From a wonderfully dark and beautiful corner of Echo Park Rising to an exhibit dedicated to the wascallly wabbit and Saturday morning cartoons, a festival focused on the humble taco, a week of women-centric art and film, and swing dancing in art deco splendor, here are the 13 best things to do in Los Angeles this week.
Order a glass of wine, let the old-world charm of all that exposed brick and dark wood wash over you, and enjoy the live entertainment at Urban Press Winery. While you navigate the winery's considerable selection, José Garcia will soothe your ears. Much like his adopted city of Los Angeles, the singer-guitarist takes his influences from a medley of cultures, incorporating genres such as jazz and flamenco in his craft. Urban Press Winery, 316 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank; Fri., Aug. 17, 8-11 p.m.; free. eventbrite.com/e/jose-garcia-performs-at-urban-press-winery-friday-night-wine-tasting-la-tickets-48750709685. —Avery Bissett
There's a certain beauty in death and decay, and at Echo Park curiosity shop Memento Mori, death isn't hidden in a dusty storeroom. Instead, the cruel finality of time is on display in every vintage photograph, candle, book, lamp, skull and artfully macabre piece of jewelry. As part of the Echo Park Rising festival, proprietors Deirdre and Bradley Hartman revel further in the mystery of death with "Dark Art Show." Local artist Stephanie Inagaki places solemn-eyed kittens on stacks of skulls, links together ravens in her drawings and jewelry with chains and bowlike red ribbons, and ties cat-masked women to birds and flowers with their flowing, sentient long hair. The show also features art by twin-sister duo Little Ghouls ("like opening an antique music box only to discover that the dancing ballerina has been possessed by an adorable flesh-eating nymph") and metal sculptor G.F. Wilde, as well as palm readings by Mary E. Pagone and a DJ set from L.A. Weekly's own Lina Lecaro. Memento Mori, 2209 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Sat., Aug. 18, 8 p.m.; free. (323) 962-7834, mementomori-la.com. —Falling James
Classic Meets Contemporary
Beloved and seismically influential contemporary surrealist painter Todd Schorr has a sweeping career survey coming up next month — but since it's at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, most of his West Coast fans probably won't catch it. But our consolation prize is pretty great — a special short preview exhibition and a book-signing party for the hefty accompanying monograph, Neverlasting Miracles, right here at his L.A. gallery, KP Projects. With a visual style referencing the Old Masters and European romanticism, but depicting characters and both high and low pop culture moments from our own time and place, Schorr's epic, operatic technique packs the double punch of humor and societal insight. "Todd Schorr: Atomic Cocktail" (both the show and the book) takes a specific look at the intersection of personal memory, cultural zeitgeist and art history in Schorr's classic masterpieces and new work created with the show in mind. KP Projects, 170 S. La Brea, Hancock Park; Sat., Aug. 18, 7-10 p.m.; exhibit runs thru Sept. 1, Tue.-Sat., noon-6 p.m.; free; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. (323) 933-4408; kpprojects.net. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Saturday Morning Cartoons
This year, Bugs Bunny turned 80. That's a lot of carrots. The wisecracking, wascally wabbit and his tormented archenemy Elmer Fudd are ageless legendary cartoons, and the Grammy Museum pays tribute to classic Looney Tunes and other Warner Bros. animation in its latest exhibit, "The Get Animated Invasion." Created with help from contemporary artists and designers Crystal Wagner, Joshua Vides, Confetti System, Amelia Muqbel and Sam Taylor, the exhibit's nine interactive spaces combine sound and art, including interpretations of music by Wagner and Rossini that were featured in the shorts What's Opera, Doc?, Rabbit of Seville and Long-Haired Hare; a "psychedelic stage" inspired by Scooby-Doo's 1960s and '70s soundtrack; an Animaniacs karaoke booth; The Flintstones–themed instruments; and a re-creation of Judy Jetson's bedroom. Other highlights are a "snowy dome-like environment" that looks at the upcoming feature film Smallfoot, starring Channing Tatum, Zendaya, James Corden and LeBron James; and a Get Animated Records pop-up record shop with vinyl artwork. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Sat., Aug. 18, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; runs thru Sept. 9; $15, $11.95 seniors & students, $10.95 children, free 5 & under. (213) 765-6800, grammymuseum.org. —Siran Babayan
