From a 4/20 celebration incorporating psychedelic art installations to ones inspired by stoner films, a dance extravaganza inspired by some of David Bowie's greatest hits and the largest book festival in America, a free produce fair and a 30-hour Marvel movie marathon, here are the 15 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!

fri 4/20


Ziggy Stardust Puts on His Red Shoes

Today he's a celebrated choreographer and artistic director of the respected contemporary dance troupe Complexions, but during Dwight Rhoden's teen years the music of David Bowie was his soundtrack. Rhoden pays tribute to Bowie with the West Coast premiere of Stardust, the centerpiece of the company's visit. Slowly simmering in Rhoden's creative juices for some time, the project had moved to a front burner before Bowie's death in 2016. The resulting love letter draws on nine Bowie songs including “Lazarus,” “Changes,” “Life on Mars,” “Space Oddity” and “Young America.” While “Stardust” is the big draw, the program also includes Exploration of Love and Alliances, plus Gutter Glitter, a title Bowie undoubtedly would have liked. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri.-Sat., April 20-21, 7:30 p.m., Sun., April 22, 2 p.m.; $34-$138. —Ann Haskins

Cheech & Chong; Credit: Paul Moberly

Cheech & Chong; Credit: Paul Moberly


High Times

Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke was released 40 years ago this year, man. The plot, as best — cough — we can remember, follows two stoners who meet in a car with license plates that read “MUF DVR,” and spend the rest of the movie chasing weed while being trailed by narcs. The Grammy Museum's latest exhibit, Cheech & Chong: Still Rollin' — Celebrating 40 Years of Up in Smoke, salutes not only the first stoner film ever made and its accompanying 1979 soundtrack, which featured the classic single “Earache My Eye,” but the history of one of comedy's greatest duos, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong. Items on display include an original marked-up script, master tape for the album, comedy sketches and limited-edition anniversary smoking devices, in addition to art guitars from Marin's curated collection, Blazing Chicano Guitars. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Fri., April 20, 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; runs thru spring 2019; $10.95-$12.95. (213) 765-6800, —Siran Babayan


Shop and Smoke

It's the first 4/20 since California legalized recreational marijuana — what better way to celebrate something you won't remember in the morning than with tonight's screening of seminal pot-0x000Asploitation comedy Pineapple Express at 420 Fest? After the film — which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and is presented by delivery service Herb — you'll enjoy local vendors eager to gain a foothold before the rise of Big Marijuana, as well as a general overall sense of relief that you won't have to keep looking over your shoulder. For now. The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown; Fri., April 20, 7 p.m.; $14.20 VIP, $4.20 general admission. (213) 531-0588, —David Cotner


Come Along for the Ride

Prepare to be dazzled at the Magic Bus Experience. Not to be confused with everyone's favorite school bus–centric Saturday morning cartoon, “L.A.'s largest immersive psychedelic event” brings its unique brand of trippy fun to town with a “Hotbox” white-out maze, giant coloring book, games of skill, Bean Bag Cinema, minstrels, magicians and circus performers. In addition to the Make-Believe Bar, there will be food trucks and a “munchie mountain,” while VIP guests will be able to avail themselves of a chicken nugget and tater tot bar. There will be a designated smoking area outside. The Reef, 1933 S. Broadway, Historic South Central; Fri.-Sat., April 20-21, 11:30 a.m.-4:20 p.m. & 6-11 p.m.; $45, $65 VIP; 21+. —Avery Bissett

sat 4/21


Strolling Through History

In 1978, you more or less took your life in your hands when you went walking in downtown Los Angeles. See how much things have changed during today's 40th Anniversary L.A. Conservancy Walking Tour. You'll visit three sites — the U.S. Bank Tower, the Los Angeles Central Library and the PacMutual Building — all of which have been integral to the history of the Conservancy itself. It all ends at the OUE Skyspace L.A. observation deck high atop the Tower, with the glass majesty of the Skyslide, which you can slide down if you're feeling particularly fearless and condescending. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown; Sat., April 21, 4 p.m. (also May 12); $30 general, $25 Conservancy members & ages 17 & under. (213) 623-2489, —David Cotner

Secret Forest composer Dai Fujikura has improved nature's soundtrack.; Credit: Ai Ueda

