Plot twist: I spent part of my weekend NOT in Los Angeles but in Texas visiting family. However, I still kept my eye on the L.A. art scene and made sure to catch “The White Lotus” finale. Before I say too much and spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, let’s bring you up to speed with the weekend events recommended by the crew.
1. “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Experience”
Can you solve this mystery? Leading up to the Netflix release of Rian Johnson’s latest whodunit, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” on Dec. 23, the streamer is launching “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Experience.” In this escape room, you’ll be guided by Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to test your sleuthing skills in Greece. And you must solve the timed challenges or … risk losing a member of your group. This is a free experience in Beverly Grove so RSVP before slots fill up. Otherwise, there is a standby line to accommodate last-minute guests. The experience runs 4 to 10 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, until Dec. 23.
2. “The Last Unicorn”
The Corey Helford Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles presents its last major exhibition of the year: “The Last Unicorn.” The exhibit is a 40th-anniversary group show with new works from more than 70 international artists. The show is inspired by the novel and animated movie of the same name created by Peter S. Beagle. The exhibit takes up CHG’s main gallery, alongside a pop-up shop in gallery 2 and production art from the film in gallery 3. The free show, which opens Saturday, comes recommended by The Times’ Deborah Vankin. Details can be found on CHG’s website.
3. Water and Power and Freeways
Sit back and get a deeper look at car culture with a screening co-presented by the Hammer Museum and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. As part of the series “Can’t Get That Monster Out of My Mind: Joan Didion and Cinema,” experimental films “Water and Power” directed by Pat O’Neill and “There? Where?” directed by Babette Mangolte will be screened at the Hammer’s Billy Wilder Theater at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. In her musings on Southern California car culture, Joan Didion famously wrote, “Actual participation requires a total surrender, a concentration so intense as to seem a kind of narcosis, a rapture-of-the-freeway. The mind goes clean. The rhythm takes over.” If you’re a Didion fan and love to ruminate on the oft-overlooked parts of everyday life, this is the perfect event for you. The event is free and doesn’t require an RSVP, so seating is first come, first served. And if you want to make more of the trip, be sure to check out the “Joan Didion: What She Means” gallery, along with the other exhibitions at the Hammer.
4. “Ain’t Misbehavin’”
Get to movin’ and jumpin’ to the Tony Award-winning musical “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” currently at Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura. The musical is a tribute to Fats Waller, who helped define American swing. The Times’ theater critic, Charles McNulty, declares this swing-filled show is sure to put a smile on your face. The five-person show brings to the stage hit songs by Waller like “Honeysuckle Rose,” “The Jitterbug Waltz” and “Your Feet’s Too Big.” The show closes Sunday and tickets range from $30 to $80. Check out Rubicon Theatre Company’s website for more details.
5. The Industry Lab 2022
Opera lovers, we’ve got some new works coming to Los Angeles. In the all-day mini-festival LAB 2022, the Industry — a forward-thinking, experimental opera company — is presenting works-in-progress by Mariah Garnett, Richard Kennedy and H Sinno on Saturday. This event, recommended by The Times’ classical music critic, Mark Swed, uses opera to explore concepts like colonial violence and Black resistance through experimental music and theatrical storytelling. The festival starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Los Angeles Theatre Center in downtown L.A. and tickets range from $15 to $40. For more information on LAB 2022, check out the Industry’s website.
Bonus round: ‘Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations’
This phenomenal Broadway musical — which received 12 Tony Award nominations and won the 2019 Tony for choreography for Sergio Trujillo’s movement — is making its way back to the Ahmanson Theatre. The show follows the journey of the Temptations, tracking their life story from the streets of Detroit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Ain’t Too Proud” chronicles the group members’ lives and sets their story to their Grammy-winning songs. The production with Center Theatre Group is in previews and opens Thursday with an 8 p.m. performance. Tickets range from $40 to $155 and 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 of you who make plans based on the commute, and it also can be filtered by type of event and by price.
And for a more festive round-up, check out Cooper’s ultimate guide to holiday shows, listing where to see everything from “A Christmas Carol” to “The Nutcracker Suite.” Check out the extensive list, broken down by date, here.
On my mind
Before heading to the Lone Star State, I started my weekend early with a trek to Santa Monica for the People’s Choice Awards on Tuesday. The awards show allows fans to vote for their favorite celebrities. While many stars were in attendance, Shania Twain, who won the music icon award that evening, stole the show at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.
Twain, who had paused her career after Lyme disease damaged her vocal cords, proved she’s still the powerhouse musician that Billy Porter introduced her as. The performance featured everything from lasso twirling to cowboy hats, and what fascinated me most was the sharp choreography by Hamilton Evans. Dancers in leopard-print bodysuits strutted down the stage, popping a hip before assisting in Twain’s costume change. Detailed and swift choreography like Hamilton’s isn’t easy to pull off, and those dancers (and Twain jumping in from time to time) made it look effortless.
The People’s Champion winner, Lizzo, delivered a speech that’s bound to go down in history. When honored with the award, she admitted that she was on the fence about accepting the trophy. “Being an icon is what you do with that platform,” she said. Instead of taking the honor alone, she shared the stage with activists like Amariyanna Copeny (also known as Little Miss Flint) and Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother. Lizzo called on each of the 17 activists assembled onstage to share their cause and their fight, bringing the crowd to tears. It was a monumental moment that was moving and necessary, reminding people that the word “champion” is not exclusive to those in the limelight. To learn more about the activists, check out our coverage here.
Then on Wednesday, I checked out the newly opened exhibition “Afro-Atlantic Histories” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The touring exhibition made its way to Los Angeles with over 100 works (including some new additions). The show in the Resnick Pavilion traces the transatlantic slave trade, and provides a series of perspectives that reflect its impact in Africa, Europe and the Americas. It’s organized into six thematic sections that focus on everything from everyday life to resistance. What stuck out to me was the focus on what is visible and invisible in the narrative of the slave trade. “Space to Forget” by Titus Kaphar leaves a hole where a white child would be, sitting on a Black woman’s back. The viewer is forced to look at the subject’s face and reckon with her desire for resistance.
The section titled “Portraits” is a tribute gallery that (rightfully) takes up the largest space in the exhibition, making visible those who were invisible in history. It displays historic portraits of Black leaders and ordinary people alike. Dating from the 17th century to the present, the section rewrites history to highlight the beauty of Black portraiture. In “Who’s Afraid of Aunt Jemima?” Faith Ringgold rewrites history, reenvisioning the harmful caricature of Aunt Jemima as a businesswoman and bringing personality and a new life to the stereotypical figure.
Walking through the exhibit, viewers are faced with contrasting imagery — heartwarming daily life and brutality that is hard to behold — that encourages them to question what part of history is omitted from our history books and how we could change it. “African-Atlantic Histories” can be seen at LACMA until September.
Insights: How to make theater more sensory-friendly
In last week’s edition of L.A. Goes Out, we featured A Noise Within for its “relaxed performance” of “A Christmas Carol.” These special performances that began at the theater in 2018 altered elements of the show to take into consideration those with sensory disorders like autism, attention deficit disorder and sensory integrative dysfunction.
“We tried to create a very welcome and open space for anyone for whom a traditional performance might not be possible,” says Alicia Green, director of education and community outreach at A Noise Within. For the production, the theater reduced the sound level and stage lighting, kept the house lights on, shortened the length of the performance, limited the number of patrons, implemented a “hush-free” rule that allowed for vocalizations and noises from patrons, and created a quiet area for attendees to regulate before rejoining the performance.
Not all theaters have “relaxed performances” and accommodations for patrons with sensory disorders. If you or a loved one with a sensory disorder is interested in attending a show that doesn’t have the same alterations as A Noise Within’s recent performance, here are a few tips that will make your theatergoing experience a little smoother:
- “Preparation is key,” Green says. Do a dry run of your visit and go to the theater at a not-so-busy time to figure out parking and where to pick up tickets, and know what happens when you step through the door.
