From ballet to Shakespeare in Griffith Park, a party boat to a SummerTini Tasting in downtown Culver City, to festivals shining the spotlight on trains, Mediterranean food or Chinese culture and food, here are the 14 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!
American Ballet Theatre returns with the full-length classical ballet La Bayadère. Set in India, the ballet's tragic love triangle bears a strong resemblance to the better-known opera Aida, in which a triumphant warrior is his sovereign's choice to marry the ruler's daughter, but the warrior is in love with another, here a sacred temple dancer who is also being eyed in an unpriestly manner by the temple's head priest. The demanding choreography and sumptuous production showcase efforts at bribery, a flower basket containing a poisonous snake, an opium-induced vision and the ballet's signature mystical procession of ballerinas descending like a mirror image of the temple dancer. On opening night, local Misty Copeland dances the Raja's daughter, Gamzatti, with Isabella Boylston as the temple dancer Nikiya and Jeffrey Cirio as the warrior Solor. Check casting for the other two performances online. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri.-Sat., July 13-14, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., July 15, 2 p.m.; $38-$60. musiccenter.org/tickets/events-by-the-music-center/Glorya-Kaufman-Dance/1718-season/abt. —Ann Haskins
The Original Boho Coffee Spot
Before coffeehouses became mainstream, corporate-owned hangouts, indie spots were the hub of choice (after bars) for artists and musicians to sip a cup of joe, socialize, create and connect. In L.A., the Onyx was the first authentic modern bohemian coffee spot, the place that defined Silver Lake for locals before outsiders made it a hipster haven. Owner John Leech opened the original location next to the Vista Theatre, then moved it to Vermont Avenue, where it became the Sequel, growing its loyal clientele (Beck, Keanu Reeves and Viggo Mortensen hung out or performed there). The place is missed, to say the least, so much so that reunions are organized every few years. This one is a two-parter. Experimental jams, spoken word, art and more from Onyx's past will be conjured on Friday at Cafe Nela (a pre-reunion live music show featuring arty acts including Tommy Chiffon Three, Mecalodiacs, Nostradumbass and Poisonous Members plus puppetry from Cinnamon Roll Gang). Then on Sunday, the Tribal Cafe hosts spoken readings, more jams and a barbecue in the back parking lot. Folk/punk/gospel trio The Mourners will play a set (with more TBA). Cafe Nela, 1906 Cypress Ave., Cypress Park; Fri., July 13, 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m.; $5; 21+. facebook.com/events/2084445791569677. Tribal Cafe, 1651 W. Temple St., Westlake; Sun., July 15, 3-11 p.m.; free. facebook.com/events/570451380022086/. —Lina Lecaro
A Taste of Greece
We've all heard it: SoCal has a "Mediterranean climate"; well, this weekend SoCal hosts your jumping-off point into all things Mediterranean at the South Bay Greek Festival. From traditional dancing to a cornucopia of cuisine — spanakopita, kebabs, feta cheese in all forms and more — enjoy all that one of the largest Greek diasporas in America has to offer. There will also be a raffle for a chance at $10,000; proceeds go to the St. Katherine Orthodox Church building fund. St. Katherine Church, 722 Knob Hill Ave., Redondo Beach; Fri., July 13, 5-10 p.m.; Sat., July 14, noon-10 p.m.; Sun., July 15, noon-9 p.m.; $2. sbgreekfestival.com. —Avery Bissett
Writer-director Clement Hil Goldberg has created a 50-minute masterpiece of surrealist political satire combining live action and stop-motion animation. A fantasy confection of glitter, style, kitsch and karma, Our Future Ends offers a neat, binary analogy between an anthropomorphized population of endangered lemurs and a postmodern cult of queer spirituality. The idea is that parallel stories of extinction face the animal population and authentically indie queer spaces, as each is threatened by forces of commerce, industrialism, opioids and cultural appropriation. There are songs and dances, DJs and video, all starring Brontez Purnell, Heather María Ács and Siobhan Aluvalot, with Zackary Drucker, Silas Howard, Xandra Ibarra, Ben McCoy and Maryam Farnaz Rostami as voices of the ancient, imperiled animated Malagasy. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Fri., July 13, 8:30-11 p.m.; $20. outfest.org/filmguide/our-future-ends/. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Some years, the guests of honor don't even bother to show up for their own party, but this month the lotus flowers are in full bloom at Echo Park Lake, just in time for the 38th annual Lotus Festival. The large plants are amphibious — their roots anchored in the lake bed while their pink flowers sprout grandly from shower nozzle–like seed heads as they float serenely atop the water on flat, green, saucer-shaped leaves. The lotus is revered in many Asian countries for its spiritual, symbolic aspects of renewal, while its namesake festival is an ongoing celebration of Asian culture. This year, the focus is on China, with folk dance, music, food, kung fu and the always thrilling dragon-boat races. Echo Park Lake, 751 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park; Sat.-Sun., July 14-15, noon-9 p.m.; free. (213) 485-5027, laparks.org/lotusfestival. —Falling James