Secret Forest composer Dai Fujikura has improved nature's soundtrack.; Credit: Ai Ueda


Nature Perfected

Dai Fujikura is hardly a nature boy. “Birds sing (if you can call that singing!) annoyingly, and insects make terrible noise,” the Japanese-British composer wrote about walks in the woods. But in his 2008 work Secret Forest, which receives its U.S. premiere tonight from the L.A. Chamber Orchestra, Fujikura has reordered the natural world more to his liking as “an imaginary forest where birds and insects make only my favorite sounds, and my nose gets never blocked” from allergies. Thickets of strings wrap themselves boldly around evocative flurries of woodwinds, blending a majestic melodicism with avant-garde daring. French pianist David Fray also stirs up Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, and guest conductor Karina Canellakis invokes Beethoven's delightful Second Symphony. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Ave., Glendale; Sat., April 21, 8 p.m.; $27 & up. Also at Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Westwood; Sun., April 22, 7 p.m. (213) 622-7001, ext. 1. —Falling James

The L.A. Times Festival of Books is the largest in the country.; Credit: Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

The L.A. Times Festival of Books is the largest in the country.; Credit: Los Angeles Times Festival of Books


Calling All Bibliophiles

While we continue to debate the changing face of the publishing industry, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, an L.A. mainstay since 1996 and the largest literary festival in the country, attracts 150,000 visitors annually. Among the more than 500 authors and performers appearing across nine stages this year are Joyce Carol Oates, Walter Mosley, Reza Aslan, Dave Eggers, Maria Shriver, Patton Oswalt, Ed Asner, Valerie Bertinelli, Whitney Cummings, Mike Epps, Jenna Fischer, Gabrielle Union, Vivica A. Fox and Laila Ali. As always, the weekend also promises live music, poetry, kids activities, Spanish-language programs, cooking demonstrations, art installations, food trucks and 200-plus exhibitors. New to the schedule is the inaugural Newstory, which features podcasts, screenings, virtual reality and more music led by Moby, Lucinda Williams, Mayim Bialik, The Second City and others. USC, University Park; Sat., April 21, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., April 22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. — Siran Babayan

sun 4/22


Land of the Rising Sun

If you haven't made it to downtown's secret Japanese Village — a cultural gem and passion project of costume designer Peter Lai, tucked away in an Arts District loft — there's still time. But not much: Lai tells us he'll be closing his beloved museum for good when developers turn the building into a hotel, likely sometime next year. The eccentric Hong Kong–born designer, dancer and collector began his love affair with Japanese culture on a trip to the country at age 18 and has been collecting ever since, culminating in this 5,000 square-foot space, filled to the brim with costumes, furniture, curios and artistry. This Sunday, Atlas Obscura's hosted tours are sold out, but you can make an appointment starting from 2:30 p.m. Refreshments, guided shopping and “charming company” included. Peter Lai's Japanese Cultural Village, 500 S. Alameda St., downtown; Sun., April 22, 2:30 p.m.; $30. (626) 375-2040, —Beige Luciano-Adams


Waste Not, Want Not

According to Nari Kye and Anna Chai's 2017 documentary, Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, one-third of food grown for human consumption in the world every year — 40% alone in the United States — goes uneaten, yet millions of people don't have enough to eat. Narrated by Anthony Bourdain and featuring Mario Batali, Dan Barber, Danny Bowien and Mark Bittman, the film looks at how excess food is handled on farms and in restaurants and supermarkets and its effects on the environment, as well as how chefs, community activists and entire countries are trying to solve the problem. This screening is followed by a panel discussion with local chefs Neal Fraser, Nyesha Arrington and Michael Cimarusti and a reception with food provided by restaurants Preux and Proper, Huntington Hospitality by Bon Appetit and others. The Huntington, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino; Sun., April 22, 1-4 p.m.; $95, RSVP required. (626) 405-2100, —Siran Babayan

mon 4/23


Eat Your Veggies — for Free

While it may be a myth that Los Angeles is a climatological desert, it's nevertheless a city with food deserts. Thousands of residents face food insecurity, a malady that does not exempt our schools. To combat this, UCLA is hosting its first Free Produce Fair. Come through with your own bag (maximum: 15 inches by 15 inches by 7 inches) and fill it with fresh, free produce, courtesy of Food Forward, a SoCal nonprofit that rescues surplus produce otherwise destined for the bin — supply meets demand. Various organizations will be offering educational material as well. UCLA Wilson Plaza, 120 Westwood Plaza, Westwood; Mon., April 23, 9 a.m.; free. (323) 989-7073, —Avery Bissett

