AI-generated paintings that move. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself this weekend
Last weekend was quite the whirlwind: Frieze Los Angeles, the British Academy Film Awards and rumors of Kendall Jenner on a secret date with Bad Bunny (gasp). I can handle only so much! I’m Steven Vargas, your L.A. Goes Out host, and as the Script famously put it, “I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing.” While I catch my breath, let’s bring you this week’s top recs from the crew:
1. ‘Refik Anadol: Living Paintings’
In Refik Anadol’s first major solo exhibition in Los Angeles, the digital artist creates flowing works of art that constantly move right in front of you with the power of AI. How does it do this? Anadol’s work pulls from data and images from California urban life and nature to reinterpret the world around us. The outcome can be as literal as an ever-changing landscape or as abstract as hypnotic colors. For more info, check out The Times’ Deborah Vankin’s interview with Anadol. The show is free and runs until April 8 at Jeffrey Deitch in Hollywood. The gallery is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; more details can be found online.
2. ‘Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord’
The COVID-19-induced quarantine brought whipped coffee, sourdough bread recipes and the origins of Kristina Wong’s latest show, “Sweatshop Overlord.” The show, which is co-produced by Center Theatre Group and East West Players, documents how she spent quarantine sewing masks out of old bed sheets and leading what would become the Auntie Sewing Squad. The group of mostly Asian women connected via Facebook to sew masks for at-risk and vulnerable communities. The Times’ Charles McNulty describes it as a “must-see show” in his review. If you’re interested in taking a peek behind the curtain, check out The Times’ Jessica Gelt’s feature with the comedian. The show at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City runs until March 12 and tickets range from $30 to $79. More details can be found on Center Theatre Group’s website.
Get a deeper look at how art can create social change with “Treelogy” at the Soraya in Northridge. The Soraya and CSUN partnered with three California State University campuses, musicians, visual artists and advocacy organizations for a night dedicated to climate change awareness. Billy Childs, Steven Mackey and Gabriella Smith have composed a three-part concert on Thursday that responds to wildfires in California and environmental destruction. The show also partners with TreePeople and 11:11 Creative Collective to provide further discussion on climate change issues through art and public campaigns. The event starts at 8 p.m. and tickets range from $41 to $94. Details can be found on the Soraya’s website.
4. ‘Danielle De Jesus: Street Kind’
Artist and activist Danielle De Jesus’ latest solo show at François Ghebaly in downtown Los Angeles displays the lives and perspectives of street vendors. With paint, thread and textiles, De Jesus creates vibrant images of the underrepresented community on dollar bills. Alongside the works on American currency is a work on canvas, “Los churros de Maria,” another depiction of the food and goods provided by street vendors. The series beautifully depicts the families and culture behind a central part of the community, especially for the neighborhood in New York where De Jesus grew up. The exhibition is free and open to the public 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
5. ‘Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side’
The world premiere of Adrienne Kennedy‘s latest play will be presented by CalArts’ Center for New Performance at REDCAT Thursday through Saturday. “Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side” follows two sisters whose propensity for competition leads to each other’s destruction. Director Monty Cole provides a cinematic approach to Kennedy’s latest work depicting the Black experience in 20th century America, combining monologues, voice-overs, dialogues and prose in this experimental thriller. Tickets are $25 and can be found on REDCAT’s website.
Bonus round: ‘For the Love of a Glove’
Michael Jackson’s complicated upbringing and controversies are explored from the perspective of his signature glove in this show at the Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan Theater. The absurd musical “For the Love of a Glove” utilizes puppetry for a new look at the forces that shaped Jackson’s career and reputation. The show is produced by Jackson 5 tour manager and Motown executive Tony Jones and includes original music by Coco Morier, Drew Erickson and Max Townsley. The show is a wild ride full of comedic jabs at the Jackson biography, exploring issues of race, religion and sexuality. Fair warning: The show is expletive-laden and packs a punch. For a deeper look at the show, check out The Times’ Ashley Lee’s story on “For the Love of a Glove” when it opened in 2020 before being interrupted by COVID-19. The show opens Saturday and runs until April 1. Tickets range from $50 to $80 and can be found on the show’s website.
