arts calendar los angelesMystics of aroma, contentious histories of politics in Hollywood, photography from the surreal to the scenographic, interpretive dance, science fiction in the arts, classical painting upended, classical theater reclaimed for the people, classic literature re-attributed, contemporary artists from Africa, modern pagan folk art, narrative design objects of a reimagined childhood, a skateboard legend’s life’s work in art, the case for radical soulful attention, rooftop dance, trashy fiction.

mystics arts calendar

Julie Blackmon: Records, 2021, Archival Pigment Print (Courtesy of Fahey/Klein)

Thursday, May 4

Julie Blackmon: Midwest Materials and Geof Kern: Midtown Exit at Fahey/Klein Gallery. Finding insight and inspiration in the seeming monotony of her “generic American hometown,” Blackmon constructs a captivating, fictitious world that can be at times both playful and menacing. Kern’s multifaceted style combines photography and illustration and redefines the traditional photographic genres of fashion and still life, using fabricated sets and pseudo-suburban scenes to mock the mundane. 148 N. La Brea, Hollywood; Opening: Thursday, May 4, 7-9pm; On view through June 10; free;

Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare at the Skirball

Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare, and Peter Krasnow: Breathing Joy and Light, at the Skirball. A pair of new exhibitions take sweeping historical and intimately personal views of pursuing creativity in challenging times. Explore the history and impact of the McCarthy-era anti-Communist panic of the Hollywood Red Scare, and its contemporary implications for civil liberties, propaganda, and shifting definitions of American patriotism. Rediscover hope in the organic forms and vibrant colors of paintings by Peter Krasnow (b. 1886, Ukraine-d. 1979, Los Angeles), whose works from the Skirball’s collection are inspired by his Jewish heritage and the shining optimism of Southern California. Accompanying the artwork is a soundtrack by dublab, tracing Krasnow’s spirited expressions. 2701 N. Sepulveda, Brentwood;  Both exhibitions run May 3 – September 3; $12;

Peter Krasnow: Casa Verdugo, 1923, repainted 1963), Oil on board (Courtesy of the Skirball Cultural Center. Photo by Robert Wedemeyer)

Cristian Marianciuc: Olfactory Peregrinations at Scent Week LA

Scent Week Los Angeles. Through a diverse and eclectic series of talks, workshops, exhibitions, projects, and parties, Scent Week will shine a long overdue spotlight on global perfumery practices in the context of Los Angeles’ thriving independent perfume scene. A film series featuring 4D sensory activations; Scent Fair LA introduces new audiences to the world of highly conceptual scents by a curated selection of cutting-edge fragrance makers; the 9th edition of the Art and Olfaction Awards; plus conversations, open studios, gallery shows, something intriguingly called a Scent Rave, wine, walking tours, high-profile appearances, interdisciplinary crossovers, and more. Various crosstown locations including The Aster, Craft Contemporary, Pacific Resident Theater, and the Institute for Art & Olfaction; Free and ticketed events May 4-14;

Ligia Lewis (Photo: © Moritz Freudenberg)

Friday, May 5

Ligia Lewis: A Plot/A Scandal at MOCA. A dance between affect and embodiment, seeing and being seen, Ligia Lewis’s new work, A Plot/A Scandal, constructs the poetics of refusal at the edges of representation. It is a scene in the making where excitement for that which does not fit might find its place. Guided by the questions of whom this pleasure is for and at what expense, Lewis’s newest plot explores the stage where scandals abound by weaving together historical, anecdotal, political, and mythical narratives. Geffen Contemporary, 152 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo; Friday-Saturday, May 5-6, 7pm; $12;

Giant Robot: Asian Pop Culture and Beyond (Artbound/PBS)

First Fridays: Giant Monsters/Giant Robot at Natural History Museum. Explore the Museum after hours with live music, DJs, topical discussions, signature cocktails, pop-up experiences, special NHM collections displays, and more. This season’s theme is how nature and science influence the creation of our favorite imagined worlds, and this month’s program explores the rise of Asian pop culture and the legacy and work of Giant Robot Magazine. Featuring a documentary screening and a panel that includes founders of Giant Robot Magazine, Eric Nakamura and Martin Wong, artist James Jean, filmmaker Dylan Robertson, and acclaimed filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña, they’ll be discussing how Asian pop culture has influenced and propelled popular culture throughout the years from Godzilla and anime to Hello Kitty and K-pop. Plus, cosplay as your favorite fantasy and fandom character and get a chance to win a prize for favorite costume! Extra points for representing this month’s theme. Exposition Park, downtown; Friday, May 5, 5pm; $20;

