From a comedy benefit hosted by Tracy Morgan to all the puppetry one could want, an art exhibition that asks, "What if...?" to an open-air art festival, a Food Bowl kickoff and story time courtesy of LeVar Burton, here are the 13 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!
Creativity Is in the Air
There is no greater confluence of — and salute to — the artistic wellspring that is the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area than this weekend's inaugural Grand Park's Our L.A. Voices: Spring Arts Festival. An arts exhibition for the general edification and enjoyment of the public at large, it features all forms of artistic expression, from outdoor theatrical and dance performances to stories from the LGBTQIA+ community, DJs Tendaji Lathan and Garth Trinidad, a public marketplace in partnership with Self Help Graphics and DTLA Proud, and almost 30 artists creating their own art before your very eyes. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., April 27, 6-10 p.m.; Sat., April 28, 1-10 p.m.; Sun., April 29, 1-6 p.m.); free. (213) 972-8080, grandparkla.org/event/ourlavoices2018/. —David Cotner
In 2014, 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live funnyman Tracy Morgan survived a car crash in New Jersey in which a Walmart truck struck his vehicle and left him in a coma for two weeks with traumatic brain injuries. Since then, the comedian has been nominated for an Emmy for guest hosting SNL, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and starred in his own sitcom, TBS' new The Last O.G. Morgan also appeared in the 2017 Netflix comedy special Staying Alive, where he joked that he still shopped at Walmart even when he was in a wheelchair. "You still can't beat their prices," he said. Morgan, along with Ardie Fuqua, Tracey Ashley, Ruperto Vanderpool and Marc Theobald, hosts In Stitches: A Night of Laughs benefiting the Hydrocephalus Foundation, a nonprofit that works to find a cure for the excess accumulation of fluid in the brain. The Novo, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Fri., April 27, 8 p.m.; $79.95-$154.75. (213) 765-7000, hydroassoc.org/?post_type=dd_events&p=22417. —Siran Babayan
Indie art gallery the Lodge is known for eclectic programming that combines cheeky contemporary flair and art history gravitas across painting, photography, sculpture and everything in-between. Its latest exhibition features the work of Wall Batterton, Matthew Rosenquist and Senon Williams in the low-key, fantastical group show "What If?" Batterton's mixed-media pieces incorporate collage and other techniques in poetic, adult fairy-tale arrays that are both surreal and funny — and a bit unsettling. Williams, familiar to fans of Dengue Fever as the band's bassist, is an accomplished visual artist. His ink and color wash drawings have an edgy folkloric quality, with axiomatic bits of text and evocative existential commentary in his ethereal images. Rosenquist's hybrid works of painting and sculpture are dimensional and gestural odes to the animistic personalities of everyday objects. All three seem to ask themselves the same question all the time: What if?...?? The Lodge, 1024 N. Western Ave., East Hollywood; Sat., April 28, 6-9 p.m.; free. (323) 745-0231, thelodge.la. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Mending Old Wounds
Celebrated as one of the most diverse cities in the world, Los Angeles' diversity has periodically come with friction; 26 years ago parts of L.A. erupted in what now is generally known as the L.A. Riots. Marking the riots' anniversary with a theme of tolerance, diversity and love, the Friendship Concert III assembles an impressive sampling of this city's cultural spectrum with dance, music and song. Announced dance performers include Juli Kim with classical Korean and fusion dance, African fusion from James Mahkween, contemporary dance from Lula Washington Dance Company, and a finale with Paco and Yolanda Flamenco joining Korean Five Drum Dance and L.A. Yatai Bayashi Kai Taiko Drum. Sponsored by community groups TAP (the Artists' Platform) and F.A.C.E. (Faith and Community Empowerment), the concert is part of a larger effort in junior and senior high schools to reflect on the events of more than two decades ago. Student poetry and visual art from these students will be on display. Aratani Theatre, 244 S. San Pedro St., downtown; Sat., April 28, 7:30 p.m.; $10. tap.place. —Ann Haskins
Revisiting a Radical Feminist
S.C.U.M: The Valerie Solanas Story — a play written by Kat Georges and directed by Peter Carlaftes — casts your mind back to June 3, 1968, when author Valerie Solanas confronted Andy Warhol at the Factory and shot him with a bullet that ricocheted around his organs and still, even today, makes its effects known. While there's debate as to whether her manifesto really meant to agitate for male genocide — or if it even stood for Society for Cutting Up Men — it's a moment in time that never ceases to intrigue, captured here in its Los Angeles premiere. Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice; Sun., April 29, 7 p.m.; $12 general, $20 VIP. (310) 822-3006, beyondbaroque.org. —David Cotner
Watch and learn about puppetry as both folk art and entertainment at the seventh annual Skirball Puppet Festival. The museum partners with puppet theaters and individual artists to host performances and appearances, which this year include the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, Natural History Museum, Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry, Leslie K. Gray, PuppetKabob and Animal Cracker Conspiracy. You'll see puppets of all sizes and styles, from gnomes to the museum's own elephant from the "Noah's Ark at the Skirball" permanent exhibit, which will be simultaneously controlled by four puppeteers. As always, the day also promises workshops and a festival finale led by the Paradigm Brass Band. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Sun., April 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; $12, $9 seniors & students, $7 children. (310) 440-4500, skirball.org. —Siran Babayan
