From a special dance presentation featuring a duotard to a one night feast for all the senses, here are the 12 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!

fri 6/21


Design Block Party

L.A. Design Festival is an annual citywide pageant of creative maker culture, with its HQ at ROW DTLA’s streets, suites and storefronts for four days. There will be exhibitions, talks, workshops and demos, shopping and installation experiences, and off-site tours and events across the city. At ROW DTLA itself, highlights include speakers like journalist and walkability advocate Alissa Walker, KCRW’s DnA producer Avishay Artsy and host Frances Anderton, award-winning architect Elena Manferdini, artist Jackie Amezquita, artist and architect Peter Zellner, and literally dozens of other local design universe luminaries. Also of note, the curated group show of California design all-stars, “INTRO/LA” and of course Friday night’s Design Block Party featuring special group and outdoor exhibitions, dublab, dancers and dessert. ROW DTLA, 777 Alameda St., downtown; INTRO/LA: Thu.-Sun., June 20-23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. Block Party: Fri., June 21, 6-10 p.m., $20.—Shana Nys Dambrot


Celebrate the Solstice

You’ll be sure to want to stay in one place, ironically enough, when you ascend to the sainted pleasures on-high of tonight’s Rooftop Gypsy Party. Over one epic night of revelry and revelation, you’ll experience the gypsy jazz of Axon Orchestra, the ethnic deep house of Lito, various dancers, copious draughts of wine and beer, and of course the favorite food of Gypsies everywhere: crêpes! It’s Summer Solstice — the longest day of the year — so celebrate the Sun as it passes over all the warmth and enjoyment this party at the top of the world has to offer. Héritage Fine Wines, 467 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills; Fri., June 21, 6 p.m.; $10-20. (310) 888-8042,—David Cotner

Allison M. Keating at Blue Roof Studios (Courtesy of the artist)

sat 6/22


Under the Big Blue Roof

Once a church but you could say still a sacred space, Blue Roof Studios is an artist studio complex with 10 studios abundant and architecturally intriguing public spaces for workshops, cooking and exhibitions, which from to time they put to good use. So it is at this afternoon’s free summer solstice Arts Festival, which somehow fits several group art shows, a slate of music sessions and performance art pieces, hands-on ceramics and mural painting, screenings, and food into just five hours. Highlights include the group show about appetites and afflictions, “Let Me Eat Cake,” West African drumming, toy theater from Wild Art Group, outdoor sculpture, video art presented by Los Angeles Nomadic Division, chalk drawing, and modern dance. Good thing it’s a big roof. Blue Roof Studios, 7329 S. Broadway Ave., Florence; Sat., June 22, noon-5 p.m.; free, —Shana Nys Dambrot


Sí, Se Puede

Dolores Huerta is a giant among community organizers and civil rights activists. In addition to coining the inspiring United Farm Workers of America slogan “Sí, se puede,” she co-founded the National Farmworkers Association (later renamed UFW) with César Chávez, and she’s been a tireless and fearless defender of the rights of immigrants, women and Latinos. In a city where so many white, male politicians and warmongers have been enshrined in public spaces, it’s refreshing that the 89-year labor leader is being feted at Dolores Huerta Plaza Unveiling & Street Fest, a celebration with poet Nikki Darling (who advocated for the plaza) and musicians The Alice Bag Band (whose leader penned an homage titled “Dolores Huerta Street”), Ella, Lysa Flores and Trap Girl. Dolores Huerta Plaza, 2130 E. First St., Boyle Heights; Sat., June 22, 1-4 p.m.; free. (323) 526-9332. —Falling James

(Courtesy of the artist)

sun 6/23


Abstract Tropical

For painter Carolyn Castaño, the idea of weaving disparate threads together is more than a visual strategy, it is also a complex and nuanced historical commentary. By paring down and recombining elements culled from European and American hard edge abstraction, indigenous Latin American textiles, pre- and post-colonial cartography, and tropes of the “native” among border-blurring botanical biomes, Castaño achieves a perspective that is ambiguously meta, and also quite lovely. Her patterns and images unfurl and intertwine, overlap and surround one another, while her textures vibrate with a vulnerable variegation, fluttering like flags of a parallel nation. The Lair Gallery, inside Fred Segal, 8500 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Sun., June 23, 3-5 p.m.;, —Shana Nys Dambrot

Inscape (Ted Soqui)


Conjoined Ballet

Although perhaps best known for the topless swimsuit and championing androgynous fashion, Rudi Gernreich spent a decade as a dancer, dance teacher and costume designer with L.A.’s legendary Lester Horton Dance Theater. Horton’s inclusive company welcomed Alvin Ailey (who later left for New York, but that’s another story) and gay men like Gernreich, and where he met Horton’s muse Bella Lewitzky. Despite sounding a bit like the “begats” part of the book of Genesis, Gernreich’s time as dancer cemented his concept of freedom of movement in fashion and also forged his friendship with Lewitzky that decades later led to multiple collaborations, the most famous of which was the “Duotard”, a stretchy, bright red costume inhabited by two dancers for Lewitzky’s Inscape. That duotard as well as that iconic swimsuit are part of a current exhibit exploring the Gernreich fashion legacy and in a special performance, Luminario Ballet performs Lewitzky’s Inscape with Gernreich’s costumes and dancers, coached by John Pennington, a respected Lewitzky alum. The 3 p.m. show is a shortened, family friendly version, free with museum admission. The longer evening show is ticketed. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Sun., June 23, 3 & 6 p.m.; $15. –Ann Haskins


