Fall Arts Guide 2015 critic’s picks

Los Angeles Times crit­ics and writers guide you through the sea­son in art, books, dance, theat­er, clas­sic­al and pop mu­sic.

Highlights include theatrical works from Toni Morrison, John Patrick Shanley and more;; Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil play all of Beethoven’s symphonies, and a “car opera” takes to city streets in classical music; The Angel City Jazz Festival and The Weeknd jam in the jazz and pop music scenes; the L.A. Ballet will include "Giselle" and the visiting Mariinsky Ballet company from St. Petersburg brings us "Cinderella"; and works from U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera in the books preview.

For more in-depth cov­er­age, ex­plore our com­plete fall arts guide.

Fall Arts Guide 2015 critic's picks


A Chariot of Triumph Drawn by Four Piebald Horses” (also known as “The Golden Chariot”) will be part of “Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV” at the Getty Center. (Lawrence Perquis/© Le Mobilier / J. Paul Getty Trust)

Oct. 4 | “New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic”

German painting, photography and prints from the period between the world wars, with work by modernists such as Otto Dix, George Grosz and August Sander as well as less well-known artists. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.$10-$15. (323) 857-6010. www.lacma.org

Oct. 6 | “Ishiuchi Miyako: Postwar Shadows” and “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”

Works by Japanese photographers that range from the years it was occupied by the U.S. to the early 2000s. Miyako’s focus on the effects of occupation and her influence is seen in the work by the younger photographers. The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, L.A. Free; parking $15 (310) 440-7300. www.getty.edu

Oct. 18 | “David Ligare: Contemporary Classicist”

A major survey organized by the Crocker Museum of Sacramento of the California artist whose use of Greco-Roman ideals puts a different spin on his realistic paintings of landscapes, still lifes and figures. Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach. $5-$7. (949) 494-8971. www.lagunaartmuseum.org

Nov. 22 | “Diana Thater”

The most comprehensive look at the L.A. artist’s work in film, video and installations. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.$10-$15. (323) 857-6010. www.lacma.org

Dec. 15 | “Woven Gold: The Tapestries of Louis XIV

France has loaned these tapestries from the reign of the Sun King for an exhibition that will be shown only at the Getty. The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, L.A. Free; parking $15 (310) 440-7300. www.getty.edu


Courtney Love and Todd Almond in the HERE Arts Center production of “Kansas City Choir Boy.” ( James Matthew Daniel / Kirk Douglas Theatre)

Oct. 4-Nov. 1 | “Appropriate”

West Coast premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Arkansas-set drama about estranged siblings reunited by the passing of the family patriarch. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A.$25-$85. (213) 628-2772. www.centertheatregroup.org

Oct. 8-11 | “Desdemona”

CAP UCLA presents the L.A. premiere of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison and Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré’s play with music about the ill-fated beauty from Shakespeare’s “Othello,” directed by Peter Sellars and starring Broadway’s Tina Benko. UCLA Freud Playhouse, 405 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. $69-$89. (310) 825-2101. www.cap.ucla.edu

Oct. 14-Nov. 15 | “Guards at the Taj”

West Coast premiere of “Bengal Tiger at the Zoo” playwright Rajiv Joseph’s darkly comic fable, set in 17th century India, about two men tasked with guarding the newly constructed Taj Mahal. Geffen Playhouse, Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. $60-$82. (310) 208-5454. www.geffenplayhouse.com

Oct. 18-Nov. 8 | “Kansas City Choir Boy”

Composer-performer Todd Almond and singer-actress Courtney Love star in the West Coast premiere of Almond’s mythologically informed musical drama about love and loss. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. $25-$70. (213) 628-2772. www.centertheatregroup.org

Nov. 18-Dec. 20 | “Outside Mullingar”

Love blooms between lifelong neighbors in the Irish countryside in Tony-winner John Patrick Shanley’s romantic comedy. Geffen Playhouse, Gil Cates Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. $32-$76. (310) 208-5454. www.geffenplayhouse.com

Dec. 4-20 | “Guys and Dolls”

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival stages this classic musical based on Damon Runyon’s tales of gamblers, gangsters, showgirls and others in 1940s New York City. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. $29-$110. (310) 746-4000. www.thewallis.org

Classical Music

Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles on Feb. 26, 2014. ( Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Sept. 16-26 | “Das Rheingold”

As part of the Ruhrtriennale, theater director Johan Simons and conductor Teodor Currentzis join forces for a new, electronic-music-enhanced staging of the first entry in Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, presented in a converted factory. Jahrhunderthalle Bochum, Gahlensche Strasse 15, Bochum, Germany. 20-95 Euro. +49 (0) 221 280 210. www.ruhrtriennale.de

