Diavolo: Architecture in Motion will be at L.A. Dance Festival.
Diavolo: Architecture in Motion will be at L.A. Dance Festival.
George Simian

14 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

From Bergamot Station's annual spring open house to a lost cemeteries walking tour to the new documentary Hail Satan?, here are the 14 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!

fri 4/12


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Puppets for Grown-Ups

The art of puppetry is often dismissed as light entertainment only for children, but the presentation of Mementos Mori at the Broad Stage promises to be something entirely different. The aptly named performance group and film-video production company Manual Cinema devises a live movie that mixes together shadow puppetry, actors, music and multiple overhead projectors and screens to create an artfully morbid work. The piece is an examination of death and technology that portrays a ghost experiencing the afterlife through her iPhone, a child confronting her own mortality, a film projectionist seeing life anew, and death itself taking an unexpected vacation. The Broad Stage, Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., April 12-13, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., April 14, 2 p.m.; $35-$55. (310) 434-3412, thebroadstage.org. —Falling James


Fostering Art

The Celia Center's mission is to create safe and engaging conversational space around the adoption and foster family experience, especially across cultures, using the arts as an entry point. This year's Voices of the Fostered and Adopted Celia Center Arts Festival pursues these ideas in a special weekend-long interdisciplinary storytelling, performance and visual art program that highlights the voices of direct experience across myriad creative practices. Free to the public except for a ticketed, mature-audiences theatrical performance on Friday and Saturday nights, the festival includes a multiformat group show in the gallery space with a Friday night reception, and both kids-centric and grown-up writing workshops and activities on Saturday afternoon. The gallery show continues through April 28. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; celiacenterartsfestival.org. Fri., April 12, 6 & 8 p.m.; Sat., April 13, noon, 4 & 8 p.m.; free-$20. eventbrite.com/e/voices-of-the-fostered-and-adopted-celia-center-arts-festival-2019-tickets-51995221106. —Shana Nys Dambrot


The Best of L.A. Dance

This year's lineup of top L.A.-based dance companies cements the Los Angeles Dance Festival as SoCal's preeminent dance event. Curated by Deborah Brockus, the monthlong fest's main draw is this weekend's three shows with Diavolo, paired with String Theory, BODYTRAFFIC and Ate9 (Friday), Invertigo Dance Theatre joined by Kybele, Rosanna Gamson/World Wide, Backhausdance and BrockusRED (Saturday), and CARLON with Kevin Williamson + Company and Pennington Dance Group (Sunday). These are local companies that normally are presented at major venues like the Broad, the Wallis and the Music Center and at much higher ticket prices. This festival is a must for anyone who wants to know who's who in L.A. dance and what is going on in our increasingly nationally profiled dance community. A complete lineup of companies, plus Fringe Festival participants later in April, master classes and much more at ladancefest.org. Luckman Fine Arts, 5151 State University Drive, East L.A.; Fri.-Sat., April 12-13, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., April 14, 6:30 p.m.; $25-$45. ticketmaster.com/search?tm_link=tm_homeA_header_search&user_input=luckman+fine+arts&q=luckman+fine+arts. —Ann Haskins


It's the End of the World As We Know It

Prepare for a groovy apocalypse in Ryan Drake's new play, Roller Dynasty. Set in Marfa, Texas' roller disco, the show delves into the complexities and layers of female friendship, following two young women who work at the local rink on an unforgettable night as the world may or may not be ending. As the ladies flash back to the high and low points of their lives, they attempt to figure out who they are in terms of their relationship and themselves, all amid the backdrop of impending doom, flashing lights and thumping disco beats. The production stars Sarah Grace White, who seems to be following in the footsteps of her mother, Katey Sagal, with a slew of TV and stage credits. And unlike the play's characters, there's no end in sight for her. Learn more at instagram.com/rollerdynastyplay. Actor's Company/The Other Space, 916-A N. Formosa Ave., West Hollywood; Thu.-Sat., April 11-13, 8:30 p.m.; $15. rollerdynasty.brownpapertickets.com. —Lina Lecaro

