From an art show just for man's best friend to the L.A. Taco Takeover, Dave Chappelle doing what he does best at the iconic Hollywood Bowl, and a disturbing but powerful miniature exhibition, here are the 15 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!

fri 9/14


The Canine Gaze

There is a lot of art about dogs, and even works by dogs, but Dogumenta is a group art show for dogs. Curator Jessica Dawson noticed that her Morkie rescue dog, Rocky, “saw art differently than humans” when the pair went on New York gallery walks together. So the duo formed a curatorial team with Mica Scalin to challenge about a dozen artists to create visual, palpable and scented works that address “the canine sensibility” through a mix of media that range “from sound and sculpture to kibble and squeaky toys.” Humans and dogs are invited to attend Dogumenta, but only one canine art lover, on a leash, per person. Figat7th, Upper Plaza, 735 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Fri.-Sun., Sept. 14-16 & Sept. 21-23, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; free, RSVP recommended. —Falling James


Back With a Vengeance

The premier monster/horror festival for the Greater L.A. area is back for its fall iteration! Since 2009, Monsterpalooza festivals have provided a mecca for the “monster kids” of yesteryear and a destination for newer generations of horror fans to immerse themselves in a beautifully macabre environment. In addition to the professional monster-makeup demonstrations, the horror film celebrity appearances and panels, and the hundreds of horror-themed merchants and artisans that one can expect to see at any given Monsterpalooza, these festivals also provide the best monster costume contests that one is ever likely to experience and top-notch monster museum installations. Burbank Convention Center, 2500 N. Hollywood Way, Burbank; Fri., Sept. 14, 6-11 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Sept. 15-16, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; $25-$60. (818) 843-6000, —Scott Feinblatt


The Russians Are Coming

It may seem as if half the news coverage you've seen/heard/read for the past few years has been involved the words “Russia” and “elections” — usually with the word “meddling” or “interference” in between. And it's not because of some anti-Trump mainstream media conspiracy but because, spoiler, it's actually happened. The panel at Can U.S. Democracy Survive Russian Information Warfare? will get you caught up and ready for the all-but-inevitable Russian attempt to influence the upcoming midterms. Russia may be a decrepit shadow of the big baddie it was in its Cold War heyday, but former FBI counterintelligence agent Asha Rangappa, Russian Media Monitor founder Julia Davis, media researcher Caroline Orr and moderator Warren Olney will break down how Russia has compensated with information warfare and the corrosive effects it could have on American democracy. National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 N. Central Ave., downtown; Fri., Sept. 14, 7:30-9:30 p.m.; free, RSVP required. —Avery Bissett

Camilla Engstrom's Oh Summer You Were Good to Me; Credit: Courtesy the artist

Camilla Engstrom's Oh Summer You Were Good to Me; Credit: Courtesy the artist

sat 9/15


Come for the Preview, Stay for the Party

The first clue was when the gallery put out a dance video instead of a press release. That's when we knew that HILDE L.A.'s next show was going to be something a bit different. Yes, there will be paintings and sculptures, a new series by artist Camilla Engstrom, whose folkloric mythology offers a colorful, exuberant aesthetic with hints of early–20th century European avant-garde. Centered around the esoteric spiritual journey of a Swedish “house maiden” searching for a deeper consciousness, “Husa's Garden” is a strange, fairy tale–inflected dimension of magical thinking and soulful flora and fauna. But when the vernissage ends at 9 p.m., the dimension shifts again, and an equally exuberant DJ party goes late into the night, as Husa invites everyone in attendance along for whatever she dreams up next. HILDE L.A., 4727 W. Washington Blvd., Mid-City, Sat., Sept. 15, 6-9 p.m.; free. —Shana Nys Dambrot


Nature in a Suitcase

Kim Abeles' work doesn't just comment on the world around her. Instead, the L.A. artist pulls raw matter from that world and places it at the center of her mixed-media work. In her celebrated early series The Smog Collector (1987), Abeles stenciled images of U.S. presidents on porcelain plates, left them on the roof of her studio for varying lengths of time, and let nature do the rest — which nature gleefully did, filling in the outlines with smoggy particulate dust. In her new exhibition, “Valises for Camp Ground: Arts, Corrections and Fire Management in the Santa Monica Mountains,” Abeles has created — with the help of firefighting women inmates from L.A. County's Camp 13 — adorable small suitcases that open up to tableaux of miniature, bonsai-like forests. But the juxtapositions of fire-ravaged landscapes with lush woods raise questions about the environment and emphasize that cute is not what Abeles is aiming for. Armory for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; reception Sat., Sept. 15, 4-5 p.m.; runs thru Sun., Sept. 30; free. (626) 792-5101, —Falling James


