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- Readers' Choice
Best Twitter Feed
Comedy writer Jason Shapiro started the Twitter feed @LosFelizDaycare in 2013, and you would have thought it would be old hat at this point, but there is no shortage of fodder for satirizing young, educated, progressive, Angeleno parents. The feed spoofs not only their child-rearing styles but also their other...
Photographer Kate Rentz's Instagram feed will make you want to put down your phone and grab a sleeping bag. The Los Angeles–based photographer is always outdoors: hiking in the mountains, camping in the forests, twisting through canyons or even just playing Monopoly in the park. Snap a shot of her...
Best Music Podcast
As an L.A.-based musician of complex talents and singular taste with his own band, The One AM Radio, Hrishikesh Hirway understands the amount of finesse and perfectionism that goes into crafting fantastic songs. With his Radiotopia-powered podcast, Song Exploder, he takes that understanding to interviews with other music makers —...
Best Comedy Podcast
Terrified With Dave Ross
Suffice to say, Dave Ross is a funny guy. His storytelling and self-deprecating entr'actes to his own late, great Holy Fuck free comedy show in downtown L.A. were perfect morsels of what the kids used to call "alt comedy." Even better, his superb taste in other comedians, from nobodies to...
Best Comedy Rap Battle
The setup is simple — six comedians rhyme over a beat, competing with one another for audience votes — but the results are endlessly varied. Every second Tuesday of the month, stand-up and improv comic Eliza Skinner, with the beatboxing assistance of Joshua Silverstein, hosts Turnt Up!, a rap battle that features your favorite local stand-ups...
Best Transplanted Improv Group
The Improvised Shakespeare Company
Based on an audience suggestion, the Improvised Shakespeare Company performs an entirely new, made-up-on-the-spot play in the style of Shakespeare. Yes, much of it does rhyme, and yes, it's hilarious, and while there are contemporary references thrown in, it's not just a spoof — the group takes the form seriously,...
Best Comedy Duo
Karen Kilgariff and Drennon Davis
Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing and L.A. Weekly Comedy Acts to Watch veteran Drennon Davis' transfixing, FM dial–defying Imaginary Radio Program has toured festivals across the States and the U.K. Mr. Show With Bob and David performer Karen Kilgariff served as head writer for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Rosie...
Best Comedy Karaoke
Goddamn Comedy Jam
Josh Adam Meyers knows every comedian wants to be a rock star. Helping his fellow comics achieve their musical dreams, the Goddamn Comedy Jam creator and host invites stand-ups to perform a set followed by the cover song of their choosing, bolstered by house band Elemenopy (Joel Rutkowski and Nick...
Best Up-and-Coming Comedian
"Experimental" is too clichéd a description for a multitalented performer as highly magnetic, impressively original and infinitely castable as Ian Abramson. Though the 26-year-old grew up in Moreno Valley and studied theater at Cal State Channel Islands, in early 2012 he made the bold (and laudable) move to immerse himself...
Best New Comedy Show
Good Heroin is a refreshing oasis for Angelenos accustomed to comedy shows with two-drink minimums at crowded venues that look like nightclubs. The BYOB gathering occurs on Saturday nights on the back patio of Stories, a bookstore and coffee shop in Echo Park with a warm, comfortable atmosphere. The coffee...
Most Unpredictable Weekday Stand-Up Night
The wooden stage was built by hand. The venue looks like somebody's loft apartment. The jokes tend to be weird, surprising and/or awkward. All in all, Good Looks offers the perfect boost to a weekday night. Hosted by Portland transplants Andrew Michaan and Ian Karmel, the free show — held...
Best Live Fan Fiction
Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction
What started as a Valentine's Day stunt in 2012 is now a recurring show whose uniqueness is proven by the three adjectives in its title. Every third Sunday of the month, Bryan Cook's Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction asks comedians to write and perform a piece of sexy, and usually filthy, fan fiction, based on whatever books,...
Best New Comedy Venue
After opening a New York theater in 1999, an L.A. branch in 2005 and a second New York venue in 2011, the Upright Citizens Brigade — led by original foursome Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh — took a huge step forward in November 2014 when it...
Best Storytelling Competition
Literary Death Match
At Literary Death Match, you don't have to choose between great writing and great improv. The live show pits three sets of budding writers against one another in front of a panel of three celebrity judges, usually prominent comedians. The writers perform head-to-head, seven-minute readings of their work, then face...
Best Indie Bookfest
Spring is book festival season in Los Angeles, and the best place to quench your thirst for local authors and interactive literary activities is downtown. For four years, Grand Park has partnered with indie publisher Writ Large and other local literary organizations to host Downtown Bookfest every March. There's no...
