From a birthday party for everyone’s favorite anthropomorphic Sanrio animal to a chance to play with building blocks while drinking beer, here are the 13 best things to do in Los Angeles this week.

fri 9/20


Happy 45th Birthday!

Hello Kitty is 45 and at this point in her life, the cat lady knows how to throw a party. She’s going global to celebrate this year with the Hello Kitty Friends Around the World Tour, a 10,000-square-foot pop-up featuring five backdrop jaunts to London, Paris, New York, Honolulu and Tokyo, and goodies galore along the journey, including a commemorative passport (stamped at each destination), a boarding pass and a Hello Kitty crown. Five rooms, each dedicated to a unique destination, offer immersive fun and photo ops, and of course there’s an epic (baggage claim-themed) gift shop with exclusive merch, including collabs with Girl Skateboards, Herschel Supply Co. and Levi’s. LA Plaza Village, 555 N. Spring St., downtown; Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Thu.-Fri., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun., 10 a.m.-8 p.m; through Oct. 20.; tickets are timed, $22-50/children under 3 free. —Lina Lecaro

J. C. Milligan, Crowds at Bullock’s Department Store, Broadway, Los
Angeles, August 1919. Gelatin
silver print, 10 3/4 x 13 3/4 in. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

sat 9/21


A Big Year

The Huntington, recently renamed The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, marks its centennial with a year-long celebration and new exhibit, “Nineteen Nineteen.” Culled from the museum’s holdings of some 11 million items, the nearly 300 objects on display are divided into five thematic sections — Fight, Return, Map, Move, and Build — and include photographs, art, books, maps, posters and other archival material that look at crucial events and issues from world history from the year the institution was founded in 1919: the aftermath of WW I, Paris Peace Conference, passing of women’s right to vote, a flu pandemic, etc. The exhibit also explores significant moments related to local history, including those of founders Henry E. and Arabella Huntington, and how they transformed their private estate and collection into a public institution. The Huntington, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino; Mon. & Wed.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; through Jan. 20.; $29, $24 seniors & students, children $13, under 4 free. (626) 405-2100,—Siran Babayan


Indie Publishers, State TV

The Wende Museum is brilliant at pairing historical cultural objects from the Cold War era with salient contemporary art, music, film, and literature — and this weekend is no exception. While their current exhibition Watching Socialism: The Television Revolution in Eastern Europe (on view through October 20) answers the question of what was on TV in the Soviet Bloc, Saturday afternoon also affords the chance to turn off the telly and pick up a book. Actually, one of hundreds of books, as they welcome dozens of regional independent publishers and literary organizations for a free, all-day book fair organized by Vagabond Press and featuring writing and publishing workshops, poetry, readings and more from eclectic sources including Beyond Baroque, Tia Chucha Press, Angel City Press, Poets&Writers, LARB and the Mayme Clayton Library and Museum.Wende Museum, 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City; Sat., Sept. 21, 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; free.—Shana Nys Dambrot


Transgressive Movie Night

Kenneth Anger is a transgressive filmmaker who has long found dark beauty and strangeness in his films, which drew upon themes of the occult and homosexuality long before such subjects were explored by mainstream directors. At the Kenneth Anger Equinox Celebration, six of his films will be screened (including Scorpio Rising and Rabbit’s Moon). In addition to a discussion of his work, Anger will wave his magisterial hands and conjure sounds from a theremin as Technicolor Skull with accompaniment from guitarist Brian Butler. The Regent Theater, 448 S. Main St., downtown; Sat., Sept. 21, 9 p.m.; $25-$55. (323) —Falling James

(Courtesy of Curated Agency)


Get Your Lederhosen Ready

When the air catches that sudden chill and the fronds turn from beige to brown, Oktoberfest Returns — and there’s a trio of German eateries that will preside over all those Oktoberfestivities you always dreamed about but never had a chance to experience. Wirtshaus, and Rasselbocks in both Long Beach and Mar Vista, offer celebrants first crack at the ceremonial Oktoberfest kegs of beer, and all locations will have the latest in Bavarian pork shanks, schnitzel both wiener and otherwise, happy maniacs in festive costumes, and more authentic German music than you can shake at a dirndl at. Through October 26. Wirtshaus, 345 N. La Brea Ave., Fairfax / Rasselbock, 3817 Grand View Blvd., Mar Vista / Rasselbock, 4020 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach; Sat., Sept. 21, 3 p.m.; free. (323) 931-9291, / / — David Cotner

(Courtesy of the Brick Bar)

sun 9/22


Drunk Architecture

Playing with building blocks is not just for kids. For the last few years, The Brick Bar has been hosting traveling pop-ups (not affiliated with LEGO) in cities like New York, London, Sydney and Toronto, turning drinking beer and playing with the classic toys into adult fun. Boomtown Brewery, the brewery, taproom and events space in downtown’s Arts District, will feature sculptures made from more than a million building blocks resembling everything from a tennis table to a fountain to an adult ball pit. If you’re not too hammered, you can create your own sculpture in one of the building stations while downing a Bohemian Pilsner, Belgian White or any of the other craft beers. And no beer event would be complete without DJs and food trucks. Boomtown Brewery, 700 Jackson St., downtown; Thu.-Fri., Sept. 19-20, 5-9:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Sept. 21-22, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; $20. (213) 617-8497, —Siran Babayan


