From the rhythmic glory that is L.A. Salsa Festival to a music, arts and food festival courtesy of Caltech and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a Memorial Day pool party and a festival celebrating zines, a performance honoring the memory of the Holocaust and an art exhibition of works on circular surfaces, here are the 14 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!

fri 5/25


Putting Down Hometown Roots

L.A. Dance Project's local performances regrettably have been few and far between. Benjamin Millepied and LADP have taken some chiding for being largely absent from L.A. despite benefiting from the cachet of L.A. in its name during its many tours. That seems to be changing with increased local shows, including two performances in the past year as part of a residency at Beverly Hills' Wallis Annenberg Theater. A watershed moment may be the opening of LADP's own studio, offices and performance space, which that hosts two weekends of Live From 2245, a title that also should help audiences recall the Arts District address. Program A pairs Noé Soulier's Second Quartet with the L.A. premiere of Millepied's Bach Studies (Part I). Program B includes Martha Graham Duets, drawn from Graham's larger works and Millepied's On the Other Side and Hearts & Arrows. Check for program schedule. L.A. Dance Project, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown; Fri.-Sat., May 25-26 & Thu.-Sat., May 31-June 2, 8 p.m.; $25, $20 students. —Ann Haskins

Matthew Aucoin's Crossing imagines history through the eyes of Walt Whitman.; Credit: Steven Laxton

Matthew Aucoin's Crossing imagines history through the eyes of Walt Whitman.; Credit: Steven Laxton


Meditations on War and Loss

Even as L.A. Opera winds down its current season of traditional operas, with Matthew Aucoin conducting two more performances of Verdi's classic tears-of-a-clown tragedy Rigoletto, the local company still has some surprises in store via its Off Grand series of newer, more experimental works. Artist-in-residence Aucoin presents the local debut of Crossing, his operatic meditation on war and loss as imagined through the eyes of poet Walt Whitman (portrayed by baritone Rod Gilfry). Tenor Brenton Ryan depicts an injured Civil War soldier, bass-baritone Davóne Tines plays an escaped slave, and ever-versatile soprano Liv Redpath reinvents herself as the Messenger. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Fri.-Sat., May 25-26, 8 p.m.; $55-$95. (310) 746-4000, —Falling James


Spicy Rhythms

The 20th annual Los Angeles Salsa Festival's unbridled celebration of salsa dancing mastery delivers all the grace, beauty and passion of the art form when you give yourself to the rhythm and dance the weekend away. Stuffed to bursting with the finest Latin bands, dancers and teachers, you'll immerse yourself in over 450 artists, more than 60 workshops and at least 80 performances. It all comes to a head with Dance Your Ass Off, a dance competition in the grand ballroom, which will generate so much kinetic energy that you'll swear the very Earth itself had moved. Loews Hollywood, 1755 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; Fri., May 25, 9-4a.m., Sat.-Sun., May 26-27, 7-4 a.m.; $85-$400. (877) 942-7923, —David Cotner

sat 5/26


Food for Thought

So many titles, so little room in the kitchen. How do you choose? Let Celebrate a Taste of Vroman's help you decide which cookbook(s) to add to your shelf. The Pasadena mainstay will be offering sample recipes from some of the latest cookbooks, including HGTV star Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering; New York Times food columnist Melissa Clark's Favorite Recipes From Melissa Clark's Kitchen; L.A. designer Nathan Turner's Nathan Turner's I Love California; restaurateur Eddie Hernandez's Turnip Greens & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen; L.A. food blogger Gaby Dalkin's What's Gabby Cooking: Everyday California Cooking; and San Francisco Chronicle food columnist Jessica Battilana's Repertoire: All the Recipes You Need. The bookstore will also serve samples of some of the food products it sells, including scones and chocolates. After you've filled up on freebies, you can go home and attempt to make Gaines' Eggs Benedict Casserole, Hernandez's Mexican Mint Julep or Dalkin's Charred Octopus Tacos. Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Sat., May 26, 12:30 p.m.; free. (626) 449-5320, —Siran Babayan

Rhiannon Valenti's Felicity, California is among the featured work in "Circular."; Credit: Rhiannon Valenti

Rhiannon Valenti's Felicity, California is among the featured work in “Circular.”; Credit: Rhiannon Valenti