Taco Time

There's a taco-themed event nearly every week in Los Angeles, it seems, and that's probably still not enough considering the importance of the humble food staple in Los Angeles' food geography. The L.A. Taco Takeover is sparing no expense this weekend in bringing out the heavy hitters. The food lineup will include tacos and Latin-inspired dishes from the likes of Tetee House, Aqui Es Texcoco, Pez Cantina, Dia de los Puercos, High Lounge at Hotel Erwin, Pink Taco and Frida Mexican Cuisine. A bevy of traditional cocktails and Mexican beers will accompany the food, and there will be live music and entertainment. LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 N. Main St., downtown; Sat., Sept. 15, 1-4 p.m. & 5-8 p.m.; $39-$69. —Avery Bissett


Be Blessed … by the Unholy

Back when the band Christian Death first bared their tortured souls onstage in L.A., and Patrik Mata of Kommunity FK creepily crooned about inner despair, death rock (it wasn't called “goth” then) was fresh, fierce and new. At Spiritual Cramp, Sado Maso Disco's fundraiser for a new documentary of the same name about departed Christian Death singer Rozz Williams, you'll get to see some of the O.G.s who are still around, still making gorgeous gloom and bringing fans of dark and decadent rock, dance and fashion together. Amid the splendor of one of L.A.'s oldest churches, Kommunity FK will celebrate its 40th anniversary with some rare gems, while two former Christian Death members — Eva O and Gitane DeMone (with a quartet featuring Rikk Agnew and Paul Roessler) — conjure more wicked soundscapes. Don Bolles on the decks, “service” pamphlets, Blood of Christ drinks and a pop-up photo exhibit round out the unholy hullabaloo. Black attire and formal wear is encouraged. Welsh Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles, 1153 Valencia St., Pico-Union; Sat., Sept. 15, 9 p.m.-2 a.m.; $20. —Lina Lecaro

Michael Parker's contribution to "La Reina de Los Ángeles"; Credit: Courtesy of the artist

Michael Parker's contribution to “La Reina de Los Ángeles”; Credit: Courtesy of the artist

sun 9/16


A Fount of Creativity

Water, and its endless implications and reverberations across geography, ecology, politics, economics, industry and culture, is a perennially relevant and inspiring topic for artists and curators — especially in L.A., and especially now. In fact, art is in many ways better suited for an exploration of the nuances and paradoxes of our society's relationship to this life-giving resource. What better place for an interdisciplinary, topical exhibition than Descanso Gardens, a local botanical treasure with its own hydro-complexities. Featuring sculpture and installation from the intimate tactility of ceramics to the large-scale of scaffold — and excitingly occupying not only the gallery spaces but spread across the architecture and the entire grounds of the gardens — “La Reina de Los Ángeles” opens Sunday with a DJ party and an after-hours outdoor screening of Chinatown. Sturt Haaga Gallery, Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge; Sun., Sept. 16, 5-7 p.m.; free after 4:30 p.m. (818) 949-4200,  —Shana Nys Dambrot


Fighting for Our Future

Climate change affects us all — starlet, harlot or varlet, it matters not: everyone feels the pressure of a warmer world with every heatwave and every drop of flop sweat. Pathway to Paris — the nonprofit environmental concern founded to increase public awareness for the internationally-supported Paris Agreement — tonight brings you more stars than there are in heaven to raise money for various organizations, including but not limited to the United Nations Development Programme. Some of those selfsame celebrities tonight: Eric Burdon of The Animals, Tibetan artist Tenzin Choegyal, cellist Rebecca Foon, skater Tony Hawk, Karen O, and Patti Smith. The Theater at The Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Sun., Sept. 16, 7 p.m.; $39.50-$99.50. (213) 623-3233,  —David Cotner


