This Earth Day, check back into the healing powers of nature, as all manner of creatives lift their eco-minded voices with films on environmental preservation, ethical adventurism, and the elemental marvels of the landscape; beachfront performance art opening lines of subliminal coastal communication; printmaking in conversation with the trees; and a full day of art, design, architecture, art-making, gardening lifestyle, conversation, demonstration, fairy gardens, and remedial landscaping. Plus classical music in the mansion, an arresting and rather magical new dance film, painters tackling organic geometry, painters reflecting their backgrounds in vivid tableaux, poetry and the theater, poetry by the pool, dreamy avant-garde cinema, and fucked up ceramics. Oh! And in honor of Earth Day, everyone gets free rides on Metro trains and buses for all of Saturday.
Thursday, April 20
NatGeo Live: Adaptation at the Broad Stage. Explore the remarkable ways people around the world are adapting to a changing climate with environmental anthropologist and filmmaker Alizé Carrère. From reef conservation in the South Pacific waters of Vanuatu, to the floating gardens in low-lying farmlands in Bangladesh, and ice pyramids in the mountainous desert of Ladakh in northern India, through her work documenting these stories, Carrère offers a hopeful look at the resilience, perseverance, and innovation of humankind under even the most difficult of conditions. 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Thursday, April 20, 7:30pm; $50; broadstage.org.
River at Laemmle Glendale (and VOD). Throughout history, rivers have shaped our landscapes and our journeys; flowed through our cultures and dreams. River, narrated by Willem Dafoe, takes audiences on a journey through space and time; spanning six continents, and drawing on extraordinary contemporary cinematography, including satellite filming, the film shows rivers on scales and from perspectives never seen before. Its union of image, music and sparse, poetic script create a film that is both dream-like and powerful, honoring the wildness of rivers but also recognizing their vulnerability. 207 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale; Thursday, April 20, 7:30pm; $12.50; river.film.
Music in the Mansion Festival at Greystone. Four nights of intimate classical performances inside the extremely lovely and acoustically perfect living room inside the iconic, historical setting of the Greystone Mansion & Gardens. Curated and produced in partnership with Laura Schmieder, Artistic Director of iPalpiti Artists, the festival features Shining Sound Ensemble, Latsos Piano Duo, the OC Classical Trio, and The Fiato Quartet, plus superstars of violin, voice, and harp, and will also showcase the winners of the annual Beverly Hills national auditions. 905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills; Thursday, April 20 – Sunday, April 23, $22; beverlyhills.org.
Carmen at Laemmle Theaters. Directed by acclaimed choreographer Benjamin Millepied of L.A. Dance Project, Carmen is a gritty, modern-day romance on the run, with a moving score by Nicholas Britell, and powerful, seductive, and dream-like dance sequences that move the emotionally intense story in a language beyond words. A young woman who is forced to flee her home in the Mexican desert following the brutal murder of her mother, survives a harrowing illegal border crossing into the U.S., only to be threatened by a lawless volunteer border guard and rescued by Aidan—a Marine with PTSD. In Los Angeles they find Carmen’s mother’s best friend, a mercurial and magnificent nightclub matriarch played by the ever-mesmerizing Rossy de Palma. With an eclectic stylistic range of dance and song (including by a still-smoldering de Palma), this film evokes Romeo & Juliet, West Side Story, Bizet’s opera, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and a Lynchian sense of sexy noir, in a unique project that centers the language of movement in narrative arcs. Opens at the Royal April 20, Town Center 5 April 28, Newhall and Glendale May 5th, and Claremont 5 May 12; $12.50 laemmle.com/film/carmen.
Friday, April 21
Markus Lüpertz: Markus the Painter or the Ratio of the Impossible at Vito Schnabel Gallery. Comprising 30 paintings made between 1964 and 2021, this exhibition presents a survey of Lüpertz’s work and sheds light on the prolific, influential, and critically acclaimed German artist’s six-decade immersion in the medium of painting, revealing his unique approach to the realm that lies between representation and abstraction. In his practice, Lüpertz isolates, liberates, and transforms familiar figural elements or motifs from their bearings, applying expressive gestures to deconstruct the context in order to create something entirely new. Old Santa Monica Post Office, 1248 5th St., Santa Monica; On view April 21-June 11; free, by appt.; vitoschnabel.com.
