From only the finest of fine arts films to a chance to laugh with your mom at moms, reflecting on Frankenstein's creation and the merits of good art created by bad people, to kicking off summer with beer and live music and watching America's finest ice skaters do their thing, here are the 15 best things to do in Los Angeles this week.
And if still you're scrambling for ways to show mom she's #1, the Weekly has you covered with Mother's Day events.
The Fine Arts Film Festival is just what it sounds like: two jam-packed days of shorts and features made by visual artists and/or about them. Evocative documentaries, biopics, experimental shorts, animation and even virtual reality hail from local, national and international artists. Now in its fifth year, the FAFF screens dozens of new works of art cinema, touching on the lesser-known lives and works of celebrated figures and uncovering the stories of unjustly overlooked artists. Highlights include new documentary Tales of the American, about the legendary downtown Arts District; blockbuster doc Obey Giant on Shepard Fairey; works on Bill Viola, Dalí and Monet, plus powerful submissions from Mozambique, Iran and Russia. Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, 681 N. Venice Blvd., Venice; Fri., May 11, 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sat., May 12, 10:30 a.m.- 11 p.m. (reception 9-11 p.m.); $10-$50. thefineartsfilmfestival.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Asking the hard questions doesn't always usher in glittering peals of laughter in stand-up comedy (even if the response a comedian receives afterward might make them feel funny), but Megan Koester's live album taping might make you re-evaluate the thin line between busting a gut and being punched in the gut — as well as satire and stand-up. Koester's sparkling knife of a routine dissects topics of sex and sexism and mores and morality — and it's one that has become especially polished in these times. Hosted by Andy Kindler, who's just a really good friend like that. Velaslavasay Panorama, 1122 W. 24th St., University Park; Fri., May 11, 8 & 10 p.m.; free (RSVP required). (213) 746-2166, panoramaonview.org/upcoming-events. —David Cotner
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus, one of the most famous monster tales — and sci-fi novels — ever written. To celebrate the bicentennial, the Huntington Library hosts Frankenstein: Then and Now, 1818-2018, a two-day conference with scholars, writers, scientists and directors discussing various topics inspired by the book, including its origins, publication, cultural and scientific impact, and film/stage adaptations over the years. A highlight is Saturday's screening of Frankenstein, the 2011 National Theater of Great Britain production, directed by Danny Boyle and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, who alternated the roles of Dr. Frankenstein and the Creature. Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino; Fri.-Sat., May 11-12, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; $25. (626) 405-2100, huntington.org. —Siran Babayan
Viva las Chicas
Inspired by an ongoing exhibition of works by the groundbreaking veteran artist-muralist Judithe Hernández, the Museum of Latin American Art's Barrio Baroque is a freewheeling, far-ranging event aimed at celebrating Chicana feminism, women of color and their wildly varied creative outputs. With a set from the brilliant '77 punk rock spearhead Alice Bag, a creative powerhouse whose 21st-century re-emergence as both an author (with her stunning memoir Violence Girl) and a vocalist capable of electrifying performances and arresting statements on gender, inequity and social injustice; plus rad post-punk "artivists" ELLA, a dazzling array of multimedia installations, film, discussions, popups, more art, female craft vendors, food, booze and a photo booth, this is certain to be as thought-provoking as it is rewarding. Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach; Sat., May 12, 4-8 p.m. $20; (562) 437-1680, molaa.org. —Jonny Whiteside
Start Your Summer
Endless beer and celebration launches your weekend into an inebriated stratosphere at this year's Downtown Los Angeles Beer and Music Festival. This is the de facto start to summertime, boasting more than 100 craft beers, a wealth of food vendors and popup ramen restaurants, which help sop up all that booze taking up residence in your system — and, for reasons that shall become clearer after a few beers, the song stylings of Dirt Nasty, Mickey Avalon and Alien Ant Farm. A portion of the proceeds goes to Craft Gives Back, which donates to initiatives assisting children and adults with depression. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown; Sat., May 12, 7-10 p.m.; $35, $50 VIP. (213) 847-4970, dtlabeerfest.com. —David Cotner
Winter Olympic Encore
The annual Stars on Ice revue rolls into Southern California with a roster of U.S. figure skaters who are loaded with medals from the recent national and world championships and Winter Olympics. Arcadia native Mirai Nagasu overcame years of injuries and adversity to unexpectedly place second at nationals before becoming only the third woman skater to execute a triple axel at the Olympic Games. Nathan Chen re-established his dominance with a gold medal at the world championships in March following uncharacteristic stumbles at the Olympics. Beloved sister-and-brother ice-dance team Maia and Alex Shibutani managed to earn an Olympic bronze medal despite tough competition, whereas defiant gay skater Adam Rippon took on not just the other men's skaters but also this country's homophobic vice president. The cast also includes stirring ice-dance newcomers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and powerful jumper Bradie Tennell. Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim; Sat., May 12, 7:30 p.m.; $12-$85. (714) 704-2400, hondacenter.com. —Falling James
Why Read When You Can Watch?
