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Leeroy New’s “Aliens of Manila”
Leeroy New’s “Aliens of Manila”
Courtesy of the artist

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

From tap dancing with a twist and short films to a chance to step up your kitchen game and a play about a very specific time in a woman's life, here are the 14 best things to do in Los Angeles this week.

fri 5/3

DANCE

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Electronic Tap Music

Winner of a 2015 MacArthur Fellowship and hailed as the current face of tap dance, Michelle Dorrance brings her eight member Dorrance Dance to town for one performance. Collaborating with Bessie Award-winning Nicholas Van Young, Dorrance developed, and her troupe performs on, percussive electronic tap boards where the dancers' movements simultaneously create or contribute to the music, a result dubbed ETM or Electronic Tap Music. Years ago L.A. tapper Al Desio and others experimented with electronically amplified taps, but those efforts predated the marvel of microchips, and few before Dorrance applied the idea to larger group works such as ETM: Double Down, which receives its West Coast premiere. Dorrance employs a range of music in support of free-ranging tap styles and ideas. Overall, the troupe is less the intense, almost internalized percussive tapping of Savion Glover or the contained elegance of Fred Astaire, and more closely recalls the joyful, exuberant, athletic tap style of Gene Kelly, if Kelly had played around with an electronic tap board. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; Fri., May 3, 7:30 p.m.; $39-$119. scfta.org/events/2019/dorrance-dance. —Ann Haskins

FOOD

Cookware Party

Le Creuset makes a full range of cookware that will probably outlast you, your children and the next round of dinosaurs that take over the world after us. Start your culinary legacy at the Le Creuset Factory-To-Table sales extravaganza, where you'll get sizes and colors of cast iron, enamel and stainless steel kitchenware that you won't normally see at your local dealer. You'll also get local chefs Sarah Hendrix, Nguyen Tran and Dave Woodall performing cooking and production demonstrations resulting in delicious food samples that will keep you from having to actually make dinner in the first place. Through Sunday. The Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., May 3-4, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. & Sun., May 5, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; $15 for each shopping session, RSVP required. (310) 390-9071, lecreuset.com/factorytotablelosangeles. —David Cotner

FOOD/ART

Step into the Shoes of Asian America

Out of that pretty new Le Creuset frying pan and into the fire is where you'll go when you enter the unique and somewhat terrifying undertaking of the Asian in America VR adventure. Part of this year's Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, throughout six courses of Asian cuisine — three paired with VR goggles and three paired with poetry — chef Jenny Dorsey explains each and every aspect of the rationale behind the creation and cooking of the food you're eating and how it ties in to the wider experience of what it means to be Asian in America. Also Saturday. Toshizo Watanabe Exhibition Center, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, 244 San Pedro St., downtown; Fri.-Sat., May 3-4, 6 p.m.; $15 general/$14 students and seniors/$13 Visual Communications members. (213) 680-4462, festival.vcmedia.org/2019/movies/asian-in-america/. —David Cotner

sat 5/4

FILM/LGBTQ

Cult Classic

Based on Jacqueline Susann's novel, 1967's Valley of the Dolls was a campy and trashy flop. But it's a beloved flop, filled with glamorous costumes, bat shit-crazy acting and such quotable lines as "boobies, boobies, boobies." The story revolves around three starlets (played by Patty Duke, Sharon Tate and Barbara Parkins), who try to survive cut-throat show business by self-medicating with sex, booze and pills, aka "dolls." Sound like 2019? Like all cult classics, modern audiences have embraced the film, which is why the Los Angeles LGBT Center is hosting Valley of the Dolls: A Benefit Staged Reading. Directed by Richard Hochberg and produced by Steve Tyler, the gender-bending cast includes Wilson Cruz (as Neely O'Hara), Alec Mapa (Anne Welles) and Bruce Vilanch (Jennifer North), in addition to Steve Bluestein, Joely Fisher, Mo Gaffney, Robert Gant, Tom Lenk, Greg Louganis, Laraine Newman, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Gordon Thomson, Joan Van Ark and Marissa Jaret Winokur. Proceeds benefit the LGBT center and Alcott Center for Mental Health. Renberg Theatre, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., May 3-4, 8 p.m.; $70-$1,000. (323) 860-7300, lalgbtcenter.org. —Siran Babayan

