From a Día de los Muertos–themed market festival to an arts festival highlighting emerging talent, Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations to an ode to mole, here are the 13 best things to do in Los Angeles this week.
From the Ground Up
Level Ground is an independent arts incubator with a purpose. Going beyond the already laudable goal of supporting emerging artists with grants, residencies and resources, Level Ground, and its offshoot Skew Magazine, deliberately seek out individuals, projects and immersive programs that, in their words, "subvert social hierarchies to create experiments in empathy." Though its activities are sustained year-round, this year marks the fifth installment of its namesake Level Ground Festival, highlighting recent and ongoing projects that have benefited from its support. This year sees three visual artists mounting their debut solo shows, a new documentary film project, a comedy night, a special screening of Zackary Drucker's Transparent, a 3-D photo-art show from Rae Threat, Ruthintruth's art show in Chinatown, and a powerful photography installation by Rebekah Mei at Interspace. Check schedule for locations. Fri.-Sat., Oct. 5-6; Thu., Oct. 11; Fri., Oct. 19; Sat., Nov. 3: 8 p.m.; free. onlevelground.org/festival. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Sounds Out of This World
There are worlds beyond this one, and Festival M.A.R.S. promises to take listeners to the Multiverse, "a collection of theoretically limited possible universes whose existences are known mostly as parallel universes." The traveling festival stops in Los Angeles for a week of performances that combine art with works by new-music composers. Opening night, billed as "TeleporMartian," pairs music by Genoel Lilienstern, Katharina Rosenberger, Ying Wang and Wen Liu with 3-D hologram projections. Other performances include local violist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson interacting with Jesse Gilbert's video projections. The Vortex, 2341 E. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Fri., Oct. 5, 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Oct. 6-7, 8 p.m.; through Sat., Oct. 13, 8 p.m.; $30-$120. festivalmars.com. —Falling James
Who Wrote That Song?
What's in a name? Sometimes a lot, as the mere mention of a name can stir up all sorts of implications and associations. Just knowing the name of a famous composer, for instance, can color one's impressions of a work even before it's heard, so the folks at Salastina Music Society have cleverly assembled a program of obscurities they're calling "Sounds Mysterious." In this weekend's concerts, the local chamber music ensemble will "strip away as much context as we can — including the name of the piece, its composer, and the geographic and historic context in which it was created." The idea is to return the focus to the music itself and separate it from mundane biographical details and other distractions. Barrett Hall, Pasadena Conservatory of Music, 100 N. Hill Ave., Pasadena; Sat., Oct. 6, 8 p.m.; $32. (626) 683-3355. Also at Villa Aurora, 520 Paseo Miramar, Pacific Palisades; Sun., Oct. 7, 3 p.m.; $32. (310) 454-4231, salastina.org. —Falling James
FOOD & DRINK
One way to welcome autumn is by partaking in Oktoberfest. Another way is by heading over to the 10th annual Los Angeles Beer Festival to peruse the extensive selection of wares from cideries such as the Honest Abe Cider House & Meadery, Stoked Cider Co. and Julian Hard Cider. Along with many local brews, there will be an International Row featuring China's Tsingtao and breweries from such distant lands as Myanmar and Europe. Brews from less distant lands in San Diego also will be on tap. The festival's food truck lineup boasts more than a dozen, including the Grilled Cheese Truck and Humble Crust. Live music is courtesy the ironically named Thirsty Heroes, the Howl at the Moon dueling piano bar and others. Early admission gets you in an hour early, while a VIP pass will net you air-conditioned bathrooms (yes, you read that correctly) and access to the deck. Proceeds from the event help Noah's B-ark, which finds permanent homes for dogs in shelters. L.A. Center Studios, 1201 W. Fifth St., Westlake; Sat., Oct. 6, 3-6 p.m.; $45/$55 early admission/$80 VIP. labeerfest.la. —Avery Bissett
Pulling Back the Curtain on Fame