14 Best Things to Do in L.A. This WeekEXPAND
Evan Agostini

sat 4/13


Callas Sings Again

There's something undeniably creepy about the recent fad of concert presentations of deceased music legends through the use of ghostly holograms, but there is also something inexorably fascinating about the idea. Few people in this city ever got to see Maria Callas belt it out live in concert, and fewer still when the torrid Greek-American soprano was at the peak of her musical powers. As part of the L.A. Times Festival of Books, BASE Hologram and L.A. Opera's Off Grand series host a bizarre musical séance in which Callas' voice is resuscitated through the strange magic of modern technology, with live accompaniment by the L.A. Opera Orchestra as conducted by Eímear Noone. USC, Bovard Auditorium, 3551 Trousdale Parkway, University Park; Sat., April 13, 7 p.m.; $50-$80. (213) 740-2167, latimes.com/mariacallas. —Falling James

See Oil Epp's Copycat during the Bergamot Station open house.
See Oil Epp's Copycat during the Bergamot Station open house.
Courtesy Richard Heller Gallery


Art Lovers Field Trip

Every spring the galleries of Bergamot Station throw an all-day fête, in which all are welcome to make this now-classic contemporary art outpost their cultural destination. With exciting current shows at eclectic venues like Building Bridges Art Exchange, Skidmore Contemporary and Richard Heller, new shows opening and special talks and events, if you've not been to the Berg in a while, this is the best possible way to get caught up. Lora Schlesinger and Craig Krull have catalog sales; and Krull hosts two artist talks keyed to new publications. Several galleries have talks and walkthroughs, which begin around 1 p.m. and are staggered throughout the afternoon; for something a little different, Lois Lambert Gallery has a Spanish guitar player from 2:30 to 5 p.m. If your visit skews toward the end of the afternoon, between about 5 and 7 p.m., Craig Krull, Leslie Sacks and Luisotti galleries all have opening receptions for new exhibitions by Don Bachardy, Carol Es, Gwynn Murrill, Marc Katano and Simon Norfolk. Plus, there'll be food trucks. Bergamot Station Art Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., April 13, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; free. bergamotstation.com/events/2019/4/13/spring-open-house. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Photo from Nick Waplington's Living Room
Photo from Nick Waplington's Living Room
Little Big Man Gallery


The Living Room Lives Again

When British photographer Nick Waplington's book Living Room was published by Aperture in 1991, the work was met with critical acclaim for its unique vision, in which scenes from purportedly ordinary domestic life are rendered as somehow both flat and bold, eerily mundane and conceptually unsettling. Realist in a gently tweaked way, Waplington's gift for interpretive documentary is demonstrated here in its bright, early form. Prints from the book were widely exhibited, including at Holly Solomon's famous NYC gallery. Long thought destroyed, the original vintage prints were recently discovered by Solomon's son, and will be exhibited for the first time in a quarter-century — affording audiences a rare chance to revisit the original prints as well as to re-evaluate this historic body of work in the bright light of the history that came after. Little Big Man, 470 Wren Drive, Mount Washington; opening reception Sat., April 13, 6-9 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., noon-6 p.m., thru May 15; free. (917) 361-5039, mailchi.mp/littlebigmangallery/nick-waplington-living-room. —Shana Nys Dambrot

The Barrio Boychik, aka Shmuel Gonzales, leads a Lost Cemeteries tour.EXPAND
The Barrio Boychik, aka Shmuel Gonzales, leads a Lost Cemeteries tour.
Robert Robertson

sun 4/14


The Souls Under Your Feet

We often think of cemeteries as permanent and enduring as death, but the truth is some graveyards turn out to be as mortal and temporary as the bodies they contain. Many cemeteries — especially those for poor people — have been dug up, transplanted or simply paved over in the name of progress and gentrification. Barrio Boychik and Boyle Heights History Tours present an extensive walking tour, Lost Cemeteries of Los Angeles, that digs into such hidden or vanished sites as the Old Jewish Cemetery near Chavez Ravine, Fort Moore Hill, the Campo Santo at Placita Church and Old Calvary Cemetery. Meet at La Tienda at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 N. Main St., downtown L.A.; Sun., April 14, 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; $25. eventbrite.com/e/lost-cemeteries-of-los-angeles-urban-hike-with-barrio-boychik-tickets-57770386782. —Falling James

"Call and Response" installation viewEXPAND
"Call and Response" installation view
CSULB University Art Museum


