I was watching Jeopardy once, and the answer was, 'This leader did some sightseeing in a newly defeated Paris in June of 1940.' The contestant said, 'Who is Adolf Hitler?' and Alex Trebek replied, 'That is correct.' Really? That's the answer to the question 'Who is Hitler?': A guy who went antiquing through Europe? Because I feel like I know that name from something else.
Jane Borden performs at Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill on January 7th at 8pm, the Pleasure Chest on January 8th at 8pm and M.I. Westside Comedy Theater on January 9th at 10pm. Tickets are under $10.
Pop-Up Magazine brings together the best kinds of creatives—writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, puppeteers, the list goes on—and puts them onstage to share and discuss their work. All pieces performed at the show are new and unpublished, either created for the event or as part of a larger ongoing project. This means getting a first look at work from some of the biggest names in fiction, photography, film and more—according to senior editor Pat Walters, "work everyone else will start hearing about a year from now." Also, nothing is recorded, so everything shared is a one-time only creative experience.
Printed Matter presents LA Art Book Fair, a unique (and free!) event showcasing artists' books, catalogues, monographs, periodicals and zines. Over 250 international presses, booksellers and independent publishers from twenty-one countries come together to hawk their wordy wares at this not-to-be-missed companion fair to New York's Art Book Fair. Peruse naughty pulp paperbacks, catalogues full of fancy modern art, and books that you don't really "read" so much as just admire.
Mary Pickford co-founded legendary entertainment studio United Artists and picked up the second ever Academy Award for Best Actress in 1929. So we'd say the Theatre at Ace Hotel (formerly the United Artists Theatre) is a pretty perfect place to sit and watch the Oscars. The theater will be streaming the red carpet arrivals as well as the ceremony broadcast. Creative fancy dress is strongly encouraged.
Get into the Mardi Gras spirit with this festival at Long Beach's Shoreline Village. Catch a crew of zydeco bands as well as face painting and balloon artists. Chow down on beignets at the Funnel House and Blue Carousel along with hurricanes, spiked Kool-Aid, jambalaya, gumbo and alligator legs at Louisiana Charlie’s. A parade kicks off on Saturday at 3pm.
Currently stationed at a school parking lot in Atwater Village, the Electric Dusk Drive-In gives beatnik crowds somewhere to soak in a roster of blockbusters, while indulging in a quirky menu of BBQ fare and homemade cookies. For February, the series is screening a trio of romantic movies, some more classic than others: The Notebook; Crazy, Stupid, Love; and Casablanca.
In celebration of the late Bob Baker's 93rd birthday, the namesake theater is hosting an afternoon of puppet shows, live music, comedy and more. Last year's festivities included a performance by DJ Lance Rock and the Yo Gabba Gabba crew, a community show and a variety show with ventriloquism from Beakman World's Paul Zaloom and a juggling act from Lindsay Benner. The celebration spills out onto First Street with an outdoor stage of puppet shows and live music, plus art displays and puppetry workshops. Bob Baker puppeteers will also present behind-the-scenes tours in between shows.
Explore the imaginative landscape of young, female and trans-identifying photographers from around the world at #girlgaze: a frame of mind. This mostly digital exhibition at the Annenberg Space for Photography has been largely sourced through social media by Girlgaze, a collective founded by the famed British-born television host, women’s advocate and photographer Amanda de Cadenet.
Transport yourself to Brazil at this annual West Coast version of the famed weeklong South American celebration—although L.A. crams all the fun into a one-night party. Samba the night away while enjoying Brazilian food and drinks, an all-star band performing Carnaval hits, dancers, a parade and a hundred-piece participatory drum circle. Nearly 1,000 people turn out for the sensual and raucous blowout, many masked, sequined and feathered in true Mardi Gras fashion.
Shake your stuff in celebration of Brazilian Carnival at this annual dance party. The festivities include dancers, musicians, flying acrobats and a live stream of the main celebration in Brazil. It all goes down at the Globe Theatre, with samba reggae, axé and trio elétrico music, along with samba-enredo, marchinha and pagode.