Your L.A. weekend, all mapped out
For a more comprehensive roundup of exhibitions, concerts, screenings, festivals and other events, check out Matt Cooper’s Culture Guide. The mapped list is a go-to for those who make plans based on the commute, and it also can be filtered by event type and price.
On my mind
This past week, I broke away from L.A. art fairs to watch two performances from A.I.M by Kyle Abraham: “An Untitled Love” at USC’s Bovard Auditorium and “Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth” at CSUN’s the Soraya.
“Untitled Love,” set to music from R&B legend D’Angelo, explored self-love and Black love with vignettes of relationships. Although it looked improvised, Abraham made it clear in the post-show discussion that every bit was choreographed, all the way down to the subtle social interactions — at one point, two dancers dabbed each other. Seamlessly combining street dances like house and whacking with traditional ballet movement, Abraham created a work that highlighted intimate relationships and the joys of community.
The group of dancers congregated on a couch at the corner of the stage to gossip and flirt with their love interests. In a poignant portion of the show, four women sat side-by-side on the couch, moving in unison. They slowly rolled their shoulders, turned their heads and crossed their legs. While these movements were simple and pedestrian, they packed a punch. It was a moment that depicted Black womanhood and friendship, combining sensual movement with vulnerable tableax of introspection.
The final duet between Martell Ruffin and Catherine Kirk was a breathtaking portrait of emotional intimacy. They held on to each other for support while falling from one side of the stage to the other. When left alone on stage, Ruffin’s movement’s grew more frantic as he quivered and shook his limbs, shifting from body isolations to full-body grooves that took up the stage.
On Saturday, I went to see A.I.M’s “Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth.” The performance, exploring life, death and rebirth, was innovative in every aspect — from the music by producer Jlin to the costume design by Giles Deacon. There was a dichotomy in the performance, which began with Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, then evolved into Jlin’s deconstruction of Mozart’s piece. The choreography was also deconstructed, pulling from the movement we saw during the first section and giving it new life.
Keerati Jinakunwiphat and Jae Neal stood out during their duet, flowing through each step with impressive speed. Jinakunwiphat spun and landed like a feather with her leg in Neal’s hand as if it snapped in place. Meanwhile, Neal moved with powerful isolation, shifting from whacking to a turn of their own. Ruffin’s solo was just as poignant in this performance, as he fully immersed himself in the flow and emotion.
The choreography shifted as dancers depicted death, shaking their entire bodies. When these moments happened, others came to bring them back to life. Just like “An Untitled Love,” the work combined street dance with ballet as performers incorporated litefeet and even twerking for a brief moment.
Coined the “original recipe,” Abraham consistently delivers a beautifully balanced meal with his choreography. “An Untitled Love” and “Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth” are no exception.
Here’s everything you need to known in advance about Greater L.A. Theatre Week from March 13 to 26. This two-week celebration offers lowered prices, starting at $20, to the biggest shows. More than 75 productions are involved, and you can start purchasing early-access tickets on Monday. Ahmanson Theatre, Dolby Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse and Geffen Playhouse are among the participating venues. The theaters are located all over L.A., and if you want to make the most of the celebration, you’ll need a plan to get from place to place. I’ve got all my public transportation commuters covered with this rundown of the trains and buses that connect you from one art hub to another:
- Lines from Pasadena to DTLA: Catch the Gold Line nearest the Pasadena theater you are visiting and take it down to Union Station. From Union Station, take the Red Line or Purple Line to Civic Center, where the hub of theaters is located, including Ahmanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum.
- From DTLA to Hollywood: Catch the Red Line nearest the DTLA venue you are visiting and go toward North Hollywood. Then stop closest to the Hollywood theater you are hopping to (usually off Hollywood/Highland or above). Some venues may require an extra bus ride or a short walk off the train.