Lisa TeasleyEXPAND
Lisa Teasley
John Vlautin

sun 5/5

BOOKS

Story Time

There aren't a lot of Latino names listed among the performers at this group reading, which may or may not be why the gathering is titled A May Fifth Non-Cultural Appropriation Event. But the show does feature an impressive lineup of literary minds who will spill their guts and stories at this coffee and beer bar. The program includes crime/mystery writer Tod Goldberg (Gangster Nation), Coast Magazine editor/novelist Samantha Dunn (Not by Accident: Reconstructing a Careless Life), evocative writer-artist Lisa Teasley (Heat Signature), unpredictable novelist Gina Frangello (A Life in Men), poet-novelist-comedian Bucky Sinister (Black Hole) and travel writer Amanda Fletcher. Kaffebaren, 1000 S. Olive St., downtown; Sun., May 5, 6:30 p.m.; free. (213) 596-9005. —Falling James

MUSIC/FESTIVAL

Beach Party

Infused by the breezy yet buoyant vibes that make hanging out seaside so special, the BeachLife Festival touts itself as L.A.'s first oceanfront fest. Three-days of music include Willie Nelson, Bryan Wilson, Bob Weir, Ziggy Marley and more, plus there will be craft cuisine and drinks, art, and activities repping the surfing and skating lifestyle — think Baywatch meets Desert Trip meets a Dead show. Founded by Allen Sanford, a South Bay local who owns area restaurants including Saint Rocke, the fest aims to become Redondo Beach's premiere annual gathering attracting L.A. residents far and wide (they got a 10-year lease on the venue where the fest is held). They're definitely going big for the line-up's inaugural year (in addition to the biggies above, other acts include Slightly Stoopid, Steel Pulse, Bruce Hornsy, Jason Mraz, Violent Femmes, Daws, Chevy Metal, Sugar Ray, Berlin, Blues Traveler and many more). 137 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach; Fri.-Sun., May 3-5; $97 for single day to $795 VIP weekend pass. beachlifefestival.com/. —Lina Lecaro

ART

Body and Soul

Artists from along a Denmark-United States-Sweden community continuum converge on Hollywood's Noysky Projects for a group show interrogating the tendency of both modern life and contemporary art to privilege the informational and intellectual over the experiential and heartfelt. In tandem with KRÆ syndikatet (Copenhagen), these artists work in an array of sustainable and eminently tactile materials like marble, paper, glass, wood, teeth and flesh across photography, performance and sculpture. From political and economic dynamics to gender agency and personal spirituality, the question is asked — can a simple human touch contribute to toppling an oppressive paradigm? Organized by Signe Vad (Denmark) and Michelle Appelros (Sweden/Denmark) — who also exhibit their works in the show — Meat and Mysticism features Ciriza (U.S.), Fryd Frydendahl (Denmark/U.S.), Marianne Jørgensen (Denmark), Elena Lundqvist Ortíz (Denmark) and Thinh Nguyen (U.S.). Noysky Projects, 6727 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; opening reception: Sun., May 5, 1-4 p.m.; exhibition: Thu.-Sat., noon-6 p.m., May 5-18; free. noyskyprojects.com. -Shana Nys Dambrot

Mahogany TooEXPAND
Mahogany Too
Courtesy of the artist

mon 5/6

FILM

Bridging Different Worlds

Akosua Adoma Owusu's films often portray people who are caught between different countries, identities and genders. As the child of Ghanaian parents, the CalArts graduate depicts the upheavals and culture clashes experienced by immigrants, but she also explores themes of race, gender and queerness in her work. At the REDCAT presentation "Between Three Worlds: Films by Akosua Adoma Owusu," the filmmaker appears in person to discuss the provocative issues she raises in such vivid films as Pelourinho: They Don't Really Care About Us, Reluctantly Queer and Mahogany Too. In the short film Intermittent Delight, Owusu heightens her footage of Ghanaian clothes makers with punchy Afrobeat music overlaid with mesmerizing patterns of fabrics and colors. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Mon., May 6, 8:30 p.m.; $12. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org. —Falling James

tue 5/7

COMEDY

World of Improv

Fans know Kevin Pollak best as an actor, most recently on a little Emmy-winning series called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. But he's equally famous for his Christopher Walken impersonation, which is so popular he created Talkin Walkin, a podcast where he imitated the fellow actor in every episode. He also hosted Kevin Pollak's Chat Show, a celebrity talk show that recently ended after a 10 year run. But Pollak is still making comedy magic based on his "twisted, demented ideas" in his latest podcast, Alchemy This, which he tapes live tonight. In each episode, Pollak and a cast of five improvisers and comedians, including Craig Cackowski, Joey Greer, Vanessa Ragland, Chris Alvarado and James Heaney — whose combined credits include the Groundlings, iO West, Westside Comedy Theater, Drunk History, Veep and Community — wholly improvise several scenarios taken from both Pollak and listeners' suggestions, whether it's a small-town murder, the third ever Thanksgiving after the Pilgrims have arrived, kids auditioning for a Mamet play or a nail salon named Hand Jobs. Dynasty Typewriter, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; Tue., May 7, 8 p.m.; $10 in advance, $15 day of. dynastytypewriter.com. —Siran Babayan

