Did we mention it's all free?
5. Appreciate Design
The Los Angeles Design Festival
blankets the city with more than two weeks of art, architecture, design and all-of-the-above special events: guided and free-form bike, car and walking tours, eclectic lectures, related exhibitions, parties, workshops and more parties, kicking off with, what else, a party. Fittingly, the bell-ringing (and dublab music) take place at Echo Park's landmark Jensen Recreation Center, whose unique retro and retrofitted architectural features themselves tell a worthy L.A. design tale. Hosted by Natural Curiosities, an indie art and design production collective with its factory HQ on-site, the fete honors the long career of underappreciated design pioneer Gere Kavanaugh, a spry and still-working woman of a certain age, who lived through the modern history of West Coast design - and made some history of her own along the way. With so much packed into the festival program, small wonder there's already something to do during the afternoon even before opening night: The first of three regional "Design Hooky" self-guided tours takes on the Eastside, featuring Michael Maltzan, Materials & Applications, Shepard Fairey's print empire HQ Studio Number One, Bestor Architecture and dinner at Allumette. Then comes the party. Jensen Recreation Center, 1706 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Fri., June 13, 6-10 p.m.; free. Festival runs through June 29. (323) 342-0007. ladesignfestival.org.
- Shana Nys Dambrot
4. Go Gumby
For most kids younger than 65, Gumby was their introduction to stop-motion animation. The high-pitched, oddly shaped hero and his horse companion, Pokey, had their television debut on The Howdy Doody Show in the mid-1950s - and from there the sky was the limit. In 1960, creator Art Clokey moved his production company to Glendora to churn out more than 100 episodes of Gumby and Davey and Goliath, and the city takes immense pride in its role in animation history. The inaugural Gumby Fest
will be a six-hour celebration of all things Gumby, featuring a temporary museum; an animation presentation from the producers of Robot Chicken; and a panel featuring Clokey alumni, including his son Joe and makeup wizard Rick Baker. All that, plus a lot of videos of Gumby walking through walls. Not a bad legacy for a simple hunk of green clay. Glendora Library, 140 S. Glendora Ave., Glendora; Sat., June 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (626) 852-4891, gumbyfest.net.
- Sean J. O'Connell
See also: 30 Free Things to Do in L.A. Any Time
3. Step into Dreamworld
Artist and curator Renée A. Fox is enchanted by the idea that beauty, desire, fear and faith exist in a complex, sublime co-dependence in which the light cannot exist without the dark. In her own work, one often sees images that evoke forms of fantastical nature, rendered with a hybrid botanical/anatomical eloquence. In her latest curatorial effort, Night Terrors and Daydreams
(on view at Mid-Wilshire gallery the Loft at Liz's), Fox assembles 10 like-minded colleagues in a group show that explores the relationship of Nature to human emotion. Julie Anderson, Gary Brewer, Miri Chais, Leonard Greco, Kymber Holt, Nancy Jeffrey, Kenneth Ober, Roland Reiss, Susan Sironi and Holly Williams each take a unique approach to the theme. Some work in haunting abstraction, others in evocative symbolic narrative, with the group spanning the gamut from painting and drawing to sculpture, ceramic, textile and architectural installation. Works such as Sironi's altered classic books, Chais' sodded and secret floating world, and Brewer's seemingly sentient, alien botanicals all contribute to the exhibition's haunting, opulent loveliness. For more instigation of subconscious agitation, attend Tuesday night's walkthrough with Fox and several of the exhibiting artists. The Loft at Liz's, 453 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., June 17, 7-9 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., through June 23. (323) 939-4403, theloftatlizs.com.
Turn the page for an exciting improv show and a free movie screening with Roy Choi.
This is a good week for your wallet - we've got two free festivals: the weeklong, multi-venue Los Angeles Design Festival, and on Saturday, a celebration of everybody's favorite green clay man, Gumby. Then take your pick of three great weekday events, all absolutely free: an ethereal art exhibit, an improv comedy show in a bookstore, and a free screening of that movie everyone's been talking about,