From a circus proud to fly its freak flag to Shakespeare in Griffith Park, here are the 13 best things to do in L.A. this week.

fri 8/23


All the Disney You Could Want

One person’s “immersion” is another person’s “mainlining,” and there’s nothing quite so consumptive as this year’s D23 Expo 2019, undoubtedly the most intensive and exhaustive Disney fan experience in the whole wide world. There have been a few mergers since last D23, so now you get Marvel and Lucasfilm worlds along with the usual imagineering from the Pixar and Disney universes. Film, TV, amusement parks, marketing, online programming, cosplay, the latest inductees into the halls of Disney Legends — they’re all here, live and direct and transportive in a way unparalleled by most magic available in this world today. Through Sunday. Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim; Fri., Aug. 23, 10 a.m.; $69-89. (714) 765-8950,—David Cotner


Be Proud and Raise a Roof

Celebrating and raising awareness about Los Angeles’ LGBTQ+ community with a spotlight on culture, history, diversity and humanity, this year’s DTLA PROUD is focused on sharing experiences and connecting people while spreading optimism. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization who puts on this lively three-day gay gathering at Pershing Square are presenting vendors, artists, performers and speakers with local stage, info booths, installations, food trucks, bars, a pop-up water park, and other interactive amusements. Proceeds from the festival will help build a planned DTLA Proud Community Center. Scheduled to appear: Cheer Los Angeles (cheerleading, stunt and dance group promoting awareness, spirit, and diversity in the LGBTQIA+ community), Zig-A-Zig-Ah! (Spice Girls Drag show tribute act), Lady Gaga impersonator Judas Joe Manson with the Cali X Auras dance crew, Vancie Vega (renowned Dolly Parton tribute performer), Abhora (as seen on the Boulet Brothers TV show Dragula) with apocalyptic lip syncs, and Lady Red Couture’s Black Girl Magic: Los Angeles, a  vampy variety show featuring Amber Crane and Cameron Nico, burlesque dancer Jessabelle Thunder, Jasmine Masters of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and many more. DJs, dancing and more throughout the weekend too. Pershing Square, 532 S Olive St., downtown; Fri.-Sat., Aug. 23-24, 4-10 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 25, noon-10 p.m.; free-$10.—Lina Lecaro

sat 8/24


Ending Displacement

Sometimes when neighborhoods are torn apart by socioeconomic changes, art is one of the best ways to enshrine these communities and inspire people to preserve them. As Little Tokyo undergoes such changes and its longtime residents find it increasingly difficult to afford to live in their own homes, the Little Tokyo Summer Arts Series presents a series of art events centered on the theme “ending cycles of displacement.” This weekend, dancer-choreographers Marina Fukushima and Isak Immanuel conjure a “Festival of Shadows: Mapping Invisible Dances,” which is described as “an immersive, intergenerational performance reflecting on present and absent bodies, community, and the precarious borders of Little Tokyo within downtown Los Angeles.” Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, Aratani Theatre and plaza, 244 S. San Pedro St., Little Tokyo; Sat.-Sun., Aug. 24-25, 7:30 p.m.; free. (213) 628-2725,—Falling James

(Courtesy of Lisa Derrick Fine Arts)


Thanks and Goodnight

Katie Salisbury is proud of her Chinese heritage (she’s fourth generation) and curious about the ways in which immigration has played out in the Chinese-American community. For a place to start, in 2016 she began getting to know the people who work in the popular and ubiquitous Chinese restaurants that are the mainstay of Chinatown neighborhoods from her own in Brooklyn, to Lisa Derrick Fine Arts in Los Angeles. That’s where “Thank You Enjoy!” has brought Salisbury’s evocative and empathetic photojournalism to the L.A. stop on its TED talk-fueled exhibition travel scheduled; and where Saturday night’s closing reception offers one last look before the show continues on its way. Lisa Derrick Fine Arts, 961 Chung King Road, Chinatown; Sat., Aug., 24, 6-8 p.m.; free.(424) 835-2793,—Shana Nys Dambrot