A Circular You Don't Want to Miss

“This painting was meant conceptually to be done on a round canvas. It is like the round world itself. It takes my idea into an ideal,” local artist Rhiannon Valenti says of her latest work, Felicity, California, which is part of “Circular,” a group exhibition in which artists create works on circular canvases and spherical surfaces. “I was going to do [Felicity] on a rectangular canvas as usual … but this show invite from

Om Bleicher really inspired me to integrate the shape of the canvas as part of the illusion of the round glass container,” she says. Valenti's colorfully surreal oil painting, on a custom-made 66-inch-diameter canvas, depicts Barbie and Ken reclining inside the shimmering, glassy reflections of a magical terrarium. bG Gallery, 3009 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica; opening reception Sat., May 26, 6-9 p.m., hours: Tue.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat., 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; through June 10; free. (310) 906-4211, —Falling James

This year's Prabhupada Festival will be spread over two days.; Credit: Courtesy Bhagavad-gita Museum

This year's Prabhupada Festival will be spread over two days.; Credit: Courtesy Bhagavad-gita Museum


Bring Out Your Inner Krishna

The stately Krishna temple in Culver City hosts its 27th annual Prabhupada Festival from sunrise prayer to sunset dinner on two days. This is a massive, flower-strewn, glittery, musical, chariot-carrying occasion, with communal kitchens and performances as well as an art show called “Windows to the Spiritual World” showcasing early pioneers of Krishna art. In the midst of this epic, free festival, the Atlas Obscura Society, which highlights unusual places, hosts an intimate private tour of the site's Bhagavad-gita Museum, and its impossibly glorious and eccentric treasure trove of animatronic ceramic puppets. The puppets enact narrated, kinetic, effects–lit musical scenes from the sacred teachings. Atlas Obscura does this tour a few times a year, so if this one sells out there will be another one soon — but in the meantime, the free two-day festival looks pretty magical in its own right. Bhagavad-gita Museum, 3764 Watseka Ave., Palms; Sat.-Sun., May 26-27, 4:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; free. —Shana Nys Dambrot

L.A. Zinefest; Credit: Daisy Noemi

L.A. Zinefest; Credit: Daisy Noemi

sun 5/27


Calling All Ziners

Festivals celebrating the humble, DIY zine have been flourishing in neighborhoods everywhere, blogs and social media be damned. Our city's biggest, the L.A. Zine Fest, has been honoring printed lit for the past seven years. This year more than 200 zine authors and small-press publishers — with names like #SNATCHPOWER/FUCK U PAY US, Awkward Ladies Club, Cheer the Eff Up and Koreangry — will present their art, stories and comics in all shapes and sizes. A highlight is a reading by Garrison Alecsaunder, Nick Paul, Linda Leigh, Simone, QM Tabia and Impress Amber of the Skid Row Zine Collective, which comprises artists from Skid Row. As always, the event offers live music, workshops, zine libraries, arcade games, an art exhibit, a photo booth and a panel discussion on “Black Femme Zinester.” Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena; Sun., May 27, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. (626) 795-9311, —Siran Babayan


Get Out of Jail Free

That boardgame you never actually finish and great food meet at MAINopoly: A Taste of Main Street. Whether it's ooey-gooey mac and cheese from Manchego, silky smooth ice cream courtesy of Sweet Rose Creamery or cookies better than your mom used to make from Stella Barra, there'll be food and drinks from more than a dozen local restaurants on tap. Note to those prone to guilty consciences: Your gluttony will be raising money for the annual Summer SOULstice. Patriotic and/or Monopoly-inspired attire is encouraged. Parking will be limited, so ridesharing and public transit are encouraged. Ashland Hill, 2807 Main Street, Santa Monica; Sun., May 27, 1-6 p.m.; $25-$40 in advance, $30-$50 day of. —Avery Bissett

mon 5/28


Breaking Stereotypes

Today's fourth annual Techstock Music and Arts Festival brings together the Caltech and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory communities for an all-day extravaganza that's the absolute apex of scientifically advanced entertainment. Bands will battle and only one will emerge victorious; rapper Bryce Vine will headline and cool out all the musical infighting; and everyone will enjoy the art fair with works of all genres created by faculty and students. Pigs will be roasted and barbecued, games for kids of all ages will commence, and the libations will flow freely in this celebration of new discoveries and old friendships renewed. California Institute of Technology, Beckman Lawn, 1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena; Mon., May 28, 2 p.m.; free. (626) 395-6811, —David Cotner


