As we assemble this weekend’s calendar, it’s with the knowledge that our best laid plans for the next few days (not to mention weeks, or even months) may be drastically altered before we even publish it. So this week, please enjoy art to see in gallery-by-appointment mode if you’re up for it, and a slate of conversations, theater works, dance, classical, and performance art streams that are perfect for more at-home type situations. Whatever your level, take care of yourselves and each other!
Friday, November 6
SOUND/STAGE at LA Phil. While the physical toll of the global pandemic is measured in a mountain of data, the emotional impact of our separation from family, friends, and neighbors is not as obvious. In this episode, Dudamel explores the essence of solitude, from one of Duke Ellington’s classic songs to the U.S. premiere of a work by Thomas Adès – composed specifically for a socially distanced orchestra. Further exploring the topic is an online conversation with LA Phil Creative Chair for Jazz, and long-time practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism, Herbie Hancock. Friday, November 6, episode released at 10am; soundstage.laphil.com.
Live Artists Live III: Despair/Repair at USC Roski. This third iteration of the performance art biennial will focus on meditations on mortality by internationally acclaimed artists, and will showcase performance as a poignant reflection and powerful rebuttal to the world’s challenges, addressing concerns around the “live” body of the artist, structures of feeling/affect, and performance-based action and/or inaction. Friday, November 6, noon-8:30pm and Saturday, November 7, 11am – 7:30pm; free; roski.usc.edu.
Saturday, November 7
Justin Liam O’Brien at Richard Heller Gallery. “Now, amidst a global pandemic and quarantine, I’ve given new thought to how confoundment and alienation have surged in our individual, socially distanced lives,” writes the artist. “I remind myself that my life is only a culmination of many different relationships: dear friends and awkward acquaintances, close family and distant relatives, lovers and estranged exes. I am thinking about how my work can expound upon these relationships, and maybe connect with people in a way that the world cannot currently allow for.” Richard Heller Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica; November 7 – December 19, by appointment; richardhellergallery.com.
Superchief presents Wishful Thinking: Kristen Liu-Wong and Luke Pelletier at Blue Ribbon Studios. Explosions, fires, a whole-ass pandemic… Superchief has had a rough time this past year. But now there’s a bit of hope for downtown’s favorite edgy art outpost, partnering with Pabst Blue Ribbon for PBR’s Artist in Residency program at the newly minted Blue Ribbon Studios. They will be showing a series of exciting collaborative paintings by Kristen Liu-Wong and Luke Pelletier, which in their multicultural candy-coated, sharp-fanged post-pop sensibility capture all the conflicting emotions of life in these times. 1700 Naud Ave, downtown; open by appointment beginning November 7; instagram.com/superchiefgallery.
New Play Reading Festival at Boston Court Theater. Free virtual readings of some promising and profound works-in-progress that are in keeping with Boston Court’s mission to bring audiences “risky, adventurous plays that you won’t find anywhere else in Southern California.” Each reading will be performed live and will not be available after the performance, so pay attention. Saturday, November 7, 10am & 4pm; Saturday, November 14, 10am & 4pm; free, but registration is required; bostoncourtpasadena.org.
Sunday, November 8
Hometown Proud at Los Angeles International Film Festival. After 30 years of living openly gay in California, Archer, a dance teacher and handyman, returns to his small hometown of Botkins, Ohio (population 1,164), where he has been invited to be a featured performer in the annual “Miss Carousel” pageant. The film follows Archer as he resolves to enhance Botkins’ annual summer festival with a dash of rainbow pride. The documentary is produced, directed, and edited by artists Naida Osline & Tyler Stallings, who in their individual projects have both explored issues around gender, immigration, and transformative modes of being, and these shared sensibilities inspired their collaboration. The film’s style blends formal interviews with direct cinema/cinema verite, inspired by Osline’s iconic compositions in her photo-based work and Stallings’ lyrical writing style. Available on streaming platforms including at this weekend’s L.A. International Film Festival, online November 8-14; hometownproudthemovie.com.
Edgar Arceneaux: Until, Until, Until…The Presidential Bookend Series (2015-2020) at Vielmetter Los Angeles. An exhibition of new photographs by Arceneaux, the online exhibition features eight key photographic compositions archived from the performances of Until, Until, Until…, Arceneaux’s first live work, investigating the infamous 1981 performance (and its aftermath) of Broadway legend Ben Vereen — televised nationally, but not in full, as part of Ronald Reagan’s inaugural celebration. Through November 21; vielmetter.com.
Almost Presidential at Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion. A film connected to Orange Coast College’s current online exhibition, Almost Presidential looks at vice presidents and failed presidential candidates, investigating names forgotten to history or reduced to one-liners and supporting roles. A 50-minute feature film oriented around a Zoom presentation, the piece presents new work by six artists who examine the American political landscape from an unfamiliar angle. Featuring sculpture, drawing, photography, installation, and video by Pio Abad, Deborah Aschheim, Matthew Brannon, and Cintia Segovia, and exhibition curators Marisa J. Futernick and Rebecca Sittler. Streaming through December 16 at Orange Coast College’s YouTube.
Race to the End. Race to the End features the work of more than 50 street artists in a projection series that is currently playing in New York City on a massive wall in the Bowery and on giant digital billboards displayed as you enter the U.S. from the Mexican border. A satirical Oval Office address that brings to life the surreal rants and brazen lies of our ratings-obsessed president, all the videos are crowd-sourced and showcase an assortment of artists, as it plays daily alongside pieces for BLM and the Lincoln Project. RTTE was conceived in the run up to the election, but will continue through the post-election chaos and into (hopefully) the transition of power in January. Follow along online at Race to the End, and on Twitter and Instagram.