Head over to the California Heritage Museum, Wednesdays through Sundays until July 27, for the hilarious Awkward Family Photos exhibition.
The folks behind the website have turned their obsession — and ours — into an art show, which will include not only the website’s most popular photos, but also a chance for attendees to create their own memories in the Awkward Portrait Studio.
The founders of the website and exhibit are hoping that this will be the launchpad for a national tour.
Get all the details at www.californiaheritagemuseum.org at the corner of Main Street and Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica.
Puppets are everywhere!
Let’s begin at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica where the venerable British theatre company Bristol Old Vic pairs up with South Africa’s renowned Handspring Puppet Co. (creators of the award-winning “War Horse”), for an entirely new Shakespearean experience based on the classic comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” April 3 through April 19, performances at 7:30 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets at thebroadstage.com or call (310) 434-3200.
And the L.A. Puppet Festival features a number of Westside activities. On Sunday, April 6 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., participate in the Second Annual Million Puppet Parade. Starting at 10 a.m., you can bring, buy or make your own hand puppet, finger puppet, marionette, monster, shadow puppet or multi-person puppet at the puppet making workshops just south of Wilshire Boulevard on the Third Street Promenade with Rogue Artists Ensemble and the Sock Puppet Theatre. At 11:30 a.m., the parade begins led by Grand Marshal Bob Baker and at 12:30 p.m. the Parade Closing Ceremony features a raffle drawing for prizes and a puppet dance-off. This is a free event.
Baker’s masterful marionette-making secrets are revealed at the Blue 5 Art Gallery, 2936 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, on Monday and Tuesday, April 7 and 8, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. “The Art of Bob Baker Gallery Exhibition,” also a free event, features archival drawings, photos and intricate marionettes that demonstrate Baker’s creative process. Both a visual artist and performer, Baker, who recently turned 90, has created more than 3,000 marionettes that he has entertained with at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in downtown L.A.
Cap it off at the Skirball Cultural Center on Sunday, April 13 at the Family Celebration of the Wonders of Puppet Theatre, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are free for members and available on-site for the public. More info at www.skirball.org or call (877) 722-4849.
This is not trash
For 90 days in 2012, environmentalist and educator Peter Kreitler walked the same quarter-mile of Santa Monica Beach collecting flotsam and debris that floated in from the ocean, or was left at the beach. Pieces of this collected trash were taken to his home where some was meticulously cleaned, sorted, a portion discarded, much recycled, and the rest saved and catalogued. A year and a half later the selected items were photographed by fine arts photographer John Reiff Williams.
The body of work is entitled “No Es Basura — This is Not Trash.” An exhibit of the work will be held in the EarthWE Gallery at Bergamot Station, with a reception for the artists on Saturday, April 5, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and continuing to May 2. More info at www.earthwe.com, click on “events.”
Local playwright Steve Stajich has put together two one-act plays under the rubric of “Co-dependents: Two Plays on Drugs.” “Group” is a dreamy drama in which a young woman confronts what lies behind her drinking, and “Needed Language” puts a poke in the eye of those side-effect warnings we’re accustomed to hearing in TV drug ad voice-overs. Opens tonight, for four Thursday performances, 8 p.m. at The Little Theatre, 12420 Santa Monica Blvd. just at the border of Santa Monica and West Los Angeles. Limited seating. For tickets call (310) 396-0716.
In other hallucinogenic theatre news, City Garage at Bergamot Station announces the world premiere of “Bulgakov/Moliere,” by Charles A. Duncombe. This combines characters from Bulgakov’s classic novel, “The Master and Margarita” (which the company tackled in a prior production by Steven Leigh Morris), with a midnight visit from the Devil, performing the author’s recently shuttered play, “Moliere.” As usual, serious theatre, nudity and absurdity come together in a uniquely staged production at City Garage. Visit www.citygarage.org for more info or call (310) 453-9939.
Citrus by the sea
On Tuesday, April 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. author David Boul√© (“The Orange & the Dream of California” ) shares the absorbing story of the golden fruit and its impact on the culture of California — historic, financial, artistic, and even romantic. Through a tale of citriculture, boosterism, health and reinvention, Boul√© reveals more about California, and about us, than might first appear. Information and reservations for this free event at annenbergbeachhouse.com/beachculture
TAG, you’re it
The Artists’ Gallery, or TAG, is an artist-owned and operated space run by its members. There’s a really nice show of works up right now, through April 19, featuring the nature-inspired works of Elsie Dye Sims, which remind me a bit of Van Gogh; abstract photography by Christo Brock; and figurative interpretations by Kamil Vojnar. Many an emerging artist has had a career launched here; view these works today and see why. TAG Gallery is located at Bergamot Art Station. Find details here — www.taggallery.net
Sarah A. Spitz is a former freelance arts producer for NPR and former staff producer at public radio station KCRW-Santa Monica. She has also reviewed theatre for LAOpeningNights.com.