Kick off the first weekend of September with a beer – beer coaster, that is – at Friday's opening of "The Coaster Show," where artists show off their skills on the most utilitarian of objects. On Saturday, head down to Long Beach for BuskerFest, a free music show with an unusual concept. Save some energy for Sunday's An Evening of Terror, a theatrical interpretation of horror radio. Things get a little spacey Tuesday night, when you can choose between two out-of-this-world happenings: a performance of The Planets at the Hollywood Bowl (tickets start at just $8!) or a special viewing of West Hollywood's glowing installation, Illumetric.
5. Drink Up
Though L.A. Beer Week doesn’t officially kick off until Sept. 20, you might as well get the party started a few weeks early with an art show you can drink to. Held at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, “The Coaster Show” has invited more than 300 artists to transform 4-inch coasters into beer- and non–beer-themed pieces of art suitable for holding a tall, frosted glass. Priced at no more than $250, they’re expensive souvenirs, but at least you won’t have rings on your coffee table. Last year’s inaugural event featured Simone Gad, Ron English, Elizabeth McGrath and horror-movie veteran Sid Haig, whose miniature paintings, mixed media and sculpture were inspired by everything from sci-fi and animals to celebrities and Mickey Mouse. Local artist Billy Kheel even contributed a felt coaster holder appropriately resembling poet — and notorious L.A. drunk — Charles Bukowski. Let’s see which famous alcoholic writer(s) will be represented this year. Bring a magnifying glass. La Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Fri., Sept. 5, 8-11 p.m.; continues through Sept. 28. (323) 666-7667, laluzdejesus.com, labeerweek.com. —Siran Babayan
4. Dance in the Streets
Long Beach’s Summer and Music (SAM) has been putting on free live shows all season, and tonight it’s ending things with fan favorite BuskerFest. A tribute to the age-old tradition of street performances, BuskerFest is a music festival at which the bands compete for your “money” (wooden nickels). The act with the most nickels wins a recording or CD pressing valued at $2,500. In true busker spirit, each band will be provided only one microphone and an amp. It’s a great way to check out a host of local up-and-coming artists, including The Ziggens, Bearcoon; Ray Barbee; esse Davis Edwards; Ghetto Blaster$; Hanlin, Jones, & Ricky IV; The Moderates; So Many Wizards; and Thy Squid. Last year’s winner, Fathers & Suns, will join the competing bands for a finale jam. It’s all the fun of supporting your local busker without actually having to pay anything — and with the addition of food trucks, beer and a free bike valet. East Village, First Street between Elm and Linden, Long Beach; Sat., Sept. 6, 5-11 p.m.; free. summerandmusic.com. —Sascha Bos
3. Get Scared
L.A. theater troupe Captured Aural Phantasy wipes the dust off vintage comic books for live readings done in the style of old-school radio dramas. Over the years, it has taken audiences on superhero adventures and journeyed into the infamous comic book Senate hearings of 1954. When the group’s fall season premieres tonight with An Evening of Terror at El Cid, it will exhume another artifact of 20th-century pop culture — the horror radio show. For these shows, the troupe is collaborating with Famous Monsters of Filmland to bring radio scripts to the stage. The renowned monster magazine will provide the stories for this team of actors, starting with Escape, a show that originally featured the spooky and beloved voice of Vincent Price. It’s a new venture for the group, but one for which its skills are well suited. And CAP isn’t abandoning the comic books: Tonight’s performance will include a couple comic book stories, as well as live music. El Cid, 4212 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; Sun., Sept. 7, 8:30 p.m. (doors 7:30); $10. captured?auralphantasy.com. —Liz Ohanesian
Keep reading for two more awesome events, including The Planets at the Hollywood Bowl.
2. Space Out
Fiery Mars, ethereal Neptune, funny li’l Mercury, hopeful Jupiter?… We’ve all got these planetary “personalities” implanted in our brains, not in small part owing to Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite The Planets being featured in so many sci-fi films over the years. Conductor Bramwell Tovey leads the L.A. Phil in a performance of this, well, super-atmospheric piece, which promises to lift our eyes to the skies — or at least to the Bowl’s video monitors, which will pair the music with glorious images from NASA and JPL rovers and satellites, plus computer-generated graphics of the Mars landing and other gee-whiz delights. Opening the program is a performance of English composer Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Erskine — Concerto for Drum Set and Orchestra, a modern work featuring jazz drummer Peter Erskine, renowned for his work with Steely Dan and Weather Report, along with the Women of Pacific Chorale. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hlywd.; Tue., Sept. 9, 8 p.m.; $8-$107. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —John Payne
1. Light Up
Shana Mabari’s new Illumetric is a highlight of the West Hollywood skyline — or at least your Santa Monica Boulevard eyeline. You may have already noticed the three regal, luminous, giant geometric gems, glowing red, blue and yellow with a mysterious inner light, nestled in the median grass across from Barney’s Beanery. Mabari’s twin interests in art and technology have inspired several phases of her work, the latest of which finds expression in these classic futuristic forms, heirs to SoCal’s archetypal Light & Space movement as well as its upbeat pop sensibility. The city’s Art on the Outside program lights them up each evening, starting at sunset, to great effect. Mabari tells us she’ll be in the Palihouse bar from 5 to 6 p.m., for an informal, no-host bar and indoor gathering, and then will head to the park across the street (where the Sal Guarriello Veterans Memorial is) for a half-hour of public viewing, Q&A, etc. Palihouse, 8465 Holloway Drive, W. Hlywd.; Tue., Sept. 9, 5-6:30 p.m.; free. (310) 994-1690, shana?mabari.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
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