From a one-of-a-kind dance performance in someone else's much nicer living room to a free collection of mini museum exhibits, Metro shenanigans sans pants and a chance to meet your senator (and perhaps future president), here are the 12 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!
Giving Motion to Sculptures
Greek choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou takes on all the big mysteries of life and death with his ambitious performance piece The Great Tamer. The stage's floor buckles and rises in overlapping layers, much like the crust of the Earth itself, as naked dancers lift one another up and seem to walk vertically in space or erupt from the ground like sun-starved new plants. An enigmatic astronaut appears from nowhere, skeletons crumble like the embodiment of time itself, dancers' shoes sprout roots tethering them to the stage, and the performers re-enact famous paintings with an inventive interplay of limbs and props to the strains of Strauss' The Blue Danube. Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Westwood; Fri., Jan. 11, 8 p.m.; $29-$79. (310) 825-4401, roycehall.org. —Falling James
Performing at Home
Known for invigorating dance performances that bring audiences into architecturally significant private residences, homeLA kicks off 2019 in a restored Mayan-themed home built in 1926 by Lloyd Wright (Frank Lloyd Wright's son). Demonstrating their commitment to hosting philanthropic arts event, the current owners of the Sowden House opened the storied home to homeLA founder Rebecca Bruno, who collaborated with Delaram Pourábdi for a dance film set throughout the house. This event, titled PASSAGES, at the Sowden House also includes live choreography from Crystal Sepúlveda, Cheng-Chieh Yu, Zaquia Mahler Salinas and Kenzie McClure, sculptor Mak Kern, plus contributions from culinary artist Emily Marchand, experimental vocalist Odeya Nini, performance artist Tyler Matthew Oyer, and live music from Low Leaf with vox (Saturday) and with Theresa Wayman of Warpaint (Sunday). Info on the event and participating artists at homela.org. Private residence in Los Feliz, address provided with reservation; Sat.-Sun., Jan. 12-13, 4 p.m.; $35. passagesatsowden.brownpapertickets.com. —Ann Haskins
In a world where every image is distorted, manipulated, aspirational and dysmorphic, what is to become of painting's history of generating interpretive, fantastical pictures? Within the hierarchy of the beautiful, what place is there for images viewed through the mediation of technology — especially when it isn't working right? And what does "right" even mean when we're having a subjective and subversive discussion on patriarchal, racial and colonialist paradigms of beauty in the first place? In the paintings of Caitlin Cherry, black female bodies and sexually confident women in general are portrayed as self-possessed in the face of oppression and outmoded, moralizing aesthetics. Her topsy-turvy palette riots topple expectations and reveal an emboldened generation of women ready to rule this jacked-up kingdom. Luis De Jesus Gallery, 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., Mid-City; opening reception: Sat., Jan. 12, 6-8 p.m.; on view Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., thru Feb. 9; free. (310) 838-6000, luisdejesus.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Meeting of Madcaps
In case you were still thinking that classical and avant-garde music are quaintly dated and predictable forms of artistic expression, violist Nadia Sirota puts on a concert tonight that's "part late-night talk show" as she explores the work of two adventurous composers — Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw and bold iconoclast Andrew Norman — via storytelling, sound design and live performance. Sirota will interact with local music ensemble Wild Up and its free-thinking conductor, Christopher Rountree, to flesh out the startling musical inventions of the two composers, while revealing insights into their lives and madcap thought processes. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Sat., Jan. 12, 8 p.m.; $26-$56. (213) 623-3233, theatre.acehotel.com/events/cap-ucla-presents-nadia-sirota-live/. —Falling James
Bringing the Museums to You
Because the big gorgeous library downtown doesn't already have enough books and art of its own, perhaps, the Library Foundation welcomes the Mobile Museum Fair to temporarily add to the stockpile of beauty and knowledge. This event is part of the library's current exhibition "21 Collections: Every Object Has a Story," which takes an innovative look at the poetic inventories of area institutional holdings, with a focus on the artist-run and/or topically eccentric. At this one-day-only related event, check out the specialties of some 20 such indie organizations, from the American Museum of Straw Art to the California Sneaker Museum, both of which apparently exist. Also participating are more familiar movable culture feasts such as Self-Help Graphics, Libros Schmibros and the Feminist Library on Wheels. Los Angeles Central Library, 630 W. Fifth St., downtown; Sun., Jan. 13, 1-5 p.m. (members preview noon-1 p.m.); free. (213) 228-7500, lfla.org/event/the-mobile-museum-fair/. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Talk about the tears of a clown. Patton Oswalt is one of the wittiest comedians in this country — mashing together wicked observations about the excesses of American culture and mainstream attitudes with heavier subjects such as God, racism and fatherhood — but even he can be struck down by the dark side of life. His wife, Michelle McNamara, died two years ago, and Oswalt championed the posthumous release of her book, I'll Be Gone in the Dark, an unflinching account of the disturbing serial killer/rapist she called the Golden State Killer; the book was finished with the help of Oswalt and other writers. Some jokesters stir up laughter only as a means of easy escape, but Oswalt has wielded his art as a kind of cultural divining rod to dig up the deeper truths that are often buried in this society. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Sun., Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m.; $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —Falling James
Who Needs Pants?
