From a Labor Day pool party and a Feminist Friday gathering to Carmen at the Ford Amphitheater and a robot stand-up, here are the 13 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!
A staple at Eagle Rock artist-run project space the Situation Room, Feminist Friday is not always, or not only, an art event. It's more of a conversation series, in which feminists and allies from the broader L.A. art community gather to talk about whatever is on their minds, from political pressures to nipple bans on social media, the importance of self-care and the organization of performances and exhibitions. There are cocktails and snacks in this consciously created intersectional safe space, and it's open to all interested parties regardless of their gender identity. This edition is a rare Westside appearance, hosted by artist Deborah Reilly, whose conversation prompts include the radically loving belief that "utilizing art as a tool to cultivate compassion could move the bar to focus on humanity." D. Reilly Studio, 2240 Penmar Ave., Venice; Fri., Aug. 31, 6-9 p.m.; free. facebook.com/TheSituationRoomLA. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Spain Comes to the Ford
Of all the classic operas, Carmen is perhaps the one that's loaded with the most memorable tunes. Composer Georges Bizet and librettists Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy's romantic Spanish fantasy is always a powerful showcase for the mezzo-soprano who portrays the captivating and defiant title character; in Pacific Opera Project's production, Nora Graham-Smith plays the beguiling temptress who drives the soldier Don José (tenor Dane Suarez) totally mad. "I picked Carmen because the Ford looks so much like a set of Carmen with the big, fortresslike towers and rocky hillside," POP director/designer Josh Shaw says of this version, which is set in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. "While technically it is an updated production in that it's not set in the original period, it's about as traditional as POP ever gets." John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood Hills; Sat., Sept. 1, 8 p.m.; $24-$64. (323) 461-3673, pacificoperaproject.com. —Falling James
We love a good hotel-room soirée, but sometimes you want to take the partying to another level. The W Hotel's Wake Up Call festival aims to provide nonstop wild amusements in an attempt to do just that, taking over the entire building for an all-day/all-night, music-fueled mega-bash. You don't have to worry about disturbing the guests as everyone's pretty much there to be "woke." The Labor Day weekend event also offers day passes for non-guests, and both dates will be lit, featuring live music performances by Charli XCX, Phantogram, Chromeo, Betty Woo and more. There will be pop-ups from Shake Shack (serving up something called "the ShackMeister"), Milk Bar (cookies!) and Stella Barra Pizzeria (late-night slices), plus cute stuff to buy from Wildfox, signature drinks in the Champagne Rosé Garden and Y7 yoga and spinning classes on the roof overlooking Hollywood Boulevard. W Hotel, 6250 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat.-Sun., Sept. 1-2; $69 and up. wakeupcallfest.com. —Lina Lecaro
A Window Into L.A.'s Past
The Historic Core neighborhood of downtown has some of the most interesting architecture around, and that includes ornate building foyers and secret courtyards tucked behind them. One of the most interesting figures in downtown is the artist Gronk, whose long career in painting has touched all aspects of L.A. culture, from opera to politics. Since he keeps his workspace in one of those historic spots, every so often, Gronk stages the Lobby Gallery and an open studio party — an afternoon and evening of wine, art, conversation and shenanigans. With affordable small works and guest artists such as Patssi Valdez and Tanner Goldbeck, Gronk's Open Studio is a reminder of the downtown we remember. Lobby Gallery, 725 S. Spring St., downtown; Sat., Sept. 1, noon-10 p.m.; free. (626) 379-4030, facebook.com/gronk.nicandro. —Shana Nys Dambrot
From Around the World
The Broad Stage says goodbye to summer and hello to its 2018-19 season of programming at Broad Fest, an annual open house with entertainment across three stages. The Music Hall stage hosts live R&B, Afro-Caribbean funk and contemporary Armenian music by Jungle Fire, Element Band and the all-female Adaawe. The Edye stage features a drum circle led by Anindo Marshall and 40-minutes-or-less family-friendly films screened by Hollywood Shorts. And the Plaza stage offers KCRW's Anthony Valadez and a dance demonstration taught by Santa Monica College dancers Global Motion and faculty member Bernard (Keali'l) Ceballos throughout the day. The schedule also offers food trucks, an instrument petting zoo and booths where you can take part in screen printing and art projects. The Eli & Edythe Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Sun., Sept. 2, 2-7 p.m.; free. (310) 434-3200, thebroadstage.org/broadfest.php. —Siran Babayan
MUSIC/FOOD & DRINK
Get your dose of local culture and arts at Made in L.A. Half of the two-day festival's proceeds go directly to ArtShareLA, an artistic wonderland that has helped many a local emerging artist break through. It won't be just a bevy of beers — including Estrella Jalisco and a Golden Road mango michelada — on tap. The music lineup includes Dorothy, JRocc, Transviolet, Buyepongo, Andre Power and locals Saint Motel. Food vendors, which include Pizza Prova, Porch Pops and Groundwork Coffee Truck, have all the major food groups covered. Golden Road Brewing, 5410 W. San Fernando Road, Atwater Village; Sat.-Sun., Sept. 1-2, 5 p.m.-mid.; $15 single-day admission, $30 two-day pass; 21+. eventbrite.com/e/made-in-la-2018-tickets-47531503005?aff=instagram. —Avery Bissett
ART/FOOD & DRINK
