Venice Family Clinic Art Walk, a fight to save L.A. youth orchestras and your guide to L.A. culture this week

Civic Youth Orchestra
(Courtesy of Civic Youth Orchestra / Photo by Bill Kraus)

Hello and welcome to another week of Essential Arts, where we highlight some of the the best cultural happenings L.A. has to offer and the only music-related beef on our radar is with our youth symphonies shutting down. Despite that sour note, there are always intriguing bright spots to fill the void as we rocket headfirst into another exciting week in the arts world.

Best bets: What’s on our radar this week

For the record:

10:56 a.m. May 14, 2024An earlier version of this newsletter misstated the director of Los Angeles Opera’s “Turandot” as James Conlon. The opera will be directed by Garnett Bruce and conducted by Conlon.

Bernadette Lafont as Marie in Jean Eustache's "The Mother and the Whore."
(Janus Films)

1. “The Mother and the Whore”
Anyone wondering what might happen after the end of the movie “Challengers” — can three strong-willed personalities make a go of things together? — would do well to consider “The Mother and the Whore.” Jean Eustache’s bracing 1973 epic of a generation’s slow-motion dive into disillusionment and the death of youthful idealism starring Bernadette Lafont, Françoise Lebrun and Jean-Pierre Léaud will screen at Now Instant Image Hall on Sunday along with a conversation between author Rachel Kushner and writer and filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin, a firsthand observer of the tumult of late-1960s France. Rights issues have made seeing the film difficult for years, and it’s a marvel to have Eustache’s work go from rarities to readily available at last. (The Criterion Channel is streaming an extensive program on Eustache.)
2 p.m. Sunday. Now Instant Image Hall, 939 Chung King Road, Los Angeles.
— Mark Olsen

2. Venice Family Clinic Art Walk + Auction
The beach enclave of Venice has nourished generations of visual artists, many of whom have turned to the Venice Family Clinic for low-cost care. The art world returns the favor with this weekend’s 45th annual art walk, which finally returns after a pandemic break. Curator Max Rippon and team assembled a roster of work that includes L.A. giants like Arthur Jafa, Larry Bell, Ed Ruscha, Alison Saar and Ed Moses. Fred Eversley, the Light and Space innovator honored this year, was based in Venice for 50 years and used jet-age synthetic materials (he had a day job at NASA) to craft hypnotic, reflective sculptures.
Through May 19. 910 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice.
— August Brown

3. COLA 2024
The city of Los Angeles’ Independent Master Artist Project is a competitive program that selects talented artists who have worked a minimum of 15 years in the literary, performing and visual arts to create new work. For visual art, any medium is accepted — sculpture, painting, installation, printmaking, video, drawing, you name it. When the works are finished, they’re shared with the community in an exhibition. This year’s crew features five women: Jane Brucker, Mariah Garnett, Janna Ireland, Debra Scacco and Bari Ziperstein.
May 18-July 20. Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.

4. “The Fall Guy Stuntacular Pre-Show”
Stunt performers have been getting their due recently, with renewed calls for a new Oscar category for the the work and the release of “The Fall Guy,” with Ryan Gosling playing a low-profile stuntman called upon to find the missing star for whom he regularly doubles. If the kids happen to be dragging you to Universal Studios Hollywood this weekend or next, you can catch this live mini show that runs before the park’s popular “WaterWorld” production. It was created in partnership with 87North Productions, co-founded by “Fall Guy” director David Leitch, himself a former stuntman.
Through May 19. Universal Studios Hollywood, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City.
— Jessica Gelt

5. Cruel World Festival
New wavers and goths unite as Cruel World Festival returns for its third annual year at Brookside at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The fest will take place Saturday, featuring a headline performance by Duran Duran, who recently released their 16th studio album, “Danse Macabre” — a haunting collection of original songs, covers and reimagined classics. Saturday will also see performances from Interpol, Blondie, Simple Minds, Placebo, Soft Cell, Adam Ant, Ministry, Gary Numan, DREAMCAR, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and many more. — Nate Jackson

The week head: A curated calendar


“Aggro Dr1ft” Harmony Korine‘s dreamy, blissed-out hallucination of a film — jolted by spasms of violence and nightmarish intensity — follows a Miami hit man (Jordi Molla) trying to reunite with his family.
8:30 p.m. Alamo Drafthouse, 700 W. 7th Street, Suite U240, downtown L.A.; Monday-Thursday. Los Feliz 3, 1822 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz.

“American Mariachi” Jose Luis Valenzuela directs José Cruz González’s 1970s-set family comedy-musical about a young woman with big dreams.
Through June 9. Latino Theater Co. at LATC, 514 S. Spring St., downtown L.A.

Frankie Beverly & Maze The silky smooth soul singer and his band perform “Before I Let Go” and other hits on their farewell tour.
7 p.m. Kia Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood.



Belle and Sebastian The Scottish indie pop ensemble performs a trio of local dates on its coast-to-coast tour.
7 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, the Bellwether, 333 S. Boylston St., Los Angeles; . 7 p.m. Wednesday, the United Theater on Broadway, 929 S. Broadway, downtown L.A..


“Girl From the North Country” The national tour of Conor McPherson’s Depression-set musical featuring the songs of Bob Dylan earned seven Tony nominations on Broadway, winning for best orchestrations.
Tuesday through June 2. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.