Sebastian Rosen: Crime Pays, 999 Ways at Wonzimer Gallery. Rosen is drawn to the expressive power of color and texture that only an intuitive process-based method of painting can cultivate. His canvases construct, expand, and collapse space by confronting the rigidity of perspective and denying a clear viewpoint into the worlds he creates. He offers worlds whose geometry and logic are amorphous and shifting; thus never stable. It is through the absence of such pictorial stability that the viewer is forced to intuit their own way through these spaces, from sweeping landscapes to intimate interiors. 341 S. Avenue 17, downtown; Opening reception: Friday, April 21, 5-10pm; On view through May 12; free; instagram.com/wonzimer.
Saturday, April 22
Wangari Mathenge: Tidal Wave of Colour at Roberts Projects. Mathenge’s title takes its inspiration from Malcolm X, who used the phrase to capture the post-WW2 zeitgeist of global revolution, when ideas about liberation and independence permeated the world and Africa, Asia, and Latin America revolted in pursuit of decolonization. On her journey to becoming an artist, Mathenge discovered that she herself was in the midst of her own revolution. In re-imagining herself throughout this new body of work, Mathenge reinterprets iconic works etched deep into art history, and in reworking the familiarity of the canon, leans into the transcendent elements of her artistic practice. 442 S. La Brea, Mid-Wilshire; Opening reception: Saturday, April 22, 6-8pm; On view through June 3; free; robertsprojectsla.com.
Francisco Palomares: No Parking on PalomaresBLVD at Bermudez Projects. The East L.A.-based Palomares takes audiences for a ride through his creative world, summoning memories of running errands with his mom years ago, when they’d laugh at how similar Olympic Blvd. was to a street in Mexico. As the artist puts it, “PalomaresBLVD is a street of immigrants, artists, and Latino businesses. We hear cumbias, norteños, banda, hip hop, rock en español, and jazz.” In the collection of street scenes, portraits, and still-lifes, we see scenes that are a reflection of the artist’s youth, “diverse, eager, and artistic, with a Downtown L.A. backdrop.” 1225 Cypress Ave., Cypress Park; Opening reception: Saturday, April 22, 6-9pm; On view through May 13; free; bermudezprojects.com.
Swept Away: Love Letter to a Surrogate at Annenberg Community Beach House. Organized by artists/curators Warren Neidich, Renée Petropoulos, and Anuradha Vikram, Swept Away: Love Letter to a Surrogate is a community-oriented artistic project that creates a transcontinental heartbeat across America, as 65 L.A. County artists present live performances over Earth Day weekend at Santa Monica State Beach. Swept Away began in September 2022, when these artists sent “love letters” to their counterparts on the East End of Long Island, who in turn responded with live performances on East Hampton’s Main Beach in the Fall. Now it’s L.A.’s turn again, with this micro-festival of simultaneous, heartfelt, site-specific works. 415 E. PCH, Santa Monica; Saturday-Sunday, April 22-23, 8am-noon & 4-10pm; free; 18thstreet.org.
Seeding the City: Nature’s Story at Helms Bakery District. This Earth Day, Helms Bakery District curates a public afternoon of playful and powerful visualizations, pop-up displays, and interactive workshops created by leading artists, designers, and filmmakers—all with ecology and good design in mind. Actions include making your own fairy gardens with landscape architect Takako Tajima, Alexander Vidal, author-illustrator of Wilds of the United States and illustrator of Cougar Crossing, sharing work from his books and leading a drawing workshop, evening projections of Digital Flowers by Sean Knibb’s Flowerboy Project, the Small Print Books mobile bookstore van rolling in, L.A. nature lovers Teena Apeles and Andrea Richards of Narrated Objects showing you how to create your own nature journal, Rachel X Hobreigh curating 300 unique 4×4-inch mixed media works by 80 global artists inspired by air, earth and water, The Samburu Project community market of Kenya, a screening of My Garden of a Thousand Bees which follows acclaimed wildlife filmmaker Martin Dohrn, and Nature Art & Habitat Residency (NAHR) with Frances Anderton in a conversation asking What is in the Air?, this year’s topic—and so much more. 8800 Venice Blvd., Culver City; Saturday, April 22, noon-8pm; free; helmsbakerydistrict.com.