Californians may not fully appreciate public transit, but this doesn't mean you can't appreciate the majesty, raw power and pure economy of trains at Union Station's Summer Train Festival. The exhibition features vintage trains from the '40s, '50s and '60s and illuminates the future of rail as well via rarely seen cars from Metrolink and Amtrak. There will be virtual reality stations to whisk you away on trains across the world and arts and crafts for the kids. If this sounds all too exhausting, fear not, there will be food trucks on hand rivaling the finest Pullman dinner car. For bragging rights, be among the first 1,000 guests to complete their event passport and receive a commemorative pin. Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., downtown; Sat., July 14, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. unionstationla.com/happenings/union-station-summer-train-fest. —Avery Bissett
Come for the Landmark, Stay for the Party
Listed in the National Registry of Historic Places, Pasadena's Colorado Street Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in California. Built in 1913, the bridge has had a long — and occasionally troubled — history that includes earthquake damage, near demolition and suicide jumpers. But it's also recognizable for its trademark arches and lamp posts, backdrops of the Arroyo Seco and Rose Bowl and appearances in countless film and TV (2016's La La Land, to name one). To celebrate the neighborhood landmark, the nonprofit Pasadena Heritage hosts its biennial Colorado Street Bridge Party. The bridge will be closed off to drivers, so you can freely roam about and admire the display of vintage cars (some dating back to 1913), eat food from more than a dozen local restaurants and craft breweries, leave kids in the children's area and listen to nearly a dozen bands across four stages playing everything from blues and reggae to surf music; performers include Dilemma, composed of members of Doo Dah Parade house band Snotty Scotty & the Hankies. Colorado Street Bridge, 504 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Sat., July 14, 6-11:30 p.m.; $20, $25 at the door. (626) 441-6333, pasadenaheritage.org. —Siran Babayan
Disco Dining Club, the thematic party meld of food and frolic created by dinner-party diva Courtney Nichols, takes to the sea for a new culinary and clubbing adventure. Inspired by Grace Jones' iconic role as May Day in James Bond's A View to a Kill, the bodacious boat trip offers canapés and a buffet-style brunch from Gabriel Cappelli (Red Rooster, the Edmon), a curated open bar from Our/Los Angeles Vodka and DJ sets from Lazersonic and DJ Val Fleury spinning techno (and hopefully some Duran Duran). DDC's hedonist haps always attract a fabulously fashioned (and friendly) crowd. Prep now to make waves in some sexy new wave nautical looks, and make sure they're loose because the party's motto is "consume everything." Fantasea Yachts, 4215 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey; Sun., July 15, 2-8:30 p.m.; $100; 21+. restlessnites.com/somewhereatsea. —Lina Lecaro
Putting Shakespeare to Song
With elements of racism, class, love, violence and jealousy, William Shakespeare's tragic play Othello has endured over the centuries and remains compelling in numerous incarnations, including Otello, composer Giuseppe Verdi's operatic adaptation, with an Italian libretto by Arrigo Boito. For this evening's concert performance by L.A. Philharmonic, there will be no fancy stage set or elaborate costumes as conductor Gustavo Dudamel focuses on the purity of the music. Even more intriguing, the title character is portrayed by powerful African-American tenor Russell Thomas, who has in recent years collaborated with Dudamel in stirring performances of Tosca and Das Lied von der Erde. Thomas' foreboding intensity will make you forget that you're picnicking amid the bucolic, peaceful outdoor amphitheater. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; Sun., July 15, 7:30 p.m.; $14-$195. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —Falling James
