We're all aware that something labeled “interesting” may not be all that interesting in actuality. However, when we say interesting, we darn well mean it.
From William S. Burroughs to Butt Stuff, there are so many fascinating things going on in L.A. this week that we couldn't hold ourselves to the usual five items. And everything we're recommending below is for $15 or less!
1. Check out the L.A. Art Book Fair
If this whole crazy love affair with books, hand-printed paper and unique, handmade literary objects keeps up, folks really will have to stop saying print is dead – or at least stop claiming that people don't read in L.A. The L.A. Art Book Fair, a presentation of NYC institution Printed Matter, last year was an insane crush of humanity to rival any art fair, with thousands of curious-minded, totebag-toting letters lovers prowling the makeshift aisles of the Geffen Contemporary, poring over the wares of hundreds of indie publishers and rare-book sellers from around the country. This second edition of the event promises to be even more ambitious. Within the generally eclectic offerings, certain curated aspects focus on queer publications, international zine-makers, a special collection of vintage club-culture artifacts, special benefit volumes by Parra, Jeremy Deller and Laura Owens, a series of lectures, panels, screenings and installations supported by MOCAtv, and on-site broadcasting by KCHUNG Radio. With free admission, new events every day and a lot of heavy stuff to carry home, you may want to consider return visits. Warning: Library lovers may seem like sophisticated, mild-mannered folks, but that new-book smell turns people into animals. The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 152 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo; Fri., Jan. 31, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 1, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 2, noon-6 p.m.; opening reception Thu., Jan. 30, 6-9 p.m.; free. (213) 626-6222, laartbookfair.net. – Shana Nys Dambrot
2. Learn About a Literary Legend at “Call Me Burroughs”
For someone who seemed as if he'd already been 100 years old for the better part of the past century, it's strange to realize that this year marks William S. Burroughs' actual centenary. A singular figure in the annals of literature and transgression, Burroughs gets the retrospective treatment tonight from Beat historian Barry Miles and L.A. Times Books editor David Ulin in a discussion titled “Call Me Burroughs.” Miles has already proven his salt with biographies on McCartney and Kerouac, and Ulin has proven his salt by reading them, so they should have something worth saying about a man whose actual voice was as distinct as his literary one. Maybe they'll talk about Miles' co-editing the new edition of Naked Lunch. Maybe they'll talk about Burroughs and Warhol talking about losing their virginity, a conversation that recently surfaced online in a video clip. Maybe they'll take their notes and cut them up to make a more interesting conversation. You never know what you'll get with William S. Burroughs – even now. Mark Taper Auditorium, Central Library, 630 W. Fifth St., dwntwn.; Mon., Feb. 3, 7:15 p.m.; free. (213) 228-7025, lfla.org. – D.C.
3. Laugh Your Ass Off at Butt Stuff
What L.A. needs is a vintage clothing shop that really knows how to party. Enter Atwater Village's Tela Fiera, the men's and women's boutique that in June moved into a former pot shop on Glendale Boulevard and has been putting its patio to good use ever since, hosting DJs, artists and food trucks. Beginning today, the shop will extend its back patio to comedians and storytellers in honor of Lauren Brown and Jackie Preciado's inaugural stand-up and storytelling show, Butt Stuff, scheduled for the last Friday of every month. Butt Stuff's debut features Brandie Posey of the Lady to Lady podcast, Dave Ross of sketch group Women, Curt Neill and Cornell Reid of Power Violence's Bro Show and others, plus food-truck fare from Me So Hungry. “We wanted to open it up to people who aren't necessarily comics but who are wonderful storytellers who don't get a chance to perform as much as they should,” Preciado says. And don't be frightened by the show's title: “It was literally the very first name that we came up with. We were, like 'OK, that's perfect.'?” Tela Fiera, 3425 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village; Fri., Jan. 31, 8 p.m.; free. (323) 384-8442. – Jennifer Swann
4. See the Art at “Fútbol: The Beautiful Game”
With the 2014 World Cup coming up in Brazil this summer, now is a great time for a crash course in all things football or, as we call it here in the United States, soccer. Unlike American football, the original football is played by teams of 11 who aren't allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms, with the exception of the goalkeepers, of course. Since Los Angeles is the only city with not one but two Major League Soccer teams – L.A. Galaxy and Chivas USA – it's the ideal place for an exhibit that brings together the different disciplines of sport and art into a cohesive show that celebrates both. With this in mind, LACMA is exhibiting dozens of pieces by nearly 30 artists examining the so-called “beautiful game.” The show reveals what soccer means to players, spectators, fans and those who may not be aware of the scope of its cultural significance around the world. Featuring artworks in a range of media, including photography, video, painting, installation and sculpture, “Fútbol: The Beautiful Game” addresses issues of flag-waving jingoism and the nature of communal experience through sports today. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; runs Feb. 2-July 20; Mon., Tue., Thu., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; $15, $10 seniors and students. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. – Tanja M. Laden
5. Hear Sean Strub Speak
Sean Strub was the first publicly HIV-positive candidate to run for U.S. Congress. An openly gay businessman and activist, he also created the progressive magazine POZ and produced a hit off-Broadway play. However, Strub's most recent role is author of Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival. In this intimate account, Strub shares his coming of age at Georgetown University, at a time when ambitious young men were terrified to admit their same-sex attraction, and the details of his own diagnosis, as well as the depth of his involvement with the advocacy group ACT UP. His is a story interwoven with history; he describes his participation in AIDS demonstrations at St. Patrick's Cathedral and at the home of U.S. Senator Jesse Helms. The long-term AIDS survivor will share his powerful story in a conversation with activist-author Torie Osborn. Book Soup, 8818 W. Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Wed., Feb. 5, 7 p.m.; free, book is $30. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. ? – Kellyn Kawaguchi
6. Witness a Tribute to Edie Adams
Entertainer Edie Adams cut a slinky, silky and thoroughly unforgettable swath through 1960s American pop culture. With a beguiling mixture of high-toned humor, sophisticated sexuality and a strikingly singular personal poise, Adams, whether she was doing straight drama, high comedy or unforgettably pitching Muriel brand cigars, never failed to command audience attention. The Cinefamily's Tribute to Edie Adams is an overdue re-examination of this fabulous talent, a once nationally famous performer whose star has been obscured by time's passage and the ever-heightening profile of her third husband, comic genius Ernie Kovacs (whose tragic, sudden 1962 death was famously met by Adams with steely, legacy-enhancing grace). Tonight's retrospective, curated by esteemed director Allison Anders, includes the scalpel-sharp wit and insight of Adams acolyte Ann Magnuson and contributions from Adams' son, Joshua Mills, along with a barrage of high-impact clips from Adams' two network variety shows (where she held her own against the stellar likes of Duke Ellington, Dick Shawn, Spike Jones and Sammy Davis Jr.) and a screening of Billy Wilder's brilliant 1960 socio-sexual dissertation The Apartment (in which Adams made her memorable big-screen debut). Expect wall-to-wall sass and class. Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave.; Tue., Feb. 4, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. – Jonny Whiteside