It's Mardi Gras weekend, but you're having a seriously hard time deciding whether to toss some beads or to play toss with Fido. Do both at the original Farmers Market with their annual Mardi Gras celebration. The fun begins with the Mutti Gras Pet Parade & Costume Contest at the Market Plaza. Pups, and the occasional cat, parade along the plaza in costume and are then judged by the crowd. A King and Queen are then crowned in categories of small, medium, and large, and are awarded prizes from the Dog Bakery.The Mardi Gras Ranch Party kicks off on the West Patio with music from Eddie Baytos & the Nervis Bros (who'll return on Fat Tuesday). Seafood and gumbo ya ya, jumbalaya, Cajun meat loaf, blackened chicken, beignets, po'boys, and other traditional New Orleans food will be available throughout.
Dads don’t come much more meaningful (or embarrassing) than the one in writer-director Maren Ade’s invigorating German comedy. Running at nearly three hours, Toni Erdmann introduces us to a young workaholic woman, Ines (Sandra Hüller), assigned by her company to a position in Bucharest, Romania. Her shaggy, aging father, Winfried (Peter Simonischek), a relentless practical joker, decides to come and visit for the weekend. That itself is totally out of character for Winfried—his usual comfort zone is greeting a startled postman on the doorstep while wearing false teeth and speaking in a funny accent. Then, after an awkward couple of days together, Winfried refuses to go home. He pops up everywhere that Ines goes, invading her life on the local business and diplomatic scene, wearing a wig and pretending to be a life coach called Toni Erdmann. There’s nothing new about many of the concerns of this anarchic comedy: the growing gulf between parents and their adult kids; the conflict between work and family; the alienating, dehumanizing nature of the modern workplace; the role of women in corporate culture; the economic direction in which modern Europe is heading. But the way in which Ade (whose last film was 2009’s Everyone Else) tackles all these things is startlingly original, frequently hilarious and completely surprising at every turn. It’s a rare film that makes you think deeply about the world around you while also making you laugh hard at scenes of nudity or a grown man wa
The young writer-director Damien Chazelle has followed his Oscar-winning drama Whiplash with another entirely novel film steeped in the world of music. His soaring, romantic, extremely stylish and endlessly inventive La La Land is that rare beast: a grown-up movie musical that's not kitschy, a joke or a Bollywood film. Instead, it's a swooning, beautifully crafted ode to the likes of Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Stanley Donen's Singin' in the Rain that plays out in the semi-dream world of Los Angeles and manages to condense the ups and downs of romantic love into a very Tinseltown toe-tapping fable. La La Land boasts stars to fall in love with: Ryan Gosling is Seb, a brooding pianist and jazz purist who dreams of running his own nightclub, while Emma Stone plays Mia, a more sunny studio-lot barista and aspiring actor who dreams of putting on her own plays. The film follows them from winter to fall and back to winter as they meet, argue, flirt, fall in love and face a growing conflict between their personal passions and romantic hopes. There are tender and imaginative moments to die for: Stone mouthing along to a cover version of “I Ran” at a pool party; the pair watching their legs discover the power of tap while sitting on a bench; the two of them flying into the stars and waltzing while visiting Griffith Observatory—a moment inspired by a trip to see Rebel Without a Cause. There are songs, there are dances (and Gosling and Stone prove easy naturals at bot
The proud white steeples, choppy waters and forthright, salty demeanour of small-town New England make an exquisite counterpoint to a devastating tale of buried trauma in Manchester by the Sea, an emotional powerhouse with the weave of great literature. Kenneth Lonergan, the film’s writer-director, has already proven his ear for raw domestic showdowns with his compassionate 2000 debut, You Can Count On Me. After that, he added sensitive teenagers to the mix via the sprawling post-9/11 NYC drama Margaret (2011), a movie that escaped its troubled postproduction to emerge as a bruised, one-of-a-kind keeper. To say Lonergan has evolved further with his third feature would be an understatement: He toggles between his new plot’s years with the relaxed mastery of Boyhood’s Richard Linklater. Plus, he finally has a complex central performance that anchors his ambitions to cinema’s all-time great brooders – Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and the Heath Ledger of Brokeback Mountain. It comes from Casey Affleck, who you already knew was better than his brother, Ben (no extra credit there), but whose high, keening voice and fragility never suggested such ferocity. Affleck is Lee, a Boston handyman and janitor. For all of Lee’s quiet capability with a clogged toilet or a leaky pipe, you don’t want to cross this man, or he’ll lash out, with bile hiding just beneath his surly squint. Affleck burns off the screen in these early scenes, building up a depiction of a lonely one-room existence. The a
