From heady matters at the Conscious Life Expo to the sexy action of Lucha VaVoom, plus witches, Britney and Frankenstein, here are the 10 best things to do in Los Angeles this week.
For 18 years, the Conscious Life Expo has been the go-to event in Los Angeles for New Age spiritualism and other esoteric topics. Since its inception, the annual Winter conference has brought forth speakers, experts, researchers and authors in such subjects as metaphysics, the after-life, ancient wisdom, meditation, alternative health, UFOs and much more. This year, the three-day extravaganza will host speakers such as world-renowned near-death experience survivor Dannion Brinkley, author and expert in ancient mysteries Billy Carson, investigative journalist and UFO expert Paola Hariss, Fade to Black podcaster Jimmy Church, and so many others in various lectures, workshops and presentations. You can have your chakras read, immerse yourself in the lost wisdom of the Akashic Records, study the benefits of psychedelics to treat trauma and even learn how to defeat the global elites. The big keynote speaker this year is actor, comedian, self-help and recovery expert/author and activist Russell Brand, who will be speaking Saturday evening on personal development, wellness and the importance of spirituality. Other special panels will cover UFOS, consciousness, alternative healing and astrology. George Noory, host of late-night paranormal/UFO talk show Coast to Coast AM is also hosting a panel Saturday afternoon entitled “What I Believe,” where he’ll ask special guests, the following questions: 1. What is the fundamental Truth that informs your life? 2. What is the core message you want to communicate to the world?
LAX Hilton, 5711 W. Century Blvd., Westchester; Fri.-Mon., Feb. 7-10, check website for hours and prices. consciouslifeexpo.com/. —Alex Distefano
I Got Your State of the Union Right Here
By now, voting has begun in the early primary states, and there may even have been a State of the Union address earlier this week. These days electoral politics changes from day to day — hell, minute to minute. But one thing doesn’t change, and that’s artist, educator and elected representative from Koreatown’s Wilshire Center Neighborhood Council Kristina Wong’s gift for fusing performance art with political commentary and edgy humor. Her gender and racial justice messages have taken on many forms over the years — tour guide, TV pundit, creative mentor, politician — making her a natural choice to lead us through the reality-show, scenery-chewing theatrics of the current election cycle. Vote early, vote often. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Fri., Feb. 7, 8 p.m.; $20 (includes museum admission). skirball.org/programs/comedy/
All City is a visual exploration of Black graffiti writers in Los Angeles, as expressed in the work of three prominent artists from RTN — AiseBorn, Cre8 and EnkOne. Founded in 1988 and one of the city’s only all-black crews, RTN is known, beyond their serious skills and progressive creativity, for their commitment to education, community-building, place-making and celebration of cultural identity. Come see what made them legends and what they’ve been inspired to make lately, in a new show at this bastion of independent creativity. Avenue 50 Studio, 131 N. Avenue 50, Highland Park; opening reception: Sat., Feb. 8, 7-10 p.m.; free. avenue50studio.org/event/all-
Eat (and Drink) Like a Lumberjack
The first-ever Logger Fest makes its debut on Saturday, February 8 in Silverado, celebrating the folklore of lumberjacks, lagers, breakfast food and more at Lakeview Park from noon to 5 p.m. The event will feature a curated selection of craft beers, with tastings focused on best in class craft lagers. Attendees will taste unlimited samples of craft beers from breweries including Societe Brewing Company, Brouwerij West, Four Sons Brewing, Alpine Beer Company, Wild Barrel Brewing Company, Noble Ale Works and more. In addition to lagers, a variety of other beer styles, including Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny The Elder Double IPA, and other favorites will be available for tasting. Attendees can indulge in all-day breakfast foods including traditional lumberjack favorites like corn dogs from The Viking Truck and Meat Up BBQ, chilaquiles from Mess Hall Canteen, breakfast pizza from Sgt. Pepperoni’s and breakfast burritos from Lem N Man. Professional lumberjacks will compete in ax throwing competitions, two-person cross-cut sawing, chainsaw versus cross-cut races, hot saw racing, underhand chopping, springboard chopping, quick chainsaw carve, log rolling and more. Attendees are challenged to test their own lumberjack skills in amateur log runs, ax throwing competitions, horseshoe toss, stein holding competitions, and more while enjoying live performances from bands including Cash Up Front — A Tribute to Johnny Cash. Lakeview Park, 5305 E. Santiago Canyon Road, Silverado; Sat., Feb. 8, noon-5 p.m.; $45, $55 early entry, $25 designated driver. —Michele Stueven
Art Put a Spell on You
