From the definitely NSFW puppetry of Avenue Q to a Tofurky trot, art by shrinks and a holiday marketplace and brunch, here are the 12 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!
Puppets Aren't Just for Kids
A play starring puppets in a space called Cupcake might suggest some good clean family fun, but don't get it twisted, this ain't no Bob Baker's Marionette Theater production. The Broadway hit Avenue Q, featuring felt creatures in an uproarious musical about young adults trying to make it in New York City, is like Sesame Street meets Friends, if Friends were a PG-13 movie. Strong language and adult themes are involved, so this one is not recommended for the kiddies, though it is an all-ages venue (and let's face it, youngsters hear worse on the playground). Running since the top of the month, the Tony Award–winning musical has been a smash for the Valley venue with a cast of locals taking on the music and lyrics of Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx — who initially conceived Avenue Q as a television series, then developed it for the stage in 2002. Sassy and sardonic numbers like "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" delve into topical issues but somehow manage not to come off gratuitous — unlike that recent Melissa McCarthy movie! Avenue Q is, in fact, warmly nuanced and, ironically, a hilarious and honest show about humanity. Cupcake Theater, 11020 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood; Fri., Nov. 23, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 24, 7 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 4 p.m.; thru Dec. 16; $39-$79. cupcaketheater.com. —Lina Lecaro
Take a Sonic Voyage
Film director Stanley Kubrick's use of classical music in his films was so effective that many people, when they hear the momentous strains of Richard Strauss' "Also sprach Zarathustra," can't help immediately picturing scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey. This weekend, actor Malcolm McDowell hosts Stanley Kubrick's Sound Odyssey as Jessica Cottis conducts the L.A. Philharmonic in a weekend of classical selections from Kubrick's films, including 2001 (which also featured work by composers Ligeti, Johann Strauss and Khachaturian), The Shining (Bartók, Penderecki), Barry Lyndon (Handel, Schubert and Bach) and Eyes Wide Shut (Shostakovich, Ligeti), as well as lilting melodies by Beethoven that provided a soundtrack to the gleeful violence perpetrated by McDowell's character, Alex, in A Clockwork Orange. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 23-24, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 2 p.m.; $69-$207. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com. —Falling James
Support Local Artisans
It's a match made in artisanal, #shoplocal heaven at the return of the Craft & Folk Art Museum's Holiday Marketplace. It's a slightly more global take on the local makers scene, augmented by music and snacks, with the added benefit of taking in the museum's current round of impressive mixed-media shows and installations. Tip: The faux-fur safe room by Uzumaki Cepeda might come in handy for weary shoppers seeking a calming respite. The jewelry, textiles, ceramics, and unique, sustainable home goods are not only irresistible but also cash and carry — so consider getting in on the Saturday morning preview brunch not only for early access to the goods but also fresh coffee and fancy treats. Craft & Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; VIP preview brunch: Sat., Nov. 24, 10-11:30 a.m., $15; market: Sat., Nov., 24, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free with museum admission. (323) 937-4230, cafam.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot
On Your Toes
For the next six weeks ballet will be blooming across SoCal as that seasonal favorite The Nutcracker arrives. Sugar plum fairies, mice armies, toy soldiers and dancing snowflakes take the stage in dozens of productions ranging from ballet studios to visiting professional companies. First out of the gate and one of the best belongs the Los Angeles Ballet, the city's own professional ballet company. Set in 1913 Los Angeles, LAB's picture-postcard version is also the most accessible since it tours Metro L.A. with performances in Cerritos, Glendale, Redondo Beach, Westwood and Hollywood, with live music by the Los Angeles Ballet Orchestra. Full schedule and tickets at losangelesballet.org. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos; Sat., Nov. 24, 5 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 1 p.m.; $36-$104. Also at Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 1, 6 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 2, 2 p.m.; $36-$104. Also at Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Dec. 8, 1 & 5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 1 p.m.; $46-$124. Also at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., Dec. 15, 1 & 5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 1 p.m.; $36-$104. Also at UCLA Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Court, Westwood; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 22-23, 1 & 5 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 24, 11 a.m. & 3 p.m.; $36-$124. losangelesballet.org/the-nutcracker. —Ann Haskins
For anyone who has partaken of art therapy to try to express themselves better, been asked what they see in an inkblot or tried to decipher modern art, this show is your chance to turn the tables. Now in its seventh year, the annual "Mirrors of the Mind" exhibition put on by the Los Angeles County Psychological Association gives viewers the chance to scrutinize the subconscious truths of the doctors for a change. Aside from the nuances between therapists, analysts and clinical psychologists, this open-call, all-media exhibition is every bit as fraught and eclectic as any group show, with self-portraits, dreamscapes, quick sketches, high-tech renderings, collages and cartoons. The key difference is that this time, you have permission to project. The Hangar Gallery, Santa Monica Art Studios, 3026 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., Nov. 24, 5-10 p.m.; free. (310) 397-7456, lapsych.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=1114303. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Dine and Dash, Vegan Style