Chris Fallon: Welcome Committee, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40 in (Courtesy of The Landing)

Saturday, May 6

Chris Fallon: Under the Vast Indifference at The Landing. The gaze of a Greco-Roman bust fixes on a figure ostentatiously shrouded in layers of bright fabric. A pool of black matter, reflective like latex, mars a living room floor. A couple poses in front of an irradiant sunset, their faces concealed by masks. A lonely, biomorphic form rests on a lush forest floor. Such images saturate painter Chris Fallon’s world, in which the gaping maw of melodrama swallows the austere, the antique, and the refined. 5118 W. Jefferson Blvd., West Adams; Opening reception: Saturday, May 6, 6-9pm; On view through June 17; free;

Tendai Mupita: Zadzadama, 2023, Pen Markers, Acrylic Paint, Printing Ink on Fabriano Paper, 40 x32 in. (Courtesy of Rele Gallery)

Facing South: Mythical Mindscapes at Rele Gallery. The first in a series of group exhibitions featuring works by artists from Southern Africa, exploring ideas of hybridity, spirituality, and the metaphysical, as well as critiquing entrenched forms of Western ideology. Tendai Mupita is a multidisciplinary Zimbabwean artist who creates allegorical sculptures and paintings. South African artist Qhamani Bangani explores the metaphysical and spiritual realms in his dreamscape paintings. Kay Gasei is a British-Zambian artist who explores myths and narratives through symbolism, recurring motifs, and original characters. 8215 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Opening reception: Saturday, May 6, 5pm; On view through May 27; free;

Meagan Boyd at Space Art + Supply

Meagan Boyd: Anima Mundi at SPACE Art + Supply. Bridging the gap between the sacred and the mundane, Boyd explores visionary landscapes inhabited by both divine and feral creatures. Rendered in brush work that is both intricate and wild, her paintings present archetypal figures that reconstruct ancient narratives into personal mythologies both relatable and wondrous. Opening night will include a talk and book-signing hosted by Jessica Hundley of Taschen’s Library of Esoterica. 115 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd; Topanga; Opening reception: Saturday, May 6, 7-10pm; On view through June 4; free;

Didier William: Plonje (Dive), 2023, Acrylic, wood carving, and ink on panel 106 x 70 in (Courtesy of James Fuentes Gallery)

Didier William: Things Like This Don’t Happen Here at James Fuentes Gallery. James Fuentes inaugurates the gallery’s new Los Angeles location with a solo exhibition of new work by Didier William. Marrying techniques of painting and printmaking with processes of carving and collage, William’s visual terrains are as layered in meaning as they are material. In these works, scales of personal narrative and biography merge and expand across historical timelines and into the realm of mythology. The result is a radical connection to generational memory that gives form to the varying complexities of diasporic identity and makes material its continual transformation. 5015 Melrose Ave., Melrose Hill: Opening reception: Saturday, May 6, 6-8pm; On view through June 17; free;

Works in process in Sarah Burns’ Ridgewood, Queens studio (Courtesy of Marta. Photo by Sean Davidson)

Sarah Burns: Prairie’s Edge at Marta. The inaugural solo exhibition of work by artist and designer Sarah Burns is named for the Minnesota casino frequented by Burns’ grandmother, and this presentation of nine furniture explorations is a deeply personal study of autobiography and the varied typologies of American craftsmanship. Every choice is a reimagining of the formal qualities of the home space, imbued with the warmth of memory and its attendant emotional landscapes, allowing for the expression of Burns’ simultaneous concerns of narrative and function. 3021 Rowena Ave., Silver Lake; Opening reception: Saturday, May 6, 4-7pm; On view through June 10; free;

