One of the best things about the Art Los Angeles Contemporary (ALAC) fair, now in its fourth year, is the balance the organizers strike between a traditional grid-system art fair experience and mixing it up around the edges. Previous years have seen ancillary programming focused on performance art and independent publishing; this year they're mixing things up again, continental style. While remaining committed to the formula of hosting half L.A.-based galleries and half national and international galleries, this year's out-of-town roster includes a decidedly increased Parisian presence, in large part due to ALAC's partnership with the months-long, citywide Ceci N'est Pas program. They've also loosened up the on-site happenings schedule, with more random, organic experiences unfolding in a comfy lounge area at intervals throughout the weekend — a chic and casual alternative to the more formal discussions going on across the way in the Ruskin theater space. ALAC will also be the site of a new individual artist grant award in partnership with the DCA and the New York-based Rema Hort Mann Foundation, with the winners to be announced at the fair on Friday afternoon. Area museums are getting in on the action, too, helping to further secure this homegrown fair's place as a highlight of the year in art. Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; opening gala, Thurs., Jan. 24, 7-9 p.m.; $50. Fri.-Sat., Jan. 25-26, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun., Jan. 27, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; $20, $30 weekend pass. (323) 851-7530,

Thu., Jan. 24, 7-9 p.m.; Jan. 25-26, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 27, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., 2013

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