Justine Bateman is perhaps best remembered for her role as Mallory Keaton on the innocuous '80s sitcom Family Ties, but the New York native has gone on to take part in far more challenging work in her subsequent career as an actor, writer, director and producer. One of the first glimmers of her artistic potential came when Bateman used to host adventurous shows of performance art and spoken-word at LunaPark. Since then, she's directed the 2017 film Five Minutes and the upcoming feature Violet, written scripts and hosted an internet talk show. Bateman takes an unsentimental look at the nature of celebrity worship in her first book, Fame: The Hijacking of Reality, which she discusses this evening with fellow actor Rainn Wilson. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Sat., Oct. 6, 5 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Falling James
Ghastly Good Time
Now in its fifth year, the Olvera Street Muertos Artwalk is an opportunity to visit one of Los Angeles' most vibrant and historic locales (with its own array of cool folklore, fashion-filled shops and authentic eateries) that also offers an extensive selection of creative works from Angelenos across the city. More than 40 local artists will be exhibiting and selling their creations: artwork, clothing, jewelry and more. Along with the colorful Día de los Muertos–themed art (skulls, florals, etc.) there will be face painting, entertainment and food. Local artisans participating include Bellagazoo, Black Willow Gallery, ¡Bueno! Designs, Calaveras y Diablitos, Canaan Honey Shop, CJ's Angels, Cross Your Heart Customs, Cuaxicalli Studio, Cultura y Mas, Folklor Accessories, Gladis Alejandre, Good Life Roots, JDN73, Kimmy's Bowtique, Krys Mystic, La Chica Arte, LovStruk, Mercy Designs, Mexcalito Soul, Mextica, Mis Nopales, Mi Vida Boutique, Moonstone Craft, Nailita's Calaveritas, Ninoska Arte, NRepujado, Once Upon a Charm, Passenger Buttons, Pipiripau, Pritana, Rumblin Rain', Semillas Artes, Spooksieboo, Standing Brown, StudioG79, Sweet-E-Treats and the L.A. Garden. Olvera Street, 845 N. Alameda St., downtown; Sat., Oct. 6, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; free. olveraevents.com/muertosartwalk2018. —Lina Lecaro
FOOD & DRINK
Which Mole Is the Best?
What started as Pedro Ramos' quest to honor his grandmother and her mole recipe is still going strong in its 11th year as La Feria de los Moles. This ode to mole may not settle the intractable conflict over just which region's take reigns supreme, but it certainly won't be due to a lack of effort. The fair will feature a variety of moles, including some direct from Mexico. Local vendors such as Rinconcito Poblano and Zapotec Cafe will be on hand. In between bites you'll be able to brush up on the history of mole with the "Passage Through the Eras of Mole" exhibit and enjoy live music, mole workshops and the crowning of Miss Mole 2018. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sun., Oct. 7, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. feriadelosmoles.com. —Avery Bissett
Though the issue of whether Christopher Columbus is a hero or villain has always been debated, L.A. no longer marks Columbus Day in October. Not wanting to celebrate the Italian explorer, whom many consider a symbol of the slaughter of Native Americans, the L.A. City Council last year voted to replace the holiday with Indigenous Peoples Day. But tonight, UCB resurrects Columbus for the good of comedy at its first Native American comedians showcase, The Ghost of Christopher Columbus Theater Smudging Spectacular. Hosts Joey Clift, Jenny Marlowe and Lucas Brown Eyes won't be cleansing the theater by burning sage. Instead, they've invited some two dozen local comics of Native American descent — Cherokee, Ojibwe, Blackfeet, Cowlitz, Oglala Lakota, Quechua Inca, etc. — to perform stand-up, sketches, characters and storytelling inspired by the indigenous experience and just all-around good comedy. UCB, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood; Mon., Oct. 8, 7 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan
Celebrating the True Founders