Oct. 1-11 | “Immortal Beethoven”

Gustavo Dudamel leads the L.A. Phil, alternating with his Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, through two cycles of all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies. Both orchestras plus the Los Angeles Master Chorale and a cohort of singers share the stage for the Ninth. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A.$60-$213.50. (323) 850-2000. www.laphil.com

Oct. 2-10 | “‘uCarmen”

South Africa’s Isango Ensemble, seen here last year in a re-imagining of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” returns with a supernatural spin on Bizet’s “Carmen.” The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. $50-$100. (310) 434-3200. www.thebroadstage.com

Oct. 8-11 | “Songs From the Uproar”

LA Opera presents the West Coast premiere of Brooklyn-based composer Missy Mazzoli’s new multimedia work inspired by Swiss adventurer Isabelle Eberhardt’s journals about her time in Africa. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., L.A.$69. (213) 972-8001. www.laopera.org

Oct. 31-Nov. 15 | “Hopscotch”

The Industry, the company that brought its “Invisible Cities” to Union Station in 2013, offers a “car opera,” created by six L.A.-based composers, that takes place in automobiles driving around the city. Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), 960 E. 3rd St., L.A.$25-$155; packages, $500; free, no ticket required, at central hub at SCI-Arc. (213) 626-0750. www.hopscotchopera.com

Nov. 7 | “Kaija Saariaho: A Portrait Concert”

CAP UCLA’s survey of the Finnish composer’s chamber music is augmented by visuals created by her husband, composer and multimedia artist Jean-Baptiste Barrière. Schoenberg Hall, UCLA, 445 Charles E. Young Drive East, Westwood. $29-$39. (310) 825-2101. www.cap.ucla.edu

Nov. 12 | Mahan Esfahani

The Iranian-born harpsichord virtuoso and members of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra play pieces by Bach, Telemann and Erlbach to kick off LACO’s annual Baroque Conversations series. Zipper Concert Hall, the Colburn School, 200 S. Grand Ave., L.A.$57 and up. (213) 622-7001. www.laco.org

Nov. 21-22 | Tod Machover’s Symphony in D

Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony present Machover’s collaborative, multimedia work that seeks to capture the spirit of Detroit by incorporating sonic ideas submitted by the city’s residents. Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit. $15-$100. Webcast live on Nov. 21. (313) 576-5111. www.dso.org

Dec. 7.-Jan. 17 | Jimmy Lopez’s “Bel Canto”

Soprano Danielle de Niese joins Chicago Lyric Opera for the world premiere of Lopez’s adaptation of Ann Patchett’s bestseller about international VIPs held hostage by terrorists at a private residence in Peru; in Spanish, English, Japanese, Russian, German, French, Latin and Quechua, with English supertitles titles. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. $20-$299. (312) 827-5600. www.lyricopera.org

Pop Music

The Weeknd at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., on April 11, 2015. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Sept. 25-Oct. 11 | Angel City Jazz Festival

This year’s installment of the Angel City Jazz Festival may be missing a conventional multi-act “festival” component, but it compensates by casting a wide net. Hosting nights of stirring improvisation and creation at venues in Santa Monica, Northridge and downtown L.A., the festival co-presented by the Jazz Bakery offers a globe-trotting snapshot of modern jazz. Among the highlights include the premiere of Bay Area composer Lisa Mezzacappa’s multimedia song cycle “Glorious Ravage” on Sept. 26, the stormy vocal acrobatics of Jen Shyu with trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and violist Mat Maneri on Oct. 3 and percussionist Alex Cline leading his Flower Garland Orchestra through a piece dedicated to author and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on Oct. 11. (Chris Barton)

Various venues. $15-$25. Tickets and full lineup information available at www.angelcityjazz.com.