As American as Fast Food

IDrive-Thru Dreams: A Journey Through the Heart of America’s Fast-Food Kingdom, Adam Chandler writes that the “United States is and remains a fast-food nation” and that McDonald’s’ Golden Arches is a “sign more recognizable than the Christian cross.” The Brooklyn-based author, who reads his book tonight, explores the industry titans responsible for our cheap-food eating habits, from McDonald’s’ Ray Kroc to KFC’s Colonel Harland Sanders to White Castle’s Walter Anderson, who opened the country’s first fast-food chain in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921. Chandler looks at the proliferation of drive-thrus, invention of menu items like the Egg McMuffin and Doritos Locos Taco, ever growing vegetarian options and fast food in the rest of the world, including Moscow, where, in 1990, the opening of the first McDonald’s attracted more than 30,000 customers. Chandler also throws in some only-in-America anecdotes, including one about a New Jersey woman who stored her sister’s ashes in a White Castle-shaped urn and a Nevada kid who scored free Wendy’s chicken nuggets after more than three million retweets. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.; Sat., Aug. 24, 4 p.m.; free. (310) 659-3110,—Siran Babayan

Graffiti historian Steve Grody in front of artwork by (left to right) Dame, Retna, and a collaboration between Risk, Revok and Abel, all of MSK crew during the Arts District Graffiti Tour with Cartwheel Art (Cindy Schwarzstein)

sun 8/25


Rolling Through Street Art History

L.A. is home to some of the best graffiti and street art in the country — nearly 100 murals in downtown’s Arts District alone. In his excellent 2007 book, Graffiti L.A.: Street Styles and Art, author and artist Steve Grody chronicled the history and culture of local graffiti, from Hollywood to South Central to Huntington Beach, dating back to the 1930s. Grody, along with founder Cindy Schwarzstein and others, conducts tours and workshops for downtown arts organization Cartwheel Art. For Graffiti & Machines Tour, Grody will guide you through all the graffiti in the Arts District, including an “actual graffiti yard,” and discuss the art form’s many styles. He’ll be joined by Joseph “Nuke” Montalvo, a graffiti artist for more than 25 years and a member of the UTI Crew, who’ll lead a lettering workshop at The House of Machines, the new, nearby motorcycle shop/events space/café that opened last year. The House of Machines, 2028 E. 7th St., downtown; Sun., Aug. 25, 2-5 p.m.; $48. —Siran Babayan

mon 8/26


Evening of Afrobeat

You don’t have to change your name to “He Who Carries Death in His Pouch,” start your own Nigerian micronation and give birth to Afrobeat to become a legend — but it doesn’t hurt! On Fela Day 2019, give thanks to your various deities for the life and adventures of one Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti — or Fela Kuti, to you and me — and give yourself the gift of Fela’s signature mix of anger, activism and ass-shaking Afro-funk, along with cocktails, incessant dancing and endless beat-driven meditation, Nigerian cuisine and the Afrobeat stylings of Los Angeles’ very own Najite & Olokun Prophecy.Townhouse & The Del Monte Speakeasy, 52 Windward Ave., Venice; Sun., Aug. 25, 8 p.m.; $15 before 10 p.m./$20 after. (310) 392-4040, —David Cotner

tue 8/27


Roll Out the Red Carpet

The  Dance Vision Awards 2019 hosted by Dancing With The Stars alums Karina Smirnoff and Tony Dovolani will waltz into the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood on Tuesday, August 27 with live music, a sit-down dinner and champagne reception. A variety of performances for the evening will include Ilya Serov, live violinist and guitar duo, Hudson Delilah, and the award presentation by celebrities. Live raffle items include  a chance to win a three-night stay at Paradisus Los Cabos in Mexico. The Dance Vision Awards recognizes excellence, achievement and creativity in the national, international ballroom world and dance sport communities. The night to remember will bring the worldwide dance communities for one night to nominate, celebrate and award their stars. There will be a select few pro-am showcase performances on the dance floor. The Platinum Ticket for $300 includes full set dinner, premier wines, red carpet reception, cocktail cash bar, premium seating and free valet parking. Taglyan Complex , 1201 Vine St., Hollywood; Tue., Aug. 27, 6:30 p.m.; $260 and up. —Michele Stueven

