From a glow in the dark party to a event dedicated to the best new restaurants in L.A., art redefining one of Southern California's most infamous stereotypes and a rather religious fashion show, here are the 12 best things to do in L.A. this week!
The downtown Arts District's Rendon Hotel has seen a lot, and honestly it could use a makeover. But in the meantime, this landmark bohemian dive has become a perfect venue for immersive installation and performance art — and now, a gallery space. The Rendon Gallery's mission is to sustain the art world of the neighborhood its owners know and love, supporting artists whose work often exists outside the mainstream art market. This weekend they host their inaugural exhibition, "Blend," a collaborative two-day pop-up organized by artist Kelcey Fisher, aka KFiSH, in collaboration with a dozen artists including Davia King, Colette Miller, Moncho 1929 and Ralph Ziman, several of whom have participated in previous Art at the Rendon shenanigans. The Rendon Gallery, 2055 E. Seventh St., downtown; Fri., Jan. 25, 6-10 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. therendongallery.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Glow in the Dark
With the L.A. Art Show hub at the Convention Center comes a panoply of "unofficial official" local gallery afterparties. But only one has an immersive 3-D black-light art installation in its VIP lounge. "Wunderwater Fantasy" from Debi Cable takes over the Wunderground Nightclub with a pop-up for the Studio 740 monthly residency at the Globe Theatre, in a special art-centric edition encouraging creative fairgoers to let their hair down. Live performances and a set from house music legend DJ Todd Terry (his first in L.A. in three years). Globe Theatre, 740 S. Broadway, downtown; Sat., Jan. 26, 9 p.m.-2 a.m.; $20. (213) 489-1667, globetheatre-la.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Fashion Is Religion
Tim Gunn will not be helping anyone "make it work" at Project Nunway L.A., but judging from the fabulous L.A. figures involved with this event, no one will need help. The Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and their flamboyant admirers always make it "werk," honey. After a three-year hiatus, the group (known for haute habits, wild makeup, glamorous garb and mission to "expiate stigmatic guilt and promulgate universal joy for the population of Greater Los Angeles and the world beyond") brings back their local designer competition and fashion show. Hosted by nightlife duo/TV sensations The Boulet Brothers, the challenge revolves around a theme — this one is "Cirque des Soeurs" (Circus of Sisters). Participants will create over-the-top and avant-garde designs fit for the bigtop, and special guests will perform. There will be pre- and afterparties but the runway competition is the main event. The Sisters say the boundaries of fashion will be stretched into surrealistic looks, and there will surely be nods to both three-ring-circus aesthetics and the irreverent religious iconography this arty group is worshiped for. Sponsored by AIDS/Lifecycle, the event will benefit Alliance for Housing & Healing. Vertigo Event Venue, 400 W. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Jan. 26, 8-11 p.m.; $40. alliancehh.salsalabs.org/projectnunway2019/index.html. —Lina Lecaro
The 45-Year Challenge
Any visit to the gallery space inside Eastside artisanal printmaking emporium Mixografia is already a treat. But when it hosts a reception for one of its deftly curated exhibitions thematically mining its decades-old archive, then it's a party, too. "Phases" features work by 20 artists who have collaborated with the Mixografia studio family over the past 45 years, all centered around the theme of self-portraiture. From pop art masters like John Baldessari to surrealist icons like Leonora Carrington and contemporary phenoms like Alex Israel, it's an all-star cast, many exhibiting works that have not been shown since they were first made. Mixografia, 1419 E. Adams Blvd., Central-Alameda; opening reception Sat., Jan. 26, 4-6 p.m.; on view thru March 9, Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., & Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. mixografia.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Like, I'm So Sure!
