ICYMI: Frank Ocean is returning with a new album! And yes, I have been re-listening to his discography to prepare for when it happens (including the recent re-releases under his alias “ocean sixteen”). I’m already “lost in the thrill of” what Coachella has in store! I’m Steven Vargas, your L.A. Goes Out host, and I’m bringing you this week’s recommendations from the crew while I blast “Blonde” in my earbuds from a local coffee shop.
1. Dance Camera West 2023
It’s that time of the year again: Dance Camera West is here! The dance film festival showcases innovative works from dancers and filmmakers alike. The festival — running from Thursday to Saturday — includes short films, discussions and free outdoor screenings. If you’re new to dance films and are interested in learning more about the genre, DCW will also feature a workshop with choreographer and filmmaker Gabri Christa on Saturday at 11 a.m. The weekend festival takes place at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood and tickets range from $10 to $150, depending on the number of events you’d like to attend. More details can be found on the DCW website.
2. ‘Kehinde Wiley: Colorful Realm’
Roberts Projects is debuting its new location in Hancock Park on Saturday — moving from its previous location in Culver City — with an exhibition of new paintings by Kehinde Wiley titled “Colorful Realm.” Wiley is best known for his contemporary takes on historical paintings, replacing the faces of existing subjects with Black and brown people to flip the narrative. The Times’ Deborah Vankin recommends this new exhibition, which draws inspiration from Japanese nature paintings of the Edo period. The opening reception is Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m., and the exhibit will be open until April. More details can be found on the gallery’s website.
3. Pilobolus 50th anniversary performance
This international modern dance company is reaching the “big five-oh!” Pilobolus, known for its shadow work choreography that was featured at the 79th Academy Awards in 2007, has performed everywhere from “Sesame Street” to the Olympics. Now, it’s celebrating its achievements with a 50th-anniversary show at Pepperdine University in Malibu next Wednesday. The event will include performances of “MegaWatt,” “Solo Suitor,” “The Ballad,” “Behind the Shadows” and “Untitled.” Tickets range from $25 to $55 and can be found on Pepperdine’s website.
4. ‘Citizen: An American Lyric’
With text straight from Claudia Rankine’s award-winning book-length poem, the Fountain Theatre and Grand Performances present two free shows of the “Citizen: An American Lyric” stage adaptation Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (with an additional preview scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m.). The text is adapted by Fountain Theatre’s artistic director Stephen Sachs and upholds the same meditations on systemic racism and discrimination that Rankine wrote about . The show premiered at the East Hollywood theater company in 2015 and returns this year to Inner-City Arts’ Rosenthal Theater in downtown Los Angeles with part of its original cast. You can RSVP on Fountain Theatre’s website.
5. ‘Alonzo Davis: The Blanket Series’
Parrasch Heijnen in Boyle Heights will be presenting its first solo exhibition with multimedia artist Alonzo Davis, co-founder of the Brockman Gallery in Leimert Park. His work ranges from print to performance to painting. The exhibition offers works from “The Blanket Series,” pieces in which he weaves painted strips of canvas or paper together to create expressive works with exposed layers and textures. This listing comes from The Times’ art and design critic Carolina Miranda, who highly recommends seeing it before it closes on Saturday. The gallery is free and open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Before attending, be sure to schedule your visit online. For more details, check out Parrasch Heijnen’s website.
Bonus round: ‘Jessica Taylor Bellamy: Endnotes for Sunshine’
Anat Ebgi in Mid-City will be presenting a solo exhibition by Jessica Taylor Bellamy. This native Angeleno juxtaposes stunning Southern California landscapes with daunting realities — displayed through newspaper clippings with headlines about the effects of catastrophes like global warming. The pieces are quintessentially Los Angeles, referencing agencies and institutions like the Metro and the L.A. Times. Her process of creating these pieces is intricate and worth seeing in person. The exhibit opens Saturday and has a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. The free gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Details about the exhibition can be found on Anat Ebgi’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.
On my mind
This past weekend, I went to MOCA Grand Avenue to see “Simone Forti,” a new exhibition that documents Forti’s six-decade career as a choreographer and contemporary artist. The exhibit includes artwork on paper, video and holograms. For me, the highlight was the re-creations of Forti’s groundbreaking “Dance Constructions” from the 1960s. In the middle of the exhibition space, performers — not all of whom identified as dancers — took part in three of Forti’s “Dance Constructions”: “Slant Board,” “Hangers” and “Huddle.”
In “Slant Board,” three people climbed a slanted wooden board that had multiple ropes hanging from the top. The three performers held onto the ropes, either one or two at a time, and made their way up and down the surface. Forti’s work displays the beauty of pedestrian movement. While they repeated the same task, I was mesmerized by the ways they collided with each other’s ideas. And when they were in unison, it was an effortless climb — each at the same height and speed. While they often did not look at each other, there was an understanding of community between the three performers.
Afterward, our attention turned to the corner of the room for “Hangers.” Three ropes hung from a protruding triangular addition to the gallery space close to the ceiling, connecting the two corner walls. As three performers stood in coils of rope hanging from the ceiling, others walked between them. The three swung to and fro, depending on the energy of those around them. No matter how much effort those on the ropes received or where they moved, they always returned to the center. The movement reminded me of a lesson I learned for a dance intensive I recently did with Hannah Millar: Take in the energy and emotions that influence us, accept them, then let them go. Those hanging from the ropes welcomed the energy of the performers bumping into each other and returned it. As I watched the movement piece, I was mesmerized by how the geometric architecture that the ropes hung from informed the experience, casting shadows on the movers. It informed the direction — or lack thereof — of the performers moving and walking past each other. And when someone trips and blunders, the energy flow continues.
And lastly, “Huddle” took up the center of the space. A larger group of performers gathered together, grasping tightly onto each other’s legs for foundation. And when the unifying structure felt secure, one person would escape and get to another side of the circle. The only caveat is that they had to get there by climbing over the huddle of people. It tested expectations, not only in the way they got to another section of the huddle, but also in how they found fortitude — I thought that they would hold on to each other’s torsos, but instead, they went for the thighs. Slowly, we see more and more innovative ways to get across the top shell of people. We see the huddle ebb and flow, evolving in and out of an ellipse. Through each “Dance Construction,” there is a reminder of unity permeating the space. Suddenly, I started looking at those around me, wondering how we unify in this moment and beyond.
There are only three of Forti’s nine “Dance Constructions,” and they are worth a visit to the downtown L.A. gallery. Performances are 3:30 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Thursdays, and 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission to MOCA is free and the exhibit runs until April 2.
On Friday, I decided to conclude the rainy week with a visit to the theater to see “Final Interview” by Gabriel Oliva at the Pico Playhouse. What drew me to the show was its absurd plot: A corporate job interview turns deadly when a gun is thrown into the mix. And the hype was worth it. The world premiere show was entertaining and unexpected. When Charles (Brian Stanton) lets Clayton (Oliva) into his office for an interview, the standard questions with a potential employer evolve into an interrogation. Clayton slowly picks away at Charles’ career as an architect until the truth about negligence in his practice surfaces, revealing he was behind the collapse of an apartment complex that took the lives of many, including someone close to Clayton. The show takes place in Charles’ office, and while much of the performance is between the two — with an interruption by Charles’ assistant Tessa (Dana DeRuyck) — the tension in the conversation takes the audience beyond the walls of the small space.
Although entertaining, certain moments took me out of the height of the situation, including Stanton’s hyperactive reactions that feel too erratic for someone with a gun pointed at him. Combined with the lighting design by Helton Najera that brings in sudden metaphoric lighting changes based on the mood of the conversation, there is quite a bit being shown to the audience about the edgy situation instead of allowing the performers to sit in the terse tone shifts written on the page. The moment that caught my breath was Tessa walking into the office. Clayton hid behind the door, gun pointed right at Charles’ head. Charles balanced his erratic side with a calmer one to keep Tessa safe, delivering each line differently, and finding the perfect tone to get Tessa out of the room safely.
“Final Interview” has three more shows: 8 p.m. next Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. next Sunday. Tickets are $30 and can be found online.
Insights: Flooded arts (literally) — events postponed or canceled due to SoCal storms
The rain has not only caused destruction and devastation, it has also led to event postponements and cancellations. If you’re trying to plan ahead or are unsure if your current plans are still viable, here is a list of rescheduled openings and shows to keep you up to date with unexpected changes:
- “Wuthering Heights” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts: Emma Rice’s musical adaptation of Emily Brontë’s classic tale has been canceled due to significant damage to the venue by the excessive rain. The show was scheduled to run until Jan. 21.
