‘Friends’ immersive experience is there for you this weekend

A group of people sit on an orange couch in a cafe.
Gather your friends on the famous Central Perk couch at the “Friends” Experience in Long Beach.
(Ken Pak Photography / Original X Productions)
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After declaring that she quit music in March, Doja Cat returned with new tunes this weekend. “Attention” is the first single off her upcoming rap-centric album. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about her new era. I’m Steven Vargas, your L.A. Goes Out host, and here are the top events for this upcoming weekend recommended by the crew (sign up here for the newsletter):

Weekly Countdown

Two people move a couch up the stairs.
“Pivot” your way to the “Friends” Experience in Long Beach. The exhibition provides a dozen nostalgia-packed rooms with sets, props and costumes from the popular show.
(Ken Pak Photography / Original X Productions)

1. TheFriends Experience
Alexa, play “I’ll Be There for You” by the Rembrandts. The “Friends” Experience immerses you in the world of the beloved TV show from the ‘90s and early 2000s. You can explore set recreations of Joey and Chandler’s apartment, Monica and Rachel’s kitchen and Central Perk. Better yet, wrangle your friends and bring them along to re-create some of your favorite moments from the series. Props and costumes will also be on display for fans to take a deeper look into every detail of the hit sitcom. The experience opens Friday at the Lakewood Center. Available time slots to view the exhibit are noon to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. Tickets range from $30 to $52.50 and more information can be found on the event website.

Mister Cartoon stands next to a vintage car.

Mister Cartoon will have his first solo L.A. exhibition at Beyond the Streets and Control Gallery in Hollywood.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

2. Mister Cartoon’s ‘Just My Imagination’
Mister Cartoon is known for tattooing stars that include Christina Aguilera and Snoop Dogg, creating murals across the world and designing limited-edition Nike Air Force 1 sneakers. Now, the L.A. tattoo artist is holding his first solo exhibition in his hometown at Beyond the Streets and Control Gallery in Hollywood. “Just My Imagination” includes 20 new paintings and works on paper, a hand-painted mini-sculpture and custom cars he calls the “Gangster Squad.” “I want to show people, through my art, what kind of music I’m interested in, my passion for and obsession with cars and automotive, taking people’s tattoos and peeling them off and putting them on the canvas, taking a mural off of a [Chevrolet] Impala and putting it on a canvas,” he told The Times’ Deborah Vankin. The exhibition is free and the gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. More details can be found on Beyond the Streets’ website.

Naomi Rodgers as Tina Turner performs on stage in "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical."
Naomi Rodgers as Tina Turner in “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical.”
(Matthew Murphy)

3. ‘Tina — The Tina Turner Musical’
Tina Turner, the rock ‘n’ roll legend and powerhouse singer known for songs like “Proud Mary” and “River Deep, Mountain High,” died at age 83 in May. This month, “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” opened at the Pantages in Hollywood and fans of her music, personal story and trailblazing career now have an opportunity to memorialize her life. The touring musical follows her journey from growing up in Tennessee to headlining a concert in Brazil. The Times’ Jessica Gelt recently wrote about the musical‘s new resonance following her death. “We celebrate this remarkable woman and artist,” Roz White, who plays Tina’s mother, Zelma Bullock, told Gelt. “Tina was deeply involved in the crafting of this musical. And we dedicate our opening night performance here in L.A. and every performance to her memory.” Shows run until July 9 and tickets start at $49. More information can be found on Broadway in Hollywood’s website.

The back of a man on a construction crane in front of a cityscape.
Dania Bdeir’s short “Warsha” is screening at the Long Beach Opera and Film Festival.
(Dania Bdeir / Long Beach Opera)

4. ‘The Recital’
Long Beach Opera presents “The Recital” as its second LB Opera & Film Festival this weekend. The event at the Art Theatre in Long Beach combines newly staged operas with filmed content and multimedia art. Franz Schubert’sDie Schöne Müllerin” is paired with “Christopher at Sea,” an animated short inspired by his 1823 song cycle. The performance will be accompanied by other animated films, live-action shows and feature-length works. Tom C. J. Brown and Raviv Ullman co-curated the festival. The festival has performances and films from 6 p.m. Saturday to midnight and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $35 to $165 and more details are available on LBO’s website.

