Road trip to fabulous Palm Springs for an art show in some very special architecture, dive into the earliest theatrical views of this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival, watch esperanza spalding riff on Frank Gehry, take in cult classic Red Dawn at the Cold War museum, see what Dali might have done with a Jell-O mold, and whether you’re staying in more than you’d planned out of caution or heatwave-avoidance, enjoy some very worthwhile streaming literary picks.
Thursday, August 5
Frank Gehry: Spinning Tales on Gagosian Premieres (Virtual). The eighth episode of Gagosian Premieres celebrates Frank Gehry: Spinning Tales — an exhibition of new work presented at Gagosian, Beverly Hills — featuring musical performances by esperanza spalding and Gustavo Dudamel and YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles), and a conversation between Frank Gehry and Julian Rose conducted in Gehry’s Los Angeles studio. In this episode, acclaimed jazz bassist, singer, and songwriter esperanza spalding plays a new original score in an improvised performance in the gallery. The music’s sinuous, free-flowing quality echoes the piscine forms on view. spalding has collaborated with Gehry previously, and they are currently working together on Iphigenia, a new opera inspired by the Greek mythological figure. Thursday, August 5, 11am Pacific, online thereafter; free; gagosian.com.
Sing for Hope Pianos at the Wallis. The Sing for Hope Pianos are one of the world’s largest annually recurring public arts projects, placing artist-designed pianos in parks and public spaces for anyone and everyone to play. Sparking impromptu music-making and connection, the pianos create joy and community, bringing people together. This year, through an integrated partnership with the City of Beverly Hills and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Sing for Hope will place 16 artist-designed instruments throughout Beverly Hills and then transport them into their public schools across the greater Los Angeles area. Launch party: The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Beverly HIlls; Thursday, August 5, 5-8pm; on view at various locations, August 5–September 6; free; singforhope.org.
The Hollywood Fringe Festival (IRL and Virtual). The Hollywood Fringe Festival is an annual, open-access, community-derived event celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community. Each summer, the arts infiltrate the Hollywood neighborhood: fully equipped theaters, parks, clubs, churches, restaurants and other unexpected places host hundreds of productions by local, national, and international arts companies and independent performers. The 2021 edition kicks off with some productions in previews beginning August 5, with the full schedule happening August 12-29. This year they offer a mix of in-person and virtual productions, as well as a host of Covid safety protocols. Find out more at: hollywoodfringe.org.
Friday, August 6
Seeing Red: Cold War Blockbusters of the 1980’s at the Wende Museum. A series of free, outdoor film screenings that explore and examine the heightened anxiety and fear that marked the last decade of the Cold War. The 1980’s produced a series of Hollywood blockbusters that examined the conflict between the East and the West in epic proportions. Ranging in genre from action-packed thriller to spoof comedy, it’s no surprise that the films in this series veer into the absurd: exploring collective anxieties such as what if the Soviets invaded America, the impending doom of nuclear apocalypse, and the ever-looming specter of spies and double agents. The series kicks off with the cult classic Red Dawn. The Wende Museum, 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City; Friday, August 6, 7pm; free; wendemuseum.org.
Devon Baur: Smell.Print. at A+D Pop-Up. The first of A+D’s physical pop-ups since moving to a hybrid model in 2020, Smell. Print. is an immersive scent journey by artist Devon Baur that focuses on one of our most underappreciated senses: smell. It is an experience which demonstrates the power of scent in designing space, conceived by Baur, who works with emerging technologies and is currently an artist-in-residence in Stanford University’s Electrical Engineering. Audience members will be given an overview of the power of scent and then invited to experience this first hand through a narrative smell journey. While the journey is taken alone, all visitors will be brought together in the creation of memory through the experience of a scent that is chemically designed to smell like nothing on earth. 3118 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; timed-ticket entry, August 6-20; free; aplusd.org.
Saturday, August 7
House Parté in Palm Springs. A show and site-specific multimedia installation featuring art by contemporary iconoclasts such as John Waters, Henry Taylor, Sigmar Polke, HAAS Brothers, Ariana Papademetropolous, Isabelle Albuquerque and more. The pieces are bright, colorful and cheeky, and contemplate the American sense of home — littered with inanimate objects both high and low brow, speaking to a culture of excess, individualism and consumption. By removing the works from often sterile gallery spaces, and planting them in an inviting, classic southern-California style home, the exhibition hopes to prompt a reconsideration of their relationship to how art exists in their daily lives. Palm Springs location provided with rsvp; Reception: Saturday, August 7, 4-10pm; open by appointment through August 31; free with rsvp; carlyepacker.xyz.
