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Jérôme Bel's Gala makes everyone a dancer.
Jérôme Bel's Gala makes everyone a dancer.
Josefina Tommasi

13 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

From a convention devoted to cookies, to art exhibits celebrating animals, David Hockney and Alison Saar, to a reading by Janet Fitch and more, here are the 13 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!

fri 2/1

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POETRY

Serious Musings

"For me, poetry provides a space in which intertwined languages and historical narratives are celebrated — a space in which I conceive disasters, failures and traumas, lending them my own perspectives, dimension and articulation," Emily Jungmin Yoon explains in the author's note to her recent poetry collection, A Cruelty Special to Our Species (Ecco). Her poems aren't airy, escapist fantasies. Instead, Yoon turns her focus on the abuse of women, in particular the sexual enslavement of Korean women by Japanese forces during World War II. "What is a body in a stolen country. Or whose," she writes. Earlier, Yoon declares, "Poetry is not just relief; poetry is tension. Poetry is departure. Poetry is return. Poetry is memory." Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Fri., Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Falling James

Barbara McCullough, production still from Water Ritual #1 — An Urban Rite of Purification (1979)EXPAND
Barbara McCullough, production still from Water Ritual #1 — An Urban Rite of Purification (1979)
Courtesy of the artist and UCLA Film & Television Archive

sat 2/2

ART

Time After Time

In a perfect confluence of art historical assessments, "Time Is Running Out of Time: Experimental Film and Video From the L.A. Rebellion and Today" examines the innovation and legacy of black video artists active in Los Angeles in the 1960s through '80s, as well as their influence on subsequent generations. Showing historical and in some cases more contemporary work from members of the film arts collective known as L.A. Rebellion alongside newer voices in the community and the genre, "Time Is Running Out of Time" is both a celebration and a seminar. As much as our modern world is obsessed with video stories and engaged with inclusive storytelling, it's good to pause and appreciate the pioneers of that modernity's experimental origins. Art + Practice, 3401 W. 43rd Place, Leimert Park; opening reception: Sat., Feb. 2, 2-5 p.m.; on view Mon.-Sat., noon- 6 p.m., thru Sept. 14; free. (323) 337-6887, artandpractice.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot

SHOPPING/BOOKS

Rally 'Round Dark Delicacies

A macabre bookshop and gruesome gift store that celebrates death and doom like no other, Dark Delicacies itself refuses to die. Though owner Del Howison had said he'd cease running the brick-and-mortar store and go online only if greedy landlords hike up the rent again for his Magnolia Boulevard space, he's changed his mind thanks to fans including such horror heavies as comics icon Neil Gaiman and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, both of whom have rallied behind the 25-year-old business, encouraging the public to contribute to its GoFundMe. Dark Delicacies reached its initial goal for a planned move around the corner but now needs to raise an additional 10 grand or so for the buildout. The Dark Delicacies Relocation Fundraiser aims to do just that. Offering "some very special signed items for sale," the event is an opportunity to support small business, hang with fellow horror freaks and score cool and creepy stuff before the move. Dark Delicacies, 3512 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; Sat., Feb. 2, 7-10 p.m. facebook.com/events/356537251809018/. —Lina Lecaro

DANCE

Pros and Joes

Resembling a deconstructed flash mob, almost two dozen dancers of various shapes, sizes and skill levels spontaneously take the stage, sometimes alone, sometimes in a group, all part of Jérôme Bel's Gala. In one section, set to Chopin music from the ballet Les Sylphides, a sequence of dancers each briefly take center stage to execute a pirouette or some semblance of that turn. Later, the chain move focuses on Michael Jackson's moonwalk and, still later, a waltz. Adored for his events in the art world, Bel's creations have included 20 minutes of a young man slowly removing layers of messaged shirts and also a gathering of 20 singers of different voices and skill levels, each interpreting pop song lyrics. Decried by a few critics as gimmicky and diversity-by-the-numbers, Gala has mostly drawn praise, with reviewers describing Bel's "non-dance" choreography as eye-opening and heart-warming, lauding the 50-year-old Frenchman's effort to redraw the lines for what is dance and who is a dancer. Even the doubters admire the trust Bel draws from the participants, who illustrate that everyone can dance, and that those who dare, whatever their training or abilities, are dancers. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Sat., Feb. 2, 8 p.m.; $29-$59. theatre.acehotel.com. —Ann Haskins

