Mark-making like everything is a metaphor, queer avant-garde anti-capitalist horror, not your daddy’s dad jokes, performative food artistry, painting every ocean, gay and gonzo illustration art, looking at men, smoothing out information overload, fateful individual and collective creative journeys, Puck and the Scottish play, a big arts party in the park, Indigenous crafts and Native playwrights, a hot take on a cold classic of ancient theater, a celebrity guide to activism, poetry in the former temple, LGBTQ elders get their flowers, and a project aimed at sustaining the theatrical voices of women of color.
Thursday, June 8
Lauren Powell Projects presents Beck+Col: Red Night at the art room. Artist duo Beck+Col use costume-based performance and video to build alternate universes populated by monsters, spawning a counter-mythology and the queering of existing norms. Tonight they present a group exhibition and first look inside their new film Red Night, set in the colorful world of a queer chosen family of five monsters, in which they highlight the helplessness of individualism through the narrative of a slasher flick. For the occasion, the gallery is transformed into the monster’s home: yellow, orange, and blue monochromatic spaces filled with set pieces, costumes, and artworks from the film. 908 S. Olive St., downtown; Opening reception: Thursday, June 8, 5-8pm; On view through July 28; free; laurenpowellprojects.com.
Big Dad Energy at the Virgil. A night of transmasculine comedy observing Pride Month and Father’s Day in iconic style. Big Dad Energy: The Return is hosted by actor/director/producer Marval A Rex, produced by Jett Fink, and featuring Jake Noll, Janaya Kahn, Joey Soloway (creator of Transparent), Kai, and 7G (British artist Seven Graham), the night promises a stellar line-up of diverse, international, essential voices from the film, comedy, theater, and streaming worlds—all with something special to say about masculinity and culture. 4519 Santa Monica Blvd., East Hollywood; Thursday, June 8, 8pm; $25; weho.org.
Soup & Tart: Los Angeles at MOCA. Taking inspiration from Soup & Tart, an event devised by Fluxus artist Jean Dupuy in 1974 and held at The Kitchen in downtown New York, Soup & Tart: Los Angeles brings together 50 artists, musicians, and dancers from across Los Angeles’ cultural landscape, inviting them to use two minutes each in any way they like—an improvisation, song, action, movement, or text. As the performances roll on, a lineup of L.A. chefs will serve up their delicious takes. The Geffen Contemporary, 152 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo; Thursday, June 8, 6pm; $30; moca.org.
World Oceans Day at the Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles. The Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles celebrates World Ocean Day with a presentation by acclaimed artist Danielle Eubank as she discusses “One Artist, Five Oceans,” a 20-year project wherein she, as an expedition artist, sailed and painted the waters of every ocean on Earth—both to raise awareness for climate change, and pursue a spectacular discourse between abstraction and realism on the canvas. The evening’s program will be followed by a raffle to raise money for the Los Angeles chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. “I have painted all of Earth’s oceans to show that we are just as interconnected as are our oceans,” says Eubank. “There is a unifying preciousness amongst these bodies of water and all that rely on them, which is everyone.” 2433 N. Broadway, Lincoln Park; Thursday, June 8, 6-10pm; $30; worldoceanday.org.
Maryam Khosrovani & Kaveh Irani: Extensions of a collapsing landscape, intubated futures, at Hamzianpour & Kia. In a counterintuitive but ultimately inspired two-person show, sculptures and paintings by Kaveh Irani and works on paper by Maryan Khosrovani dance their way through allegorical figuration and narrative abstraction along an emotional continuum where everything is a metaphor. Irani’s emotive, anthropomorphic industrial elements rendered in both pigment and concrete are enlivened by ebullient color and pattern, suggesting sublimated stories of survival and secret joy. Khosrovani for her part makes endless marks and performative perforations that feel like they are code for something—their sinewy nearly organic shapes reinforcing a hidden, lived story. As with any well-chosen pairing, each series brings out fresh aspects in the other, and creates a new story within the story. 5225 Wilshire Blvd. #212, Miracle Mile; Open daily through Saturday, June 10; free; hamzianpourandkia.com.
Friday, June 9
Mike Kuchar: Big, Bad Boys at Ghebaly Gallery. Kuchar has been an influential figure in the underground film and comics scenes since the 1960s, who together with his twin brother George gained cult recognition for their over-the-top, no-budget films that sent up Hollywood epics, celebrating camp as an artistic sensibility. Throughout the ‘70s, Kuchar began to support his filmmaking with gay erotic drawings with a unique combination of gonzo lewdness and uncompromising joy, garnering an underground fandom and critical acclaim. 1109 N. Poinsettia Place, West Hollywood; Opening reception: Friday, June 9, 5-8pm; Artist talk: Saturday, June 10, 3pm; On view through July 8 with live figure drawing sessions throughout; free; ghebaly.com.
