Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour comes to Inglewood at SoFi: What to know
Real talk — COVID-19 cases are on the rise so don’t hesitate to pull out those masks for the foreseeable future. I know I will. Stay safe and healthy as you enjoy your weekend outings. If you’d rather stay in, this past weekend’s slew of new releases (Burna Boy, Victoria Monét, Omar Apollo — oh, my!) will definitely keep you busy. My day-in recommendation: a new book and “California and Me” by Laufey on repeat. I’m Steven Vargas, your L.A. Goes Out host, and here are the top events for the upcoming weekend recommended by the crew (sign up here for the newsletter):
1. ‘Our Dear Dead Drug Lord’Something witchy this way comes. Center Theatre Group and IAMA Theatre Company present “Our Dear Dead Drug Lord,” a comedy by Alexis Scheer that follows a group of teenage girls who gather in an abandoned treehouse to summon the ghost of infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. During their efforts, they question whether they’re partaking in a legitimate seance or an elaborate game of make-believe. This wickedly funny and playful story sends audiences through a roller coaster of emotions as they reflect on the human experience and the realities of girlhood. The show runs until Sept. 17 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, in Culver City and tickets range from $30 to $79. More details can be found on CTG’s website.
2. ‘The Music of Selena’ “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” your heart down to San Diego to witness a beautiful tribute to the beloved artist. Award-winning singer Isabel Marie Sánchez will join the San Diego Symphony for a night filled with the late Tejano singer’s biggest hits, from “Como la Flor” to “Dreaming of You.” The emotional homage will be accompanied by a full orchestra and takes place at the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets range from $39 to $100. More information can be found on the Shell’s website.
3. ‘The Bluest Eye’A Noise Within in Pasadena brings Toni Morrison’s renowned novel to the stage with a production by Lydia R. Diamond. The story follows Pecola Breedlove, a young Black woman in 1940s Ohio who yearns for love and Shirley Temple’s blue eyes. After Pecola’s abusive father burns down the family home, her friends — sisters Claudia and Frieda MacTeer — come to her rescue. “The Bluest Eye” chronicles Pecola’s experience with racism and its effect on her idea of beauty. As the history of her family unfolds, the story’s central characters hold onto love and sisterhood as they endure abuse and hatred. The production runs until Sept. 24 and tickets range from $29 to $89. More details can be found on A Noise Within’s website.
4. ‘Jenny Holzer: Ready for You When You Are’ Hauser & Wirth West Hollywood presents the solo exhibition by Jenny Holzer, who’s known for her thought-provoking, politically fueled work. And this time is no different. The exhibition challenges viewers to rethink sociopolitical structures and the systems that surround them through painting, sculpture, light projection and installations. The exhibition will center on recent paintings, “curse tablets” and an ever-mobile piece. The exhibition opens Friday, but before that, there’s a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, with no RSVP required. If you can’t make the reception, the gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, check out Hauser & Wirth’s website.
5. ‘Star Wars: Return of the Jedi’ in ConcertMay the force be with you this weekend at the Hollywood Bowl. The outdoor venue in the Hollywood Hills is hosting a screening of the sci-fi classic in concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s performance of John Williams’ legendary score. The sixth episode of the “Star Wars” saga follows Luke Skywalker, R2-D2, C-3PO and Princess Leia as they venture to free Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, all while Darth Vader prepares his final blow to the Rebel Alliance. The musical performance is led by David Newman and starts at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Remaining tickets range from $22 to $194 and can be found on the Hollywood Bowl’s website.
This one-man show presented by Celebration Theatre and the Los Angeles LGBT Center steps back in time to assist a Black gay artist named Les Kurkendaal-Barrett through today’s common social struggles. As the leading character falls under an anesthetic euphoria, William Dorsey Swann, the first self-identified drag queen and queer activist, visits him in his haze. Swann, a formerly enslaved person who is all too familiar with racial oppression, urges Kurkendaal-Barrett to confront modern-day monsters. “The Real Black Swann: Confessions of America’s First Black Drag Queen” opens Thursday at the Davidson/Valentini Theatre at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center in Hollywood and runs until Sept. 24. The run will also include a drag performance Sept. 11 and a “Black Out Night” performance Sept. 17. Tickets range from $20 to $35, and more info can be found on Celebration Theatre’s website.