Ed Templeton: Mike Maldonado, Iowa

Ed Templeton: Wires Crossed at Arcana Books. Wires Crossed (Aperture) is a photographic survey, 17 years in the making, that is part memoir and part documentary chronicling the early years of American skateboarding culture from 1995-2012. The book weaves hundreds of unpublished images with contemporaneous texts, maps, and collected ephemera and includes interviews with Deanna Templeton and fellow skaters Elissa Steamer, Brian Anderson, Justin Regan, and Erik Ellington. “These photographs have been present throughout my work since the beginning,” writes Templeton, “but it has yet to be presented as a fully realized whole. This project is the reason I started shooting photos and is essentially my life’s work.” 8675 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Saturday, May 6, 4-6pm; free/book $60;

Heidi Duckler Dance at the Bendix Building

Sunday, May 7

Truth or Consequences: Never Ending Story at Heidi Duckler Dance. The downtown salon will feature original works from Heidi Duckler, HDD Artist in Residence Raymond Ejiofor, DaEun Jung, and Ok Nico. Audience members will move through different parts of the Bendix Building to experience an interconnected web of narratives across different artistic mediums, flowing together to create one “never ending story.” Pre-show cocktails, local catering, and afterparty included. 1206 Maple, downtown; Sunday, May 7, 6-9pm; $35;

Live Talks LA

Rainn Wilson and Valarie Kaur at Live Talks L.A. (Live & Virtual). Actor, producer, writer, and bestselling author Rainn Wilson, cofounder of the media company SoulPancake, explores the benefits of spirituality as a means to creating solutions for an increasingly challenging world. You may know Wilson as Dwight Schrute on TV’s The Office, but he’s also a writer, thinker and media executive. In his new book, Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution, he talks about the need for profound healing that can only be provided by faith and the sacred. Sparked by his personal struggles with loss, addiction and mental health, Wilson delves into ancient wisdom for answers to life’s deepest questions. New Roads School, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica; Sunday, May 7, 3pm; $46, General Admission + signed book; $66, Two General Admissions + one signed book; $40, Virtual Only + signed book (airs May 15);

John Waters at Book Soup

Monday, May 8

John Waters signs Liarmouth at Book Soup. Book Soup is excited to welcome back John Waters in celebration of the paperback release of Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance. Marsha Sprinkle: Suitcase thief. Scammer. Master of disguise. Dogs and children hate her. Her own family wants her dead. She’s smart, she’s desperate, she’s disturbed, and she’s on the run with a big chip on her shoulder. They call her Liarmouth–until one insane man makes her tell the truth. To prepare, revisit our interview with Waters around the book’s original 2022 release. 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Monday, May 8, 6pm; $18 includes book;

Elizabeth Winkler at Writers Bloc

Tuesday, May 9

Writers Bloc presents Elizabeth Winkler in conversation with Catherine Schine at the Ebell of Los Angeles. Shakespeare wrote 38 plays and 154 sonnets. It is a truth universally acknowledged that he is the greatest writer in English literature. Yet Shakespeare’s personal biography has mystified academics and armchair fans and experts for centuries. So what happens when it’s suggested that perhaps those immortal plays weren’t all written by Shakespeare? Was the author an anonymous aristocrat? A spy? Or even perhaps a woman? Elizabeth Winkler, author of Shakespeare Was A Woman and Other Heresies, explores the possibilities with humor, fun, and hell-bent detection. 741 S. Lucerne Blvd., Los Angeles; Tuesday, May 9, 7:30pm; $25;

Las Diosas Subterráneas at Latino Theater Company

Wednesday, May 10

Las Diosas Subterráneas at Latino Theater Company. The ancient Greek myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, who is kidnapped into the underworld by the god Hades, is intertwined with the modern-day story of Luz García—a character based on real stories of kidnapped women who were able to escape from traffickers and become activists. The play tells the story of mothers looking for their daughters and finding an echo in the strength of community. Organizacion Secreta Teatro presents a story of disobedience and subversion. L.A. Theater Center, 514 S. Spring St., downtown; Performances May 10-14; pay what you can;


Kay Gasei at Rele Gallery

Qhamani Bangani at Rele Gallery

Geof Kern at Fahey/Klein




































































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