Post-Apocalyptic Performance Art

“Capitalism will fall, then we will have a ball,” striking teachers chanted in Oakland earlier this year. The slogan inspired local artists to envision what such a celebration would be like, so organizer Martabel Wasserman and friends are holding their own Post-Capitalism Ball. Saluting “the queer spirit of turning melancholy and mourning into fantastical resistance and reimaginings of the world,” the ball is described as a kind of “post-apocalyptic performance-art fashion show” that includes speculative readings and performances by local writers and artists. A highlight will be Xiaowei Wang’s Land + Sea nail salon, which is intended to evoke “the intimate, confessional qualities of a nail salon to facilitate grounded conversations about climate change in a safe space.” Pieter Performance Space, 420 W. Avenue 33, Lincoln Heights; Sun., Sept. 22, 7-10 p.m. (747) 888-2728, —Falling James

mon 9/23


Meet the Cast of Longmire

Thrill to the wonders of wolves and Wyoming at An Evening with Craig Johnson, where he’ll discuss his latest book, Land of Wolves ($28, Viking). Johnson’s mellers about Wyoming detective Walt Longmire —  a figure that might be described as a cross between Matlock, Atlanta Attorney and Walker, Texas Ranger — enjoyed six seasons’ worth of intrigue and drama on A&E and Netflix. Johnson joins cast members from the series to explain how well they’d do against Longmire in a trident fight, if they actually read the book before they came here, and what they really think of it, especially that ending. The Writers Guild Theater, 135 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills; Mon., Sept. 23, 8 p.m.; $50 reserved + book / $40  general + book / $20 general. (323) 782-4525,—David Cotner

(Courtesy of the author)

tue 9/24


Kent State

After President Nixon announced the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia on April 30, 1970, students protested on the campus of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, from May 1 to May 4. Howard Ruffner, then a sophomore and school photographer, caught the unarmed students clashing with the Ohio National Guard amid throwing rocks and tear gas, resulting in four students dead and nine wounded. One of Ruffner’s images of the wounded landed on the cover of Life magazine; later, he would testify and his pictures used in the civil trials against the guardsmen. In his new book, Moments of Truth: A Photographer’s Experience of Kent State 1970, which he discusses tonight, Ruffner pairs nearly 150 images (many never before seen) with a timeline and text that retrace the details and key figures of one of the anti-war movement’s biggest events almost 50 years later. Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Tue., Sept. 24, 7 p.m.; free. (626) 449-5320,—Siran Babayan

wed 9/25


Baring Truths

The latest chapter of this year’s LAMBDA LitFest comes down fast with readings from Hustling Verse: An Anthology of Sex Workers Poetry ($17.95, Arsenal Pulp Press). Poetry written between and during sex work can be some of the most inadvertently intimate and beautiful of all possible verse, and in this entry into the poetic pantheon, over 50 sex workers reveal their respective realities about life. At tonight’s reading, editors Amber Dawn and Justin Ducharme join local contributors Milcah Halili and Garuda Love in expressing themselves, bearing — and baring — those truths they find to be self-evident. Skylight Books, 1814 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Wed., Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175,—David Cotner


The Bohemian Life

La bohème is one of the great tearjerkers in all of opera. Composed by Giacomo Puccini with a libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, the opera depicts the rambunctious revelry of a group of struggling young artists in 19th-century Paris and centers on two lovers, a seamstress named Mimi (portrayed by Italian-American soprano Marina Costa-Jackson) and a poet named Rodolfo (Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu). The gang of friends’ merrymaking — highlighted by the sensual interplay between tormented painter Marcello (South Korean baritone Kihun Yoon) and the flirtatious singer Musetta (U.S. soprano Erica Petrocelli) — is interrupted when Mimi is stricken by a mysterious illness. Director Barrie Kosky was the creative force behind L.A. Opera’s surreal and wildly inventive makeover of The Magic Flute, although he is taking a relatively traditional approach in this semi-lavish (with Victoria Behr’s striking, evocative costumes and Rufus Didwiszus’ minimal but arty scenery) new production from Komische Oper Berlin. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown.; Wed., Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m.; through Sun., Oct. 6; $27-$349. (213) 972-8001,—Falling James

thu 9/26


West Coast Premieres

In 2018, BODYTRAFFIC debuted at this venue as the final event of the dance season. This year, the contemporary company assumes the mantel of company-in-residence and opens a dance season devoted entirely to L.A.-based dance companies. Led by artistic directors Lillian Rose Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, BODYTRAFFIC has attracted dancers who move seamlessly from impressive ballet technique through a range of equally demanding contemporary moves, abilities that draw major national and international choreographers to create on the company. For this program, the company selected two works from L.A.-based choreographers, a world premiere by Michaela Taylor and a West Coast premiere by James Gregg and Rubberlegz known as Wewolf. The program also includes a U.S. premiere from Fernando Hernando Magadan (artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theatre 2) plus the reprise of A Million Voices by Ballet X artistic director Matthew Neenan which had its world premiere in BODYTRAFFIC’s 2018 debut program here. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Thu.-Sat., Sept. 26-28, 7:30 p.m., $39-$99.—Ann Haskins


Gotta Get Out

Everyone needs to escape every once in a while. Whether it’s a Great Escape, teleportation, a spider hole, a house on Martha’s Vineyard or Escape Club’s hit single “Wild Wild West,” tonight’s edition of Pop-Up Magazine: The Escape Issue clues you in to all the quiet horrors and gentle conflicts that your fellow human beings go bonkers every day trying to escape. It’s an issue that gives you storytelling as confrontation as much as it gives you blessed release — and tonight’s themes of escape unveil the universality of the human condition at its heaviest, most frustrated and hungriest for freedom. The Theater at The Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Thu., Sept. 26, 6:30 p.m.; $39-49. (213) 235-9614,—David Cotner

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