From an improv marathon honoring one of the genre’s pioneers to a smattering of poetry readings and the Bondage Ball, here are the 11 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!

fri 6/28


Father of Improv

The Del Close Marathon honors the guy widely regarded as the “father of improv” in a way that’s as audacious as the pioneer himself: 55 hours of longform improv. Close basically made improvisational comedy what it is today, presenting and promoting it in Chicago for over 30 years, and extending into N.Y.C. and L.A., which influenced the likes of Tina Fey, Mike Myers, John Belushi and so many more.  and the Upright Citizens Brigade might not exist as we know them without this forward-thinking funnyman, so UCB — which founded the festival in ’99 after Del died — is honoring him in a very special way. The marathon, which usually takes place in New York over three days at multiple venues, marks its first time in L.A. this year, and it’s sure to be a nonstop celebration of laughter, imagination and creativity — which is what makes improv our most unique form of theater entertainment.  UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood & UCB Franklin 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood Hills; Fri., June 28- Sun., June 30; check website for full schedule and prices. —Lina Lecaro

(Courtesy of Union Station)


Train Station Sonnets

Some say it’s poetry’s duty to transport us to other realms, while some say poetry serves best to show us the deeper reality of the present. But when free poetry is composed, performed and shared in the charming garden patio of a historic train station, it can be all of the above. At a place of constant motion known more for departures than gatherings, The Poet Is In brings together the work of six very different contemporary poets as well as an accompanying Music Center presentation of live Paraguayan harp playing, activating an already idyllic landscaped space and the long summer afternoon and offering an unhurried chance to explore the building’s renovated architecture up close. Union Station (North Patio), N. 800 Alameda, downtown; Sat., June 28, 3-6 p.m.; free. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Azalia Snail (Genevieve Marie)

sat 6/29


Remembering a Fearless Poet

“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard,” Anne Sexton once wrote. The poet listened closely to her soul throughout her short life and fearlessly examined such bold themes as sex, menstruation, adultery and her own mental illness before she killed herself in 1974. At Sexton to Sexton, curator Brendan Constantine’s tribute to the late writer, notable literary figures such Susan Hayden and Milo Martin are curiously billed alongside musicians Lisa Finnie, Azalia Snail, Dan West and King Missile’s John S. Hall, with proceeds partially going to the suicide-prevention group SAVE. Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, 681 N. Venice Blvd., Venice; Sat., June 29, 8 p.m.; $15. (310) 822-3006, —Falling James


45 Years of Friendship

Celebrating her 45th birthday this year (She doesn’t look a day over 30!) Hello Kitty remains an enduring pop culture icon, her bold, simple lines and ultra-girly vibe embodying whimsical fun, collectability and, as her creators Sanrio have always touted, “friendship and kindness.” The bowed feline might have come from Japan but her appeal is universal, inspiring entertainment, fashion and especially art. L.A. fans will never forget the mega art show that marked her 40th. Five years later, the beloved cat is back, inspiring many of the same revered artists in even more ways, as well as a new slew of imaginative creators. The Hello Kitty® 45th Anniversary Group Show is an exhibition featuring 100 artists re-interpreting the character and her friends via different mediums — paint, sculpture, digital art and more. Anthony Ausgang, Bei Badgirl, Buff Monster, D*Face, Mark Mothersbaugh, Mayuka Yamamoto, Oliver Hibert, Tara McPherson, Olivia De Berardinis, ONCH, Paul Frank and RISK are just a small sampling of the artists. Select prints will be available, and Miss K herself will be there in the plush. Corey Helford Gallery, 571 S. Anderson St., Boyle Heights; free. (310) 287-2340, —Lina Lecaro


The Art of Possible Futures

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what in the world artists are thinking, The Vision Board Group Show is a chance to find out. Curated by Elizabeth Valdez, an artist herself and a believer in the power of creative visualization, this pageant of mixed media experimentation brings together dozens of artists — the majority of whom do not usually work in or exhibit anything like collage — to storyboard the future in anyway they see fit. The eclectic and surprising results range from specific political justice fantasies to meditations, sustainability virtue-signaling, abstract optimism, escapism, sex, paradise, angst and a return to nature. Kopeikin Gallery, 2766 S. La Cienega, Mid-City; opening reception: Sat., June 29, 6-9 p.m.; on view Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m., through Aug. 24; free.(310) 559-0800; —Shana Nys Dambrot

sun 6/30 


The Stories Behind Masks

Sometimes, a mask can be more revealing and tell a fuller story than the face behind it. Presented by LA Commons and Chaos Network, Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks evokes the spirit and traditions of West African masked-performance rituals known as . After a libation ceremony, a process wends its way through nearby streets before performances by dancers and musicians including Kehinde Otis Johnson, percussionist Rene Fisher-Mims, choreographer Nzingha Camara and filmmaker Ben Caldwell. Leimert Park Village Plaza, 4343 Leimert Blvd., Leimert Park; Sun., June 30, 1-6:30 p.m.; free-$50. —Falling James

