Start this holiday week’s arts calendar with some giving back, try swapping Black Friday for Black Metal Friday at Cakeland, drop in on a big show of small art, tune in to some online and even live idea and art talks, catch the Getty’s Lizastrata free online stream before it ends, leave anonymous voicemails for the people making you crazy at family dinner, and check out a Russian museum’s ambitious foray into the cryptoart space.
Wednesday, November 24
Thanksgiving Dinner Service at L.A. Mission. For more than 84 years, the Los Angeles Mission has served the people of Skid Row, and the holidays are an especially crucial time for volunteers to serve meals to those in need. The Mission’s annual Thanksgiving event is one of the nation’s largest providers of services to homeless individuals. This year’s event is sponsored by LA icon, Magic Johnson, and anchors a full day of celebrities, local political leaders, and regular folks who want to give back, joining together to serve special chef-inspired recipes to people who need a taste of compassion and understanding. 303 E. 5th St., dtla; Wednesday, November 24, 6:30am-3:30pm; losangelesmission.org.
Thursday, November 25
Turkey Trot at City Hall. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Turkey Trot Los Angeles benefits The Midnight Mission and their efforts to provide a path to self-sufficiency to those experiencing homelessness. Instead of running off a meal, run to provide a meal to the thousands who are hungry. The Midnight Mission emergency services and 12-step recovery, family living, job training, education, and workforce development programs offer a compassionate bridge to achieve and maintain healthy, productive lives. This is the day to run for a cause. The race starts and finishes in front of City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., downtown; Thursday, November 25; packet pick up 6:30am; 5K through the Historic Core starts at 8am; midnightmission.org.
Friday, November 26
Black Metal Friday at Cakeland. Escape the crowds and din of capitalism and step into the light-meets-dark immersive art experience that is The Beauty War. Enjoy new additions and features to the permanent exhibit, along with Metal + doom music all day, free treats, and a deadly costume contest. The Beauty War is an art installation that’s part hall of mirrors, part dark ride, and part cake-infinity wonderland, whose contrasting labyrinth of rooms hold allegorical references to the universal archetypes we all traverse; from birth, independence, fear of the unknown, personal actualization, spiritual illumination and death. 936 Mei Ling Way, Chinatown; Friday, November 26, noon-7pm; $10 discount admission; eventbrite.com.
Saturday, November 27
That Time, 2021 at Shatto Gallery. A group exhibition encompassing a wide range of mediums from paintings, drawing, collages, photography, ceramics, to mixed media sculpture, and featuring nearly 30 artists from the gallery program. The artists included are a mix of established and emerging artists based in Los Angeles. The better to help you give the gift of art — even to yourself — for this exhibition especially, their works are priced at $800 and below. 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Wilshire Center; Opening reception: Saturday, November 27, 1-5pm; on view through December 18; free; shattogallery.com.
Sunday, November 28
Final Day of Lizastrata Online! at the Getty (Virtual). Tickets for the in-person production of Lizastrata sold out almost immediately, but Lizastrata Online! brings the Troubadour Theater Company to you. In this hilarious, musical retelling of one of history’s greatest theatrical offerings, Lizastrata takes on the establishment, storms the Acropolis, and holds the treasury hostage until the long-warring men of Athens and Sparta commit to declaring peace. Her strategy? All the women go on a sex strike. Set to a mash-up of Liza Minelli’s greatest hits, the talented Troubie triple-threats perform song and dance for a deliciously irreverent romp. No sequin will be spared! Available online for free through midnight on November 28; getty.edu.
Tuesday, November 30
5 Questions, 5 Artists: Lyle Ashton Harris at LACMA (Virtual). Presented in conjunction with Black American Portraits, an exhibition that reframes portraiture to center Black American subjects, sitters, and spaces, this series will include conversations between artists and LACMA curators and educators. Each artist will be presented with the same five key questions about portraiture, exploring how this art form functioned historically in an encyclopedic collection while also providing us with new perspectives on representation. Tuesday, November 30, noon; free; lacma.org.