If you haven't been to a Pop-Up Magazine show at the Ace, you haven't experienced one of the best cultural events in the city. The multimedia pop-up, which is meant to exist only onstage (no streaming, taping or replay), is best described as a magazine come to life. The Pop-Up Magazine Spring Issue features a great cast of L.A.-based performers, including Jimmy Kimmel Live! comedy writer Bess Kalb; The Queen of Versailles filmmaker Lauren Greenfield; Los Angeles Times opinion columnist Gustavo Arellano; and filmmaker and Found magazine creator Davy Rothbart, who will tell a fascinating story that takes the audience from prison to Hollywood. Also: out-of-towners John Jeremiah Sullivan, Andres Gonzalez and Marcus Ubungen. "It's going to be memorable," says Doug McGray, editor-in-chief of the San Francisco–based Pop-Up and California Sunday magazines, which local readers may recognize as a supplement in the L.A. Times. "There's film, sound, photography, animation, a live band, the Magik*Magik Orchestra and more, all mixed up together." The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Sat., May 12, 7:30. p.m; $39-$49. popupmagazine.com. —Michele Raphael
Exploring Memory and Loss
Mario Ybarra Jr. and Karla Diaz founded Slanguage in 2002 as a loosely affiliated artist collective. Its evolving membership makes art, curates shows and generally does whatever woke-minded interdisciplinary action is required to get the beauty and knowledge out to as many people as possible, making incursions from both deep inside and way outside the mainstream art world purview. Their current residency at the Armory Center's off-site project space, a formerly residential property fittingly called La Casita is termed a "social sculpture." This means that Slanguage recombines elements of site-specific materials recycling, performance, public engagement, research into local history, and the sights and sounds of the neighborhood — from local artists to nearby schools and street vendors — in producing staged events, mask-making workshops for all ages, and random acts of real life, condensed. La Casita, 805 N. Madison Ave., Pasadena; Sun., May 13, 2-4 p.m.; Wed., May 16, 6-8 p.m.; Sun., May 20, 2-4 p.m.; free. armoryarts.org/about-us/news/slanguage-in-residence-at-la-casita-pasadena-ca. —Shana Nys Dambrot
What better way to spend this Mother's Day than by laughing at some real mothers? In tonight's edition of Those Magnificent Moms!, comedians and their own moms pair up and do anything from singing, acting, dancing or even just suddenly nagging at each other in a plot twist no one sees coming — except for older kids and their parents who really know how it is after a while. It's also an unexpectedly poignant evening — because, when you think of it, how many more chances do you have to turn to your mom and tell her that's she's magnificent? UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood Hills; Sun., May 13, 7:30 p.m.; $8.50. (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheatre.com. —David Cotner
Not Your Typical Mother's Day
For a certain kind of mother, waiting for brunch at an overcrowded fancy restaurant is not the ideal way to spend Mother's Day. A delightful alternative with entertainment and an optional al fresco brunch is MOMentum Place. Nestled in pastoral Topanga Canyon, the venue that hosts summer Shakespeare is turned over on Mother's Day to Lexi Pearl, who curates an delightfully eclectic parade of dance, circus, aerial and music performers. The preshow buffet brunch ($30) is available starting at noon in the theater's parklike environs, with picnic tables for dining, room for kids to run around, and a setting for adults to appreciate spending a special day in a special part of this city. Casual dress and cushions for the terraced amphitheater seating are advised. Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Blvd., Topanga; Sun., May 13, 2 p.m., $35 advance, $40 at door, $15 students, $10 children 12 & under. (310) 455-2322, theatricum.com. —Ann Haskins
