails and way, way more -- it's less a festival and more a little pop-up city all its own, where bands play live in every building and you can eat, drink and shop without ever suffering a poorly chosen note. VIP passes granting line-related luxuries are available; seeing something awesome, unavoidable. Sunset Boulevard and surrounding streets, Echo Park; Sat.-Sun., Aug. 17-18, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. (music ends 10 p.m.); all ages; free, VIP pass $12 per day. echoparkrising.com. -- Chris Ziegler

3. The Sound of Sounds

In the world of American underground experimental sound/noise, Aaron Dilloway and Jason Lescalleet rule. Dilloway, who has been releasing and recording music since the age of 16, is a former guitarist and tape manipulator for the experimental band Wolf Eyes. Lescalleet's aural universe, a mesmerizing sonic domain utilizing post-EAI, tape music and musique concrète, has been described as "a space between noise, contemporary composition and minimal electronics," in which old-fashioned, experimental equipment such as reel-to-reel tape decks and damaged tape unearth the textural wonders of low-fidelity analog sounds and obsolete tech murmurings. Both artists have won national acclaim: Dilloway's Modern Jester was named one of the Top 10 Outer Sound Albums of 2012 by NPR and Lescalleet's cheeky, brilliant Songs About Nothing won over Pitchfork, NPR and The New York Times. This weekend, SASSAS presents these two fearless musical rebels at sound. at 356 Mission, along with opener John Wiese, founding member of the concrète grindcore band Sissy Spacek. 356 S. Mission Road, Boyle Heights; Sat., Aug. 17, 8 p.m.; $15 advance, $18 door, $12 students. (323) 960-5723, sassas.org. -- Mary Beth Crain

2. Climb on the Peace Chain

If you've been past the Santa Monica Convention Center anytime in, oh, the last several decades, you've seen Chain Reaction, the monumental sculpture of a mushroom cloud constructed of metal chains. The work is by Paul Conrad, better known as the Pulitzer Prize-winning chief editorial cartoonist of the Los Angeles Times from 1964 to 1993. Aside from its status as a beacon of progressive ideals, the sculpture has been a hallmark of Santa Monica's brand as a public-art champion (as evidenced by its place of pride in official tourism materials). Yet the city has been making every effort to destroy it, which, as you might imagine, has met with passionate resistance. The plan to save the work before the mid-February funding deadline -- preferably to restore it in situ as the centerpiece of a peace park but if necessary at least to dismantle it in such a way that would preserve it for possible reinstallation -- is being spearheaded and documented by the late artist's family and gallerist Robert Berman, who host this weekend's Chain Reaction Fund- and Awareness-Raiser at Bergamot Station. Free and open to the public, the afternoon features live music, food trucks, an open bar (oh, now you're listening!), and art generously donated for sale by RETNA, a passionate Llyn Foulkes and other supporters. The gallery's exciting current exhibition of work by political cartoonist and concerned citizen Mr. Fish places the plan to save Chain Reaction in its proper historical context of free speech in civic life. Robert Berman Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., Aug. 18, 5-8 p.m.; free. (310) 315-1937, conradprojects.com. -- Shana Nys Dambrot

1. The Funny City

Imagine, for a second, if every one of your high school classmates turned out to be a comedian. Just spend a few minutes reveling in the hilarity that undoubtedly would ensue at your reunions. Oh, what wouldn't you give to be a fly on the wall at that comedy-laden soiree? This precise setup was what comedian Carl Kozlowski had in mind when he created the Class of Chicago Comedy Festival -- only instead of being a school, the alma mater is the entire city of Chicago. For this humor-filled fest, Kozlowski has curated an impressive array of comedians who left the Windy City to take up permanent residence in the City of Angels. These Chicagoans will perform sketch after sketch for what promises to be three days of titters and chortles. Come out Thursday for an improv show of three back-to-back sketches, including a set by comedy legend Emo Philips, who has previously spit his jest in Meet the Parents and Adventure Time. That's not all, folks! Stick around for the second show (separate admission), a screening of about 10 comedic shorts made by five funnymen. The Fake Gallery, 4319 Melrose Ave., E. Hlywd.; Thurs., Aug. 22, doors open at 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m.; through Aug. 24; $10 per show. (323) 644-4946, classofchicago​comedyfest.eventbrite.com. -- Anya Cohen


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