This week in L.A. is packed with art (and how to look at it), experiential theater, designer denim, the opening of a reverse metaphysical speakeasy, cosplay, rare Japanese film, and a farewell to a beloved long-standing comedy troupe. Oh, and of course…plenty of romance, too!
Monday, February 11
Mindful Monday: Cultivating Empathy and Connectedness
LACMA’s Mindful Monday program wants people to experience art with intention. Educators lead visitors through a slow-looking exercise and discussion, encouraging a new way to connect with artwork—and one another. RSVP required. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard; 4–5 p.m.
Valentine’s Day at Platform
The holiday lasts all week at supertrendy indoor-outdoor, mixed-use retail, dining, and community space Platform, with a stream of romantic pop-ups and events. Pick up bouquets from the Hand & Rose floral truck; handmade caramels by Le Bon Garçon; artisanal pastries and baked goods; chic lingerie by It brands Else and Lonely; plus jewelry, scent customization, and more. See website for complete details. 8850 Washington Boulevard, Culver City
Tuesday, February 12
The New York Times Op-Ed Live
The paper of record’s opinion pages come to life on the Orpheum stage, with authors Roxane Gay (Hunger) and Lindy West (Shrill), comedian Guy Branum, and writer-producer Emily Gordon (The Big Sick). Expect lively discussion and fiery takes from witty minds by way of comedy, live advice columns, and “a political PowerPoint presentation.” Orpheum Theatre, 842 South Broadway; 7:30 p.m.
“Sterling Ruby: Damnation”
While Ruby is a prolific artist exploring painting, sculpture, ceramics, collage, and textiles, this exhibition will step out from his usual fixed, stationary art and focus on video. The centerpiece is State, a single-projection video of aerial footage of 35 adult state prisons, which took five years to complete. With dronelike documentation, the film captures the stark contrast between these criminal dwellings and the rolling hills of California that surround the prisons. Opening tonight. Sprüth Magers, 5900 Wilshire Boulevard; 6–8 p.m.
Wednesday, February 13
The self-proclaimed Love King is descending upon the Fonda to let y’all know Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. If you don’t know, The-Dream is the R&B hitmaker behind Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella” who has a criminally underrated slew of solo albums under his belt. Go see this cult favorite; he’s still got it. Fonda Theatre, 6126 Hollywood Boulevard; 9 p.m.
J Brand Sample Sale
Find the perfect jeans (or any number of ready-to-wear items) by this beloved line (and at a deep discount!). 260LA, 301 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills; 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Thursday, February 14
A Love Bizarre
Conscious consumerism, fashion, outsider art, tarot, queerness, and witchy flair coconspire at this brand-new neon-spiked, fantasy-hued gallery and gift shop. This metaphysical marketplace is located in the sexy bespoke craft cocktail spot Bar Franca. A Love Bizarre debuts on Valentine’s Day; the opening party and group gallery show reception takes place the following night, with a custom cocktail fittingly crafted with Astral Gin by local distillery the Spirit Guild. 438 South Main Street
Friday, February 15
Bar of Dreams
Dive into the subconscious of a wacky bartender during this interactive comedy show. Yes, that means participation is part of the deal! But don’t worry, drinks are included. Location in the NoHo Arts District is revealed upon ticket purchase. Reservations required—some nights are already sold out. Through Saturday, February 23
Born to Win
Chronicling the dark underbelly of children’s beauty pageants with a delightful energy and wit, this four-hander play is written and performed by longtime writing partners Matthew Wilkas and Mark Setlock. Celebration Theatre at the Lex, 6760 Lexington Avenue
Frieze Art Fair
This is the inaugural edition in Los Angeles of the widely lauded Frieze Art Fair, gathering 70 of the most compelling and forward-thinking contemporary galleries from across the city and around the world. Also included: a curated program of talks, games (even Name That Tune!), site-specific artists’ projects, films, a temporary bookstore, and an artistic chocolatier—much of which is approached through reference to L.A. history. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Through Sunday, February 17; Paramount Pictures Studios, 5515 Melrose Avenue
Saturday, February 16
The Soul Rebels With Big Freedia & Macy Gray
Get ready for big New Orleans vibes. Catch the Soul Rebels’s infectious big-brass-band approach to funk, soul, pop, and R&B before this group on the rise fully explodes into pop culture. Joining the group are Big Freedia, the outrageously wonderful queen of bounce music, and contemporary soul icon Macy Gray. Presented by CAP UCLA. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 South Broadway; 8 p.m.
“MASC: The Men of Los Angeles”
A series of mixed-media portraits celebrating the male body and the culture of the leather community in Los Angeles opens this evening, presented by the venerable Tom of Finland Foundation. Tom House, 1421 Laveta Terrace
Long Beach Comic Expo
This expo recalls what comics were like before they went mainstream, with a focus on cosplayers, voiceover artists, and especially authors and illustrators. Join the cosplay contest, peruse the dozens of exhibitors, and attend panels including guests like Gerry Conway (The Amazing Spider-Man, Punisher), Marguerite Bennett (Batman, X-Men), and Todd Nauck (Teen Titans, Spider-Man). Through Sunday, February 17; Long Beach Convention Center, 300 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach
A rare contemporary tale from samurai cinema master Akira Kurosawa, Ikiru (“To Live”) tells a moving story of an unfulfilled government cog who makes it his last goal to help build a park after he gets a terminal cancer diagnosis. Vista Theatre, 4473 Sunset Drive; 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 17
Power Violence: 8th Anniversary & Final Show
After eight long and hilarious years of performing, one of Los Angeles’s first alt-comedy troupes, Power Violence, is putting on its final show. Unpredictable and no-holds-barred, these comics do it all: dance, sketches, music, performance art—you name it. Unapologetically zany and weird, the group is sure to go out with a bang. The Satellite, 1717 Silver Lake Boulevard; 8 p.m.