From a theatrical adaptation of Joan Didion’s “The White Album” to a documentary about Stiv Bators of The Dead Boys to BOOK Porn and Drunken Poetry, here are the 14 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!
The White Stuff
"We tell ourselves stories in order to live," Joan Didion wrote at the start of her essay "The White Album," which was collected in her 1979 book of the same title. In the piece, Didion conflated her impressions of such 1960s touchstones as the Black Panthers, The Doors and The Manson Family into a wide-ranging look at the era in California; it was equal parts memoir and coolly detached journalism. In the West Coast premiere of Lars Jans' multimedia adaptation, Mia Barron reads the essay against a backdrop of visuals and staged performance-art interpretations that includes onstage audience members interacting as part of the production. Freud Playhouse, UCLA, 245 Charles E. Young Drive East, Westwood; Fri., April 5, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 6, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., April 7, 7 p.m.; $29-$59. (310) 825-2101, cap.ucla.edu. —Falling James
A Night at the Museum
You can roam around the Natural History Museum after-hours, but you can't do that all year, which is why the museum hosts First Fridays, its annual, late-night spring series of talks paired with DJs, live music, cocktails and food trucks. This year's overarching theme looks at why California is prone to the big four of the state's natural disasters — drought, fires, floods and earthquakes — and how people and government respond to the damages. Focusing on the drought (California is now drought-free for the first time since 2011), tonight's event kicks off with Alie Ward, host of the science podcast Ologies, who interviews NHM's research specialists about their collections. Later, L.A. Times columnist Patt Morrison welcomes Dr. Sam Sandoval, professor at UC Davis, and Dr. Jeffrey Mount, senior fellow at Public Policy Institute of California, as they discuss our water landscape and water management issues. Throughout the evening, DJs Novena Carmel and Tomi Tribe, as well as singer Harriet Brown and duo Drama, perform. Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park; Fri., April 5, 5:30-10 p.m.; $20. (213) 763-3466, nhm.org. —Siran Babayan
Miry Whitehill started Miry's List in 2016 as a nonprofit that crowd-sources donations in order to help refugees from such countries as Syria, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan resettle in L.A. Among the organization's annual events is the New Arrival Supper Club, a series of pop-up dinners catered by newly arrived families, which takes place all over town. The Skirball's Let My People Come: A Passover Experience with Miry's List New Arrival Supper Club will include a seder-inspired, vegetarian-friendly dinner, paired with wine and prepared by resettled refugees from Syria. KCRW host Evan Kleiman will moderate a talk with the chefs about their stories, while Rabbi Sarah Bassin of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills discusses how welcoming immigrants relates to the tradition of Passover, the spring holiday that commemorates the exodus of Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Fri., April 5, 6:30 p.m.; $90/$55, resv. required. (310) 440-4500, skirball.org. —Siran Babayan
Food exists as the cornerstone of those experiences that change who we are as individuals and how we grow as a people — something that Debrianna Mansini (waitress Fran from Better Call Saul) crystallizes eloquently in her one-woman show, The Meatball Chronicles. Mansini punctuates her musings and meanderings by making Italian food right in front of you as she narrates an epic story of life, love, family and the meals that tie it all together. You'll also get a Q&A following the performance with Chef Hunter of Hunter & Charlie's, exploring both secrets and secret recipes with equal aplomb. The Hudson, 1114 N. Crescent Heights Blvd., West Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., April 5-6 &12-13, 8 p.m.; Sun, April 7 & 14, 3 p.m.; $30. (323) 960-7788, onstage411.com/newsite/show/play_info.asp?show_id=4927. —David Cotner
A New Picture of Women
