From live tapings of HAS#ING IT OUT with Billy Francesca to everything sweet, salty and savory at the L.A. Cookie Convention, here are the 10 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!

fri 2/28


Body Contact High

A consortium of creatives working in the fields of writing, performing, design and storytelling convene to present CONTACT — a spectacle of rich visuals, organic movement, dance, and live audio/visual mixing unfolding on the Highways stage this weekend. Evocative and provocative, spiritualized and sensual, the piece is the collaboration of SOMA 2020 (Magdalena Edwards and Sohani Holland) with guests Peter Johnson, Amy Zimmitti and Amanda Maciel Antunes. Its vibrant aesthetic and interdisciplinary spirit speak directly to the enlightened intersectional world the artists seek to create. Highways, 18th Street Arts Center, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 28-29, 8:30 p.m.; $25. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Contact at Highways (Courtesy of the artist)


Getting the Tea

Club promoter, emcee, an all-around bodacious WeHo superstar Billy Francesca has a lulzy (and logical) new gig: talk show host! HAS#ING IT OUT with Billy Francesca covers news of the day in a wild, uncensored and highly hilarious live format on YouTube. This Friday, join Francesca (best known for hot parties such as Dragged Out at Revolver and Karaoke at the Den and Bingo at the Standard) for a night of live tapings; expect lots of raucous rants and ramblings with topics covering pop culture, LGBTQ gossip, advice and more — all chosen by the audience. They’ll be taping five  shows, followed by an afterparty filled with cocktails and beats courtesy of DJ Aaron Elvis. The Standard, 8300 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Fri., Feb. 28, 9 p.m.; free. —Lina Lecaro

Sweet Land (Design by Cannupa Hanska Luger Lettering and Visual Issues)

sat 2/29


A Walk in the Park

In 2015, The Industry commissioned several brilliant composers to create Hopscotch, an L.A.-centric, multipart opera that was staged inside two dozen taxis and cars. Now the local company returns with its first independent world-premiere work since Hopscotch, with the debut of Sweet Land. Described as “an opera that erases itself,” Sweet Land is an ambitious project by composers Du Yun (who won a Pulitzer for Angel’s Bone) and the Navajo Nation’s Raven Chacon with librettists Douglas Kearney and Aja Couchois Duncan, and co-directed by Cannupa Hanksa Luger and The Industry’s Yuval Sharon. With themes about immigration and colonization, the opera centers on a procession through the park and a feast between a “host” community and an “arrival” community, with a train symbolizing the effects of Manifest Destiny. L.A. State Historic Park, 1724 Baker St., downtown; Sat., Feb. 29, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 1, 5:30 p.m. & 8 p.m.; through Sun., March 15, 6:30 p.m. & 9 p.m.; $75-$110. (213) 761-8598, —Falling James

Nery Gabriel, Lemus
Candlewood Sketch 2


Hot Springs, Cool Art

For the month of March, the desert community of Borrego Springs hosts a festival of events and site-specific art works, offering its layered history and majestic landscapes as inspiration for a slate of interdisciplinary situations. The Candlewood Arts Festival coheres around a foundation of four core projects by photographer Star Montana and multimedia sculpture and installation artists Anna Sew Hoy, Nery Gabriel Lemus and Fay Ray. Beginning with opening weekend, a menu of guided bus tours, artist talks, performances, activations and workshops happen each weekend throughout the run of the installations with invited colleagues like Devon Tsuno, Slanguage, Pearl C. Hsiung, poet Claressinka Anderson and more. In between, wander and return as you please, it’s all free and open to the public. Various locations in Borrego Springs; opening weekend events: Sat., Feb. 29-Sun., March 1; events weekly through March 29; closing reception: Sat., March 28; free.—Shana Nys Dambrot

(Courtesy of REDCAT/CalArts)


