From the Natural History Museum’s Night of Big Ideas to a metal legend’s hot rod collection and Amy Winehouse memorabilia, here are the 10 best things to do in Los Angeles this week.

fri 1/31


Good Vibes

Cynicism is so last decade. It’s all earnestness and positivity going forward. Cages, an ambitious, the genre-defying multimedia musical from Woolf and the Wondershow, performed in a refurbished Arts District warehouse, exemplifies this new wave. Covering timeless topics like isolation, forbidden love and self-acceptance, its protagonist navigates the emotionless dystopia of Anhedonia. Creators CJ Baran and Benjamin Romans perform this “baroque pop” opera almost entirely unaccompanied, and the influence of modern music trends and artists like Kanye West and Daft Punk drips from each new song. The tech, however, is the true star of the show. Behind the trippy strobes and pounding bass, stylized animated videos play, not unlike those looming over DJs during festival sets. Interacting with pre-recorded Holopac-esque, 2.5-D castmates, the live performance elements are stripped to the bare essentials, making for an immersive show that wears its heart on its sleeve so shamelessly, even the most irony-poisoned minds are likely to succumb to its charms. 1926 E. 7th Place, downtown; Thu.-Sat., 7:00 p.m.; through Feb. 29; $55-57. —Justin Caffier


Staying Alive

Cultural journalism, rain forest and ocean ecology, botany and mindfulness, urban hiking, organizations like Tree People and FoLAR, practices of community historiography, music from Jessica Fichot, dance from Heidi Duckler, VR experiences, film screenings, and so many more creative expressions are on offer at the Natural History Museum’s 2020 edition of Night of Ideas. The compelling NHM collections themselves form the perfect backdrop for this convergence of interdisciplinary thought on the theme of “Being Alive,” especially at the intersection of personal and planetary wellness. Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park; Fri., Jan. 31, 5:30-11p.m.; free.—Shana Nys Dambrot

Eurydice (Cory Weaver)

sat 2/1


To Hell and Back

Playwright Sarah Ruhl presents a potentially interesting twist to the Greek myth about Orpheus’ descent into the underworld to rescue his bride, Eurydice. Numerous composers, writers, artists, filmmakers and musicians — from Tennessee Williams, Marcel Camus and Titian to Nick Cave and Arcade Fire — have riffed about Orpheus’ travails, but Ruhl upends expectations by refashioning the story from the heroine’s perspective in the new opera Eurydice, composed by conductor Matthew Aucoin and presented by L.A. Opera in its world premiere with lyric soprano Danielle de Niese in the title role. Aucoin’s previous work has been underwhelming, but Ruhl’s artful words should provide the spark that was missing in Crossing, the composer’s dreary Walt Whitman homage. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sat., Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m.; through Sun., Feb. 23, 2 p.m.; $15-$284. (213) 972-0711,—Falling James

Queen of Angels L.A. (Baz)


Drag Heaven

Celebrating the wonderful world of local drag at its fabulous downtown locale for nearly 2 years, Queen of Angels L.A. is the city’s only brick-and-mortar retail queendom of its kind. Now it’s growing and re-launching at a new location — even closer to the area’s famed district of discount fashion and beauty, the “Santee Alley.” The reopening bash is open to all. With a special drag show starring store owner and local club performer Rudeness, along with local “LA-dies” James Majesty, Lady Forbidden, Eddie D Lite, Nubia VonBoom, De La Rosa and DoorKnob.  Queen of Angels, 204 E. 11th St., downtown.; Sat., Feb. 1, 9 p.m.-mid.; free. —Lina Lecaro

sun 2/2 


Step By Step

On the theory that the arts — and perhaps dance and movement especially — are not only engaging, uplifting and inspirational, but also therapeutic, Heidi Duckler Dance often stages work activating locations and communities outside the conventional fine arts space. One powerful example has been their three-month residency workshop at the California Institution for Women. Now the new pop-up exhibition and performance event One Leg at Time, which culminates and celebrates the CIW project, traces the paths toward mental and physical healing which the dancers and inmates shared during the workshops. The night features performances by the HDD teaching artists (6 p.m. and 8 p.m.), and a panel discussion (7 p.m.), all centered on “bridging the gap between the free and the incarcerated and fostering greater understanding, empathy and respect.” Track 16 Gallery, Bendix Building, 1206 Maple #1005, downtown; Sun., Feb. 2, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; free. —Shana Nys Dambrot