Slanguage Calling

The art museum at CSULB closes its exhibition "Call and Response, When We Say ... You Say" with an afternoon of socially engaged maker workshops and a wide-ranging panel discussion on the intersection of fine art and pop culture. The programming includes zines, pins, lettering, framing and deeper thoughts on the ways in which art is empowered to uplift and examine community equality. The exhibition's curators from the Slanguage collective organized it as a conversation between the art in the permanent collection of the museum and a slate of invited artists whose visions could be seen as under-recognized. Both show and closing party work toward the same goal — providing an empathetic and playful entry point into practical social dynamics. Cal State Long Beach, University Art Museum, 1250 N. Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach; Sun., April 14, noon-5 p.m.; free. eventbrite.com/e/celebration-with-slanguage-friends-call-and-response-closing-day-tickets-59643906530. —Shana Nys Dambrot

mon 4/15


A Graphic Novel for Mom

The term "graphic novel" evokes a universe of heroes and villains, epic struggles and futuristic drama. But the Last Bookstore's Graphic Novel Book Club takes a more down-to-earth approach to curating its titles. Organized by Jake Mumm of Comic Arts Los Angeles, this series exists inside a humanistic storytelling idiom, featuring eclectic styles and narratives that claim the illustrated-novel format for a literary impulse engaged with plenty dramatic real life. This month's edition features Lucy Knisley with her sixth book, Kid Gloves, in an emotionally profound, artistically rendered, frightening and funny depiction of pregnancy and parenthood. The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring St., downtown; Mon., April 15, 7:30 p.m.; $34.99, includes book and shipping, event admission and snacks. (213) 628-3499, lastbookstorela.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

tue 4/16


Their Satanic Majesties

It's rare to think of a religious organization standing up for the principle of the separation of church and state, but then again the Satanic Temple is not a typical religious group. Penny Lane's new documentary, Hail Satan?, not only examines the merry irreverence and messages of tolerance celebrated by Salem, Massachusetts' Satanic Temple, it also makes serious points about how Satanists have staged provocative public protests that challenge the various ways that Christian-right extremism has filtered into public spaces, such as the attempted installations of Ten Commandment statues on government property. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., April 16, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Falling James

Merce Cunningham
Merce Cunningham
Jack Mitchell/Courtesy Getty Images


Massively Merce

Modern dance legend Merce Cunningham would have been 100 years old this year. Before he died in 2009, Cunningham declared that his company would disband after his death. The company is gone but for Cunningham's centenary, the trust the choreographer created to protect and promote his dance works selected three theaters for a semi-simultaneous, one-night event. Along with New York and London, UCLA's Royce Hall was anointed. For this special Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event, each venue hosts 25 dancers performing a selection of 100 solos by Cunningham with live music. Anyone not heading to London or New York can mosey to Westwood or catch the live stream at mercecunningham.org, but dance live is always best. UCLA Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Court, Westwood; Tue., April 16, 8 p.m.; $29-$59. cap.ucla.edu. —Ann Haskins

wed 4/17


Family Secrets

Nora Krug, an illustrator and associate professor at Parsons School of Design in New York, was born in Germany more than 30 years after WWII. But she grew up sharing the country's shame over Germany's war crimes and the Holocaust, and as an expatriate living in Brooklyn, has no emotional connection to the word "heimat," or homeland. So in her 2018 graphic memoir, Belonging: A German Reckons With History and Home, Krug tries not only to reconnect with her birth country but to find answers to questions about her family's involvement with the Nazis: Were they members of the Nazi party? Did they know about the Nazis' atrocities against Jews? Were they complicit? Krug revisits the towns of Karlsruhe and Külsheim and pieces together research and interviews about her grandfather and uncle, which in the novel are paired with photographs, found images, documents and original art, including comic book–style drawings. The Skirball hosts a discussion with Krug and Louise Steinman, author most recently of The Crooked Mirror: A Memoir of Polish-Jewish Reconciliation. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Wed., April 17, 8 p.m.; $10. (310) 440-4500, skirball.org/programs/words-and-ideas/evening-nora-krug. —Siran Babayan

thu 4/18


Cat Scratch Fever

Cats are amazing creatures, but when it comes to watching them do amazing feats, feline fans usually have to turn to the internet. The Amazing Acro-Cats and their band, The Rock Kats, bring cat spectacle to the masses — in the fur and flesh — thanks to trainer Samantha Martin. These cool kitties ride skateboards, ring bells, roll barrels, jump through hoops, walk the high wire, climb ropes, push a shopping cart, and rock out on an array of instruments fitted just for them. Brian Setzer and Peter Criss got nothing on these furry performers! Check out the anything but stray stars during their four-night engagement in L.A. and get ready for claws-out fun. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Thu.-Fri., April 18-19, 7 p.m.; Sat., April 20, 3 & 7 p.m.; Sun., April 21, 1 & 5 p.m.; $22-$45. facebook.com/events/1168102683356221. —Lina Lecaro


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