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Anna Deavere Smith in ‘Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992’ (2000), directed by Marc Levin (via

LOS ANGELES — This week, there’s an all-day performance festival in Chinatown, a discussion of a new book that explores how the internet has changed our lives, a documentary on an underappreciated jazz singer, and much more.

 Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992

When: Wednesday, August 12, 7:30pm
Where: Hammer Museum (10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood, Los Angeles)

Anna Deavere Smith has had a successful career as a TV and film actress, appearing on The West Wing as National Security Advisor Dr. Nancy McNally, and on Nurse Jackie, as hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus. Parallel to her mainstream roles, she is an acclaimed playwright and stage actress, pioneering a new wave of “documentary theater” that uses interviews or newspapers as script source material. In her one-woman play Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Deavere Smith delivers monologues from the perspective of over 40 people touched by the 1992 LA Riots, including LA Police Chief Daryl Gates, truck driver Reginald Denny, and an unnamed Rodney King juror. The Hammer will be screening the 2000 film version of the performance, followed by a discussion with Brenda E. Stevenson, author of The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the LA Riots.

Normal Family (via Facebook)

 Normal Family

When: Wednesday, August 12, 8pm
Where: LAST Projects (6546 Hollywood Blvd, Ste 215, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

Normal Family is a program of short film from Korean and Japanese artists who challenge the need for social conformity within patriarchal cultures. Curated by Minkyung Choi and Takako Oishi-Marks, the screening will feature seven artists as well as collaborative work from fourth-wave feminists and social art group Tomorrow Girls Troop. Using humor, the videos address feminism and LGBTQ issues in these countries.

The Extreme Present: Los Angeles (via

 The Extreme Present: Los Angeles

When: Friday, August 14, 7pm
Where: West Hollywood City Council Chambers (625 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, California)

Fifty years after the publication of Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage, The Age of Earthquakes builds off of the previous book’s analysis to describe how the internet has shaped our contemporary world. The Extreme Present: Los Angeles will bring together the book’s authors — cultural critic Shumon Basar, novelist Douglas Coupland, and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist — for a discussion about how digital culture is changing our brains, our society, and our Earth. Special guests include artists Miranda July and Amalia Ulman, director David Lynch, and cellist Patrick Belaga.

Jibade-Khalil Huffman (via Facebook)

 ‘Come & Go’ Presents Jibade-Khalil Huffman

When: Saturday, August 15, 1–3pm
Where: Blum & Poe (2727 S. La Cienega Boulevard, Culver City, California)

A.L. Steiner’s current show at Blum & Poe, Come & Go, is arranged like an archive, presenting 20 years of the artist’s work in a non-hierarchical fashion. Alongside this visual survey, Steiner has invited a cast of performers to provide musical, theatrical, or poetic accompaniment. This Saturday, multi-disciplinary artist and writer Jibade-Khalil Huffman will present his latest work “MANTRA” which touches on “memory, community, misogyny, identity, police brutality, coded language, reportage, the multitude of wonderful contradictions in the work of Nicki Minaj and Drake, rap videos, adolescence and death.”

 Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer

When: Saturday, August 15, 8:30pm
Where: Sloan Projects (Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave, Gallery B5, Santa Monica, California)

Alongside Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan, Anita O’Day was one of the most talented jazz singers of her generation. She had a remarkable, seven-decade career, working with celebrated band leaders like Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman, despite a 20-years heroin addiction that almost killed her in the late ’60s. Directed by Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden, the 2007 documentary The Life of a Jazz Singer uses archival footage and interviews to tell the remarkable story of this underrecognized artist.

Perform Chinatown: Rush Hour (via Facebook)

 Perform Chinatown: Rush Hour

When: Saturday, August 15, 1–10pm
Where: Various venues (Chinatown, Los Angeles)

As detective Jake Gittes learns at the end of Roman Polanski’s epic film, Chinatown is a long way from Hollywood. Still, there are connections between the two, as a sign outside Chinatown restaurant Foo Chow proclaims: “A Best Seller Movie By Jackie Chan Rush Hour Was Shot Here.” Inspired by this sign, curator Molly Jo Shea has programmed this year’s Perform Chinatown festival with the following questions in mind: “What is a fake? How do we identify ourselves? What is our relationship to Hollywood? Will anyone notice our presence? Will anyone notice our absence?” The day-long festival will feature over 40 performers throughout the venues and streets of Chinatown. Highlights include Alex Reben’s interactive robotics at Charlie James, Elena Rosa performing monologues in drag as Yul Brynner, Atom-r’s new media performance piece on Alan Turing, music from Rachel Mason, Jung Money, and Period Bomb, and much more.

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he is a frequent contributor to Daily Serving, and Glasstire.