From the unveiling of a mural honoring Jonathan Gold to an Asian-inspired night market, a comedy benefit for a homeless nonprofit and a bursting-at-the-seams comedy festival, a chance to see the finest ballerina of this generation and a handmade bike show, here are the 15 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!
Isadora Makes Her Debut
Regarded as the ballerina of this generation, Natalia Osipova starred at Russia's Bolshoi before moving to international stardom, guesting with American Ballet Theater and currently the reigning ballerina at Britain's Royal Ballet. In Isadora, Osipova steps away from classical ballet tutus and into the world of Greek tunics favored by modern-dance pioneer Isadora Duncan. Osipova is no stranger to contemporary movement, her versatility is legendary, and the choreographer, Vladimir Varnava, is a rising star in Russia and gaining his own international reputation. The drive to Orange County for Isadora's world premiere may be daunting, but the alternative is heading to Moscow in September, the only other scheduled performances. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; Fri., Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 11, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 12, 1 p.m.; $29-$169. scfta.org. —Ann Haskins
What's that tickling your nostrils? Aside from the faint smell of horses, it's the alluring scent of a smorgasbord of delicious Asian and Asian-inspired foods at the 626 Night Market. If there's a dish you've been craving, chances are you'll find it here. Previous iterations of the night market have had it all: bubble waffles, boba in all manner of drinks and vessels, sushi burritos, ramen burgers and bao, to touch just the tip of this gastronomic iceberg. Expect to be a glutton and savor every moment of this nocturnal wonderland. There also will be vendors, art to appreciate and live music. Santa Anita Park, 285 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia; Fri.-Sat., Aug. 10-11, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Sun., Aug. 12, 4 p.m.-mid.; $5 (cash only). 626nightmarket.com. —Avery Bissett
From Blight to Bright
When the people of de LaB talk about making L.A. a better place, they back it up with action, sourcing support and grant funding for innovative, art- and design-based projects that deserve a closer look. And on their free culture and cocktails public tours, they love to go deep on the city's most fascinating neighborhoods. This afternoon, it all converges with this art walk exploring Gabba Gallery in Historic Filipinotown and the 100-plus murals that have proliferated during its four years of the beloved "Alley Project." Starting at the gallery, where a current show pays homage to the soul of music in street art, the tour is organized by L.A. Art Tours and led by the gallery and the project's capo, Jason Ostro. At the end, there are drink specials at nearby Genever, a female-owned mixology emporium with a colorful and distinct local flair. Gabba Gallery, 3126 Beverly Blvd., Westlake; Sat., Aug. 11, 3-5 p.m.; free. (323) 604-4186, designeastoflabrea.org/events. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Sleepover With Spirits
Even ghosts get lonely, but the restless spirits at Hollywood Forever usually get a lot of company each summer when the cemetery hosts a variety of film screenings and concerts on its spacious grounds. Cinespia's annual Slumber Party offers the chance to stay up all night in the graveyard and commune with both the living and the dead. This year's edition is an aptly bewitching triple feature, starting with 1996's The Craft, which features Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell and Rachel True as a coven of teenage witches testing their powers. That's followed by a midnight screening of Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman and concludes with the arch merriment of The Witches of Eastwick, in which Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer and Cher torment a devilish Jack Nicholson. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 11, 9 p.m.; $12-$29. (323) 469-1181, cinespia.org. —Falling James
Inspired by Africa
The vibrant mix of color and geometric pattern that typifies African clothing has been reinterpreted by many skilled stylists and designers of late, and the work of Ray Darten by Yetunde Olukoya is a potent example. At the Ray Darten Pop-up & Fashion Show, fashionistas will have a chance to not only purchase these gorgeous creations for women, men and children but also to soak in the culture and history that inspires each style. There'll be fashion shows daily put together by experts with an eye for contemporary chic and appreciation for old-world tribal flair. All African-made outfits will be available for purchase in a wide variety of sizes, from S to 4X. Pamplona, 229 W. 31st St., Historic South-Central; Sat.-Sun., Aug. 11-12, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., fashion shows noon and 3 p.m.; free, RSVP required. raydarten.com/pages/events. —Lina Lecaro
Education Through Entertainment
Like all the best satire, "Black TED: Independent Research Perspectives in the Field" is eerily similar to the premise it stalks. The self-described "collaborative think tank's" founders, Dove Ayinde and Sarah Gail Armstrong, have organized a series of performative "art talks" surrounding issues of black life and culture, aimed at not only entertaining but truly educating through pitch-perfect humor. The pair will be joined by three other speakers at LACE, whose current exhibition, "Cavernous," features an epic installation by Young Joon Kwak at Mutant Salon, an intersectional arts collective of which they are also members. As part of "Cavernous," Adee Roberson and Anna Luisa Petrisko also perform at LACE during the evening. Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 11, 7-10 p.m.; free. (323) 957-1777, welcometolace.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot
If It Rolls on Two Wheels...
