12 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

From a monthlong odyssey of dance to a photographic exhibition that asks “What is possession?,” an evening of stand-up with Fred Armisen and a celebration of the Year of the Boar, here are the 12 best things to do in Los Angeles this week!

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DANCE

Direct From Germany

After more than 40 years as one of L.A.’s most vibrant live theaters, the Odyssey Theatre began opening its stage to dance, and three years ago it launched its own dance festival. Over the next month, Dance at the Odyssey 2019 offers six different programs of contemporary dance, mostly from L.A.-based companies. The festival opens with Berlin-based choreographer Shade Théret teaming with artist Lukas Panek in Maybe. It’s described as a site-specific work, so it will be interesting to see what the theater’s converted industrial warehouse inspires. Théret is co-presented by the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, which brings German cultural works to L.A. — mostly film, but occasionally dance, too. Check the website for the full festival lineup. Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Sawtelle; Sat., Jan. 5, 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 6, 2 p.m.; $25. (310) 477-2055, odysseytheatre.com. —Ann Haskins

ART

Luminescent Creatures

This weekend is your last chance to trek out to Pomona for the Magical Chinese Lantern Festival. The experience features more than 1,000 larger-than-life displays made from materials ranging from lanterns to old-school glass medicine bottles and porcelain plates; expect to see animals ranging from koi to cheetahs, lions, pandas, even dinosaurs. (If you want a challenge, try to guess how many medicine bottles are in the peacock lantern display.) There are martial arts demonstrations nightly, as well as shadow puppet shows and other folk art demonstrations. There will be food and alcoholic beverages as well as more seasonal appropriate offerings such as hot chocolate. Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona; Thu.-Sat., 5:30-10 p.m. (last entry 9:20 p.m.); thru. Jan. 6; $14.27-$27. Chineselanternfestival.com. —Avery Bissett

Parker Day's EXPAND

Parker Day’s “Disease”

Courtesy Superchief Gallery L.A.

sat 1/5

ART

Are You Mine?

Possession. It’s ownership, stewardship, control. It’s nine-tenths of the law. When it’s demonic, it means you’re not in charge of your own soul. But what if you’re the demon? What if you’re actually possessed by an angel? When you’re self-possessed, it comes across as confidence. All of this forms the psychological and emotionally expressive fodder for Parker Day’s new series of bright and bold studio photographs, “Possession.” Known for her total vision, which she pursues with seismic art direction, set construction, costume design and styling, Day’s gift for creating an endless pageant of unique character portraits finds new direction in this series, exploring permutations of possession as it relates to individual experiences in the skin they were born with, and the skins they subsequently fabricate for themselves. Superchief Gallery L.A., 739 Kohler St., downtown; opening reception: Sat., Jan. 5, 7-11 p.m.; runs thru Jan. 31; free. superchiefgallery.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Arthur OmuraEXPAND

Arthur Omura

Courtesy the artist

MUSIC

French Connection

When it comes to keyboards, Arthur Omura is more interested in the overlooked and even undiscovered properties of ancient instruments than he is in the synthesized sounds of modern machines. The Bay Area keyboardist is adept at dialing up the spidery, fluttering delicacy of a courtly tune on harpsichord, but for this afternoon’s solo recital, as part of the Edendale Up Close Concerts series, Omura focuses on chamber-music organ works by French Baroque composers. The free, hourlong program ranges from the poignant stateliness of François Roberday’s Fugues et caprices to alternately meditative, showy and reverential pieces by Jean Titelouze, François Couperin, Eustache Du Caurroy and others. Edendale Library, 2011 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Sat., Jan. 5, 12 p.m.; free. (213) 207-3000, lapl.org/whats-on/events/arthur-omura-french-baroque-chamber-organ-recital. —Falling James

TorpedoBoy Steps and Screws Wearing Some Cutty Black ShoesEXPAND

TorpedoBoy Steps and Screws Wearing Some Cutty Black Shoes

Courtesy Shulamit Nazarian Gallery

ART

Alternate Universe

“An Ingenue’s Hues and How to Use Cutty Black Shoes” is the title of painter Trenton Doyle Hancock’s new exhibition, but the phrase’s dark whimsy and prosaic flourish set the tone for the entire experience. Visually, Hancock engineers a rough-edged mashup of graphics, comics and illustration styles with a juicy abstract expressionist aesthetic. This he deploys in chronicling the ongoing adventures of (mostly) fictional characters inhabiting the Moundverse — a parallel yet all too familiar world of the artist’s own imagination. With elements of superheros and classic mythology, alter-ego figures like TorpedoBoy enact narratives of adventure and protection, coping with the negativity and all-too-real world of racism and danger. Shulamit Nazarian, 616 N. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park; opening reception: Sat., Jan. 5, 6-9 p.m.; runs Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., thru Feb. 17. (310) 281-0961, shulamitnazarian.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

