A mix of indoor, outdoor and virtual events featuring live-scored dance film, live abstract painting, literary and visual arts documentaries, galleries filled with painting, drawing, sculpture and photography, benefits for a photo center and progressive democracy, new mixed media installations at the craft museum, avant-garde archive-diving cinema, and immersive sci-fi theater.
Friday, October 1
ALGREN (Virtual & Live) at Laemmle’s. The new feature documentary ALGREN is a journey through the gritty world, brilliant mind, and noble heart of writer Nelson Algren. Exploding onto the national scene in 1950 after winning the first-ever National Book Award for The Man with the Golden Arm, Algren defined post-war American urban fiction with his gritty, brilliant depiction of working class Chicago. Including never-before-seen archival footage, newly uncovered audio recordings and his own rarely seen, personal photo collages, the film charts the rise and fall of a man whose transgressions, compassion and thirst for justice pushed him to dedicate his life and career to giving a voice to the voiceless. The film is an intimate, witty and even antagonistic portrait of a tireless champion of America’s most marginalized. Opens Friday, October 1; filmmaker Michael Caplan will introduce and participate in a Q&A after the 4:30pm screening at the Monica Film Center on Saturday, October 2; laemmle.com.
Cellista at Santa Monica Playhouse. Performance artist Cellista’s stage poems are acts of resistance art, investigating the ruptures of daily life. They are politically concerned, observant, and revealing, breaking down the borders between audiences and performers, disciplines and genres. Her newest release, Pariah, is an operatic fairytale with semi-autobiographical overtones that explores issues of othering and exile within our communities. Tonight’s release party is an immersive live-scored dance film directed and live-scored by Cellista with members of her chamber ensemble. Americana band Foxgloves will provide the overture performance and noted butoh dancer Ibuki Kuramochi will perform the prologue. 1211 4th St., Santa Monica; Friday, October 1, 7:30pm; by donation; cellista.net.
Carlos Almaraz: Playing With Fire at the Highland Park Independent Film Festival. HPIFF is a grassroots organization, dedicated to inviting filmmakers who are producing the most unique and captivating independent cinema today to share their work with the Highland Park community. This year’s iteration kicks off with a screening of the brilliant documentary, Carlos Almaraz: Playing With Fire — a treasure trove of archival footage of Almaraz during his tragically short life, and interviews with art world figures and beloved friends and colleagues done after his untimely death and more recently, on the occasion of his massive LACMA survey. From a gloriously bohemian youth in NYC to foundational work as a pillar of Chicano style in important contemporary art, and dedicated family man, Almaraz’s life is as colorful, explosive, and full of surprises as his seminal art. Highland Theater, 5604 N. Figueroa, Highland Park; Friday, October 1, 8pm; festival continues with screenings all weekend; free; hpifilmfest.com.
Saturday, October 2
TOMO77: Pandemonium and Dan Barry: The Florist and Garden Miscellany, at La Luz de Jesus. While TOMO77’s prophetic style highlights the dangers of unchecked media consumption, abuse of power, and approaching environmental catastrophes, it also prompts us to imagine another way: Light in the darkness, healing and forgiveness amongst the abuse, and togetherness within the division. Barry combines the marks of his hand with vintage mixed media, reflecting these difficult times in an exploration of loss, life and mortality, as well as our deep ongoing desire for deep human connection. His work invites us to reflect and embrace the place of love, loss and the passage of time in our own lives. 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; October 2 – 31; free; laluzdejesus.com.
Kwame Brathwaite: Changing Times, at Philip Martin Gallery. An exhibition of never-before-seen works by photographer Kwame Brathwaite (b. 1938, Brooklyn). Shot between 1965-1975, Brathwaite’s thoughtful, strikingly beautiful images depict love and unity across the Black diaspora. In photographs exploring Black subjectivity and viewership, Brathwaite, a leading architect of “Black is Beautiful,” demonstrates that the power to construct one’s own image is a vital tool for freedom, dignity, and self-determination.Brathwaite’s photographs recognize the power of image, and just as importantly, the power of people. His subjects are actual individuals with their own agency and stories to tell. 2712 S. La Cienega, Culver City; On view October 2 – November 13; free; philipmartingallery.com.
Amelia Lockwood: Mondegreen Nursery at Odd Ark L.A. Lockwood uses clay with etched, glazed surfaces to manifest in physical form 3-D cartographies of interdimensional self-realization, tracing connections from ancient, esoteric and spiritual maps to the constructs of modern-day board games. The artist’s use of symmetry suggests that the forms are sprouting outwards, or moving towards a central omega point. This symmetry sets up mandala-like arenas or amphitheaters: a place for congregation, theater, and game. Some forms also appear to be candelabras, which furthers the feeling of ritual as well as illumination within the inner and outer cosmology of psychic play. 7101 N. Figueroa, Highland Park; Artist reception: Saturday, October 2, 4-7pm; on view through November 5; free; oddarkla.com.