Sept. 29 | Disclosure

This British duo scored a left-field Top 40 hit last year with “Latch,” a slinky, romantic club-soul jam with vocals by Sam Smith. Now Guy and Howard Lawrence are returning with a splashy sophomore disc. “Caracal” emphasizes their smart melodic flair and sturdy instrumental chops with songs such as “Holding On,” featuring the great jazz singer Gregory Porter. Other guests on the album, due out Sept. 25, include Smith, Miguel, Lorde and the Weeknd — at least some of whom are bound to put in appearances when Disclosure launches its fall tour in L.A.(Mikael Wood)

Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, 3939 S. Figueroa St., L.A.$81.35. www.ticketmaster.com

Oct. 14 | Neil Young

Young is back on the warpath, politically speaking, with his latest album, “Monsanto Years,” for which he has crafted an album’s worth of material looking at the fallout from corporations such as Monsanto that bend the political system to their wishes. Young is backed on the album, and his new tour, which reaches Southern California for a performance on Oct. 14 at the Forum in Inglewood, by the Promise of the Real, a hard-driving young indie rock band featuring two of Willie Nelson’s sons, Micah and Lukas Nelson. (Randy Lewis)

The Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood. $60-$285. www.ticketmaster.com

Oct. 31-Nov. 1 | Hard Day of the Dead

Dance-music watchers have been predicting the downfall of EDM for years, but summer 2015 was harsher than anyone expected. From the cancellation of SFX’s OneTribe festival because of low ticket sales to the two drug deaths at Hard Summer that spurred a reevaluation of mega-festival culture in L.A.— dance music is stumbling. Can it recover in time for Hard Day of the Dead? Headliners Skrillex and Deadmau5 are always reliable draws, but with the fest downscaling to 40,000 per night and facing overwhelming scrutiny from Los Angeles County officials, this might be EDM’s last chance in L.A. to prove that its growth is sustainable. (August Brown)

Fairplex at Pomona, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona. $85-$290. www.ticketmaster.com

Nov. 20-21 | Deafheaven

With an average duration of more than nine minutes, the five works on the searing new metal album by Deafheaven require a shut-in level of commitment and neighbor-inciting volume, but the payoff is epic. On its third studio album, “New Burmuda” (due Oct. 2), the quintet delivers sheets of distorted electric guitars that will shock even Metallica-loving moms, bring twinkles of recognition to prog-rock-loving grandpas and moments of confused recognition to fans of British shoegaze music. During “Come Back,” lead yowler George Clarke roars “endless debris sifting through static lungs, lingering into every pore.” Then, as often happens in their songs, the distortion and frantic drums collapse into a sublime moment of melodic beauty. Who says rock can’t shock anymore? (Randall Roberts)

The Roxy, 9009 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. $20. www.theroxy.com

Dec. 8-9 | The Weeknd

He is having the best year of his career, capping it all with the Madness Fall Tour. The enigmatic Internet sensation has become a leader of rising voices in alternative R&B, and now a pop chart ruler. “Earned It,” his slinky, titillating BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism) anthem heated up radio all year and helped make the “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack a hit. He became pop king of summer thanks to “Earned It” and the surprising disco-tinged Max Martin collaboration, “Can’t Feel My Face.” His sophomore effort, “Beauty Behind the Madness,” balances the hazy, drug-and-sex-fueled twisted R&B with the expertly crafted pop tunes. This 20-date arena tour is sure to be one of the year’s sexiest, craziest productions. (Gerrick D. Kennedy)

The Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood. $44.50-$130.50. www.ticketmaster.com


U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. (Carlos Puma / UC Riverside)

Sept. 22 | “Notes on the Assemblage” by Juan Felipe Herrera

This has the feeling of a homecoming, from its dedication to the late Michele Serros to its encomia for Wanda Coleman, Jack Gilbert and Jayne Cortez. And why not? Herrera, the former California poet laureate who was named U.S. poet laureate in June, has long written out of a sense of community. This new collection is generous, unexpected, playful and pointed, reminding us of our shared humanity. “we are all still burnin’,” he declares in “Almost Livin’ Almost Dyin’.” “can you feel me swaggin’ tall and driving low” City Lights: 104 pp., $14.95 paper

Oct. 5 | “Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA” by Roberta Kaplan with Lisa Dickey

Without Kaplan, it’s altogether possible that marriage equality would not be in effect across the United States. The attorney litigated the case of United States v. Windsor, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act when the Supreme Court ruled on it in 2013. In “Then Comes Marriage,” she tells the story of the case as well as her own process of coming out. “The personal is political,” she writes, “as the saying goes. And that became abundantly clear in my own life over the next two years as I prepared, filed, and argued the case for marriage equality.” W.W. Norton: 320 pp., $27.95

Oct. 6 | “Killing and Dying” by Adrian Tomine

Tomine may be my favorite comics artist — deft and subtle, with a bittersweet understanding of the tension between aspiration and loss. In this new book, featuring six stories from his magazine Optic Nerve, he traces small lives, in which love blurs into self-delusion, and we do what we have to do to get by. “Go Owls” records the evolution of an abusive relationship; “A Brief History of the Art Form Known as ‘Hortisculpture’” explores the fallout of a dream less deferred than unfulfilled. Moving, sharply rendered, these are comics where the real action takes place between the lines. Drawn and Quarterly: 128 pp., $22.95

