From readings to celebrate the 200th birthday of one of America's finest poets to kicking off a month of Pride events, here are the 12 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!

fri 5/31


Hacking the Gender Code

There's a lot of talk about the Year of the Woman, and in some ways at least the culture-sector patriarchy is more smashed than ever, with more respect for female-identifying artists and filmmakers. But one area that could use some love is tech and computer science, where women remain drastically under-represented. The tech-savvy ladies of FEMMEBIT are here to change that, taking a creative perspective on how the future of visual and social culture is not only digital — it's female. Their interdisciplinary collective exists to support and propagate the world-changing work of L.A.-based tech artists, and at the FEMMEBIT Festival 2019 you can encounter digital video, audio and augmented reality installations, live performances, topical conversations, dancing, cocktails, and other immersive futuristic experiences. Artists like Nancy Baker Cahill, Jennifer Moon and Petra Cortright each use advanced technologies to advance the dialog. Civic Center Studios, 207 S. Broadway, downtown; opening night: Fri., May 31, 5 p.m.; programs all day Sat.-Sun., June 1-2; free. (213) 394-4226, —Shana Nys Dambrot


Musical Mash-Up

Combine a show about nothing and a musical about teen depression and suicide, and you get UCB's satirical Dear Jerry Seinfeld: A Musical Staged Reading. Obviously drawing inspiration from both TV and Broadway, creators Greg Smith and Alex Lewis incorporate characters from Dear Evan Hansen, the stage hit which won six Tonys in 2017, and characters from one of the greatest sitcoms ever, namely Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine, and the ridiculous situations they constantly found themselves in. As the name suggests, this isn't just a reading, but a mini concert. With help from a live band and music by Michael Teoli, cast members Lewis, Laurent Holt, Heather Woodward, Matthew Patrick Davis, Brock Baker, Ari Stidham, Dahlya Glick and Joe Fria sing original songs to the tune of '90s alt-rock, as well as integrate trademark Seinfeld-isms or phrases, whether it's close talkers or “What's the deal with…” UCB Inner Sanctum, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood; Fri., May 31, 8:30 p.m.; free. (323) 908-8702, —Siran Babayan


Father of Free Verse

“I am large, I contain multitudes,” Walt Whitman once rhapsodized in his epochal poetry collection, Leaves of Grass, and a multitude of local writers gathers at Beyond Baroque to celebrate the Long Island poet's 200th birthday with readings from the book. Actor-poet-host Harry Northup welcomes his poet-wife Holly Prado, along with such writers as James Cushing, Robert Forster, Phoebe MacAdams and Aleida Rodriguez, as they revel in Whitman's poems, which broke free from European tradition as an openly sensual and distinctively American form of poetry. Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice; Fri., May 31, 8 p.m.; $10. (310) 822-3006, —Falling James


Fierce Design

Pride Month kicks off with the Skirball Center's Late Night! Pride in Fashion, an evening celebration featuring after hours walk-throughs (6-10 p.m.) of their exhibitions Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite and Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich. The Gernreich exhibit celebrates the influential designer and his work — which included the introduction of the “monokini,” the thong, unisex caftans, and pantsuits for women, to name a few of his innovations. The exhibit explores how this visionary defied style norms and championed authentic expression in fashion, and his life was no different; the designer was an out and proud gay man who championed homosexual rights at time when doing so was neither easy nor simple. Skirball's popular style survey is a fitting and fun way to mark Pride Month, with dancers from Luminario Ballet modeling the designer's iconic costumes, plus Hello DJ on the decks, food trucks and a cash bar. The Getty, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Bel-Air; Fri., May 31, 6-10 p.m.; $5, free for members. —Lina Lecaro