mon 2/3


Culinary Reunion

Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach is launching a guest chef dinner series, kicking off their inaugural dinner with Nancy Silverton February 3 and February 4. The special dinner reunites  the team of chef Chris Feldmeier and chef de cuisine Tracey Harada, who both cooked for Silverton for years at Osteria Mozza. As an ode to their time with Silverton at both Mozza and Campanile, the dinner will be four courses of the chefs’ favorite Mozza dishes, with multiple selections available for each course. The dinner will be $85 per person with wine pairings available for purchase. Love & Salt, 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach; Mon.-Tue., for reservations and times, —Michele Stueven

Vikingur Olafsson (Ari Magg)

tue 2/4


Going Green

In many ways, the Green Umbrella series is one of this city’s best bargains. Not only are ticket prices much cheaper than at L.A. Philharmonic’s performances of traditional orchestral works, the stripped-down L.A. Phil New Music Group dares to explore the very limits of sound and space through modern pieces that are alternately challenging, strangely beautiful, experimental and thrilling. Icelandic composer-conductor Daníel Bjarnason welcomes his celebrated countryman, pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, for a set of selections by Bent Sørensen, intrepid Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and Bjarnason alongside the world premiere of Thurídur Jónsdóttir’s The CV of a Butterfly. Afterward, L.A. Phil’s coolly masterful timpanist Joseph Pereira leads multiple percussionists in a post-concert set. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Tue., Feb. 4, 8 p.m.; $20-$64. (323) 850-2000,—Falling James

wed 2/5


The Super Bowl of Art

Amid the vast expanses of the L.A. Convention Center, the 25th annual L.A. Art Show, curated by Marisa Caichiolo, is touted as “the largest lineup of art programming in the city’s history.” And while it only seems as if every major contemporary art gallery in the world is represented, this year’s edition promises some interesting variations, including an expansion of the L.A.-centric showcase DIVERSEartLA, which features artists and nonprofits from Southern California and the Pacific Rim. During the course of the art show, fans can interact with Chicano iconoclast Gronk as he constructs Pyramids, an immigration-themed provocation and stage set that he originally designed for a Peter Sellars opera. Other highlights include installations by Viktor Freso and Leo Chiachio & Daniel Giannone and performances by Adriana Ramirez, PSJM Collective, and Miss Art World. L.A. Convention Center, South Hall, 1201 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Wed., Feb. 5, 6-11 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., Feb. 6-8, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 9, 11 a.m-5 p.m.; $40 & $300. (310) 822-9145,—Falling James

thu 2/6


Soulful Style

From her beehive-y  ’do to her bodacious take on black cat eyeliner to her fancy for retro frocks, Amy Winehouse’s signature look was as alluring as her soulful vocals. Debuting during Grammy Week, the Grammy Museum’s latest exhibit Beyond Black —The Style of Amy Winehouse showcases the gone-too-soon crooner’s personal clothing, shoes and bags, as well as never-seen-before journal entries, handwritten song lyrics and more from her family’s archive. Winehouse’s Grammys are also on display and there’s video too, making for an immersive look at the artist who left an indelible mark — albeit a dark one — on pop culture after passing at age 27 from alcohol poisoning. Many of the items on display are to be auctioned off when the exhibit ends, benefiting the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which works to prevent the drug and alcohol abuse by young people. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd. downtown.; Sun.-Thu., 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.- 8p.m.; through April 13; $15. —Lina Lecaro

(Petersen Auto Museum)


Ride the Lightning

Sad but true — most of us who love classic vintage cars don’t have the financial portfolio to actually own any. But rap and rock stars sure do, and Metallica frontman James Hetfield’s gorgeous collection puts him in good company. The Petersen Auto Museum’s newest exhibit, Reclaimed Rust: The James Hetfield Collection offers fans of the singer — and old cars in general — a chance to get up close to these glorious automobiles; the first time ever that all 10 of his custom cars will be on display including: a 1948 Jaguar “Black Pearl,” a 1934 Packard “Aquarius,” a 1953 Buick Skylark “Skyscraper,” a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr “VooDoo Priest,” and his 1936 Auburn “Slow Burn.” Complemented by some equally gorgeous guitars, the show also features memorabilia and photos. Of course, for hardcore car fans, nothing else matters. Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; $16.—Lina Lecaro 

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