New architecture in Pasadena and DTLA, Hollywood Fringe Festival and more to see and do this week

Share via
A digital rendering shows people walking through a landscaped plaza outside a building with glass walls.
A rendering of the expanded Natural History Museum.
(Frederick Fisher and Partners, Studio-MLA, Studio Joseph / NHMLAC)

Welcome to Essential Arts at our new home, Thursdays! Our goal is to give you a more timely rundown on the weekend, including an ArtCenter festival and a Los Angeles Opera premiere. We’ve also got the scoop on the expansion of the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park, the Sci-Fi World mess in Santa Monica and a big change at the Academy Museum.

Best bets: What’s on our radar this week

Inside a warehouse, a boxy second-floor room appears suspended midair, flanked by dramatic curved ramps.
ArtCenter’s Mullin Transportation Design Center by Darin Johnstone Architects.
(Joshua White / and Darin Johnstone Architects)

1. “Beyond Supersonic”
ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena is opening up its newly redesigned Mullin Transportation Design Center, new Mobility Experience Lab and new 908 Fabrication Shops during Celebration Weekend. Darin Johnstone Architects turned a midcentury aerospace wind tunnel into a research and experimentation space for design students. The festivities Saturday will include showcases of student work, an art market and panel discussions on the future of car design and AI’s impact on creative work.
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. ArtCenter South Campus, 950 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena.
— Craig Nakano

Undated black-and-white photo shows buildings that formed Southern California Cooperative Wind Tunnel testing facility.
Undated photo from between 1945 and 1960 shows ArtCenter’s South Campus, which started as the Southern California Cooperative Wind Tunnel testing facility managed by Caltech.
(Art Center College of Design)

2. “American Mariachi”
As a fan of underdog motley crew movies like “A League of Their Own,” “Whip It” and “Bend It Like Beckham,” I was thoroughly satisfied with José Cruz González’s crowd-pleasing comedy about a group of 1970s women who, down on their luck, try to form an all-female mariachi band. (If we were at the same performance, that was me cheering loudly for each character as they discovered a newfound confidence in the long-held cultural tradition.) After hit runs all over the country (including Orange County and San Diego), the play is wrapping up its L.A. debut, directed by Latino Theater Company Artistic Director José Luis Valenzuela. Four performances of the big-hearted, bilingual play remain, complete with live mariachi music.

Through June 9. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., downtown L.A.
—Ashley Lee

A man stands next to a music stand, singing.
Russell Thomas in rehearsal for “Fire and Blue Sky.”
(JC Olivera / L.A. Opera )

3. “Fire and Blue Sky”
Noted tenor Russell Thomas ends his run as artist in residence at Los Angeles Opera with a most personal story: a son who learns about the rape of his mother, and the family relationship that moves through that trauma. The song cycle, based on Thomas’ own experience, co-stars mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel. The libretto is by poet Imani Tolliver, and the music is by Emmy-winning composer Joel Thompson, conducted by Lina González-Granados.
7:30 p.m. Thursday. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A.
— Jordan Riefe

The week ahead: A curated calendar


“Marked for Life” Peter Olson creates ceramics in the form of ancient Greek vessels onto which he transfers his contemporary photographic portraits of heavily tattooed subjects.
Through July 6. Craig Krull Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Building B-3, Santa Monica.

A hand-thrown urn in the form of classic Greek pottery is painted with the images of a guy with sunglasses and face tattoos.
Peter Olson’s “New York Street Portraits,” hand-thrown ceramics with hand-painted overglazes, are at Craig Krull Gallery in Santa Monica.
(Craig Krull Gallery)

“Dr. Glas” Daniel Gerroll is Dr. Glas in Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of the classic Swedish novel by Hjalmar Söderberg. June 7, 8 p.m.; June 8, 3 p.m. Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice.


Last Remaining Seats The Los Angeles Conservancy’s annual series showcasing classic movies in historic theaters continues through June 15.
2 p.m. Saturday, “Bullitt” (1968); 8 p.m. Saturday, “Gaslight” (1944). Los Angeles Theatre, 615 S. Broadway, downtown L.A.

Verdi Requiem Grant Gershon conducts the Los Angeles Master Chorale performing the ancient Catholic funeral mass.
1 p.m. Saturday; 6 p.m. June 9. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A.


California Turkish Festival A free celebration of the nation’s culture, cuisine and, yes, coffee.
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Shoreline Aquatic Park, 200 Aquarium Way, Long Beach.

