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January 2020 events calendar for Los Angeles

Plan your month with our January 2020 events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, winter events and our favorite concerts

No Pants Metro Ride 2014
Photograph: Joshua Thaisen No Pants Metro Ride 2014

With the holidays behind us, January normally sparks images of a long plod through gray skies and chilly temperatures. It's winter, after all; you can even still go ice skating. But let's be honest, the weather is still pretty perfect, even with a slight uptick in precipitation. In fact, take advantage of those clear, post-rain days with one of the best hikes in L.A. Or head to one of the city's best beaches while it's still deserted for the season. Start the year off right with the city's best activities and things to do in our January events calendar.

RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2020

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Oscar Oiwa, Dreams of a Sleeping World, rendering, 2019
Rendering: Courtesy USC Pacific Asia Museum
Art, Drawing

Oscar Oiwa: Dreams of a Sleeping World

Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena Playhouse District

Find peace in chaotic dreamscapes at the premiere of this solo exhibition from Oscar Oiwa, which includes four large-scale surreal landscape paintings, plus an 800-square-foot site-specific mural. Using nothing more than a Sharpie (OK, actually about 120 of them), Oiwa and his four assistants will draw dreamy illustrations onto the side of an inflated, white nylon dome at Pasadena’s USC Pacific Asia Museum over the course of about two weeks.

Cirque du Soleil: Volta
Photograph: Matt Beard
Theater, Circuses & magic

Cirque du Soleil: ‘Volta’

Dodger Stadium, Echo Park

In its newest show, the French Canadian megatroupe Cirque du Soleil once again delivers the spine-tingling spectacle that is its raison d’être. Strung together by a gossamer-thin plot, Volta incorporates street-style sports like BMX riding and double dutch jump rope alongside traditional circus arts; its themes include smartphone addiction, reality shows and the search for belonging.

Brand Library
Photograph: Courtesy City of Glendale

Beyond Embodiment

Brand Library & Art Center, Glendale

See works from 25 female, non-binary and trans artists who explore physicality and identity through sculpture, video, animation, photography, virtual reality and other mediums.

Photograph: Courtesy Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging/Ryan Miller
Art, Sculpture

The Body, The Object, The Other

Craft Contemporary, Miracle Mile

L.A.’s only public showcase devoted to contemporary craft and community-based folk art mounts its second biennial focused on how artists are pushing the boundaries of works in clay. The 21 artists featured all use the human body as a means to challenge traditional ideas of representation.

Tishan Hsu, Cell, 1987.
Collection of Ralph Wernicke/Hubertushoehe art + architecture, Berlin and Zürich
Art, Sculpture

Tishan Hsu: Liquid Circuit

Hammer Museum, Westwood

Since the mid-1980s, Hsu’s minimalist works of colorful textures and screens have pondered the implications of technology and AI on the human body and mind. The Hammer Museum is bringing together roughly 30 such sculptures, wall reliefs, drawings and paintings.

Photograph: Eliot Lee Hazel
Music, Latin and world


Walt Disney Concert Hall, Downtown

Merrill Garbus—an Afrobeat-inspired pop experimentalist whose vocal gymnastics never fail to impress—airs inventive tunes from her recent LP, I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life, with some sure-to-be-fabulous stagings. Though the artist describes the new record as turning “inward,” we nonetheless anticipate a sweaty dance party to ensue.

Natural History Museum
Photograph: Michael Juliano
Things to do, Late openings

Night of Ideas

Natural History Museum, USC/Exposition Park

Dive into what it truly means to be alive as this U.S.-via-France program of performances and discussions explores the intersection of humans and machines through science, nature and art.

The Zone
Rendering courtesy the Zone
Things to do

The Zone

Location T.B.A.,

It’s Britney, bitch, and she’s getting in on the pop-up game. “In the Zone” will recreate some of Britney Spears’s most memorable music video moments (think the locker room from “…Baby One More Time,” the Mars station from “Oops… I Did It Again” and the sleek airliner from “Toxic”) across 10 made-for-Instagram rooms. Is it just a wildly expensive photo op? Yes. Will you dance in the rainforest with a snake around your shoulders anyway? Yes.

Photo L.A.
Courtesy Marc Riboud/Photo L.A.
Things to do, Talks and lectures

Photo L.A.

Barker Hangar, Santa Monica

Normally when this many photographers get together, it’s on Robertson Boulevard and/or has something to do with the Kardashians. Refreshingly, that won’t be the case. Head to Santa Monica for Photo L.A.’s annual fair, where dealers from across the globe exhibit new and vintage works, as well as video and multimedia installations. More than just a giant photography show that has attracted more than 10,000 visitors over the years, the event also includes speakers, panels, roundtables and book signings.

Photograph: Courtesy Deen van Meer/Disney
Theater, Musicals


Pantages Theatre, Hollywood

Do you want to build a... rainy day fund to save up for tickets to a smash hit Disney-inspired Broadway musical? Good, because Frozen is coming to L.A. The Broadway musical based on the 2013 animated Disney film, will kick off a national tour with a string of performances at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre. 

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