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Pencil This In: TCM Classic Film Festival Opens, Puppet Play in Chinatown and Gary Baseman's House Party

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Image: Gary Baseman, The Celebration of Toby, 2005 (detail), private collection, Los Angeles. (Courtesy of the Skirball)
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We sort through a lot of events and happenings around LA so you don’t have to. Here’s a list of great things to do in LA tonight: The 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival kicks off in Hollywood; Gary Baseman throws a huge house party; a puppet play opens in Chinatown; an interesting art installation / performance about a fly; and Nataly Dawn plays a set in Hollywood. Read on for all the details.

ART PARTY*
The Skirball is going to rock tonight as it opens its latest exhibition Gary Baseman: The Door is Always Open with a party—Gary Baseman’s House Party. For those 18+, the Skirball will presents tours, games, piñatas, art-making activities and a DJ set by artist Shepard Fairey. Baseman himself will perform as well—brushing and live painting to music from Nightmare and the Cat. A cash bar offers specialty cocktails. Tickets: $20.

PUPPET PLAY
Automata Arts in Chinatown presents experimental theater artist Susan Simpson’s latest work, Exhibit A, tonight at 8 pm. It’s a puppet play that “blends historical fact with speculative fiction to explore the convergence of radical visionaries that populated the hills of Silver Lake in the 1950s.” The work is based on the lives in the landmark figures of the time including gay rights pioneer and Communist Party member Harry Hay and architect John Lautner. The production combines puppetry, video and music to create the atmospheric landscape. Tickets: $18 General Admission; $15 members, students and seniors. Through May 5.

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FILM FESTIVAL
The 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival returns to Hollywood today through Sunday featuring a great lineup of films, introduced by people who made them. The programming is centered around the theme of Cinematic Journeys: Travel in the Movies with more recognizable films like Dial M for Murder, The African Queen and Airplane! included. But it’s the “Discoveries” that make the festival really interesting—from Ernst Lubitsch’s Cluny Brown (1946) to Erle C. Kenton’s The Island of Lost Souls (1932). Individual tickets are $20 for general audiences, $10 with valid student I.D. for most events.

MUSIC
Two shows piqued our interest tonight: Nataly Dawn (of Pomplamoose) plays an early set tonight at 8 pm at The Hotel Cafe. She released her first solo album, How I Knew Her, in February. Tickets: $15+ service charge. This show is 21+. Also tonight at Origami Vinyl, the Australian psych-shoegazers The Laurels play a free in-store performance at 7 pm. We've since learned this show has been canceled. Apologies for any confusion.

ART INSTALLATION/PERFORMANCE
LAXART presents Fly, a work that combines choreography and digital animation, tonight at 7 pm. Created by Flora Wiegmann and Miljohn Ruperto, the work uses six performers to re-enact the essay Flypaper by Robert Musil (1880-1942). It “painstakingly describes the struggle and incipient death of an unlucky housefly stuck upon a ribbon of flypaper.” The dancers will play the fly’s appendages. The performance runs nightly through Saturday night.

K-TOWN ART WALK
Thanks to Anthony Bourdain, K-Town is in the spotlight. So the organizers of the Koreatown Art and Architecture Walk couldn’t have timed their event better. Start off at The Wiltern to pick up maps and schedules of venues and events happening tonight. The self-guided tour, from 6-10 pm, showcases historic architecture, galleries, restaurants, bars, shops and other business in Wilshire Center.

*Pencil pick of the day

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