From the shocking (psychiatrists in masks and graveyard meditation) to the simply charming (apple picking—you know you want to), there’s a lot going on in Los Angeles and all around SoCal this season. So scan our picks, make a few plans and get your fall action going.
21 Fun Things to Do for Your Best L.A. Fall Ever
1. Take in the New HQ of the LA Dance Project
This contemporary ballet company is redoubling its efforts to perform work in its home city after spending years touring the globe. The 12-member troupe’s eclectic fall festival (now through October 25 and again November 14 to 24) is performed in a small space for audiences of only 100 people. Catch one of the three programs now so you can say you were there at the ground floor.
2. Cheer on Surfing Dogs
Road trip to Huntington Beach on Saturday, September 28, for the McKenna Subaru Surf City Surf Dog event, in which owners launch their pets on one of SoCal’s most popular dog beaches
3. Explore the World of Nayland Blake, Professional Provocateur
Since their student days at CalArts, sculptor, performance artist and educator Nayland Blake has explored racial and gender identity and the complexities of representation. Fairy tales, politics and medical equipment are just some of the materials and topics Blake utilizes in No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in Santa Monica. (September 29 to January 26)
4. Meditate En Masse in a Cemetery
The Big Quiet is a mass meditation tour (what now?) that’s basically hundreds of people gathering in public to breathe deeply and relax. Plus, there’s music and something called “vocal toning.” It’s coming to the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on October 6.
5. Hear Lana Del Rey Under the Stars
The singer’s Laurel Canyon–influenced new album Norman F@!#ing Rockwell! is getting raves, and she’s promoting it on October 10 at the Hollywood Bowl.
6. Learn a Fascinating Footnote to LGBTQ History
In 1972, a gay therapist—wearing a mask and voice modulator to avoid identification—testified at the annual psychiatric convention to have homosexuality removed from the list of mental disorders. 217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous tells this story, distilled from the man’s deep archives.
7. Celebrate P-22 in Griffith Park
The fourth annual celebration of L.A.’s most famous cougar gives fans a chance to pose with the cat’s likeness in a photo booth, try out a virtual reality experience of a wildlife crossing, learn from experts how to coexist with our animal neighbors, view an urban wildlife garden and more. (October 19)
8. See ‘Almost Famous’ the Musical
A talented group of theater pros (composer Tom Kitt won a Tony for Next to Normal; director Jeremy Herrin is a veteran of London’s West End) have adapted the rock ’n’ roll film by Cameron Crowe. Crowe himself wrote the book for this musical, based on his adventures writing for ’70s-era Rolling Stone. It’s running through October 27 at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre.
9. Enjoy Malibu on the Rocks
There’s a new guac in town at Cliffdiver Malibu, an airy indoor-outdoor Mexican restaurant that’s keeping it casual with food like octopus tostadas and fish al pastor tacos. Plus, you know, tequila.
10. Drink and Dine at Santa Monica’s Buzziest New Resto
Have a tequila and strawberry brandy cocktail named the Sound Wave at lobby bar Palma, then on to dinner at Onda, the hotly anticipated new restaurant at the Proper Hotel from star chef Jessica Koslow. (Mid-October)
11. See California as It Was 100 Years Ago
The Huntington Library is celebrating its 100th anniversary with Nineteen Nineteen, a major exhibition that examines a single year in history when the Huntington family signed its San Marino estate over as a public institution. Post-WWI rebuilding, women’s suffrage and this crazy new invention called the automobile are all cited in objects and ephemera of the day.
12. Go Apple Picking (Pie Making Optional)
McIntosh, Gala and Spartan: No, those aren’t your preschooler’s hipstery-named pals, they’re varieties of crisp fruit you can harvest at Los Rios Rancho. Put on closed-toe shoes and get on out to Yucaipa early to get the juiciest picks.
13. Hear Funny Fatherhood Confessions
Comic actor Mike Birbiglia (OITNB, Billions) brings his latest one-man show, The New One, to the Ahmanson Theatre and it’s a doozy. He basically details how he’s always thought having kids was a bad idea, and now that he’s got a toddler, he realizes he was right. But, you know, with love. (October 23 to November 24)
14. Cruise Neon on a Double Decker Bus
The Museum of Neon Art in Glendale has a special Haunted by Neon guided tour for some super noir vibes right before Halloween on October 26.
15. Hit Your Sociopolitical Selfie Marks at 29 Rooms
This installation of set pieces from Refinery 29 is not just for the ’Gram—it includes places to interact with fellow attendees, a platform celebrating black millennial women, an ACLU-sponsored activation for civil-rights activism and more in the Beverly Venue by HD Buttercup at 4315 Beverly Boulevard. (November 8 to 17)
16. Survey a Superhero Feminist Artist’s Origin Story
At Jeffrey Deitch through November 2, see Judy Chicago’s early works from her time spent in Los Angeles and Fresno between 1965 and 1972. The paintings, drawings, sculptures and fireworks (!) are the groundwork for her historic ’70s-era work, The Dinner Party.
17. Get Your Oktoberfest On at Big Bear
Every weekend in the fall through November 2, there will be log-sawing and stein-holding competitions, as well as that fun-for-all-ages activity beer pong at the Big Bear Convention Center.
18. See Andy Garcia Smolder in ‘Key Largo’
The Bogie-and-Bacall film noir has been reimagined by star Andy Garcia and playwright Jeffrey Hatcher in a play at the Geffen Playhouse. It’s the story of a mob ringleader trying to strong-arm control of a Florida hotel and the war vet who’s determined to stop him. (November 6 to December 10)
19. Get Intimate With Madonna at the Wiltern
In her “underplay” tour (that’s industry talk for when a huge artist plays smaller venues rather than stadiums), Madame X sings, dances and gets really political from November 12 to 25 at a theater that seats only 1,850 people.
20. Join the Curators at the California African American Museum
On November 15, the brains behind the exhibit Making Mammy: A Caricature of Black Womanhood, 1840-1940 will lead a midday tour, detailing how the mammy figure was created in an effort to hide the atrocities of enslavement and serve Southern interests domestically, economically and politically.
21. Enjoy Gender-Bending Classical Ballet
Choreographer Matthew Bourne first wowed London audiences in 1995 when he premiered Swan Lake, which, in his telling, involves a young prince dealing with his sexuality in a dysfunctional royal family. Oh, and the corps de ballet are all men—male swans, don’t you know. It’s at the Ahmanson Theatre beginning December 3.