It’s been cold in Los Angeles lately, so get out those once-a-year coats and scarves, and get ready to fend off a bit of wind chill when you head out on your weekend activities tonight. But there’s still plenty to do, from underground hip-hop DJs to one-woman comedy shows and even unearthed and revived ‘80s carnivals. Here are our picks for what to do in and around LA this weekend.
Friday, January 19
The legendary Bay Area producer and DJ had more influence on the sound of ‘90s hip-hop than most, particularly his 1996 debut, Endtroducing. But two decades later, he still remains largely an underground cult phenomenon. That’s okay, because a show at the Fonda Theatre tonight offers you a chance to join the cult. Touring behind his seventh album, Action Adventure, DJ Shadow will perform starting at 9 p.m. Whether you’re a head or just starting out, there’s not a rap fan alive who will regret grabbing a ticket and paying homage to this influential producer, even if they’re running about $100 a pop. Tickets here.
Luna Luna was originally launched way back in 1987 by Austrian artist André Heller as the world’s “first art amusement park” and hosted in Hamburg, Germany for just one summer. Though it was slated to go on a global tour, it never happened, and the idea was simply lost to history until very recently when it was revived for a second life. A Keith Haring carousel, Basquiat ferris wheel and a geometric forest by David Hockney are just a few of the attractions at this revamped fantasyland that currently set up shop in the Arts District. For fans of visual art, history and magic, there’s truly nothing better. Open any day but Monday and Tuesday, tickets are currently on sale through the end of February here.
This one-woman play, performed entirely by comedienne extraordinaire Kate Berlant and directed by Bo Burnham, opens on January 17 and will run for the next few weeks until February 11. Get in on the action early and attend a showing during opening weekend. Based on Berlant’s past work in her recent comedy special Cinnamon In The Wind, the sketch comedy special Would It Kill You to Laugh? with creative partner John Early and appearances in shows like A League Of Their Own and Search Party, this 75-minute feature is guaranteed to be a tour de force from a rising comedy star. Tickets here.
Aside from being an all-around classic LA dive bar, Footsies is well known for occasionally hosting excellent live music and frequently throwing live music-adjacent parties. One of the latter is coming up this Friday, a night devoted to all things indie sleaze (if you know, you know) and the band who most defines that early aughts aesthetic, The Strokes. If slamming a shot and a beer and screaming “Is This It” with a crowd of similarly disaffected 30-somethings is your jam, the event is free and begins at 10 p.m. As noted, admission is free and tickets can be found here.
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Saturday, January 20
This special hip-hop retrospective opened back in October, but it’s the perfect activity for a cold and blustery Saturday in January. Get tickets for museum admission here — the hip-hop display is a special exhibit that doesn’t require any extra fees.
Since we’re rounding out the 50-year anniversary for the advent of hip-hop culture, it makes sense that more than one retrospective full of ephemera, photography and history is making its way into the zeitgeist. This exhibit was initially shown in New York City, the de facto birthplace of the genre, and is part of the influential rap magazine Mass Appeal’s efforts to catalog and preserve the early years of a worldwide movement. An immersive digital experience, the exhibit combines audio and visual components with physical objects and occasional programming like live speakers and events. Kicking off January 12th, it runs from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m on Sundays. Tickets here.
If you think you’re one of those people who are too refined, simply too elegant, perhaps too intellectual to attend a monster truck rally, I have to ask — have you ever been to a monster truck rally? It’s honestly so fun. Think pro wrestling, but it’s outdoors and there’s better beer. If you’re looking to get out of your comfort zone this Saturday night, drive your own truck over to Anaheim and try it. Tickets here.
If you’re even mildly interested in yoga, this two-day expo is a great way to get your feet wet. The January expo takes place both Friday and Saturday and features all kinds of programming, covering topics like the connection between Yin and tarot, guided meditations, growing your business as a yoga teacher or studio owner, and sound baths and reiki workshops. Tickets start at $60 and are available here.
If yoga isn’t your thing, then perhaps oddities and curiosities are. Another annual expo is happening on Saturday and Sunday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The event touts itself as an experience for “lovers of the strange,” with all kinds of vendors selling everything related to the realm of dark, strange and odd. The only way to really find out what’s there is to go. Tickets here.
Sunday, January 21
While there are farmers markets all over Los Angeles, this little enclave on the west side of town has long been known as one of the best. And, after recently moving into the neighborhood myself this past December, I can confirm it’s a high quality market. Every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. between Grand View Blvd and Venice Blvd, the street is blocked off so that stalls of farmers, butchers, food vendors, cheesemongers, fishermen and more can provide high quality, locally-grown and made goods to the neighborhood. Don’t sleep on the fresh flower or juice vendors to round out the perfect weekend morning. The market happens rain or shine, but you can always double check their Instagram for real-time updates.
If the name Rod Benson sounds familiar, then perhaps you’ve seen his new book, Different Dude, around the internet, which takes on Benson’s strange journey from pro basketball to self-taught artist. It’s a supremely personal memoir, told with his vivid, wicked, highly relatable voice, a breezy read as memoirs go. To see another side of this multi-talented personality, head over to The Meantime in Silverlake and catch his improv team performing at the Combo Plate show.
Their all-Black improv team goes by the name Lemon Pepper Wet and consists of Benson and comics Leonard Smith Jr, Chris Eddins, Vince Peagler III and Sean Will. At Combo Plate, the bookers bring in rising comedians, musical acts and then the improv teams follow, basing their show topics off the previous performance. Plus, the venue brings in local barbecue purveyors On and Crackin BBQ to sell food during the event, so there’s something for everyone. If you miss Combo Plate, the Lemon Pepper Wet crew can also be found at UCB every fourth Friday performing on the monthly improv show. Tickets for Combo Plate are right here.
What’s better than a pre-awards show party? If you’ve already been getting into the swing of the award show circuit with parties for the Golden Globes and the Emmys, then this is a logical next step. It costs a pretty penny to get in — more than $100 for even the lower levels — but for a chance to mingle with the glitterati for a night, sometimes the splurge is worth it, especially when it includes access to a VIP bar for the night. Tickets here.
Although you could go visit the lively piano bar and jazz lounge at The Moxy’s stunning new Level 8 compound any day of the week, heading there on Sunday night to drive away the Sunday Scaries is probably the most top-tier move. The venue opens around 6 p.m., and live music starts not too long after that. Walk-ins are welcome, or you can make a reservation here.
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