From a wine tasting to tasting the best L.A.'s chefs have to offer, a showcase of local artists and a sky-high wellness experience, drag queen story hour and pimped-out vintage cars, here are the 15 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!
Hero or Villain?
Mexican Revolution general Pancho Villa is still regarded as a hero, not just in his native Mexico but by people around the world. Composer Graham Reynolds and librettists Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol avoid cheap sentimentality and the temptations of hagiography in their intriguing modern opera, Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance, which is the third part of Reynolds' The Marfa Triptych. The nonlinear story captures the spirit of the uncompromising warrior through a series of varied musical settings, which range from chamber opera and rock & roll to traditional Tejano styles and avant-garde experimentation. Just two vocalists and a small ensemble are able to draw connections between Villa's idealism and the complicated interrelationship of the United States and Mexico that continues today. California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri.-Sat., July 20-21, 8 p.m.; free. (213) 687-2190, grandperformances.org. —Falling James
MIND & BODY
Head in the Clouds
Achieving wellness often has moments of feeling high — after a workout or meditation, for example. But how would these activities affect the mind and body if we were literally high, like in the sky? Cloud City provides everything you'll need to find out. Held 1,000 feet in the sky at OUE Skyspace L.A., the “elevated playground” is like a nightclub, but instead of overpriced booze and typical bangers, it offers yoga, dancing to sensuous grooves, digital art and VR in an “experiential lounge.” The monthly series continues through September, but the debut is a doozy you don't want to miss: sunset yoga led by Cristi Christensen, then DJs Eric Sharp (Sound Nightclub) and Valida (KCRW) spinning on the dance level (69th floor), a visual sound bath with Torkom Ji and Michael Strauss, “visionary garden” VR voyages, multisensory meditative immersions, quantum harmonix sound healings with SUBPAC, plus art, chair massages and kombucha tastings. OUE Skyspace, 633 W. Fifth St., downtown; Fri., July 20, 8 p.m.-2 a.m.;$22-$37. (213) 894-9000, bit.ly/cloudcityjuly. —Lina Lecaro
Spotlight on Minority Artists
Sanguine is an online platform, but its launch party is definitely IRL, as Sanguine curators Thomas Canavan and Isabel Rojas-Williams and colleague Judithe Hernández offer a lively pop-up version of their new cloud-based gallery. Dedicated to the support and celebration of contemporary art by women and people of color, Sanguine's inaugural collection and kickoff installation pairs work by Patssi Valdez and Jefferson Pinder. Pinder's work is interdisciplinary and performative, with elements of video and multimedia installations designed to create interactive experiences. Iconic Chicana painter Valdez's “Vases” will debut never-shown ceramic sculptures whose tactility, symbol-rich hand-painted imagery and vibrant palette demand love and attention. Castelli Art Space, 5428 W. Washington Blvd., Mid-City; Sat., July 21, 6-10 p.m.; free. (213) 422-9552, sanguinegallery.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
You Gotta Fight for What's Right
It wasn't so long ago that the mainstream faction of the Republican Party touted itself as the protector of family values. The current administration seems to have abandoned those principles in its mania to demonize immigrants seeking a better life in this country. Not only are the Trump administration's heavy-handed attempts to punish asylum seekers coming off as callously insensitive, cruel and unusual, but its scattershot methods for separating immigrant children from their parents — as well as its belated, court-ordered attempts to reunite those families — have proved to be recklessly disorganized and incompetently managed. The title and purpose of the second Families Belong Together March Los Angeles seems to be a no-brainer, but then again we are living in a time when even the most fundamental moral values and shared sense of human decency have been upended in a frenzy of irrational xenophobia. MacArthur Park, 2230 W. Sixth St., Westlake; Sat., July 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; free. actionnetwork.org/events/families-belong-together-march-los-angeles-2. —Falling James
