Ceci Bastida. Photograph by Salvador Ochoa Ochoa.
The title of Bastida’s second album, La Edad de la Violencia (The Age of Violence), suggests heaviness and sorrow, but the Latin Grammy nominee’s work is filled with upbeat synth-driven tunes. With a cross-border sensibility influenced by her native Tijuana and current home base of L.A., Bastida is creating more than dance records; these are anthems for a new world.
Photograph by Osceola Refetoff
Inspired by photos of immaculate homes in high-end glossies, Gomez—a nanny by day—reenvisions those images to include domestic workers. His acrylics meld the sensibility of David Hockney’s cityscapes with the social commentary of Banksy.
Photograph courtesy The Artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
For six years Drucker and her partner, Rhys Ernst, collaborated on a collection of photographs documenting both of their gender transitions. The striking images caught the eye of show runner Jill Soloway, who hired the pair as consultants for her Amazon series, Transparent.
Photograph by Denee Petracek
On Manipulator, his seventh solo album since 2008, the Laguna Beach native forgoes scorched-earth speed in favor of precision and meticulous production. The result is a blend of crunchy guitars, ’70s-tinged melodies, distortion, glam, and swagger. At this rate he’ll likely have something new to offer in the coming year.
Photograph by Dana Ross
You traded in pearl-handled glasses for headphones to experience the avant-garde opera Invisible Cities at Union Station. Performers softly sang as they wandered through the train depot, enacting an imagined conversation between emperor Kublai Khan and explorer Marco Polo. Look for artistic director Yuval Sharon and his troupe, the Industry, to do something big in fall 2015 with Hopscotch, a mobile opera taking place simultaneously in 18 cars.
Photograph by Mandee Johnson
She released her second standup album (Same Sex Symbol), became a vocal advocate for marriage equality, and got engaged. Easily recognizable thanks to her snazzy side mullet, Esposito often hosts the popular comedy show Put Your Hands Together at UCB on Tuesday nights.
Photograph by Dylan Schwartz
Michael Parker created the stage, carving a replica of an Egyptian obelisk beside the L.A. River near Lincoln Heights. Then Esparza and his family covered the surface with more than 1,500 adobe bricks. When the installation was completed, he danced atop it in a sunset ceremony.
Photograph by Denee Petracek
The 65-year-old assemblage artist finally received a retrospective at the Craft & Folk Art Museum, but you can see his stunning work at his Highland Park studio, MorYork Gallery, any day.
Photograph by Mia Kirby
The band has been together a decade, but it released its second (self-titled) album only this year. Glistening notes thrum over moody electronics that are experimental yet accessible.
The front man for the folk-pop band the Mountain Goats proves that his writing talents extend to his first full-length novel. Set in Southern California, Wolf in White Van is about a disfigured teen who invents a role-playing game. The reception? It was long-listed for a National Book Award.