It's time yet again for another L.A. Food Bowl — courtesy of the good folks at the El Segundo Times — so why not be bowled over by the Things in a Bowl Launch Party? It's a veritable Super Bowl of chefs who will helm the many stations gathered here. There's the Bologna-not-baloney-themed Rossoblu, presented by chef Steve Samson; Shibumi, the Japanese traditional kappo-style restaurant downtown; and the DTLA Cheese stand that currently graces the Grand Central Market — plus many others. At the end of the night, the 2018 Gold Award and Restaurant of the Year Award will be presented. Rossoblu, 1124 San Julian St., downtown; Mon., April 30, 6:30 p.m.; $95. (213) 749-1099, lafoodbowl.com/bowl-events/launch-party/. —David Cotner
The Black Book Vol. V: Hustle & Flow: A Visual Anthology of Black Labor, Work, and Life is the latest in an ongoing series of screenings, conversations, music and literature analyzing how black culture is portrayed from within and without. The deconstruction is undertaken with a zesty gravitas and joyfulness that celebrates the unique complexities and paradoxes studied by black storytellers. A joint project of acclaimed authors Tisa Bryant and Ernest Hardy, the Black Book performs a post–hip-hop sampling of literature, cinema, television and other media, describing each volume as a "living archive." Past events have featured movies from the 1970s, '80s and '90s, reflective of these eras and influential on the generations that are actively making America's present culture — this is the stuff Ava DuVernay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, Colson Whitehead, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé and Paul Beatty all grew up watching, rocking out to and having their social consciences engaged by. Now is the perfect time to re-examine through the lens of history. Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., May 1, 8:30 p.m.; free with RSVP. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu/programs-events/2018/05/the-black-book-vol-v-hustle-flow-a-visual-anthology-of-black-labor-work-and-life/. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Vocal gods walk among us this evening when stirring Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu and forceful Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo engage in a recital of operatic arias and duets. Making her return to this cozy Westside hall, Gheorghiu is a longtime regular with New York's Metropolitan Opera who possesses a beautifully romantic, crystalline voice. Grigolo commanded the stage with swagger and a little hammy theatricality last year in L.A. Opera's delightful production of The Tales of Hoffmann. Tonight, the vocalists alternate classic operatic melodies by Charles Gounod and Giacomo Puccini with Broadway favorites by Leonard Bernstein and Rodgers & Hammerstein. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Tue., May 1, 7:30 p.m.; $150-$275. (310) 434-3412, thebroadstage.com. —Falling James
Can you imagine all the highs and lows of Tinder — onstage? Lane Moore can, and she's back in L.A. for one night of catch-your-breath-laughing-out-loud improv comedy. "At some point, I'll find a super funny, super kind, super romantic partner, and I'll be like, 'Jeez, it took you long enough!' And then take like 40 naps." But for now, the queer performer is single ... and still swiping. "I never know what's going to happen when I walk onto that stage, and the audience has so much to do with what happens on the show because they choose who I swipe right or left on, so it's like a choose-your-own-adventure in so many ways." Tinder Live! also will feature guest James Urbaniak (Dr. Venture on Adult Swim's The Venture Brothers, creator of the Getting on With James Urbaniak podcast). Regent Theater, 448 S. Main Street, downtown; Tue., May 1, 7 p.m.; $17.50-$22.50. (323) 284-5727, lanemoore.org/tinder-live. —Michele Raphael
Some people garden. Others build model ships. LeVar Burton Reads — and he'll read a short story to you onstage during the recording of this, the second season of his live-reading podcast. Previous stories include The Lighthouse Keeper by Daisy Johnson, No Man's Guns by Elmore Leonard and Childfinder by Octavia Butler, so settle in as he cooks up a fried slice of literary gold as the full hot orator of the hour. (The story I want to hear is how Burton — host of PBS' Reading Rainbow — became estranged from his big brother Easy Reader from Electric Company.) The Regent, 448 S. Main St., downtown; Wed., May 2, 7 p.m.; $30-$100. (323) 284-5727, acehotel.com/calendar/losangeles/levar-burton-reads-live. —David Cotner
A View to Dine for
Don't expect the life-affirming neon and bare-bulb buzz of Cairo at night, or the nocturnal wonders of Southeast Asia, but Night Market Yamashiro offers a quaint collection of international delicacies, shopping, live music — and unbeatable views from its iconic Hollywood Hills perch. There's more prepared food than usual at city farmers markets, and free samples abound. Park at Mosaic Church on Hollywood and La Brea and a free shuttle will take up you up. (Note: $5 parking at Mosaic is actually $5 per person.) You may prefer to carpool and opt for VIP valet: $25, or $10 with restaurant validation. Both market and restaurant have outdoor bars overlooking the endless grid with enough distance to see the beauty in it. You could do worse in Hollywood on a Thursday. Yamashiro Restaurant, 1999 N. Sycamore Ave., Hollywood Hills; Thu., May 3, 6-9 p.m.; free. (323) 466-5125, lacityfarm.com/our-markets/yamashiro. —Beige Luciano-Adams
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Trust Me, I'm Not a Doctor
We're No Doctors is the all-too-fitting title of a frequently bizarre podcast that's presented live onstage at Largo tonight. Comedian-writer Steve Agee (New Girl, The Sarah Silverman Program) and actor Busy Philipps (Freaks & Geeks, Cougar Town) don't even play doctors on TV, but that doesn't stop these admittedly "neurotic, hypochondriac actors" from speculating — often in graphic and riotously gory detail — about their health problems, both real and (mostly) imagined. Past broadcasts have included Philipps cheerily describing "An Episode of Unusual Bleeding" and guest star Kelly Oxford weighing in on the curative powers of CBD and comfort food during the wide-ranging, semi-holistic discussion "I Crave Hot Dogs When I'm Sick." Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Thu., May 3, 8:30 p.m.; $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —Falling James