Drag, tech and LGBTQ desire: An exhibit documents decades of queer art experimentation

Jacolby Satterwhite "Avenue B," 2018-19, 2-channel HD color video and 3-D animation with sound.
Jacolby Satterwhite “Avenue B,” 2018-19, 2-channel HD color video and 3-D animation with sound.
(Jacolby Satterwhite / Honor Fraser Gallery, the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York)

Surprisingly, I spent most of my weekend digging through the Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber beef. Turns out, words do have weight … enough to lose hundreds of thousands of followers over. If you need to catch up, weve got you covered. I’m Steven Vargas, your L.A. Goes Out host, and here are the top events for this upcoming weekend recommended by the crew:

Weekly Countdown

Screen-printed images against a purple wall.
Andy Warhol, “Ladies and Gentlemen,” 1975, screen print on rag paper.
(Honor Fraser Gallery)

1. ‘Make Me Feel Mighty Real: Drag/Tech and the Queer Avatar’
“I’ve been dancin’ on the floor darlin’ and I feel like I need some more” art. Honor Fraser gallery presents the new exhibition “Make Me Feel Mighty Real” — titled after Sylvester’s 1978 disco anthem — that chronicles seven decades of artistic experimentation by queer artists building community and creating “unruly hybridity online and IRL.” The exhibition also investigates how technology influenced the power of drag. TLDR: a very queer exhibition featuring works from 40 queer artists about queer desire. This recommendation, which comes from The Times’ Deborah Vankin, opens Friday in Mid-City with a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Honor Fraser is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and more details on the exhibition can be found on the gallery’s website.

Two people are spotlighted on a stage in a production of "The Secret Garden."
Sierra Boggess, top, and Emily Jewel Hoder in a revival production of “The Secret Garden” at the Ahmanson Theatre.
(Matthew Murphy / MurphyMade)

2. ‘The Secret Garden’
Stop and smell the roses at … the Ahmanson Theatre in DTLA. Center Theatre Group’s latest production, “The Secret Garden,” revives the story of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic children’s novel that follows a young orphan, Mary Lennox, who’s sent to live with her uncle on his haunted English country estate. As she ventures into the garden, she begins to uncover the secrets of her family’s past. Following a run in 1991, the new production, reimagined by book writer and lyricist Marsha Norman and composer Lucy Simon, has “Broadway no doubt once again in sight,” Times theater critic Charles McNulty says of his recommendation. “The Secret Garden” runs until March 26 and tickets range from $40 to $155. More information can be found on CTG’s website.

Two people point at a movie theater marquee.
Comedians Cat Ce and Derek Mio are performing in “Crazy Funny Asians.”
(Cat Ce)

3. ‘Crazy Funny Asians’
You’ve heard of “Crazy Rich Asians,” but here comes “Crazy Funny Asians.” The comedy charity show at the Comedy Store in West Hollywood is headlined by Margaret Cho and features Asian comedians Alex Duong, John Liu, Joe Wong, Jimmy Shin, Rosie Tran, Michelle Malizaki and Cat Ce. Ticket proceeds will be donated to Stand With Asians and the Chinese Chamber Cultural Foundation. The third installation of “Crazy Funny Asians” was initially planned for later this year but got moved up to this weekend to aid the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Victims Fund. The event is at 8 p.m. Sunday, and tickets range from $25 to $200. More information and tickets can be found on the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles’ website.

A woman in a black patterned dress sits next to a woman in a white jacket over a black top.
Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus, co-founders of Sing for Hope and the Wallis’ artists-in-residence for the 2022-23 season.
(From Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus)

4. ‘The Last Sorcerer’ (Le Dernier Sorcier)
The original 1867 manuscript of Pauline García Viardot’sLe Dernier Sorcier” (The Last Sorcerer) vanished from the public eye for about 150 years. Now, Camille Zamora, artist-in-residence at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, is presenting the work’s world premiere after acquiring it from Harvard Library and translating it into English. The salon opera, written in collaboration with Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev, is considered a feminist eco-fable, centering on gender equality. Zamora is staging the first production with Sing for Hope, a nonprofit arts organization she co-founded with Monica Yunus. The one-night-only show — a historic moment you won’t want to miss — is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and tickets range from $39 to $125. Details can be found on the Wallis’ website.