Ballet dancers with their arms outstretched.
L.A. Dance Project dancers in Madeline Hollander’s work “5 Live Calibrations.”
(Erin Baiano)

5. L.A. Dance Project Summer Dances
L.A. Dance Project is presenting three contemporary works as part of its Summer Dances program. Madeline Hollander will share “5 Live Calibrations,” which includes choreography that relies on chance and is developed in real time. Every performance is unknown to the audience and the dancers as they evolve on stage. Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber, LADP’s choreographic artists in residence, will present “Quartet for Five,” a piece set to Philip Glass quartet that showcases the relationships between five people. Lastly, the company will perform Pam Tanowitz’sEveryone Keeps Me.” The show runs from Thursday to July 1 with shows at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Saturdays. Tickets range from $25 to $45 and can be purchased on LADP’s website.

Bonus round: ‘Fetch Clay, Make Man’

A group of men and women rehearse a play.
The company of “Fetch Clay, Make Man” in rehearsal. The play, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City from June 18 to July 16, follows the unlikely friendship between Muhammad Ali and Stepin Fetchit.
(Javier Vasquez)

Center Theatre Group’s latest production, “Fetch Clay, Make Man,” follows Muhammad Ali as he prepares for one of his highly anticipated fights and forms an unlikely friendship with controversial Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit. Together they work to shape their public personas and legacies during the Civil Rights Movement. The true story explores the pressures they faced being Black public figures and the companionship built through their resilience. Written by Will Power and directed by Emmy winner Debbie Allen, the play at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City runs until July 16 and tickets range from $30 to $79. More information can be found on CTG’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

Ballet dancers run in a circle on stage as one is carried in the air.
Stephanie Kim and the cast of Melissa Barak’s “Memoryhouse,” a ballet of vignettes commemorating the Holocaust.
(Cheryl Mann / Los Angeles Ballet)

Friday night, I went to see Los Angeles Ballet’sMemoryhouse” by Melissa Barak at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The piece about the Holocaust was set to Max Richter’s score of the same name. Barak provided broad brushstrokes of the Holocaust through haunting vignettes of internal narratives and collective turmoil.

One of the highlights was the use of projections in the show. Dancers performed a majority of the work behind a scrim while images of windows, birds and rainfall were projected in front of the movement. The combined work of media designer Sebastian Peschiera, set designer BA Collective and lighting designer Nathan Scheuer immersed you into the memories played out on stage.

Barak’s choreography consists of memorable tableaus. One that stuck with me was when an ensemble of dancers ran across the stage. They ran in place and pulled their arms back sharply to their sides one at a time in unison. Barak took something ordinary and created a stunning portrait out of it. At the end of the section, a dancer fell to the ground while everyone else turned around to hush them with a single “shh.” The action referenced Jewish people hiding during the Holocaust to evade possible persecution and imprisonment. So much as a stumble could risk it all. Barak’s choreography broke traditional theater conventions; at one point, dancers were instructed to evade the spotlight and move in the darkness.

Many pieces ended with a single person on stage. After each section — each memory — one remained to tell the tale.

That night at the Broad Stage ushered in a new chapter for LAB as the company closed its season. The following one will be entirely under the reins of Barak. LAB’s repertoire typically focused on Balanchine works and classical masterpieces, but Barak opened the door to a contemporary future. It is an exciting moment for ballet in Los Angeles.

Go out speed round

Charrell Mack and Jamey Hood in "No Place Like Gandersheim."
Charrell Mack and Jamey Hood in “No Place Like Gandersheim” at Skylight Theatre.
(Jenny Graham / Skylight Theatre Company)

Go out before it closes: We all have that one friend who invites us to every show they have. That’s Roz in Elizabeth Dement’sNo Place Like Gandersheim.” Roz is the first-ever female playwright in medieval Germany, whose new sex comedy is challenged by the emperor. Don’t miss Roz’s show and journey to make it happen before “No Place Like Gandersheim” closes on Sunday at Skylight Theatre in Los Feliz. Tickets range from $20 to $76 and can be found on Skylight Theatre’s website.

