From Vegan Sweets Con to an event tackling L.A.'s homelessness crisis, a dance benefit and Latinx performance art, here are the 12 best things to do in L.A. this week.
Tilting at Windmills
Miguel de Cervantes' epic novel Don Quixote, about an idealistic knight-errant and his comrade Sancho Panza, has proved to be a universally resonant tale over the past four centuries, with interpretations in multiple formats, including film and opera. The ballet adaptation, with music by Ludwig Minkus and choreography by Marius Petipa, staged and choreographed further by Alexander Gorsky in 1900, has endured as the definitive ballet adaptation, and that's the version brought to the Southland this week by St. Petersburg's high-flying and stylish Mikhailovsky Ballet. Principal dancer Ivan Vasiliev portrays Basilio in the first two evening performances, and Victor Lebedev takes over in the role in the matinees on Saturday and Sunday, with Angelina Vorontsova and Anastasia Soboleva alternating as Kitri. Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; Fri., Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 10, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 11, 1 p.m.; $29-$189. (714) 556-2787, scfta.org. —Falling James
Check in Here
The last time Art at the Rendon let a few dozen artists loose inside the walls of the mid-transformation Rendon Hotel, they took over every room with a series of art installations that made for an immersive and sometimes intense, hallucinatory experience. A lot of that art is still in place but this weekend, it's interior and exterior video projections and live performance art throughout the building that take center stage. Well, less of a stage and more of a choose-your-own-adventure narrative pastiche of theater and visual reimaginings of the history of this gloriously seedy original Arts District location. In fact, the corner dive bar (familiar to fans of Bukowski's Barfly, and which in the film version basically played itself) will be reactivated as a jazzy period piece serving local brews. All proceeds benefit the theatre programs at nearby Inner City Arts. Rendon Hotel, 2055 E. Seventh St., downtown; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 9-10, 7 p.m.; Sun. Nov. 11, 6 p.m.; $25. (213) 537-0687, artattherendon.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Deborah Brockus is the prime mover of the L.A. Dance Festival and her own contemporary company, BrockusRED. For the past three years they've hosted the local dance community's charity event Dance/BACK, with 100 percent of the proceeds donated to a designated charity or nonprofit. This year's participants include Maura Townsend's PROJECT21DANCE, Nancy Evans' Dodge Dance Company, Sean Greene, Fuse Dance Company, Lindsey Lollie, Leah Hamel's Carpool Dance Collective, Luke Zendar, Charlotte K. Smith and the host company. Past recipients include Doctors Without Borders (2015), Family Rescue Center (2016) and Doctors Without Borders/International Rescue Committee (2016). This year, the ACLU and the Good Shepherd Women's Shelter will benefit. Whatever finally happens when the dust settles on the midterms, the ACLU undoubtedly will be going to court or paying for current court cases challenging voter suppression efforts in states like Kansas, North Dakota and Georgia. This annual event has become a way to channel the energy of the local dance community and its audience to dance and give back. Entry is an online donation (action.aclu.org/teamaclu/campaign/danceback-2018) or a donation for the shelter brought to the show; advise which you'll do when making the required reservation (Brockus.Dance.inLA@gmail.com). Brockus Project Studios, 618B Moulton Ave., Lincoln Heights; Sat., Nov. 10, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 11, 6 p.m.; entry by donation. brockusproject.org. —Ann Haskins
FOOD & DRINK
While it may not be summer anymore, SoCal's temperate climes mean there's never really a bad time of the year to have an event like the Gonzoplex Block Party, with Pitfire Artisan Pizza celebrating the opening of Superba Snacks + Coffee. A host of food — burgers, pretzels, pizza, french fry cones and more — awaits attendees, as well as live music, games and a cash beer garden.There will be various contests of skill, or at least appetite, including pizza making, pizza eating and latte art competitions. All proceeds from the block party's raffle benefit KPCC/Southern California Public Radio (and really, when you think about it, you and your commute, too). Superba Snacks + Coffee, 730 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena; Sat., Nov. 10, noon-5 p.m.; free. eventbrite.com/e/the-gonzoplex-block-party-tickets-48671148716. —Avery Bissett
Prepare to Be Provoked
"No one knows who they were or what they were doing, but their legacy remains," the great hard-rock philosophers Spinal Tap once mused about the druids in their daft musical homage "Stonehenge." The druids' legacy resurfaces in another form this evening at the 12th annual Druid Underground Film Festival, with a two-hour program of short films and found footage. While the works in this year's edition will shed little light on the actual culture of the druids, they do represent a fascinating collision of provocative short films on numerous subjects presented by series founder Billy Burgess. HM157, 3110 N. Broadway, Lincoln Heights; Sat., Nov. 10, 8 p.m.; $10. (562) 895-9399. —Falling James
FOOD & DRINK
Vegans tend to get ridiculed for their strict diets. But at Vegan Sweets Con — fittingly taking place around the holidays, the most sugar-filled time of year — the healthy and animal-free desserts are anything but boring. Following this summer's Long Beach Vegan Festival, this event gathers more than 30 vendors selling every type of sweet, from cookies and macaroons to chocolates and shakes, in addition to savory options, such as Compton Vegan, which specializes in soul food and BBQ. The schedule also features a cookie bake-off, children's cookie decorating and a dairy-free milk and cookies lounge, as well as demonstrations and appearances by Lauren Toyota, Nicole Allen and Flower Bullock, creator of Stone Girl Treats & Eats, who teaches how to use cannabidiol. The Renaissance Hotel, 1111 Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Sun., Nov. 11, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; $10-$40, 12 & under free. (562) 437-5900, vegancookiecon.com. —Siran Babayan