The Strings/Keys Reincidence — A Residency With Joanna Newsom The singer, songwriter and harpist brings her ethereal sounds to a suitably unearthly venue.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and Sunday; 2 p.m. Saturday and May 26; 7 p.m. May 27. The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever, 5970 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood.


Joshua Tree Music Festival This family-friendly biannual event promises music, yoga, community and art.
Thursday-May 19. Joshua Tree Lake Campground, 2780 Sunfair Road, Joshua Tree



“Babes” Ilana Glazer and Michelle Buteau star in this Pamela Adlon-directed comedy about two longtime friends whose relationship is challenged when one of them decides to have a child following a one-night stand.
Starts Friday (with Thursday previews). AMC the Grove, 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles; AMC Burbank 16, 125 E. Palm Ave., Burbank; AMC Burbank Town Center 6, N. 1st St., Burbank.

MAY 18

Just Like Heaven The Postal Service, Phoenix, Death Cab for Cutie and the War on Drugs headline this all-day indie rock and electro-dance festival.
Noon Saturday. Brookside at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena.

“Turandot” A new production of Giacomo Puccini’s opera about a prince on the run and an enchanting woman, conducted by James Conlon and directed by Garnett Bruce, features stage designs by David Hockney.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 30, June 5 and 8; 2 p.m. May 26, June 2. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A.

MAY 19

Hollywoodland: Jewish Founders and the Making of a Movie Capital The exhibition presents the origin story of filmmaking in early 20th-century Los Angeles and the largely Jewish immigrants who established the American film studio system.
Opens May 19. Academy Museum, 6067 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.

Steve Carell and Alison Pill in Lincoln Center Theatre's production of "Uncle Vanya."
Steve Carell and Alison Pill in Lincoln Center Theatre’s production of “Uncle Vanya.”
(Marc J. Franklin)

L.A.’s biggest culture news

Theater Critic Charles McNulty offers commentary about Steve Carell in Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” and Jeremy Strong in Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People.” Both lend excitement to new Broadway revivals that struggle to update these plays for a contemporary audience.

Writer Tim Greiving reported on the collapse of the American Youth Symphony. When the American Youth Symphony abruptly shut down, it left a void for young talent aspiring for a career in music.

Thankfully all is not lost for young classical musicians in L.A. This week Grieving also writes that after the shocking closure, the new Civic Orchestra of Los Angeles aims to fill a void in the city for young talent seeking a career in music.

Classical music critic Mark Swed writes that after three months away, Gustavo Dudamel is back for a month to revive “Fidelio” and oversee his Pan-American Music Initiative. But then he’ll be gone again until end of August.

Finally our intrepid intern Kaitlyn Haumani has a very cool story about how MOCA, the Hammer and other L.A. museums rethink how much they cool and heat their galleries as part of a Getty PST Art initiative to combat climate change.

Chloë Bass’ sculpture.
Chloë Bass’ sculpture, “#sky #nofilter: Hindsight for a Future America,” at CAAM.
(Photo: Elon Schoenholz; from CAAM)

More culture news, briefly ...

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Universal Studios Hollywood is putting a spotlight on stunt people for a limited time during its “Fall Guy Stuntacular Pre-Show,” which runs directly before the theme park’s popular “WaterWorld” live show. The action features flipping jet skis, plenty of fiery explosions and actors dive-bombing into the water. The show was developed in conjunction with “Fall Guy” director and former stuntman David Leitch’s production company, 87North Productions. Now through May 19.

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens has appointed Diva Zumaya as its new associate curator of European art. Zumaya arrives at the Huntington from Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she was associate curator of European painting and sculpture. She starts in her new position on June 3.

The U.S. Postal Service is paying tribute to legendary nature photographer Ansel Adams with the release of 16 Ansel Adams Forever Stamps, featuring iconic imagery of the American West. The stamps will be officially unveiled at a special event at Yosemite National Park — where Adams took many famous photos — on May 15.

California African American Museum, which closed due to damage from flooding as a result of Hurricane Hilary in August, 2023, has announced it will reopen on May 22 with an exhibition titled, “Paula Wilson: Toward the Sky’s Back Door.” On May 26, the museum will partner with Los Angeles County Museum of Art to present the last stop of a traveling exhibition of the work of Simone Leigh.

South Coast Repertory has announced its 2024-25 season, which also marks the company’s 60th anniversary. Three world premieres are on offer including “The Staircase” by Noa Gardner, which received a reading at the 2023 Pacific Playwrights Festival. Pulitzer Prize winner and Orange County native Sanaz Toossi’s “Wish You Were Here” is also part of the season, as well as well-worn hits including “Little Shop of Horrors” and “A Christmas Carol.”

Pacific Chorale announced it is honoring Artistic Director Emeritus John Alexander with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its spring gala, scheduled for June 1. “John Alexander is a choral legend whose impact spans the globe,” Pacific Chorale Board Chair Craig Springer said in a news release. “He is also an indelible part of Pacific Chorale. During the 45 years he served the choir, which remains among the longest runs in American choral history, John shaped its artistry and essence, transforming it into the remarkable cultural beacon it is today.”


And last but not least

Since we sorta feel sorry for all the non-L.A. people (mostly New Yorkers) trying to watch “Everybody’s in L.A.,” John Mulaney’s live-streamed, hyper-local talk show audition on Netflix this week, here’s a reference guide so you can stop pausing the show every five minutes to search Google.