Your Culture To-Do List: February 2017


Happy February – Valentine’s Day and the Academy Awards (Sunday, February 26) makes for a culture-rich month. Here is a round up of what looks interesting to us this month:

#1 Pick for Valentine’s Day 

Our friends at Street Food Cinema are going all out for Valentine’s Day with a special screening and party to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of The Princess Bride on Saturday, February 11 at the Million Dollar Theater in DTLA.  This Valentine’s Day event will include a free photo booth, DJ, real live Giants and a plethora of dinner options at the Grand Central Market to bring inside the Million Dollar Theater. As you wish! Medieval attire encouraged! Advance ticketing required.

Film Classic: Charlie Chaplin Comes Alive

Charlie Chaplin

Introduce your kids to Charlie Chaplin when they’re young, and they’ll have a friend for life. Between Friday and Sunday this week, February 3-5, you can see Modern Times, City Lights, Gold Rush and The Kid at The Aero in Santa Monica.

Theater: FUN HOME at CTG

©2016 Joan Marcus

Fun Home drops by Los Angeles for six week run (February 21 – April 1) at the Center Theater Group. Based on the graphic novel by Allison Bechdel, that tells the story of how a young girl learns of her father’s homosexuality at the same time that she is coming out as a teen. The production translates unusual subject matter to a joyous musical and won 5 Tony Awards in 2015… isn’t that enough reason to go? Oh, be sure to check out the book before you go.

Get Outdoors: Descanso Gardens

Winter is the time to visit this La Canada jewel. Kids love to romp in the Descanso Garden’s camellia forests, which are a sight to behold. There’s a wonderful secret garden, and beautiful old oaks everywhere. The Camellia and Tea Festival takes place on February 11-12.

Art: Jacob Hashimoto at Mixographia and Jimmie Durham at the Hammer

Jacob Hashimoto

A few years ago, we saw a terrific exhibit of Jacob Hashimoto’s paper kites flying in the Pacific Design Center adjunct MOCA space. The idea of translating Hashimoto’s Gas Giant concept onto a flat surface was developed in conjunction with the folks at Mixographia, an print making shop where contemporary artists create new three-dimensional artworks made of paper. We loved learning about the collaborative process between artists like Ed Ruscha and Mixographia and recommend that you head over to the print shop’s gallery to see Hashimoto’s paper kites.

Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World

The Hammer’s retrospective Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World opened last weekend and is a wild and wonderful exploration of found object sculpture (sculptural assemblage in art-speak). Durham’s message is political – US colonial practices, genocide –  and speaks to the representation issues of artists of diversity, but his art has a pleasing folk-art whimsy that makes the medicine go down. Bravo to the Hammer for highlighting such an interesting artist.

Books: 1984 and Beyond

Phillip Roth

Maybe you’ve read about this strange phenomenon in the New York Times, or been inspired to pick up a dystopian novel yourself, but booksellers around the country report a huge uptick in sales of books such as “1984” by George Orwell, “The Plot Against America” by Philip Roth, and “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis. With eerie parallels to today’s political landscape, readers are turning to past works of fiction for insight into what’s happening.

If we had to choose one of these books, we’d take the Roth because it features Charles Lindberg as President, and presents a pretty spooky parallel universe. It’s a terrific novel – arguably, one of his best books –  and it should be on your lifetime book bucket list anyway. Now’s the time.

Podcasts: Fresh Air and Recode Decode

We’ve been thinking a lot about Tom Friedman’s book (mentioned last month, Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations) and really enjoyed his interview with Kara Swisher on her podcast Recode Decode, which provides the highlights of his latest thinking about tech and society. Also, to catch up on ideas about politics and culture, download Fresh Air with Terry Gross, which covers authors (we loved Zadie Smith’s interview) and other thinkers. One more recent obsession? Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History.

Adventure: FIDM and Oscar costumes

Jackie – Natalie Portman

You can have the Best Costume category of your Academy Awards ballot all sewn up if you head over to FIDM to see their annual showcase for Oscar-nominated costumes. The 25th Art of Motion Picture Costume Design opens February 7 and runs through April 22, 2017. While you’re at FIDM, check out nearby Bottega Louie for delicious pizza and Parisian-style pastries.