On Friday, I went to L.A. Dance Project to see “Congress VIII.” The evening was hosted by artists Zak Ryan Schlegel and Denna Thomsen, and featured a salon-style series of choreography. Each piece was preceded by the choreographer responding to the question, “How does the artist prevail?” My favorite answer: “I don’t know, but it’s fun to try” by Tony Testa.
Testa’s response was followed by his solo piece “Blackbox 1: Excerpt.” He entered the space, tapping across the perimeter of the stage. He leaped and turned mid-air with his chest out and a smile on his face. Suddenly, the lights went out and we were left with the image of his haunting smirk. The lights came back on at the center of the stage and shined out of a cone hanging from the ceiling, spotlighting Testa. He moved fluidly in and out of the flashing light, creating vignettes between segments of choreography. His use of props and technology was incredibly inventive and meshed well with his choreography, which combined tap, contemporary, hip-hop and, surprisingly, boxing. The piece felt cinematic and visceral, packed with energy. It ended with him slowly putting the light cone on his head and looking up at the spotlight as it ascended. His eyes gleamed through the haze as if he were reaching, but the rest of his body remained immobile in surrender.
Other standouts included a group piece by Nico Lonetree, Mike Tyus and Robbie Blue. Lonetree’s “Angry! Mad!” was guttural, with quintessential rocker vibes, bringing the essence of a mosh pit to the stage. The breadth of his movement and storytelling prevailed. After the leading character of the piece killed the rest of the crew in a violent hurricane of movement, a trio of mimes arrived to torment the remaining dancer with a cigarette and by humping an invisible box. Tyus’ “Howl” was an intimate duet set to Allen Ginsberg’s “Footnote to Howl.” The piece performed by Tyus and Luca Renzi tested the limits of the body, meshing their naked forms as they found new paths across each other’s bodies (using their head to dive into the other’s legs and twisting into each other in unexpected ways). “Robbie Blue’s Darling Diamond Dollies” was an absolutely sexy, sharp and mesmerizing group piece. Each shaking limb and head turn made my stomach churn in a way that made me ache for more.
The evening ended with a joyous piece by Mandy Moore, known for her work on “So You Think You Can Dance” and “La La Land.” “Shack Attack” commanded the space as dancers took over every inch of the room, gliding and grooving right up to the audience. It was flirty and fun, charged with happiness and playful energy. Although the dancers in the ensemble moved in unison, their performance was personalized and established a character arc for each performer within the cheeky choreography — shimmies and all. “Congress VIII” was a celebration of dance and those who have the special ability to wield it with passion and power.
The category is … last-minute concert planning realness! Beyoncé’s highly anticipated Renaissance world tour heads to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Friday. Based on social media footage alone, the tour is filled with ballroom community staples, iconic looks and moments of audience interaction. If you’re like me and planning your Virgo silver fit, here are a few other things you’ll need to know before showtime:
Go out before it closes: Martin Bruinsma’s “Dignity of Silence” at Lois Lambert Gallery in Santa Monica wraps up Saturday. The exhibition is filled with paintings that derive from photographs Bruinsma took of empty spaces with sharp shadows. His paintings are reminiscent of film noir and emphasize the effect of light in darkness. The free exhibition is available to view during gallery hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. More details can be found on the gallery’s website.
Go out for free: Lowell Ryan Projects in Mid-City just opened two new free exhibitions: “William Bradley: Giant Country” and “Madison Brooks: Cone Age.” Bradley’s solo exhibition shares large-scale abstract paintings and collages that pay homage to his childhood home of Yorkshire, England, and the pressures of filling the giant shoes of renowned artists that have come from the region (David Hockney, Barbara Hepworth and John Hoyland to name a few). Brooks’ exhibition is the first solo show presented in the gallery’s outdoor garden. Both exhibits run until Oct. 7, and the gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, visit Lowell Ryan Projects’ website.
