From a body-positive strip show to an artistic excess of a holiday office party, a departure from Nutcracker season to the warmer climes of dance and a bevy of holiday celebrations, here are the 13 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!
Stripping Away Stereotypes
When writer-comedian Alison Stevenson realized that even alternative strip clubs rarely featured women with larger bodies, she set out to change that. Stevenson partnered with Elizabeth Flores and Linda Douglas to create Thicc Strip, a strip show that celebrates body positivity. On Friday, Stevenson and Douglas will join 11 other plus-size, female-identifying dancers in shedding their clothes — and their fears — onstage. Drag queen Ella Vira will host the event, which promises to be both empowering and exciting. (Bring plenty of singles.) In addition to the show, Thicc Strip features a dance party, relaxation lounge, vendors and sex-positive raffle. Proceeds will go to the Downtown Women's Center. DAF Creative Studios, 2234 W. Temple St., Echo Park; Fri., Dec. 14, 8 p.m.-1 a.m.; $15 at the door (21+). facebook.com/events/418929278642290. —Lisa Beebe
Cate Gary and Robin Tran are both comedians, and in Unconventional Lesbians: The Cate & Robin Show they're a double threat. Gary, whose credits include performing at the Comedy Store, Comedy Cellar and Flappers, is originally from New York, while Tran has appeared on Comedy Central's Roast Battle and Hulu's new series, Comedy InvAsian, which features comics of Asian descent. They began dating in 2012, and in 2015, Tran came out as transgender. (In the YouTube short Tran, she reflects on her Vietnamese upbringing and struggles with gender identity issues.) That same year, the O.C.-based couple created their comedy/storytelling show, where they not only discuss Tran's transition but the origins of their love story. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Westlake; Fri., Dec. 14, 7-9 p.m.; $20. (213) 389-3856, bootlegtheater.org. —Siran Babayan
The last time Taylor Mac was in town, he astounded L.A. with A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, chronicling songs we know and love by era and cultural significance in grand and glitzy fashion, with a series of the elaborate eye-candy spectacles he's become known for. Mac's Yuletide presentation should be no exception. Taylor Mac's Holiday Sauce seeks to celebrate the season "in all its dysfunction" and glittery glow. Mac is joined by longtime collaborators Machine Dazzle and Matt Ray, plus talented musicians and guests, all offering raucous musical renditions of holiday classics that reframe their meanings and the holidays by celebrating, exploring and skewering the love/hate feelings these festivities often evoke. Expect plenty of tinsel, lights and Christmas-y cheer as well as subversive, sexy and satiric theatrics that'll help end the year with a bodacious bang. UCLA Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Court, Westwood; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 14-15, 8 p.m.; $29-$119. cap.ucla.edu/calendar/details/taylor_mac_holiday_sauce_15. —Lina Lecaro
Get Your 3-D Glasses Ready
For 15 years, the good people of 3-D Space have put on the 3-D Movie Festival to celebrate the joys of 3-D visual cinematics, from the indie avant-garde to the apex of kitsch. But this year the optical amazement gets turned up a notch or two, as they partner with LACMA, where the current "Double Vision" presents a landmark survey of 3-D in the visual arts with a special focus on moving images and modern cinema. The festival happens all afternoon Saturday and Sunday, but the tippy-top highlight has to be the fantastic glory of Charles Phoenix and his famous narrated Retro 3-D Slideshow. Phoenix's vivacious and contagious guide to glittery Americana only gets more amazing and even a bit risqué when seen in multidimensional glory. Tickets to his live show Saturday night include all-festival passes and free special glasses. Downtown Independent, 251 S. Main St., downtown; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 15, 2-7 p.m.; $30-$60. la3dfest.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
"They can't live without it. We can." This is the exhibition title for Ingrid Luche's new exhibition at Ghebaly Gallery — but it's also a hint to the mysterious meanings behind her sculptural series called "Californian Ghost Dresses." Made in a transatlantic process of action, memory and material accumulation, these fabric and mixed-media soft sculptures are both art and garments but neither thing exclusively. Their loose hanging folds and color and object enhancements reference the body as an expressive, movable feast of life experience ranging from celebrity sightings to house fires. Ghebaly Gallery, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown; opening Sat., Dec. 15, noon-7 p.m., reception 6-9 p.m.; exhibit: Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., thru Jan. 19; free. (323) 282-5187, ghebaly.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Heating Up the Holidays
The long-running, mostly monthly Forever Flamenco series usually has one or two dancers backed by a singer and musicians. For this Gala Flamenco, a full quartet of dancers — Vanessa Albalos, Maria Bermudez, Wendy Castellanos and Manuel Gutierrez — takes the stage with singer José Cortes, percussionist Gerardo Morales and guitarists Kai Narezo and Antonio Triana. This holiday edition from presenter Deborah Culver and associate producer James Bennett is the dance version of a glass of sparkling cava in a season otherwise dominated by eggnog-sweet Nutcrackers. Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., East Hollywood; Sun., Dec. 16, 8 p.m.; $40-$50, $30 seniors & students. (323) 663-1525, fountaintheatre.com. —Ann Haskins
