This week, we're bringing you a variety of choices – and one of our picks is sure to be up your artistic alley. L.A. is a treasure trove of talent waiting to be discovered, and this week's events showcase dance, music, film and photography.
Now, if artistic beauty doesn't intrigue you, the beauty of “free” should satisfy: The Night Cap event we're featuring this week will have giveaways, and “Moby: Innocents” is completely free of charge!
]1. Visit a Comedy Show in a Hat Shop
Night Cap is that rare intersection of comedy and fashion that isn't so much two great tastes coming together, à la peanut butter and jelly, as it is “You got your LSD on my bacon!/You got your bacon on my LSD!” This strange night of warm sensations is presented by host Jake Kroeger, of local comedy town criers The Comedy Bureau, and international haberdashers Goorin Bros., of the official Heisenberg hat design seen on Breaking Bad, as well as numerous other examples of superior hatmaking. Tonight's laugh leaders include Sean Patton and Baron Vaughn of Conan, quadruple Moth Grandslammer Margot Leitman, man-on-the-street reporter Andy Peters of the Wandertown podcast, plus the enigmatic, magnetic allure of “and more.” There'll be hat giveaways as well – so that automatically makes this a better venue than all the random places hosting comedy nights nowadays. Goorin Bros. Hat Shop, 7627 Melrose Ave., Fairfax; Fri., Feb. 21, doors 8:30 p.m., show 9 p.m.; $5. (323) 951-0393, nightout.com/events/nightcap?comedy/tickets. – David Cotner
2. Check Out Sky City at a Jazz Club
This month's installment of Creative Underground L.A.'s winter residency at the Blue Whale features Dorian Wood and the Daniel Rosenboom Septet performing the two-act, operatic cacophony Sky City. An original composition for dozens of musicians, undertaken in the cross-disciplinary spirit that makes the underground so special, Sky City may be jazz-based, but don't call it jazz music. Librettist and vocalist Wood, who is racing back to L.A. from a 15-country European tour to make this date, and Rosenboom, founder of Orenda Records and a popular feature of progressive museum concerts, are both masters of a particular avant-garde ugly/gorgeous aesthetic that brings to the same table music, art and spoken-word lovers. Expect poetic flourishes, impassioned, atonal torch song, flights of minor-chord exuberance, occasional cognitive and aural dissonance, and even now and then a foot-tapping backbeat at this inimitable, genre-bending performance-art concert experience, which truly lives up to the promise of the creative underground's name. Blue Whale, 123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St., dwntwn.; Sun., Feb. 23, 8 p.m. doors, 9 p.m. show; $15. (213) 620-0908, creativeundergroundla.com. – Shana Nys Dambrot
Turn the page for more great events in L.A. this week
3. See a Musician's Art in “Moby: Innocents”
“I don't like art that tells me what to feel,” Moby says. “Let me make my own meaning – or be comfortable with my confusion.” The musician is speaking about the tenor of his latest series of photographs, and viewers may want to take heed, because these are unsettling, ambiguous and emotionally affecting pictures. Made over the last three years in the hills and streets of Hollywood that he now famously calls home, “Moby: Innocents” opens this weekend at Project Gallery, offering a deeply personal view of civilization's slow-motion apocalypse. Whereas his previous photo series looked outward, examining how life can be lived in a public isolation, this show turns somewhat inward, as Moby was inspired to construct scenarios, complete with actors and costumes, that give form to the archetypes floating around his subconscious. The masks, disguises, inscrutable rituals and instances of everyday strangeness that appear in this work have a dreamlike quality, at once familiar and surreal, frightening and comforting. Settings from the woods to the supermarket host deliberate apparitions that both elicit and elude interpretation – and Moby welcomes viewers to add their readings to his own. These images speak to the transitional time we inhabit, one where magic intrudes into reality, where the angelic can appear monstrous, and where the end of the world as we know it might not be so bad. Project Gallery, 1553 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri., Feb. 21, 7-10 p.m.; continues through March 30, Wed.-Fri., noon-6 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. (323) 462-1100, projectla.net. – Shana Nys Dambrot
4. Eavesdrop on a Conversation Between John Waters and Ed Koons
Cult filmmaker John Waters is best known for his long list of trashy, transgressive flicks, which feature the likes of ex – porn star Traci Lords and drag queen Divine, not to mention Johnny Depp and Kathleen Turner, and which redefined the meaning of independent cinema during the 1970s and '80s. With his trademark pencil-thin mustache, Waters remains a living legend in the indie-film world, despite his occasional shift into the mainstream. His unique grasp of the cringeworthy yet charming side of humanity is what sets him apart from his peers. It's also what makes him the ideal person to interview Jeff Koons, the artist who immortalized in porcelain Michael Jackson and his pet chimp, Bubbles. Koons himself is no stranger to controversy, having married and divorced erstwhile muse and adult-film actress Cicciolina (who was also a member of the Italian parliament). While Koons and Waters work in different media, both brazenly blur the boundary between fine art and bad taste. This eagerly awaited discussion, The Un-Private Collection: Jeff Koons and John Waters, highlights Koons' artwork, some of which will be on view in the as-yet-unopened Broad art museum downtown. Orpheum Theatre, 842 Broadway, dwntwn.; Mon., Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (213) 228-7500, lfla.org. – Tanja M. Laden
5. Check Out the Pasadena Dance Festival
It's not yet as famous as the city's Rose Parade, but as it enters its seventh year, the Pasadena Dance Festival continues to grow in popularity and now stretches over two weekends. And while Southern California hosts a variety of dance festivals, many are basically concerts featuring lots of dance companies. This festival has a more expansive concept, not just presenting performances but emphasizing participatory dance and also grooming an audience for dance. Hosted by Pasadena-based Lineage Dance Company and its artistic director, Hilary Thomas, the festival's opening salvo last week included concerts and a day of free classes and workshops in Pasadena. This week the action moves to nearby La Cañada Flintridge for two concerts showcasing emerging choreographers and a daylong swirl of events on Saturday, with workshops and classes open to the public beginning at 9 a.m., plus two final concerts: a Saturday matinee featuring preprofessional student companies, and a finale that evening with an impressive lineup of professional companies and dancers, including Union Project Dance Company, Melinda Sullivan, Kin Dance Theater, FUSE Modern Dance, Vanessa Van Wormer Dance, Invertigo Dance, Janet Roston/Los Angeles Rock Opera Company, RhetOracle Dance and host Lineage Dance. Many events are free, and concert tickets cost about the same as a movie ticket, so check the website for the full schedule. Lineage Performing Arts Center, 89 S. Fair Oaks, Pasadena; Emerging Choreographers Concert, Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 20-21, 8 p.m.; La Cañada Flintridge Preparatory School, 4543 Crown Ave., La Cañada Flintridge; Student Company Concert, Sat., Feb. 22, 2 p.m., $10; Pasadena Dance Festival Concert, Sat., Feb. 22, 8 p.m., $20, $15 students & seniors. pasadenadancefestival.org. – Ann Haskins