The first movie had Keanu Reeves’s stoic man of action taking on the Russian mobsters who killed his dog—a vengeance with a vicious edge. No, they haven’t come for his cat this time, but the taciturn ex-assassin is still prone to murderous rages. It turns out John’s unsanctioned rampage broke the laws that all hired killers follow, so he faces some hefty consequences. The ensuing disciplinary action shuttles our antihero from New York to Rome and back again, always one step ahead of his former colleagues who (unwisely) won’t let it go. John Wick: Chapter 2 opens with a movie projected on a wall, as John races past an outdoor screening of a silent slapstick comedy. It’s an unsubtle but appropriate image: None of this is meant to be taken too seriously. Just sit back and enjoy the stunts, the speed and the style. Reeves has more than a touch of Buster Keaton about him, staying stone-faced as he blasts, karate-kicks and throat-punches his way through literally hundreds of faceless underworld goons. And what a stupendously entertaining ride it is. Former stuntman Chad Stahelski is back in the director’s chair, and he knows his craft inside out: Every body blow lands hard, every gunshot roars like thunder. Neon-lit and gloomy, the film is lovely to look at (think Drive’s Nicolas Winding Refn without the pretension). The humor is charmingly self-deprecating—a series of adversarial grunt-offs between Reeves and fellow assassin Cassian (Common) is a highlight—and the testosterone-h
To celebrate the late Beatle's would-be 74th birthday, Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Projects is hosting pop-up exhibition in honor of George Harrison. On February 26, the Echo Park gallery will put original handwritten lyrics and personal song commentary on display alongside family photos. In addition, Fairey has designed a half-dozen portraits of Harrison just for the occasion. The exhibition doubles as a launch event for the I Me Mine Extended Edition, an expanded reissue of Harrison's 1980 biography. The first 100 customers at the gallery will receive copies signed by Shepard Fairey.
A horror film with the power to put a rascally grin on the face of that great genre subverter John Carpenter (They Live), Get Out has more fun playing with half-buried racial tensions than with scaring us to death. To some, that will come as the slightest letdown: The movie is a touch too in love with its big idea—that meeting your white girlfriend’s parents might be hazardous to your health (even if, as we hear, they “would have voted for Obama a third time”). Chris, a serious young photographer (Daniel Kaluuya), clearly adores Rose (Girls’ Allison Williams). Still, their imminent trip out of the city to her family’s secluded mansion fills him with dread. That randomly darting deer they smash with their car on the way up doesn’t help Chris’s fraying nerves, and the way the animal stares him down during its last gasps feels like a warning. Get Out is sharp and cutting during its buildup—you’ll never want this section to end—and the addition of two awkwardly ingratiating adults (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford) makes a comic meal out of white liberal privilege with every “cool” handshake and turn of phrase (“Hug me, my man!” Rose’s dad exclaims, drawing Chris in). Meanwhile, the movie brews a fine tension between the limits of parental largesse and Chris’s own independence, while a disquieting number of black servants look on like wide-eyed zombies. The writer-director of these vignettes is Jordan Peele, of the defunct but essential Comedy Central show Key & Peele. Wh