Chantal? recreates the work of Chantal Akerman.; Credit: Courtesy of REDCAT

Chantal? recreates the work of Chantal Akerman.; Credit: Courtesy of REDCAT


Life Imitating Art

It seems like a mad idea, to create “a performance structured around an absence,” but American cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton pays homage to her former companion, Belgian avant-garde feminist filmmaker Chantal Akerman, in a most inventive fashion with her new piece Chantal? Wieder-Atherton works up music by Béla Bartók alongside images from the films of Akerman, who killed herself in Paris in 2015. The cellist's music and even her physical gestures literally mirror the movements of the filmmaker. “I wanted to play along with her, her every move, her silences, her dancing at once burlesque and deadly serious,” Wieder-Atherton has said about the unusual work. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Mon., April 23, 8:30 p.m.; $12. (213) 237-2800, —Falling James


Greed Isn't So Good

Armchair Marxists, take note: Celebrated economist Richard Wolff will be at Occidental College this evening to discuss “Trump, Capitalism's Crisis and a New Way Forward.” Both symptom and pathogen of that crisis, the Trump presidency is doing wonders for systemic inequality and corporate greed. Better understand the malaise and, presumably, end on a hopeful note, as Wolff focuses on “basic social change” currently underway, as well as an exit strategy “if we stop denying capitalism's decline as the problem we must solve.” A prolific and animated professor, speaker and radio host, Wolff's recent talks have tackled the opioid crisis, budget deficit, net neutrality and gender pay gap. Hosted by L.A. Progressive. Occidental College, 1600 Campus Road, Choi Auditorium, Eagle Rock; Mon., April 23, 7-9:30 p.m.; suggested admission $25 general, $12.50 seniors, free for Oxy students, faculty and staff. (213) 434-4643, —Beige Luciano-Adams

tue 4/24


Good Reads

At Walter Nelson's Victorian Literary Parlour, the bricky Mr. Nelson unveils the unheralded gem that is Anne Brontë's novel, Agnes Grey. With more than 60,000 novels published during the Victorian era (1837-1901), chances are you've scarcely delved into the period that historians have described as both “prosperous” and “syphilitic.” Nelson, a staunch expert in all matters Victorian — including quack medicines and phrenology — leads gentle readers into the era. He also recommends that you show up in period attire, as his inquiries into the Victorian age know no bounds and are a singular window into another time that might as well be another planet. The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring St., downtown; Tue., April 24, 7 p.m.; $31.95-$36.95 (includes book). (213) 488-0599, —David Cotner

wed 4/25


Superhero Immersion

At some point, movies will be jacked directly into the cerebral cortices of the audience, but until then, the Avengers: Infinity War Marathon — and a catheter — is about as close as you'll get to total cinematic immersion. Lucky ticket holders will spend nearly 30 hours watching 11 Marvel superhero films in chronological release-date order — starting with 2008's Iron Man and culminating in the hotly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War — and will nab valuable trinkets such as posters commemorating the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first decade, a costume contest (Go Blade! Boo, everyone else!), hexagonal popcorn tubs, special guest appearances and more. Through Thursday. El Capitan Theatre, 6838 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., April 25, 1 p.m. (doors 11:30 a.m.); $100. (818) 845-3110, —David Cotner

thu 4/26


Refugee Struggles

Every silver lining has a cloud: When President Trump issued an executive order halting entry into the United States by refugees from seven, mainly Muslim countries, millions protested — but the caps on those refugees remained. To address this moment of stagnation and inertia, author Viet Thanh Nguyen presents his essay collection The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives ($25, Abrams). Discussing the compilation with writer and Ethiopian refugee Meron Hadero and Abrams executive editor Jamison Stoltz (Displaced's co-editor), Nguyen showcases the work of 17 notable contemporary writers to clue you in on all the fear, uncertainty and hassle that has visited their lives. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Thu., April 26, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, —David Cotner

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