The latest group show extravaganza at Jeffrey Deitch’s Los Angeles gallery is organized by Dan Nadel and Laurie Simmons, and it’s an ebullient, dark and literally magical situation. Looking for the best way to describe their shared affinity for occult-influenced, ritualistic, sex-forward, fantasy-land, subversively gendered narrative art, they settled on “witchy” and set about gathering their expansive coven. With literally dozens of diverse and eclectic artists, All of Them Witches includes legends like Judy Chicago, Cameron, Georganne Deen, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Lyle Ashton Harris, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Ana Mendieta, Marilyn Minter, Shirin Neshat, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, Nancy Spero, Marnie Weber, and Lisa Yuskavage. Jeffrey Deitch, 925 N. Orange Drive, Hancock Park; opening reception: Sat., Feb. 8, 6-8 p.m.; on view Feb. 8-April 11; free. deitch.com/los-angeles/
“My chariot is a silver blue Cadillac, with/a horn like a fleet choir that scalds/ears even before it’s blown,” Peggy Dobreer announced to the world in her poem “Traveling by My True Name,” from her 2018 collection, Drop and Dazzle (Moon Tide Press). A former dancer, the local poet and teacher has a gift for richly detailed imagery, whether she’s marveling over a fountain (“blue drops breach like cobalt fire in flight”) in “Psyche Before Sleep” or letting loose “a low cosmic moan … into a blinding map of sky” in “Cartography of Light.” Dobreer unveils her words as part of Roar Shack’s “We Were Here” group reading with Brendan Constantine, Tara Taylor Donlan, Josh Corwin, Ashlee Morales, Briana Munoz and host David Rocklin. 826LA & the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, 1714 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Sun., Feb. 9, 4 p.m.; free. (213) 413-3388, facebook.com/events/
It’s the Britney Zone, Bitch
She hasn’t had a hit song in a while, but Britney Spears fans are a dedicated bunch no matter, and The Zone offers a place for slaves to B.S. fandom to bask. The pop-up experience/retail hub is fully endorsed and backed by the pop star, offering 30,000 square feet of Brit-Brit exhibit goodness via 10 rooms based on her most memorable music videos. Like many pop-ups these days, guests get an RFID wristband upon entry that connects to an app where pics can be downloaded to smartphones, providing nonstop selfies and social media content Spears crave. Photo ops include Britney High from the “Baby One More Time” video, the Journey to Mars backdrop from “Oops…I Did it Again”, the commercial airline scenery from “Toxic” and more. Don’t forget to wear your sexy stewardess uniforms, red vinyl catsuits and Catholic school uniforms! 6310 West 3rd St., Mid-Wilshire; Wed.-Mon., 10 a.m.-10 p.m., through April 26; $59.50-64.50. britneythezone.com/ —Lina Lecaro
Crissy Van Meter discovers — or, more accurately, dreams up — an exotic island off the coast of Southern California where strangely surreal events occur with mundane regularity, in her debut novel, Creatures (Algonquin Books). The carcass of a whale appears in the harbor of Winter Island, a haunting backdrop to the musings of narrator Evie, who is about to get married even though her fiancé is apparently missing. Evie’s plans are knocked further off course in her dealings with her father, who deals pot grown on the island, and when her mother reappears in her life. Van Meter’s enigmatic prose adds to the mood: “There is a blanket of white fog. We can barely make out the vast green fields from the windows … [My mother] keeps checking the window, pinching her nose, while the whale is teetering out there, rising and falling like the ocean is gasping long breaths.” Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Tue., Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Falling James
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has long been beloved in many forms — from novel to film to pop culture figure — and The Wallis’ new production seeks to take the tale of manmade monster in twisted new directions. Touted as an “amalgamation of dynamic physical theatre, live music and experiential design,” this stage spectacle also has a timely subtext — exploring the dangers of technology, the dilemmas of moral responsibility and the definition of humanity. This unique interpretation of the story seeks to bring ethical questions about science into the now, while maintaining the eerie, nightmare-ish imagery (utilizing partial nudity, strobes and fog) of the classic horror tale for a suitably dark yet innovative extrasensory experience. The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Wed., Feb. 12- Sun., March 1; $60. theWallis.org/Frankenstein. —Lina Lecaro
Lucha VaVoom is such an outrageous, nonstop three-ring circus of distractions that it’s really turned into its own genre. Sure, the long-running spectacle encompasses lucha-libre wrestling, sexy burlesque, daring aerialist performances and comedy, but it’s the dazzling and frenetic way that all these forces come together that make Lucha VaVoom so bizarrely compelling and unique. This year’s “Pin Ups ’n Pin Downs” Valentine’s shows feature music from Starcrawler; burlesque artists Miss Miranda, Miss Tosh and Trixie Little; aerialist Veronica Yune; host-comedians Blaine Capatch and Jeff Davis; wrestling kingpin El Bombero and “mini superstar wrestlers” Microman (in his U.S. debut) and Chamuel. The Mayan, 1038 S. Hill St., downtown; Wed.-Thu., Feb. 12-13, 8 p.m.; $40 & $55. (213) 746-4674, luchavavoom.com. —Falling James