MUSIC/COMEDY

Right Said Fred

Veteran punk drummer and Saturday Night Live sketchateer Fred Armisen holds forth tonight in an evening billed as “stand-up for musicians.” While he’ll probably throw in a few jokes like “Why do bagpipers always walk when they play? To get away from the noise” or ‘What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend? Homeless!” he’ll also regale you with anecdotes about being a musician getting his big break through comedy, what it’s like to be the new voice of Speedy Gonzales, and finding out that he’s a quarter Korean and not Japanese as he’d thought he was all along. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Sat., Jan. 5, 7 p.m.; $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —David Cotner

sun 1/6

CULTURE

Year of the Boar

2019 marks the Year of the Pig, the ultimate animal in the 12-year cycle of the traditional Chinese Zodiac. In the case of the Japanese zodiac calendar and the Oshogatsu Family Festival, it’s the pig’s close relation— the boar — that is showcased. You’ll be able to partake in the New Year’s tradition of fukubukuro — purchasing a discounted grab-bag of goodies — and enjoy free Yakult, soba noodles with tofu, vegetables and nori (noodles often symbolize good health and fortune in Asian culture) and sample a selection of Japanese New Year’s dishes. There will be performances from the experts of candy sculpting, taiko drumming, calligraphy and mochi making. Admission to the museum’s exhibits will be free for the day — highlights include one dedicated to vintage kaiju toys and photographs depicting the experience of interned Japanese-Americans during World War II. Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo; Sun., Jan. 6, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. (213) 625-0414, janm.org. —Avery Bissett

ART

To Infinity and Beyond

Paintings by Gary Brewer are surreal in a sort of 18th-century natural sciences kind of way, but luminous like stained glass and very often completely abstract. His supersaturated colors hum with optical vibration, as his patterns and images merge and morph between the crispness of botany and the vague pleasures of a dream. He thinks a lot about Darwin’s book, and the fractal, macro/micro patterns of the universe and the consciousness, and how they manifest in material beauty, and mathematics, and jazz music. So it’s rather perfect that the exhibition of his new paintings, “Infinite Morphologies,” be held in a salonlike downtown gallery space, which also will host concerts and conversations on Sundays during the monthlong installation. Marie Baldwin Gallery, 814 S. Spring St., downtown; Sun., Jan. 6, 5-10 p.m.; runs Tue.-Sat., 1-6 p.m., thru Feb. 3; free. mariebaldwingallery.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

mon 1/7

BOOKS

Tales of the Outback

A woman named Lilly finds herself clawing through the dust and sand of the Australian Outback on a search for her long-lost father, in Janet Clare‘s new novel, Time Is the Longest Distance (Vine Leaves Press). Lilly’s literal journey inspires a series of romantic and emotional digressions, and her interactions with her family and various exotic Australians are sparked by Clare’s evocative observations and punchy dialogue. “Men and machines are exhilarating to me,” Lilly says. A few pages later, she adds, “I loved New York, and I’d become proficient at holding on, maintaining the magnificent daylight confidence of a capable woman.” Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Mon., Jan. 7, 7 p.m.; free, book is $14.99. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com/event/janet-clare-discusses-and-signs-time-long-distance-conversation-david-francis. —Falling James

tue 1/8

FILM

Rolling Along

An initiative of Free Wheelchair Mission — a charity that gives free wheelchairs to people in the developing world who otherwise would not have access to them — tonight’s screening of Because No One Should Have to Crawl showcases the documentary that was part of the public television series The Visionaries. Narrated by the constitutionally redoubtable Sam Waterston, it’s an eye-opening voyage through the various sloughs of despond, made markedly more bearable by the efforts of kind people — including Free Wheelchair Mission executive director Nuka Solomon in a post-show Q&A — extending a helping wheel to those in need. Downtown Independent Theatre, 251 S. Main St., downtown; Tue., Jan. 8, 7 p.m.; free. (213) 617-1033, facebook.com/events/281493662506829/. —David Cotner

wed 1/9

FILM/COMEDY

Punch-Drunk Pulp

What better way to make sense of a complicated film than drinking your confusion away? Tonight’s Comedians Cinema Club presents Pulp Fiction (Drunk), during which comedians re-enact this violent masterpiece with all the charm of a drunken relative cornering you on Simchat Torah with tales of half-remembered adventures that go nowhere and ethnic slurs about furniture. Other films upcoming in these inebriated interpretations include Forrest Gump and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. And let’s face it: If it weren’t for Comedians Cinema Club — the fools — how else could people with taste, like you, stand out? Black Rabbit Rose, 1719 N. Hudson Ave., Hollywood; Wed., Jan. 9, 8 p.m.; $15. (323) 461-1464, comedianscinemaclub.com. —David Cotner

thu 1/10

MUSIC

Revisiting the Thin White Duke

Several great musical minds and perhaps even the ghost of a Thin White Duke will be hovering in and around Disney Hall this weekend as composer John Adams conducts pianist Orli Shaham and L.A. Philharmonic in the mesmerizing cycles of his own dream-laden Grand Pianola Music, following Gabriella Smith’s seashore-inspired Tumblebird Contrails. Then Adams stirs up the world premiere of Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 12, Lodger, featuring Beninese vocalist Angélique Kidjo. It’s the third of three works by Glass riffing on David Bowie and Brian Eno’s Berlin Trilogy. Glass’ unfolding, repetitive and shifting patterns can be compelling, and his previous extrapolations from Bowie’s Low and Heroes have taken flight with dramatic grandeur. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Thur.-Fri., Jan. 10-11, 8 p.m. & Sun., Jan. 13, 2 p.m.; $25-$174. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com. —Falling James

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