7 Free Things to Do in L.A. This Week That Will Improve Your Mind

Untitled (75903#FC) by Richard Misrach
Untitled (75903#FC) by Richard Misrach
Courtesy of Marc Selwyn Fine Art

In this week's list of events, find out about L.A.'s anti-Nazi past and how earthquakes relate to California's contributions to design, plus see the works of a world-famous photographer and learn the history of a beloved magazine.

7 Free Things to Do in L.A. This Week That Will Improve Your Mind

Take a trip to Japan
In addition to managing his own publishing imprint, TamTam Books, Tosh Berman has penned a book that was first published in 1990 and now is being reissued by Penny Ante Editions. The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding features a series of poems that reflect Berman’s alienation while living in Japan with his wife, Lun*na Menoh. He’ll read from his collection and discuss the poems with the writer of the book’s afterword, Ruth Bernstein. “Over time my insights into the culture and place has changed, but the poems in my book still have a great importance to me,” Berman says. “I hope readers will get the same ‘buzz.’?” Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Fri., Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com.  —Tanja M. Laden

Watch live book reviews
Courageously risking the same kind of false-advertising lawsuit that befell the makers of The NeverEnding Story, comedians Caitlin Bergh and Ever Mainard launch their inaugural storytelling salon, The Last Book Review. From your willing suspension of disbelief hang comedians Moses Storm (of Hulu’s Subway-produced 4 to 9ers), Shauna McGarry (a writer for Anger Management), Michael Glazer (from the sketch and social experiment troupe/show Trueth) and Solomon Georgio (Tweeter of love toward racist malcontents), plus a book review by Hans Holsen (from comedy show The Blank Experience). The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring St., dwntwn; Fri., Nov. 21, 8:30 p.m.; free. (213) 488-0599, lastbookstorela.com. —David Cotner

See amazing photography
Photographer Richard Misrach has become one of the most influential artists of his generation, mostly thanks to the swashbuckling ambition of his large-scale environmental landscapes of sea and desert. But among aficionados of photographic tech, he’s also revered for his pioneering early adoption of color film as a tool of fine art. With this new series, Misrach returns to those heady days of palette experimentation. First turning his hyper-focused lens to details of the desert landscape, teasing lines and details toward an abstract expressivity the gallery compares to Pollock, he then interpretively manipulates the color spectrum, bringing the work even deeper into the parallel world of painting. Marc Selwyn Fine Art, 9953 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Sat., Nov. 22, 6-8 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues through Jan. 17, Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (310) 277-9953, marcselwyn?fineart.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot 

Upcoming Events

See also: 30 Free Things to Do in L.A. Any Time

Find out how earthquakes relate to California design
From concert posters to movie advertisements to just about everything connected to Disneyland, many of the brightest moments in 20th-century graphic design have emanated from California. Designer and CalArts professor Louise Sandhaus has spent years exploring the state’s aesthetic contributions, and her book of Earthquakes, Mudslides, Fires & Riots: California & Graphic Design 1936-1986, out Nov. 30, is the culmination of her research. Sandhaus, who previously exhibited her findings at Barnsdall Art Park, looks at diverse influencers, from Merle Armitage to Sister Corita Kent to Cream magazine. In an event dubbed What a Riot!: An Earthquake, Two Mudslides and a Girl on Fire, Sandhaus’ immense project will be a launchpad for a discussion among local graphic designers, moderated by Alice Twemlow. MOCA, 250 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Sat., Nov. 22, 3 p.m.; free, no reservation needed. (213) 621-1710, moca.org. —Liz Ohanesian

 

Learn about a magazine impresario
Edward Lewis will discuss his new memoir, The Man From Essence: Creating A Magazine for Black Women, featuring a forward by Camille O. Cosby. Lewis is former CEO and publisher of the world’s first and longest-running magazine for African-American women, which has had covers with everyone from Michelle Obama to Beyoncé. The book recounts how the publication was founded by four businessmen in 1970, its early days with a mostly white staff, and how it went from a national circulation of 50,000 to more than 1 million. Over the years, the magazine has branched out to include an annual music festival and TV show. Eso Won Books, 4327 Degnan Blvd., Leimert Park; Sat., Nov. 22, 3 p.m.; free, book is $25. (323) 290-1048, esowonbookstore.com. —Siran Babayan

See a collection of weird artworks
Curator Brooks Hudson Thomas moderates a panel discussion on the Craft & Folk Museum’s current exhibit, “Clare Graham & MorYork: The Answer Is Yes,” with Oliver Furth, Mallery Roberts Morgan, Gerard O’Brien and Mayer Rus. Graham, the 65-year-old, Highland Park–by-way-of-Canada artist (he worked for 25 years as a senior art director at the Walt Disney Company) has been collecting objects for 40 years. For his first solo exhibit, Graham displays large-scale sculptures that resemble “totems, flora, fauna, architectural fragments and furniture” and incorporate everyday items from soda cans to puzzle pieces to guitar picks. Craft & Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; Sun., Nov. 23, 3 p.m.; free. (323) 937.4230, cafam.org. —Siran Babayan

Anti-Nazi Parade in Los Angeles, Nov. 22, 1938
Anti-Nazi Parade in Los Angeles, Nov. 22, 1938
UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections

Feel good about L.A.'s anti-Nazi past
It Did Happen Here: Anti-Nazi Activism in Los Angeles is that rare event that proves false the perception that Los Angeles is merely a superficial cesspit of the frivolous and the dissipated. You’ll see historians Caroline Luce (UCLA) and Laura Rosenzweig (San Francisco State) discussing a pending digital exhibition on the historic efforts of Jews in L.A. to help the war effort. From 1933, L.A. Jews held the line against the rising tide of homegrown anti-Semitism, waging a battle here against apathy and inertia as troops rallied against bombs and bullets over there. Center for Jewish Studies at UCLA, 314 Royce Hall, Wstwd.; Tue., Nov. 25, 4 p.m.; free. (310) 267-5327, cjs.ucla.edu. —David Cotner


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