ART

Push and Pulo

Downtown post-modern sartorial and visual art gallery Please Do Not Enter operates its main location at Pershing Square and an offsite design-inflected project space called The Lab a block away at the ultra-hip NoMad Hotel. Tonight's project takes full advantage of both locations and the hotel rooftop as they welcome PULO Project, an interdisciplinary collaborative situation from renowned Filipino curator and designer Michelle Aquino. With exhibitions and performative activations, such as Leeroy New's "Aliens of Manila," about ten artisans present freshly conceived, assertively avant-garde visuals and site-specific objects that express differences and bridge divides. Tonight's opening events culminate with a performance on the NoMad roof. RSVP essential. Please Do Not Enter, 549 S. Olive St., downtown; Tue., May 7, 5-8 p.m.; free. (213) 263-0037, pleasedonotenter.com. The NoMad Hotel, 649 S. Olive St., downtown; Tue., May 7, 6-9 p.m.; free.(213) 358-000, thenomadhotel.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Bell-Isserlis-Denk TrioEXPAND
Bell-Isserlis-Denk Trio
Shervin Lainez

wed 5/8

MUSIC

Reuniting the Trio

Joshua Bell is a flashy and stylish violinist who often appears as a star soloist with numerous orchestras, but in this concert at the Soraya he breaks things down in a more intimate format, accompanied only by such classical-music luminaries as New York pianist Jeremy Denk and London cellist Steven Isserlis. Denk anchors this program of traditional piano trios by Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and Ravel, but the three merrily melodic works also give Isserlis and Bell plenty of room to demonstrate their own dazzling, high-flying technique. The Soraya, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Wed., May 8, 8 p.m.; $49-$109. (818) 677-8800, thesoraya.org. —Falling James

thu 5/9

BOOKS

Coming to America

"You ask too many questions. What's there to know, little idiot? You are born, you have some laughs and a rendezvous or two, and then you fall into the void. Just try to enjoy the ride, darling," a grandmother advises the titular child narrator in Maria Kuznetsova's debut novel, Oksana, Behave! Mirroring the Ukrainian-American author's own life, the book charts the ups and downs of a family who emigrates from Ukraine to the wild, new frontier of a strange place called Florida. The family's travails are depicted by Kuznetsova with vibrant, descriptive prose and incisive detail. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Thu., May 9, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Falling James

COMEDY

Age Is Just a Number

Menopause and mid-life struggles aren't exactly exciting concepts, but Hot Flashin', the new play written, produced and acted in by Gina Jourard, aims to make it a memorable theatrical exploration, a "feel better musical comedy," as she calls it. With 13 original songs by composer Tom Pergola (some titles: "Dump that Chump," "My Feet Hurt" and "Boob Operation") the spectacle sets out to provide laughs, tears, commiseration and fun. Five ladies named "Drama Mama," "Mystery Mama," "Earth Mama," "Sassy Mama" and "Survivor Mama" get a phone call from a Charlie's Angels-like voice on speaker phone informing them that they've been picked to star in a new reality TV show based on the idea that "age is just a number." Taking place within the producer's rehearsal studio, the characters share their personal plights and talents, ultimately coming together to form a pop music girl group and prove that women really do get better with age. The hormonal homage promises to heat up Mother's Day weekend and beyond, and portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the American Heart Association. The Odyssey Theater, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Sawtelle; Thu.-Sun., May 9-May 12 & May 16-19, check schedule for exact times; $33.75-$37.50. web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/1008002. —Lina Lecaro

ART

Surreal Sex Appeal

David Drebin's "Showtime" presents a case for the artist's cinematic style, blending the emotionally charged, color-saturated surrealism of film and painting, with the eccentric sex appeal of classic fashion photography. Sweeping landscapes of urbanity and its environs host stylish leading ladies in unlikely yet familiar prop scenarios — red balloons, iconic architecture, freeways — in Drebin's modern update on a timeless photographic idiom. Art Angels will show photography as well as the artist's explorations in sculpture, etched glass, and neon. Art Angels, 9020 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood; opening reception: Thu., May 9, 8-11 p.m.; exhibition: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., noon-5 p.m., May 9-23; free. (310) 693-5500, facebook.com/ArtAngelsLA. —Shana Nys Dambrot

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