That dozens of unsolved murders were finally solved remains a high point of 2018, and detective novelists have seized upon these latest developments with characteristic vigor. Tonight, Live Talks L.A. presents Paul Levine and Michael Connelly discussing Connelly's new book, Dark Sacred Night (A Ballard and Bosch Novel) ($29, Little, Brown and Company). In this latest page-burner, Detective Renée Ballard stumbles upon former detective Harry Bosch rummaging through old files to solve a cold case. After he leaves, she finds out that he's really on to something and they join forces to close the books on the case at last. Ann and Jerry Moss Theater, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica; Mon., Nov. 12, 8 p.m.; $52 reserved + book/$42 general + book/$20 general. (310) 855-0005, livetalksla.org/events/michael-connelly/. —David Cotner
A Quintet of Premieres
The Green Umbrella series is always one of the highlights of L.A. Philharmonic's season, as adventurous members of the orchestra band together as the L.A. Phil New Music Group to perform strange and experimental avant-garde pieces in front of diverse, open-minded audiences on Tuesday nights. But with L.A. Phil celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the orchestra is taking the bold step of filling every Green Umbrella program this season with the world premieres of new works. Tonight, Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki presents a program of new music by European composers Francesco Filidei, Arnulf Herrmann, Lotta Wennäkoski, Miroslav Srnka and Yann Robin. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Tue., Nov. 13, 8 p.m.; $20-$60. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com. —Falling James
Clay Makes a Comeback
Ceramics has been having an extended moment of popularity and acclaim in fine-art circles, as more and more contemporary artists embrace the appeal of this slow, heavy, messy medium. Not content to simply appreciate the appeal of this exceptionally analog and physical material, perhaps as a countermeasure against the surge of the digital and virtual, new generations of sculptors are pressing tradition into the service of the modern. One of the most intriguing voices in the clay conversation has been Matt Wedel, whose new show, "Everything is everything," opens in Venice this week. Wedel's unique vision merges his own family background (his dad is a potter) with art historical confidence and expressively personal narrative to create eccentric, painterly ceramic sculptures that innovatively interpret elements from natural and psychological landscapes. L.A. Louver, 45 N. Venice Blvd., Venice; opening reception: Wed., Nov. 14, 6-8 p.m.; exhibit Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., thru Jan. 5; free. (310) 822-4955, lalouver.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
While the response from Los Angeles' political leaders to the city's homeless epidemic has been less decisive leadership and more unfulfilled promises and moribund policymaking, the participants at the L.A. Homelessness Challenge aren't as content to sit around waiting for the status quo to change. Sponsored by United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the Watt Companies, the Shark Tank (but with better ideas!)–style event will award $200,000 to the best service solution for tackling homelessness. The finalists include Venice Family Clinic's proposal to expand and educate the public on street medicine; a program that offers families mobile childcare; and various housing and support regimes. The evening opens with hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. InterContinental Hotel Los Angeles, 900 Wilshire Blvd., downtown; Wed., Nov. 14, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; free, RSVP required. eventbrite.com/e/la-homelessness-challenge-pitch-event-tickets-50787065480. —Avery Bissett
The Body Politic
En Cuatro Patas is the Broad's feminist Latinx performance series, in which an eclectic range of possible identities across the community and positions as citizens of the world have been explored, manifesting as interdisciplinary avant-garde quasi-theatrical experiences. This edition features Given Over to Want by internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Nao Bustamante; Shadow Woman by Gina Osterloh, a visual artist who has always enacted performative elements as part of her installations and compositions; and INFESTACIÓN: PISOS I, II, III by the operatically soulful composer-singer-activist Dorian Wood. The Broad, 221 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Thu., Nov. 15, 8:30 p.m.; $15. (213) 232-6200, thebroad.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot
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Damien Echols was one of the West Memphis Three, a trio of teenagers who were convicted in 1994 of murdering three young boys in Arkansas in 1993. The case attracted a lot of media attention, with many followers, including Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, decrying the judicial process, and the West Memphis Three eventually were freed from prison, if not fully exonerated. Echols and his friends appeared to have been convicted based more on their lifestyle as fans of heavy metal than on hard evidence that definitively proved their guilt. "Magick saved my life," Echols writes in his new book, High Magick. "Magick was the only thing in prison that gave my life purpose and kept me sane." He discusses the book with The Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines. The Regent Theater, 448 S. Main St., downtown; Thu., Nov. 15, 8 p.m.; $32. (323) 934-2944, ticketfly.com/event/1769072-damien-echols-in-conversation-los-angeles/. —Falling James