Astrid Preston and Dan McCleary Craig Krull Gallery. “My studio is on a busy street next to MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. Since the shutdown, there has been a palpable silence in our usually loud and chaotic neighborhood,” says McCleary. “In the solitude that accompanies this period of Coronavirus and quarantine, it has felt appropriate to be alone in the studio with the still lifes.” For her part, Astrid Preston says of the work being exhibited that, “During these last long months of trying to understand and express the feeling of my ungrounded quarantine existence, I have felt a compulsion to paint objects floating in space. These objects have mostly been flowers, which for me symbolize beauty and hope but also the fleetingness and fragility of life.” Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; both exhibitions open Saturday, August 7, 4-6pm and remain on view through September 11; free; craigkrullgallery.com.
Susan Silton & Dana Johnson: Readings at Luis De Jesus. In her latest body of work, Silton questions the nature of reality versus appearances. WE is a set of sixteen photo-etchings depicting scenic landscapes of the Armstrong Redwoods National Forest. The prints are divided into pairs of images that, at first glance, appear almost identical. However, the images have been slightly modified from one another, exposing the stark differences of individual perception. Silton’s etchings are accompanied by an original short story by the award-winning writer Dana Johnson, which moves, dreamlike, between time and place. As in Silton’s etchings, the in the prose, “we,” “us,” and “they,” take on differing, nuanced tones as the narrative progresses. 1110 Mateo, downtown; In-person readings: Saturday, August 7, 11:30am; exhibition on view through August 14; free; luisdejesus.com.
Sunday, August 8
Art Through Food: A Surrealist Jello Mold Story at Elysian Valley Arts (Virtual). Jello molds are making a comeback – but these are not your grandma’s Jello molds. They’re artistic, creative and can sometimes be downright surreal! Join EVA and guests Peter and Lauren Lemos from Wax Paper for an afternoon of creating fun and fabulous Jello dishes inspired by the artist cookbook Dalí: Les Dîners de Gala. They will be creating both sweet and savory Jello dishes during this virtual journey. Explore this surrealist fine dining cookbook, learn about its creation and see the bespoke illustrations by Salvador Dali himself. Sunday, August 8, 3pm; free; evartscollective.com.
Acting Out: Cabinet Cards and the Making of Modern Photography, 1870–1900 at LACMA. The first-ever in-depth examination of cabinet cards. Inexpensive and sold by the dozen, cabinet cards were America’s main format for photographic portraiture through the last three decades of the 19th century, just prior to the introduction of the snapshot camera. Earlier, getting a photographic portrait was a formal, rare event; the new format made it commonplace. This exhibition reveals how professional photographers and their sitters across the United States introduced immediacy to studio portraiture, transforming their sessions into avenues of fun and personal expression. With Americans embracing photography as a fact of everyday life and playing with the medium’s believability, cabinet cards made photography modern. August 8 – November 7; timed ticketing; lacma.org.
Monday, August 9
Maggie Smith with Victoria Chang at Skylight Books (Virtual). With Goldenrod, the award-winning poet returns with a powerful collection of poems that look at parenthood, solitude, love, and memory. Pulling objects from everyday life — a hallway mirror, a rock found in her son’s pocket, a field of goldenrods at the side of the road — Smith reveals the magic of the present moment. Only Maggie Smith could turn an autocorrect mistake into a line of poetry, musing that her phone “doesn’t observe / the high holidays, autocorrecting / shana tova to shaman tobacco, / Rosh Hashanah to rose has hands.” Live on Crowdcast; Monday, August 9, 5:30pm; free; skylightbooks.com.
Tuesday, August 10
Melissa Broder at Book Soup (Virtual). Featuring a new introduction from the author, Superdoom: Selected Poems brings together the best of Broder’s three cult out-of-print poetry collections — When You Say One Thing but Mean Your Mother, Meat Heart, and Scarecrone — as well as the best of her fourth collection, Last Sext. Embracing the sacred and the profane, often simultaneously, Broder gazes into the abyss and at the human body, with humor and heartbreak, lust and terror. At turns essayistic and surreal, bouncing between the grotesque and the transcendent, Superdoom (Tin House) is a must-have for longtime fans and the perfect introduction to one of our most brilliant and original poets. Live on Crowdcast; Tuesday, August 10, 6pm; free; booksoup.com.