Everyone loves to hate government and criticize our elected officials, but they do get things right sometimes, such as when Los Angeles adopted Indigenous Peoples Day. In celebration of the history of those who were here before the Admiral of the Ocean Sea stumbled upon a "new" continent, L.A. has organized an inaugural celebration. The Black Eyed Peas and Native American rockers Redbone will headline the grand finale concert. The event kicks off with a sunrise ceremony, and before the music there will be a 5K Fun Run/Walk, a fashion show, panels on the indigenous experience and more. L.A. City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., downtown; Mon., Oct. 8, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; free. eventbrite.com/e/the-inaugural-los-angeles-indigenous-peoples-day-celebration-tickets-49365529628. —Avery Bissett
He's Finally Ready
The actor at 50 and the actor at 80 inhabit entirely different ends of the spectrum when they play a role as storied as Shakespeare's King Lear. Actor-composer Anthony Hopkins returns to the role for which he notoriously claimed not to be ready at 50, and you'll experience all of his mellifluous misgivings after a screening of the Amazon Prime Video version of King Lear. Hopkins will discuss this latest Lear, who rules a future British military junta and tries to figure out which of his three daughters will grab the lion's share of his posh dystopia after he's gone. LACMA, Bing Theatre, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m.; free with reservations. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org/event/king-lear. —David Cotner
Lakers owner and president Jeanie Buss is riding such a wave of adulation after bringing superstar LeBron James to the team that she probably could run for mayor of this city and win. Of course, who knows what will happen once the NBA regular season begins and James has to adapt his limitless talents to the mediocre Lakers squad that missed the playoffs last season? One of Buss' lesser-known roles is co-owner with David McLane of Women of Wrestling, a highly stylized competition that invokes the spirit of McLane's old Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling with larger-than-life wrestler-heroines slamming one another's bodies across the stage. These two Belasco showdowns will be filmed for a later broadcast on AXS TV. The Belasco Theater, 1050 S. Hill St., downtown; Wed.-Thu., Oct. 10-11, 7:30 p.m.; $25-$125. (213) 747-0196, wowe.com. —Falling James
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Digital art is not always based on photography. Often when the technologies of new media are brought into direct conversation with photos, however, the source materials are borrowed from available popular culture to better add aspects of social critique to the aesthetic program. In the case of John Waiblinger, this dynamic exists along a continuum of pornography, romantic beauty, and the male as both the bringer and object of physical desire. Manipulating images borrowed from commercial homoerotica via considerable digital means, Waiblinger produces colorful, saturated, complex compound images festooned in evocative detail and intimate sensuality, implied nudity and sexual availability, shades of painterly art history, and a certain resignation to obeying the laws of attraction. Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, 104 E. Fourth St., downtown; preview: Thu., Oct. 11, 7-9 p.m., reception: Sat., Oct. 13, 6-9 p.m.; exhibit: Wed.-Sat., noon-5 p.m.; free. (213) 629-1102, lacda.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
A new book and corresponding exhibition answer the question, what happens when one of Britain's most legendary music photographers lets a host of NYC street artists loose on her prints? "The Mash-Up" series combines Janette Beckman's wildly popular photographic portraits of some of the most beloved DJs and MCs, such as Slick Rick and Cey Adams, with hand-embellished painting, drawing and collage work by many of the great graffiti artists of our time, including Crash, Futura, Lady Pink, Revolt and Zephyr. The results are exuberant, stylish homages to a confluence of time and place whose cultural megawattage produced superstars that continue to influence art, music and style to this day. Opening-night people-watching is just part of the fun. Following Thursday's opening, there will be an artist talk and book signing with Beckman and project curator Cey Adams (Def Jam) at the gallery on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m. Fahey/Klein Gallery, 148 N. La Brea, Hancock Park; reception: Thu., Oct. 11, 7-9 p.m.; exhibit: Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., thru Nov. 24; free. (323) 934-2250, faheykleingallery.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot