Francisco Real killed people. He smuggled illegal immigrants. He sold drugs and collected taxes for the Mexican Mafia. He ran a gang and family criminal enterprise that made his street in Glassell Park one of the most dangerous in Los Angeles. But L.A. being the city of reinvention, last week...
L.A. Opera launches a biannual series of free, live simulcasts direct from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with Verdi's La Traviata beamed in high-def straight to a large LED screen on the Santa Monica Pier. Verdi's great romantic opus is updated in this art deco–inspired production set in the Roaring Twenties. It's free to attend, but seek out reserve advance tickets to avoid long entrance lines. You can avoid the handling fee of $1 per order by picking up your free tix in person at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion box office at 135 N. Grand Ave.; any leftover tickets will be available to walk-ups at no charge at the Pier on the evening of the broadcast. You can bring your own picnic, but all alcohol must come from the beer garden on-site. Santa Monica Pier, Colorado Avenue and Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica; Wed., Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m.; arrive early and bring folding chairs or blankets for seating. laopera.org/operaatthebeach.More
The sixth AxS Festival (pronounced "axis"), themed Curiosity, represents the spot where art and science meet in contemporary culture. It's inspired by Pasadena's rich history of innovation in design and engineering, and its equally rich history of supporting modern and contemporary art. In fact, while much of the program is characterized by futuristic daydreams showing off awesome new art toys, many of the exhibitions, installations and dance and music performances excavate the ever-present past. For example, Machine Project's Field Guide to the Gamble House is a commissioned work reimagining the Arts & Crafts landmark by inviting artists to create new works including "participatory nap concerts, a tableau vivant, puppets, dance, séances, videos, inflatable sculptures, joinery-specific lawn furniture, a secret Swedish-Japanese fusion restaurant" and more. There are two free open houses (otherwise, guided tours cost $20); a series of events and workshops is priced separately. By contrast, a full slate of mostly free programs at something called SPHÆRÆ is a temporary, site-specific, outdoor sculpture–slash-stage by Dutch architect Cocky Eek. Its programming features immersive sound works, video pieces and conversations. And Caltech is staging a musical called Alice Through the Wormhole, Or What's This Wonderland Up to? So there's that. Various Pasadena locations including the Gamble House, 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena; Fri., Sept. 19-Sun., Oct 5; various times; free-$90. (626) 793-8171, axsfestival.org, machineproject/gamblehouse.More
The name, Luminario Ballet, is a bit deceiving. The dancers wear pointe shoes and perform contemporary ballet, but the moniker does little to reveal the most distinctive feature of this troupe — the accomplished, sometimes dazzling aerial work the ensemble incorporates into performances. The aerial work will be on view with the reprise of LedZAerial, set to music by Led Zeppelin, and an ambitious work-in-progress, TRAILS, danced against NASA satellite images showing the effects of climate change in California. Set to Philip Glass' Mishima, performed live by musicians from the New Valley Symphony, TRAILS also includes video body-mapping technology. Canadian Olympian and international dancer/aerialist Emilie Livingston joins the dancers as a special guest. Just as the broader perspective from a trapeze brings a different view from dancing on the stage, the perspective from outer space conveys an urgency different from what can be seen on the ground. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., Sept. 19-20, 8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 21, 3 & 7 p.m., $30-$40. (818) 508-4200, elportaltheatre.com.More
Oliver Payne wants you to chill out. At least that's the goal of the London-born, L.A.-based artist's outdoor performance Chill Out, in which participants are invited to listen to the namesake ambient record released in 1990 by British acid house band The KLF. But there's a catch: Attendees must show up at exactly 7 p.m. and commit to remaining for the entirety of the obscure 44-minute L.P. According to 356 Mission gallery manager Ethan Swan, a security guard will "make sure that people are chilling out, so to speak" by vigorously enforcing a staunch set of rules: no phones, no talking, no photography, no late entry and no re-entry. Since standing is decidedly un-chill, participants will be asked to lounge on beanbag chairs, futons and AstroTurf or bring their own blankets — basically anything "conducive to chilling out," Swan says. The rules will no longer apply when Payne DJs post-performance, which means the after-party might be even chiller than the performance itself. 356 Mission, 356 S. Mission Road, Boyle Heights.; Sat., Sept. 20, 7 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.); free. (323) 609-3162, 356mission.com.More
When it comes to the life of Bruce Haack, separating truth from fiction is not easy. The groundbreaking electronic music composer and inventor is said to have taught himself to play piano by age 3. By 8, he apparently was escaping his abusive mother's wrath by sneaking off to Indian...
Visual allure often isn't a virtue we value when chasing obscure flavors in L.A.'s international neighborhoods. In fact, adventurous diners tend to appreciate the opposite: The grungier the location, the more accomplished we feel for having sought it out. Looks be damned — let the fireworks happen on the flavor...