WriteGirl has been inspiring young women, especially teens in underserved areas of L.A., through creative writing mentorship since 2001, and many who've taken part in the program have gone on to work in various literary and word-driven fields. The annual Lights, Camera, WriteGirl! benefit aims to inspire would-be screenwriters to tell their stories and ultimately change how the industry utilizes and portrays women. An impressive roster of celebrities, including Seth Rogen, Wayne Brady, Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs), Kirby Howell-Baptiste (The Good Place), Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls) and Stephanie Katherine Grant (The Goldbergs), will perform scenes and monologues written by WriteGirl teens, and the event is hosted with Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls). Held in partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the evening includes words of encouragement and experience from acclaimed screenwriters, food and drinks, and a silent auction. All proceeds benefit WriteGirl. Linwood Dunn Theater, 1313 Vine St., Hollywood; Sat., April 6, 6:30-9:45 p.m.; $75-$250. (213) 253-2655, writegirl.org/lights-camera-writegirl. —Lina Lecaro
Open Your Ears
"We will not reach modern ears and imaginations with the mostly polished, polite and predictable mechanical reproductions that the record industry wants to sell us as music," Patricia Kopatchinskaja declares on her Facebook page. The radical Moldovan-Austrian-Swiss violinist prefers to take risks, not just in the adventurous new music she champions but also in the way she approaches traditional classical pieces, such as Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, which she will make over with L.A. Phil at Disney Hall this weekend. Kopatchinskaja will be at her most mind- and ear-bending at the Getty Center, when she and pianist Gloria Cheng deconstruct and reassemble melodies by John Cage, La Monte Young and Sofia Gubaidulina. The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; Sat., April 6, 4 p.m.; free with RSVP. (310) 440-7300, getty.edu. —Falling James
Not Exactly Wallflowers
The last decade's resurgence in the popularity and proliferation of murals and public/street art in L.A. has been celebrated at home and around the world. Less well-known have been the women at the early and constant core of this movement, whose unique visions and boundary-blasting contributions broke double barriers of independent culture and assumptions about gender. "Together" at KP Projects chips away at that gap, featuring new works by a panoply of street art's leading ladies, including Bunnie Reiss, Faith 47, Monica Canilao, Lauren Napolitano and Ola Volo. KP Projects, 633 N. La Brea Ave., Hollywood; Sat., April 6, 7-10 p.m.; free with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. (323) 933-4408, facebook.com/events/2306820522922871. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Live Hard, Die Young...
More so than any of the other punk musicians in the mid-1970s, Stiv Bators was fearless about masochistically abusing his body to draw attention. With sonic reductionists The Dead Boys, he rolled on the ground, thrashed about onstage and staged mock hangings that sometimes injured him. Bators also had a predilection for car surfing, climbing atop moving vehicles, as recounted in writer-director Danny Garcia's new documentary, Stiv: The Life and Times of a Dead Boy. Throughout his garage-rock solo recordings and his momentous hard-rock passages with The Lords of the New Church, Bators remained an irrepressibly exciting, visceral and ruthlessly witty showman who embodied the feral spirit of real rock & roll. The Regent Theater, 448 S. Main St., downtown; Sun., April 7, 7 p.m.; $12. (323) 934-2944, spacelandpresents.com. —Falling James
Punk From Back in the Day
In the 1980s and '90s, Linda Aronow had a literal front-row seat to the insanity that was the L.A. punk and new-wave music scene. As manager of WACKO during its Melrose Avenue days, she met everyone and they let her take their pictures, documenting the era through the prism of epic live shows and the crowds that surfed them. Hard as it is to believe, "A Punk Rock Primer: L.A. 1982-1992" is Aronow's first gallery show, and it features the artist's own never-before-seen darkroom prints of raw stage action from Black Flag, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Minor Threat, Social D., Christian Death and so many more in all their shirtless, mohawk-headed glory. Gallery 30 South, 30 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena; opening reception Sun., April 7, 3-6 p.m.; exhibit runs Thu.-Sun., noon-6 p.m., thru April 28; free. (323) 547-3227, gallery30south.com/punk-rock-primer. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Don't Eat the Apple!
