As we leave September and enter the pumpkin spice-filled 30-day lead up to Halloween that is October, we're enjoying culture in all its forms: radio, street art, fine art, music and film. Plus a $5 comedy show, because we all need something to look forward to on Monday.
If you're totally broke, you can still hit up two free art shows – one from street art master D*Face, and another from African American art legend Mark Steven Greenfield. If you've got ten bucks, check out a documentary about one man's search to uncover the history of American music.
And if you really wanna go all out, check out the Los Angeles Podcast Festival, where big names in podcasting come together live for one weekend. Their $25 stream-from-home option means you can stay in bed with that pumpkin spice latte.
5. Listen Up
If comedians and the like gabbing online has replaced music during your commute or workout, you’re a podcast junkie, and where better to get your fix than at the third annual Los Angeles Podcast Festival? Organized by Graham Elwood, Chris Mancini, Dave Anthony and Andy Wood, the schedule brings together Marc Maron, Aisha Tyler, Dana Gould, Larry Miller, Todd Glass, Jonah Ray and others to host live tapings of their podcasts, which cover everything from comedy to science to April Richardson’s love of Saved by the Bell. Expect a few surprise appearances; past guests have included Zach Galifianakis, Andy Richter, Maria Bamford, Brian Posehn and SNL alum Laraine Newman. The weekend also features a “stand-up podsmash,” a podcast lab and panels and workshops on the how-tos of podcasting. Who knows? You could be the next Marc Maron. Sofitel Hotel, 8555 Beverly Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Fri., Sept. 26, 5 p.m.-mid.; Sat., Sept. 27, noon-10 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 28, noon-mid.; $29-$99, video stream $25. email@example.com, lapodfest.com. —Siran Babayan
4. Face the Art
By the time you read this, you might already have caught one of the new billboard or wall murals street-art titan D*Face, aka Dean Stockton, has been dropping around L.A. this month — and guessed that a local show was in the offing. D*Face’s PMM Art Projects pop-up, “Scars and Stripes,” begins Friday, Sept. 26, with interior and exterior installations. The gallery also becomes the HQ of a citywide mural campaign. Somehow, in between painting his Pop-inspired, darkly romantic murals in cities from London to New York, Tokyo, Malmö and Malaga, D*Face also found time to create a new series of sculptures and some 30 large-scale paintings, as well as two limited-edition prints, which he plans to drop at the assuredly scene-tastic public reception tonight. Though a native Brit, the artist’s most enduring fascination and sustaining muse is the allure and elusiveness of the American Dream — the dream of fame, eternal youth and obscene wealth, that is. Many of the new paintings are portraits of pop culture figures, such as Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Biggie Smalls and Tupac, who all achieved massive stardom and were dead by 30. So, you know, good times. These works, like many of D*Face’s most iconic images, draw from personal as well as shared cultural memories, as he wields the tight lines and primary colors of comics and pop art in service of thoughtful, wistful and always arresting visual interventions on the urban landscape. PMM Art Projects, 315 S. Robertson Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Sat., Sept. 27, 6:30-10 p.m.; free. Exhibit continues through Oct. 14. firstname.lastname@example.org, pmmartprojects.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
3. Look Back
New from the it’s-about-dang-time department, “Lookin’ Back in Front of Me: Selected Works of Mark Steven Greenfield 1974-2014” is exactly as major as it sounds like — and kudos to the California African American Museum for doing the work to exhibit it. A survey of profound wit, eclectic vibrancy and timely topicality, the paintings, drawings and photo-based works run the stylistic gamut but are united by a scholarly thread of cultural anthropology and sociopolitical critiques on the black experience. Though mostly known from directorships of the Watts Towers Arts Center and the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery, Greenfield has been working in the studio the entire time, and in the past few years has become known primarily for his powerful and engaging visual artistry. Along with an unflinching analysis of the way African-Americans are portrayed in the media, Greenfield deploys his rapier wit, thorny humor and hard-won wisdom to expand his topics to metaphysical contemplation, local community history, cultural appropriation, hypocritical civic policy, institutional racism and Parliament Funkadelic. On Sunday, the exhibit features a walk-through and conversation with Greenfield and curator Mar Hollingsworth, and special events continue throughout its run — including a genealogical workshop on Jan. 24, a Feb. 14 screening of segments of The Dance: The History of American Minstrelsy and a March 14 cartooning workshop with David Brown. California African American Museum, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park; Sun., Sept. 28, 2 p.m.; free, RSVP preferred to (213) 744-2024. Exhibition began Thurs., Sept. 25 and continues Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; through April 5. (213) 744-7432, caamuseum.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot
2. Laugh Your
Ass Buttocks Off
Sleepy, schlubby Nate Bargatze is an absurdly observant stand-up comedian and, at least professionally, clean. But comedy without f-bombs doesn’t necessarily mean it’s without teeth. The son of a professional clown, Bargatze has a Southern charm that has likely gotten him banished to the couch by the missus more than once. He could easily go blue but has instead found success keeping the jokes network-friendly — he was a member of Jimmy Fallon’s Clean Cut Comedy Tour and has amassed a fair amount of late-night appearances. For some, scooping the profanity out would leave a lot of gaps in their routine, but Bargatze’s wry, Everyman drawl only benefits from the restraints. Catch him at Meltdown for just $5. Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Mon., Sept. 29, 9 p.m.; $5. (323) 851-7223, meltcomics.com. —Sean J. O’Connell
1. Get Musical
Part crusader, part folklorist, part fanatical music nerd, Chris Strachwitz has played an extraordinary role in American culture. Maureen Gosling and Chris Simon’s glorious new documentary, This Ain’t No Mouse Music, captures the wild tale of Strachwitz’s devotion to our musical underworld — blues, polka, norteño, jazz, hillbilly — and shows us how, as president of long-running independent label Arhoolie Records, his single-handed, almost 60-year campaign to make the stuff available has been nothing short of miraculous. A German immigrant, Strachwitz’s postwar California youth was spent in aural intoxication, first via sunrise country radio broadcasts and later by venturing out to live shows featuring musicians such as R&B potentate Big Jay McNeely. Strachwitz’s subsequent launch of Arhoolie allowed such legendary performers as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Clifton Chenier and The Maddox Brothers & Rose to gain the national recognition that had previously eluded them. Strachwitz even did field recordings, and along the way carved out an empire built on vinyl records. The lively, colorful, often hilarious doc is full of astonishingly beautiful music, and with personal appearances by the filmmakers and Strachwitz himself, a big, memorable time is guaranteed for all comers. Downtown Independent, 251 S. Main St., dwntwn.; Wed., Oct. 1-Thu., Oct. 9, 8:30 p.m.; $10. (213) 617-1033, downtownindependent.com. —Jonny Whiteside
Editor's note: A previous version of this list wrongly stated that CAAM is affiliated with USC. That is not the case. Also, while the opening reception is Sunday, the Mark Steven Greenfield exhibit began Thursday. We regret the errors.
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