Optopia: From Fiction to Action on Climate Change, at the Fowler (Live & Virtual). Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer, the author of more than 20 books, including the internationally bestselling Mars trilogy. In 2008, he was named a “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine; he works with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and UC San Diego’s Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination — and there’s even an asteroid named “Kimrobinson.” Featuring a discussion with moderator Ursula Heise, the evening is co-presented by UCLA and the Berggruen Institute and furthers a focus on innovative ways to conceptualize urgent action toward saving the planet — specifically deriving inspiration from science fiction as actual science so often does. 308 Charles E. Young Dr., Westwood; Tuesday, November 30; 5:30pm; in-person and live-streamed; free; humanities.ucla.edu.
Wednesday, December 1
LACE Garage Sale. With renovations coming up fast, LACE will be peripatetic for a little while. And while they won’t stop programming at unique sites around town, they do need to lighten their load before the move. And by load, we mean yards and yards of art, editions, books, ephemera (so much ephemera), frames, furniture, art and office supplies. They’re also offering 20% off their trove of recent and historical LACE Special Editions and rare vintage publications, and the whole experience is enlivened by DJ sets from the giddy and lately under-rested gallery team. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Wednesday-Sunday, December 1-5; noon-6pm; free; welcometolace.org.
JEFF&GORDON: Not at the Dinner Table (Telephone). Artists Jeff Foye and Gordon Winiemko present the 2021 edition of their always-timely, participatory artwork, inviting everyone to call 512-862-4882 and leave an anonymous voicemail for someone in their life with whom they disagree about a contentious civic issue. Callers can also listen to a rotating selection of voice messages from throughout the life of the project, which the duo debuted in 2013 and have been re-presenting every year since 2015. Callers have left messages on such issues as gun control, LGBT rights, religion, and politics — the kind of thing that can be counted on to ruin any Thanksgiving. This year, maybe just lock yourself in the bathroom and leave it on the voicemail instead. Call 512-862-4882; 24/7 through January 1; free; jeffandgordon.net.
Fire Sign: Good Naked at Ladies Room (Virtual). Curator Jacqueline Cedar writes of this verdant and florid group show, “Up at dawn. Dark at four. Walls a cave. Night is day. Where’s the light? Fire sign. Fire sign. Deep orange and cerulean. Wind plus hail. Skipping leaves. Lightning looms. Fire sign. Fire sign. Fan the flame. Glow. Trip. Tumble. Float. Sway. Wind again. Fire sign. Carry me. Fire sign. Glow again. Fire sign. Quiet looking. Light is changing. Stop and stare. Fire sign. Look up! Look up! Fire sign. Sky is moving. Sky is falling? City’s still. Fire sign. Tuck me in. Warm me up. Fire sign. Fluoresce and glow. Fire sign. Heavy eyelids. Fire sign. Carry me. Fire sign. Hold my head so I can stare. Fire sign. Fire sign. Glow. Glow. Glow. Eyes closed. Eyes open. Fire sign.” Through January 15, ladiesroomla.org.
The Ethereal Aether at the (Celestial) Hermitage (Virtual). The Ethereal Aether. An Exhibition of Digital Art is the first fully virtual exhibit project by Russia’s State Hermitage Museum. The idea at the core of the exhibit is a study and reimagining of the meteoric rise of NFT technologies and their influence on contemporary art practice from 2014-2021. For this reason, showing digital art in a digital art — its natural environment, without translating it into a physical reality — is one of the conceptual decisions that shaped this exhibit. The name of the exhibit harkens back both to the poetry of Fyodor Tyutchev and to the multi-faceted meanings of the word “аether”: the original Greek, mythology and philosophy, and its use in the sphere of contemporary cryptocurrency. Inside the virtual gallery space (scroll past the NFT thumbnails for the portal), visitors can walk through the digital halls, studying exhibits and interacting with each other. Through December 10; free; celestialhermitage.ru.