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.
The newest flea market on the block, the Venice outpost of this artisan/craft-focused flea market mini-empire is bringing records, vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and more to the Westminster Avenue Elementary School. A handful of small batch confectioners provide sweet treats to snack on or take home, while food trucks and nearby restaurants provide heartier bites. Though relatively small in size, owing perhaps to its prime location bookending the neighborhood’s famed Abbot Kinney stretch, vendors hawk a diverse range of hand-made and expertly curated wares that seems to simultaneously fit in and stand out in one of the nation’s most unusual neighborhoods.
Every Saturday and Sunday, the UCB franchise's longest-running, most beloved showcase starts when a base cast of the theater's current top-brass—including founding UCB members Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts—takes the stage. Then they introduce the surprise celebrity alumnae and friends who will be joining them (think Horatio Sanz, Ben Schwartz, Adam Pally). And finally, another special guest takes the stage, a non-improviser (think Flea, Cat Power, Rebel Wilson, Lena Dunham) who opens the show with a personal story, that's deftly mined for laughs by the players. But you have to go to find out who's there—that's part of the fun. Looking for a cheap night out? Sunday shows are free, but seating is first-come, first-served, so be sure to arrive early.
Silver Lake's legit little music venue offers up some of the best local music in the city every Monday night... for free. Check out LA bands that are about to make it big (acts like Fitz & the Tantrums, Superhumanoids and even Local Natives have graced the residency stage) without spending a dime—well, except on maybe a beer, or a round for the folks onstage. Check the Satellite calendar to see who's on the bill each month. Acts often have a rotating cast of openers, so you can see different bands each week while watching the main act work on material, become more comfortable onstage and find their rhythm as the month goes on. Then a few years from now, you can say "I saw them when...."
It's free music every Monday when sponsored, up-and-coming local bands call the Echo stage home for a one-month stint, honing their stage presence and giving various opening acts a chance at the spotlight as well. If you're worried a Monday night will fill up to capacity, you can RSVP on the Echo website for VIP entry. When a band is on its third or fourth Monday and killing it, this is a pretty convenient way to make sure you're in on the action.
The acclaimed Chinese artist kicks off a flurry of activity in L.A. with this takeover of the Marciano’s massive theater gallery, including Ai’s floor-covering “Sunflower Seeds,” which features millions of porcelain seeds, as well as the similar but smaller “Spouts,” a pile of thousands of Song dynasty teapot spouts. “Life Cycle” also marks the premiere of its namesake work, a nearly 60-foot inflatable raft made entirely from bamboo. Inspired by the European refugee crisis, the work employs traditional kite-making techniques to create its passengers, which are often pulled from the signs of the Chinese zodiac—such figures also factor into the astounding mythological mobiles and creatures that surround the black box space.
Head to Echo Park on Mondays for free residencies at one of the best venues on the East side, the Bootleg. Theater shows happen in the Gallery, and music in the Theater (in back) and the Bar (in front). Residencies take place in the bar, with high tables and stools in the back, a bar with great craft brews and a high, open-beamed roof with great acoustics. Check the Bootleg's calendar to see who's on the bill month to month.
Riverside’s stunningly beautiful Mission Inn is bathed in 4.5 million twinkly lights during the annual Festival of Lights. The free six-week-long holiday tradition begins the day after Thanksgiving with a “switch-on” ceremony. Throughout its run, you'll find horse-drawn carriage rides, fresh snow and more than 400 animated figures.