FOOD & Drink
Time for Tacos
Debates over the best taco in L.A. — and arguments over what actually qualifies as a proper taco notwithstanding — tacos are beloved here, and they may be the most celebrated food of all, at least in terms of festivals and food events. The L.A. Taco Festival is one of the city's favorites because it features some of the best traditional tortilla- and carne-based snacks in town as well as some creative takes on the Mexican bites that are vegetarian, vegan and fused with unexpected multicultural flavors. This year's participants include Kogi BBQ, Tacos La Tehuanita, Epic Tacos, Thai-Mex Cocina, Todo Verde, Tacos Casa, Los Colorines, El Taco Negro, Izzy's Taco House, Monster Tacos, Best Fish Taco in Ensenada and more. The fest also will offer vendors, games and live music from Timba Tumbao, Subsuelo and Boogaloo Assassins. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Jovenes Inc., a nonprofit organization helping homeless youth in Los Angeles. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sat., Aug. 18, noon-8 p.m.; free, vendors cash only. LATacoFestival.com. —Lina Lecaro
Launched in 1964 at the Natural History Museum in London, the "Wildlife Photographer of the Year," the largest touring wildlife photography exhibit in the world, makes its West Coast debut. The 99 animal portraits and landscapes on display were culled from some 50,000 entries for this year's competition by photographers from nearly 100 countries, who competed in more than a dozen categories, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and plants and fungi. Among the artists highlighted is South African photographer and 2017 winner Brent Stirton, whose Memorial to a Species features a de-horned rhinoceros in South Africa shot to death by poachers. Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park; Sun., Aug. 19, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; runs thru Jan. 6; $21, $18 seniors & students, $10 children, free 2 & under. (213) 763-3466, nhm.org. —Siran Babayan
Swing the Night Away
The art deco splendor of the Wiltern makes it the perfect place to escape the worries of modern life with some vintage dress-up and dance. Swingin' Summer at the Wiltern invites Angelenos to travel back to the Roaring '20s and have one last flashback-y frolic before fall. Swing dancing and tap-dancing are encouraged on multiple floors, beginning with lessons (7-8 p.m.) to the sounds of DJ Professor Watson before the live show from 10-piece jazz sensations Lizzy & The Triggermen (8:30-11 p.m.). A special performance by tap marvel Kenji Igus and vocal trio The San Andreas Sisters, plus a vintage marketplace and retro photo ops, add to the old-timey flair of the evening. Wear something vintage and fabulous. Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown; Sun., Aug. 19, 6:30-11:30 p.m.; $10-$75. universe.com/events/swingin-summer-1940s-night-at-the-wiltern-tickets-los-angeles-7L6WR4. —Lina Lecaro
A Week of Creative Women
Last year, Saatchi Art hosted "L.A. Woman," an exhibit of works by 15 L.A. artists in Santa Monica. This year, expect even more girl power as the famed online art gallery and South Asian restaurant E.P. & L.P. co-host the first Art Women Art Week, a weeklong of events featuring creative females from all mediums. In addition to Saatchi Art's curated installation, the schedule includes female DJs, panels on topics ranging from branding and blogging to artists' books, and stand-up sets by comedians Tracey Buckner, Leia Sergakis and Courtney Scheuerman. Also, the adjacent Melrose Rooftop Theatre will screen such female-centric films as Moulin Rouge, What's Love Got to Do With It, The Devil Wears Prada and — the most iconic feminist movie of them all — Thelma & Louise. E.P. & L.P. and Melrose Rooftoop Theatre, 603 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood; Sun.-Sun., Aug. 19-26, hours vary; screenings $27.50, other events free; RSVP required. (310) 855-9955, eplosangeles.com. —Siran Babayan