Kisung Koh at ThinkspaceEXPAND
Kisung Koh at Thinkspace
Courtesy of the artist

ART

Spirit Animals

As long as humans have made art, we have made pictures of animals, often with a profound spiritual or allegorical intention. We love to assign human psyches to their expressions and personalities (and vice versa) and to imagine almost telepathic connections with them. In this tradition, Toronto-based artist Kisung Koh posits that we are not imagining it at all. In his experience, communion with the world's multiverse of fauna has been very real, and its lessons have proven true. The new paintings in his exhibition "Way of Life II" combine a classical technique for fine rendering of landscapes and the fox, bear, antlered and feline denizens thereof with a surrealist impulse for symbolism and metaphor, a dark wit, and a deep appreciation for sublime beauty. Thinkspace Gallery, 6009 Washington Blvd., Culver City; opening reception Sat., Feb. 2, 6-9 p.m.; on view Tue.-Sat., noon-6 p.m., thru Feb. 23; free. (310) 558-3375, thinkspaceprojects.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

sun 2/3

FOOD & DRINK

Calling All Cookie Monsters

Billing itself as the "biggest baking, pastry and sweets convention on the West Coast," the L.A. Cookie Convention & Sweets Show aims to celebrate and elevate all things sugary, salty and savory in the world of baking and confection. Celebrity chefs including Ron Ben-Israel, Rosanna Pansino and Adriano Zumbo will be on hand, the latter (of Netflix hit Zumbo's Just Desserts) joining forces with Disney for a themed demo and kids contest inspired by Disney's Nutcracker movie. A "Sweet Genius" contest will showcase bakers battling it out live onstage. If the kiddies happen to eat too much sugar, they can mellow out in the Kids' Zone with bubbles, balloon figures, face painting, cookie decorating and pancake art. Cookie Con celebrates its fifth anniversary this year and promises party treats as only it can provide. Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Ave. Anaheim; Sat.-Sun., Feb. 2-3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; $12-$63.96. lacookiecon.com. —Lina Lecaro

Janet FitchEXPAND
Janet Fitch
Courtesy Janet Fitch

BOOKS

A Sequel to Look Forward to

Janet Fitch is that rare local writer who has the highest literary ambition and talent but also has had far-reaching popular success. White Oleander, her 1999 novel about a preternaturally observant child's search for identity, resonated with readers even before it was turned into a film starring Alison Lohman and Michelle Pfeiffer. Fitch is about to follow up her 2017 novel, The Revolution of Marina M., about a woman swept up in epochal Russian social changes, with the July publication of a much-anticipated sequel, Chimes of a Lost Cathedral. "The voice of the soul is not so easily translated," her narrator muses in The Revolution. But Fitch's richly evocative, palpably detailed prose snaps with an electric energy that translates in any setting. She's part of the "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" group reading with ace stylists Diana Wagman, Sandy Yang, John Tottenham and Derek D. Brown. Chevalier's Books, 126 N. Larchmont Blvd., Windsor Square; Sun., Feb. 3, 5 p.m.; free. (323) 465-1334, chevaliersbooks.com. —Falling James

mon 2/4

CULTURE

Make a Pig of Yourself

There's a good chance a Chinese New Year celebration put on by Panda Express in a mall may not be the most traditional event. But it will probably still be good fun; and with the Lunar New Year falling on Tuesday, Feb. 5, this year, most of the big celebrations don't come until the weekend — so why not get a head start on ringing in the Year of the Pig? The House of Good Fortune consists of five immersive and photo-friendly rooms. There's a room where you'll have the chance to catch a red envelope or two (for good luck) and one where you'll have to extricate yourself from a tangle of noodles (which represent longevity and health in Asia), plus the traditional lion dances and more. The entire experience should take 30 minutes. Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City; Fri., Feb. 1-Tue., Feb. 5, noon-8 p.m.; free. eventbrite.com/e/house-of-good-fortune-tickets-54311157133. —Avery Bissett