5. ‘Delaney George: Notre Récit’ and ‘WCMTL: The Inspirations & Joys of an Immigrant Child’
If you’re looking to catch up with the artists of Frieze, I’ve got just the event for you. Delaney George and Will Raojenina (WCMTL) presented work at the art festival with Gallery 90220 and will now have solo exhibitions at the gallery from Friday to March 12. George’s “Notre Récit” is a five-part conceptual fine art photography exhibition that centers on the Black female narrative and its complexities. WCMTL’s work pulls from his experience as a child of immigrants, using art as a way to escape pain and communicate without fear. The show requires an RSVP, so be sure to reserve a time before visiting. More details can be found on Gallery 90220’s website.


Bonus round: ‘Touch of Red’

An image of a man putting his hand over another person's face.
Shamel Pitts and Tushrik Fredericks in “Touch of RED.”
(Alex Apt)

Shamel Pitts — a 2020 Guggenheim fellow, choreographer and performance artist — is bringing a new work to Freud Playhouse in Westwood with UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance. The show is presented alongside multidisciplinary artist collective TRIBE. “Touch of Red” investigates how Black men can allow themselves to open up emotionally, using a reimagined boxing ring to bring the two performers, Pitts and Tushrik Fredericks, closer together. Through the piece, they are able to find the healing power of effeminacy. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and tickets cost $38. Details can be found on CAP UCLA’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

Dancers rehearse for a performance.
Dress rehearsal of “Lineage” by choreographer Jamar Roberts on Feb. 22 in Los Angeles.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

On Thursday, I visited L.A. Dance Project in DTLA for a performance of Jamar Roberts new work, “Lineage,” and Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber’sQuartet for Five.” Each performance made me think about the ways artists add feeling to dance.

Dancer Daphne Fernberger immersed herself in “Lineage.” While most of the piece was quick and contained plenty of moving parts, there was a moment of stillness from Fernberger. Her eyes focused on her hands as she created a small wave by wiggling her fingers. It’s a small gesture that added so much weight to the themes of the show. “Lineage” explores generational trauma with waves and repeated actions. For example, Lorrin Brubaker walked past a line of dancers as they cascaded out of his way, mimicking their movement. Fernberger duplicated the wave, but with her own fingers. While it may seem like something small, her emotional immersion in the piece provided the same weight as Brubaker’s walk. Roberts smartly plays with scale at this moment, creating the perfect opportunity for dancers to explore and play.

Dancers perform a move amid blue lighting.

Dress rehearsal of “Lineage” by choreographer Jamar Roberts on Feb. 22 in Los Angeles.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

For more on Roberts and his development of “Lineage,” check out my recent story from inside the rehearsal process.

In “Quartet for Five,” Smith and Schraiber dissected the makings of their signature dance. The movement came from a sleight of hand, whether it be dancers throwing their hands down or frantically wiping their hands on a shirt. For example, David Adrian Freeland Jr. ducked back and forth while inching closer to Daisy Jacobson, who had her hand out. As he got closer, it became clear that he was maneuvering around the extension of her arm.

Two dancers move their arms and feet.
Jeremy Coachman and Lorrin Brubaker perform in “Quartet for Five” by Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
(Thomas Amouroux)

Smith and Schraiber also used gesture and imagery in powerful ways. In a back-and-forth onstage between Jeremy Coachman and Brubaker, the two got in each other’s face and gestured a fight while also adding a comic element. It’s these pedestrian gestures that created poignant storytelling.

Dancers move amid dark blue lighting.
American Contemporary Ballet’s Sarah Bukowski and Josh Brown in “Astaire Dances.”
(Pierre Michel Estival)

On Saturday, I saw American Contemporary Ballet’sAstaire Dances” in its DTLA skyscraper venue. I’m always amazed by the company’s immersive work. At first glance, it felt like an empty studio, but as musicians started playing, actors Angelina Brower and Jesse LeNoir started arguing and the “on the air” sign turned red, I felt like I was right in front of a recording studio. As for the performances, Paige Wilkey brought the choreography to life in unexpected ways. She easily ebbed from the rigorous demands of the choreography and flowed into comedic elements. From the cocktail drinks to the musical solos to the period dances, I was transported. It was performed in front of gloomy L.A., the city quickly became a character of its own by creating a whimsical escape that added to the story. I forgot the rain was real.