Graphic Tales: The Art of Visual Storytelling Starting with ancient Greek, Moche, Maya and other pottery, speakers contemplate the fundamentals of visual literacy and its societal interactions.
1-4 p.m. Sunday. The Getty Villa (and online via Zoom), 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades.

Tall black pillars in a circle in an outdoor sculpture installation
Mineo Mizuno, “Homage to Nature,” at the the Huntington.
(Elon Schoenholz / The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens)

“Mineo Mizuno: Homage to Nature” A site-specific sculpture crafted from fallen timber gathered in the forests of the Sierra Nevada by the California-based Japanese American artist.
Through May 25, 2029. The Huntington, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino.

A painting of an orange ladder slide in a round green inflatable pool
“Neverland” by Angel Otero, 2024, oil paint and fabric collaged on canvas.
(Thomas Barratt / From the artist and Hauser & Wirth)

“Angel Otero: That First Rain in May” The artist’s paintings and sculptures use magical realism and abstraction to conjure recollections of his growing up in Puerto Rico. Through Aug. 24. Hauser & Wirth, 8980 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.

A sketched portrait of a person in a hat against a blue background
David Medalla, “Untitled,” 1973. Ballpoint pen, colored pencil, felt-tip marker and watercolor on aluminum foil-coated board.
(From David Medalla Archive and another vacant space, Berlin)

“David Medalla: In Conversation With the Cosmos” The first comprehensive survey in the U.S. of the Filipino artist covers paintings and drawings from the late 1950s to works produced before his death in 2020.
June 9-Sept. 15. UCLA Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood.


“The Book of Marvels: Wonder and Fear in the Middle Ages” A 15th-century manuscript from northern France illustrates the medieval worldview that contributed to Western stereotypes of the “other” that still exist today.
Tuesday–Aug. 25. The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, L.A.


“Mrs. Doubtfire” The national tour of the Broadway musical based on the hit 1993 Robin Williams comedy shows the lengths to which an unemployed actor will go to be near his kids.
Tuesdays-Sundays, through June 30. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.


Vampire Weekend The English Beat and Voodoo Glow Skulls open for the Grammy-winning rockers.
6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood.

Three male band members, one holding a dog that licks the nose of another.
Chris Baio, Ezra Koenig and Chris Tomson of Vampire Weekend
(Michael Schmelling)


“Blackbird” David Harrower’s intense drama about a conflicted young woman confronting the man who sexually abused her when she was 12.
Thursdays-Sundays, through June 23. The Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim.

Hollywood Fringe Festival The annual open-access, theatrical free-for-all brings the performing arts to neighborhood theaters, parks, clubs, churches, restaurants and other unexpected places.
Through June 30. Multiple venues throughout Hollywood, bounded by Franklin, Normandie and Melrose avenues and Gardner Street.

L.A.’s biggest culture news

A short red carpet ends at portable toilets at Sci-Fi World's recent "gala."
The world’s saddest red carpet?
(Bradley Clifton)

A possible sign that your new museum has gone off the rails: The opening gala’s red carpet begins and ends by the portable toilets. Times staff writer Jessica Gelt has the week’s biggest arts read with the backstory to Sci-Fi World, the would-be “museum” of real and replica props that was to open in the landmark Sears building in Santa Monica. An exodus of top leadership is just the start of its woes, as you can read in the article headlined “A Child Porn Conviction and Angry ‘Star Trek’ Fans: Inside the Drama Around a New Sci-Fi Museum.”

Mark Bradford extends his long body over a stool.
L.A. artist Mark Bradford
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

In happier news, The Times’ L.A. Influential series on the people shaping the culture of the city is rolling out. Times theater critic Charles McNulty writes about Pasadena Playhouse Artistic Director Danny Feldman, and Times art critic Christopher Knight delivers the entry on Mark Bradford.

Simone Leigh, "Sentinel," 2019; bronze.
(Christopher Knight / Los Angeles Times)

Knight also explains why the Mickalene Thomas show at the Broad and the Simone Leigh exhibitions at the California African American Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art deliver a stunning, powerful cultural moment. If you haven’t yet seen the work, goooooooo!

Meanwhile, McNulty heads to Pasadena to check in on “Jelly’s Last Jam,” the musical whose 1991 premiere marked the emergence of George C. Wolfe as one of the mighty creative forces in American theater. The musical might be imperfect, our critic writes, but it’s wildly entertaining.

