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13 Best Things to do in L.A. This Week - LA Weekly

From one of the oldest Día de los Muertos celebrations in SoCal to a chance to get a book signed by a witch, here are the 13 best things to do in Los Angeles this week.

fri 11/1

FILM

Culture Clash

After a General Motors plant in Dayton, Ohio, shut down in 2008, laying off thousands of employees, a Chinese billionaire by the name of Cao Dewang reopened it in 2014 as Fuyao Glass America, manufacturing automobile glass. Though barely earning a middle-class living, the Americans and their 200 Chinese co-workers seemed hopeful. But as Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar’s new Netflix documentary American Factory (which was filmed over three years and produced by Michelle and Barack Obama’s Higher Ground Productions) shows, the clash of cultures and work ethics between the two — not to mention the threat of unionizing — interfered with the company’s success; the Chinese, who are diligent, obedient and not opposed to working 12-hour days, think they’re American counterparts are lazy, too chatty and have “fat fingers.” UCLA’s Film & Television Archive screens the film, followed by a Q&A with Reichert and moderator Anne Thompson, as part of its Julia Reichert: 50 Years in Film retrospective. Reichert and Bognar also directed the 2009 Oscar-nominated documentary short, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM PlantHammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m.; free with RSVP. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu—Siran Babayan

(Courtesy of Acid Free Los Angeles)

ART

Cultural & Archival

The second edition of the indie-tastic Acid Free Los Angeles Art Book Market returns to Culver City mega-gallery Blum & Poe for a full weekend of art-centric indie publishing vendors, videos, readings and conversations. With something like 100 groups, collectives, galleries, artisanal publishers, magazine specials and other literary device-wielders, you’ll make good use of all those free museum and NPR tote bags you’ve been hoarding. Things kick off Friday night with an opening party, and continue all weekend. Blum & Poe, 2727 La Cienega Blvd., Culver City; Friday, Nov. 1, 6-9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 2-3, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; free. acid-free.info—Shana Nys Dambrot

(Courtesy of Self Help Graphics)

sat 11/2

CULTURE

Day of the Dead

There are many Día de los Muertos commemorations around Southern California, but the version presented by Self Help Graphics is not only one of the longest-running local celebrations, it’s one of the oldest such ceremonies and events in the entire country. For the 46th edition of Día de los Muertos, the venerable East L.A. community center offers food, traditional dance troupes, art, crafts and face-painting. Even better, Self Help Graphics hosts an impressively varied lineup of musicians, including the “vibrant polyrhythmic sound” of dance-floor instigators Buyepongo, along with the preteen and teenage punk phenoms The Linda Lindas (who recently were selected by none other than Bikini Kill to open one of their Palladium shows), plus Weapons of Mass Creation, Blanco y Negro and others. Self Help Graphics, 1300 E. First St., Boyle Heights; Sat., Nov. 2, 4-10 p.m.; free; all ages. (323) 881-6444, selfhelpgraphics.com/diadelosmuertos2019—Falling James

FOOD&DRINK

Take a Deep Dive Into Tiki

Cast away your troubles and hold onto those last shining splinters of summertime at today’s Shipwrecked Tiki Social & Bazaar, a voyage deep into the heart of tiki consciousness that boasts two floors stuffed to bursting with over 30 vendors, South Seas artisans and more tropical cocktails this side than of Polynesia itself. It’s The Warehouse’s final tiki celebration of 2019, and throughout the course of four wondrous hours you’ll get to pore over the many marvels squirreled away in what stands as one of the most exotic marketplaces anywhere in Los Angeles. What better place to be shipwrecked than here? The Warehouse Restaurant, 4499 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey; Sat., Nov. 2, 11 a.m.; $5. (310) 823-5451, facebook.com/events/2476291879100517—David Cotner