- Read everything you can. Take a look at the synopsis and look at pictures from the production so you are not surprised by the characters in the show.
- Call the theater beforehand to discuss accommodations for your visit. This could be letting them know about vocalizations or if you require a device like headphones or a fidget spinner.
Go out speed round
Go out before it closes: At Shulamit Nazarian, a gallery in Venice, Los Angeles-based artist Annie Lapin’s “Contours of the Vast” takes landscape painting a bit further by portraying the American West with varying perspectives that explore geographical timelines to create works that are both abstract and detailed in execution. The free exhibition, Lapin’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, closes Saturday; details can be found on Shulamit Nazarian’s website.
Go out for free: Be the first to see Art Share L.A.‘s new exhibitions, “Street Schooled” and “Art Share L.A. Canceptual,” both curated by street artist Man One. “Street Schooled’ features art from 12 Los Angeles artists — seven emerging and five established — and “Canceptual” is a large group show with 100 original pieces of art. The free opening takes place from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. There will be live art activations, poetry, music and refreshments. RSVP on Art Share L.A.’s Eventbrite.
Go out and learn: Cultivate your green thumb with Hauser & Wirth’s Family Garden Workshop on Sunday. The workshop will be focused on caring for winter crops and creating winter container gardens out of upcycled materials. The free event at the Arts District gallery, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., is perfect for the family. Be sure to RSVP online before getting your hands dirty.
Go out with the kids: It’s story time! Laguna Art Museum hosts “Storytime Saturday” to bring literature to life. The event encourages kids to find inspiration in the museum artwork and exhibition in a “read-aloud,” which is supplemented with mindfulness exercises, art-making and more. Details for the event, recommended by The Times’ Deborah Vankin, can be found on Laguna Art Museum’s website. Tickets are $7 for museum members and $14 for nonmembers; children get in free.
Go out on a date: Take your holiday sweetheart to see “Home Alone” in concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The screening will be accompanied by a live performance of John Williams’ score for the holiday classic. For those unfamiliar with the comedy, it follows Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), an 8-year-old boy who’s accidentally left behind when his family heads off to a holiday vacation. He finds himself forced to defend his house from two thieves. “Home Alone” in concert runs Tuesday through Thursday, with shows at 8 p.m. each day. Tickets range from $94 to $192 and can be found on L.A. Phil’s website.
Go out all day: Santa Monica is home to the beach and … ice! Take a trip to the coast for a day of ice skating with your partner, kids, friends or on your own. The ice rink — on Fifth Street and Arizona Avenue — is open daily from noon to 10 p.m., and costs $20 for admission and skate rentals. Details can be found on Downtown Santa Monica’s website.
Go out and celebrate Hanukkah: Celebrate Hanukkah in Culver City with a menorah lighting at the Culver Steps at 4:30 p.m. The public event will include live music, a magic show, latkes, crafts and more. Details on the Sunday event (and the subsequent four days) and RSVP info can be found on the Chabad of Culver City website.
Go out and celebrate Kwanzaa: The California African American Museum gets the Kwanzaa festivities going with CAAM Kuumba Kwanzaa Celebration from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. The afternoon event includes an interactive story time with Jayon and Jon Kev, and a zine workshop with Able ARTS Work. So bring your zine materials, comfortable clothes and seating for the free celebration. And don’t forget to RSVP on CAAM’s website.
Go out and vibe: Rapper and musical artist Leikeli47 is performing at the Belasco at 7 p.m. Thursday. In May she released the final installment of her album trilogy, called “Shape Up.” She began the trilogy with “Wash & Set” in 2017, and followed it in 2018 with “Acrylic.” She’ll be performing her top songs from the trilogy, showing the progression of her career and music. Tickets cost $25 and can be found on Live Nation.
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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 email@example.com.