Yoskay Yamamoto; Credit: Courtesy of the artist

Yoskay Yamamoto; Credit: Courtesy of the artist

sat 6/1


Dreamtime with Yoskay

It's one thing to say a painting is dreamy, but it's another level when an image takes you inside a whole world of serene and surreal subconsciousness. In Yoskay Yamamoto: My Colour With U in Mind, that's just what the artist accomplishes. His cast of ethereal figures and stylized, patterned settings, combine abstraction of gentle colors with emotion and humor of text and expression, the result is a strange pop-inflected lullaby. The moon, the night sky, single figures like islands in the ocean waters, and here and there, a quirky greeting from life on earth make for lowkey wonderlands in which we see ourselves reflected in unfamiliar mirrors. GR2 Gallery, 2062 Sawtelle Blvd., Sawtelle; opening reception: Sat., June 1, 6:30-10 p.m.; exhibit: Wed.-Thu., noon-6 p.m., Fri.-Sat., noon-8 p.m., Sun., noon-7 p.m., through June 19; free. (310) 478.1819, —Shana Nys Dambrot


Lessons of Experience

Wondering what John Waters is up to these days? The inestimable Book Soup presents the inimitable John Waters in conversation about his new memoir Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder. He'll gab with renowned comic Merrill Markoe about his life as a famous person, all the famous people with whom he's worked who are now dead, and why marking your territory with your own sensibilities is both nauseating and necessary. In other words: the usual chortlesome wisdom from John Waters, but, admittedly, words that should be repeated regularly and with emphatic enthusiasm. Renberg Theater, Los Angeles LGBT Center's Village, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood; Sat., June 1, 7 p.m.; $35 (includes book). (310) 659-3110, —David Cotner

Transit Dances; Credit: Courtesy of Donna Sternberg & Dancers

Transit Dances; Credit: Courtesy of Donna Sternberg & Dancers


Not Your Average Commute

In Transit Dances III, instigator Donna Sternberg returns with four dance troupes to surprise and delight riders along a Santa Monica stretch of the Expo light rail line. The event is free with a Metro ticket. The fun begins at the 26th Street/Bergamot station and moves west to the 17th and the 4th Street stations. At each stop, tour guides lead audience members to a performance site and after the performance the audience reboards and travels on to the next stop. Though focused in Santa Monica, the participating performers reflect SoCal's extraordinary diversity including New Zealand dance from Nga Anahera Maori, Bollywood from Blue 13, and contemporary dance from both B. Dunn Movement and host company Donna Sternberg & Dancers. Route details and map at Santa Monica Expo Line, begins at 26th Street/Bergamot Metro Stop, Santa Monica; Sat., June 1, noon & 1 p.m., free with metro ticket. —Ann Haskins

sun 6/2


The Other Arts District

Altadena and Pasadena are lovely, historic neighborhoods in the city's eclectic ethos; and increasingly, the area is home to a diverse population of artists. Open Studios has been organizing their ranks for years, conceiving exhibitions, receptions, community events and sometimes, such as this weekend, self-guided art tours. Participation is up to over 70 artists showing across 25 locations, from schools and private homes to dedicated art buildings, emporiums and collectives, many of which have live music, food and other secret sauce in store for visitors. Fans of painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, textile, and design objects — not to mention fans of working studios, architectural adaptation, and creative enclaves — can download the map, or better yet, pick up a printed copy at one of three locations, such as the always exuberant McGinty's Gallery at the End of the World. McGinty's, 869 E. Mariposa St., Altadena; Sat., June 1, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. & Sun., June 2, noon-7 p.m.; free. (626) 797-1135, —Shana Nys Dambrot