If you love Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's musical numbers, whether it's "Fit Hot Guys Have Problems Too," "First Penis I Saw" or "We Tapped That Ass," you can thank choreographer Kathryn Burns for helping make the TV series even funnier. The Emmy- and Grammy-winning comedian/dancer has choreographed scenes for Key & Peele, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, Garfunkel and Oates, Comedy Bang! Bang! and Another Period, in addition to Funny or Die shorts, commercials and music videos, namely Pharrell Williams' ubiquitous 2014 "Happy." Originally from Texas, Burns trained at UCB when it opened in 2006 (and where she still co-produces the theater's mainstay, Quick & Funny Musicals), and tonight, she returns to host The Kat Burns Choreo Show: Celebrating 100 Episodes on TV! Burns will reflect on her career as "choreographer to comedians" and perform song-and-dance sketches with some of the artists she's worked with over the years, including Rachel Bloom, Matt Davis, Jackie Johnson, Donna Lynne Champlin, Vince Rodriguez III, Gabrielle Ruiz, Danny Jolles, Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood.; Mon., July 16, 7 p.m.; $6.50. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan
Deciphering a Mystery
Set in Hollywood, Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep took the mystery genre from its pulp-magazine roots into a more emotionally resonant literary intensity that was distinguished by the author's rich, detailed descriptions, which reflected private detective Philip Marlowe's inner world. The mystery surrounding this mystery is that even Chandler didn't fully understand the novel's dense, tangled plot. When Howard Hawks and his screenwriters, working on their 1946 film adaptation, wanted to know who killed the chauffeur, Chandler admitted that he didn't know. Some of the mysteries are solved in The Annotated Big Sleep with notes and new background information from editors Owen Hill, Pamela Jackson and Anthony Rizzuto. This evening, Judith Freeman, David L. Ulin and other Chandler aficionados read from their favorite sections of the iconic novel. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Tue., July 17, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Falling James
It's Summer: Drink Up!
Escape the horrors of an increasingly angry sun at today's SummerTini Tasting, a celebration of all things warm and wet and a party that covers the depth and breadth of downtown Culver City. Balloons show you where you can pick up a Third Wednesday Passport to get stamped every time you hoist a cool SummerTini, with virgin SummerTea-nis available for youths and teetotalers. Over at the Actors' Gang Theater at Media Park's Ivy Substation, you'll turn in that passport and possibly win prizes in the raffle, with bands and musicians playing live music just for you, all along the way. Kirk Douglas Theater, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Wed., July 18, 5 p.m.; free. (310) 202-6060, downtownculvercity.com/3rd-wednesday. —David Cotner
Shakespeare in the Park
"The course of true love never did run smooth," Lysander counsels Hermia early in William Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. Love is strange and ever perplexing, but it's also a merry delight in the hands of the folks at Independent Shakespeare Company, who continue their traditional series of free performances of the Bard's works in Griffith Park. The expansive outdoor setting aptly evokes the play's enchanted-forest locale. The cast includes Evan Lewis Smith, Aisha Kabia, Katie Powers-Faulk and Xavi Moreno. (Beginning July 28, it plays in rep with the less pastoral Titus Andronicus.) Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, L.A.; Wed.-Thu., July 18-19, 7 p.m.; through Sept. 2; free. (818) 710-6306, iscla.org. —Falling James
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Worshipping at the Altar of Google
Painter Louis Carreon combines a kind of post-urban, punk-infused outsider/folk aesthetic with a fraught use of mixed-media materials to create energetic scenes and portraits of modern life. In his new show, "Church + State," Carreon focuses his attention on the situation with one major, monolithic aspect of that life: Google. More specifically, the near total control we have given Google over established institutional authorities and experts, from priests and lawyers to professors and doctors, not to mention the mass outsourcing of our own memories and experiences. We trust Google as we used to trust God, our elders and ourselves. On the other hand, the almost universal access to information represented by Google is on balance considered real human progress. With this body of work, the artist seems to be saying that the least we can do is acknowledge that the cure contains elements of the disease. Hamilton-Selway Fine Art, 8678 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Thu., July 19, 5-9 p.m., thru Sun., Aug. 19; free. hamiltonselway.com/hamilton-selway-fine-art-presents-louis-carreon-church-state. —Shana Nys Dambrot