The death of Berta Cáceres — an environmental activist who attempted to prevent the construction of a hydroelectric dam in Lenca territory in Honduras in 2016 — might seem like a distant tragedy that had little connection to people in this country. But several of the assassins who were arrested in her murder were trained at Fort Benning's School of the Americas, a notorious (and since-rebranded) government institute whose graduates have been linked to torture and the destabilization of democratically elected governments in Central America. Following a screening of the documentary Berta Vive, artist Carolina Caycedo, reporter Silvio Carrillo and UC Berkeley professor Roxanna Altholz mull over the challenges faced by indigenous environmental activists. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Falling James
There has been theater, music and food in this month's Brazil-Mexico cultural exchange program, and this week, there will be art. "Carne Assada: Volume II" is the follow-up to what has been a fresh new collaboration between Mexican-American artist Francisco Palomares, already based in L.A., and Brazilian artist Yomar Augusto, who recently relocated to Southern California via New York. In Palomares' culturally steeped stories and symbols and in Augusto's expressive abstract works, we find diverse styles and techniques, whose juxtaposition is itself an experiment in fusion — not unlike the multifaceted and intercontinental experience of Latino culture. The Mexican Center for Culture and Cinematic Arts hosts the ongoing programs. Mexican Center for Culture and Cinematic Arts, 2401 W. Sixth St., Westlake; Wed., Aug. 22, 6:30-9 p.m.; free.(213) 351-6800, cccmla.com/blog/mexico-brazil-cultural-exchange. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Hanging out at Art Major is a little bit like having a cool bar right in your living room — if your living room also has a killer library, an epic collection of board and parlor games, and a rotating selection of lively art by your most talented friends. Speaking of which, beginning this week Art Major hosts a wide-ranging installation of new paintings by artist Devin Liston, known for previous street-inflected collaborations with Cyrcle and Gosha Levochkin but a gifted solo voice in his own right. His muscular style combines expressive abstraction with precisely rendered figurative and pop culture elements in an engaging palette with texture and emotion. Extended family since their Hold Up Gallery days, the Art Major folks will hang dozens of Liston's works, giving bar-goers the chance to contemplate a range of his creativity along with IPA game night. Art Major Los Angeles, 636 S. Mariposa Ave., Koreatown; Thu., Aug. 23, 6-10 p.m.; free. (213) 221-4093, artmajorla.com/new-events/. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Ode to an Outlaw
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No one knows for sure what will happen when artist Suné Woods, writer Fred Moten and pianist James Gordon Williams get together this evening for an unusual multimedia collaboration. But high-level, provocative and thoughtful words from poet/black-studies scholar Moten will fly around the room as Williams improvises on piano and provocative collagist Woods manipulates found imagery. In keeping with the spirit of Williams' jazzy bell hooks ode "Outlaw Culture Music," Woods' bold juxtapositions of limbs and faces and Moten's musings about race and power dip into the vast universe of African-American culture that's missing from most history books and museums. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Thu., Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Falling James
The pernicious and patronizing "model minority" label attached to the Asian-American community is often overlooked and brushed off when discussing the harm inflicted by ethnic stereotypes. Silence only perpetuates this vicious cycle: Society assumes Asian-Americans are destined to be only doctors, engineers, etc.; Asian-American parents start believing the hype and steer their kids away from other paths in life; society then sees only the success stories and ignores the challenges faced by the individual ethnic groups that form the greater Asian-American community. Represent, Represent! Asian-Americans in Hip-Hop is out to break this silence. Asian-Americans kicking open doors and blazing trails in the music industry will share their experiences, and Justin Hoover and Ninochka McTaggart, who curated the Chinese American Museum's "Don't Believe the Hype: L.A. Asian-Americans in Hip-Hop" exhibit (Nov. 4), will do a Q&A. DJ Phatrick also will be on deck, because what would a night discussing Asian-Americans in music be without seeing them in action? Chinese American Museum, 425 N. Los Angeles St., downtown; Thu., Aug. 23, 6-9 p.m.; free, RSVP required. (213) 485-8567, eventbrite.com/e/represent-represent-asian-americans-in-hip-hop-tickets-48008778549. —Avery Bissett