Weekend Planner: The 16 Best Things to Do in L.A.


Concerts, movies, music… summer is in full swing. From roller skating jubilees and the return of hip-hop pioneers to Cold War art installations and Barbara Streisand’s basement, here are our top picks for your weekend agenda. 

And next week, DineLA Restaurant Week kicks off on Monday; we’re already making resys at these 10 restaurants.

MUSIC: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds with Warpaint
Aussie crooner Cave is still captivating audiences with his brooding vocals. The ethereal L.A. act Warpaint opens. Cave plays the Theatre at Ace Hotel the following night. More information (July 11; Shrine Auditorium)

DRINK: Garagiste Festival
You’ve heard of garage bands, but how about garage wine makers? In France, more and more small producers are aging and bottling this year’s grapes where they once parked their cars. Called garagistes, the niche oenologists are getting their own festival where you can try more than 40 styles of obscure French wine, even if you can’t pronounce the name. More information (July 12; Union Station) 

MUSIC: Chris Isaak and Chris Botti
One has a lip curl that would make Elvis jealous; the other blows a mean horn. It’s a convergence of Chrises as the crooner best known for the sultry “Wicked Game” joins forces with the jazz trumpeter whose foray into pop earned him a Grammy. [Read our Q&A with crooner Chris Isaak.] More information (July 11-12; Hollywood Bowl)

MOVIES: Outfest
More than 150 films reflecting LGBTQ stories screen across the city. Opening night features Life Partners, with Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester and Community’s Gillian Jacobs, whose friendship weathers hilarious trials. More information (July 10-20; various venues)

THEATER: Buyer and Cellar
Inspired by Barbra Streisand’s book, My Passion for Design, Michael Urie of Ugly Betty plays an actor who takes an unusual job working for the megastar. [Check out our Curtain Call column featuring Michael Urie.] More information (July 10-August 16; Mark Taper Forum)

All the original members of the seminal L.A.-based punk band are reuniting to perform a different album each night with special guests. More information (July 10-13, The Roxy)

DANCE: The National Ballet of Canada / Romeo and Juliet
Alexei Ratmansky has choreographed works for the Paris Opera Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, New York City Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, among others. In 2011, the National Ballet of Canada’s artistic director, Karen Kain, commissioned him to create this production of Romeo and Juliet in celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary. Here classical elements of Shakespeare’s tragic tale are combined with a contemporary feel, accompanied by Sergei Prokofiev’s famous masterful score. This is one summer treat not to be missed. [Read our Q&A with the production’s stars, Guillaume Coté and Elena Lobsanova.] More information (July 10-13; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion)

ART: Competing Utopias
The Cold War was fought not just with guns, but also with art, design, and culture. Who would formulate the vision for the future of humanity? Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, historians, curators, and artists are still investigating the divisions between East and West. More information (July 13 – September 13; VDL House, Silver Lake)

BOOKS: Pacific Ocean Park: The Rise and Fall of Los Angeles’ Space Age Nautical Pleasure Pier
Learn all about the futuristic seaside theme park that existed in Santa Monica from the 1950s to the 1970s, thanks to a new book by Christopher Merritt and Domenic Priore. The authors are also at Book Soup on July 12 and the Santa Monica History Museum on July 13, bringing with them slide shows and special guests. More information (July 11; Stories)

CELEBRATION: 2014 Lotus Festival
After a three-year hiatus during which Echo Park Lake was closed for cleanup, the festival returns. Get ready for food and craft vendors, Dragon-boat races, and Asian-themed music and dance shows with the blooming lotus beds in the background. More information (July 12-13; Echo Park Lake)

MUSIC: Saturdays Off the 405: Chicano Batman
If the name doesn’t tip you off, the Los Angeles-based fusion band Chicano Batman is an idiosyncratic, one-of-a-kind blend of Mexican ballads, cumbia, funk, and uplifting rhythm, brought to you by the Getty’s outdoor summer music series. More information (July 12; Getty Center)

CELEBRATION: Charles Phoenix: Moonlight Rollerway Jubilee
Charles Phoenix, the “Ambassador of Americana,” hosts an evening featuring performers in a variety of costumed musical acts at the Glendale roller rink. Your $39 ticket gets you free treats at the snack bar, entrance to the after-show skate party, and a pair of skates to help you roll. More information (July 13; Moonlight Rollerway)

MUSIC: Jurassic 5
When the new millennium dawned, Jurassic 5 was at the top of its game. After a seven-year hiatus, the crew of four MCs and two DJs returns to the stage with hip-hop peers Dilated Peoples and Beat Junkies. More information (July 12; Greek Theatre)

CRIME: Crash and Spatter
Have you ever been tempted to dust your diary for prints? Cal State L.A.’s crime lab will show you how. Learn CSI tricks at an interactive lecture by forensic experts who track down America’s most wanted. More information (July 13; LAVA)

MUSIC: Tribute to Minnie Ripperton
KCRW DJs Jeremy Sole, Aaron Byrd, and Anthony Valdez host L.A.-based band the Decoders along with a 20-piece ensemble and special guests as they reimagine and remix soulful ’70s singer Minnie Ripperton. More information (July 12; California Plaza)

ART: Flat Screen Nature
Since pioneering pop art alongside Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, artist Joe Goode has devoted a fifty-year career to creating for the California light/space and conceptual movements. With his odes to nature and unique use of mediums, Goode toys with his audience’s perceptions. More information (July 12-August 29; Kohn Gallery)