Best Indie Film Distributor
Most distributors of world-class foreign and independent cinema are based in New York. For the last year, Cinelicious Pics has been quietly balancing the art-house equation in L.A.'s favor. That feat is all the more impressive considering it's headquartered in the middle of a company town that isn't always as...
Best Indie Movie Theater
New Beverly Cinema
Here's the best way to go to the New Beverly now that Quentin Tarantino has taken over: Just show up. Every night of the week you're guaranteed to see something great — and, more importantly, something that probably wouldn't have crossed your mind to see but boy, are you glad...
AMC Marina Marketplace 6
Arthouses and repertory theaters can be forgiven a degree of shabby-chicness, but we should be able to see our mass-market fare in as nice a setting as possible. AMC Marina Marketplace 6 doesn't fill that role through any gimmick. It is, quite simply, a nice, exceedingly normal theater in a...
Best Broadway Movie Palace
Each of the renovated vintage movie theaters along Broadway has its own distinct features and unusual charms. The lobby at the Theatre at Ace Hotel is an imposing, churchlike chamber encrusted with ornate gold furnishings and gigantic mirrors, while the Los Angeles Theatre opens up like a Swiss army knife...
Best Place to See Movies Outdoors
Electric Dusk Drive-In
Electric Dusk Drive-In isn't quite the last of a dying breed, but it is an endangered species. The number of drive-ins has dwindled in recent decades, so it's lucky for us that we still have a great one in the center of Los Angeles. An arresting view of the downtown...
Best Concert Hall You're Missing Out On
Valley Performing Arts Center
Debuting in 2011, Cal State Northridge's 1,700-seat Valley Performing Arts Center has become what its planners dreamed — a major cultural hub that attracts top-notch performers to an area once mocked as best known for porn culture. The Martha Graham Dance Company performed to a sellout crowd on its 89th...
Best Late-Night Theater Factory
Sacred Fools' Serial Killers
One of the surprises at this summer's Hollywood Fringe Festival, where the art of playgoing lies in separating the must-see wheat from a bewildering menu of potential chaff, was how many Serial Killers–birthed hits were part of the audience buzz. An unprecedented five 2015 Fringe productions were birthed by Sacred...
Best Theater Under the Influence
The stage has never exactly been a stranger to strong drink. Dionysus was the Greek god of wine as well as of theater, and his annual spring festival of riotous drinking and dancing and playgoing (sort of ancient Athens' answer to Burning Man) gave birth to Greek tragedy. But UglyRhino...
Best Emerging Immersive Theater Company
The Speakeasy Society
Ever since Britain's Punchdrunk turned its sprawling dance-theater production Sleep No More into a permanent Manhattan box-office bonanza, "immersive" has become the elastic watchword for the next big thing in live drama. And no company is more engaging — or smarter — when it comes to delivering on the interactive,...
Best Experimental Theater Email List
People who want to find experimental theater in L.A. should of course read L.A. Weekly's theater reviews — but they also should sign up for No Proscenium, an email list for immersive and site-specific productions. Curator Noah Nelson dredges up shows that make you wonder whether they actually exist: A...
Best Underground Musical Theater Troupe
For some, opera conjures visions of putting on your best Tom Ford and plunking down $300 for La Traviata at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. For those whose tastes run a little more under-the-radar and Out of the Closet, however, Four Larks has just the ticket. The avant-garde musical theater company...
Best Dance Troupe for Hip-Hop Empowerment
Versa Style Dance
Who knew hip-hop could be a way to get into college? Well, Jackie Lopez, aka Miss Funk, for one. And Leigh Foaad, aka Breeze-lee, for another. As champion hip-hop dancers, co-founders and co-artistic directors at the now–10-year-old Versa-Style Dance Company, the duo leads an eclectic, high-energy ensemble that reflects the...
Best (Illusory) Performance Troupe
You've probably seen them draped in long white dresses at MOCA, perched on sculptural geometric shapes at Art Basel or leaping high above the Santa Monica Mountains on Nowness, in that dreamy video for The Acid's "Basic Instinct." And, if you haven't, you will. WIFE — a performance trio composed...
Best New Performance Art Stage
The Bowtie, 19 acres of land along the L.A. River, is industrial and natural at the same time. Untamed grass and drooping trees line the river's concrete trench. The state has owned the land since 2003, though it's mostly stayed ill-kept and closed to the public. But in the year...
Best Feminist Art Space
Women's Center for Creative Work
In the tradition of the Woman's Building, Womanspace and other past feminist art spaces in Los Angeles, the Women's Center for Creative Work (WCCW) is a hub for rad ladies working in artistic and creative fields. It was founded in November 2013 by Katie Bachler, Kate Johnston and Sarah E...
Best New Gallery
Museum as Retail Space
Museum as Retail Space, aka MaRS, has a revolving glass door that's awkward to open yet seductively ambitious-looking. Guests enter into a shop, called Shop! Then they climb a few concrete stairs to the exhibition space, quite large for a brand-new gallery, especially one that's showing young, emerging artists. But...