Not to be confused with the slightly perfunctory wonder of TED Talks, TEDxxx: Ideas Worth Spreading is a night of people inspiring you to evolve as individual, adult, sexual human beings. Produced by Philip Labes, it features chortlesome confessional gooeyness from Sabrina Brennan, Jaquis Neal, Ash Webb and "more" — which is really what you should want from sex in the first place. You'll learn more about the nethers of your neighbors than you ever thought you could from a comedy club, and maybe you'll come away with a greater understanding about what your weird deal is with sex, anyway. UCB Sunset, 5419 Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood; Mon., May 14, 10:30 p.m.; $8.50. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —David Cotner
Disney's Dark Side
Villains are always much more interesting than heroes — if only because it's the villain around which the hero's journey revolves, not the other way around. Broadway Sings Disney is your chance to hear Disney villains' horrifying songs of threat and perfidy as rendered by stars from Broadway, cinema and television. Whether it's star solos by Scar from The Lion King, Captain Hook from Peter Pan or the Horned King from The Black Cauldron, these singers will take you back to those thrilling days of yesteryear when you were young, impressionable and easily terrified by cartoons. Rockwell Table & Stage, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Mon., May 14, 6:30 p.m.; $20 (two-drink minimum). (323) 669-1550, tickets.rockwell-la.com/event/ba018ebb31c03f322eaae696532f4ff6. —David Cotner
If you're unlucky with drugs, you're like Jean-Paul Sartre and you have crabs following you around for life after one bad mescaline trip. If you're slightly more fortunate, you'll get something like today's presentation by Tao Lin about his new book, Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change ($16, Vintage). Leaping from the stimulants of pharmaceuticals to the more spiritually beneficial worlds of DMT, psilocybin and salvia, Lin unveils how his entire worldview changed after psychedelics. This, of course, led to asking (but not answering) such trippy questions as "Is the world made of language?" and "What happens when we die?" Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Tue., May 15, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com/event/tao-lin-discusses-and-signs-trip-psychedelics-alienation-and-change. —David Cotner
Love the Paint, Hate the Painter?
Whether they were murderers, misogynists or bigots, some of the greatest artists were corrupt, which poses a moral quandary: Can we differentiate between creation and the creator, and if so, does that make us bad people? Zócalo Public Square's latest lecture, Can We Appreciate the Great Art of Bad People? looks at famous examples including Eadweard Muybridge, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and Pablo Picasso, and ponders "whether we can value the art of rogues and criminals." Moderated by New Yorker writer Amanda Fortini, this panel discussion features film critic Neal Gabler, USC popular culture scholar Todd Boyd and University of Notre Dame art professor Ingrid Rowland. The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; Wed., May 16, 7:30 p.m.; free (RSVP required). (310) 440-7300, getty.edu/visit/cal/events/ev_2160.html. —Siran Babayan
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Spring Is in the Air
In just a few weeks, the L.A. Philharmonic sets up camp for the summer at the Hollywood Bowl, but the ambitious orchestra still has several major performances scheduled this month at its home base, Disney Hall. Tonight, conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Phil plunge into the first of a series of concerts reveling in the works of Robert Schumann. Estimable Japanese-British pianist Mitsuko Uchida stirs up the delicate flurries of the German composer's only piano concerto, releasing its fluttering, birdlike melodies with a touch that ranges from gently nuanced to decisively forceful. Then Dudamel opens the windows wide for Schumann's First Symphony, a joyful ode to spring that bursts through the clouds with ebullient rays of sunshine. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Thu.-Fri., May 17-18, 8 p.m.; $20-$205. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com. —Falling James