The most fun part about Invader’s tile mosaics is finding one. There, on an otherwise unassuming block of Los Angeles, is a candy-colored, pixelated Space Invaders minion affixed to a brick wall. So how does a formal gallery show, in this case a career-spanning survey at the Arts District’s Over the Influence, go about preserving that sense of unexpectedness? By covering an entire wall with over 50 new editions of Invader’s out-in-the-wild mosaics. The result, as part of “Invader: Into the White Cube,” is a Where’s Waldo?-like experience of picking out pop culture references, where Hokusai, Captain American, the Smurfs and Super Mario World can all fit comfortably together. You’ve undoubtedly seen Invader’s work. His tile mosaics have not-so-legally graced the sides of buildings across the globe, including 200 works that’ve been installed in L.A. since 1999. This near-20-year anniversary is observed with a row of updated editions of the Los Angeles Invasion Guide, complete with very-L.A. tile mosaic covers (think: the Dude, a cannabis leaf, film iconography). In addition, the exhibition features the premiere of a new series of paintings from the artist’s studio practice. You’ll find the same signature characters, just translated onto a canvas (and, in one case, with the local-favorite addition of a low-res avocado). Now, Invader’s work is heading inside for a career-spanning survey at Over the Influence. The solo exhibition, L.A.’s first in over a decade, will feature ove
Find yourself transported to another realm—at least, if Alexander Calder’s monochromatic abstract sculptures are working as intended—in this survey of 30 of the artist’s “nonspace” pieces. Hauser & Wirth’s stark white gallery provides the perfect high-contrast backdrop for Calder’s all-black metallic sculptures (save for one with a few spots of color); the pieces weren’t purposely curated for their darkness, though, it was simply Calder’s favorite color to worth with. You’ll also find five massive sculptures in the gallery’s courtyard, often with matching maquettes to view inside.
In this dream pairing that you never even knew you needed, artist and director Julian Rosefeldt teams up with actor Cate Blanchett for a 13-channel video installation in which she reads famous artists’ manifestos. To say that Blanchett is simply reading the manifestos, though, would undersell how incredibly she inhabits each fictional character (whether as a scientist, a puppeteer or a homeless man) as she spouts reedited versions of writings from the likes of Claes Oldenburg, Kazimir Malevich, André Breton, Sol LeWitt and Wassily Kandinsky.
Ragnar Kjartansson’s mesmerizing, musical video installation The Visitors returns as part of this free exhibition about the passage of time. The show includes more than 50 works from the likes of Gregory Crewdson, Andreas Gursky, Glenn Ligon and Anselm Kiefer. The exhibition also marks the L.A. debut of works from Sharon Lockhart, Sherrie Levine and Ed Ruscha, whose monumental diptych Azteca/Azteca in Decline will be on display.
Seasoned photographer and author Joel Sartore has contributed to National Geographic magazine for over two decades. Now, Angelenos will have a chance to see a glimpse of his stunning photos of some of the world’s most threatened species with this selection of 100 large-format prints. Sartore’s Photo Ark project has brought him to over 40 countries to capture portraits of 8,000 species in his quest to catalog all of the world’s animals before they disappear.
Los Angeles gets a taste of Broadway once a week on Musical Mondays (MuMo) at the massive Eleven Nightclub. Unlike most nights, when the latest Top 40 dance hits can be heard in heavy rotation at the Santa Monica Boulevard hotspot, the genre of choice on Mondays at Eleven is musicals... purely musicals. For one night only, Gaga, Beyoncé, Madonna and Rihanna take a backseat while the songs of musical legends like Barbra Streisand, Patti LuPone, Kristen Chenowith and Linda Eder rule the stage. A mix of live performances and videos of classic moments from Broadway and film make this not only one of the most feel-good nights of the week, but also one heck of a reason to actually look forward to Mondays.
Brace yourself: Christmas is coming to the Grove. L.A.’s shopping mall metropolis lights up its Christmas tree with a slew of special guests—including Santa himself. May we humbly suggest that you ask Santa this year for a prime spot in that mammoth parking garage. Stick around for the fireworks finale.
The Beverly Hills gallery, which received an architectural overhaul from Ai Weiwei, hosts a solo show that includes the artist’s hundreds of the artist’s interlocking, marble grass-like works.
A complement to MOCA’s retrospective, this gallery show assembles Leonard’s 412 photographs of storefronts and objects on the brink of obsolescence at the turn of the millennium.