Manuel Betancourt, in conversation with Grace Perry, discusses The Male Gazed: On Hunks, Heartthrobs, and What Pop Culture Taught Me about (Desiring) Men at Book Soup. Betancourt has long lustfully coveted masculinity—in part because he so lacked it. As a child in Bogotá, he grew up with the social pressure to appear strong, manly, and ultimately, straight. And yet in the films and television he avidly watched, Betancourt saw glimmers of different possibilities…His book grapples with the thrall of masculinity, examining its frailty and anxieties along with its erotic potential. 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Friday, June 9, 7pm; free; booksoup.com.
NKSIN: Revival at Albertz Benda. NKSIN’s monochromatic paintings tackle universal emotions—desire, envy, joy, and grief—in the age of information overload. Bombarded with an overwhelming amount of news through social media and the internet at large, NKSIN’s figures reject the adversarial effects of technology, seeking to restore the capacity to reflect and function effectively. NKSIN’s subjects showcase a minimalist sophistication and meticulous color gradation, emphasizing the artist’s ability to construct a bridge between the digital and the physical. Opening reception and sake tasting: Friday, June 9, 7-9pm; On view through July 8; free w/rsvp; albertzbenda.com.
Saturday, June 10
Carmen Argote, Alberta Whittle, and Trương Công Tùng at ICA LA. Including drawings, sculptures, and works in process, I won’t abandon you, I see you, we are safe maps Argote’s journey toward a deeper understanding of her interior self and the binaries that it holds—adult and child, man and woman, resident and exile, individual and collective. Originally from Barbados and currently based in Scotland, Whittle directly engages her diasporic heritage to create works that meditate on the journeys, both historical and present, of Black communities across the Caribbean Sea and beyond. Characterized by a poetic sensitivity to history, landscape, and materiality, Trương’s dynamic installations often incorporate natural materials that bear the traces of time and the echoes of generations and are composed in such a way as to reimagine the land from a site of colonial empire to one of communion. 1717 E. 7th St., downtown; Opening receptions: June 10, 3-6pm; On view through September 10; free; theicala.org.
Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Theatricum Botanicum. Celebrate the iconic Theatricum Botanicum’s 50th season with Shakespeare’s most infamously lethal couple, feeding each other’s ambitious passions. Unable to be sated until the bones are picked clean, they continue to devour the very food that brings their disastrous end. On the lighter side, no summer season would be complete without the company’s signature production, which infuses Shakespeare’s beautiful language with music and song to heighten the pleasure. The most magical outdoor theater setting in Los Angeles is the perfect place to conjure an enchanted forest inhabited by lovers both fairy and human. Shakespeare’s beloved world of wonder is where magic, romance, comical misunderstandings, and the pain of unrequited love are resolved, and all is reconciled through revelries and the power of nature. 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; Performances of Macbeth begin Saturday, June 10; A Midsummer Night’s Dream begins on Sunday, June 11; both run through the end of September; $30-$60; theatricum.com.
Tarfest 20th Anniversary Edition at Pan Pacific Park. Celebrating local artists and culture with musical performances throughout the day, creative activities, curated art installations, adult beverages, and food trucks, “Tarfest has been part of the L.A. community for 20 years,” says founder James Panozzo. Music curated by Raghav Desai of Minty Boi Presents, K-pop by the Korean Cultural Center, and Mister Psychedelia. Issues-based art installations by Dani Dodge, Pam Douglas, and Snezana Petrovic, plus a large-scale public wall-drawing session led by TAG Gallery and the Southern California Women’s Caucus for the Arts. Family creative activities hosted by Japan Foundation Los Angeles, The Korean Cultural Center, The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, and others. 7600 Beverly Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Saturday, June 10, 2-7pm; free; tarfest.com.
American Indian Arts Marketplace and Native Voices 29th Festival of New Plays at the Autry. Celebrate contemporary and traditional Native art forms at the Autry Museum of the American West’s 32nd Annual American Indian Arts Marketplace where you can purchase one-of-a-kind artwork, jewelry, and fashion. Tickets to the Marketplace also includes the only Actors’ Equity theater company in the country devoted to developing new works by Indigenous playwrights, Native Voices Festival of New Plays (2:30pm); Indigenous Films from the Sundance Film Festival (11:30am); and special live vocal and dance performances (hourly from 1pm). 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park; Saturday-Sunday, June 10-11; 10am-5pm; $16/day; theautry.org.
Sunday, June 11
SALT: Volta x Heidi Ross at 2220 Arts + Archives. The Poetic Research Bureau and dance theater company Volta present an immersive performance that enables audience members to experience a collapsing relationship through taste, sound, dance, and poetry. Directed by Mamie Green and Megan Paradowski of Volta, writers Sammy Loren and Ellington Wells reimagine Euripides’ iconic tragedy Medea, and otherworldly harpist Melissa Achten scores the piece live. The atmosphere of “dark mania” will seize more than eyes and ears, as the audience sample edible installations by conceptual artist and chef Heidi Ross. 2220 Beverly Blvd., East Hollywood; Sunday, June 11, 3pm; Monday-Tuesday, June 12-13, 7pm; $30; 2220arts.org.
Tuesday, June 13
Writers Bloc presents David Fenton with Jane Fonda at New Roads School. Interested in making an impact for climate change? For gun violence prevention? For social justice? For human rights? Public health? Head straight for David Fenton. Fenton has been a social activism guru for decades, having worked with Yoko Ono; Nelson Mandela; Bruce Springsteen; Carl Sagan; Jesse Jackson; and countless other public figures in their crusades for social change. The Activist’s Media Handbook is a handbook for people who seek to be part of the solution. He tells stories of his successes and mistakes, and offers lessons he learned the hard way. 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica; Tuesday, June 13, 7:30pm; $25, $55 includes signed book; writersblocpresents.com.
Wednesday, June 14
Beyond Baroque presents Jerome Rothenberg and Charles Bernstein at Gagosian/Marciano Arts Foundation. An evening with poets Jerome Rothenberg and Charles Bernstein inside Anselm Kiefer’s remarkable exhibition Exodus. Two of the most consequential figures in radical poetics over the past half century, Rothenberg and Bernstein will explore some of the themes that occupy Kiefer—Jewish mysticism, the poetry of Paul Celan, and the formulation of a global poetics in response to the Holocaust—in a conversation and readings of their poetry. 4357 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown; Wednesday, June 14, 6:30pm; free; beyondbaroque.org.
The Lorraine Hansberry Initiative at Gloria Molina Grand Park and the A C Bilbrew Library. In 1959, Lorraine Hansberry became the first Black female playwright on Broadway with her play A Raisin in the Sun. It continues to be one of the most produced plays in the world, but Hansberry’s contribution to the world was far greater than that single play. Her entire body of work as an artist, journalist, and civil rights leader has proven to be as incisive and relevant today as it was during her short lifetime. Over 60 years later, female playwrights of color remain the most proportionally underrepresented demographic on American stages. This initiative aims to keep the national conversation about race, justice, and economic equality going by honoring Hansberry—in this case, with summer programming centering around special installations of sculptor Alison Saar’s statue of Hansberry.
Titled To Sit A While, the statue features the figure of Hansberry surrounded by five bronze chairs, each representing a different aspect of her life and work; the life-size chairs are an invitation to the public to sit with her and think. Originally unveiled in Times Square on June 9, 2022, the statue is currently on a national tour, with recent stops in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Detroit, as well as a return exhibition installation at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where its stay coincided with BAM’s production of Hansberry’s The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window. Gloria Molina Grand Park’s Olive Court, 200 N. Grand Ave., Opening reception: Wednesday, June 14, 6pm; On view through June 30 with movement and theater workshops June 20, 25 & 27; A C Bilbrew Library, 150 E. El Segundo Blvd., Willowbrook; On view July 7-31 with a special theater panel July 29; free; lorrainehansberryinitiative.org.
Not Another Second: LGBT+ Seniors Share Their Stories at The Watermark. Photographer Karsten Thormaehlen’s candid portraits and one-on-one, AR enhanced interviews with the 12 LGBT+ seniors invite them to tell their stories of integrity, resilience and humanity while paving a better way for future generations. These stories come from the individuals who were a part of the generation that lead the Stonewall uprising, founded political group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and helped end the US military policy commonly referred to as “don’t ask, don’t tell.” 947 Tiverton Ave., Westwood Village; On view through June 29; free; notanothersecond.com.
From the L.A. Weekly Pride Guide, which is being frequently updated throughout the month: It kicked off over a week ago, on Harvey Milk Day, but the WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival continues through June 30, with a bunch of cool exhibits. This weekend we recommend checking out the following: “Angelic Troublemakers” (digital drawings and photographs relating to the theme of LGBTQIA+ Pride) at West Hollywood Library; “My Own Private Rodeo,” in collaboration with ONE Archives Foundation and HIT presenting new works by Coyote Park posing the question, “What does it mean to exist in a way that our elders weren’t allowed to?” at ONE Gallery; and Rainbows, Wigs, and Shades, Dustin Gimbel‘s ceramic totem installation celebrating diversity at Sunset Plaza, 8624 W Sunset Blvd. More info on these and other events at wehopride.com/artsfestival.
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