Best Up-and-Coming Art Walk
NELA Second Saturday Gallery Night
NELA stands for North East L.A., is pronounced nee-lah and is demarcated by the 134 on the north, the 2 on the east, the 5 on the south and the 110 on the west. Founded almost a decade ago as part of NELAart's broader appreciation for the long history of...
Best Up-and-Coming Artist
This past July, mostly nude performers in body paint spent five hours moving around China Art Objects Gallery as part of a performance by L.A. artist Emily Mast. They were posing with one another, one performer slowly squeezing another's face, or wandering around a set that included triangles of tape...
Best Venice Boardwalk Artist
There are few original artists among the celebrity portraitists, mini surfboard creators, skyline photographers and names-on-rice painters that dominate the Venice Boardwalk. None is as good as Flewnt, who has been honing his craft at stall 111, across from the American Apparel store, for 10 years. "On the boardwalk you...
Best Street Art Mural
Skid Row City Limits
Street art and Skid Row are two of the defining cultural elements of L.A. Combining them is Skid Row City Limits, a powerful piece of street art by Winston Death Squad. It is both a beautifying tapestry and a statement of community. When the city tried to rename the infamously...
Best Private Street-Art Space
The Container Yard
The Container Yard is the brainchild of owner Ash Chan, the son of a billionaire real estate mogul who owns Japanese shabu-shabu restaurants in Southern California and Boston. One day, while in the Arts District visiting his brother, he saw a complex of warehouses with a "for sale" sign —...
Best Place to Pop Your Collectible Art Toy Cherry
Obsession with collectible art toys has been a thing in the rest of the world forever. But a surge of interest among both collectors and a new generation of artists has resulted in a proliferation of unique, irreverent, witty figures in vinyl, resin, wood, plush and plastic. It's exciting, but...
Best Place to Turn Your Crazy Idea Into a Real-Life Art Object
Pretty in Plastic
What do Kanye West, Dr. Pepper and Norway have in common? They had wacky ideas they needed help manifesting — and they went to one-stop artisanal fabricators Pretty in Plastic to make them happen. A cozy office doubles as a mini-museum of the hundreds of toys, editions and prototypes founder...
Best Art and Architecture Mashup
Long, narrow, angled and charmingly ornate, the room occupied by the artist-run space Vacancy used to be a hotel lobby. In the 1920s, the arched concierge window was actually functional, though the wood paneling probably looks as tasteful now as it did then. Alison Edmark and Christopher Adler, who live...
Best Refurbished Landmark
It's hard to imagine how the original owner of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, the oil heiress and renegade Aline Barnsdall, could find it intolerable. She practically forced the city to take the 5,000-square-foot Mayan-esque compound on Olive Hill, with its surrounding moat and central courtyard and interior river, off...
Best View Into the Valley's Past
San Fernando Valley Relics Museum
Overshadowed by its shiny sister, Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley has often found itself on the wrong end of the joke — and with its substantial history ignored. Determined to preserve remnants from his childhood, lifetime collector Tommy Gelinas opened the Valley Relics Museum in 2013. Located in a large,...
Best Tour of a Vintage Hot Rod Collection
Galpin Auto Sports
Car aficionados and lovers of the offbeat will go gaga for the outstanding and carefully curated automobile collection at Van Nuys' Galpin Auto Sports. Over the last 10 years, the museum's operators have amassed a showroom full of more than 100 very important vintage rides, including one-of-a-kind hot rods created...
Best Factory Tour With Propellers
Robinson Helicopter Factory Tour
Factory tours can give an insider perspective. The Robinson Helicopter Factory, founded in Torrance in 1973, gives incredible free tours of its larger-than-life facility, which each week builds 10 helicopters from the ground up. Spread throughout three massive hangers, Robinson employees more than 1,200 workers and is the world's leading...
Best Undertaker Tour
Everyone knows that Hollywood is full of ghosts — both living and dead — and as dusk dies you can join RIP the Undertaker on his walking G-G-G-Ghost Tour, which leaves from the Dearly Departed Tours headquarters on Sunset and takes in the scariest areas of what mere mortals call...
Best Place to See L.A.'s Sporting Past, But Do It Soon
At one time, Greater L.A. was dotted with auto racing tracks. Now just one oval track remains, and it, too, is scheduled to close soon. Opened in 1999, Irwindale Speedway will make way for an outlet mall as soon as next year. From 1903 races on a dirt oval where...
Best Indie Wrestling
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla is the hottest entity in choreographed grappling, not to mention a breeding ground for future WWE main-eventers. (Cesaro, Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins are but a few of the current superstars who cut their teeth in the Valley.) No other promotion in the country has...