The Los Angeles art world has been saying a collective "hallelujah" since the arrival in January of Philippe Vergne as MOCA's new director. Although some East Coast commentators condemned the appointment — citing in particular a budget crisis scandal in which Vergne resorted to selling off a number of works...
Emmy season is the perfect time to focus our attention on the beautiful costumes that make our favorite shows come to life. After all, what would Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones or Mad Men be without the costume designers who make those far-off worlds believable? Once a year, the FIDM Museum & Galleries' "Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design" exhibition gives these costumes the spotlight. Curated by Mary Rose, president of the Costume Designers Guild (as well as a governor of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which presents the Emmys), the exhibit allows up-close and personal access to 75 designs otherwise only visible on the silver screen. Pick your favorites before the Emmys air on Aug. 25, or come back after watching the show to marvel at the winning designs. FIDM Museum, 919 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; thru Sept. 20; free. (213) 623-5821, fidmmuseum.org.More
Most of the art in "The Meme Machine," the first show Agency is hosting in its new East Hollywood location, has a cobbled-together look, as if it was made from stuff found in the basement or out on the street. Even Luis Gispert's video, Block Watching, fits that bill. In it, a woman in a cheerleading outfit and costume jewelry — bangles, jangling necklaces, big hoop earrings — is in front of a green screen. Sounds of car alarms play loudly and she moves her body to match their pitches and crescendos. She's quite good at it. 4911 Clinton St., E. Hlywd.; through Sept. 27. (818) 415-7619, agencycontemporaryart.com.More
Married Women Over 30, here’s a pitch for a movie: My Dinner With Idris. You never thought it would happen to you, but one rainy night when your handsome and successful but distracted husband who doesn’t appreciate you is out of town, Idris Elba (The Wire, Mandela: Long Walk to...
Surprisingly moving for a film assembled from such familiar scenes, Craig Johnson's The Skeleton Twins mushes together queasy/quirky indie family drama with the beats of a romantic comedy. You know the outline just from eyeballing the poster: Kristen Wiig's Maggie and Bill Hader's Milo find their way toward loving one...
Don't expect many laughs from this retro-futuristic curio, which doesn't really go for them, despite its parodic title and its '70s insistence that in the far future View-Masters would be cutting-edge communication tech.
Hidden in the corner of a nondescript strip mall on the outskirts of downtown, the J Brand Factory Outlet is one of those shopping havens frequented only by extremely plugged-in bargain hunters (and, now, you).
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When Aaron Garber-Maikovska went to Costco in Temecula, he did strange, assembly line–like motions among the merchandise with a focused expression on his face, like a mime in jeans and a baseball cap. Outside a vacant shop, near a big gray pillar, he did different motions, this time more likeRead more about this event
The Buzzcocks are back again and maybe you helped, since the famous very-first-wave British punk band decided to crowd-fund their ninth and newest studio album, The Way. It's also up to you whether you file that as a symptom of a collapsing music industry (who doesn't wanna put out aRead more about this event
L.A. Opera launches a biannual series of free, live simulcasts direct from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with Verdi's La Traviata beamed in high-def straight to a large LED screen on the Santa Monica Pier. Verdi's great romantic opus is updated in this art deco–inspired production set in the Roaring Twenties.Read more about this event
Some of the most weirdly endearing moments on this loaded bill occur early, so make sure to arrive in time for Daniel Johnston. The schizophrenic Austin bard has come a long way since he sold his handmade music cassettes at McDonald's in the mid-1980s. He's such a Texas tradition nowRead more about this event
There are many nights when Lisa Fischer finds herself onstage in a sold-out arena or stadium, ruthlessly stealing the spotlight as she sings circles around the leader of what is reportedly the world's greatest rock & roll band. But such is the life of a skilled backup vocalist — oneRead more about this event
From the radioactive disinformation of Duck and Cover to the gruesome California Highway Patrol–sponsored Grand Guignol of Red Asphalt, the industrial film has always been one of American cinema's most bizarre and endearing genres. With "Gems From the Archive," celluloid swami Russell Harnden III fires up the clattering 16mm projectorRead more about this event
The name, Luminario Ballet, is a bit deceiving. The dancers wear pointe shoes and perform contemporary ballet, but the moniker does little to reveal the most distinctive feature of this troupe — the accomplished, sometimes dazzling aerial work the ensemble incorporates into performances. The aerial work will be on viewRead more about this event
The sixth AxS Festival (pronounced "axis"), themed Curiosity, represents the spot where art and science meet in contemporary culture. It's inspired by Pasadena's rich history of innovation in design and engineering, and its equally rich history of supporting modern and contemporary art. In fact, while much of the program isRead more about this event
