One performance artist explores the legacy of a forgotten Dominican movie star, while two others see what happens when they're in a room together for two hours or so.
5. Being famous
Is the art world a refuge for celebrities who can't find other worlds to embrace their bizarre behavior? Getty curator Glenn Phillips asked a question a lot like that on Facebook after actor Shia LaBeouf staged a “performance” at Stephen Cohen Gallery, prompting a long string of responses. On L.A. Weekly's Public Spectacle blog, Carol Cheh called LaBeouf's many failed attempts to find a venue “a fascinating lab experiment in which a clueless celebrity with issues is set loose in the woolly world of emerging contemporary art.” So what's going on with art and celebrity right about now? Human Resources will host a Town Hall – style forum, with Cheh, Phillips and others in attendance, to try to work some of this out. 410 Cottage Home St., Chinatown; Wed., March 12, 7-10 p.m. (213) 290-4752; humanresourcesla.com.
4. Reviving a starlet
Maria Montez starred in Technicolor costume dramas like Cobra Woman and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves in the 1940s, then died in a freakish bathtub drowning accident just after her popularity began to dip. Experimental filmmaker Jack Smith idolized Montez, and the fearless, often funny artist Nao Bustamante, who appeared as an “exhibitionist” on Joan Rivers' talk show in the early 1990s and is interested in shaking up stereotypes about bodies and identities, will channel the actress in a performance called Silver & Gold. 3607 Trousdale Parkway, USC, Exposition Park; Sun., March 9, 7 p.m.; free with RSVP. (213) 740-0483, email@example.com.
3. Knowing each other too well
The – family (called exactly that, using that punctuation) is a performance group that rehearses but doesn't plan. Their interactions, which I've seen only in video documents, have a sort of intuitive, familiar elegance, and sometimes the kind of tension that only arises out of emotional closeness. Usually the group works in Berlin, but members Wojciech Kosma and Sjoerd Dijk will perform the two-hour-long Liberty is everything when it necessitates a love for a human at LACE this week. 6522 Hollywood Blvd, Hlywd.; Sat., March 8, 8 p.m.; no late entry. (323) 957-1777, welcometolace.org.
2. Making mini meditation mounds
Artist David Sigmund has been building his own renditions of stupas, the mound-like structures used to house Buddhist relics and for meditation. His are far smaller than the ones he saw when visiting India a while back, and seductively smooth. There's one with an orb for a head, made of layers of bleached wood seamlessly laminated together, then varnished, at Papillion. It's part of “Open,” the gallery's debut show in its new Leimert Park location, the same building the Davis brothers occupied when they ran the fantastic Brockman Gallery in the 1960s and '70s. 4336 Degnan Blvd., Leimert Park; through April 13. papillionart.com.
1. Visiting the Valley
Forrest Gump had run for three years, two months, 14 hours and 16 minutes when he stopped in Monument Valley, those iconic brutalist boulders behind him. In the movie, it's funny when the simple man taken for a guru turns and tells his followers, “I'm pretty tired.” When you see the same scene play out silently on the long wall of Emma Gray's Five Car Garage, as part of Pascual Sisto's “Monument Valley” installation, it's romantic and haunting. So is nearly every big-screen shot (from Thelma & Louise or 2001: A Space Odyssey) Sisto has edited together. He's also installed three small monitors against that back wall, one featuring an animated SUV commercial with the desert landscape reflected in the car's surface, another with close-ups of horses against a green screen and the third with surreptitious footage of tourists at a lookout point in the Valley. At once, you're seeing four layers of a glorious, actual place that's also an iconic backdrop and mutable marketing tool. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for Santa Monica address; through March 16. (310) 497-6895, emmagrayhq.com.
Catherine Wagley on Twitter:
Public Spectacle, L.A. Weekly's arts & culture blog, on Facebook and Twitter: