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5 Artsy Things to Do

Five Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week, From Tap Dancing to Ruined Billboards

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Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge Robert Russell's Men Who Are Named Robert Russell (2013) - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND FRANCOIS GHEBALY GALLERY
  • Courtesy of the artist and Francois Ghebaly Gallery
  • Robert Russell's Men Who Are Named Robert Russell (2013)

This week, one artist makes crystals from scratch, another paints portraits of people who share his name, and a third focuses on the rhythms of the StairMaster.

5. Get-togethers

"Show and Tell" at the Armory Center for the Arts is a group exhibition that continues through September and consists of events rather than a collection of artworks. This week, artist Emilie Halpern will demonstrate how to grow various kinds of crystals, using ingredients you probably already have around the house. Artist Alice Könitz will help visitors build models of the landmarks they most rely upon when navigating the cities where they live (whether Los Angeles or elsewhere). 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; Fri., July 27 & Sat., July 28, 12:45-5 p.m. (626) 792-5101, armoryarts.org.

4. Just dance

Andrew K. Thompson takes the same step again and again. Molly Shea pays tribute to tragic child star Lena Zavaroni, tap dancing in front of purple lights with two tall shadows flanking her. Jennifer Juniper Stratford shows two hypersaturated legs on a StairMaster immersed in liquidlike pink and blue. And eight other artists explore dance and movement in "Leg Room," the weeklong video show at Projector Projects in Echo Park, curated by Jonathon Hornedo and Paul W. Evans. 1952 Clinton St.; July 27 & Aug. 2, 7-10 p.m. & by appointment. (562) 822-8564, projectorprojectsla@gmail.com.

3. Billboards talk back

Thom Andersen's new film was in part compelled by "one quite beautiful ruined billboard quite near my house." The filmmaker recalls, "I drove by it at least once a week, and its presence was becoming a reproach: 'You cowardly fool, I won't stay like this forever.'" So in 2009, he filmed it with a 16mm Bolex camera. It's featured alongside other billboards, murals and neon signs in his 2010 film about Los Angeles. Called Get Out of the Car, it screens at LACMA alongside Heinz Emigholz's meditation on architect Rudolph Schindler's L.A. houses. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; Fri., July 26, 7:30 p.m. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.

2. His name is my name, too

Painter Robert Russell did a Google image search for Robert Russell and, unsurprisingly, found a range of strange-, striking- and stereotypical-looking men. He painted a number of them, doing so fastidiously on linen stretched over medium-sized frames. There's the man with the scruffy blond beard, the blond boy who must be right out of the 1950s, and the nerdy guy with Bill Gates-worthy glasses. Russell hung all the other Russells on one wall at Francois Ghebaly and considers them a single artwork. 2600 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City; through Aug. 10. (310) 280-0777, ghebaly.com.

1. Wild cards

Nearly every year, someone new steps up to helm performance festival Perform Chinatown, and its funding and lineup usually are uncertain until the last minute. Some years it's better than others, but something memorable always happens -- you end up sharing birthday cake under a street lamp with people you barely know or explaining the 1970s work of artist Vito Acconci to a couple out on a date while a female artist masturbates below the staircase you're on. This year, artist Scott Benzel, who brings the esoteric in contact with pop and plays compositions that are audio as well as visual, will collaborate with choreographer Anita Pace. Thai artist Vasan Sitthiket, who in 2004 set up the mock political party called the Artist Party in Thailand, will perform, as will Sheree Rose, who explored sadomasochism and sexuality with partner Bob Flanagan in the 1970s and '80s. Chung King Road, Chinatown; Sat., July 27, 5-10 p.m. performchinatown.com.


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