Three people stand next to an architectural model
Frederick Fisher, left, Nathan Prevendar and Takashige Ikawa, partners in the firm that led the Natural History Museum project.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Architecture news: Our former colleague Carolina A. Miranda has an interview with Frederick Fisher on his firm’s expansion and retooling of the entrance to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The new “welcome center” will have the skeleton of a rare dinosaur dubbed Gnatalie as well as Barbara Carrasco’s 1981 mural “L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective.” Read Miranda’s Q&A here.

Lincoln Jones
(Jane Kim / For The Times)

Times staff writer Jeffrey Fleishman has long followed the work of choreographer Lincoln Jones and his American Contemporary Ballet. The writer checked in on rehearsals for “Sapphires,” Jones’ rendering of a dance that Balanchine thought about but never realized for “Jewels,” his plotless ballet consisting of three movements that evoke the beauty of precious stones.

J. Michael “Joe” Straczynski, literary executor for the estate of his late friend Harlan Ellison, is petitioning the city of Los Angeles to give Ellison’s eccentric house in Sherman Oaks landmark status so that it might be opened as a museum. Join writer Bethanne Patrick for a peek inside “Ellison Wonderland.”

Janis Paige, known for her starring role in the Tony-winning 1954 musical “The Pajama Game” and her scene-stealing performance in the 1957 movie musical “Silk Stockings,” has died in Los Angeles at age 101. Gina Piccalo wrote our obituary.


More culture news, briefly ...

Jacqueline Stewart stands smiling
Jacqueline Stewart
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Jacqueline Stewart, the film scholar and TCM host who was appointed director and president of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in July 2022, has left the L.A. institution. Stewart was hired as chief artistic officer in June 2020 and quickly became a champion of inclusion, not to mention a MacArthur fellow. The museum said Stewart is returning to the University of Chicago to “resume her scholarship, writing and teaching” and will be succeeded by Amy Homma, the museum’s chief audience officer.

Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.

Revered L.A. stage actor Peter Van Norden has won the Michael McCarty Recognition Award from the Actors’ Equity Foundation. Van Norden, currently part of the stellar veteran cast of George Bernard Shaw‘s “Misalliance” at A Noise Within in Pasadena, has delivered a long career that ranges from Shakespeare to the 1988 Jodie Foster film “The Accused” (in which he played a lawyer) and “Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment” (he played Steve Guttenberg‘s partner). The award goes to an actor older than 50 who is “a ‘lunch bucket’ theater professional, not a star, who has made a life in the theater.”

Occidental College announced Tuesday that it has received a $5-million gift to establish the John Branca Institute for Music. The gift comes from Branca, an alumnus and lawyer whose clients have included Michael Jackson, the Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, the Doors, the Rolling Stones, Dr. Dre, Elvis Presley‘s estate and the Beatles catalog. The school said the gift will help to expand the music department’s curriculum in contemporary music and music business, improve technology and production facilities and work with community colleges to establish a pathway for more students to transfer to Oxy.

Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, announced a $4.4-million gift from the Mohn Family Trust. It’s the largest donation in ICA LA’s history — one that will spur the organization to rename its building on East 7th Street in L.A.’s Arts District. The gift is part of a $12-million campaign to purchase and upgrade the property and expand programming.

A seated person in a black hat and black T-shirt
Roger Q. Mason.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Roger Q. Mason, whom readers may recall from a 2020 Times article about playwrights whose big breaks got squashed by COVID, has earned the McKnight National Residency and Commission from the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis. The program, which selects a writer from outside of Minnesota “to create dialogue between Minnesota-based artists and those outside of the community,” includes a $15,000 commission and up to $12,500 to support the development of a play and a public reading. Mason will be developing “Mahogany Hall,” which explores the life of a madam in the red-light district of turn-of-the-20th century New Orleans.

A human silhouette appears against giant lighted geometric sculptures.
“Dimensions” is the new art installation by the L.A.-based studio Hybycozo that has opened in Paso Robles.

An outdoor art installation by Los Angeles artists Serge Beaulieu and Yelena Filipchuk has opened at Sensorio in Paso Robles. Working under the name Hybycozo, the artists have created “Dimensions,” an “interstellar village” consisting of 44 polyhedral shapes, four of which visitors can enter, with programmed lighting and original music.

And last but not least

If this week is beating you up, there’s always this to brighten your day: ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’s’ top cringe moments.