L.A. Printmaking Society presents Conversations in The Secret Language of Nature: Between Us and the Trees at Center for the Arts Eagle Rock. In The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, What They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World, forest scientist Peter Wohlleben writes about the secret language of the trees, the forest ecosystems, and the fungal communication of the ancient forests. Through the exploration of communication systems between the trees, the botanical world, and ourselves, members of Los Angeles Printmaking Society & special guests investigate the themes of plant intelligence, hidden communication and the transcendent connections between us and the natural world. 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock; Saturday, April 22, 1-4pm; free; laprintmakingsociety.org.
12th Annual Get Lit Classic Slam Finals at the Theater at the Ace Hotel. The culmination of Get Lit’s in-school program is the annual Classic Slam—one of the largest youth Spoken Word events in the country. It’s a celebration of fire and feeling, with fresh perspectives that demonstrate storytelling at the highest level. Hosted by actress and poet Ashley August, and judged by celebrity poets like Malcom-Jamal Warner, Juan Felipe Herrera, Lee Herrick, Mila Cuda, Salome Agbaroji, and Luis J. Rodriguez, you’ll walk out of the theater feeling uplifted and more connected to community than ever. 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Saturday, April 22, 7-10pm; $20; getlit.org.
Sunday, April 23
LAND, GYOPO, and LA FilmForum present The Margins of Dream Language: Experimental Korean Female Filmmakers at 2220 Arts + Archives. When image and language are paired together, written and spoken words can reposition the image’s hierarchical role and create an opportunity for a new point of view. In this film program, Korean female filmmakers use text itself as a material—either directly burned into the film or inserted as voice over—to push cinema towards a radical location or realm, engaging with an expansive legacy of colonial power dynamics. This screening is curated by Seokyoung Yang, and includes works by Eugene Mayu Kim, Heehyun Choi, Woojin Kim, Onyou Oh, and Boyoon Choi, an essay by Jae Min Lee. 2220 Beverly Blvd., Westlake; Sunday, April 23, 12:30pm; free; nomadicdivision.org.
One Day Only Ceramic Sale at Lauren Powell Projects. Something about clay, the unpredictability of its pigmentation, the elemental evidence of the artist’s dirty hands, the slowness, the opportunity for subversion of idioms within a crafty, conventional material, and the wit of making clunky, disarming, naive objects full of narrative, concept, and dark humor—small wonder the absolutely wild world of fucked up ceramics is having a moment. Come fall in love with cheeky, charming, tactile, obsession-worthy, mangled, and completely madcap works by Benjamin Cabral, Ceres Madoo, Thomas Martinez Pilnik, Kim Tucker, and many more in a special one-day gallery show and sale. 5225 Hollywood Blvd., East Hollywood; Sunday, April 23, noon-5pm; instagram.com/laurenpowellprojects.
Tuesday, April 25
Kevin Chen in conversation with Michael Berry at ALOUD. This bestselling author and winner of the Taiwan Literature Award is back with Ghost Town, a novel that begins a decade after “Keith Chen” leaves his traditional family in a small village in Taiwan for Berlin. Chen is hoping that he will find support and acceptance far away from the attitudes and practices of his village. The novel opens with Chen being released from prison for killing his boyfriend. He is about to return to the desolate village in which he grew up. Told in myriad voices, both living and dead, Ghost Town weaves a mesmerizing story where we learn what family secrets tore Chen’s family apart, and the real tale behind the murder of his boyfriend. Westwood Branch Library, 1246 Glendon Ave.; Tuesday, April 25, 7pm; free; lfla.org.
Wednesday, April 26
WeHo Reads presents Lounging with the Poets at West Hollywood Aquatics & Recreation Center. Come relax with a poet at the inaugural Poetry Spa Day at the respite deck of the new West Hollywood Aquatic and Recreation Center. Guests will receive a menu of services and tokens to have individual, one-on-one experiences with former West Hollywood Poet Laureates and special guests, ranging from cucumber poetry facials to poetry speed dating, before gathering at the steps at sunset to hear all the poets (Linda Ravenswood, Kim Dower, Charles Flowers, Steven Reigns, Brian Sonia-Wallace, and Jen Cheng) share their words in a ritual closing and celebration of National Poetry Month. 8750 El Tovar Pl., West Hollywood; Wednesday, April 26, 6-8pm; free; weho.org.
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