Independent Shakespeare Co. (Grettel Cortes)

wed 8/28


The Great Bard

Who makes the fairest show means the most deceit,” Shakespeare once opined in his play Pericles, Prince of Tyre (a work that might have been co-written by other people). Every year, the merry folks at Independent Shakespeare Co. make a pretty fair show without too much deception involved, as they gambol about the sylvan trees and hills of Griffith Park when they stage free performances of the Bard’s plays. Through the end of this month, performances of Pericles alternate with Twelfth Night. In Pericles, Melissa Chalsma directs cast members Gyasi Silas, Aisha Kabia, Bukola Ogunmola, Lorenzo González and others through a multigenerational tale involving shipwrecks, royal riddles and familial love. The Old Zoo at Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Griffith Park; Wed., Aug. 28, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 710-6306,—Falling James

Hair Party (Nicholas Hussong)


Hair Party

Founded 35 years ago by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women is a Brooklyn-based, African-American performance troupe that incorporates dance, music and storytelling. One of ensemble’s current works, Hair & Other Stories (adapted from the 2001’s Hair Stories), is inspired by the performers’ personal stories that use hair as a talking point and how it relates to race, body image and class among not only African-American women, but all women of color. With new music and choreography by Chanon Judson and Samantha Spies, UBW debuts excerpts at Urban Bush Women: Hair Party (Getting It Done!) at the Skirball (in conjunction with the museum’s latest exhibit, “Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite”), prior to their full-length performance at the Ford Amphitheater on August 30. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Wed., Aug. 28, 1-2 p.m.; free, RSVP required. (310) 440-4500,—Siran Babayan


Beach Concerts

Sometimes a free concert by the beach can be too popular for its own good. A few years ago, the Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier was drawing so many people that the parking lots quickly filled up and the pier was uncomfortably packed with thousands of listeners. The series has been rebranded as Twilight on the Pier, with the concerts moved from Thursdays to Wednesdays, and the bookings have since emphasized mellower, less-popular musical acts. The series nonetheless kicked off last week with a set from fiery soul diva Jen Awad, and future weeks will spotlight Niger desert warrior Bombino, reggae from ex-Slits member Hollie Cook, and pop aristocrat Cornelius. This week’s “Latin Wave” program includes the low-key pop ruminations of Helado Negro and the comparatively dramatic and florid art-pop stylings of local diva San Cha. Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica; Wed., Aug. 28, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 458-8900,—Falling James

thu 8/29


True Crime

In tandem with the bracing, inestimable exhibition “The Art of the Archive: Photographs from the Los Angeles Police Archive,” House of Lucie Talks presents A Conversation With Steve Hodel. A true crime author and 24-year veteran homicide detective with the L.A. Police Department, Hodel knocked it out of the park with his first book, the New York Times-bestselling Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder. Apropos of all that, he’ll be holding forth about his years on the force, life as a private investigator, and how his father George killed Elizabeth Short and a bunch of other people. Wait, what? House of Lucie (in ROW DTLA), 1318 E. 7th St., M1 Ste. #140, downtown; Thu. Aug. 29, 6 p.m.; free. (310) 659-0122,—David Cotner


Flying the Freak Flag

One of us! One of us! “Freak” is no longer a derogatory word, in fact in a basic bitch world, being unique is something to celebrate in bigger and bolder ways than ever. The people behind the Freakshow party in Venice are going bigger, weirder and more wondrous with a special event in Downtown called Le Freak! And it’s a can’t miss for alternative circus-style entertainment. The sideshow inspired extravaganza features huge DJs (Cut Chemist, Funk Freaks, Supreme La Rock, DJ Aaron Paar) spinning decadent disco, funk, soul and house, and of course, an array of astounding and audacious live performances via the Venice shindig and via the cast of AMC’s TV show Freakshow. Behold at the sights and delights of: Larry the Wolf Boy from Mexico, Kanya “the amazing living half girl,” female sword swallower Juliette Electrique, Samara the Snake Lady, Lady Twisto, “the world famous rubber girl,” Jessa the Bearded Lady and internationally known body modified/ tattooed clown Richie the Barber. Burlesque dancers, drag queens, stunt performers and more round out the fun and it’s all hosted “the Amazing Ali,” from Lifetime’s Little Women: LAThe Mayan, 1038 S. Hill St., downtown; Thu., Aug. 29, 9 p.m.-2 a.m.; $20- $50 (21+) —Lina Lecaro

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