Go out and craft: Want to try a new craft? Check out Element Art Center’s stained glass workshop for beginners. The workshop will provide an introduction to the art form and instruct students on how to turn recycled glass into an abstract glass panel. By the end of the lesson, you’ll have learned how to score, cut and sand glass, as well as how to solder glass together with copper foil. The next four-hour class is at 1 p.m. Saturday, and there are additional sessions throughout September. Classes are $75, and more details can be found on Element Art Center’s website.
Go out with the kids: Gabby is on the go! Next stop: Universal CityWalk in Universal City. The national tour of the DreamWorks animated series “Gabby’s Dollhouse” is making its way to L.A. with an immersive experience for your little superfans. The event includes interactive activities, a Spin Master filled with Gabby’s toys and a meet-and-greet with Gabby herself. The event is free, and tickets are stand-by only. More information can be found on the tour’s website.
Go out all weekend: The Gelato Festival World Masters makes its next stop in L.A. at Ovation Hollywood. The festival allows guests to taste the creations of 12 skilled gelato makers and experience culinary demonstrations. Events and tastings run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $15 to $60, and more information can be found on the festival’s website.
Go out on a date: Downtown L.A.’s Broken Shaker at Freehand L.A. is partnering with the party collective Made to Move for a Labor Day pool party from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday. The event has its own happy hour and a rotation of local house DJs: Akumen, Andy Oro, Tote Boi and Agraybé. It is the perfect date, with food, drinks, music and a pool overlooking the city. There is no cover for the event, and more information can be found on Made to Move’s Instagram.
Go out all day: The West Adams Block Party is back with a free community festival filled with musical performances, art installations, local businesses and food trucks. The event runs from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday with a lineup that includes Arrested Development, D Smoke and Soulection & Friends. The festival is at Delicious Pizza West Adams, and more info can be found on the Dice event page.
Go out and wander: Attention gear heads: Petersen Automotive Museum in Mid-Wilshire will lift the hoods on some of its iconic vehicles for Labor Day weekend. Wander through the rows of cars and get a special peek into the vehicles at the “Hoods Up!” event. Tickets cost $10.95 to $19.95. More information can be found on the museum’s website.
Go out all night: Yeehaw! Giddy up to Desert 5 Spot in Hollywood to check out the cowboy-themed bar’s new program: Soft Spot Songwriter Nights. The event hosted by Rainee Blake and Chloe Kat brings together a group of songwriters to share new tunes all night long. The program is every Tuesday (alongside Taco Tuesday), and doors open at 7 p.m. More details can be found on Desert 5 Spot’s website.
Go out for a cause: Get a good chuckle in at “Laughs for Lahaina.” Proceeds from the comedy benefit show will be donated to the Maui Strong Fund. The event takes place at the Comedy Store in West Hollywood at 8 p.m. Wednesday, and comics include Trevor Wallace, Craig Robinson, Jonah Ray, Eddie Ifft, Kermet Apio, Paul Ogata and Willie Simon. General admission tickets can still be purchased online for $35.
Speaking of Beyoncé’s Renaissance world tour, if you’re looking for a quick sip before the show begins — whether it’s coffee or a cocktail, here’s where to grab a drink near SoFi Stadium.
Want a more accessible trail to hike this weekend? Try these 8 spots that are accessible to everyone, from wheelchair users to kids in strollers.
Whip out your hammocks and beat the heat at one of these 25 shady L.A.-area spots that’ll keep you cool while you enjoy the outdoors.
More of a night owl? Here are 8 enchanting night hikes to take in L.A. as the weather warms up.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Follow our feed of recommendations and itineraries on Instagram and Twitter, and if you have recs of your own, send them to [email protected].