It's the week before the 4th of July and a surprisingly not-awful World Cup performance by the U.S. national soccer team has put everyone in a patriotic mood. So let's celebrate with a musical comedy poking fun at all-American rocker Bob Seger and a fireworks show (with Steve Martin on banjo!) at the Hollywood Bowl – stay on budget with $13 seats that will still provide a nice view of the sparklers. Also worth celebrating is our community of queer artists, many of whom have come together to produce an exciting Biennial show on display for most of July.
As if that's not enough, we've also got a fun-filled $5 comedy show in Eagle Rock, and a politically-charged experimental dance performance in Torrance. Forget the relaxing BBQ – you've got a lot to do this week!
5. Dance About It
Stories ripped from the headlines and dancing with art are the varied approaches taken by choreographers in this concert shared by Liz Hoefner Adamis' Immediate Action Dance and John Pennington's Pennington Dance Group. Adamis' two new works consider activists in Pakistan and South Africa who have galvanized international outrage. Malala Yousafzai was propelled to worldwide prominence after a thug stormed her school bus in Pakistan and shot her three times in the face. In Gul Makai, Adamis goes beyond the sound bite to explore the relationship between Yousafzai and her activist father, Ziauddin Yousafzai. In Like the Arabesques of a Blind Mind, Adamis tackles another politically charged topic: It's inspired by South African poet and apartheid activist Breyten Breytenbach's seven-year imprisonment in South Africa, including two years in solitary confinement. Adamis' dancers include Rebekah Davidson, Sinnamon Hauser, Lindsey Lollie, Paula Present and Sarri Sanchez. Choreographer Pennington contributes two works employing onstage art. In OUT OF, five dancers perform with floor-to-ceiling watercolor panels by Susan Rankaitis to a commissioned score by Edgar Rothermich. In OVERLAY, Pennington launches six dancers, who make the stage their canvas. The evening also includes live experimental music from the Yorgos Adamis Ensemble. El Camino College, Marsee Auditorium, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance; Fri., June 27, 8 p.m.; $15. (310) 329-5345, 800-832-ARTS, facebook.com/events/622940134468914. – Ann Haskins
4. Get Your Seger On
If you've spent precious work hours watching an Internet gift called Yacht Rock, you're familiar with J.D. Ryznar. In 2005, Ryznar and his comedian and writer friends (David B. Lyons, Hunter Stair, Drew Carey, Dan Harmon, Jason Lee and Doug Benson) created the web series, which gently spoofed a time when music was smooth, thanks to soft-rock bands such as The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Loggins & Messina, Hall & Oates, Christopher Cross and the smoothest of them all, Michael McDonald. Now Ryznar is turning his attention to another bearded classic-rock icon, Bob Seger. Ryznar describes A Night of 1,000 Bob Segers as a “low-budget play wrapped around a tribute band,” with Ryznar acting as narrator, while Jason Makiaris and the Bobsegers play Seger songs from the '60s to the '80s and a cast – including Stair, Tim Heidecker (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!), John Konesky (Tenacious D) and stand-up comics Matt Braunger, Kyle Kinane and Mike Burns – liberally reinterprets Seger's life and career. Audience members are encouraged to come dressed as Seger. Wearing underwear and socks à la Risky Business doesn't count. The Satellite, 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake; Sat., June 28, 9 p.m. (doors open at 8:30); $12. (323) 661-4380, thesatellitela.com. – Siran Babayan
See also: 15 Things to Do in L.A. If You're Having a Bad Day
3. See (Art) Differently
The first Queer Biennial is a national survey focusing on the current moment in out/queer/LGBT visual culture – a salient idea, and one that's sure to be expanded upon in the future. Though its curator, Ruben Esparza, and its first venue, Coagula Curatorial, are both L.A. institutions, the Biennial has elements planned for New York, Mexico and Europe and includes artists from the American West, East and Mid, and even a little bit of Canada. Contributions come from bondage-friendly photographer and director Rick Castro; jewelry designer and metalworker Angela Gleason; filmmaker, writer, photographer and mixed-media artist Bruce LaBruce; photocollagist and neon sculptor Lili Lakich; and portraitist, muralist and illustrator Miguel Angel Reyes. Musicians and performers include Themegoman, Crystal Powers and Devan M, along with photographer and indie-erotica provocateur Dave Naz; Austin Young, champion of transgender fabulosity in photography, performance, film and public spectacle; and conceptualist and curator Esparza, whose pun-laden, mixed-media work mashes up commercial and alternative cultural signifiers. As you might expect, the exhibition (and related happenings both at the opening and during the July 26 Perform Chinatown festival) is provocative in its ideas and inclusive in its style, with artists sharing only a sensibility that Esparza describes as “not shying away from sexuality, identity, the body and all-around queerness.” What you might not have anticipated? The familiarity and accessibility that are on display here. After all, the show is fundamentally just about the human experience. Coagula Curatorial, 974 Chung King Road, Chinatown; Sat., June 28, 7-11 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues Wed.-Sat., noon-5 p.m., through July 26. (424) 226-2485, queerbiennial.com. – Shana Nys Dambrot
Keep reading for two more great events, including an all-star comedy show and a sparkly way to spend 4th of July weekend…
2. Have a Laugh
What should you do for entertainment on Sunday? Whatever. How can you get some good laughs in while supporting the arts? Whatever! That's not an expression of ennui – Whatever is a new, monthly stand-up night at the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, born of the bromance between comedians Eric Dadourian and Allen Strickland Williams. It's called Whatever, Dadourian says, because “like, whatever, you know?” A resident of Eagle Rock, Dadourian had seen several live shows and events at the center, and he and Williams wanted to put on a comedy night there to benefit the community. Says Williams, “Eric and I are in love, and I think that makes a big difference. We try to just book people we really love and put on a good neighborhood show. It's about love.” Sunday's show will be the third Whatever, with a seven-deep roster of comedians notably headlined by the high-pitched and hilarious Maria Bamford. Known for a variety of guest spots both disturbing and charming (on Louie, Arrested Development and Kroll Show, among many others), Bamford is most hilarious when she's playing herself and her mother – the impression she does of her mama is singularly great contemporary comedy. More talented laugh doctors on the list are David Venhuizen, Solomon Georgio, Abbey Jordan, Keith Kelly, Barbara Gray and Caitlin Gill. At only $5 per person, you'd be hard-pressed to find a fun night out with a more ironically nonchalant name. Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock; Sun., June 29, 8:30 p.m.; $5. (323) 226-1617, cfaer.org. ? – Rena Kosnett
1. Grab the Cheap Seats
Steve Martin, the accomplished banjo player who occasionally sidelines as an actor/comedian, will headline this year's July Fourth Fireworks Spectacular at the Hollywood Bowl. The fireworks at the Bowl are indeed spectacular – perhaps the best show in all of L.A. (and you know that's saying something!). Martin, with songwriting partner Edie Brickell and their band, the Steep Canyon Rangers, will perform tracks from their new album, Love Has Come for You; they will be joined by the Los Angeles Philharmonic (conducted by John Morris Russell) and the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West for some patriotic tunes. They'll also perform this show (with fireworks) Wednesday, July 2, and Thursday, July 3, in case you want to get your America on early. So bring a picnic and enjoy live music and fireworks under the open sky. Happy Independence Day, y'all. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave, Hlywd.; Wed., July 2-Fri., July 4, 7:30 p.m.; $13-$138. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. – Sascha Bos
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