Between Harvest Moon, a bit of sweater weather, and Halloween in September, it seems we’ve truly turned the corner into Autumn. Kick off your spooky season with elevated immersive experiences at the museum and in the mountains; plus contemporary dance at classic and brand new theaters, new opera at the observatory and in the heart of downtown, insightful conversations on the power of art; a new edition of L.A.’s favorite biennial, a beloved museum’s birthday party, moving music at a local landmark; theater, craft-based visual art, the glossy pages of LGBTQ+ history.
Thursday, September 28
Artists Deana Lawson and Arthur Jafa in conversation at David Kordansky Gallery. An in-gallery conversation between artists Deana Lawson and Arthur Jafa expands on an ongoing dialogue between the two artists, and explores themes and concepts related to Lawson’s new body of work. In Mind’s Eye (on view through October 21), photographs are conduits into understanding wider interests and themes of geo-mythology and memory, ancestral presence, the physicality of photography and its aberrations, self-possession, and the body that doesn’t seek authorization from westernized materialism. 5130 W. Edgewood Pl., Mid-city; Thursday, September 28, 6pm; free w/ rsvp; davidkordanskygallery.com.
Boney Island at the Natural History Museum (Outdoor). NHM transforms its Nature Gardens into a hauntingly whimsical interactive light-up experience for all ages. The event will feature familiar sights for long-time Boney Island fans—skeletons performing rope tricks and levitating through hoops, shadow puppetry, artistic performances, real fossils, live animal presentations, trick-or-treating, and other ghoulishly glowing installations. The Simpsons producer Rick Polizzi created Boney Island for his family more than 20 years ago; it grew from a front yard display to a huge affair in Griffith Park with a cult-like following of Halloween lovers of all ages. The attraction closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the crowd-pleasing event will be restaged in Exposition Park. Thursday-Sunday, 6-10pm; September 28 – October 31; $25; nhm.org.
Friday, September 29
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at the Music Center. The storied contemporary dance company will perform a program of mixed repertory including Coltrane’s Favorite Things, choreographed by Lar Lubovitch, inspired by and danced to John Coltrane’s 1963 Live in Copenhagen interpretation of Richard Rodgers’ “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music—performed against a backdrop of Pollock’s painting Autumn Rhythm. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown: Friday-Saturday, September 29-30, 7:30pm; Sunday, October 1, 2pm; $34-$125; musiccenter.org.
Anna Luisa Petrisko: All Time Stop Now at REDCAT (Live and Streaming). Petrisko’s experimental opera is a contemplation on listening, impermanence, and kinship. A chosen family invokes a spell to stop time. In this suspended reality, they grapple with their existence in a time-based world as they search for ways to rest, heal, and feel joy. The stage morphs into a “spacetime playground.” Hypersaturated video, projection mapping, sculpture, dance, and new original music from Petrisko’s latest release on Practical Records transform the senses. Her signature prism of mutant pop yields spiritually infused anthems that encompass beauty, sorrow, and discovery. 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Friday-Saturday, September 29-30, 8:30pm; $25; redcat.org.
Nights of the Jack at King Gillette Ranch (Outdoor). Thirty miles northwest of Hollywood, tucked in the Santa Monica Mountains, there’s a strange and shadowy wonderland hosting a notorious Halloween event. Jack o’ lanterns from a universe of mystical spheres and a moody illuminated light show under the autumn sky combine with the nocturnal magic of nature for a truly unique experience along the 3/4-mile trail at King Gillette Ranch. Expect photogenic immersive scenes, elevated food & beverage service, and fantasmagorical lantern-art installations; plus interactive AR games, digital video games, AR selfies, and more. Calabasas; September 29 – October 31, 6-10pm; $30-$50; nightsofthejack.com.
Saturday, September 30
The Industry: Star Choir at Mt. Wilson Observatory. Audiences will embark on a cosmic mission, as a starship crew seeks refuge on the hostile Planet 85K: Aurora. Once there, the colonists encounter intelligent life imperceptible to their all-too-human awareness. As the planet defends itself from their invasive presence, the humans evolve to become a part of the Holobiont, a queerly multi-species organism that covers this world. Star Choir offers a meditation on the challenges and pleasures of mutual coexistence, reimagining humanity as a porous category that must transform to survive. Composed by Malik Gaines, libretto by Alexandro Segade. Saturday-Sunday, September 30 – October 1, 1pm & 4:30pm; $20-$70; theindustryla.org.
Made in L.A.: Acts of Living Opening Celebration at the Hammer. Celebrate the opening of Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living, the Hammer’s biennial exhibition highlighting the practices of artists from across Los Angeles. These practices embrace the value of craft, materiality, performance, and collectivity. The biennial situates art as an expanded field of culture that is entangled with everyday life; community networks; queer affect; and indigenous and diasporic histories. Be among the first to see the exhibition, and dance in the courtyard to music from Made in L.A. exhibiting artist collective Mas Exitos. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Saturday, September 30, 8-11pm; free with rsvp; On view through December 31; free; hammer.ucla.edu.
