Behold: Five great things you should do in Southern California this week, from art to food to music to an adventure we'll call "the Wild Card," from the makers of the 5 Every Day app. You can also get this as a new podcast in iTunes. If you want five hand-picked things to do in Los Angeles every day, download the free 5 Every Day from the App Store.
It's an art fair so big that it literally takes place in an airplane hangar.
It’s called Art Los Angeles Contemporary, and it’s been packing Santa Monica's Barker Hangar with a stupefying volume of art for a few years now, pitting L.A.-based exhibitors such as Night Gallery, Various Small Fires and David Kordansky against dozens of blue chip galleries from around the world.
Think of it as a four-day knock-down, drag-out battle of art and commerce. These huge art markets can feel like a bit of a cattle call, but ALAC's list of contributors is hard to gripe about.
Running Thursday through Sunday, festivities include a big opening night gala, artist Alison O’Daniel’s collaboration with Centennial High School’s marching band, an appearance by Kenneth Anger and more.
Alhambra's Ultrazone hits the improbable sweet spot between family fun center and Early Dynastic hellscape.
It’s a 5,000 square-foot, multi-level laser tag arena for children, where adults are, somewhat begrudgingly, allowed. It's spectacular.
Dimly lit, full of fog and painted to look like a cheap knock-off of the Indiana Jones ride, it'll make you surrender your ego within the first 15 minutes, after you're destroyed again and again by sharpshooting eleven-year-olds.
Before the lasers stop firing, the most mellow pacifists tend to go full Lord of the Flies. It happened to us.
It's better exercise than playing Call of Duty on your couch.
FOOD: Boba 7
When the boba tea market gets saturated, boba practitioners get reckless.
Enter Boba 7, a boba "speakeasy" boba run from the back of a Thai restaurant in downtown. Its signature drink? Heineken, green tea and those unmistakable gelatinous balls chilling at the bottom. It's like a sorority drinking game gone so wrong that it's somehow right.
Boba 7's other cocktails include a mango margarita with lychee and a Baileys and Kahlua "Bobagasm," which makes perfect sense. Think of it as a White Russian, which is already liquid candy, with the bonus of tapioca balls.
They also have adventurous non-alcoholic variations, like horchata, Nutella and rose milk tea. Sometimes, you don't know what you want until somebody tells you.
MUSIC: Bowie on Film
Did you see that news story about what might be a new planet in our solar system? They discovered it right after David Bowie died?
Definitely not a coincidence.
I’ll take any consolation because the death of David Bowie has felt inescapable for the last couple of weeks. The outpouring of grief has spilled into countless tributes throughout the city — sad and joyous celebrations that show no sign of slowing in the coming weeks.
This Friday, Cinefamily kicks off a special tribute of their own with Cracked Actor: a five-day tour of the Thin White Duke’s cinematic high points.
They’ll kick things off with a buffet of small-screen obscurities called “The David Bowie Mixtape,” followed by a special midnight screening of Bowie’s turn as a sexy vampire in "The Hunger." The tribute rolls all the way into February with screenings of "Labyrinth," "The Man Who Fell To Earth," and "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence."
Maybe if we watch all of them, he’ll get the message and spin his orbit back around.
WILDCARD: Riot LA
Free comedy nights are among Los Angeles's greatest cultural products. It’s the logical convergence of the city's abundance of young comics and its cheapskate audiences.
In this buyer’s market, it takes a lot of confidence to hang a $100 price tag on a comedy festival, but Riot LA has the bills to back it up. The three-day megafest features 150 or so of your favorite comedians, swarming downtown like whimsical locusts.
So what if you can see a lot of these people for $5 or less most nights of the week? We're here to laugh, not balance our checkbooks.
Festivities start Friday night with a pair of big-time lineups at the Theatre at Ace Hotel: a long set from David Cross, followed by a late night triple threat with Natasha Leggero, Maria Bamford and Janeane Garofalo.