17 Awesome Things To Do This Week In Southern California

The Slamdance Film Festival presents DIG — a showcase of interactive art — this weekend in downtown L.A. (Image: Data Mutations by AAA Collective)

There's magic in the air — or are those the scents wafting from the Institute of Art & Olfaction? If you want to yuk it up, there's a PSA launch party and a South Asian-themed comedy night. For headier events, check out talks by author Gary Shteyngart, writer-performer Lena Waithe and filmmaker Don Coscarelli. The art scene includes works by Robert Pruitt and by Slamdance's digital, interactive and gaming artists. Hungry? Perhaps a Taste of Pasadena will tempt you.

MONDAY, SEPT. 10; 8 p.m.
Magic Monday
Santa Monica Playhouse — 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica
Abracadabra! Albie Selznick's weekly magic and variety show has been extended through Oct. 1. This week, Selznick, a lifetime member of the Magic Castle, welcomes mentalist Max Maven. The pre-show starts at 7:30 p.m. with magician Roby Sobieski.
COST: $40; MORE INFO

TUESDAY, SEPT. 11; 6 - 10 p.m.
9 to 11 minute Plays and Stories: Inspired by the Events of 9/11
Loft Ensemble Theater — 13442 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
On July 24, 2016, playwright and producer Elizabeth Regensburger lost her father to several 9/11-related cancers. She and Michael Hennessey established a reading, now in its second year, to pay homage to lives lost on Sept. 11 and the lives that are still being affected by it. Readers include Dee Wallace ("E.T. Extra-Terrestrial," "Cujo") and LGBT activist and voiceover actor Ben Patrick Johnson. The evening benefits the the Feal Good Foundation for first responders.
COST: $19.11; MORE INFO

Sex S(m)ells is a workshop that explores the scents of the human body. (Image: Courtesy of The Institute for Art and Olfaction via Facebook)

TUESDAY, SEPT. 11; 6 - 8 p.m.
Sex S(m)ells
The Institute for Art & Olfaction — 932 Chung King Rd., Chinatown
Time to get funk-ay. This proboscis-forward event isn't for the faint of heart. Dutch perfumers Thijs Elich and Renske van Vroonhoven, owners of the Netherlands-based Attic Lab, will explore NSFW smells. The workshop begins with a blind smelling session focusing on molecules associated with the human and animal body. Participants can then tincture material taken from their own armpits and do a mini-extraction with a pair of used underwear.
COST: $50; MORE INFO

TUESDAY, SEPT. 11; 7:30 p.m.
Why Beethoven?
The Huntington Library (Rothenburg Hall) — 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino
The music ensemble Camerata Pacifica opens its 29th season with the launch of its Beethoven project. It includes 20 programs, 80 concerts and 12 panel discussions spanning this season and next. The first program examines the composer's early work, including his first published work, Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1, and continues with Haydn's Piano Sonata in E-flat Major, Hob. XVI/52. (Beethoven was Haydn's student). Brahms' Sonata in D Minor for Violin & Piano, Op. 108 (nicknamed "Beethoven's Tenth") rounds out the program. The ensemble also performs this program at Zipper Hall on Thursday and at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara on Friday.
COST: $58, subscriptions available; MORE INFO

TUESDAY, SEPT. 11; 8:30 p.m.
Just Sayin'! PSA Launch Party
UCBT Sunset — 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood
The new comedy series features performers and public figures speaking out on issues they believe in — and maybe adding some sass and snark to get their points across. Hosted by director/creator Brent Bishop, the lineup includes David Koechner, Kyle Kinane, Eliza Skinner, Aparna Nancherla and a special guest.
COST: $7; MORE INFO

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 12; 7 - 10 p.m.
Live From Miskatonic: Don Coscarelli in Conversation
Philosophical Research Society — 3910 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Feliz
Taking its name from a fictional H.P. Lovecraft university, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is dedicated to horror films and pop culture history. The institute opens its L.A. branch with a discussion with indie writer-director Coscarelli, whose films include "Phantasm" (1979) and "John Dies at the End" (2012). His memoir, "True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking," will be released on Oct. 2.
COST: $12 - $15, $40 (includes Coscarelli's book); MORE INFO

TUESDAY, SEPT. 11; 8 p.m.
Gary Shteyngart
Skirball Cultural Center — 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood
Scripps College and Book Soup co-host the author, who will read and discuss his latest novel, "Lake Success." The book follows a deluded hedge-fund manager who leaves NYC in search of a simpler life with his college sweetheart, whom he hasn't seen in years. His super-smart wife faces her demons and the two flawed main characters must navigate the chaos of their own making. Ticket prices include a copy of the book.
COST: $28 - $34; MORE INFO