There's no panacea for L.A.'s homelessness crisis. As community outreach worker Christopher Mack told the Weekly earlier this year, "Four walls and a roof is not just a thing but the individual taking pride in his life — how do we begin that conversation?" In partnership with Mostly Kosher's Leeav Sofer, Mack has done much to literally and figuratively make noise, and a particularly mellifluous noise at that. Their Urban Voices Project is both a chorus for the homeless and allies and a safe place. Tonight the project performs at the Refuge Block Party, which celebrates the resolve of people surviving on the streets of Los Angeles. In addition to the music, there will be food vendors, "creative activities" and artist Shinique Smith's donation center that provides care packages to these vulnerable Angelenos. The event is "an extension" of Smith's multimedia show "Refuge," on display through Sept. 9 at the California African American Museum. L.A. Commons, 4343 Leimert Blvd., Leimert Park; Mon., Sept. 3, 1-5 p.m.; free. eventbrite.com/e/refuge-block-party-tickets-46424252188. —Avery Bissett
FOOD & DRINK
Save yourself a trip to Asia and find your gastronomical enlightenment at Hotel Shangri-La's Poolside BBQ. After you ceremoniously bid summer adieu with a dip in the pool (who are we kidding, it's seasonless Southern California), feast on Kobe beef burgers and homemade potato chips, chicken wings and the requisite accoutrements, pesto shrimp skewers and hotdogs with the works. There will also be chips and guac and vegetable kebabs. Poolside games will include cornhole and ping pong. Hotel Shangri-La, 1301 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; Mon., Sept. 3, noon-5 p.m.; $25 + $25 food and drink min. shangrila-hotel.com. —Avery Bissett
Find Solace in a Good Story
"We are in the midst of a broken story, and we have lost the ability to parse its lines," David L. Ulin writes in the new introduction to the updated edition of his 2010 nonfiction meditation, The Lost Art of Reading: Books and Resistance in a Troubled Time. "Stories, I've long believed, are connective, the only tool we have to reach out of our isolation, regardless of how fleetingly." Given these perilous times we live in under the Trump administration, words matter more than ever, and yet the very idea of objective reality is more difficult to discern in the fake-news era. The former L.A. Times book critic artfully tries to make sense of it all, blending personal experiences with literary references and acute observations of modern culture to emphasize that the simple, rebellious act of reading will always be considered dangerous to tyrants in power. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Tue., Sept. 4, 7:30 p.m.; free, book is $16.95. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Falling James
The Italian Experience
"Forcella Reigns: The Men Who Play Cards" is back in North Hollywood for its promised return engagement this week, six months after it first blew away art audiences in April. Artist Francesca Bifulco and digital art/sound engineer Alex Schetter have designed an evocative experience, part multimedia art exhibit, part theatrical tableau, in homage to a memory. Bifulco had sojourned in a small Italian town and encountered a particular staircase there, where men gathered for a ritual of cards, coffee and cigarettes every single day. Viewers move throughout the set pieces, shadow-boxes and sculptural paintings, with sound and light augmenting the atmospheric, art-based sense of place — or at least the artist's memory of it. ZJU Theater, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Wed.-Sat., Sept. 5-8, 6-11 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 9, 3-8 p.m.; free. (818) 202-4120, francescabifulco.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Who Needs Humans?
There's the persistent fear that robots are taking over our jobs. But have you ever wondered about robots becoming the new comedians? For more than a year, Greg the Robot hosted Humans!, a monthly sketch-comedy show at the now-defunct Amplyfi on Melrose, which featured such names as Charlyne Yi, Aparna Nancherla, Ian Abramson and Brent Weinbach. Greg not only hosted but told jokes and interacted with the audience. Mikey Heller, a comedian and head writer for Cartoon Network sitcom We Bare Bears, created the robot using boxes from Lowe's, aluminum and wheels from a remote control car — think Rosie from The Jetsons — and controls and voices him from offstage. For tonight's Mikey Heller Presents: A One-Robot Show, Greg the Robot performs stand-up solo for the first time. Don't be surprised if he lands his own podcast or series on a streaming service soon. Lyric Hyperion Theatre, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Thu., Sept. 6, 8 p.m.; $8. (323) 928-2299, lyrichyperion.com. —Siran Babayan
Sculpting a Friendship
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Once contemporary art legend L.A. Louver is activated, you know a new fall art season is officially, fancily underway. Its September program is a two-person exhibition between a pair of sculptors whose long-standing, globe-spanning friendship is both personal and professional, and whose works exist as much in conversation with each other as the men themselves — and yet they're only rarely exhibited together. Richard Deacon (b. 1949) lives and works in London; Sui Jianguo (b. 1956) in Beijing. Deacon works in clay, wood and stainless steel, Jianguo in bronze and resin. Both acknowledged masters in their craft, they each take a very different approach to the gestural, architectural possibilities of abstract sculpture — approaches that nevertheless center around a self-conscious engagement with material and processes and occupied space, both engaging and transcending technology. L.A. Louver, 45 N. Venice Blvd., Venice; opening reception Thu., Sept. 6, 6-8 p.m.; runs thru Oct. 20 (Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.); free. (310) 822-4955, lalouver.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
An Étude Adjustment
Études are instrumental works that are meant to challenge musicians as they refine their skills. The 12 piano études by French composer Claude Debussy are notoriously complicated to play yet they are also miniature masterpieces that are more than just knotty training exercises. Local pianist Mark Robson and Piano Spheres commissioned a dozen L.A. composers — including Juhi Bansal, Vera Ivanova, Thomas Kotcheff, Anne LeBaron and Vicki Ray — to create new companion pieces to Debussy's beautiful curios. Expect some fiery flurries of notes bursting forth floridly alongside more melodically introspective passages and adventurous extrapolations at this free recital. Santa Monica Public Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; Thu., Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m. (310) 458-8600, smpl.org. —Falling James