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

Devendra Banhart
Devendra Banhart
Photo by Eggo123

In a quest to expand audiences and activate new kinds of public spaces for L.A. culture, Metro Arts presents a summer of free music, performance and art in downtown's Union Station. Miwa Matreyek's Myth and Infrastructure and This World Made Itself transform the soaring architecture of the historic ticketing hall with her unique live multimedia performance merging cinema and theater. Matreyek's own silhouette interacts in choreographed tandem with projections of elaborate, sumptuous, constantly changing animations and musical scores. The effect is both epic and intimate, telling ambitious and esoteric stories (for example, the entire history of the earth), but her dream-logic is easy to follow. Both works screen back-to-back twice tonight, at 8 and again at 9:30 p.m. Union Station, 800 S. Alameda Ave., downtown; Fri., June 26, 8 & 9:30 p.m.; free. (213) 922-6288, semihemisphere.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Eugenia Butler Sr. (1922-2000) was one of the most influential figures in L.A.'s art scene of the 1960s and '70s, a collector, gallerist and outright visionary. Her legacy was inherited by her daughter, artist/author/activist Eugenia P. Butler (1947-2008), and now is the province of Corazon del Sol, an accomplished visual artist, filmmaker, curator and accidental but enthusiastic family historian. Del Sol draws inspiration from the Eugenias' ideas and objects into her own practice, which resonates with the mission of the Box gallery, founded by Paul McCarthy's daughter Mara in a similar bid to keep the voices of that midcentury generation in the present and future. She and Del Sol have fashioned "Let Power Take a Female Form," artworks from the collections of both Eugenias, including artifacts from their homes, interwoven with Del Sol's work. The Box Gallery, 805 Traction Ave., downtown; Sat., June 27, 6-9 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues Wed.-Sat., noon-6 p.m., through Aug. 8. (213) 625-1747, theboxla.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Infamous fly-in-the-creative-ointment Devendra Banhart has set up an art studio in downtown L.A., where he's been working on the visual equivalents of his beautifully quirky music. He's released a collection of drawings, paintings and mixed-media pieces entitled I Left My Noodle on Ramen Street, which presents sundry samplings of his art over the last decade, accompanied by his notes, photos and related material on his art and life, along with texts by Beck, art dealer Jeffrey Deitch and curator Diego Cortez. Banhart celebrates the book's publication with a book signing, performance and reception. LACMA, Art Catalogues, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; Sun., June 28, 4-6 p.m.; free, book is $45. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org. —John Payne

What Keeps the Homeless Off the Street? asks the latest Zócalo/UCLA salon. Moderated by L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez, the panel discussion seeks to find out why there are more than 35,000 homeless people in L.A. County, and if simply rehousing each one of them (as they do in Salt Lake City) is a viable solution. Experts gathered today include Marc Trotz, director of the county's Housing for Health; UCLA psychiatrist Kenneth Wells; Ocean Park Community Center's John Maceri; and Christine Margiotta, vice president of community impact at United Way of Greater Los Angeles. The Plaza on Olvera Street, El Pueblo de Los Angeles, 845 N. Alameda St., downtown; Mon., June 29, 7:30 p.m.; free. (424) 229-9487, zocalopublicsquare.org. —David Cotner

Alexandra Petri, The Washington Post columnist and daughter of former congressman Tom Petri, signs her new book, A Field Guide to Awkward Silences. She writes that she doesn't mind "looking like an idiot," and has amassed a memoir's worth of embarrassing encounters in her 20s, from attending a whistling convention and winning a pun contest (which we covered in L.A. Weekly last year) to auditioning for America's Next Top Model. Petri also has the distinction of having one of the worst Final Jeopardy! answers in history when, in a 2006 episode, she answered, "Who is that dude?" Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Mon., June 29, 7 p.m.; free, book is $25.95. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Siran Babayan

Hatsune Miku
Hatsune Miku
Courtesy of Becky Dreistadt

She started out as a character associated with music production software, but Hatsune Miku became a virtual pop star after fans across the web remixed her voice and image. The company behind Miku, Crypton Future Media, joins forces with Alhambra's Gallery Nucleus to debut a new collection of art based on the globally popular character. "Hatsune Miku Dreams of Electric Sheep" is a group art show, featuring popular artist Camilla d'Errico among many others, as well as a fan event where guests can get their hands on new merch and a download card for a Miku EP. Gallery Nucleus, 210 E. Main St., Alhambra; Thu., July 2, 6:30 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues through July 19. (626) 458-7477, gallerynucleus.com. —Liz Ohanesian

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