Erotic Neurotic

Artist-filmmaker Carolee Schneemann died in March last year, and REDCAT presents Dangerous Erotics: A Tribute to Carolee Schneemann, with a panel discussion and a rare local screening of some of her influential films. Inspired by the experimental films of Stan Brakhage, Schneemann created such short films as Fuses, in which a febrile collage of images of her making love with her longtime partner James Tenney is wondrously stained and painted on by the artist. The screening also includes a performance of Tenney’s electronically treated, Elvis-derived sound collage/mutation, “Blue Suede.” REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Sat., Feb. 29, 4 p.m.; $15. (213) 237-2800,—Falling James

sun 3/1


Sweet, Salty and Savory

The biggest baking, pastry and sweets convention on the West Coast hits the Fairplex Pomona Convention Center. Join thousands of Californians who share a love for all things sweet, salty and savory in the world of baking and sweets at the L.A. Cookie Convention. Celebrity chefs including Duff Goldman, Ron Ben-Israel and cake diva Porsha Kimble will be giving demonstrations throughout the weekend and the kids zone will feature pancake art, cookie decorating and a bubble zone. Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona; Sat.-Sun., Feb. 29-March 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; $12-$59.95.—Michele Stueven

mon 3/2


Raise Your Voice

For Freedoms: Town Hall for Freedom of Speech is an important component of the “For Freedoms” series at the California African American Museum. Curated by (the group founded by Harry Belafonte to educate and motivate artists and allies for equality) the event will unite artists and activists for an in-depth discussion about rights and responsibilities pertaining to freedom of speech, a topic that is on the forefront of all our minds as 2020 presidential election nears, and that is particularly significant to people of color and marginalized groups that often don’t get to be heard. A platform for civic engagement founded by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms is partnering with CAAM, IDEA (Institute for Diversity & Empowerment at Annenberg), and the USC’s RAP (Race, Arts, & Placemaking) Initiative for the sure to be resonant gathering. CAAM, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park; Mon., March 2, 7-9 p.m.; free.  —Lina Lecaro

tue 3/3


Dreams of Life

“The Gypsy has been writing for many years/a secret text no one will ever/read, but which has begun/to materialize in real life,” Cecilia Vicuña writes in her poem “La Gitana Dormida” (The Sleeping Gypsy), from her collection New and Selected Poems. “While she continues dreaming/her dreams create the world.” Like many Chilean artists and leftists, Vicuña had to create her own world after escaping her homeland following the assassination of President Salvador Allende and the rise of fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet in the early 1970s. Her rich imagery reveals the raw beauty of the act of survival, when the poet marvels over an untended garden in “Lo Casual”: “the musical/sway of certain grasses/left to fend for themselves … Precarious, given to its fate,/all has become weary/and by chance lives.” REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd  St., downtown; Tue., March 3, 8:30 p.m.; $12. (213) 237-2800,  [UPDATE: This event has been postponed.  Rescheduled show date TBA]. —Falling James

Dorrance Dance (Courtesy of the artist)

wed 3/4


From Church to College

Tap dancing gained a MacArthur “genius” award when one was bestowed on Michelle Dorrance. The exuberant Dorrance has become the “it” girl of today’s tap dance and her SOUNDspace originally developed as a site-specific tap performance in New York City’s St. Mark’s Church for her Dorrance Dance arrives for a single show. If the sonic elements of a church or theater are geared to maximizing sound, why not tap dancers making music with their feet?  The event is presented by USC’s Visions and Voices, which has made a mark bringing innovative performance like Dorrance to town. USC Bovard Auditorium, 3551 Trousdale Parkway., University Park;  Wed., March 4, 7:30 p.m.; free with RSVP.  —Ann Haskins

thu 3/5


There’s No Place Like Home

Almost everyone lives in someone else’s home. Unless we build our own from scratch, in which case still, once we’re gone, others will live in what was our home. Taking as its narrative structure a view of history from the point of view of a house, whose inhabitants come and go as the highs and lows of life and death unfold within its site, HOME centers the story as a portrait of the house. In fact, in its most marvelous aspects, the play begins with an empty stage as the house is literally built in real time and grows, transforms, burns and thrives across generations of inhabitants and the buffers of history. There’s some magical time-defying illusions, marvels of engineering, movement, live music and poetic visual spectacle — but at heart it’s still a passionate story about how people live. The Eli & Edythe Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Wed.-Fri., March 4-6, 7:30pm; Sat., March 7, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., March 8, 2 p.m.; $39 and up. —Shana Nys Dambrot

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