Outfest Los Angeles spotlights LGBTQ+ cinema, from ‘Bottoms’ to ‘Cora Bora’

Two women stand in a high school gym, one with a bandage on her nose.
Rachel Sennott, left, and Ayo Edebiri star in the teen comedy “Bottoms,” screening at Outfest Los Angeles.
(Orion Pictures)

Our new multimedia platform De Los is now live (woot woot)! The section explores the complexities of Latinidad across the country with in-depth reporting, commentary, graphic comics, social videos and more. I’ll be spending my downtime digging through all the introductory stories that went up this week. Join me by taking a look at the site. 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

A woman in a leopard-print coat holding a dog.
“Cora Bora” starring Megan Stalter will screen Sunday at Outfest Los Angeles.
(Magnolia Pictures International)

1. Outfest
One of the leading LGBTQ+-oriented nonprofits in the U.S. is ringing in a new year of queer cinema with its annual Outfest Los Angeles. Outfest, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2022, is known for premiering leading LGBTQ+ films and this year is no different. The festival begins with an opening-night gala and screening of “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” a film adaptation of the applauded YA novel of the same name by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. The festival closes with the L.A. premiere of Sav Rodgers’ documentary “Chasing Chasing Amy.” Other films include “Passages” from Ira Sachs, “Kokomo City” helmed by D. Smith, “Cora Bora” directed by Hannah Pearl Utt and “Bottoms” from Emma Seligman. The festival runs from Thursday to July 23, with additional virtual screenings on July 24. Tickets range from $10 to $350, depending on the package you choose. More information can be found on the Outfest L.A. website.

Six people standing in a line.
“In the midst of the imagined,” an exhibition featuring work by four L.A.-based artists exploring the theme of restoration, in honor of a state reparations task force, runs until July 27 at Residency‘s Project Space.
(Keenan Rhodes / Wildseed)

2. ‘In the midst of the imagined’
In 2020, California became the first state government in the country to start the process for potential reparations to descendants of enslaved people and those impacted by slavery. In January, California’s reparations task force shared a final report and recommendations to the state Capitol. In honor of the historic efforts, ZEAL, a national Black worker-owned creative arts alliance and social impact studio, presents the first exhibition in the country dedicated to imagining a world of restoration. “In the midst of the imagined” is curated by Auttrianna Ward and features the work of four L.A.-based artists: House of Aama, Gbenga Komolafe, Leah King and Nandi Jordan. The exhibition imagines what the world may look like if reparations are enacted. “In the midst of the imagined” is the first of a series of exhibits and can be seen at Residency Art Gallery’s Project Space in Inglewood until July 27, with additional programming through the month of July. Up next is a bookmaking workshop with Jordan from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday followed by a reparations talk with Kavon Ward from 4 to 5 p.m. The exhibition is open to view from noon to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. More information can be found on ZEAL’s website and programming can be found on Eventbrite.

Drake, in a hoodie and jacket, stands with his hand covering his mouth.
In celebration of the 50-year anniversary of hip-hop, LRG is partnering with Gallery 90220 for a photo exhibition featuring work that includes Kareem Black’s photos of Drake.
(Kareem Black)

3. LRG x Gallery 90220
Clothing brand LRG is partnering with Gallery 90220 in Florence for a photography exhibition in celebration of the 50-year anniversary of hip-hop. The exhibition will take a dive into LRG’s historical connection to hip-hop culture by highlighting major collaborations through photos of artists including the Roots, Drake, Gucci Mane and Travis Scott. This is the first time LRG will showcase its work in a gallery setting. The inaugural event starts with a free public celebration from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday at Gallery 90220 with food trucks, drinks, giveaways and live music sets by DJ Faucet and Yoshi Vintage. To top it off, programming will include a panel discussion with LRG photographers Quang Le, Larence Tanjuaquio, Kareem Black and Kyle Camarillo. For more information, check out Gallery 90220’s Instagram.

Three dancers in yellow, orange and red dresses collapse into another dancer in a shimmering silver dress.
Dutch National Ballet will be performing “Frida” by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa at the Music Center.
(Hans Gerritsen)

4. ‘Dutch National Ballet: Frida’
The Dutch National Ballet is making its way to the Music Center for the U.S. premiere of “Frida” by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. The dance performance is inspired by prolific Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Ochoa sought to bring Kahlo’s paintings to life onstage through ballet. “Frida” delves into Kahlo’s highs and lows, from loneliness to her relationship with her husband, fellow artist Diego Rivera. The production at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown L.A. has performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $38 to $138 and more information can be found on the Music Center’s website.

