The reception at La Luz de Jesus is a real lulu, kiddies, an unimaginably bizarre confluence of thanatology, superstition and exquisite artistry, all centered around a collection of jewel-encrusted, 500-year-old skeletons. When the remains of what were likely early Christian martyrs were discovered in the ancient catacombs of Rome in the late 16th century, they were turned over to an order of nuns for what became one of history's most unusual arts-and-crafts projects. The skeletons were lovingly reassembled and luxuriously festooned, only to be kept more or less kept from public view after the Vatican realized how potentially embarrassing such fetishistic veneration could be. But thanks to Los Angeles' own Dr. Paul Koudounaris and his just-published Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints From the Catacombs, we finally can get an up-close look. At once indescribably beautiful and hauntingly grotesque, each martyr is done up like some strange post-medieval Liberace. This All Saints Day exhibition of Koudounaris' original photographs is the only one of its kind currently scheduled in the United States, so don't miss it. La Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri., Nov. 1, 8-11 p.m.; runs through Dec. 1; free. (323) 666-7667,

Nov. 1-Dec. 1, 2013

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