You'll surely be shocked, titillated and possibly even faintly aroused when Joey Arias and Sherry Vine present their new revue, Garden of She-Den. The doyennes of drag transport you to an entirely new vale of fables and fantasia, the culmination of their 25-year-long working dynamic that began lo, those many moons ago at Bar d'O in New York City and has continually blossomed ever since. Expect rehashes of old classics, original tunes, Vine's pop parodies, Arias' continued passion for the songs of Billie Holiday, and more new ideas than you can shake a biblical level of entertainment at. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., April 7, 7:30 p.m.; $25-$40. (323) 466-2210, catalinajazzclub.com. —David Cotner
The Never Ending Story
It's been a few years since Koplin del Rio Gallery moved its operations from L.A. to Seattle; we miss them but they're thriving there with their program's special love of narrative, figurative art from the painterly to the surreal, subversively classical and poetically realist. Their program is home to gifted painters like F. Scott Hess, Robert Pruitt, Laurie Hogin, Kenny Harris, Elyse Pignolet, Sandow Birk, Judy Nimitz, Michelle Muldrow, Kerry James Marshall and many others, all of whom are gathered in "Perennial," a prodigal pop-up celebrating gallery director Eleana Del Rio's 30th anniversary with the venue. 1056 S. Fairfax Ave., Mid-Wilshire; Tue.-Sun., April 9-14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. (206) 999-0849, koplindelrio.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
We Live to Read
An initiative of L.A. curators Please Do Not Enter, the inaugural edition of BOOK Porn precedes the L.A. Art Book Fair and positively brims with limited editions, signed volumes and other printed matters from the world of art books — including but not limited to Éditions Xavier Barral, Jean Boîte Éditions, Phaidon, Rizzoli, teNeues and the Tom of Finland Foundation. Also rare is today's chance to meet others who understand your borderline-pornographic obsession with books — because, in the deathless words of John Waters, "If you go home with somebody, and they don't have books, don't fuck 'em!" The NoMad, 649 S. Olive St., downtown; Wed., April 10, 6-9 p.m.; free. (213) 358-0000, facebook.com/events/601967220317907/. —David Cotner
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Picture this: Three writers nervously read excerpts from works in progress in front of a panel of three veteran writers who offer instant advice. "The only catch is that these master writers may not be exactly sober," note the organizers of ongoing series Drunken Masters: Poetry. The potentially besotted judges this time around will be poets Rocío Carlos (Attendance), Mike Sonksen (Letters to My City) and F. Douglas Brown (Icon). The series was initiated by folks at Writ Large Press, and this edition is hosted by Judeth Oden Choi alongside co-curators Jeff Rogers and Brian Lin. The Mighty Company, 8020 Melrose Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., April 11, 8 p.m.; free. (310) 717-4193. —Falling James
Black Is Beautiful
Born in Brooklyn in 1938, photographer Kwame Brathwaite and his brother, Elombe Brath, co-founded a collective of creatives called the African Jazz Arts Society and Studios in 1956 and a modeling agency named Grandassa Models in 1962. The models sported Afrocentric clothes and natural, unprocessed hair, which helped popularized the "Black Is Beautiful" movement and redefined fashion and beauty standards for black women. Brathwaite, now 81, also photographed black celebrities and artists, including Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Diana Ross, Miles Davis, Bob Marley, Grace Jones and Muhammad Ali, and such events as the Wattstax concert at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1972 and The Jackson 5's tour of Africa in 1974. More than 40 of his images are featured in "Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite" at the Skirball, including one of his wife, Sikolo, wearing a beaded headpiece and jewelry by Carolee Prince, who created similar designs for Nina Simone. Among the exhibit's related programs is tonight's opening-day discussion with Ghana-born designer Mimi Plange, photographer Tyler Mitchell and son Kwame S. Brathwaite, who runs the Kwame Brathwaite Archive in Pasadena. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Thu., April 11, 8 p.m.; $20; exhibit thru Sept. 1. (310) 440-4500, skirball.org. —Siran Babayan