Art in the Park
Basically every other year since 1953, the Department of Cultural Affairs has organized the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery Juried Exhibition. This open-call, juried, all-media exhibition offers an eclectic, real-time snapshot of contemporary art being made in Southern California. Jurors Jonathan Griffin, art critic; Jamillah James, curator, Institute of Contemporary Art; and Steven Nelson, professor of African and African-American art history at UCLA, chose entries by students, recent graduates, emerging and midcareer artists. The show includes painting, sculpture, photography, video, performance and installation, and is as wide-ranging in its aesthetic styles as the city itself. Of special note is a prevalence of large-scale and frequently site-specific installations with monumental-scale photography, seaweed, sugar, ultrasound and modern dance. L.A. Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., East Hollywood; Reception: Sun., July 22, 2-5 p.m.; exhibit: Thu.-Sun., noon-5 p.m., thru Sept. 16; free. (323) 644-6269, lamag.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot
In the latest episode of Molly Fite and Jared Ramirez's ongoing variety series When Puppets Are Your Only Friends, the duo re-creates the spirit of the 1975 film Escape to Witch Mountain. Several of the movie's most charismatic, if slightly wooden, performers — the actual puppets created by Bob Baker — will be on hand to relive the magic of the memorable scene in which a group of colorful dolls, clowns, a purple elephant and other marionettes come to life in a child's bedroom. Although Baker died in 2014, the puppeteer's beloved creations continue to enchant audiences in his namesake theater. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., Echo Park; Sun., July 22, 7 p.m.; $15. (213) 250-9995, bobbakermarionettetheater.com. —Falling James
High Times and Lowriders
If you like shiny, colorful, pimped-out vintage cars, prepare for an eyegasm at the Torres Empire Car Show. This one harkens back to the old Lowrider mag gatherings, with some of the best car clubs in the country coming together to show off their audacious automobiles. Hydraulics, air ride suspension and the ultimate in customization — vibrant interiors, gleaming chrome jobs and glitterific paint — are showcased, and there might even be some higher-tech new autos to check out, too, at this annual car extravaganza. But the party ain't just about rides; entertainment includes hip-hoppers Too $hort, Tha Dogg Pound, Chingy and many more onstage. The family-friendly event also offers food, drink and stuff to buy to make your own wheels a little more wonderful. L.A. Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Sun., July 22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; $36.50. torresempire.com. —Lina Lecaro
Storytime, but Better
With so many distractions these days from video games, computers and TV, many parents recognize how difficult it can be to get their kids to read books. But at bookstores, schools and libraries, young children find themselves curiously mesmerized by glamorous drag queens reading to them. At Drag Queen Story Hour this afternoon, host Michael Roybal-Gonzalez presents the fabulously bewigged and bedazzling Valora von Tease. Ms. von Tease tells us she'll be reading from Jessica Herthel's I Am Jazz, which is based on the life of transgender kid Jazz Jennings, and Sarah Hoffman and Ian Hoffman's Jacob's New Dress, which focuses on a boy who's simply much happier wearing dresses to school. Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Sun., July 22, 3 p.m.; free. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —Falling James
Out of the Shadows
The Plush Pony — not to be confused with the ancient Redondo Beach coffeehouse of the same name — was an El Sereno bar catering to a very particular clientele from the '60s through the 2000s. Now, in the illuminating confines of a truck parked outside the former site of the Plush Pony — currently a notary — the Women's Center for Creative Work reveals 29 studio portraits by photographer Laura Aguilar of the various habitués of the little lesbian bar that could, from a time when such faces were hidden away in more ways than one. The Plush Pony, 5261 Alhambra Ave., El Sereno; Mon., July 23, 8 p.m.; free. dirtylooksla.org. —David Cotner
Eat Your Way Across L.A.
More than 300 Los Angeles–area restaurants will be offering special menus for lunch and dinner when dineLA celebrates its 10th anniversary, showcasing through July 27 one of the most diverse selections yet. Lunches of a minimum of two courses range from $15 to $25 and dinners of at least three courses go from $29 to $95. The event features specials from participating eateries including Maude, Providence, Spago, the Royce and Mélisse. Reservations are strongly recommended. Emporium Thai in Westwood will donate 13 percent of the proceeds from its dineLA menu to the Bangkok-based Ruamkatanyu Foundation, whose members were part of the volunteer force that helped effect the recent cave rescue of the 12 soccer players and their coach. Check schedule for hours and locations. Fri., July 13-Fri., July 27; $15-$95. discoverlosangeles.com/dinela-los-angeles-restaurant-week/. —Michele Stueven
Dancing About Architecture
Dance erupts after dark as the soaring exteriors of Disney Hall provide the stage for three L.A.-based contemporary companies at the third edition of Moves After Dark. Choreographer/musician Holly Rothschild leaves String Theory's giant harps at home and emphasizes choreography with her company Strange and Elegant Dance. Her Under/Current has a sound score from Luke Rothschild that incorporates street sounds. Laurie Sefton's Clairobscur brings Concert Walls, backed by a live Bryan Curt Kostors score. A 1920s garden party is re-envisioned in Gatsby Redux from Mixed eMotion Theatrix, led by Janet Roston. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Tue.-Wed., July 24-25 & July 31-Aug. 1, 8:30 p.m.; $30. musiccenter.org/moves. —Ann Haskins
Before There Was Instagram…
Instagram is arguably the best platform for fashion these days, telling us not only what trends to follow but the right crowd. But in the pre-app days, Scott Schuman was one of the first influencers; his street-style blog The Sartorialist, launched in New York in 2005, started it all. Its premise is simple: photographs of well-dressed, ordinary people on the streets in New York, Paris or Milan, who choose personal taste over labels, whether they're wearing Birkenstocks with a scarf, furry slippers with a trench coat or just jeans and a T-shirt. Schuman has published three books and shot for GQ, Vogue and Interview, as well as campaigns for Burberry, DKNY and Nespresso. Tonight, the Getty hosts Finding Fashion on the Street: The Photographer's Eye, The Photographer's Voice, with Schuman, who discusses both his blog and his images featured in the museum's latest exhibit, “Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911-2011.” The Getty, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; Wed., July 25, 7 p.m.; free, resv. required. (310) 400-7300, getty.edu. —Siran Babayan
The World According to Chelsea Hodson
Writer Chelsea Hodson sifts through a wide range of fascinating topics and scenarios in her first collection of essays, Tonight I'm Someone Else (Holt Paperbacks). She examines her experiences as a model and her work promoting a NASA mission to Mars, while also variously invoking games of Russian roulette, graffiti gangs, growing up in Tucson, her crushes on famous pop stars, and the limits and potential of her own body. “I gathered secrets like little pieces of survival,” Hodson writes, and she deftly reveals those secrets with an evocative sense of detail and place that elevates even the most mundane memory into something startling and revelatory. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Wed., July 25, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Falling James
Just Like Mom Used to Cook
If Bao — the moving short released with Incredibles 2 that was a sorely needed injection of demographic representation — spoke to you (or if you have a single functioning tastebud and appreciate good home-style cooking), Breaking Bao: Intergenerational Culinary Experience is for you. This ninth edition of LuckyRiceFeast challenged a powerhouse group of chefs — Tin Vuong, Nguyen Tran, Erwin Tjahyadi and more — to formulate a tasting menu that brings eaters back to simpler, or at least tastier, days. These succulent offerings from all corners of Asia will include steak tartare with krupuk (think Southeast Asia's take on chips), pork wontons, smoked duck and leek salad, and, of course, bao. You'll also have a chance to meet chef Susur Lee. Vibiana, 214 S. Main St., downtown; Thu., July 26, 7-10 p.m.; $150. luckyrice.com/event/los-angeles-2018. —Avery Bissett
Be a Sommelier for the Evening
The Arts District hosts the artsiest of gastronomical events. WineLA's Summer Taste offers a dizzying array of wines and small bites. There will be the requisite cheese platter, rabbit, pork and veggie terrine, and duck confit salad. Artwork and DJ Potato Head will aid in your boozing and digesting, and the proceeds from the silent auction benefit cancer research. After this event, you too can be that person at dinner parties who knows just enough about wine to sound all cultured and sophisticated (if that's your thing). Daily Dose, 1820 Industrial St. #260, downtown; Thu., July 26, 6-9 p.m.; $50.90 in advance, $60 at door. winela.com/summer-taste-july-26/. —Avery Bissett
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