Katy Perry has long been a fascinating paradox. "I'm capable of anything and everything," she simultaneously brags and warns on "Dark Horse," from her fourth and latest album, Prism. Such seemingly limitless pop potential also has been the Santa Barbara singer's curse. The onetime Katy Hudson was already a charismaticRead more about this event
This Los Angeles power trio conjures up heavily psychedelic drone rock on its second album, Old World New Wave. The centerpiece of this arrangement is bassist/vocalist Sera Timms, also of similarly psychedelic locals Black Math Horseman. Timms has a hearty bellow, which does not change much in register. Within theRead more about this event
Over the last seven years, the Sunset Strip Music Festival has gone from veteran, hard-rock Strip bands to indie-oriented, international acts whose reputations weren't established 30 years ago. The intention of the festival remains the same: the preservation and promotion of the legendary, raunchy reputation of the Strip. Festivalgoers willRead more about this event
At the monthly Tournament of Nerds!, the pop culture–obsessed test their oratory skills in front of the Upright Citizens Brigade audience, with celebrity guest judges contributing to the discourse. Hosted by Justin Donaldson and Hal Rudnick, competitors debate the merits of film and TV characters, historical figures, maybe even theRead more about this event
Santa Monica College's Broad Stage kicks off its 2014-15 jazz series with the human instrument extraordinaire, Bobby McFerrin. Since achieving unexpected worldwide fame with his 1988 tune "Don't Worry, Be Happy," McFerrin has gone on to perform and record with major artists including Chick Corea, Yo-Yo Ma and Living ColourRead more about this event
Miranda Lee Richards is that rarity among singer-songwriters, able to coo beautifully lulling ballads without drifting off into easy-listening bathos. She once sang the most endearingly spectral version of "Dandelion" this side of The Rolling Stones, and her gentle, original songs on 2001's The Hereafter and 2009's Light of XRead more about this event
Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner takes over Echo Park's "massive music mecca" Bedrock.LA as he curates the second annual Bedrocktoberfest. The complete lineup had yet to be revealed at press time but the few acts that have been announced are reason enough to check it out: Deap Vally andRead more about this event
Oliver Payne wants you to chill out. At least that's the goal of the London-born, L.A.-based artist's outdoor performance Chill Out, in which participants are invited to listen to the namesake ambient record released in 1990 by British acid house band The KLF. But there's a catch: Attendees must showRead more about this event
Cat lovers are a notoriously antisocial bunch, known mostly for staying indoors (with their cats) and watching YouTube videos. The L.A. Feline Film Festival hopes to change this with an all-day outdoor festival featuring cat videos, celebrity cat appearances and, of course, cats available for adoption. The Internet Cat VideoRead more about this event
Imagine Etsy in person: artsy tees, bullet necklaces, pungent artisanal spices, handmade harmonicas, furniture crafted from exotic woods. The offerings at the city's newest alternative shopping experience, Odd Market at Casa Vertigo, are as unique as anything you can find online and kick any shopping mall's ass. No fewer thanRead more about this event
Meshell Ndegeocello has so many ways of getting through to you. She's an utterly sublime bassist who can seamlessly cover the waterfront of jazz, funk and soul before floating off into pure psychedelia. She's an enchanting vocalist who can soothe with her tone while startling you with her frank yetRead more about this event
Sponsored by game maker Capcom, the 13-city Drake vs. Lil Wayne Tour finally enters its West Coast phase. The "Street Fighter"–inspired tour features multiple Grammy winners Drake and Lil Wayne battling one another with individual hits, then joining forces to perform their chart-topping collaborations. Through the Drave vs. Lil WayneRead more about this event
These days in California, we'd be up shit creek if only there was water in it. And falling squarely in the "no shit" category of contemporary issues is the title of a speech by Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California: Water Is Serious Business.Read more about this event
This now-venerable event offers L.A. jazzheads a rare-ish chance to savor and learn from the cream of the progressive-jazz crop. Scheduled stalwart guardians of jazz's future include NEA Jazz Masters Anthony Braxton and Toshiko Akiyoshi, pianist Craig Taborn, trumpeter-composers Wadada Leo Smith and Bobby Bradford, multi-brass/reeds boss Vinny Golia, saxRead more about this event
The Victoria & Albert Museum's acclaimed, career-spanning exhibit "David Bowie Is," seen in London last year, is making its only U.S. stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago this month. While Angelenos might feel a little jilted (the closest we came to a museum retrospective on the singerRead more about this event
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through March 22
The abstractions in "Variations," a pleasant show currently on the third floor of LACMA's Broad Contemporary building, are mostly from the past few years. Their savvy is what stands out when you see them all together. This is work by artists who have seen a lot of other art andRead more about this event
"I am longing for your poison," Lykke Li begs on "Gunshot," from her latest album, I Never Learn. "Lay me down in your ocean, carry me and my burden." The track goes off like a shotgun blast of echo and reverb, her lovelorn singing rising against a tide of farawayRead more about this event