Beloveds, this week we are gathered together with friends, family, compatriots in service, or perhaps just with our thoughts. Whether you’re looking for things to do with your crowd or to escape from them, check out a twist on a classic seasonal ballet, a holiday-themed improv catharsis, life-inspired poetry, emotional portrait painting, a documentary about the art of salvage, a family chess festival at the museum, photography about the interplay of dancer and dance, photography about driven performers camping up the quarantine years, phone art about forbidden dinner party topics.
Thursday, November 24
JEFF&GORDON: Not at the Dinner Table. This timely, participatory artwork invites members of the public to call and leave an anonymous voicemail for someone in their life with whom they disagree about contentious issues like gun control, LGBTQ rights, religion, and politics. Callers also listen to a rotating selection of voicemails from previous years. By taking these messages and making them publicly available, Not at the Dinner Table takes a particular kind of speech that usually goes unvoiced in the interest of keeping the peace, and turns it into an object of contemplative sound art. Every year, the artists pick a new phone number whose area code highlights a polarizing issue. In 2017 it was Newtown, CT, where the Sandy Hook massacre took place. In 2018 it was in a “purple” county in Georgia. This year, in the wake of the midterms, the artists picked Washington, DC. Call 202-249-5127 any time of the day until January 1st; jeffandgordon.net; free.
Friday, November 25
American Contemporary Ballet: The Nutcracker Suite. L.A.’s most unexpected Nutcracker is an immersive holiday experience for all five senses that delights adults and children alike, transporting the Tchaikovsky classic to a reimagined Land of Sweets high above the city. ACB performs exclusively to live music, played by some of the city’s finest classical musicians. Audiences are seated at stage level, allowing for a rare visceral connection with the beauty and athleticism of ballet. 350 S. Grand Ave., 28th floor, downtown; Performances November 25 – December 24; $65-$140; acbdances.com.
Cookin’ With Gas (Holiday Edition) at Groundlings. The Groundlings Main Company, Alumni and Sunday Company play together in this Holiday special edition of their signature all-improv explosion. Based entirely on audience suggestions, the comic daredevils invent custom-made satire and punchy songs on the spot. Featuring a surprise guest. 7307 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Friday-Saturday, November 25-26, 8pm; $22; groundlings.com.
Saturday, November 26
Yesika Salgado and San Cha at Hauser & Wirth. Salgado is a leading voice in poetry, both in performance and social media. The LA-based Salvadoran poet writes about her family, culture, city, and fat body, garnering a large online following across multiple platforms through her words and determination to make poetry accessible to everyone. By subverting the tropes of popular culture from her Mexican roots to make something new, San Cha has managed to make an impact on the music world, thanks to a highly original sound that encapsulates who she is — an experience and exploration in sound and musical genres. 901 E. 3rd St., downtown; Saturday, November 26, 8pm; free; hauserwirth.com.
Calvin Clausell: Bloom at Band of Vices. Growing up in Los Angeles, art has always been first for Clausell. From childhood he found himself sketching every chance he got. Loving the idea of bringing life to paper, he gravitated towards charcoal and graphite, teaching himself shading techniques by observing human expression and emotion and eventually took up oil painting. The latest evolution of his portraiture subjects and advancing technique — both of which focus on self-determination, enlightenment, and excellence — also leaves space for a more emotional, poetic framework for contemplating inner life experiences. 5351 W. Adams Blvd., West Adams; Opening reception: Saturday, November 26, 6-10pm; free; bandofvices.com.
Sunday, November 27
Museum Store Sunday at the Gamble House. The mission of The Gamble House is to inspire the public’s appreciation and understanding of architecture as a fine art, through the example of the most complete and best-preserved work of American Arts and Crafts architects Charles and Henry Greene. This weekend, the Pasadena landmark is adding its bookstore to the national roster of in-person and online museum stores looking to make #MuseumStoreSunday a thing in the holiday shopping world. Peruse curated collections of handmade goods from a variety of local artists, plus crafting workshops, live guitar, Drag Story Hour (11am), bookstore specials, and tours of the architectural treasure itself (with reservations). 4 Westmoreland Pl., Pasadena; Sunday, November 27, 10am-3pm; free; gamblehouse.org.
