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Watch Shakespeare under the stars. Walk among sculptures in the Hollywood Hills. Have some laughs with Mexican wrestlers. And then take a daylong meditation retreat to recover from these and more summer activities right in your backyard.

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the Sugar Shack1
ERNIE BARNES, THE SUGAR SHACK (1976). ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, 36 IN. X 48 IN., COLLECTION OF JIM AND JEANNINE EPSTEIN. © ERNIE BARNES FAMILY TRUST.

1. Discover one of the best postwar African American artists in Ernie Barnes: A Retrospective at the California African American Museum. The painter’s elongated figures became a hit when they were featured on the credits for the hit TV series Good Times. Through September 8

2. Take a baking class at Milk Bar. You’ll want to make the layered funfetti birthday cake with super-Instagrammable unfrosted peekaboo sides. Ongoing

3. Get a ticket for Mama Metal, the world-premiere play by Angeleno Sigrid Gilmer. It’s a gripping comedy about the three pillars of the African American narrator’s identity: her mom, heavy-metal music and American theater. Through June 23

Isaac Julien film1
ISAAC JULIEN STUDIO

4. See James Franco as a crass art dealer in Isaac Julien’s Playtime, an hour-long multiple-screen ultra-high-definition film that explores the flow of money in the art world. Through August 11

5. Take a one-day mindfulness retreat right on La Brea at The Den MeditationJune 9

6. Enjoy the greats of classic cinema (It Happened One NightThe Maltese Falcon, like that) in historic theaters, sponsored by the L.A. ConservancyOngoing

sarah lucas
SARAH LUCAS, SELF-PORTRAIT WITH FRIED EGGS, 1996, C-PRINT, 60 X 48 IN (152.4 X 121.9 CM). © SARAH LUCAS. COURTESY SADIE COLES HQ, LONDON

7. Gender, power and surrealism are the trip at the Hammer Museum in the first U.S. survey of Sarah Lucas, the ’80s Young British Artist who has become one of the U.K.’s most influential artists. June 9 to September 1 

8. Experience two weeks of boundary-pushing performances at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Think comedy, musicals and lots of immersive theater, including a redo of your own high school prom. June 13 to 30

9. See all the glitter at Beauty of Burlesque, a full-length revue starring Miss Tosh and a cast of LGBTQ+ entertainers. June 20

10. Gain insight into the booming world of wellness with an all-female panel of wellness founders hosted by the XX Project and Equinox. There will also be a fitness class, smoothies and massages, natch. June 22

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LA BREA TAR PITS & MUSEUM

11. Walk inside a rainbow tunnel—an interactive art experience that was first erected in London’s Hyde Park—on the grounds of the La Brea Tar Pits. June 28 to November 24

12. The last Saturday of the month at Cecconi’s, the Hand & Rose flower truck is serving up the freshest flower-buying experience west of the Los Angeles Flower Market.

13. Start clowning around with your fitness at the Cirque du Griffith Park, in which you sign up for six, 12 or 24 (!) hours of nonstop running around a golf course. Oh, and you’ll be wearing a clown getup, the better to win the costume prize. June 29

14. Expand your vocabulary of wines beyond beleaguered rosé at Uncorked: L.A. Summer Wine Fest at Union Station. Expect more than 200 wines from around the globe, gourmet food trucks and live music…and yes, probably some rosé. June 29

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FACEBOOK/HOLLYWOOD SCULPTURE GARDEN

15. Stroll the grounds of the Hollywood Sculpture Garden, a doctor’s private art collection and gallery that has a diverse array of works in different media set into terraces cut into the Hollywood Hills. July 21

16. Truth: The Independent Shakespeare Company is the best free summer entertainment in Griffith Park. This year, there’s Twelfth Night (June 29 to September 1) and the lesser-known Pericles (July 27 to August 30), an epic tale of the high seas involving Greek gods, dandies and pirates, each of whom have audience dress-up nights. 

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NEW LINE CINEMA

17. KPCC FilmWeek host Larry Mantle screens Boogie Nights, starring Julianne Moore and Mark Wahlberg, with a post-screening discussion (fingers crossed for director Paul Thomas Andersen) in the ornate DTLA movie palace the Theatre at Ace Hotel. July 27

18. Hike to the Hollywood sign at night, and bring a guide so you’re sure to find your way home. Ongoing

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FACEBOOK/LUCHAVAVOOM

19. See the summer smackdown performance of Lucha VaVoom, the combination masked Mexican wrestling/burlesque show. August 1

20. Stay at the Taco Bell pop-up hotel in Palm Springs. It’s five nights of yet-to-be-announced spicy splendor that will put a new spin on desert heat. August

21. Beat the summer swelter with an old-fashioned game at Los Angeles’s oldest bowling alley, Highland Park Bowl. Opened in 1927, it’s been renovated as a hipster nightspot. Ongoing

Aqualillies1
Gray Malin

22. On Esther Williams’s birthday, the Aqualillies synchronized swimming troupe will be performing in her honor at an as-yet-undisclosed location. August 8

23. Don your yukata (light summer kimono) and head to Little Tokyo to eat, drink and watch the parade in the annual Nisei FestivalAugust 10 to 18

24. Hear the loudest bell, rung especially to celebrate Korean Independence Day, and bask in the gorgeous seaside view from southernmost L.A. at Angels Gate Park in San Pedro. August 15

25. Between the stars overhead, the L.A. Phil pumping out the sound and film clips of the classics, Maestro of the Movies is the Hollywood Bowl night you don’t want to miss. August 30 to September 1

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