Gustavo Dudamel holds up a baton.
Gustavo Dudamel will lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic in an evening of music by Duke Ellington and George Gershwin at the Hollywood Bowl on July 13.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

5. Ellington and Gershwin With Dudamel
Composers George Gershwin and Duke Ellington have each made significant contributions to the growth of jazz, combining the worlds of jazz nightclubs with orchestral concerts. Ellington, in particular, brought big-band jazz to the forefront. Gustavo Dudamel will lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl for a concert filled with the music of Gershwin and Ellington. The night also will feature Tony- and Grammy-winning singer Patina Miller. The event is at 8 p.m. Thursday and remaining tickets range from $6 to $129. Further details on the event and ticketing can be purchased on the Hollywood Bowl’s website.

Bonus round: ‘Crabs in the Bucket’

If you’re feeling a bit crabby this weekend, find some solidarity with this play about three crabs in a bucket. “Crabs in a Bucket,” presented by Echo Theater Company, is a new play by Bernardo Cubría that follows two bitter crabs who are surprised by a new optimistic crustacean that shows up in their lowly bucket. Their new friend is determined to help them get out. The play reflects on the impact of the “crab mentality” on oppressed communities. Instead of working against one another for freedom, the success of one crab is the success of many. The play makes its world premiere on Saturday and runs until Aug. 21 at the Atwater Village Theatre. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Monday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $34 Fridays through Sundays and whatever you’d like to pay on Mondays. More information can be found on Echo Theater Company’s website.

On My Mind

A man holding a hammer hides behind a door with a woman.
Nicky Boulos, left, and Megan Hill in “The Ants,” directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh, at Geffen Playhouse.
(Aaron Epstein)

On Saturday, I went to see “The Ants” at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. The show takes place in a swanky well-to-do matriarchal household where Meredith (Megan Hill) and Shahid (Ryan Shrime) live. When Shahid’s brother, Nami (Nicky Boulos), shows up after losing his job and apartment, a scuffle about economic ideology breaks out inside the home while a rebellion led by unhoused people erupts outside. Soon, the family members in the high-tech Hollywood Hills home must fend off a homeless population fighting for equal opportunity.


This play by Ramiz Monsef amplified all the uncomfortable and frustrating conversations around economic privilege that the poor and working class must navigate in an effort to be understood. This is best seen in Nami’s beginning arguments with Meredith and at times with his floundering brother. While the play can get didactic and seemingly unrealistic, it felt essential for the audience that the Geffen Playhouse tends to bring in — one that can afford a couple of hours at the theater for a show priced between $39 and $129. It was a direct address to an audience that may not always understand what it takes to make ends meet in a city with a rising price of living.

A man holding the shoulder of another man showing him around a house.
Ryan Shrime, left, and Nicky Boulos star in “The Ants.”
(Aaron Epstein)

“The Ants” foreshadows a not-so-distant future for L.A.; the program even states the setting as “The City. Soon.” Monsef suggests that maybe the absurd and uncanny can bring change. Read more about the play in Times theater critic Charles McNulty’s review. “The Ants” runs until July 30 and more information can be found on the Geffen Playhouse website.

Go out speed round

A gallery space with a painted floor and art on three white walls.
Installation view of Abbey Golden’s “Golden Age of Fluidity” exhibition at Lauren Powell Projects, 2023.
(Esteban Schimpf)

Go out for free: Lauren Powell Projects in Los Feliz presents “Golden Age of Fluidity.” The exhibition featuring work by Abbey Golden submerges you with a series of paintings centered around intimate moments by the water. Golden’s paintings portray the complexity of femininity, unrequited love, sexuality and self-control. Jump off the deep end at Lauren Powell Projects until July 29. The gallery is free and open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. More details on the exhibition can be found on the gallery’s website.