Michael Kearns at Highways (Courtesy of the artist)


A Tearful Hello

To help close Highways Performance Space’s two-month 30th anniversary festival, artist and activist Michael Kearns, a hero as the first openly HIV-positive actor in Hollywood (The Waltons, Cheers, Body Double), assembles a diverse cast to deliver the stories in wet hankies  — Wanda-Lee Evans, Dean Howell, Dale Raoul, Dave Trudell, Tim Miller, Leo Garcia and Ron Dennis. Besides intimacies, produced in Highways’ first season, in this retrospective yet forward-looking performative storytelling session Kearns shares new monologues tracing his long career in the context of LGBTQ politics in America. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa; Monica; Sun., June 30, 5-7 p.m.; $15-$20. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Horse Tears, Rochelle Botello (Courtesy of the artist)

mon 7/1


New Art Served Fresh Daily

It’s a long, hot month, July, so of course that’s the perfect time to get like 100 artists to commit to doing a series of daily group shows, to be installed, open, and taken down every 24 hours, for the entire time. For a new season of Kamikaze Shows, PØST’s itinerant existence expands beyond its 515 space in the Bendix Building, instead hosting this year’s iteration of its wildly popular and totally insane DIY curatorial project offsite at MiM Gallery on West Washington. Alternating between solos, small groups, salon-style arrays, performance-based and multimedia presentations, the work on display varies from the meditative and lovely to the edgy and political, thematic and surreal, and fittingly, the experimental. MiM Gallery, 654 W. Washington Blvd., University Park; Mon., July 1-Wed., July 31, 7-9 p.m.; free. —Shana Nys Dambrot

tue 7/2


Laugh in Secret

Speakeasy culture goes for the gut with tonight’s edition of Inside Scoop. Deep in a secret room behind an unassuming, ordinary ice cream shoppe lies a secret: the monthly comedic endeavor of hosts Matt Duckett, Katie Green and Salma Zaky, all discerning purveyors of the hot amongst the cool.  Within those hidden walls stand some of the funniest comedians working in speakeasies today, some of whom have appeared everywhere from to Conan to Late Night. The best thing about comedy in a secret room? If the comedians are really bad, you never have to say you were there to watch them bomb. Carmela Ice Cream, 7920 W. Third St., Beverly Grove; Tue., July 2, 8 p.m.; free (with one-item minimum). (323) 944-0232, / —David Cotner

wed 7/3


Freedom of Fetish

Leave your modesty at the door and prepare to bare at a pre-Fourth of July bash where flying your fetish flag is everything. The Bondage Ball is one of L.A.’s biggest and most decadent dance parties for the S&M and sex-positive goth and industrial set. Some of the city’s wildest promoters are coming together for the sextravaganza this year too, including LA Fashion & Fet Ball, Batcave, Soft Leather, Dark Circus, Dungeon, Perversion, Helter Skelter, and Fetish Apocalypse. Plus, there’ll be three fashion shows featuring the ultimate in lusty latex by recent  cover subject Venus Prototype and her Bizarre Fetish Couture, along with Demask DTLA and Dollskin Designs. DJs from aforementioned clubs will dominate the dance floor and eye candy will include go-go gals and guys, dungeon equipment enhanced “play zones,” vampy visuals, photo booth, stage shows and more. Belasco Theater, 1050 S. Hill St., downtown; Wed., July 5, 9:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m.; $22.50 (21+). —Lina Lecaro

thu 7/4


Be Above the Fireworks

Are you irrationally terrified of fireworks raining down upon you? Do you fantasize about watching the world below you burn colorfully as you gaze down from a godlike vantage point? Then this is the perfect thing for you to do on Independence Day, you big weirdo! You can watch all the various fireworks displays — legal and illegal, let’s face it —  that happen across Los Angeles from 1,000 feet up at the 4th of July in the Sky. Your star-spangled ticket also includes two free drinks, an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet, and a free ride down the thrilling glass of the Skyslide. OUE Skyspace, 633 W. 5th St., Ste. #840, downtown Los Angeles; Thu., July 4, 7 p.m.; $75. (213) 894-9000, —David Cotner


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