- “For Submersion” by Sarah Rosalena with Clockshop: Ironically, this installation on the Los Angeles River floodplain has been postponed due to excessive rain. While the installation required rain, the storms provided a bit too much water. The event at Los Angeles State Historic Park was initially planned for last Sunday but has now been postponed to 2 to 4 p.m. on Jan. 29.
- Luis De Jesus Los Angeles opening reception for Mimi Smith and Hugo Crosthwaite’s solo exhibitions: The opening reception for the new solo exhibitions at the downtown Los Angeles gallery has been rescheduled from last Saturday to this Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. While the exhibit itself is still available to view, you’ll have to wait a bit longer to celebrate the shows with fellow artists and art lovers. Details can be found on Luis De Jesus Los Angeles’ website.
- The Pit opening reception: Raymie Iadevaia’s solo exhibition “To the Ends of the Earth” and the group show “The Bioelectric Self” have been available to view at the Pit in Glendale since Saturday, but the opening reception for the shows has been rescheduled for Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.
Go out speed round
Go out before it closes: New York-based artist Janiva Ellis’ paintings will be on display at the Hammer Museum in Westwood until Sunday. The project echoes the architecture of the museum, warping to the space and creating a mesmerizing piece. The museum is free and open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Go out for free: Mey, a new gallery in West Hollywood, is launching its inaugural show today. “Between You and Me,” a group exhibition that reflects on the titular idiom, features works by Kevin Douillez, Mia Weiner, Aryana Minai, Thérèse Mulgrew, Eric Stefanski and Ally Rae Peeples — all of whom explore the phrase by examining their intimate relationships with themselves and others. The show is free and runs until next Wednesday. Details can be found on Mey’s website.
Go out and learn/craft: Cultivate a deeper connection with your spine with a dance performance at G-Son Studios in Atwater Village titled “You Live in My Spine.” The show presented by choreographer Leah Zeiger shares dance work that explores the bone structure of the spine, and examines the body’s memory, daily habits and mindsets. Pulling from scholarly research, Zeiger’s choreography utilizes her somatic technique, the Body Memory Method. The show runs Friday to Sunday, with performances at 8 p.m. each day. Tickets range from $10 to $25 and details can be found online.
Go out with the kids: This Los Angeles Philharmonic concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall transports audiences into a Russian folk tale full of magic and romance. “The Firebird,” a ballet by Igor Stravinsky, tells the story of a magical firebird that saves Prince Ivan and Princess Katerina from the evil King Koschei. The Saturday event starts at 11 a.m. and the remaining tickets cost $27. Details and ticket information can be found on the L.A. Phil’s website.
Go out on a date: Take your date out to one of the longest-running jazz festivals. The Monterey Jazz Festival, featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Lakecia Benjamin, Christian Sands, Yasushi Nakamura and Clarence Penn, will be celebrating its 65th year at Walt Disney Concert Hall Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $49 to $104 and can be found on the L.A. Phil’s website.
Go out and wander: Art, drinks and sushi — what else could you ask for? JMF Development is putting on an art show at Pershing Square Building today and tomorrow. It begins at 4 p.m. with a gallery from local artists that is available for viewing until 8:30 p.m. each night. And the reception at Mrs. Fish Japanese restaurant and whiskey bar is from 5 to 9 p.m. each night with complimentary drinks and sushi. Tickets range from $12 to $18 and details can be found on the event’s website.
Go out and experience NYC in LA: New York City-based dance company Gibney Company is making its way to the West Coast for an evening performance at Bovard Auditorium at the University of Southern California on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Gibney Company is a renowned dance ensemble that focuses on cultivating artists who are also activists and cultural entrepreneurs. The event is free and open to the public; just make sure to RSVP before you go.
Go out for laughs: Jane Lynch, the TV star behind “Glee’s” Sue Sylvester, will be hosting an evening full of laughs with a cabaret at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. “Jane Lynch & Her Friends Who Can Sing!” runs from Thursday to Saturday with a show at 7:30 p.m. each day. Tickets cost $99 and details can be found on Segerstrom’s website.
More from the crew here
Los Angeles has seen quite a bit of rain lately, and according to AccuWeather, there is more to come later this month. Here are 16 supremely fun things to do in L.A. when it rains.
Struggling to find a spot for drinks after work? Check out this guide to craft breweries on the greater Eastside of Los Angeles.
If you’re looking for the best outdoor date while the sun is out, here are 8 date-worthy L.A. hikes that’ll impress your next Tinder match.
Traveling on a budget? Here are a few tips on how to travel better, smarter and cheaper in 2023.
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.