Bricia Lopez presents Oaxaca (Courtesy of Vroman’s)

sun 11/3

FOOD&DRINK

Essential Oaxacan Recipes

It’s been 25 years since the Lopez family opened Guelaguetza in August 1994 on 8th Street in Koreatown. Since then, they’ve unveiled a wealth of culinary revelations that have invigorated and expanded the vibrancy of the Los Angeles restaurant scene. One swatch from the quilt that is that process of gustatory learning appears tonight when Bricia Lopez presents Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico ($40, Abrams). Guelaguetza co-honcho Bricia unveils 140 essential Oaxacan recipes in this substantial yet accessible volume — teaching you how to make everything from adobo to chilaquiles to molotes de masa con papas y chorizo. Vroman’s, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Sun., Nov. 3, 3 p.m.; free. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com/event/bricia-lopez-presents-and-signs-oaxaca-home-cooking-heart-mexico—David Cotner

ART

Days of Food and Roses

As the citywide cultural smorgasbord that has been the DCA’s CURRENT:LA FOOD triennial begins to clear away, celebrate its deliciousness at this Sunday afternoon’s rose garden art and poetry popup. The Art of Food: A Recipe for Community is presented by the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock, but happens near USC in the famous Expo Park Rose Garden, which has been the site of Michael Queenland’s sculpture. Today the site is activated with a family-friendly program of plein air sketching, vegetable-based printmaking, topical poetry, traditional chocolatiering, and all manner of creative engagement with the lyrical beauty of the natural environment and the bounty of artisanal health food it produces. Exposition Park Rose Garden, 701 State Drive, Exposition Park; Sun., Nov. 3, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. currentla.org/the-art-of-food-a-recipe-for-community—Shana Nys Dambrot

Amanda Yates Garcia (Tatiana Wills)

mon 11/4

BOOKS

Season of the Witch

“I’ve always made it a policy to do things that scare me,” Amanda Yates Garcia boldly declares in her fascinating new book, Initiated: Memoir of a Witch (Grand Central Publishing). As a witch, writer, artist and the self-declared Oracle of Los Angeles, Yates Garcia demystifies a lot of the misconceptions about life as a practicing witch, revealing how venerable pagan traditions not only resonate in modern, mechanized society but are also a source of relevance and inspiration for feminists and their allies. “This book is an alchemical mixture of memoir, mythology, manifesto, theory, visions and dreams,” she explains, and Initiated is just as much a compelling memoir about the author’s experiences as a sex worker and spiritual seeker as it is a guidebook to magical living that’s infused with impressive literary allusions and historical references. Yates Garcia discusses her new tome with fellow writer Reneice Charles. Book Soup, 1818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Mon., Nov. 4, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Falling James

DANCE

Merce and More Merce  

Dance Camera West along, with an impressive list of collaborators sponsors, a special screening series as part of the celebration marking what would have been the late choreographer Merce Cunningham’s centennial year. The “Merce Cunningham Centennial Screening Series,” showcases the modern dance legend’s ventures into film and video. The screenings have multiple co-sponsors and locations, including CalArts, CAP UCLA, USC and Grand Arts All Access at MOCA.  The films screen multiple times. Admission is free with a reservation. Complete list of films at dancecamerawest.org/events/merce-cunninghamMOCA Grand Avenue, 250 S. Grand, downtown; Sat., Nov. 2, multiple showings from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., free with RSVP. Also at UCLA Kaufman Hall, Studio 200, 120 Westwood Plaza, Westwood; Mon., Nov. 4, 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m., free with reservation. Also at CalArts Sharon Disney Lund Dance Theater, 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia; Tue., Nov. 5, 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m., free with RSVP. eventbrite.com/e/dance-camera-west-presents-merce-cunningham-centennial-film-series-tickets-76825901339—Ann Haskins

(Playing with Fire)

tue 11/5

ART

The Other, Artsier “Playing with Fire”

For a Tuesday, there’s plenty of culture happening at the arts school at CSULB today. It’s the campus Dia de los Muertxs party, and the stellar exhibition of contemporary printmakers from El Nopal Press, B.A.T. State III is still on view in the Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum. And in a perfect mix of the two, tonight the campus theater also screens the new documentary film on heralded L.A. painter Carlos Almaraz. Playing with Fire is a treasure trove of archival footage of Almaraz during his tragically short life, and interviews with art world figures and beloved friends and colleagues done after his untimely death and more recently, on the occasion of his massive LACMA survey. From a gloriously bohemian youth in NYC to foundational work as a pillar of Chicano style in important contemporary art and dedicated family man, Almaraz’s life is as colorful, explosive and full of surprises as his seminal art. CSULB University Theater, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach; Tue., Nov. 5, 5 p.m.; free. eventbrite.com/e/directors-film-screening-carlos-almaraz-playing-with-fire-tickets-76963851953. —Shana Nys Dambrot