Even in L.A. it gets a little cold in January. But for the 11th annual No Pants Metro Ride, commuters will brave the chill and ride the subway with no pants on, for the camaraderie or just to amuse other passengers. The event, which started in New York in 2002, takes place in more than 30 countries where subway riders gather to show off undies of all shapes, sizes, colors and themes — maybe something Oscars-inspired? Agents from local organizers GuerilLA will be present and giving instructions at each of the six Metro locations in Pasadena, North Hollywood, Koreatown, West L.A., East L.A. and Willowbrook. From there, passengers will head to Union Station, followed by a final stop at the Hollywood/Highland station, where they can take part in a group photo and after-party with a DJ and discounted food and drinks at Hollywood's Pig N Whistle restaurant. Various locations; Sun., Jan. 13, 1-3 p.m.; free, $7 for Metro day pass. facebook.com/events/747340965658995. —Siran Babayan
Meet Your Senator
The 2020 presidential campaign is nearly upon us. But before the truly inane horse-race coverage and sudden, surprisingly bipartisan and very genuine show of concern for farm subsidies before the Iowa caucus, there's presidential candidate book season. Whether policy manifesto or humanizing autobiography, every future also-ran and actual presidential candidate has one. Or in the case of California's own Sen. Kamala Harris, two: her standard I'm-running-for-president book, The Truths We Hold, as well a picture book for kids, Superheroes Are Everywhere. Today, Harris hits L.A. for a literary (campaign?) double-header, a moderated discussion of the former at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and a reading of the latter at the Grove's Barnes & Noble. While Harris may not be as progressive as she's often portrayed to be — as attorney general she was noticeably quiet when it came time to support criminal justice reforms — there's no denying she's got a long political career ahead of her. So take this chance to flex your civic muscles a little and get to know the politician representing us Californians — and hey, you never know, she just might pull off that promotion next year. Barnes & Noble, 189 The Grove Drive, Fairfax; Sun., Jan. 13, noon-2 p.m.; free with purchase of book, first come, first serve. stores.barnesandnoble.com/event/9780061991902-0. Wilshire Ebell, 4401 W. 8th St., Mid-Wilshire; Sun., Jan. 13, 4-6 p.m., $41 (includes book). writersblocpresents.com. —Avery Bissett
FOOD & DRINK
Eat Your Way Through L.A.
There's a level of certitude — on par with Darwin's theory of evolution and Newton's laws — and cliché in saying Los Angeles and its inhabitants offer phenomenal food of unparalleled variety. But L.A. does indeed have that, and the winter edition of the semiannual dineL.A. is a great way to dive head-first into the city's food scene. The nation's most extensive restaurant week (actually spanning 15 days) offers two-course-plus lunches for $15, $20, $25 and $35, while three-course-plus dinners run $29, $39, $49 and $59. If you're feeling a little fancier, the dineL.A. Exclusive Series, which includes eateries such as Providence, Spago Beverly Hills and Mélisse, starts at $99. Walk-ins are allowed,but reservations are highly recommended. Check online for the incredibly extensive full list of restaurants — seriously, there are more than 400. Los Angeles; Fri., Jan. 11-Fri., Jan. 25; $29-$99+. discoverlosangeles.com/dinela-los-angeles-restaurant-week. —Avery Bissett
Dealing With Loss
"It was their job to look for clues, make suspicion a virtue," Evgenia Citkowitz writes about forensic workers investigating a possible suicide, in her new novel, The Shades. But the book is not a typical murder mystery so much as it's an engrossing psychological thriller that takes place in the British countryside as a grieving couple try to repair their lives after their daughter dies in a car accident. "Nothing could have prepared her for this surreal dialogue," Citkowitz writes early on in the novel about her tormented heroine. She discusses The Shades this evening in a conversation with fellow novelist Mona Simpson. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., Jan. 15, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu/programs-events/2019/01/some-favorite-writers-evgenia-citkowitz/. —Falling James
Love him or hate him, John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, is always good for a provocative point of view, and many of his contrarian opinions are given free flight in the new documentary The Public Image Is Rotten. Best known as the lead singer of The Sex Pistols, Lydon actually went on to a far more musically experimental and provocative persona with his next band, Public Image Ltd. Tonight, director Tabbert Fiiller discusses the film, which sheds crucial light on the messy machinations behind the curtain as PiL sabotaged classic rock with a more revolutionary outlook than even the Pistols ever managed. The Regent Theater, 448 S. Main St., downtown; Wed., Jan. 16, 8 p.m.; $10. (323) 934-2944, ticketfly.com/event/1795549-public-image-is-rotten-los-angeles/. —Falling James
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It's his 80th birthday the day before the opening of his new exhibition but photographer Ralph Gibson is all about the future. With the straight-to-the-point title "Digital Color," Gibson declares that, rather than vainly try to get digital to behave like analog film, we should embrace and become fluent in digital photography's — and especially digital color photography's — new and unique visual language. This is something coming from Gibson, whose celebrated career in art and books has often employed elevated, mysterious and sensual black-and-white film. But Gibson is nothing if not au courant, so if he says digital color is worth taking seriously as a proper fine art idiom, it's definitely worth a fresh take. Leica Gallery, 8783 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood; opening reception: Thu., Jan. 17, 6-9 p.m.; on view thru Feb. 24, Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.; free. (424) 777-0341, leicagalleryla.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot