From exhibits bringing together nature and technology or shedding light on the traditional art of fish rubbings, gastronomical adventures featuring boozy lemonade, doughnuts or old-fashioneds, to a production honoring the life and tragic death of Matthew Shepard, here are the 14 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!
"Environment[al]" is a group show bringing together timely, topical and absolutely experimental works by architects, designers and landscape architects. Their primary interest in the natural world is how best to leverage post-digital technologies to protect and sustain it. This summer show envisions a sort of avant-garde and science-fiction hybrid environment, an industrially sustainable, socially just and verdant planet. Curators Herwig Baumgartner and Marcelyn Gow have constructed a "landscape" of data related to the soil and water conditions of nearby regions, augmented with an integrated sound map, video projections and embedded sculptural objects to offer the most artsy biodome ever. Through Aug. 26. SCI-Arc Gallery, 960 E. Third St., downtown; reception & discussion: Fri., June 15, 5 p.m.; free. sciarc.edu/events/exhibitions/environmental-curated-by-herwig-baumgartner-and-marcelyn-gow. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Science fiction has always influenced film, TV, literature and gaming, but what about music? In Jason Heller's new book, Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music and the Decade Sci-Fi Exploded ($26.99, Melville House), which he signs tonight, the Denver-based author argues that sci-fi is as much a part of rock & roll as sex and drugs. Bowie and the gentle giants of prog rock are obvious benchmarks; Heller covers nearly all of Bowie's discography, from 1969's Space Oddity to his final record, 2016's Blackstar. Heller also breaks down the 1970s year by year (bookended by the late '60s and early '80s) to look at how sci-fi — 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, J.G. Ballard, Doctor Who, etc. — impacted pop, funk, heavy metal, disco and post-punk artists as well, from Rush to Parliament-Funkadelic to X-Ray Spex. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.; Fri., June 15, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Siran Babayan
Honoring Matthew Shepard
Even by the conservative standards of the frequently lawless modern Wild West, the 1998 murder of young gay student Matthew Shepard by bigoted thugs outside Laramie, Wyoming, was shocking. Shepard was beaten, tortured and left to die in the bitter cold after being tied to a fence by his assailants, who, in common fashion, later attempted in court to blame the victim's homosexuality for his own murder. This weekend, the 30-person choir Conspirare and a small ensemble revisit the scene of the crime via Craig Hella Johnson's Considering Matthew Shepard. Johnson combines words from Shepard's journals with writing by Rumi, Hildegard of Bingen and other poets in a choral work that draws from a variety of traditional country, spiritual and jazz music. John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood Hills; Fri.-Sat., June 15-16, 8:30 p.m.; $25 & up. (323) 461-3673, fordtheatres.org. —Falling James
Women Make Gory Films, Too
Etheria celebrates its fifth annual premiere showcase of female genre filmmakers with a lineup of 10 short films. This year's selection of horror, fantasy, sci-fi, thriller and dark comedy films will be accompanied by Q&A sessions with the filmmakers. Rebekah McKendry, filmmaker, writer, professor and co-host of the Shock Waves podcast, will moderate. Director Rachel Talalay (Tank Girl, Dr. Who) will be honored with the festival's Inspiration Award. As always, the Etheria audience will be filled with producers, managers, showrunners and distributors looking to network with the newest talented storytellers. Support women filmmakers and enjoy the spectacle of the event, as well as a reliably great cross-section of genre films. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, Sat., June 16, 5-11 p.m.; $15. (323) 466-3456; americancinemathequecalendar.com/content/etheria-film-night-2018. 0x000A—Scott Feinblatt
An Event Homer Simpson Could Get Behind
What are 2018's dessert trends? Who cares? The dependable doughnut will outlast all sugary fads — boutique cupcakes, stuffed croissants, matcha-flavored anything. And at the inaugural DTLA Donut Fest, you can find every variety of the pastry, whether it's plain, glazed, filled, vegan or with fancy toppings. Union Station will host a dozen businesses, including actor Danny Trejo's Trejo's Donuts, Westside's long-running, family-owned Primo's Donuts, home-of-the-cronut Kettle Glazed Doughnuts and the Japanese-style RING Baked Tofu Donuts, who'll sell not only doughnuts but also doughnut-adjacent treats including churros, apple fritters, doughnut holes and coffee. The event also includes "live fry" stations, chef demonstrations and Coffee With a Cop, an LAPD community outreach initiative that pairs officers with citizens. Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., downtown.; Sat., June 16, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (213) 935-7433, unionstationla.com. —Siran Babayan
The Streets Are Your Canvas
The appeal of masterful, whimsical, elaborate, large-scale chalk drawing is pretty much universal. The art form has a way of combining nostalgia with wonderment, pop culture with mad skills, and high-art fun and theatrical drama in the making. Now in its 26th year, the Pasadena Chalk Festival has grown every year in scope and popularity, especially since the Guinness Book of Records named it the world's largest in 2010. Over Father's Day weekend, Pasadena's open-air mall El Paseo hosts the 2018 edition, which features live music, food, face-painting, dad jokes, an indoor gallery, a lively animation section and, of course, a grand concourse of original chalk designs, highlighting famous movie scenes and posters in the, um, "Chalk of Fame" section. See, dad jokes. El Paseo, 300 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Sat-Sun, June 16-17, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; free. pasadenachalkfestival.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Not to be confused with those who are themselves old-fashioned, today's Old-Fashioned Craft Cocktail Workshop demonstrates how to make the drink known as an old-fashioned — which, according to taste, is muddled sugar mixed with bitters and whiskey and topped off with some kind of citrus rind. From Bar Mattachine comes this journey to the heart of mixology with lessons on how to make three kinds of old-fashioneds. You'll even get your own cocktail-making kit — bitters, shakers and spoons — to help you craft drinks for the folks in your life all summer. Craft & Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Sun., June 17, 2 p.m.; $75/$65 CAFAM members. (323) 937-4230, facebook.com/events/756880024520031/. —David Cotner
Sometimes it's sweet, other times not so much so, but the concept of "home" has visceral resonance with most everyone and was the starting point for choreographer James MahKween, who curated this showcase. MahKween recruited more than a dozen L.A.-based choreographers to Reflect: On Home. This is L.A., and the participating dancemakers reflect the spectrum of local dance, from Korean to African to American contemporary dance genres as well as a range of personal perspectives on the topic. Participants include Juli Kim, Mychal Vandel, Victor Sanchez, Alan Perez, Shenandoah Harris, Jamie Mick Burton, LaRonica Southerland and Chateria Ray, Rachel Turner, Issac Huerta, Joseph Lister, Latrice Postell and MahKween. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Sun., June 17, 7:30 p.m.; $15. highwaysperformance.org. —Ann Haskins
Some baseball teams shine for cultivating players in a particular position throughout the history of the franchise. Much as the Phillies and Yankees are known for outfielders, or the Indians and White Sox are known for shortstops, the Dodgers have a history of pitchers who are so sensational as to be supernal. Author Jon Weisman unveils Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw and the Dodgers' Extraordinary Pitching Tradition ($20, Triumph) to prove this very point, telling the stories of pitchers from Sandy Koufax to Fernando Valenzuela to Clayton Kershaw, giving you the skinny on how the tradition of Dodgers pitching dominance ultimately came to be. The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring St., downtown; Mon., June 18, 7 p.m.; free. (213) 488-0599, lastbookstorela.com/events/brothers-arms-jon-weisman/. —David Cotner
In Search of a Deeper Truth
The Heart of the Matter: Tea Ceremony and Writing Workshop is a salon led by herbalist Saewon Oh of local natural pharmacologists Sun Song. The "heart-opening" proceedings precede a workshop wherein you contemplate questions from Quaker Elder Dorothy Henderson. It's all a happening created in collaboration with My Barbarian founder Jade Gordon and textile sorcerer Megan Whitmarsh, who themselves have opened one ventricle or other with their presence in the ongoing "Made in L.A. 2018" exhibition at the Hammer. Since this event lasts only one afternoon, your heart probably will unveil only one truth within itself — but that's a start. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., June 19, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; free (RSVP required). (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu/programs-events/2018/06/the-heart-of-the-matter-tea-ceremony-with-saewon-oh-of-sun-song-and-writing-workshop-with-dorothy-henderson/. —David Cotner
When Life Gives You Lemons ...
Lemonade is summer in a glass, and though summertime doesn't start until June 21, Downtown Culver City celebrates a day early at its seventh annual Third Wednesday Spiked Lemonade Tasting. After you've picked up your Third Wednesday Passport, look for the balloons located outside of the dozen-plus participating restaurants and shops, including Akasha, Rush Street and the Culver Hotel. There you can down samples of lemonade both spiked with booze and classic style. Once you've filled your bladder, walk over to the Kirk Douglas Theatre and enter your passport in a raffle for a chance to win prizes. Check schedule for locations. Downtown Culver City; Wed., June 20, 5-9 p.m.; free. (310) 202-6060, downtownculvercity.com. —Siran Babayan
An Artistic Catch
From the deep end of the "make art out of anything" department comes an exhibition celebrating the centuries-old traditional art of fish-rubbing. Gyotaku is a legacy artisanal method of transfer-printing in which unique editions are made from fish, sumi ink and washi paper. But as with everything else, new generations of artists are adding their own spin to its history. At the Japan Foundation through July 13, and produced in collaboration with LACMA, Impressions of the Seas: Gyotaku Fish Prints by Dwight Hwang presents a new series by this L.A.-based artist whose seven years in Japan inspired him to master and then update his fish-rubbing technique with the addition of paint, ink and even digital aspects. Japan Foundation, 5700 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; reception Wed., June 20, 7-9 p.m.; exhibit: June 21-July 13, Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat., noon-5 p.m.; free. jflalc.org/ac-exhibit22. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Give in to the Rhythm
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Sorry, but Kate Bush is not coming to your town — or any town. Her 22 shows in 2014 were the first in 35 years and only in London, so let's bag that dream. But you can get your fix with this wonderfully bewitching tribute troupe. Eight talented women from San Diego (where there is nary a moor) tackle the songs you love to whirl and mime to. Kooky, appropriately over-dramatic, but most of all with great respect, Baby Bushka delivers otherworldly versions of "This Women's Work," "Army Dreamers" and "Hounds of Love" with soprano trilling, extra-wide eyes and lush harmonies from the ethereal to the bombastic and back again. And arm movements. Lots and lots of arm movements. You will want to take your shoes off and throw them in a lake. Moroccan Lounge, 901 E. First St., downtown; Thu. June 21, 7:30 p.m.; $10-$12. ticketfly.com/event/1687413-baby-bushka-live-kate-bush-los-angeles/. —Libby Molyneaux
The border between dreams and reality has always been a thin veil in the work of David Lynch. Tonight, in addition to a screening of his entire animated Dumbland series, the filmmaker uncovers the contradictions and experiences of his life in a new autobiography, Room to Dream, which was written with Kristine McKenna and infused with the memories of a Greek chorus of friends and relatives. "What you're reading here is basically a person having a conversation with his own biography," McKenna and Lynch note in their introduction to this "story of dualities." As the authors explain, "Lynch's work resides in the complicated zone where the beautiful and the damned collide." The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown.; Thu., June 21, 7 p.m.; $36 & $46. (213) 623-3233, acehotel.com/calendar/losangeles. —Falling James