The To-Do List: 5 Picks for Your January Cultural Agenda

From the new Tupac interactive exhibition to Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro’s cabaret show, LA Mag has your calendar covered

Here’s a compiled list of all the things you need to add to your to-do list this month:

Immerse Yourself 

He’s not quite risen from the grave, but Tupac is all around you at Wake Me When I’m Free: Tupac Shakur. The 20,000-square-foot interactive exhibition looks at art, activism, music, and the man, and features thousands of his handwritten notes on subjects ranging from poetry to his grocery list. There’s also clothing and artifacts, some of which have never been publicly displayed. One gallery is dedicated entirely to Shakur’s late mom, Afeni Shakur, a former Black Panther and inspiration to the rapper, who was fatally shot in Las Vegas in 1996. The Shakur estate is behind the exhibition, which was developed by creative director Jeremy Hodges—who has worked with Drake and Jay-Z—and Nwaka Onwusa, the chief curator at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. January 21 to May 1 at the Canvas at L.A. Live,


Written by USC grad student Jean Chen Ho and set in SoCal, this exploration of female friendship and the Asian American experience introduces an exciting new literary voice. Pulitzer Prize–winner Viet Thanh Nguyen calls
Fiona and Jane “a knockout.” January 4, Viking.

(Photo by Penguin Random House)


More than two decades have passed since Cat Power released The Covers Record, which featured unique renditions of classics by the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and other boomer faves. On her new album, Covers, the acclaimed singer-songwriter delivers her own takes on Frank Ocean’s “Bad Religion” and Lana Del Rey’s “White Mustang.” There are also original tracks, like the new single “Unhate.” January 14, Domino Records. 


Tony winner Alan Cumming and NPR’s Ari Shapiro, who used to sing with Pink Martini, bring the fun in Och and Oy! A Considered Cabaret. Songs include “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and the Scottish national anthem. January 21 and 22 at the Broad Stage,

(Photo by Emilio Madrid)


Netflix is rebooting Rebelde, the hit musical telenovela from the early aughts about a prestigious boarding school in Mexico. In the original, the kids wore sexy ripped street clothes. Now they’re in sexy preppy uniforms, drawing comparisons to another Spanish-language hit for the streamer, Elite. January 5, Netflix.


Take a break from the Oscar prestige pics and get into Deep Water. The erotic thriller stars Ben Affleck as a man who won’t give his wife (Ana de Armas) a divorce but will let her have a lover . . . or two. When her consorts turn to cadavers, he becomes the No. 1 suspect. Directed by veteran thriller maestro Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction), the film also stars actor and Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Tracy Letts. In theaters January 14.

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