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Los Angeles has made a name for itself recently with its kooky art happenings. There were the tons of dry ice evaporating at a Santa Monica airplane hangar, the live human-head centerpieces at a MOCA benefit and the free doughnuts on Wilshire Boulevard. Now the Getty Villa, that normally staid classical pile on a hill in the Palisades, is getting into the act with free fashion shows featuring ancient Romans.

This weekend and next, the Legio VI Victrix troupe (the self-described “greater Los Angeles area’s premier Roman reenactment society”) will don robes, tunics and whatnot. They’ll both tread the boards in a proper runway show and mingle afterward with guests. After presentations at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., you can ask questions of not only the models but also their ornatrix (hairdresser) backstage. And you can don your own ancient costume for pictures! 

We think this sounds a little carnivalesque, but since it’s happening at the venerable Getty Villa, we know the event will be rich with historical information. And what could make a better cultural event for out-of-town guests? Wearing a crown of laurel leaves in front of the crashing Pacific is the best history lesson we’ve ever heard of.

The Getty Villa, 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy., Pacific Palisades; 310-440-7300 or

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