Just when you thought it was safe to schedule a relaxing water-therapy cleanse, A Cure for Wellness comes along and ruins spas forever. Dank with greenish tiled interiors and an unshakable sense of dread, this lovably icky horror film mounts a sumptuous, immersive universe, the kind that big-budgeted Hollywood rarely seems imaginative enough to try. We’re in an alpine Swiss retreat, hidden behind an elaborate gate of metallic snakes and staffed by scowling attendants in white. It doesn’t seem like a place where health gets restored. For this marvelous feat of production design alone—one that would turn Italian horror maestro Dario Argento several shades of envy—the movie deserves a peek. Before we get there, though, there’s a deceptive launching-off point in Manhattan’s cutthroat business world, where rising young exec Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), a Patrick Bateman-style asshole in the making, squirms his way out of the blame for some corporate malfeasance. To get the target off his back, he’ll have to head to Europe to fetch the company’s twitchy CEO, lost to the spa’s waters, whose correspondence indicates a cracked mind. A quick visit in and out, right? Nope: After Lockhart suffers an immobilizing accident that binds him in a leg cast, the ominous Volmer Institute becomes his caretaker (an “enforced vacation,” Jason Isaacs’s chief doctor puts it, not winning any points for bedside manner). Leisurely and hypnotically, A Cure for Wellness spins out its series of unsettling sce
Masterfully addressing the American racial divide, past and present, director Raoul Peck’s six-years-in-the-making documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, is a galvanizing, ominous film, thrumming with a sense of history repeating itself. It's inspired by 30 pages from James Baldwin’s unfinished final book, Remember This House. Before his 1987 death, Baldwin intended to tell the story of being black in America through the lives—and deaths—of three of his friends: activist Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Peck does a magnificent job of honoring Baldwin’s concept, counterposing images from the civil rights movement–era with bruising clips from today’s protests and police beatings. Bringing a sense of gravitas to Baldwin’s words is Samuel L. Jackson, whose decidedly nonfurious narration is his finest performance to date, bar none. Apart from some calmly defiant footage of Baldwin himself on The Dick Cavett Show, dragging from a cigarette and speaking truth to power, the emotional frustration is a quiet brew, deepened by Jackson’s almost resigned delivery. His voice reflects the weight of looking back on decades of carnage and unstoppable momentum. Baldwin enjoyed great personal success but always at a cost; he talks about working poolside on a Hollywood version of The Autobiography of Malcolm X with Billy Dee Williams, until they both heard about MLK getting shot. The documentary nails that sense of progress and regression alike. Racial tensions feel starker than e
Amidst the contemporary revival of ‘90s mid-western emo, genre vet Mike Kinsella (of Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc and Owen fame) recently reconvened his short-lived project American Football to release a followup to the band's era-defining, cult classic self-titled debut—possibly the most highly anticipated emo album ever written. You can decide for yourself whether the rebuilt project delivers at its sure-to-sellout gig.
Denzel Washington brings all the gestures, small and large, that animated his Tony-winning turn as August Wilson’s seething patriarch to this sincerely wrought onscreen version. It’s a Fences hemmed in by tradition. Unfortunately, the performance—as big as it gets—is all wrong for the movies, where even a declamatory, self-aggrandizing character like Troy Maxson, a former Negro Leagues star ballplayer turned ’50s Pittsburgh garbageman, needs to be scaled back to feel realistic. As it stands, you can hear it even if you’re in the theater next door seeing Rogue One. Washington’s uniformly excellent cast, however, does better cowering in the man’s shadow. The more time we spend in the company of quietly concerned neighbor Jim (Stephen McKinley Henderson) or Troy’s beaten-down wife, Rose (Viola Davis, an undeniable force of dignity in a role she owns thoroughly), the more we can appreciate the sensitivity the star-director brings to the project. Wilson’s play, about dreams deferred and a son seeking approbation (The Leftovers’ Jovan Adepo), could have used a more cinematic rethink. But even flatly presented, it has a richness of rage that’s unmistakable. Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf
Cap off a well-read afternoon at the LA Art Book Fair with a late-night after party. Printed Matter and Mount Analog have put together a DJ-heavy lineup at the Regent that includes Against All Logic, Sophie, Gaika, Juliana Huxtable, Yves Tumor, Marie Davidson, Bill Kouligas and Cooper Saver B2B Jock Club, with lighting design by Taran Thunderhorse. Stop by the Mount Analog and Printed Matter booth during LAABF to skip the ticketing fees.
Indulge your inner foodie and shopaholic at this weekly food-focused market. The Brooklyn export has landed in the Arts District and become a hotbed of fantastic food and retail vendors, with some that are testing out their dishes before launching a full-blown brick-and-mortar in the city. Bonus: there is plentiful (and free, for two hours!) parking in the nearby parking garage.