tue 2/5

CULTURE

Nautical New Year

It's not much of an exaggeration to say that it's possible to celebrate every holiday of note aboard the Queen Mary, and Chinese New Year is no exception. Chinese New Year: Shanghai Nights will bite the wallet a bit, but the buffet and evening's entertainment offerings are plentiful. While stuffing their faces, guests will be treated to the Sound of China Guzheng Ensemble, a martial arts performance on themes of traditional Chinese philosophy (yes, you read that correctly) from Golden Dragon, Wushu Shaolin and other entertainments. VIP tickets net you drinks, front-row seating and a server. Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach; Tue., Feb. 5, 6-10 p.m.; $99.99 online/$105 at the door, $49.99 kids, VIP $129 online/$135 at the door/$59.99 kids VIP. queenmary.com/events/upcoming-events/. —Avery Bissett

wed 2/6

LGBTQ/ACTIVISM

Tackling Transgender Challenges

The experience of a transgender individual — particularly those of color — is often rife with challenges, ranging from the callous indifference of those in power to the disturbing rates of victimization the vulnerable population faces from the chimera of racism, homophobia, sexism and transphobia. After months of surveys and community consultations, the TransLatin@ Coalition is releasing its Trans Policy Agenda to help break down barriers for the thousands of transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex Angelenos — and perhaps offer a beacon for the rest of the nation. The agenda has six main thrusts: educational access and research justice; economic stability and housing equity; holistic, accessible universal health care and bodily autonomy; ending policing, state violence and criminalization; decriminalizing migration and global trans rights; and gender justice and identity autonomy. The launch and reception will include food, drinks, performances and music, as well as ways to get involved. If you are taking the Metro, Union Station is a short jaunt away. The California Endowment, 1000 N. Alameda St., Chinatown; Wed., Feb. 6, 5-8 p.m.; free. facebook.com/events/1408797859255526/. —Avery Bissett

David Hockney's multi-canvas paintingEXPAND
David Hockney's multi-canvas painting
Courtesy L.A. Louver

thu 2/7

ART

Assembled and Grow'd

David Hockney is first and foremost a painter, of course, but across the decades of his career he's cut a revolutionary figure in photography and art historical theory as well. Now his refreshed presence on the gallery scene sees him reinvented as possibly the most digital-savvy octogenarian in the arts. "Something New in Painting and Photography, Continued" will include several such newfangled "photographic drawings," as well as rare and unseen paintings on canvas and paper. Up on the roof in the gallery's beloved Skyroom, Alison Saar presents "Grow'd," a new sculptural installation created specifically for the open-air project space, in which the artist expands on the intertwining histories of race and gender in the American story. L.A. Louver, 45 N. Venice Blvd., Venice; opening reception Thu., Feb. 7, 6-8 p.m.; on view Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., thru March 23; free. (310) 822-4955, lalouver.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

ICE SKATING

Competition on Ice

It's been 10 years since Southern California last hosted a major figure-skating competition, when the World Figure Skating Championships came to Staples Center for a week in March 2009. Although the Southland occasionally gets touring exhibitions, such as the generally cheesy Stars on Ice revue, a noncompetitive showcase with primarily North American skaters, ISU's Four Continents Figure Skating Championships is a serious four-day event that matches the world's best skaters. This year's U.S. competitors include Mariah Bell, Ting Cui, Bradie Tennell, Jason Brown, Tomoki Hiwatashi, Vincent Zhou, pairs team Ashley Cain & Timothy LeDuc, and ice-dance duo Madison Chock & Evan Bates. Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim; Thu., Feb. 7, 12:30 & 5:30 p.m.; Fri., Feb. 8, 11:45 a.m., 3 & 7 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 9, 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 10, 1 & 6 p.m.; $29-$104. (714) 704-2400, 2019fourcontinents.com. —Falling James

FILM/FOOD

Critical Discussion

How much does geography impact the creation of art, or the criticism of that art? These and other questions are mulled over by a trio of disparate critics at the panel discussion Stars of Screen and Cuisine. Manohla Dargis is a film critic with The New York Times who has infused her past work as a writer at the Village Voice and Los Angeles Times and as film editor of L.A. Weekly with a rare combination of sly wit, scholarly knowledge and an acutely perceptive, humanist and feminist perspective. She's joined by New York Times food editor Sam Sifton and local restaurant critic Tejal Rao for what's likely to be a wide-ranging and merry discussion. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., Feb. 7, 7 p.m.; $30. (323) 469-1181, hollywoodforever.ticketfly.com/event/1814375-stars-screen-cuisine-los-angeles/. —Falling James

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