BD Wong (Courtesy of Pasadena Playhouse)

wed 11/6

THEATER

Leap Year

Inspired by “the life and (short-lived) basketball career” of playwright Lauren Yee’s father, The Great Leap centers on a fictional amateur San Francisco basketball player who joins a college team just before it travels to China for an exhibition game. Although the 2018 play is set in 1989, when relations between the West and China were still thawing, its portrayal of various cultural clashes is timely, especially in the wake of the recent uproar in China after an NBA executive tweeted his support of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. Yees’ previous plays, such as King of the Yees, are distinguished by her seemingly lighthearted and witty dialogue, which inevitably reveals her characters’ personalities and hopes in rich detail. BD Wong directs a cast that includes Grant Chang, Justin Chien, Christine Lin and Beverly Hill 90210’s James Eckhouse. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molina Ave., Pasadena; opens Wed., Nov. 6, 8 p.m.; through Sun., Dec. 1, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; $25-$92. (626) 356-7529, pasadenaplayhouse.org. —Falling James

POETRY

Sing the Body Electric

Fan of poetry? Walt Whitman, arguably America’s greatest poet, turned 200 this year, and UCLA has been celebrating the bicentennial of his birth since spring with a series of live poetry, talks, marathon readings, music and other performances. As part of the school-wide Whitmania, the Fowler Museum hosts Fowler Out Loud: Singing the Body Electric. Inspired by “I Sing the Body Electric” from Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, the most important American book of poetry, the event features additional readings by UCLA faculty Dr. Amber West and Dr. Susannah Rodriguez Drissi, puppetry by Audrey Densmore and jazz-blues music by Rachel Garcia and Thu Tran of the duo The Singer and The Songwriter. Fowler Museum at UCLA, 308 Charles E. Young Drive N., Westwood.; Wed., Nov. 6, 6-7 p.m.; free. (310) 825-4361, fowler.ucla.edu. —Siran Babayan

Nao Bustamante (Courtesy of Dirty Looks)

thu 11/7

ART

Crazy Eye

Performance artist Nao Bustamante loves the camera, and from all evidence, it loves her right back. In her cheeky, visceral, darkly absurd and politically charged stagings, she often adopts colorful, even challenging personae — a practice which has served her well across more allegedly mainstream television situations, such as her memorable appearance on the Jerry Saltz reality show, Work of Art. Tonight’s program, Nao Bustamante Is Delusional is presented by Dirty Looks, who regularly produce evenings of eclectic and progressive short videos. But in the case of Bustamante’s vastly interdisciplinary and intersectional body of work, they need look no further than this one-woman film festival for a kaleidoscopic array of beautiful, subversive madness. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; (213) 237-2800, redcat.org; Thu., Nov. 7, 8:30 p.m.; $12-15. —Shana Nys Dambrot

ART

Vanguard of Storytelling

Originally a New York event for the past three years, On Air Fest introduces the inaugural On Air LA Annex, a two-day celebration of podcasting as a growing and influential medium with podcast hosts and producers, as well as musicians, DJs and other artists in the audio industry, taking part in discussions and live tapings. Thursday’s “Art of the Podcast: Dispatches from the Vanguard of Audio Storytelling” features Nate DiMeo, Lea Thau, James Kim, Ben Adair and Amy Nicholson. While Friday’s “Music and Storytelling: Artists at the Crossroads” includes Kaitlin Prest, Hrishikesh Hirway, Justin Richmond, Arshia Haq and Anne Litt, with an additional performance by Josh Kun and musicians San Cha and Cesar Castro. Each evening is preceded by a cocktail reception. KCRW’s Annenberg Performance Studio, 1660 Stewart St., Santa Monica; Thu.-Fri., Nov. 7-8, 7-10 p.m.; $35. events.kcrw.com/events/on-airfest—Siran Babayan