Five Artsy Things to Do This Week, From Cruise Ship Music to an Excommunication

A still from Ofri Cnaani's The Sota Project (2011)
A still from Ofri Cnaani's The Sota Project (2011)
Courtesy the artist

This week, a composer recounts his residency aboard a cruise ship, two video projects re-create haunting religious rituals and an artist-turned-wedding planner promotes her new book.

5. Performance art wedding revisited

In preparation for her 2011 project Get Hubbied, artist Bettina Hubby posted a classified ad, asking soon-to-marry couples to apply. She turned their wedding into performance art, with the help of nearly 30 other L.A. artists. "I wanted to do something that wasn't traditional," said Ruben, the groom who agreed to give Hubby free rein. Artist Joe Sola, who once made a video of himself riding a roller coaster with porn stars, officiated. Sola and Hubby have promised to perform in some way or another and talk about marriage, art and other things at LACMA, when both release new books. 5905 Wilshire Blvd.; Sun., Nov. 25, 4 p.m. (323) 857-6010,

4. Composer on the cruise ship

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James Klopfleisch usually is based in L.A. But the composer recently spent 15 months or so aboard a cruise ship, as a musician in residence. This weekend at Machine Project, he'll tell comic stories about his time in "The Pleasure Industry" while he plays recordings made during his travels. 1200-D N. Alvarado; Fri., Nov. 23, 8 p.m. (213) 483-8761,

3. Tripped-out religious rites

The monks in the 1964 film Becket wear cloaks creepily similar to ones worn by those cultish characters in Stanley Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut. In the scene where Archbishop Becket, played by Richard Burton, excommunicates a priest-murderer, all these cloaked figure carry candles and march to the sanctuary in a line. Miljohn Ruperto re-created this scene for his immaculate video Mirror Symmetry Composition With Black Circle. A perfect black hole is in the center of the screen and two mirror images of marching, hooding figures move toward it. At one point, the black dot replaces Burton's head and his official archbishop regalia collapses into itself, and it feels like you're looking through a kaleidoscope. Ruperto's video plays at Pepin Moore in Chinatown, as part of the group show "Raze; Revert; Repeat." 933 Chung King Road; through Dec. 8. (213) 626-0501,

2. Industrial ascetics

Two rooms on Blum & Poe's first floor are off-limits right now. You can only stand at the doorways and stare in. In one of these rooms, artist Kishio Suga has suspended wood planks inside a web of rope and wire. In the other, he has stretched a sheet of heavy, clear plastic across thigh-high concrete blocks and then set rocks on top to keep the plastic in place. It's a Zen garden made of Home Depot supplies. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd.; through Dec. 22. (310) 836-2062,

1. Kiss of death and a swimming pool

Sota means "wayward wife" and the Sota ritual, vaguely alluded to in Hebrew scripture, was meant to prove a wife had strayed. A high priest would give the accused woman a drink of bitter water. If guilty, she would bloat and die. In the legend of Sota and Bekhorah, Bekhorah masquerades as her less-than-blameless sister Sota and drinks the water. But when she returns home, Sota kisses her on the mouth and traces of the water cause Sota to drop dead on the spot. Artist Ofri Cnaani's The Sota Project retells the sisters' story in videos projected on all four walls of a narrow gallery at USC's Fisher Museum of Art. You see one sister ironing in her kitchen on one wall and, on the opposite wall, the other packing a bag. On a third wall, a group of busy-bodies in a swimming pool watch to see if Sota's guilty or not. You keep spinning around to see what's happening behind you or to your left, or walking the length of the room and then back again. At the end of Cnaani's story, only two projections are left: a woman singing and the sisters kissing. Neither sister dies. Their kiss just goes on and on until the picture fades. 823 Exposition Blvd.; through Dec. 1. (213) 740-4561,

Follow me on Twitter at @cgwagley, and for more arts news follow us at @LAWeeklyArts and like us on Facebook.

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USC Fisher Museum of Art

823 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90089


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