Yes, that Scholastic book fair. Hollywood gallery Junior High has partnered with the publisher to bring back your favorite grade school event, with storytime, a book swap and a pizza bagel party planned throughout the weekend.
Peruse gifts for sale from Barnsdall’s students and faculty at this free fair next to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House. Expect handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, cards, prints, paintings, drawings and photos alongside treats from local vendors. The event is free to enter, though you can purchase a $5 raffle ticket, which supports the Barnsdall Art Center.
This heartwarming event truly gives back to the community on Thanksgiving. Volunteers serve up a traditional turkey dinner (starting at 11am) for free, not only to the homeless but also many students, singles, seniors and low-income families. Participants can volunteer by donating food, money or time, helping to serve food or hand out clothing and blankets. The free, community event also offers free children’s immunizations, haircuts and medical consultations to those in need. Plus—a kid-friendly carnival with games and crafts starts at 8am. The event takes place at the West L.A. Civic Center (1645 Corinth Ave).
Want to admire the moon and constellations up close, but don’t have your own powerful telescope at home? Not to worry, Griffith Observatory has you covered with their popular (and free) monthly Public Star Parties. Head out to the Observatory’s expansive lawn among hundreds of other star enthusiasts and check out the views through a wide variety of telescopes, with savvy amateur astronomers happy to discuss what you see through their equipment. The views of celestial objects above and L.A.’s majestic city lights below make this a special evening for the whole family.
Ah, the joys of Christmas in a Mediterranean climate, where boat owners can deck out their ships in holiday lights and set sail without the impediment of icy weather. For the 110th year, the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is doing just that as over 100 decorated yachts and ships parade around a 14-mile circuit in the Newport Harbor. You can see the parade for free during each of the five nights from any bay-facing point along the harbor, but there are also reserved seats and dining packages available for purchase. RECOMMENDED: Where to see Christmas lights in Los Angeles
While Santa may still be working with his elves to load up his sleigh, you can relax and enjoy a pre-Christmas Eve celebration at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Gather up your friends and family and go hear L.A.'s biggest holiday show, which includes more than 20 choirs, music ensembles and dance troupes from all over the city. The free three-hour show celebrates LA's multicultural observation of the holidays with everything from an all-female mariachi ensemble to a Korean dance troupe. Doors open at 2:30pm and guests are encouraged to come and go as they please throughout the show. Reservations and tickets are not necessary; parking at the Dorothy Chandler is also free. Those who still have last-minute holiday responsibilities to attend to can listen to a live stream of the concert on PBS SoCal.
Feel as though you've escaped to a small-town fishing village during the Marina Del Rey Boat Parade. Bring a blanket and gather around Fisherman’s Village or Burton Chace Park to watch as 70 boats glide through the marina with holiday lights and decorations in competition. Categories include Best Theme, Best Animation, Best Band, Best Lights and more. The festivities begin at 5:55pm with fireworks, and the boat parade starts at 6pm, rain or shine. RECOMMENDED: Where to see Christmas lights in Los Angeles
The Downtown park is taking advantage of this time of year’s ever-shortening daylight with a light-up activation that brings a bit of warmth to the area. For most of December, Winter Glow will complement the park’s traditional holiday decor with installations that celebrate the qualities of light that bring us all together. The 12-acre art, projection and light display features works from local artists and organizations, including “A Spark of Light” by Aphidoidea, which allows guests to walk inside and change the piece’s colors through touch sensors; “The Net (Neon Network)” by H+ Creative, a neon tunnel of lights overlooking the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain; and two contributions from Two Bit Circus, the suspended balls of “The Wave Pendulum” and the wall-mounted LEDs of “Infinity Mirror.” Grand Park’s Winter Glow runs from December 1 to 25, from sunset to 10pm each night. Admission is free and easily accessible via the Civic Center/Grand Park Station on Metro’s Red and Purple Lines. Photograph: Courtesy Cailin Nolte/Grand Park