Darius Airo: Casual Banter at Face Guts. Curated by photographer and impresario Joshua White, who has developed a strong interest in Airo’s works on paper, the exhibition keys off the pair’s in-depth discussions of Airo’s decades-long drawing practice. For Airo, working on paper is natural and instinctual. Devoting ample studio time to working with paper, Airo’s marks and drawings at times transcend realistic figuration and mark-making in favor of movement and fluidity. The mostly black and white drawings are packed with visual and historical references including Surrealism, Symbolism, Band T-shirts and posters, Poetry (sourced and original) Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and architecture. Presented alongside a separate simultaneous exhibition of Airo’s paintings at Central Server Works. 4136 Verdugo Rd., Glassell Park; Opening Reception: Saturday, September 30, 6-8pm; On view through October 7; free; timbiskup.com/face-guts.
35th Anniversary Celebration at The Autry. A full day of fun inside and out, starting with a special ticket price that’s the same as when they first opened in 1988. Activities include, market vendors like a special jewelry, garments, and artisan goods trunk shows, Wild Horse singers and dancers, a Native Voices theatrical performance, presentations from Karla Buhlman and Rob Word, docent-led collection and exhibition tours, trick ropers, a lawn carnival with games, a petting zoo, a mechanical bull, and a ferris wheel, live music, photo booths, food trucks and Fry Bread. 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park; Saturday, September 30; 10am-6pm; $4.75; theautry.org.
Watts Towers Drum and Jazz Festival. Immerse yourself in jazz melodies and world rhythms at the annual Watts Towers festival weekend, featuring over a dozen performances highlighting modern global traditions in dance, music, and percussion; plus exhibitions, children’s activities, and local cuisine, all taking place against the backdrop of the world-renowned folk art masterpiece, Watts Towers by Simon Rodia, now celebrating its 102 anniversary. 1727 E. 107th St., Watts; Saturday-Sunday, September 30 – October 1, 10am-6pm; free; culturela.org.
Conrad Tao & Caleb Teicher: Counterpoint at the Nimoy. A collaboration between pianist and composer Conrad Tao with choreographer and dancer Caleb Teicher. Harmonic, rhythmic, and theatrical, the duo explores the dichotomy of their different artistic practices, expanding their individual expressive capacity through a collective experience. The stylistically diverse music of Counterpoint includes the Aria from Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Art Tatum’s demented stride piano, Arnold Schoenberg’s ironic take on the Viennese waltz, a delicate miniature from Tao and Teicher’s More Forever, and threading it all together, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. 1262 Westwood Blvd., Westwood; Saturday, September 30, 8pm; $32; cap.ucla.edu.
GYOPO’s 5th Annual Chuseok Benefit. Chuseok is the Korean harvest festival, which is a time to gather in the spirit of abundance, gratitude, and solidarity. It’s also the annual benefit for GYOPO, a collective of diasporic Korean cultural producers and arts professionals generating and sharing progressive, critical intersectional and intergenerational discourses, community alliances, and free educational programs in Los Angeles and beyond. This year, the benefit will honor director, actor, writer, and producer Randall Park, and has collaborated with artist Do Ho Suh to produce a limited edition artwork which will be unveiled at the benefit. 929 Cole Ave., Hollywood; Saturday, September 30; free-$600; gyopo.us.
Sunday, October 1
New exhibitions by Carolyn Castaño, Linda Sibio, and Margaret Griffith at Craft Contemporary. Cumanday- Beautiful Mountain is a new body of work from the Colombian American artist Carolyn Castaño, blending her mixed media watercolor and hard-edge painting techniques with study of colonialist 19th-century painted travelogs and map-making, in an ode to the disappearing glaciers in Colombia. Linda Sibio – Economics of Suffering, Part IV is an interdisciplinary project that combines intensely intricate drawings, performance, and installation to explore devastating effects and emotional scarring caused by ongoing worldwide crises. Margaret Griffith’s Chirk is a site-specific installation based on the gates in front of the Chirk Castle, a late 13th-century medieval fortress in Wales built to keep the Welsh under English rule. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; On view: October 1 – January 7; $9; craftcontemporary.org.
ONE Magazine at Seventy at Los Angeles LGBT Center. Commemorating its legacy of uplifting LGBTQ+ communities and advancing queer rights and visibility through print, this exhibition chronicles the history of ONE Magazine, from its inaugural issue in January 1953 through its continued publishing until December 1967. The show examines themes that ONE tackled that remain pertinent today, including the fight against police brutality, the importance of building community and cultivating joy, and the protection of free speech. Advocate & Gochis Galleries, 1125 N. McCadden Pl, Hollywood; Opening reception: Sunday, October 1, 3-6pm; On view through November 5; free; circafestival.org.
Tuesday, October 3
Hadestown at Center Theater Group. Hadestown intertwines two mythic tales—that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone—on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. Anaïs Mitchell’s beguiling melodies and Rachel Chavkin’s poetic imagination set industry against nature, doubt against faith, and fear against love. Performed by a vibrant ensemble of actors, dancers and singers, Hadestown is a haunting and hopeful theatrical experience about a place where a song can change your fate. Ahmanson Theater, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Performances October 3-15; $40-$155; centertheatregroup.org.
Oxy Live! Presents: A Conversation with ALOK at Thorne Hall. The launch of Oxy Live!, a conversation series highlighting a diverse lineup of cultural luminaries at the forefront of their fields opens with internationally celebrated writer, artist and non-binary activist ALOK, in conversation with acclaimed interviewer and cultural interlocutor Paul Holdengräber. ALOK is an internationally acclaimed author, poet, comedian and public speaker. As a mixed-media artist their work explores themes of trauma, belonging, and the human condition. Occidental College, Eagle Rock; Tuesday, October 3, 6-8pm; free; oxyarts.oxy.edu.
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