Oct. 13 | “City on Fire” by Garth Risk Hallberg

Hallberg’s debut novel comes with a lot of buzz. Involving several overlapping story lines — its climax is the 1977 New York City blackout — it offers more proof that the sprawling social novel remains a vibrant and compelling form. A contributing editor to the Millions whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Hallberg explores the complexities, the connections, of the city as a way of life. Alfred A. Knopf: 944 pp., $30

Oct. 21 | Elvis Costello in conversation with Chris Connelly

With “Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Music,” Elvis Costello becomes the latest rock ‘n’ roller to produce a memoir. At this event presented by Book Soup, he puts his fingerprints on our imagination, talking about the book, creative process and his magnificent career. Wilshire Ebell Theatre; $38;

Oct. 26 | Ta-Nehisi Coates in conversation with Robin D.G. Kelley

The “banality of violence,” Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in “Between the World and Me,” “can never excuse America, because America makes no claim to the banal.” It’s a stunning twist on the notion of American exceptionalism — framing it through a moral as opposed to a political lens For Coates, the question is how we live up to our “exceptional moral standard” and extend its privileges across racial bounds. He discusses the book and his thoughts on race and American culture. ALOUD/Los Angeles Public Library; free; 213-228-7000;

Nov. 3 | Carrie Brownstein in conversation with Amy Poehler Founder of Sleater-Kinney, co-creator of “Portlandia,” Brownstein in an American indy culture avatar — funny, smart and always on point, This fall, she publishes her first book, the memoir “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl,” which she discusses with Poehler in her one Southern California event presented by Vroman’s. Pasadena Presbyterian Church; $38;


Sept. 19-20 | “L’Espace du Temps”

Diavolo, the “architecture in motion” troupe, dances “L’Espace du Temps” to live music by Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Adams and Philip Glass. 8 p.m. Valley Performing Arts Center, Cal State Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St. $60-$99. (818) 677-3000. valleyperformingartscenter.org

Sept. 24-27, Oct. 8-11 | “Raymonda” and “Cinderella”

Mariinsky Ballet, the St. Petersburg company formerly known as the Kirov, performs the West Coast premiere of the traditional Russian piece “Raymonda” in Costa Mesa, then travels to the Music Center in L.A. for performances of choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s reimagined “Cinderella.” “Raymonda” is Sept. 24-27, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. $29 and up. (714) 556-2787. scfta.org. “Cinderella” is Oct. 8-11 at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. $28 and up. (213) 972-0711. musiccenter.org/cinderella

Sept. 26-Oct. 18 | “Sophie & Charlie”

Heidi Duckler Dance Theater’s newest work plays out as a telenovela in dance form, with four installments in different L.A. neighborhoods. The Sept. 26 venue is Unitarian Universalist Church, 12355 Moorpark St., Studio City; Oct. 1 is Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice; Oct. 11 is 3831 Stocker St., Crenshaw; Oct. 18 is Kings Road Park, 1000 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood. $20-$50; multi-show packages available. (818) 784-8669. www.heididuckler.org

Oct. 3-Nov. 1 | “Giselle”

Los Angeles Ballet’s season will include “The Nutcracker,” “Don Quixote” and “Romeo and Juliet,” all preceded by “Giselle” performed Oct. 3 at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd.; Oct. 24 at Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Nov. 1 at Royce Hall, UCLA. $31-$99. (310) 998-7782. www.losangelesballet.org

Oct. 10-11 | “Le Corsaire Suite” and Mixed Repertoire

Festival Ballet Theatre will have San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Vitor Luiz leading “Le Corsaire” at Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. $35-$40. (714) 309-1280. www.festivalballet.org

Nov. 6-8 | “The Art of Falling”

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the Second City sketch comedy troupe will have dancers acting and comedians dancing in “The Art of Falling,” which won raves when it premiered last year in Chicago. The production hits the road for the first time, stopping for three shows at the Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. $31 and up. (213) 972-0711. musiccenter.org/hubbard

Nov. 7 | “Three Acts, Two Dancers and One Radio Host”

Ira Glass of “This American Life” mixes storytelling with movement in this collaboration with dancers Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass. They perform two shows at Theatre at the Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, Los Angeles. $30-$68.50. www.acehotel.com/losangeles/theatre/info

or kcrw.com/iraglass