Go out speed round

A performer in a blue spotlight.
Sean Hemeon, Marly Phillips, Annika Chavez and Dennis Delsing in “Cock.”
(Lex Ryan)

Go out before it closes: “Cock” is nearing the end of its run at the Davidson/Valentini Theatre in Hollywood. The play by Mike Bartlett follows John after he takes a break from his boyfriend and falls for the girl of his dreams. Confused by his sexuality and relationships, he seeks to remedy the situation and follow his heart. The show presented by Clearglass Productions and the Los Angeles LGBT Center costs $35. Tickets are still available for shows at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. And if you’re a queer man looking to spice up your weekend, there are specialty $50 tickets for the 2 p.m. showing that include a speed dating event starting at noon. Details can be found on its ticketing website.

Go out for free: If you weren’t able to catch Clifford Prince King’s work at Frieze, it’s coming to Cal State Long Beach. The University Theatre will be hosting a screening of Marlon Riggs’ documentary “Tongues Untied” from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in conjunction with King’s exhibition “Yesterday and Beyond.” Details can be found on the art museum’s website.

Go out and learn/craft: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is hosting a fiber maker’s circle from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The event at the Mid-Wilshire museum brings people of all ages together to knit, crochet, embroider or hand-sew. The crafty happening is inspired by textile art in the exhibition “New Abstracts: Recent Acquisitions” and is hosted by Andell Family Sundays. Details on the free workshop can be found on LACMA’s website.

Go out with the kids: Show the kids the wonders of nature with the Natural History Museum’s Butterfly Pavilion. Surround yourself with butterflies and teach the little ones a thing or two about the insects’ life cycle. Tickets are $8 per person and provide a 30-minute time slot. The pavilion in Exposition Park opens Sunday, and further details can be found on the museum’s website.

A woman in a yellow gown peeks around a curtain.
Charlotte Munson as Diana, Princess of Wales in “Di Lady Di” at Sierra Madre Playhouse, now playing through March 5.
(Sierra Madre Playhouse)

Go out on a date: Sierra Madre Playhouse is hosting a screening of “Roman Holiday” in conjunction with a musical about Princess Diana, “Di Lady Di.” The film follows Audrey Hepburn, who plays a European princess who falls for an American newspaperman while taking a break from her official goodwill tour. Today’s 7 p.m. screening makes for the best last-minute date night. Tickets are $10 and can be found on the playhouse’s ticketing website. And while you’re at it, get your tickets to “Di Lady Di.” The remaining shows run Friday to Sunday, and tickets range from $25 to $45.

Go out for a late night: “Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories” at the Skirball Cultural Center in Brentwood is going out with a bang. The Skirball will be hosting “Late Night! Fabric of a Nation,” featuring performances from Get Lit and UCLA’s Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday. The performances, ranging from dance to poetry, will take place in the gallery space and respond to the questions: What and who is American? The night will also feature a DJ and food trucks. Tickets are $10 and can be found on Skirball’s website. “Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories” closes March 12, so make a visit before it’s gone.

Go out all weekend: MashUp Contemporary Dance Company is hosting its annual International Women’s Day Dance Festival from Friday to Wednesday. Spanning multiple venues in Los Angeles and West Hollywood, the festival offers master classes, panels, showcases and more. More than 20 female choreographers will present and discuss their work, envisioning a more equitable industry. Ticket prices vary, depending on the event. More details can be found on MashUp’s website.

An art installation against a desert mountain.
Desert X installation view of Alicja Kwade, “ParaPivot (sempiternal clouds).” 2021.
(Lance Gerber / Alicja Kwade and Desert X)

Go out and wander: If you’re looking to take a day trip to Palm Springs, don’t forget to check out Desert X. The series of site-specific art installations take over the Coachella Valley starting Saturday. This recommendation from The Times’ Jessica Gelt offers the perfect opportunity to revitalize your view of the desert with architecture, performance and visual art. The exhibition is curated by artistic director Neville Wakefield and co-curator Diana Campbell, featuring artists Rana Begum, Lauren Bon, Gerald Clarke, Paloma Contreras Lomas and Torkwase Dyson, among others. The exhibition is free, and details can be found on Desert X’s website.

Go out and prepare for the Oscars: The Oscars are just around the corner. If you’re trying to cram in as many missed films as possible before the winners are announced March 12, the Academy Museum in Mid-Wilshire will be hosting a series of screenings of nominated films for Oscars Week. The program runs from March 8 to 12, offering programs centered on films nominated for such categories as animated feature and makeup and hairstyling. Screenings cost between $15 to $25, and Oscar night at the museum is $250. Details on the event-filled week can be found on the museum’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