Tuscon Salvage; Credit: Curtis Endicott

Tuscon Salvage; Credit: Curtis Endicott


Life on the Margins

“The city is crammed of memories and nostalgias that are my own and not my own — the bus route straight up Broadway, the sweet screech orchestras of summer cicadas, the low-stakes quality of its place in the world,” journalist Brian Jabas Smith muses about Tucson in director Maggie Smith's documentary Tucson Salvage. “It's inviting when you're broken; you're getting by on longing.” The increasing economic divide between the rich and the poor requires a new generation of Studs Terkel–like essayists and Dorothea Lange–style documentarians, and former Beat Angels vocalist Brian Smith portrays the difficult lives of a disabled graffiti artist, a trans ex-con, a tragedy-scarred mixed martial arts fighter, a resilient scrap-metal worker and two formerly homeless junkies in his book Tucson Salvage: Tales and Recollections From La Frontera, which has been adapted into his wife Maggie's poignant film. The Hudson Theatres, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., June 2, 4:30 p.m.; free. (323) 856-4249, —Falling James

mon 6/3


Time Loop

Orange Is the New Black airs its final season this summer, but fans of star Natasha Lyonne have been watching the actress in another Netflix hit, Russian Doll. In the new series, which premiered in February, Lyonne plays Nadia Vulvokov, a wise-cracking N.Y. party girl (and a video-game coder) with a riot of red curls and permanently smudged eyeliner. Nadia and a friend find themselves caught in a time loop where they keep dying in various circumstances — in an elevator, suicide, etc. — and spend each episode looking for explanations for their repeated deaths. Make sense? The drama-comedy is one of those up-to-viewer-interpretation shows, but if you still have nagging questions, UCB hosts FYC @ UCB: Russian Doll, a panel discussion with cast and crew, including Lyonne and co-executive producers Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland. UCB, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood; Mon., June 3, 7 p.m.; $12. (323) 908-8702, —Siran Babayan

tue 6/4


Underground History

John Doe scored a best-seller with his tome, Under the Big Black Sun, a revealing personal account (and part oral history) about the L.A. punk scene, but there was clearly more to tell. Continuing his insightful chronicling of the pivotal time in Los Angeles, his latest, More Fun in the New World: The Unmaking and Legacy of L.A. Punk, features influential figures sharing personal stories that reflect the era between 1982-1987, when underground music broke into the mainstream and splintered into various sub-genres and inspired other art forms. Doe and co-writer Tom DeSavia are in the midst of an unconventional book tour, with the book's contributors reading alongside them at each. The L.A. shows are, of course, particularly stellar. On Tuesday, June 4, at the Grammy Museum, Doe and DiSavia are joined by book contributors Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Off!) and filmmaker Allison Anders. On Wednesday, an even larger group joins the pair, including performer, writer, punk figure (and longtime L.A. Weekly contributor) Pleasant Gehman, skateboard legend Tony Hawk and Go-Gos guitarist Charlotte Caffey. The Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Tue., June 4, 7 p.m.; $30. Largo at Coronet, 366 N La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Wed., June 5, 7 p.m.; $35. —Lina Lecaro

wed 6/5

See Tuesday.

Barbara Hannigan; Credit: Marco Borggreve

Barbara Hannigan; Credit: Marco Borggreve

thu 6/6


Cutting-Edge Sounds

You could very loosely describe the annual Ojai Music Festival as a Coachella for classical and new-music fans. Since 1947, the festival has been the West Coast's preeminent gathering for adventurous chamber-music and avant-garde sounds, and over the decades such luminaries as Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez and Aaron Copland have served as music director amid the bucolic Ojai setting. This year's music director is the subversive Canadian vocalist-conductor Barbara Hannigan, who has memorably transformed György Ligeti's eerily arty Mysteries of the Macabre into a wickedly brilliant schoolgirl fantasy and has been a charismatic force via provocative roles in Lulu, Pelléas et Mélisande, and in L.A. Phil's 2016 world premiere of Gerald Barry's daft and demented opera Alice's Adventures Under Ground. The festival's Thursday opening centers on a performance of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. Libbey Bowl, 210 S. Signal St., Ojai; Thu., June 6, 1-10:30 p.m.; Fri., June 7, 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sat., June 8, 8 a.m.-mid.; Sun., June 9, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; $20-$150. (805) 646-2053, —Falling James

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