Everyone’s Favorite Monster

The original 1954 Godzilla is one of the mothers of horror movies, a tale of a mythical creature set in post-WWII nuclear Japan. What was a cult film has now become the longest running franchise in cinema history — 33 movies. Peekaboo Gallery and Gallery Nucleus co-present this tribute to the fire-breathing, building-crushing and tail-swerving monster at Vinyl Conflict: The World of Godzilla Toys. One of the world’s largest displays of Godzilla merchandise will include sofubi (soft vinyl) toys and memorabilia by makers Bullmark, M1-Go!, Marmit, Bandai and Marusan, as well as the collection of late film editor Mark Livolsi (The Jungle BookWedding CrashersThe Blind Side and The Devil Wears Prada). The organizers will project clips of various Godzilla versions, in addition to vintage Japanese commercials from the 1960-80s, while Yo Gabba Gabba!’s DJ Lance Rock spins retro Japanese pop. If that’s not enough, you can snap Insta-worthy photos with a roaming, costumed character and sip kaiju (monster)–themed drinks at the bar. Gallery Nucleus, 210 E. Main St., Alhambra; Sat., June 22, 7-11 p.m.; $10; Sun., June 23, noon-8 p.m.; $5. (626) 458-7477,–Siran Babayan

mon 6/24


Scary Stories

L.A. is a spooky town, and not just because of all the serial killers, crazy cults and goths who inhabit it. Everybody’s got a story about some strange encounter, creepy experience or dangerous situation, and that’s just in the mortal world. Add paranormal activity and our city’s many haunted locales, and it’s a recipe for a riveting story time. Macabre Mondays at Chloe’s Speakeasy inside Golden Road Brewery invites guests to share murderous tales, true crime-related yarns and other frightful stories — both of the personal nature and of the overheard variety. Taking place the last Monday of every month, this gathering of dark-minded sharing and wicked spoken word is an all-ages deal so it probably won’t get too graphic, but as with most horrific and historical entertainment, it’s the realism and facts surrounding the sharing that make it effective. Chloe’s at Golden Road Brewing, 5410 W. San Fernando Road, Glendale; Mon., June 24, 7 p.m.; free.—Lina Lecaro

tue 6/25


Breaking Genre Barriers

Elliott Sharp is a longtime composer and guitarist in the avant-garde music scene in New York City who has always sought to dismantle the barriers between jazz, No Wave, classical and experimental music with a cerebral, improvisational mindset. He applies that same open-ended approach to IrRational Music, his new memoir on Terra Nova Press. Among other things, Sharp “dodges fake cowboys’ real bullets by the side of a highway near Colby, Kansas; is called on the carpet by a prickly, pompadoured Morton Feldman (‘Improvisation … I don’t buy it’); [and] segues from Zen tea to single malt with an elfin John Cage.” Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Tue., June 25, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 659-3110,—Falling James

wed 6/26


Wet and Wild Fun

As seen on America’s Got TalentThe Human Fountains are exactly what the name implies — a group of guys who use their mouths and bodies to emulate water fountains. Sounds simple and sort of questionable as entertainment, but trust us, it’s not. The fellows (best friends from Denver who made a splash on AGT season 13) create true waterfalls of wonder, with choreographed spitting — yes, spitting — routines that are as chuckle-worthy as they are challenging. They consider themselves a comedy group, but they are much more than that, and H20 is only one of the ingredients. Sure, watching the group share and exchange various liquids and bodily fluids is funny, but the clever presentations (just watch them have “breakfast”) is what makes this wet and wild show something special, and a perfect offering for the Hollywood Fringe Festival which continues now through June 30. This is the second night of their five night engagement with the fest. The Actor’s Company, 916 N. Formosa, Fairfax;Tue.-Wed., June 25-26, 8:30 p.m., Thu., June 27, 9 p.m., Fri., June 28, 3:15 p.m., Sat., June 29, 12:45 p.m.; $15. —Lina Lecaro

thu 6/27


A Feast for the Eyes and the Stomach

The one-night-only dining trend may be taking over restaurants, but Brandon Hurley and Olivia Alvarez are doing more than just pairing food with beverages. Following last year’s pop-up in August, Composite will combine a curated menu, drinks and art exhibit all-in-one experience. The group show features paintings and installations by Andrew Davis, Olympia Altimir Galvez, Jared Yamahata, Natalie Wong, Kenny Malone, Steven Yu, Lloyd Thompson and Hurley, whose recent “In Bloom” works feature paintings of spray-paint cans with flowers. Sean Benedict will be mixing ’90s-themed concoctions with names like “Thin Mint” and “Ten Dollar Sunglasses,” while L.A.-born Alvarez, who’s worked at kitchens at The Culver Hotel, Los Angeles Athletic Center and Skylight Gardens, will create one-of-kind dishes, including pork belly tacos and coconut mango popsicles. START Los Angeles, 2270 Venice Blvd., Harvard Heights; Thu.-Sat., June 27-29, 7-11 p.m.;—Siran Babayan

Linda Ravenswood (Stan Hillas Jones)

Spoken Word

Making Sense of a Contradictory World

L.A. Press founder Linda Ravenswood celebrates and confronts the ever-evolving and bittersweet contradictions of life in Southern California with “Gen X Summer,” in which the poet is joined by fellow spoken-word artists Peggy Dobreer, Chelsea Rector, Emily Joyce, Andrew Wetmore, Koe San, Bernadette McComish and others. “In times where the landscape of Los Angeles has changed so much, opportunities have shifted, things are much more congested, with a graphic sense of desperation — and, for some people, a real sense of hopelessness and degeneration — how do we negotiate our big dreams for our town and for each other?” Ravenswood says to the Weekly about the group reading. Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, 681 N. Venice Blvd., Venice; Thu., June 27, 8 p.m.; $10. (310) 822-3006,—Falling James

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