Chelsea Kosta: Conduit at Open Mind Art Space. Kosta’s newest large-scale non-representational acrylic paintings on unstretched canvas. Since 2016, she has been experimenting with palette knives and more recently, large pieces of corrugated plastic to apply multiple layers of paint. Her balanced compositions are characterized by dynamic coloration and value subtleties, using a repetitive yet fluid horizontal and vertical mark-making technique to create texture and depth. Kosta’s work invites an active viewing experience, as an energetic continuity intrigues the eye, and the interplay of translucent forms appear to constantly change as the pieces are viewed from different perspectives. The artist will be live painting in the gallery window throughout the opening reception. 11631 Santa Monica Blvd.; Santa Monica.; Opening reception: Saturday, October 2, 5-9pm; on view through October 30; free; openmindartspace.com.
Los Angeles Center of Photography Gala & Auction (Virtual & Live). A private viewing and cocktail party honoring fine art photographer Mona Kuhn with this year’s prestigious Stieglitz Award, presented to Kuhn by LACMA curator Rebecca Morse. LACP’s Gala & Auction is an indoor/outdoor magic hour party that will further feature over 150 outstanding photographs from well known and award-winning photographers that have been donated to the online/live auction with all proceeds benefiting LACP. In addition, “Experiences” will be available for auction, including a private portrait session with Mona Kuhn. Quixote Studios, 1011 N. Fuller, WeHo; Saturday, October 2, 4-7pm; livestream begins at 5pm; tickets start at $25/virtual, $50/live; lacphoto.org.
Sunday, October 3
Moffat Takadiwa: Witch Craft: Rethinking Power, Pouya Afshar: Charm of the Unfamiliar, and Consuelo Flores: The Roots of Our Resistance (Altar) at Craft Contemporary. Moffat Takadiwa transforms post-consumer waste – such as used toothpaste tubes, spray cans, computer keyboards – into lush, densely layered sculptures and tapestry-like wall works that embody the complexities of contemporary Zimbabwean politics, culture, and references to Korekore heritage. For his exhibition, Takadiwa created new works that defy gravity by floating in mid-air and cascading off walls.
Pouya Afshar tells a story of displacement, migration, and resiliency. Using historic portraiture and animation techniques, digital applications, and augmented reality, the exhibition follows the fictional narrative of a group of migrants that relocate to an abandoned city that had once been an amusement park. The displaced in this narrative are hybrid personas – human and animal, some real, some mythical – each physically transformed by their experiences of migration.
Consuelo Flores creates an altar dedicated to the Latino and Black communities who have been most impacted by Covid-19. Flores’ altar – composed of paper flowers, tree roots, photographs, and plants – is a space to collectively remember those lost and recognize the societal inequities that disproportionally contributed to their deaths. In her own words, “We must honor them by fighting for equality, ensuring communities of color are safe, healthy, and have a secure future.” 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; all exhibitions on view October 3 – January 9; $9; craftcontemporary.org.
Ballots over Broadway (Outdoors). Feminists in Action, Momtivist, HODG, Face the Music, Winnie Holzman, Paul Dooley, Becky Hartman Edwards, Julie Hermelin, Stefanie Kahn, Margie Mintz, Monica Pa Moye, Josh Saltman and Jill Cohen, and Doree Shafrir cordially invite you to a magical night under the stars, featuring Broadway musical performances by your favorite stars of stage and screen. All proceeds benefit DemocraShe and Field Team 6, two organizations working to save our Democracy and create a brighter future. Attractions include: comedy, music, celebs, actors, dancers, filmmakers, snack, hosted bar, a silent auction, and saving our democracy. Hancock Park location provided with rsvp; Sunday, October 3; 6:30pm; $50-250; eventbrite.com/ballots-over-broadway.
Tuesday, October 5
Adrift presents: Mila Turajlić: Debris from complex vessels – fragments from the non-aligned newsreels at L.A. Film Forum (Virtual). Adrift is an international virtual residency program curated by Bahía Colectiva in which filmmakers connect with audiences and other practitioners by sharing a virtual archive of the process materials behind their film and video works. The materials showcased may include: texts, images, sounds, music, research notes, drawings, sculpture, found objects, film references, food recipes, news reports, text messages, accidental encounters, inspirations, conversations, arguments, dreams, etc. Mila Turajlić is the Adrift artist in residence this week. In her work with archives, Mila researches the intersection of personal and national memories, always seeking to reactivate forgotten histories, through forms ranging from lecture performances and video art to analytical essays. The archive of unseen materials will be accessible through Bahía Colectiva’s online platform. The materials go live on October 3; the artist hosts a live virtual premiere event on October 5; and the full stream remains available through Saturday, October 9; $12; lafilmforum.org.
Wednesday, October 6
Ascension at Echo Theater Company. An audience-participation sci-fi mystery-thriller that strikes at the heart of our assumptions about faith, memory and reality. Rebel suffers from amnesia. She’s trapped inside a long, narrow box. Nobody knows she’s in there… nobody but you. For some strange reason, your mind and her mind are psychically linked, and only you can help her escape. Written by D.G. Watson and directed by Ahmed Best. Atwater Village Theater, 3269 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village; Opens Wednesday, October 6, performances through November 18; $34; echotheatercompany.com.
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