Side Dish: Arts Calendar November 23-29

LA Weekly, November 22, 2023

Only part of your week is dedicated to the creation and dissemination of the perfect side dish. The rest of the long weekend can be whatever you want—such as catching up on some art and culture. Galleries are largely taking the weekend off, but museums are open, dance performances and outdoor art hikes in the new cool weather beckon, salient conversations await (just not necessarily at dinner), and more intriguing things to do with the family (or escape them) for your Thanksgiving holiday arts calendar.


Thursday, November 23


JEFF&GORDON: Not at the Dinner Table (Telephone). The fan favorite phone-based art project from artist duo JEFF&GORDON returns for another timely, participatory experience inviting the public to call and leave anonymous voicemails for those with whom they disagree—and hear messages left since the project was first presented in 2013. Not at the Dinner Table is offered every year during the holidays, when people are most likely to encounter their least favorite family members. But by distancing this dynamic from the context of the relationship, the artists hope they can help foster more understanding, or maybe offer space for a rehearsal to those planning on entering the fray in person. Each edition’s phone number is selected for an area code that highlights a particularly hot-button issue. This year, it’s Santa Rosa, home to Maia Kobabe, author of the book Gender Queer: a Memoir, which has become one of America’s most frequently banned books. Call 24/7 through January 1; (707) 760-9365; free.


Friday, November 24


Enchanted Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens (Outdoor). An interactive, nighttime experience unlike anything else in Los Angeles, featuring a one-mile walk through unique lighting experiences in some of the most beloved areas of Descanso Gardens. From radiant sculptural installations to lakeside lasers, dancing treetop fairies, sonic tree groves, waving tulip fields, spinning lanterns, and more, the garden welcomes back perennial favorites and new collaborators. Dress for chilly woodland nights. 1418 Descanso Dr.; La Cañada Flintridge; Timed entry tickets, 5:30-10pm through January 7; $20-$25;


Saturday, November 25


Dynasty Handbag: The Bored Identity record release parties at The Elysian Theatre. Dynasty Handbag’s first comedy record on Wacky Wacko Recordsfollows the spirit of 70’s comedy albums by artists such as Lily Tomlin and Richard Pryor. A collection of characters and songs by the underground’s most beloved subversive comedic performance artist, Dynasty Handbag takes on the self-care industrial complex, murderous misogyny, and the horrors of heteronormativity by deftly moving in and out of a crackpot slew of characters in ridiculously imaginative scenarios in sing and stand-up. 1944 Riverside Dr., Elysian Park; Saturday, November 25; Friday, December 1; Saturday, December 9, 8pm; $20, $40 includes deluxe pink vinyl;


Sunday, November 26


Sunset Hiking Club at Lauren Powell Projects. A special edition of the gallery’sSunset Hiking Club features artist Sarah Thibault leading a plein air painting workshop. After meeting at the gallery and hiking up to the Berlin Forest, the group will then sit and paint with acrylic pigments under Thibault’s direction until the sunsets, when everyone walks back to the gallery together, carrying with their own brand new landscape painting! Wear shoes that will work for a 2-mile hike. 5225 Hollywood Blvd., East Hollywood; Meet at 1pm; $50 includes all materials;


Monday, November 27


Pippa Garner: Act Like You Know Me book release at Stories Books. The first comprehensive monograph and critical survey of American artist Pippa Garner, Act Like You Know Me surveys 50 years of her radical and trans-disciplinary art practice, from the late 1960’s to the early 2010’s, through 400 photographs, illustrations, ephemera, and original writings. Encompassing Garner’s most iconic works alongside never-before-seen photographs and ephemera, and coincidentally released during her inclusion in the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living biennial, the book celebrates an under-recognized artist with an uncompromising approach to life and practice. Garner will be joined by multidisciplinary artist Hayden Dunham, writer and activist Cyrus Dunham (A Year Without A Name: A Memoir), and writer and co-editor of Act Like You Know Me Fiona Duncan. 1716 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Monday, November 27, 8pm; free;


Tuesday, November 28


Rebecca Solnit at Oxy Live. In this second event of the season Oxy Live!, writer, historian and activist Rebecca Solnit joins in conversation with acclaimed interviewer and cultural interlocutor Paul Holdengräber. A writer, historian, and activist, Solnit is the author of 25 books on feminism, environmental and urban history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and catastrophe. She co-edited the 2023 climate anthology Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she writes regularly for the Guardian, serves on the board of the climate group Oil Change International, and in 2022 launched the climate project Not Too LateOccidental College address provided with registration; Tuesday, November 28; 6:30pm; free;


BODYTRAFFIC at the Skirball. Los Angeles dance company BODYTRAFFIC celebrates the art of perseverance. This performance, entitled “In Pursuit of Community,” anchors an evening honoring the power of moving forward together. It takes courage to go after what you want. It takes grit to keep going even when the going gets tough. Building strength, gaining wisdom, and seeking clarity in the face of challenges are the unshakable pillars of resilience. The striving for triumph, whether big or small, is the reward in itself. BODYTRAFFIC celebrates the art of forward movement and persevering. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Tuesday, November 28; Pre-show reception: 6pm; Performance: 7:30pm; $40;



Conversation: Is AI the End of Creativity—or a New Beginning? at ASU California Center. Artists across disciplines have harnessed generative AI as mind-extenders, expanding the possibilities of their work, and unleashing new ways to see the world. But as bots get more adept at human-like thought, writers, actors, and others protest in lawsuits and on picket lines, asking: what’s left for artists? Who gets credit—and paid—for AI-assisted creative work? What do we lose when machine brains take over aspects of our creativity? And, tantalizingly, what do we gain? LACMA’s Art + Technology Lab program director Joel Ferree, Concept Art Association co-founder Nicole Hendrix, Writers Guild of America AI working group member John Lopez, and interdisciplinary artist Sarah Rosalena join Zócalo, Arts for LA, the ASU Narrative and Emerging Media program to discuss. 1111 S. Broadway, downtown; Tuesday, November 28, 7pm; free w/ rsvp;


ThankYouX: inertia at Sotheby’s. Continuing to push the boundaries of the artist’s practice, his most recent works utilize both traditional and digital mediums with a mixture of works on canvas, physical/digital hybrids that utilize embedded screens, and entirely digital compositions. The physical works provide a traditional grounding to the show, and through layered abstraction, he is focusing on the dynamics of movement to create a sense of energy and motion that breaks away from the flat planes on which he paints. The hybrid and digital works offer new and exciting dimensions to the concept of movement beyond the canvas. 350 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills; On view November 28 – January 26; free;