This year's Los Angeles Handmade Bike Show not only marks the five-year anniversary of the continued good cycling works of local makers Montenegro Manufacturing — it's also a showcase of independent makers and builders of bicycles that gathers more than just one community under its celebratory purview. Enjoy great music and food, imbibe fine booze, thrill to the Alley Cat races and experience the latest in two-wheeled Eastside ingenuity from Dark Moon Fabrication, Jerome Cycles, Freqnt Flyr and Larkin Cycles, along with coffee from Trystero, bike shorts from Bikie Girl Bloomers, handlebar and saddle bags by Road Runner Bags and more. Montenegro Manufacturing, 1821 Daly St., Lincoln Heights; Sun., Aug. 12, 2-8 p.m.; free. (323) 577-3460, facebook.com/events/188468471981985/. —David Cotner
This Is a Laughing Matter
It looks like Funny or Die's Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival and Tenacious D's Festival Supreme are absent this year, and Riot L.A. has yet to be announced. But the fifth annual Burbank Comedy Festival might fill the big comedy-festival void in L.A. (With so many major studios in its backyard, it seems like a no-brainer.) Among the 200 headliners and emerging comics appearing will be Jeff Garlin, Whitney Cummings, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jimmy Pardo, Joey Diaz, Jackie Kashian, Laurie Kilmartin and Carlos Alazraqui. Other events taking place at Flappers and surrounding venues (L.A. Connection Comedy Theatre, Barney's Beanery, Hilton Hotel) throughout the week include resident club shows with names like Lame of Thrones, Jokes for Jews and Ancestry Dot.Comedy, in addition to podcast tapings, including VO Buzz Weekly, which will feature the entire voice-over cast from The Animaniacs and SpongeBob SquarePants' Tom Kenny. And if you're looking to learn about the industry, club owners, agents and managers will lead panels and workshops on topics ranging from "Social Media for Comedians" and "How to Be a Better Emcee" to "Creating Your Comedy Podcast." Flappers, 102 E. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; Sun., Aug. 12-Sat., Aug. 18, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; festival pass $250 and up; individual event tickets vary. (818) 845-9721, burbankcomedyfestival.com. —Siran Babayan
Most people think there's a justice system in America. There's actually a legal system — one of which the whistleblower cops in New York City who go up against their fellow police are painfully aware. Stephen Maing's Crime + Punishment, winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking at this year's Sundance, shows you the lives of police officers of color who collar young kids, pressured by higher-ups who have inculcated a system of arrest quotas. You'll see what these cops — risking their health, sometimes cratering their own careers — actually go through in their endless search for justice in the system. Ray Stark Family Theatre, George Lucas Bldg., SCA 108, USC, 900 W. 34th St., University Park; Mon., Aug. 13, 7 p.m.; free, RSVP required. (213) 740-2804, cinema.usc.edu/events/event.cfm?id=31790. —David Cotner
Learn to Eat
One of Los Angeles food luminary Jonathan Gold's most iconic stories was "The Year I Ate Pico Boulevard." His deep dive into the the rich microcosm of world cuisines and "center of entry-level capitalism" offered by a neighborhood "so unremarked" was in many respects characteristic of the writer, who dedicated much of his career to elevating L.A.'s overlooked eateries. In celebration of Gold's life, Together With Tacos on Pico will be offering free tacos, courtesy of Trejo's Tacos, to the first 200 attendees as a mural is unveiled honoring the food critic. For those who donate at the event to the Gold-Ochoa GoFundMe campaign, there also will be a raffle. Brad Metzger Restaurant Solutions, 11705 W. Pico Blvd., Sawtelle; Mon., Aug. 13, 4-6 p.m.; free. instagram.com/p/BmJ4VylBmxa/?taken-by=bmrsfoodjobs. —Avery Bissett
Puppets Strike Back