Kicking Off Summer Right

Beat the heat as Masterbeat heats the beat in this erotic, sweaty salute to the pleasures of the coming summer months. Today's Masterbeat Naval Academy: Memorial Day Pool Party on the rooftop of the glorious Andaz Hotel boasts sensuous and sinewy tribal and progressive beats from DJ GSP (also known as George Spiliopoulos — just in case you though GSP was short for “gasp” or “gossip” or something). Of course there'll be even more of the usual debauched shenanigans you've come to know and love from Masterbeat. Let Masterbeat make this Memorial Day something you wish you could remember! Andaz, 8401 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Mon., May 28, noon-6 p.m.; $90/$80/$40. (323) 656-1234, —David Cotner

tue 5/29


Come for a Taste, Stay for the Portraits

Cur-ATE: David Hockney's Los Angeles is that rare and illuminating spot at which a history of California cuisine intersects with the museum's special exhibition, “David Hockney: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life.” You'll make your way through the current show featuring Hockney portraits of people both famous and obscure in an after-hours tour with the redoubtable Maite Gomez-Rejón of art-and-food synergizers ArtBites. Ray's & Stark Bar executive chef Fernando Darin has prepared a stimulating night of multidimensional culinary treasures to match those multifold faces you'll contemplate and appreciate as you digest it all in more ways than one. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., May 29, 6 p.m.; $100 LACMA members ($125 with wine tasting), $110 general ($135 with wine tasting). (323) 857-6000, —David Cotner

Galleriet's current exhibit focuses on the world we inhabit.; Credit: Courtesy of Galleriet

Galleriet's current exhibit focuses on the world we inhabit.; Credit: Courtesy of Galleriet

wed 5/30


Examining Aesthetics

The Loft at Liz's, a warm gallery space tucked above the Miracle Mile antique hardware mecca, has rare performance art on the calendar tonight. Its current ongoing exhibition featuring progressive contemporary design is called “Nature: Human Nature.” This assortment of quirky, ecologically conscious objects and ideas forms the perfect setting for an intimate performance by Galleriet. Katharina Stenbeck, aka Galleriet, is an interdisciplinary artist with the performance persona of an electronic musician and the aesthetic surrealism of the conceptual avant-garde. Any and all genres from dance and song to synth-beats and video art, sculpture, paintings and spoken word are potentially in the mix as Galleriet occupies and activates an intimate space for a live audience. (The accompanying exhibit runs through June 15.) The Loft at Liz's, 453 S. La Brea Ave., Baldwin Hills; Wed, May 30, 7-9 p.m.; free. —Shana Nys Dambrot

thu 5/31


Not-So-Viral Videos

For every keyboard-playing cat, Mentos and Diet Coke experiment or “Charlie Bit My Finger,” there's a viral dud. But at Under 50 Views, bad videos make good comedy. A.J. Berna, Sandha Khin, David Quattrocchi and Annabel Seymour, who regularly perform improv as Hot Halloween at the Clubhouse, scour YouTube for the most poorly watched clips — cooking demonstrations, family vacations, brothers playing hide-and-go-seek, etc. — that are so tedious, random and WTF they're like the online equivalent of watching paint dry. The hosts screen these snoozers onto a projector and then invite other improv teams, as well as audience members, to perform improv inspired by each video. UCB Inner Sanctum, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood.; Thu., May 31, 8:30 p.m.; free. (323) 908-8702, —Siran Babayan


Never Forget

In a time when four out of 10 young people don't know about the Holocaust, and more of its survivors die each year, now is the best time to see The White Elephant Archive, Setting No. 3. Internationally renowned multimedia mastermind Eduard Freudmann presents this look at the continually unfolding after-effects of the Holocaust as seen from the point-of-view of third-generation Austrians coping with the stony silence of older family members. A crucial, compelling portrait of an atrocity that seemingly never ends, The White Elephant Archive presents the vanishing perceptions of those who lost the war in more ways than one. Skirball, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach; Thu., May 31, 7 p.m.; $20 general, $15 Skirball members/students. (310) 440-4500, —David Cotner

LA Weekly