The song, the movie, the irony, the idioms ... behind the pop culture trope of the Valley Girl lies a real place, where real women live and work without ever resorting to a perky cheerleader vernacular. Stereotypes can be gnarly, though, and difficult to counteract. That's where the organizers of "Valley Girl Redefined" saw a need, and the result is an exhibition featuring the work of 20 women whose colorful lives and pioneering practices are rooted in life in the San Fernando Valley. With work in a variety of mediums and with a kaleidoscope of stories to tell and abstract poetry to express, prepare to fall in love with the Valley all over again. Brand Library Art Galleries, 1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale; opening reception Sat., Jan. 26, 6-9 p.m.; on view thru March 22, Tue.-Thu., 11 a.m.-8 p.m., & Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. (818) 548-2051, facebook.com/events/272560573449087/. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Dust Off Your Lightsaber
Driving out to O.C. or San Diego in space helmets, cumbersome superhero garb and sweaty monster gear is not fun for most in the L.A. cosplay community, so the Pasadena Comic Convention & Toy Show surely offers a welcome nearby convergence. Comics, toys, art and more will be celebrated, displayed and sold by more than 75 vendors, and there will be industry and celebrity guests including Bruce Boxleitner (of Disney's TRON and the TV series Babylon 5). Many more will be on hand, including actors from She-Ra, Power Rangers, TV series X-Men: Evolution and the classic War of the Worlds The annual event generates almost as much fanfare in the area as the Tournament of Roses — and maybe even more eye candy. Prepare for a different kind of parade and photo opps inside the venue, outside and all around Pasadena. Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena; Sun., Jan. 27, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; $10, $15 early-bird access. pasadenacomiccon.com. —Lina Lecaro
Knitters, artists and writers can work on their various projects while Kid Koala spins a lulling soundtrack of enchanting original music at the two Music to Draw to sessions at Sawtelle gallery Giant Robot 2. This week, the Canadian DJ releases Music to Draw to: IO, an album of ambient landscapes that includes such quietly moving passages as "All for You," a collaboration with vocalist Trixie Whitley, who also will appear today at the gallery. The DJ's 2017 record, Music to Draw to: Satellite, was aptly described as "72 atmospheric minutes of stardust settling over Kid Koala's trove of turntables and sentiment." Giant Robot 2, 2062 Sawtelle Blvd., Sawtelle; Sun., Jan. 27, 2 & 7 p.m.; free. (310) 478-1819, giantrobot.com. —Falling James
The Fowler Museum at UCLA has some special activities planned for today to draw attention to its exhibition World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean, which closes in a few weeks. The afternoon of free talks, performances and film screenings, like the exhibition, highlights the unique culture that arose along coastal trade routes crossing the Indian Ocean between Africa and Asia. The exhibition features hundreds of examples of art, jewelry, textile and design from Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Oman and Yemen; at 1 p.m., curator of African arts Erica P. Jones leads a gallery tour. At 2 p.m., it's time for dance and poetry, before a 3 p.m. screening of a documentary film on the influential music and poetry of the East African orchestra Nadi Ikhwan Safaa (The True Brotherhood Club) of Zanzibar, Tanzania, one of the oldest orchestras in the world. Fowler Museum, 308 N. Charles E. Young Drive, Westwood; Sun., Jan. 27, 1-4 p.m.; exhibit runs thru Feb. 10; free. (310) 825-4361, fowler.ucla.edu. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Gateway to Good Eats
Coinciding with the massive gastronomical affair that's the winter edition of DineL.A. is the second annual Taste of Alhambra Restaurant Week. On a much smaller scale than the DineL.A. behemoth, its prix fixe fixings are a little easier on the wallet but not skimping out on variety or quality. Participating eateries run the gamut from Asian fusion to more traditional Japanese, Korean and Thai establishments to Italian, Peruvian and Indian eateries. Among the dishes you'll be able to choose from are Hainan free-range chicken from Panasia Sweet & Savory and pappardelle short rib ragu at Vino's Back Alley. Downtown Alhambra; Sun., Jan. 27-Sun., Feb. 3; $15-$48 per person. tasteofalhambrarw.com. —Avery Bissett
New Kids on the Block
Los Angeles Magazine hosts its contribution to the hopping food festival scene, the sixth annual Top 10 Best New Restaurants Celebration. In addition to the chance to meet some of the rising stars behind the ever-improving food landscape of L.A., attendees get to "taste signature dishes [and] sip on creative cocktails." Confirmed participating restaurants so far include Alta West Adams, Bavel DTLA, Freedman's L.A., Hayato, Hippo, Ma'am Sir, Majordomo and Porridge + Puffs — running the gamut from Asian to Middle Eastern. For the evening's event, the magazine has partnered with the charitable L.A. Galaxy Foundation. Rolling Greens Nursery, 1005 Mateo St., downtown; Tue., Jan. 29, 7-9 p.m.; $80. lamag.com/bestnewrestaurants. —Avery Bissett
A New Adventure
Composer Juan J. Colomer's new work Dulcinea XL, a curious modern operatic update of Miguel de Cervantes' novel Don Quixote, poses the musical question "if, in these times, it may be more honest to remain crazy and lonely than to be normal by common standards?" Exploring themes of "self-acceptance, karma, mistaken identity, body image and honor," the opera receives its world premiere tonight in a semi-staged concert performance that features Xavier Prado as "D. Quixote," Milena Gligi? as Sancho and Melissa Treinkman as Dulcinea, with Ignazio Terrasi conducting the L.A. Grand Ensemble. Colburn School of Music, Zipper Concert Hall, 200 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A.; Wed., Jan. 30, 8 p.m.; $30-$50. (213) 621-2200, colburnschool.edu. —Falling James
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Photo L.A. has crisscrossed the city more than once in its 27 years of operation, from the Santa Monica Convention Center to the Reef in downtown. This year, its new owner and director, Claudia James Bartlett (who has been integral to its direction for years, and has now purchased the show from founder Stephen Cohen) brings the fair back west. Its coterie of nearly 70 galleries sets up shop this year at Barker Hangar, along with artists, collectives, nonprofits, schools and booksellers — bringing examples of works from the 19th century to the cutting edge of the 21st. The opening-night party benefits Venice Arts, a neighborhood arts center connecting local artists with kids in need of the tools for creative expression. Barker Hangar, 3201 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; opening party Thu., Jan. 31, 6-9 p.m.; fair: Fri.-Sat., Feb. 1-2, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 3, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; $20, $15 students & seniors, $100 for benefit. photola.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot