Many of this week's top events are about transforming spaces in interesting and unusual ways. A new exhibition at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, for example, will raise a darkly wooded den in the main gallery to house the underground dining series Wolvesmouth for a two-week residency. Union Station meanwhile will serve as the site for a "headphone opera," and Griffith Park's Old Zoo has been recast as a nightmare-inducing horrorscape. Also this week are a performance from a famously reclusive stand-up comic and a city-spanning "festival of neighborhoods."
The Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk has a new boss -- and she's already looking to bring some positive changes for the art community. Executive Director Joe Moller stepped down last month, leaving Qathryn Brehm as the interim leader. "As an artist, I'm looking forward to increasing content-rich programming," she said.
That's a big step for the event that has become very much about downtown as a whole, leaving galleries to dwindle in the background. It's something to think about while wandering around, hopefully checking out our recommendations in this guide below.
When it comes to Los Angeles' top events this week, everything old is new again. Local history buffs can dig deep at USC's Archives Bazaar, modern-farmer types and art-and-craft aficionados can explore the locally sourced wonderland of Artisanal L.A., and policy wonks can join Zocalo Public Square to explore how our fair city can survive yet another looming water crisis. (Time to rewatch "Chinatown"?) Also on the agenda are a multi-venue music fest in Echo Park and a two-day art walk at one of the world's largest live-work artists' compounds.
In recent years, few public events have captured Angelenos' attention like Ciclavia, the citywide block party that proved we're more than happy to disconnect from our cars for a while. Similarly, few buildings have captivated Angelenos like Walt Disney Concert Hall, which helped kick off downtown's renaissance and quickly entered the local architectural pantheon. As symbols of Los Angeles' potential, Ciclavia and Disney Hall are both worth celebrating. Conveniently, the former returns for its eighth installment this week, while the latter marks its 10th anniversary. Also on the agenda are a trio of festivals devoted to black cinema, regional Mexican cuisine and West Coast jazz.
Somebody (though probably not Dorothy Parker) once quipped that "Los Angeles is 72 suburbs in search of a city." East Coast cattiness notwithstanding, there is perhaps a sliver of truth in the remark. Los Angeles does contain multitudes, and this week many of its neighborhoods -- from Venice to West Hollywood to Thai Town to Frogtown to downtown -- are hosting festivals that showcase their own distinct character and culture.
For a certain contingent of readers out there, all you need to know is that L.A. Beer Week begins in a few days, promising waves and waves of crisp lagers, full-bodied stouts and aromatic ales. But whether or not you're obsessed with suds, this week features plenty of interesting activities that are non-beer-based, including interactive radio experiments, a hip harvest festival, late-night museum-going with a killer soundtrack, and a reading by one of today's top fabulists.
The self-guided tour of galleries from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. is back this Thursday, September 12. If you want to make it about the art, and not the party, you can start earlier by going in the afternoon, even taking the Downtown DASH around town until the official starting time. Galleries are free, but expect entrance fees at the major venues like MOCA, where hours may vary. For more information or maps, go to Downtown Art Walk.
Many worthy food festivals celebrate the diversity of Los Angeles by offering all kinds of cooking under one banner. Events like the L.A. Street Food Fest, 626 Night Market and the Los Angeles Times' the Taste provide opportunities to sample high and low cuisine, local favorites, globally inspired fare, and more. But sometimes a particular dish is so tantalizing it deserves a festival unto itself, a place where the devoted can indulge in the singular pleasures of a favorite food. This week offers three such festivals, dedicated to lobster, ramen and fried chicken. Also on the agenda are an exploration of literature and hip-hop and the final screening of one of L.A.'s biggest outdoor movie series.
The passing of Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, but there's no need to fall into the doldrums -- not in the Southland, where the days are still sweltering and the calendar is still packed with interesting events. This week's offerings include a New Mexico-style seasonal potluck, a tribute to stereoscopic cinema, an illuminating astronomy talk, an all-star hip-hop concert, and a one-of-a-kind inflatable art installation.
We hope you're hungry, Angelenos, because this week is all about digging in and sampling the Southland's eclectic culinary offerings. Whether your tastes run toward upscale food festivals with bespoke cocktails, Asian night markets filled with noodles and dumplings, or a good old county fair slinging all manner of deep-fried treats, there's something to savor this Labor Day weekend. Also on the agenda: a seaside arts-and-crafts festival and a riverside bike-in movie screening.