Puppet power will be in full effect at the Los Angeles premiere of Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, featuring a full screening and talk at the Egyptian Theatre. The story this time sounds quite clever, too: Recently divorced Edgar returns home to find a puppet in his deceased brother's room and sees dollar signs as the 30th anniversary of the infamous Toulon murders (involving puppets) comes around. But when he tries to auction off the toy (and his creepy little comrades), it comes to life (again)! Edgar ends up at a toy collector convention, where the mayhem that ensues promises to be a real horror-con experience. Discussion following with producers Dallas Sonnier and Amanda Presmyk and actors Thomas Lennon, Nelson Franklin, Udo Kier and Jenny Pellicer. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Tue., Aug. 14, 7:30 p.m.; $12, $8 members. americancinemathequecalendar.com/content/puppet-master-the-littlest-reich-0. —Lina Lecaro
Love Is in the Air
In case it wasn't already clear by now, Gustavo Dudamel recognizes no borders between different musical styles. He's just as adept at breathing new life into traditional classical-music warhorses as he is at drawing out the idiosyncratic nuances of difficult avant-garde experiments. When the L.A. Philharmonic music director deigns to indulge in a more pop-minded program, he avoids the saccharine tendencies of other conductors by leveraging the full force of the orchestra with a stately grandeur and soulful vibrancy. After guiding L.A. Phil tonight through selections by Alberto Ginastera and Silvestre Revueltas, Dudamel welcomes the great Cuban singer Omara Portuondo — a longtime member of the Buena Vista Social Club — for a set of romantic songs. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; Tue., Aug. 14, 8 p.m.; $1-$158. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —Falling James
He's Seen — and Shot — It All
The L.A. Public Library's Photo Friends group works in support of LAPL's collection of photographs, staging exhibitions and offering a series of intimate lunchtime conversations with contemporary photographers and photojournalists at its main downtown branch. Today's installment features George Rodriguez, an L.A. native whose 45-year career spans everything from civil rights struggles and labor rights protests, to portraits of a great many of Hollywood and rock & roll's highest-wattage legends. His retrospective monograph Double Vision came out in April. Rodriguez is sure to have some amazing stories to tell about his own life — and the many lives of Los Angeles. Central Library, 630 W. Fifth St., downtown; Wed., Aug. 15, 12:15-1 p.m.; free. (213) 228-7000, lapl.org/whats-on/events/photographers-eye-double-vision-george-rodriguez. —Shana Nys Dambrot
There's nothing funny about being homeless. Thousands of people in Southern California struggle to survive while living on the streets or in their cars as the rest of society passes by them as if they are lepers or — even worse — invisible. The best way to avoid concern for people who are suffering is to pretend that they are subhuman or don't even exist. But the lineup of comedians — including Danielle Perez, Luis Lemus, Vince Caldera and Marc Maron — at tonight's benefit for the Highland Park nonprofit Recycled Resources for the Homeless forces you to look honestly at this mushrooming crisis with an empathy and responsibility that are sadly missing from the city's current leaders. The brilliant and incisive comedian Maria Bamford leads with her heart, using her own experiences with mental illness to turn despair on its head while finding the saving grace of commiseration and understanding. The Hi Hat, 5043 York Blvd., Highland Park; Wed., Aug. 15, 6 p.m.; $30. (323) 258-4427, hihat.ticketfly.com/event/1731122-comedy-benefit-for-highland-los-angeles. —Falling James
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Wayne Kramer had at least two meanings in mind when he titled his new memoir The Hard Stuff. The title, which was also the name of his 1995 solo album, alludes to Kramer's savage guitar sound as a member of late-'60s proto-punk revolutionaries The MC5. It's also a reference to his problems with drugs, which resulted in a stretch in prison in the mid-1970s. But Kramer's experiences behind bars led to an epiphany of sorts about the lives that go to waste in the labyrinth of the modern U.S. prison industry. The guitarist transmuted his early political activism into efforts to inspire inmates to learn how to play music through his Jail Guitar Doors program. This evening, Kramer rambles freely with like-minded writer Jerry Stahl about the failed Drug War, his adventurous life and music, as well as growing up in the multicultural crossroads of Detroit, where "everything was a great adventure." Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Thu., Aug. 16, 7 p.m. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Falling James