OK, maybe your office Christmas parties never had aerialists, vaudeville, burlesque, magicians, psychics or installation art. But then again, with enough cocktails in hand, you may well discover there are secret resident poets among your colleagues. The Poetry Brothel's immersive theatrical performance poetry environment presents its season finale, Office Christmas Party, and encourages dramatic, thematic oversharing in a velvet-draped setting. Turn photocopying your butt into a romantic grand gesture of passionate individualism — for the holidays. El Cid, 4212 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; Sun., Dec. 16, 6-10 p.m.; $40-$80. thepoetrybrothel.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Alternative Art History
Jibz Cameron is a fascinating performance artist and actor who often goes by the nom de plume Dynasty Handbag ("no relation" to the venue, Ms. Handbag insists). In tonight's solo show, Shell of a Woman, Professor Bags aims her unsettling perspectives and insights at the art world, couched as a PowerPoint lecture about the "10 Greatest Works of Art." She admittedly will "make up lies" about the creation of these classic works and then will "naturally devolve into semiautobiographical/insane narratives peppered with songs, dance numbers and psychedelic inner monologing." Among other things, the good professor opines that "Picasso's Guernica is about PETA activists setting free cows from a factory farm on the I-5 and the subsequent rebellion of said cows against their liberators." Dynasty Typewriter at the Hayworth, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., downtown; Sun., Dec. 16, 8 p.m.; $25. dynastytypewriter.com. —Falling James
Halfway between the big-ticket art fairs and the many impressive and eclectic art and maker markets comes a more conceptual and art historical spin on giving the gift of art. Curators Michael Slenske and Stephen Niedich have assembled the Street & the Shop, a one-day event at Tin Flats showcasing unique small works consigned by some of the city's most interesting independent artists and galleries. Inspired by a cheeky conceptual sculptural installation/systems performance piece by Claes Oldenburg in which shelved editioned items were sold and restocked for a month, the Street & The Shop is that rare sales event that would be a cultural delight in any case. Tin Flats, 1989 Blake Ave., Elysian Valley; Sun., Dec. 16, noon-6 p.m.; free. (917) 714-6683, instagram.com/thestreetandtheshop. —Shana Nys Dambrot
FOOD & DRINK
Every country and region has its own take on Christmas dinner; at Réveillon!: A Creole Christmas Feast, it is the Big Easy's tradition that takes center stage. Sponsored by the Pacific Food and Beverage Museum and hosted by L.A.'s "oldest Creole restaurant," the multicourse spread blends some of the best aspects of French and Southern cuisines. The evening starts with appetizers such as crawfish pie and the classic New Orleans cocktail, the Sazerac, and concludes with bread pudding topped with Armagnac-infused praline. In between, you'll have your pick of several seafood entrees. Some of the proceeds from the event benefit the Pacific Food & Beverage Museum and its sister food and beverage museums. Harold & Belle's, 2920 W. Jefferson Blvd., Jefferson Park; Mon., Dec. 17, 7-10 p.m.; $89, $79 members; reservation required. natfab.org/events/2018/12/17/reveillon-a-creole-christmas-feast. —Avery Bissett
A New Light
Winter Glow gives Angelenos the opportunity to see Grand Park in a different light — or, more specifically, 19 different lights. The experience features 19 interactive light installations spread out across the green space's 12 acres, which also are decked out with the more traditional holiday decoration. Some of the luminary highlights include guest-triggered pendulum balls (The Wave Pendulum) and a descent from the Fountain Overlook, bathed in a frame of neon lights (The Net). Grand Park, 200 N Grand Ave., downtown; daily, 5:30-10 p.m., thru Dec. 25; free. grandparkla.org. —Avery Bissett
Whether you can do a respectable imitation of an Olympic skater or you cling to the side of the rink for dear life, you too can pretend to experience actual winter for an hour at a time at the Holiday Ice Rink. (Provided you are willing to brave the masses of fellow inexperienced SoCal ice skaters.) The annual holiday event at Pershing Square is open through Jan. 21, but expect both physical and online tickets to go quickly as the holidays approach. Lockers are $3, skate rentals are $5 and skate helpers for children are $6. Check website for holiday hours. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown; daily, 10 a.m.-11 p.m., thru Dec. 30. holidayicerinkdowntownla.com. —Avery Bissett
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Puppets in a Winter Wonderland
The folks at the Santa Monica Pier are restyling the iconic merry-go-round and carousel building this month as "Wonderland on the Water," the pier's first winter-holiday celebration in more than a decade. Adding to the seasonal diversions will be performances by Bob Baker Marionette Theater, which recently closed its longtime headquarters/theater. The puppets' patriarch, Bob Baker, died in 2014, but the company continues to string his loving creations along in a variety of playfully endearing scenarios and settings. Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica; Thu., Dec. 20, 6 & 7 p.m.; free. (310) 458-8900, santamonicapier.org. —Falling James