Things to do: Mental Health Awareness Month, Sterling K. Brown

Pop-up art installations across L.A. are part of “We Rise 2021,” a series of events marking Mental Health Awareness Month. These projects, along with a partially in-person dance festival and a comedy showcase, lead our weekend list of cultural offerings for your viewing consideration. All times are Pacific.

SoCal in-person events

“Art Rise”
The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s sprawling monthlong festival highlighting the healing power of art continues with “Art Rise,” a series of 21 projects created by local artists in collaboration with local cultural institutions. Spread out over five neighborhoods — downtown L.A., Mid-Wilshire, Koreatown, Leimert Park and South L.A. — the event includes a memorial to those killed by COVID-19, work exhibited on the construction fence at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a companion playlist of audio works curated by REDCAT and a performance by Los Angeles Poverty Department. All events are free. Details including locations and performance times are available at

Orange County Dance Festival & Rising Artists Concert
Presented by AkomiDance, this showcase features Louise Reichlin & Dancers/Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers, Contempo Ballet, Benita Bike’s DanceArt and other local companies. The event kicks off with a pair of concerts streaming on demand beginning at 7 p.m. Friday. In-person performances are set for 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Rose Center Theater, 14140 All American Way, Westminster. $25 for each virtual and in-person performance; packages available; advance purchase required.

“Magic Asphalt: Drive-In Comedy Under the Stars”
Iliza Shlesinger and Doug Benson headline the final installment of this pop-up stand-up showcase. Magic Castle Hollywood parking lot, 7001 Franklin Ave., Hollywood. 7 p.m. Saturday. $125-$150 per car; maximum five people per car.

“Tell Him It’s Jackie”
Kait Haire portrays former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in socially distanced outdoor performances of this solo bio-drama written and directed by Tom Dugan (“Wiesenthal”). Dugan’s Backyard Playhouse, address provided to ticket holders, Woodland Hills. 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays through May 29. $20 suggested donation. RSVP to [email protected]

Elena Gilliam & the George Gilliam Jazz Quartet
The veteran jazz vocalist, her guitarist husband and his band perform in a new installment of Stage Door Repertory Theatre’s “Concerts by the Stage Door” series. Stage Door Rep, 1045 N. Armando St., Suite B, Anaheim. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $15; advance purchase required.


“The Normal Heart”
Emmy winners Sterling K. Brown and Laverne Cox lead a predominately BIPOC and LGBTQ cast in a virtual reading of Larry Kramer’s acclaimed drama about the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis in 1980s NYC. Emmy winner Paris Barclay directs, and Martin Sheen provides the introduction in this one-night-only event presented by the ONE Archives Foundation. 5 p.m. Friday. $10-$100.

“Why There Is No Hope”
John Cleese of Monty Python and “Fawlty Towers” fame takes a sardonic look at the state of the world in this solo show filmed at an otherwise empty venue in London. On demand through May 31. $20.

New York City Ballet 2021 Spring Gala Film
A new dance film directed by Oscar winner Sofia Coppola features classic works by Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine plus a new piece by resident choreographer Justin Peck. On demand through May 20. Free.,

“Waiting for Godot”
Ethan Hawke is Vladimir and John Leguizamo is Estragon in a streaming production of Samuel Beckett’s classic Absurdist fable. Wallace Shawn also stars. On demand beginning 4 p.m. Thursday. $12.99-$99.

“Close Quarters”
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s multimedia-enhanced virtual concert series continues with a program of works by contemporary composers including Jessie Montgomery, Alvin Singleton, Alyssa Weinberg and Mazz Swift. Pre-concert talk is 5:30 p.m. Friday, performance is 6:30 p.m.; available on demand afterward. Free; donations accepted.,,

“The Oedipus at Colonus Project”
David Strathairn, Bill Camp and Taylor Schilling are among the actors giving dramatic readings from Sophocles’ tragedy in this virtual event presented by Theater of War Productions. 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Free; registration required.

L.A.-based chamber orchestra Delirium Musicum launches a streaming series of musical travelogues, copresented by the Soraya in Northridge, featuring violinist and artistic director Étienne Gara and violinist YuEun Gemma Kim touring the state in a vintage VW bus giving site-specific performances along the way. Available on demand, with new episodes dropping Thursdays. Free.

“Past, Present, Future Dance Film Festival”
All Arts launches this three-night event with “If We Were a Love Song” featuring A.I.M by Kyle Abraham and set to the songs of jazz iconoclast Nina Simone. 5 p.m. Sunday; also Monday-Tuesday; available on demand afterward.

“Says You!”
This lighthearted public-radio quiz show kicks off eight virtual tapings. 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 30, with replays at 8 p.m. $25 per household; series pass, $150.

“Signature Recital Series”
Los Angeles Opera’s series of five virtual recitals continues with soprano Christine Goerke in a performance filmed at the Art Factory in Paterson, N.J. Friday through July 1. Series pass: $30, $45 per household.

L.A.-based Luminario Ballet presents this pandemic-inspired dance fable, created and choreographed by artistic director Judith Flex Helle, about a hospitalized young woman who undertakes a fantastical journey. Available anytime. Free.,

“Stories and Voices From L.A. Chinatown”
The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens and Los Angeles Public Library launch their new collaboration, “Archive Alive,” with this online exhibit that explores the past, present and future of the city’s Chinese American community via photos, illustrations, documents and ephemera. Also included: a free, site-specific outdoor art installation at 942 N. Hill St. in L.A.’s Chinatown. Available anytime. Free.

Musica Angelica
The Long Beach-based Baroque orchestra’s virtual season continues with a program of works by Handel, Vivaldi and Bach. Available anytime. Free.

This series of short dance films curated by L.A.-based Jacob Jonas the Company concludes with the choreographer’s new work “Weakness of the Flesh,” featuring dancer Emma Rosenzweig-Bock. Available anytime. Free.

“NHM First Fridays Connected: Culture x Cuisine”
The latest entry in the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s monthly salon series features a Zoom discussion of the L.A. food scene with chef Roy Choi and author Sarah Portnoy, a performance by post-punk trio Automatic and a live DJ set from Sammi G. 5 p.m. Friday. Free. Register at

“Astrologically Screwed and Other Psychic Revelations”
Writer-performer Pam Levin’s fantastical comedy closes out Whitefire Theatre’s Solofest 2021. 7 p.m. Friday; available on demand for 72 hours. $15.99.

“Inside Look: Misty Copeland & Dada Masilo — Changing Narratives in Dance”
American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland and South African dancer-choreographer Dada Masilo discuss discrimination, body image and more in this conversation presented by the Music Center and Dance Magazine. 5 p.m. Thursday. Free; register at Also available on demand beginning May 10 at

“Morning Stories With My Abuelo”
L.A.’s 24th Street Theatre’s online “Saturday Explorer Series” of kid-friendly livestream performances continues with storyteller Santino Jimenez sharing tales in English and Spanish. 12:30 p.m. Saturday. $10; series pass, $24.

“Poetics of Portraiture”
Four L.A.-based artists discuss representations of Black identity in photography in this virtual event presented by the Getty Museum. 5 p.m. Thursday. Free; register at

Our recurring coronavirus-era arts and culture recommendations are posted every Thursday.

Angelia S. Rico

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