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 12 - SUNDAY, FEB. 17, 2019
Robert Pruitt: Devotion
California African American Museum — 600 State Dr., Exposition Park
CAAM opens its fall season with an exhibition of works from the New York-based artist in his first major museum exhibition in L.A. The artist examines how black identity can exist at the intersection of the spirituality, fiction and technology. The exhibition also features a selection of works from the museum's permanent collection by artists who have influenced Pruitt, including Charles White and John Biggers.
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 12; 10 p.m.
Desi Comedy Night
Hollywood Improv — 8162 Melrose Ave., Beverly Grove
The South Asian-themed show features the comic talents of Asif Ali, Mona Shaikh, Richard Sarvate, Abhay Nadkarni, Zack Chapaloni, Melissa Shoshahi and Mona Shaikh. The show is ages 18+.
COST: $8 - $10, with a two-drink minimum; MORE INFO

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 12; 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Mindtravel Live-to-Headphones 'Silent' Piano Sunset Concert
Fowler Museum, UCLA — 308 Charles E Young Dr N, Westwood
Despite its clunky title, this not-exactly-silent event sounds pretty cool. Composer and pianist Murray Hidary presents an improvisational concert in which his real-time piano compositions are beamed directly into the provided MindTravel headphones. Meditate, watch the sunset and listen.
COST: FREE, but RSVP needed; MORE INFO

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 12; 7:30 p.m.
Art Battle Los Angeles
Exchange LA — 618 S. Spring St., downtown L.A.
Watch a competitive, live painting tournament in which participants have 20 minutes in two rounds to create works. At the end of the rounds, the audience votes for their favorite painting. The winners from each round compete for the Art Battle champion title. Participating artists include Nora Bruhn, Andrew Tarusov, Azia Skeen, Guillermo Luna, Jen LaVita, Jessica Poon, B Paul Morado and Joseph Grescovich. The works are available for purchase via silent auction.
COST: $15 - $20; MORE INFO

THURSDAY, SEPT. 13; 8 p.m.
Pulp Fiction
The Wiltern — 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown
Movie Night at the legendary theater features a screening of Quentin Tarantino's Oscar-winning movie starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames and Uma Thurman. The night also includes photo opportunities, a DJ and a costume contest.
COST: $10 - $15; MORE INFO

THURSDAY, SEPT. 13; 6 - 9 p.m.
Taste of Pasadena
Rose Bowl — 1001 Rose Bowl Dr., Pasadena
The Pasadena Chamber hosts the annual tasting event, in which guests enjoy unlimited food and drink tastings from 24 Pasadena establishments, including POP Champagne Bar and Restaurant, El Cholo, Lucky Baldwins Pub and Madeline Garden Bistro. The entry ticket also includes samples of the four finalist cocktails in the SIP-tember challenge — a city-wide bracketed drink tournament. At 8:45 p.m., Pasadena's favorite cocktail 2018 will be named.
Only 500 tickets will be sold. Advanced ticket sales ends Sept. 11.
COST: $30 - $60; MORE INFO

THURSDAY, SEPT. 13; 7 - 8:15 p.m.
Lena Waithe in Conversation
Garrison Theater at Scripps College — 241 E. 10th St., Claremont
The college's speaker series welcomes actress, producer and screenwriter Lena Waithe, the first black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for Netflix's "Master of None."
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

THURSDAY, SEPT. 13; 8 p.m.
Pod Save America
El Rey Theatre — 5515 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire
The political podcast does a live show in L.A. Hosts Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor — who all worked for President Barack Obama — are joined by comics, journalists, activists and politicians to discuss current news and events.
COST: $55; MORE INFO

THURSDAY, SEPT. 13; 7:30 p.m.
The Whisky & Poetry Salon
Kimball Los Angeles — 500 South Grand Ave., #2400 (in the Biltmore Towers, next to the Biltmore Hotel), downtown L.A.
Sip Angel's Envy while listening to poetry at this salon hosted by Tresha Haefner. Guests are asked to bring a poem, original or not, to read in a candlelit circle with like-minded drinkers and fans of verse, rime and rhymes. Ages 21+. No tickets will be sold at the door.
COST: $35; MORE INFO

Use VR technology to step inside Ferris Beuller's room at Slamdance's DIG Showcase this week. (Image: Courtesy of Ryan Mains, Sarah Keenlyside and Arv Slabosevicius)

THURSDAY, SEPT. 13 - SATURDAY, SEPT. 15
Slamdance DIG
Ace Hotel — 929 S. Broadway and Los Angeles Artist Collective — 630 St. Vincent Court, both in downtown L.A.
The lesser-known Park City film festival presents its 4th annual Digital, Interactive & Gaming (DIG) showcase, featuring new works by emerging visual artists and indie game developers. One of the installations, "The Ascii Printer Project"by Bart Dumon and Pinguino, converts images received from web and mobile devices to ascii art, which are printed on-site. Another project, "Ferris's Room VR," is an immersive work that recreates Ferris Bueller's bedroom from the movie. The weekend also includes live art, performance, talkbacks and panels discussions.
COST: FREE, but RSVP needed; MORE INFO

How are you spending your week? Let us know on Twitter @christineziemba and @LeoHasACat.


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