From an avant-garde music festival to a vintage cartoon festival, a comedy night celebrating the Philippines' independence and gay artists, and an evening of tequila and cumbia and a brunch to bring together goths and hip-hop aficionados, here are the 14 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!
Celebrating a Legend
She's been a significant presence on the local dance scene for almost four decades and received national recognition for both her choreography and her work developing young dancers, particularly young African-American dancers. Now Lula Washington and her Lula Washington Dance Theatre are being honored locally in perhaps the best way possible. Paying homage to Washington and her husband, Erwin, the Ford Theatres recruited three major African-American choreographers to set or reprise work on Washington's company for this celebratory performance, which also marks the unofficial opening of the summer dance season at this al fresco venue. MacArthur "genius" fellow Kyle Abraham provides his 2013 Hallowed, a trio set to church recordings by Bertha Gober and Cleo Kennedy. Hip-hop guru Rennie Harris contributes a revised version of his 2010 Reign, originally created for LWDT's 30th season. Known for his distinctive blending of multimedia, dance and theater, David Rousseve's 2016 Enough? employs video text and music from the 1960s as a backdrop for the dancing. Works by Washington and her daughter, Tamica Washington-Miller, also take the stage. Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Hollywood Hills; Fri., June 8, 8:30 p.m., $25-$55. fordtheatres.org. —Ann Haskins
With summer right around the corner, just about every town up and down the coast is scheduling some kind of bucolic, open-air chamber–music performance. The vast majority of these concerts are predictable and innocuous, with the strains of polite classical ensembles reduced to harmless background music, but the annual Ojai Music Festival is no quaint, small-town, easy-listening party. The festival is led each year by a different director, and this weekend bold violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja champions the work of such avant-garde composers as Galina Ustvolskaya, Luciano Berio, George Crumb, Pauline Oliveros, Béla Bartók, György Ligeti and the inevitable John Cage. Libbey Bowl, 210 S. Signal St., Ojai; Fri.-Sat., June 8-9, 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Sun., June 10, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; free-$20. (805) 646-2053, ojaifestival.org. —Falling James
What better way to while away a weekend than at a Vintage Cartoon Festival? Positively stuffed to bursting with wryly racy and semi-sexy pre-Code cartoons, this showcase of early animation harks back to an era where creative imagination was informed as much by surrealism as it was by censorship. Host and bona fide city cultural treasure Jerry Beck does his animation historian thing, giving you rare insight and perspective on these '30s shorts starring Betty Boop, Flip the Frog, Koko the Clown, Oswald the Rabbit and other leading lights, illuminating the darkness of the Depression with fun, rebelliousness and just flat-out weirdness. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; Fri., June 8, 8:15 p.m.; Sat., June 9, 2:30 & 8:15 p.m.; Sun., June 9, 2:30 p.m.; $10 general, $8 seniors 62+. (310) 322-2592, oldtownmusichall.org/schedule.html. —David Cotner
Celebrating the Male Physique
Art and Film Night at the Tom of Finland Foundation continues the Queer Biennial's robust and eclectic programming. At the ersatz museum and arts center at the artist's Echo Park home, an exhibition exploring Tom's social and creative circle features examples of his signature gorgeous, sensual drawings celebrating fantastical male physiques, and also the work of others who influenced and supported his career, such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, Don Bachardy and Rick Castro. The centerpiece of the night is the film program. Strikingly original dance film Free Jazz (Brontez Purnell Dance Company, 2013, 23 min.) is a raucous and provocative, experimental and improvisational jaunt with a double soul of punk and jazz. It's followed by the legendary "male movie" narrative porn classic Boys in the Sand by Wakefield Poole (1971, 90 min.), introduced by writer-filmmaker Jim Tushinski, a friend of Poole's who doubtless has some good stories to tell. Tom of Finland Foundation, 1421 Laveta Terrace, Echo Park; Sat., June 9, 6-10:30 p.m., $10. queerbiennial.org/schedule/2018/6/9/film-screenings. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Freedom Can Be Funny
Asian AF Presents: Filipino AF: Philippine Independence Day Edition celebrates the June 12, 1898, declaration of independence by Filipinos as they threw off the yoke of their decidedly unfunny Spanish overlords and joined together as one nation, indivisible, with liberty and laughter for all. Comics Will Choi, Allyn Pintal, Joy Regullano, Erich Tamola and others observe 120 years of freedom with everything from sketch comedy to improv, stand-up, music and dance. Raise your Filipino flag high and remember that when the people are united, it usually makes for one hell of a party. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood; Sat., June 9, 10:30 p.m.; $8.50. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com/performance/62972. —David Cotner
The REDCAT stage hosts some of the world's most intriguing, envelope-pushing, avant-garde theater, fim, music and performance art. This weekend, it's time to check in on the home team, with Studio: Spring 2018's slate of six new, in-progress performance and multimedia works, all less than 15 minutes in length, all by L.A.-based artists. Amy Kaps continues her optical and narrative exploration of the universe of black and white stripes, projected imagery, movement, optical illusion and fractured consciousness. Rosanna Tavarez presents a pas de trois in tribute to the tragic and beautiful arc of the long life of her family matriarch, defined by the poetry and pathos of struggle, triumph, hope and love. Daeun Jung offers a dance-based work of magical folklore and animist ardor toward an evolved pumpkin. Alex Almaraz choreographs a solo work based on his own tattooed body, hip-hop music and his experiences with the prison-industrial complex. Kyreeana Breelin, Nedra Wheeler and Vinci Lewis combine tap, spoken word and vocals in an improvisational romp sparked by a surreal pop culture moment involving a sentient stuffed bear. Lorinda Hawkins Smith presents a miniature one-woman show, intoned literature and evocative vocals to explore her experiences with race across social justice and volatile personal relationships. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Sat.-Sun., June 9-10, 8:30 p.m.; $8-$15. redcat.org/event/studio-spring-2018. —Shana Nys Dambrot
What's Dancing Without Some Liquid Courage?
It wouldn't be a proper summer without cumbia — the joyous Colombian dance style that's the hottest thing since sunburn — and you'll get your chance to luxuriate in those cumbia rhythms at the third annual Long Beach Cumbia y Tequila Fest. Experience multiple tequilas and mezcals — many of which are top-shelf and exclusive to the fest — along with insanely delicious food. Of course, it wouldn't be a cumbia celebration without the music, which includes the masterful sounds of Betty's Mustache, the thrilling tunes of Spaghetti Cumbia and the staggering sonics of Very Be Careful. Roxanne's Cocktail Lounge & Latin Grill, 1115 E. Wardlow Road, Long Beach; Sun., June 10, noon-6 p.m.; $10-$50. (562) 426-4777, eventbrite.com/e/cumbia-y-tequila-fest-2018-tickets-43410835979. —David Cotner
It's a Crossover
Goth and hip-hop — they may not seem to have a lot in common, but if you think about it, they kinda do. Both genres have a drama and decadence about them in feel and fashion. Both began as "outsider" scenes and are now kinda cool with everyone. Bottom line, a lot of people, particularly in L.A., like to get their groove — and their ghoul — on. Sad and Boujee, Lenora Claire's brand-new brunch-time gathering (referencing the Migos track with a gloomy twist), brings these sounds and scenes together for an inclusive afternoon of dark delight (and maybe a little dress-up) in the daylight. Resident deejays Henry Self and Diallo Riddle and guests spin the boujee blends, and there'll be tarot readings, vendors (Belladonna's Cupboard, Cesar Cummings) and performances (for the opening, it's burlesque babe Lux Lacroix). St. Felix, 1602 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., June 10, noon-4 p.m.; free. facebook.com/events/202017883754282/. —Lina Lecaro
It's About to Get Weird
Every installment of Jibz Cameron's ongoing series Weirdo Night is radically different; some evenings are more comedic, while others stray into ribald storytelling, singing, campy karaoke and unpredictable performance art. Tonight's lineup encompasses all these genres and merry distractions; it features Jennifer Moon, whom Cameron describes as "a deep, total weirdo [who's] doing something called Book of Eros about all the people she has had sex with or wanted to." Also scheduled are artist-composer Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, with a performance of Spooky Writer Face, and queer comedian Amanda-Faye Jimenez, who's been anointed as "the Beyoncé of unattractive, broken humans with excellent comic timing." Appearing as Dynasty Handbag, Cameron says she's debuting "a new, sloppy performative ballad called 'It's So Hard to Be Avant-Garde.'" Zebulon, 2478 Fletcher Drive, Elysian Valley; Sun., June 10, 7 p.m.; $15. (323) 662-0966. —Falling James
Just You and Your Thoughts
