There’s a space in our hearts that can only be filled by an Eames chair, but there’s more to midcentury modern design than Charles and Ray. Educate yourself during an 11-day festival of screenings and house tours in Palm Springs, home to the world’s highest concentration of midcentury modern architecture.
February 3-4, 11-12, 17-18 & 23-25
Do you even remember how to tell a story in more than 140 characters? Step away from Twitter and head to the Skirball for some experimental long-form storytelling, including The Bumps (written for an all-preggo cast) and Lula Del Ray, performed by Chicago’s shadow puppet ensemble, Manual Cinema.
3. Zoot Suit
JANUARY 31- March 12
If your only frame of reference for the Zoot Suit riots is that Cherry Poppin’ Daddies song from 1997, you’ve got some research to do. Start with Luis Valdez’s revolutionary show, which is being restaged at the Mark Taper Forum (it premiered there in 1978). The musical play is widely recognized as Broadway’s first Chicano production.
February 2, 6, 8, 14, 16, 21, 23 & 27
Try to keep the fangirling/boying in check during the Los Angeles Public Library’s ongoing speaker series. This month’s lineup is particularly notable, featuring local cool kids—Transparent creator Jill Soloway, Atwater Village-based cartoonist MariNaomi—who dole out wisdom, advice, and tales from the frontlines of making art in L.A.
5. Upside Down
February 11-March 12
No, it’s not a nod to Stranger Things. Co-LAb Gallery in Highland Park tapped 15 local artists for its latest exhibition, which explores the theme “upside down”—whether it’s taking a project from finish to start or creating something more from less. You won’t see any Demogorgons—or will you?
February 9-March 5
Leave it to the innovative theater company Kneehigh (the Cornish troupe behind the Tony-nominated Brief Encounter) to sneak puppets into the story of D-day. The stage adaptation of the novel The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips at the Wallis is a roller coaster of feels, melding upbeat USO Show vibes with a somber home front tale.
February 4, 11, 18 & 25
Enjoy the perks of taking a class at the gym (socializing, secondhand endorphins) without the downsides (day fees, gross showers) at this gratis running club hosted by the Line Hotel. Runners take off from the lobby Saturday mornings at 10:30.
February 18 & 25; March 2, 5, 16 & 19
Richard Strauss’s eerie, risqué work, inspired by the Oscar Wilde play, returns to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for the first time in 30 years. The L.A. Opera production captures all the murderous eroticism of the original story. Full (frontal) disclosure: The performance—about the princess Salome’s obsession with John the Baptist—has nudity and violence.
9. DocuDay LA
Want to up your odds of winning this year’s office Oscar pool? The International Documentary Association hosts back-to-back screenings of nominated feature and short documentaries (in addition to filmmaker Q&As) at the Writers Guild Theater.
The jazz/soul/pop/funk band Snarky Puppy collides with legends Hancock (the L.A. Phil’s Creative Chair for Jazz), Shorter, and Blanchard at Disney Hall for a night of old favorites and a new work.
The death of HOB on Sunset was a rock venue tragedy. Thankfully there’s a new outpost at the Anaheim GardenWalk, complete with a main hall that dwarfs its Sunset Strip cousin. Punk pioneers (and Fullerton natives) Social Distortion launch the joint.