Go out before it closes: “Deep Field,” an interactive augmented reality experience at the Getty Center, comes to a close Sunday. During your visit to the Getty, you can sign up for a tour of plant-related objects in the museum’s collection. During the tour, visitors can use an iPad Pro to co-create digital landscapes and upload their blooming creations to a database that allows your imaginative species to grow right in front of you. Artists Tin Nguyen and Edward Cutting — a.k.a. Tin&Ed — created the immersive experience. To join in on the fun, visit the desk next to the Runnel Fountain on the plaza and schedule one of the tours happening at 10:45 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. daily until Sunday. More information on the free event can be found on the Getty’s website.


Go out and learn: Craving something cold for a hot summer day? Head out to Impastiamo in Culver City for a gelato-making class led by chef Patrizia Pasqualetti. All you need to bring is an apron (and wine, if you’d like). The cooking class is from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and costs $115 to attend. More information can be found on Impastiamo’s website.

Go out with the kids: Gather the kids for a matinee screening of “Sing” at the Hammer Museum in Westwood. The animated movie follows Buster Moon, a koala who takes a chance at a singing competition featuring five endearing animal contestants. Warm up those pipes to sing along and see who ends up on top. The free screening takes place 11 a.m. Sunday. More information can be found on the Hammer Museum’s website.

Two people dressed in period suits.
Ed Moravcsik and Solmyra Araiza are performing in “Measure for Measure” as part of the Midsummer Shakespeare Festival at Pomona College.
(Randy Lopez)

Go out all weekend: The Midsummer Shakespeare Festival by Ophelia’s Jump Productions is back with “Measure for Measure” and “The Pirates of Penzance.” The annual summer tradition is co-sponsored by Pomona College and showcases the work of local musicians and performers. The shows are performed in repertory on the lawn of the Sontag Greek Theatre in Claremont starting Thursday. The festival, recommended by The Times’ Jessica Gelt, runs until July 23 and performances are from Thursday to Sunday. Tickets range from $25 to $42 and festival passes to both shows cost $65. More information can be found on the Ophelia’s Jump website.

Go out on a date: This immersive, participatory theater production is perfect to get closer to your date. “Super Duper” encourages the audience to question what the truth is in a world filled with manufactured people. The show presented by the Ghost Road Company is inspired by Itaru Sasaki’s Wind Phone and allows performers to interact with the crowd to investigate how integral audience participation can be to the final product of a live performance. Tickets to the show at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in downtown L.A. are $45. Shows are at 8 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday until July 26. More information can be found on the company’s website.

Go out and wander: Wander through Craft Contemporary’s latest, large-scale exhibitions running until Sept. 10. “Black-Still,” a multisensory installation by enFOLD Collective — organized by Materials and Applications — is an immersive work on the outdoor courtyard that investigates wellness, access and cultural expression within marginalized communities. “Wayfinding” is Craft Contemporary’s third clay biennial, featuring a large collection of ceramic artwork about environmental degradation, plant cultivation and migration. Tickets to Craft Contemporary in Mid-Wilshire range from free to $9, with more details on the gallery’s website.

A woman with flowers in her mouth and hand wears a pink bra over an all-black outfit.
Bonnie He stars in her solo show “A Terrible Show for Terrible People.”
(Nicol Biesek)

Go out to a live taping: This show, which won best comedy at last year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival, is back for a live taping at the Lyric Hyperion in Silver Lake. Bonnie He’sA Terrible Show for Terrible People” is a 50-minute special filled with physical comedy that celebrates female sexuality and what it means to be a terrible person. Tickets are $15 to $20 and the tapings are at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday. More information at Eventbrite.

Go out for a cause: Broadwater Second Stage in Hollywood presents three performances of “Ironbound” by Martyna Majok in support of WomenShelter of Long Beach, an organization providing support and services to families facing domestic abuse. The show follows a Polish immigrant working to make ends meet over the course of 22 years and three relationships. As the men in her life come and go, they provide the leading woman love or security, never both. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 and proceeds will go toward WomenShelter. More information on the show’s website.

Go out and laugh: Cat Ce & Friends returns to SoCal with a comedy show at the Ice House in Pasadena, one of the longest-running comedy clubs in the U.S. Ce is joined by fellow comics Brittany Furlan, John Liu, Thash Mose, Parker Dean and more. Tickets to the show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday range from $20 to $30 and can be found on ShowClix.

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I’m all ears!

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