For those constantly churning minds looking for inspirational artists and events, this week proves a treasure trove of creative happenings. From a pop-up Etsy shop to a wacky parade to a musician playing an instrument her husband built, these offbeat events prove that if there's any place to let your imagination roam free it's L.A.
5. Half-Pipe, With a Twist
In 1984, two Montreal street performers took their popular combination of performance and acrobatics onto a global stage, and so began Cirque du Soleil's conquest of the world. Two decades later, Cirque du Soleil alums launched a new generation of nouveau circus performers under the title Seven Fingers or Les 7 Doigts du Main. That ensemble has in turn spawned Traces, a septet of multitalented performers who whiz through thrillingly choreographed episodes that weave acrobatics with activities like skateboarding, basketball and other sports, with a soundtrack by Radiohead, VAST and Blackalicious. Traces arrives with glowing reviews from Montreal and New York; Time listed it as one of the year's top 10 plays and musicals. The name Les 7 Doigts du Main is a play on a French idiom that references separate things that are so closely knit they work as one. There may be no comparable English idiom, but given the rave reviews the troupe garners, nothing appears to get lost in translation. Catch a video preview at tracesusa.com/sights/videos. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., April 26-27, 7:30 p.m., Sun., April 28, 2 p.m.; $25-$70. musiccenter.org. -- Ann Haskins
4. Getting Etsy With It
For nearly a decade, Etsy has been a virtual alternative to craft fairs, offering an online storefront for artists, designers, thrifters and crafters. But with the recent founding of regional meet-up groups like SoCal Etsy Guild, members are striving to take their businesses offline -- at least for an afternoon -- at in-person events. Enter Mom and Pop Up Shop. A one-day-only collaboration with permanent San Pedro marketplace Crafted, the pop-up shop boasts more than 50 artisan vendors inside the Port of Los Angeles' World War II-era warehouses (just down the street from the permanently anchored battleship USS Iowa) and an equal number of booths hawking jewelry, quilts, scarves, fine art and housewares on the breezy, waterside campus. The city offers free trolley service from the port to downtown San Pedro, but with grub from Vella Pizza and Gravy Train Poutinerie and a full lineup of DJs and activities, you may never want to leave the port. 110 E. 22nd St., San Pedro; Sat., April 27, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. (310) 732-1270, craftedportla.com. -- Jennifer Swann
3.Your Closet Is a Protest Zone
When you're watching news reports about protests and demonstrations around the world, you probably don't focus on what the activists are wearing -- but artist Jemima Wyman does. Going beyond overt signifiers like masks, which often are worn to thwart facial-recognition tools more than to instill fear, Wyman's interest in clothing-based guises and disguises isn't fashion. Rather, she is curious about how apparel like the ubiquitous black-and-white keffiyehs favored by the PLO telegraph both the scope of the collective action and the risk to the individual bodies taking it. As a painter, Wyman's language is partly based in intrigues of color, pattern, movement, layering and craft. As an engaged citizen, she is fascinated by the overlay of person and potency expressed in costume. In her new show at Steve Turner Contemporary, Effacing Power, she looks specifically at the Steubenville rape case and the imprisonment of Russian female punk band Pussy Riot, as well as more violent agitation, such as the overthrow-seeking Egyptian group Black Bloc. She incorporates painting, collage, fabric, photography and elements of craft like dyeing, quilting, stitching and weaving to not only depict and deconstruct but also evoke and memorialize in a way the 24-hour news cycle just can't. Steve Turner Contemporary, 6026 Wilshire Blvd.; Sat., April 27, 6-9 p.m.; exhibit runs through May 18, Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. (323) 931-3721, steveturnercontemporary.com. -- Shana Nys Dambrot