For some people, their Thanksgivings are inextricably wrapped up in pilgrimages and suffering and meat. For others, their Thanksgivings center around discovering new lands without the burdens of exploitation and wishbones. Today's L.A. Tofurky Trot Fun Run & Vegan Food Fest brings together like-minded progressives courtesy of the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition in this afternoon cornucopia of vegan food vendors (Compton Vegan, Avocado Mama, Nelly's Organics); speakers such as Jasmin Singer of VegNews, Chef Babette of Stuff I Eat and Megan Sadd from Carrots & Flowers; and the 5K Trot that's a holiday miracle for both family and cute dogs alike. Crystal Springs Picnic Area, 4659 Crystal Springs Drive, Griffith Park; Sun., Nov. 25, 10 a.m.; $15-$35. (818) 238-9522, eventbrite.com/e/2018-la-tofurky-trot-fun-run-vegan-food-fest-tickets-50871762812. —David Cotner
It's already traveled more than 33 million miles but when NASA's robotic lander InSight touches down on the surface of Mars today, it will draw quite a big crowd of curious fans on this planet. Caltech and the Planetary Society are hosting Mars InSight Landing: Viewing Party and Discussion, with live coverage of the spacecraft's landing beamed from Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Planetary Society's Mat Kaplan hosts a panel discussion about InSight's mission, which involves checking Mars' temperature and pulse and deploying a seismometer. Beckman Auditorium, Caltech, 332 S. Michigan Ave., Pasadena; Mon., Nov. 26, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; free. (626) 395-3847, eventbrite.com/e/mars-insight-landing-viewing-party-and-discussion-tickets-51899983247. —Falling James
It's coming our way again. It's the 35th anniversary of the spooky Disney classic Something Wicked This Way Comes and to celebrate, Mad Monster Movie Night is presenting a screening and Q&A. The 1983 fantasy film, directed by Jack Clayton, was based on a Ray Bradbury novel and its literary feel is clearly no accident. The title was taken from a line in Shakespeare's Macbeth ("By the pricking of my thumbs/Something wicked this way comes") and though it's not a traditional horror film, its air of dread lives up to its ominous name thanks to a stellar cast (Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd and Pam Grier) and a creepy carnival backdrop. Mr. Dark's Pandemonium Carnival, with its haunting, time-warping carousel and requisite freaks and oddities, is more than it seems, and it'll take the will of two young boys to save everyone as the carnival sets its sinister sights on their town as winter and wickedness approach. If you've never seen this one, don't miss it. Q&A to follow will feature cast and crew members Darrell Rooney, Axel Hubert and Scott De Roy. TCL Chinese Theaters, 6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Tue., Nov. 27, 9-11:30 p.m.; $12. tclchinesetheatres.com. —Lina Lecaro
The reinvigorated programs at USC's Roski School of Art and Design make for some fascinating experimental interdisciplinary forays. It's the best of archetypal art-school shenanigans but with an expanded field of resources and conspirators that stretches across campus from the painting studio to the dance hall to the film screen. For just four days this week, students from the theater, film, dance and music departments are invited over for an intensive playdate with their friends from the visual arts, culminating in an Intra-Arts Study Break–themed reception with music, snacks, dialogue and eclectic offerings to the fickle, fanciful gods of creative collaboration. Helen Lindhurst Fine Arts Gallery, 825 Bloom Walk, University Park; reception: Nov. 28, 6:30-9 p.m.; on view Nov. 27-30; free. (213) 821-1290, roski.usc.edu. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Secrets of Old Hollywood
Famed director Edgar Wright and former L.A. Weekly film critic Karina Longworth, who wrote 2014's Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor, discuss Longworth's newest book, Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes' Hollywood. Longworth delves into the sexual and exploitative relationship between the eccentric movie mogul and 10 actresses — some who achieved success during Hollywood's Golden Age, others who didn't — including Jane Russell, Jean Harlow, Ava Gardner and Katharine Hepburn, as well as lesser-known names like Faith Domergue and Billie Dove. Preceding their talk, Film at LACMA screens Max Ophüls' 1949 drama Caught. Long thought to have been inspired by the infamously eccentric Hughes, the movie is a commentary on capitalism and follows a poor carhop-turned-model (Barbara Bel Geddes), who's caught in a love triangle between a rich but cruel and emotionally distant millionaire (Robert Ryan) and an earnest pediatrician (James Mason). LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Thu., Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m.; free, RSVP required. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org. —Siran Babayan
He's Shot It All
Fahey/Klein Gallery has a special knack for presenting compelling work by renowned editorial and fashion photographers, culling exhibitions from both their marquee careers and personal explorations. For example, Mark Seliger's decades of iconic portraiture has elevated the game from Rolling Stone to Vanity Fair, GQ, Elle and Vogue in depictions of titans in music, art, fashion, business and politics: Johnny Cash, Barack Obama, Laurie Anderson, Muhammad Ali, Bob Dylan, Matthew Barney, Cindy Sherman and the Dalai Lama. The classically cool style of Seliger's black-and-white photographs and the sophisticated, refined color palette of his glossies capture both the persona and the personality of his subjects. His newest book, which features an interview conducted by Judd Apatow, accompanies the exhibition, and there's a gallery talk and book signing with KCRW's Jason Bentley on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2-4 p.m. Fahey/Klein Gallery, 148 N. La Brea Blvd., Hancock Park; opening reception: Fri., Nov. 29, 7-9 p.m.; exhibit: Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., thru Jan. 19; free. (323) 934-2250, faheykleingallery.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
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Trauma and Memory
A girl named Bibi (portrayed by soprano Anna Schubert) who suffers from a peculiar illness and her mother, Lumee (mezzo-soprano Rebecca Jo Loeb), are shuttered away from the world in a mysterious place called Sanctuary, in librettist Roxie Perkins and composer Ellen Reid's Prism, which receives its world premiere at REDCAT. Co-presented by L.A. Opera's Off Grand series and Beth Morrison Projects, the psychological piece of operatic theater centers on themes of identity, trauma and violence against women as Bibi becomes "blinded by colors and by memories new and familiar" as she tries to balance Lumee's worldview with her own search for truth. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Thu.-Sat., Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 2, 2 p.m.; $69. (213) 972-8001, laopera.org. —Falling James