William Shatner once said, “I love living in Los Angeles,” and so do we. While there’s so much going on, it can be hard to keep track of it all. Fortunately, Flavorpill invites the entire community to make suggestions with its gorgeous city-based culture guide — an open platform where our very own editors and curators meet and mingle with artists, gadabouts, and other tipsters for a limitless variety of both ongoing and one-off recommendations. With this in mind, please enjoy our weekly list of hand-picked event suggestions here on Flavorwire, and in the meantime, be sure to check out the new Flavorpill. We hope to see you there!
Monday, April 29
BOOKS: Tosh Berman: Sparks-Tastic: Twenty-One Nights with Sparks in London
Even though he’s married to the super-talented Lunnah Menoh and he’s the son of the late iconic SoCal artist Wallace Berman, Tosh Berman’s achievements are remarkable on their own. While he’s one of the leading cultural figures in Los Angeles, Berman’s own charmingly humble demeanor often masks just how important he is to the city’s intellectual community. Having worked as a buyer at Book Soup, Berman is the man behind indie-book publisher TamTam Books, which has published rare literary gems such as Serge Gainsbourg’s semi-scatological 1980 novel, Evguenie Sokolov; and books by the late, criminally underrated literary genius Boris Vian. Berman is also really into the band Sparks, flying to London in 2008 just to hear LA’s own New Wave heroes perform each of their 21 albums from beginning to end, every single night in a row. The result of Berman’s unique odyssey is Sparks-Tastic: Twenty-One Nights with Sparks in London, a new publication from Barnacle Book & Record. Tosh Berman discusses and signs copies of his fascinating account at his ol’ stomping ground, Book Soup. — Tanja M. Laden
Tuesday, April 30
CITY GEM: EVITA
DJ Josh Peace and impresarios Luke Nero and Andres Rigal may have put their Tuesday-night dance club Mr. Black to rest, but luckily for us, they’ve since given us EVITA. Regular hosts Chanel Perrillo and Boulet Brothers (Black Unicorn) — not to mention our favorite door-whore Phyllis Navidad — are joined by a rotating lineup of stellar guests each week. The latest edition of EVITA features the glamorous bastard child of Farinelli and Klaus Nomi, Prince Poppycock, who’s helping Andres Rigal blow out the proverbial candles on the birthday boy’s sure-to-be-yummy confection. — Tanja M. Laden
Wednesday, May 1
BOOKS: An Evening With David Sedaris
David Sedaris is more than just a humor writer. His wit and trenchant social critique have made him something of a rock star American satirist. Each of his personal essay collections — Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and When You Are Engulfed in Flames — was a bestseller. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary (with illustrations by Ian Falconer), released in September 2010, immediately made the New York Times bestseller list for fiction. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls is his latest collection of narrative essays. With a title like that, there’s even more reason to spend an evening with the gifted storyteller at CAP UCLA.
— Rozalia Jovanovic
Thursday, May 2
PERFORMING ARTS: Exhibit A
LA’s own beloved experimental puppeteers, Automata, time-travel to a fictional version of mid-century modernist Silver Lake. With a green-screen video backdrop and model replicas, this avant-garde production examines the lives of local icons such as SoCal architect John Lautner and Radical Faeries co-founder Harry Hay, using private letters and diaries as a springboard. Exhibit A is a progressive piece of puppet theater that gives audiences a mercurial, woozy perspective on the past, one that breathes life into California’s shape-shifting zeitgeist over the past 60 years. — Tanja M. Laden
Friday, May 3
CITY GEM: Dr. Odd’s Medicine Show
The California Institute of Abnormalarts (yep, it’s one word) preserves and showcases the freak-show experience, covering a wide range of acts, encompassing performance art, live music, magic, puppetry, and independent film. Whether you’re in the mood to celebrate the birthday of a dead clown or you just want to catch some offbeat bands, the CIA has it all. Case in point: Dr. Odd’s Medicine Show features one of the founders of the modern sideshow revival, Zamora the Torture King, along with Frank Simon, who holds the Guinness World Record for balancing a refrigerator on his teeth for ten seconds. Dr. Odd pitches “miracle spirits” as the host of his eponymous extravaganza.
— Brendan A. Murray
Saturday, May 4
ART: Eat. Drink. Art.
It’s no coincidence that the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery is at Barnsdall Art Park, one of LA’s cultural and architectural gems. As a longstanding local institution on its own, LAMAG invites arts lovers to its annual benefit featuring a silent auction with works by such artistic luminaries as Wayne White, Ed Ruscha, Laddie John Dill, Mimi Pond, and Claire Falkenstein — along with up-and-coming talent. The multifaceted fundraiser also brings in top-notch food trucks, including Coolhaus, Border Grill, Heirloom LA, Flat Iron, Grilled Cheese Truck, and Mandolin House. And if that weren’t enough, there’s also live painting, booze tasting, a paintball shooting gallery, and DIY sculpture — all to music from DJs like KCRW’s Dan Wilcox. Don’t miss this chance to eat, drink, and art-appreciate while supporting the always excellent programs and exhibits at LAMAG. — Karin E. Baker
Sunday, May 5
Perhaps more than any other industrial band, Killing Joke bridged the gap between Throbbing Gristle’s aggressive noise provocations and the second wave’s death disco (see Wax Trax) and pop flirtations (NIN). They got their transgressive on as eagerly as their influences did (the cover of 1980′s essential “Wardance” single infamously depicts Fred Astaire tap-dancing atop dead WWII soldiers), but thanks to some ferocious goth grooves and Jaz Coleman’s bellowing charisma, standout albums like What’s THIS For…! (1981) were comparatively (and happily) palatable. These days, Killing Joke continue to hold court with a mix of abrasive, metallic sonics and secret catchiness at the Fonda Theater. — Stephen Gossett
ART: Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture
Norton Simon Museum highlights 19 contemporary sculptures from its remarkable permanent collection in Beyond Brancusi: The Space of Sculpture, a group exhibition in which each piece reflects the philosophy and techniques of Modernist sculptor Constantin Brâncuși (1876-1957). Born in Hungary, the artist lived and worked in France, where his radical manipulation of space and material began to redefine the discipline of sculpture. Exhibition curator Leah Lehmbeck used the museum’s own Brancusi sculpture, Bird in Space (1931), as the anchor for the show, which features artwork from the likes of Donald Judd (1928-1994) and SoCal’s own Robert Irwin, all spanning the decade of the 1960s and into the ’70s. Visitors are encouraged to view Brancusi’s Bird in Space, along with the exhibition itself, and to check out Dan Flavin’s 1966 art installation monument’ on the survival of Mrs. Reppin as well. — Tanja M. Laden