Chess at the Wende Museum. Sharpen your skills with professional instruction and learn about the significance of chess in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries through specially-displayed artifacts from the Wende’s Historical Collection. Public free play chess stations will be made available throughout the Wende Garden. Chess players of all ability levels, from beginners to masters, are welcome. 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City; Sunday, November 27, noon-3pm; free; wendemuseum.org.
Monday, November 28
SCRAP at Laemmle’s. Discover the vast and strangely beautiful places where things go to die, and meet the people who collect, restore, and recycle the world’s scrap. A love letter to the things we use in our daily lives, this cinematic documentary tells the story of people who each have a deep connection to objects that have reached their so-called end. Together these stories convey a deeper environmental and human message about our relationship to things, the sadness we feel at their eventual loss, and the joy that we can find in giving them a new purpose. After all, things, like people, show a certain beauty in their old age. Like us, they carry the weight of their history and the cultural memory they embody. Laemmle’s Royal, Glendale, and Claremont; Monday-Tuesday, November 28-29; $15; laemmle.com/film/scrap.
NeueHouse and Outfest present Uýra: The Rising Forest. The film follows Uýra, a trans indigenous artist, as they traverse the Amazon forest on a journey of self-discovery through dance, poetry, and visually stunning costume and makeup. Screening followed by a Q&A with the film’s director. NeueHouse Hollywood, 6121 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Monday, November 28, 7pm; free; rsvp.neuehouse.com/caringfuturesxoutfest.
Wednesday, November 30
Dancing Extraordinaire: Japanese Entertainers Under the Pandemic at the Japan Foundation. The entertainment world was dealt a big blow by the pandemic. One after another, theaters were forced to either postpone or outright cancel performances. Beginning in July 2020, freelance photographers Arisa Kasai, Shizuka Minami and Maiko Miyagawa took portraits of 18 groups of artists over a period of about 7 months, capturing their emotions as well as performances that would have otherwise never come to light, forged in a state of emergency to feed their longing for the stage. 5700 Wilshire Blvd, Miracle Mile; On view: November 30 – February 25; free; jflalc.org.
Queerly Imparted at Skylight Theater. Skylight Theatre Company and QueerWise mark World AIDS Day with Queerly Imparted, directed by Michael Kearns. Melding comedy and tragedy, this work never forgets its mission to keep us vigilant of HIV/AIDS. The evening’s theme evening plays on the supernatural, with QueerWise members and alumni performing. A highlight of the event will be the presentation of the inaugural “Wizard of Words Awards” to community leaders whose work illustrates the power of words: Roland Palencia, Rabbi Robin Podolsy, and Terry Wolverton. 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Wednesday, November 30, 7pm; free; skylighttheatre.org.
Dance and Eye at Arcane Space. Acclaimed dancer Oguri is photographed by five photographers from the fine art, sports, rock, pop culture and fashion worlds: Andrew Macpherson, Richard Nielsen, Atiba Jefferson, Ricardo Vidana, and Tali Maranges. In these cross-disciplinary collaborations the artists investigate questions that arise when dance and photography work together — Where does the dance take place? If in both the body of the dancer and the eye of the observer, then what role does the eye have in forming the dance? Is the eye part of the dance? 324 Sunset Ave., Venice; On view through November 27, and by appt through December 11; free; arcanespacela.com.
David John Attyah: The Museum of Selective Homo Amnesia at Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Advocate & Gochis Galleries. A multi-media art installation styled as a faux natural history museum of artifacts from an erased, mythical history of queerness, the exhibition consists of drawing, crochet, photography, hand-built cabinetry, and small sculpture in ceramic, plaster, wax, wood, and paper. The exhibition also includes a companion essay of fiction, written from the desk of a melancholy queer archeologist. The Museum questions origin stories about human sexuality and gender and proposes that our present identities would benefit if the past were imagined as more inclusive, fluid, and humane. The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N. McCadden Pl., West Hollywood; On view through December 3; free; dja-art.work.
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