A new musical based on vintage science fiction, a new opera workshop’s short-film debut, art and photography about representation and exclusion, a storytelling project on bilinguality and belonging, dance online and IRL, and AbEx about psychic armor.
Friday, May 28
ART: Kandis Williams at LAXART. The Absolute Right to Exclude: Reflections on and Implications of Cheryl Harris’ “Whiteness as Property,” is a Cassandra Press — an extension of the multi-disciplinary practice of Kandis Williams. What began as a publishing platform to highlight texts on issues of race, feminism, power, and aesthetics, Cassandra has since grown to become a multi-faceted educational resource, hosting virtual workshops and organizing artist residencies in addition to its publishing program. On view May 28 – July 31 at LAXART in Hollywood; free; laxart.org/absolute-right.
READING: From the Earth to the Moon at CalTech. Theater Arts Caltech presents a virtual reading of the new musical From the Earth to the Moon by Cole Remmen and Grant Remmen and directed by Brian Brophy. From the writers of the record-breaking Caltech musical Boldly Go! comes a fresh new science fiction musical based on the Jules Verne classic written in 1865. Gauntlets are thrown, headlines made, duels waged, and alliances put to the test in this dynamic imagining of spaceflight in the late nineteenth century. Now’s your chance to watch this timeless adventure of ambition, friendship, love, and technological problem-solving! The reading will be followed by a live Q&A with the writers, director, and cast. Online; Friday, May 28, 7pm; free; caltech.edu.
Saturday, May 29
TALK: Photography and Representation at Bridge Projects. Susan Anderson, the History Curator at CAAM and former Director of Public Programs for the California Historical Society, has managed several landmark photography collections during her career. In her writing and lectures, she focuses on expanding on the history of African Americans. In this lecture she will discuss the importance of representation of the Black community in photography — particularly in the work of Deana Lawson and Lezley Saar. Online; Saturday, May 29, noon; free; bridgeprojects.com.
ART: Naotaka Hiro at The Box. Armor is a visual representation of the complicated time that the pandemic has presented for the artist. Feeling the weight of the illness of COVID-19 on his body, and the political and cultural turmoil, the artist found solace in creating art as armor. Using the creation of the work as a means to process anxiety and confusion about the state of his body and the world, making barricades and shields in the work as a means of conservation. Hiro has always been interested in using his art practice as a way of better understanding parts of himself that are unseen. The Box, 805 Traction Ave., downtown; opening day: Saturday, May 29, 11am-6pm; on view through July 24; free; theboxla.com.
ART: It’s Negative Closing Event at MIM Gallery. Join us for the closing event including book and poetry reading by artist Tarrah Krajnak in celebration of the group exhibition It’s Negative, curated by Labkhand Olfatmanesh. This exhibition highlights the diverse and innovative nature of the artists’ individual practices to explore different definitions of negative using lens based mediums and shared artistic, social, personal and political issues. Artist Tarrah Krajnak will be reading selections from her new book “El Jardîn De Senderos Que Se Bifurcan” at 4:30pm. MIM Gallery, 4654 W. Washington Blvd., West Adams; Saturday, May 29, 11am-6pm; free; artillerymag.com/its-negative-closing-event.
OPERA: Overtone Industries: Original Vision. A development workshop series for mentoring innovative new opera-theater works, Original Vision will debut three short films as epic 15-minute “first look” scenes from productions in process. With themes as diverse as hysterics, birdsong, and pancakes, in “Azure’s Hands“ by Livia Reiner and Lily Min Ren, the lead must explore the history and spectres that reside in her subconscious to find freedom; “Hysteria” by Molly Pease and Divya Maus boldly depicts how a set of heroines discover the external root cause of their motley emotions; and “Untitled Aunt Jemima Opera” by Jason V. Barabba and June Carryl, create a historical take on the Mammy figure and its dehumanizing effect. Online; Saturday, May 29, 7pm; $10 and up; overtoneindustries.org.
Sunday, May 30
DANCE BATTLE: Tommy the Clown presents The Battlefield. Tommy The Clown, originator of hip hop clowning/krumping is appearing via Caffeine with the live event, The Battlefield. Featuring dancers culled from 40 entrants in four divisions with hopes of advancing. Thomas “Tommy the Clown” Johnson shared why this is a big moment for his squad: “Clown dancing, krumping, it’s another level of freestyle that delivers an intense type of energy I can’t even explain. Even though L.A. is no doubt our home base, the idea of showing people from across the country the talent and grit of the kids I work with on the daily, and even reaching new kids, has me pretty pumped up.” Download the app and watch live, Sunday, May 30, 3pm PT; free; caffeine.tv/tommytheclown.
DANCE: Dances in the Open at L.A. Dance Project. This intimate live, in-person series features Night Bloom, a new work choreographed by former NYCB Principal dancer Janie Taylor, whose debut work Adagio in B Minor was hailed by the New York Times as “a small gem, full of charm and surprise.” The series also includes the return of Solo at Dusk, a work choreographed during and as a response to the global pandemic, by Bobbi Jene Smith in collaboration with Or Schraiber. L.A. Dance Project Studios Open Air Stage; performances May 27 – June 25; $50; ladanceproject.org.
STORYTELLING: Bi-Lingering at Side Street Projects. Bi-Lingering explores the power of language and the duality of existing between cultures, an extension of artists Labkhand Olfatmanesh and Gazelle Samizay’s ongoing collaborative project Woven, which uses their experiences as women of Iranian and Afghan heritage to look at the way cultural expectations and the effects of war transcend borders. The project represents that in-between space where one belongs to two (or more) languages and cultures. Bi-Lingering invites bilingual people (of any proficiency) to share their experiences of expressing themselves in more than one language by writing a letter; from the submitted letters, Labkhand and Gazelle will create visual art that captures and celebrates the experience of being bilingual. Visit: sidestreet.org.