An arts calendar full of goodies in sound and vision — with heartfelt paintings about personal growth, an antique opera deployed in disembodied space, experimental sonic art performance, and the melodrama of a classical composer’s private thoughts, you can think of it as chances for more low key internal contemplation to help offset the barrage of explosions outside.
Thursday, June 30
SEK: From Chaos, Growth, at Artbug Gallery. It’s the last few days to catch SEK’s affecting new show at Artbug. Presenting a body of work based on the self-awareness and growth that comes from dark, chaotic experiences, the exhibition presents new works on canvas by an artist known primarily for his global street art work. SEK tempers urban-inflected, edgy, layered gestures and textures, and gruff, text-based cues with poetic symbolism that emerges from the fray like daisies growing from cracks in the concrete. 2441 Hunter St, downtown; Wednesday-Thursday, June 29-30, 1:30–7pm; Saturday, July 2, 1:30–4pm; free; instagram.com/artbugallery.
Nour Mobarak: Dafne Phono at JOAN. Dafne Phono is a newly commissioned sound installation by Los Angeles and Athens-based artist, Nour Mobarak. Staged theatrically throughout the gallery, Mobarak’s piece is an adaptation of the first opera, Ottavio Rinuccini and Jacopo Peri’s La Dafne, written in 1598. It expands on the original conceit of opera as an experiment in making music from speech, continuing her ongoing investigation of voice as material. Bendix Building, 1206 Maple Ave., downtown; Opening: Thursday, June 30, 5-8pm; Artist talk: Saturday, July 9, 2pm; On view through August 13; free; joanlosangeles.org.
David-Jeremiah: I Drive Thee, at Meliksetian Briggs. The first West Coast show for Dallas-based conceptual artist David-Jeremiah, who works across painting, sculpture, installation, and performance, and who has recently been making bodies of work in series of three, each comprising seven works, of which this is the third set. Using a rich constellation of metaphors, symbols and allusions, David-Jeremiah examines themes of ritual, consumption, and entertainment, and specifically the notion of Glory in relation to black masculinity. 313 N. Fairfax, West Hollywood; June 30 – July 30; free; meliksetianbriggs.com.
Friday, July 1
Live Performances at Coaxial. A night of live interdisciplinary art and performance at this downtown venue known for disruptive, tech-forward community culture featuring Pablo Perez, Dillon Bastan, Ivana Dama & David Roy, Nicki Chen, Carrie Chen. 1815 S. Main St., downtown; Friday, July 1, 8pm; $10 suggested donation; coaxialarts.org.
Saturday, July 2
The West Side Waltz at Theatricum Botanicum (Outdoor). Forty-one years after its premiere at the Ahmanson Theater, Academy Award-winning writer Ernest Thompson (On Golden Pond) deconstructs his script for his acclaimed 1981 work, The West Side Waltz. In the world premiere of Thompson’s newly revised, heart-filled dramedy set during the tumultuous ’80s, Theatricum artistic director Ellen Geer; her sister, Melora Marshall; and daughter Willow Geer take on the roles of an aging concert pianist, her violin-playing spinster neighbor, and a would-be actress on New York’s Upper West Side. The author will be in attendance for the July 2 performance; a prologue discussion with the cast will take place before the August 27 show. 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; Performances June 25 – October 1; $26-$60; theatricum.com.
Jonah Elijah: A Day in the Life, and Lauren Elder: The Muse And the Simurgh at Wilding Cran Gallery. To capture the essence of life in his hometown of Houston, Elijah invites the viewer to take a walk in his shoes, harnessing everything from oil paint and pastel, to newsprint and found objects. Elder’s ceramics practice pays tribute to the diverse traditions and histories of her Iraqi & Scottish ancestors. Merging their experiences and cultural iconography with those of her contemporary Los Angeles upbringing, she creates a visual identity of her own. 1700 S. Santa Fe., downtown; On view July 2-30; free; wildingcran.com.
Tuesday, July 5
Hershey Felder: Chopin in Paris at The Wallis. The romantic story of Polish pianist-composer Fryderyk Chopin is set in Chopin’s salon, where he teaches a piano lesson that actually took place in March 1848, just days after the revolution. As the lesson unfolds, Chopin reveals secrets about the art of the piano and composition, as well as secrets about himself. Felder delves deep into the music and psyche of the man, playing some of the pianist-composer’s most beautiful and enduring music while narrating his life in theatrical style. 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Performances July 5-24; $67-$99; thewallis.org.