Go out for free: The Orange County Museum of Art has three new free exhibitions opening this weekend: “Alice Neel: Feels Like Home,” “Yu Ji: A Guest, A Host, A Ghost” and “Tony Lewis: CASUAL T.” The openings are accompanied by a variety of free weekend activities, from family crafts to happy hours at Verdant bar. All the fun begins with an opening ceremony from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and continues with events through Sunday. More details on all the fun can be found on OCMA’s website.

Go out and learn: The Music Center presents Dance DTLA, beginner dance lessons held every Friday night for nine weeks. If you’ve been trying to learn a new dance step to show off at your next night out, now is the time. The first session, hip-hop night, takes place from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday at Jerry Moss Plaza in downtown L.A. The free class is led by Brandon Juezan. More details can be found on the Music Center’s website.

Go out with the kids: The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures presents “Calm Morning: Zootopia” starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. The morning of activities, inspired by the 2016 Disney animated film “Zootopia,” is sensory-friendly. Families will have early access to the “Stories of Cinema” exhibition from 9 to 10 a.m., then can do a family workshop from 10 to 11 a.m. The morning concludes with a screening of “Zootopia” at 11 a.m. at the Ted Mann Theater. To accommodate neurodivergent viewers, the film will include open captioning, a dimly lit space and a lower volume. Tickets range from free to $25 and details can be found on the Academy Museum’s website.

Go out on a date: Take your gamer partner to the Game Awards 10-Year Concert at the Hollywood Bowl for a night they won’t forget. The live concert is accompanied by fireworks and includes music from video games “Arcane,” “Final Fantasy,” “League of Legends” and “The Last of Us.” The night is conducted by Lorne Balfe and features special guest performances by Gustavo Santaolalla and Tenacious D. The event is at 8 p.m. Sunday and remaining tickets range from $15 to $75. More information can be found on the Hollywood Bowl’s website.

Go out all day: Eastside Pride is Saturday and will be filled with pop-ups, drag shows, food and drinks, DJ sets and a Pride Ball. The event in Montebello is free and filled with activities from noon to 10 p.m. While you’re there, meet some folks from The Times’ new De Los vertical at BLVD MRKT food hall. Details on the Pride event can be found on the food hall’s Instagram.


Go out all weekend: If you love design, this weekend has the perfect event: the Los Angeles Design Festival. The schedule is filled with workshops, conversations and exhibitions. The festival focuses on social, technological, environmental, political and economic innovations in design, fostering conversations to think more critically about the world around us. Tickets to the festival, running from Thursday to Sunday in downtown L.A., Culver City and Long Beach, are free (except for a handful of activities that require a separate ticket). The full schedule and additional information are available on the festival’s website.

Go out and wander: Womxn in Windows — an artistic platform that focuses on themes of identity, culture and society — presents “American Gurl” at Hauser and Wirth. The ongoing project, co-curated by Zehra Zehra and Kilo Kish, will present eight films that explore the Black feminine experience in America. The exhibition opens Saturday with a party from 6 to 9 p.m. in the downtown L.A. gallery’s courtyard and runs until July 30. Hauser and Wirth is free and open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. More details on the exhibition and participating artists can be found on the gallery’s website.

Go out indoors: It’s unlike me to tell you to stay indoors, but you won’t want to miss this award-winning documentary about renowned choreographer Yvonne Rainer. “Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer” is directed by Jack Walsh and looks into Rainer’s life and career, focusing on her involvement in the Judson Dance Theater. The film also documents her incorporation of pedestrian movement into her performances. “Feelings Are Facts” will air on KCET at 5 p.m. PT Sunday and on KOCE at 9 p.m. PT on June 30, coinciding with Pride Month. More information can be found on the documentary’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