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Cliff Hengst (photo by Ian Byers-Gamber, via

Playwright Asher Hartman draws on a wide spectrum of theatrical forms, from puppetry to dance to dramatic monologues, to create experimental, absurdist performances that keep their audiences on their toes, never sure what to expect next. His play Mr. Akita stars artist and performer Cliff Hengst — adept at channeling humor and pathos in equal measure — as a Borscht Belt–style comedian and washed-up painter, who discusses the nature of art with a silent Op art painting by Emily Joyce. Throughout this one-sided conversation, Hengst’s character is haunted by memories of his teacher, the titular Mr. Akita, a synthesis of Willem de Kooning and a dog. As words struggle to do justice to Hartman’s vision, it is definitely a work best experienced in person. Tickets are $15, but note that the play is not suitable for children.

When: Friday, March 3, 8pm; Saturday, March 4, 8pm; Sunday, March 5, 3pm ($15)
Where: Hauser & Wirth (901 East 3rd Street, Downtown, Los Angeles).

More info here.

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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.