Receive total consciousness today at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sitting Group, where you'll indulge in still contemplation of all the death around you, secure in the knowledge that change alone is changeless. The Buddha taught his students to contemplate the impermanence of all things — and he's dead, too, which means he really walked the walk on the whole impermanence thing. You'll start with a 30- to 40-minute sitting meditation, then maybe walk around for a few minutes just to get the blood moving. Your instructor will hold forth briefly, and then you can confer and hobnob with your fellow metaphysical wizards. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., June 11, 7 p.m.; free. (323) 469-1181, insightla.org/Calendar/Event-Calendar/EventId/380/e/eastsidehollywood-forever-cemetery-sitting-group-7-may-2018. —David Cotner
He's Seen — and Shot — It All
"Mark Seliger is my favorite photographer," Judd Apatow writes in the foreword to Seliger's new coffee table book, Mark Seliger Photographs. Seliger has shot the posters for nearly all of Apatow's films, including Superbad, Pineapple Express, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers, This Is 40 and Trainwreck. The two reunite to discuss the photographer's book at Live Talks Los Angeles for Mark Seliger in Conversation With Judd Apatow. Seliger has worked for Vanity Fair, GQ and especially Rolling Stone, where he was the chief photographer for 15 years. In his latest collection of approximately 170 black-and-white and color images, which also features an essay by Lyle Lovett, Seliger captures nearly every famous actor, rock star and public figure there is, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bono, Kurt Cobain, Kanye West, Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman, Brad Pitt, the Dalai Lama and Lenny Kravitz. New Roads School, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica; Tue., June 12, 8 p.m.; $20-$75. (310) 828-5582, livetalksla.org. —Siran Babayan
A lot of people don't like to think about death and loss and would rather be surrounded by cheery, happy music, but violist Jonah Sirota prefers to confront sadness head-on with his new album, Strong Sad. A member of Lincoln, Nebraska's Chiara String Quartet, the violist commissioned several notable new-music composers — including Paola Prestini, Nico Muhly, A.J. McCaffrey and Rodney Liste — to create works that examine mourning and everyday loss. Sirota's expressive interpretations of these pieces demonstrate that the best way to move beyond despair and misery is to embrace sadness fully and honestly as a cathartic release. Art Share L.A., 801 E. Fourth Place, downtown; Tue., June 12, 8 p.m.; $12. (213) 687-4278. —Falling James
Before You Kick the Bucket...
Did you know that you can attend free rehearsals by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the summertime at the Hollywood Bowl? Or that you can take free archery lessons with the Pasadena Roving Archers in Pasadena's Lower Arroyo? Or that you can test drive a Porsche at the Porsche Experience Center in Carson, a 53-acre "grown-up playground" with a 4-mile track? Tonight, authors Carrie Kim and Danny Jensen discuss those and more in 100 Things to Do in Los Angeles Before You Die, their new guide book to mostly little-known places and activities for tourists and residents alike. Organized according to themes, including food, art and entertainment, and sports and recreation, the book covers all of the L.A. region , from downtown to Catalina Island. It maps out gems even hardened Angelenos might be clueless about, whether it's the Pan Am Experience in Pacoima, Velveteria: The Museum of Velvet Paintings in Chinatown, the abandoned Old L.A. Zoo in Griffith Park or Galco's Soda Pop Shop in Highland Park, which sells more than 750 varieties of soda. The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring St., downtown; Wed., June 13, 7:30 p.m.; free. (213) 488-0599, lastbookstorela.com. —Siran Babayan
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Put the Rainbow to Paper
Marching in parades is but one way to celebrate Pride. Sometimes you just need to sit down and color to decompress from all the excitement of a parade, and the Coloring Night: Butch Lesbians of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s Release Party is your opportunity to do precisely that. Written and edited by Avery Cassell and John Macy, each entry is lovingly illustrated by a different artist: There's pivotal Stonewall figure Stormé DeLarverie; ’70s Los Angeles art curator Adrienne Fuzee; and roguish speedboat racer Joe Carstairs, who left as many famous lovers in her wake as she did actual wakes. Book Show, 5503 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park; Thu., June 14, 7 p.m.; free. facebook.com/events/447067539078885/. —David Cotner