Tragedy Plus Time

With such monologues as God Said Ha!, Julia Sweeney has managed to turn tragedy into art, and even found the saving grace of dark humor amid deep despair. Tonight, the comedian and Saturday Night Live alum returns to her early home base with the Groundlings and turns her attention to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Perhaps it's fitting that Sweeney, who once portrayed Pat, a character of indeterminate gender, will put her own spin on the battle against sexual harassment as she workshops a new show that she's archly titled I, as Well. “I will try out stories, jokes, themes, musings. Lots of it won't work. But some of it will,” Sweeney promises. The Groundlings School, 7280 Melrose Ave., Fairfax; Sun., Sept. 16, 6 p.m.; $10. (323) 934-4747, —Falling James

Courtenay Hameister; Credit: Michael McCrary

Courtenay Hameister; Credit: Michael McCrary

mon 9/17


Fearing Fear No More

You see them everywhere. Maybe you are one yourself. Fearful people whose stomachs hurt, who second-guess every opportunity, and for whom stain-resistant Dockers are the norm. Tonight, Courtenay Hameister — formerly one of those pathetic cowering wretches herself — discusses Okay Fine Whatever: The Year I Went From Being Afraid of Everything to Only Being Afraid of Most Things ($26, Little, Brown & Company). When she hit her 40s, she actively decided to take a year to triumph over all the things that constantly scared, frightened and terrified her — not the least of them being public speaking like this. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Mon., Sept. 17, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 659-3110, —David Cotner

tue 9/18


See a Stand-Up Legend

He's won a Grammy and an Emmy. His film Half-Baked is one of the funniest, most colorful and joyous films of the entire decade of the '90s. He gave Charlie Sheen a hernia from laughing at his jokes. Tonight, Dave Chappelle does stand-up on the same bill as Lauryn Hill and De La Soul — and even though he may seem like a teeny-tiny figure onstage at the Hollywood Bowl, his jokes and his view of the world remain expansive. Just imagine a cartoon of the Bowl with the words “HA HA HA” jumping into the air above it — that's what you'll get. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 Highland Ave., Hollywood Hills; Tue., Sept. 18, 7 p.m.; $49-$249. (323) 850-2000, —David Cotner

wed 9/19


Learning From Bugs

Although they may not have the same luster as the butterfly or the same publicist as the honeybee, termites nonetheless possess a heretofore unrealized potential to transform how we humans deal with the world we've made for ourselves. Asking the question What Can Termites Teach Us About the Future of Technology?, Lisa Margonelli — author of Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology ($27, Farrar, Straus & Giroux) — brings her keen and insightful grasp of termitology to Zócalo to demonstrate how these occasionally satanic bugs can teach humanity about everything from communication to climate change to indigestion. The RedZone at Gensler, 500 S. Figueroa St., Carson; Wed., Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m.; free. (424) 229-9490, —David Cotner

Kamp; Credit: Courtesy the artist

Kamp; Credit: Courtesy the artist

thu 9/20


History in Miniature

At first glance, Hotel Modern's Kamp looks like a children's game, a fantastic replication of a toy village with miniature structures and train tracks and populated by thousands of tiny figurines, taking up the entire REDCAT stage. But, on closer inspection, it becomes clear that Dutch artists Pauline Kalker, Arléne Hoornweg and Herman Helle are depicting the Auschwitz concentration camp — where Kalker's grandfather Joseph Emanuel died in 1943 during World War II. The three artists use music, video and sculpture to create a chilling, live animated film onstage as they move figures of prisoners and Nazi guards around to simulate role calls and even deaths in the notorious camp's gas chambers. The intricately detailed work is both strangely moving and disturbing. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Thu.-Sat., Sept. 20-22, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $27 & $37. (213) 237-2800, —Falling James

Andrew Pearson; Credit: Ben Jehoshua

Andrew Pearson; Credit: Ben Jehoshua


Matrimony of Mind and Body

In the one-night-only event Dearly Beloved: A Union, Out of Wedlock, choreographer Andrew Pearson offers what he describes as a “CerePhony.” Preceded by a cocktail hour and followed by a reception, the evening's new danceworks are set amid large-scale interactive art installations by Mary Margaret Groves and backed by live music. Known as a provocative choreographer and an imaginative presenter, Pearson's chosen venue is a commercial wedding chapel, an inherently a theatrical space where brides and grooms revel in their moment as star performers. Where the wedding party often provides dramatic tension, Pearson gets help from recorded and live performances from a half dozen notables including Tiffany Sweat. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and top ticket price promises bridal-suite access. Ruby Street Wedding Chapel, 6408 Ruby St., Highland Park; Thu., Sept. 7, 7 p.m., $20-$60. —Ann Haskins

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