- From Hollywood to Westwood: Catch the 2 bus at a stop nearest you all the way down to Westwood. This line is a direct route out of Hollywood and goes straight to UCLA, where the Geffen Playhouse is located.
- From Westwood to Beverly Hills or Santa Monica: From Westwood, you have two options to get to Santa Monica: the Big Blue Bus 2 or 1, or the 720 bus. Both will take you straight to the Broad Stage. And to get to Beverly Hills, which is home to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, your best bet is the 720 bus going east toward DTLA.
- If you’re going to the venues in Orange County or the Inland Empire, try Metrolink out of Los Angeles.
These lines hit some of the largest theaters in Southern California. There are plenty more taking part in the initiative that you’ll need to plan ahead for beyond what’s listed above. Nevertheless, I hope this offers a great place to start. So fill up those TAP cards and get ready to see some theater!
Go out speed round
Go out before it closes: “The Dreamer Examines His Pillow” is coming to the end of its run at the Odyssey Theatre in Sawtelle. The comedy by John Patrick Shanley, a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning playwright for “Doubt,” follows Tommy and Donna’s situation after the two break up and go down a new path, with influences from a widowed father and a younger sister. For more details on how the relationship unfolds, check out the Odyssey Theatre’s production before it ends on Sunday. Tickets are $35 and can be found on the theater’s website.
Go out for free: Hope Studios and $NP Designs are bringing a free augmented reality and digital art show, sponsored by Moore National Facility Service, 9B Collective and Saga Entertainment, to Inglewood from Friday to Sunday. “A Decade of Dimensions” features six Black artists who transform traditional works of art into futuristic experiences. Opening night is 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, and the exhibition is open for regular hours 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. You can RSVP for the show on its website.
Go out and learn: If you’re looking to get your body moving, Volta Collective is having a Volta Co-Lab workshop that brings together movers and dancers for a series of classes with Annalise Gehling, Ryan Ruiz, and Megan Paradowski and Mamie Green of Volta. Tickets are on a sliding scale from $25 to $50, and workshops run 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Brockus Project Dance in Lincoln Heights. More details can be found on the collective’s website.
Go out with the kids: Now that Jurassic World: The Ride has reopened at Universal Studios Hollywood, what a perfect time to take the kids for a visit to the beloved theme park. And while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the new Super Nintendo World.
Go out on a date: Interested in livening your date night with a drag performance? Look no further than Ada Vox’s evening of song at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood. Chris Isaacson presents “An Evening With Ada Vox,” which is full of music and comedy. Tickets for the 8:30 p.m. Thursday event range from $25 to $60 and can be found on Ticketweb.
Go out all night: Out of Mind music and arts festival in Los Angeles includes performances from artists Grouptherapy, Rituals of Mine and Jackie Lipson. The all-day festival at the Echo in Echo Park is dedicated to the LGBTQ and BIPOC communities. The festival is at 7 p.m. Saturday and tickets cost $20. Details can be found on Live Nation and the event’s social media.
Go out and wander: Barbara T. Smith has a new exhibition that opens Tuesday, providing the perfect opportunity to see art and venture through the Getty Center. Smith’s work explores subjects such as sexuality, technology and death to dissect the first 50 years of her life. The exhibition is free and tickets can be found on Getty’s website.
Go out and see art for social change: UCLA debuts a series of events titled Music and Justice at Royce Hall in Westwood, which starts with a concert on Sunday. The program includes works by contemporary composers addressing social justice and a performance of the landmark 1969 cantata “The Gates of Justice” by Dave Brubeck. The night also includes world premieres for Diane White-Clayton and Grammy winner Arturo O’Farrill. The performance at 4 p.m. is free, with details and RSVP information on UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s website.
More from the crew here
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I’m all ears!
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Follow our feed of recommendations and itineraries on Instagram and Twitter, and if you have recs of your own, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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