Here are the five coolest things to do in and around L.A. this week. We publish a new list every Wednesday, covering Thursday through Wednesday. Stay tuned for insider updates on restaurant openings, festivals, exhibitions, shows, weekend escapes, and more. Planning a trip? Check out the AFAR guide to LA.

September 10 | Music
Tune-Yards with Avid Dancer
Merrill Garbus performs as tUnE-yArDs, and her sound is simply unforgettable. A mashup of Afrobeat rhythms and soul music with some hip-hop thrown in for good measure, it’ll make you want to breakdance. It works because it’s different, and because Garbus’s energy matches her talent. This is one show that will be mesmerizing enough to compete with all of the distractions at the Santa Monica Pier.
7 p.m. | Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica | Free | website

September 12 | Foodie fundraiser
L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade
Chef David Lentz (The Hungry Cat), along with Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne, the team behind Lucques, AOC, and Tavern, invite culinary stars from across the country to lend their support to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the fight against childhood cancer. Each chef and mixologist prepares a signature dish for guests to sample. We’ve got our eyes on Ludo Lefebvre of Trois Mec fame, Ray Garcia of Broken Spanish, Steve Samson of Sotto, and Neal Fraser of Redbird—and that’s just our first lap around the venue. Last year’s event raised more than $700,000.
12–4 p.m. | Royce Quad, University of California, Los Angeles | $195 | website

September 13 | Performance
The Oreo Experience
Aydrea Walden, a former newspaper reporter turned Hollywood writer, chronicles her life as “a total whitey in a black chick’s body,” on The Oreo Experience blog. The blog has now come to life as a one-woman show complete with musical accompaniment. Catch Walden’s humorous musings on race, popular culture, and her love of Renaissance fairs, Kristen Chenoweth, and dressage competitions, among other topics.
7 p.m. | Hudson Guild Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles | (323) 856-4249 | $10 | website

Through September 19 | Art
David Hockney: Painting and Photography
At age 78, British artist David Hockney continues to explore the artistic potential of new technology. His latest works, produced over the past two years in his Los Angeles studio, include painted group portraits as well as arresting, almost three-dimensional images created by combining hundreds of digital photographs taken at close range into one highly detailed work.
Tue–Sat 10 a.m.–6 p.m. | LA Louver, 45 N. Venice Blvd., Venice | (310) 822-4955 | Free | website

Weekend Escape | Botanical gardens & culture
The Huntington
Encompassing some 200 acres in California’s San Gabriel Valley, the Huntington makes for a wonderful natural and cultural escape. Established in 1919 by railroad magnate Henry E. Huntington, the grounds comprise more than a dozen botanical gardens with specialties that include desert, Japanese, and Chinese plants, as well as three art galleries and a rare-book library. The Langham Huntington hotel is minutes away and feels like a part of the property, with the added benefits of a spa and Olympic-size swimming pool.
10.30 a.m.–4.30 p.m. at weekends | The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino | (626) 405-2100 | From $25 on weekends | website

Eva Glettner is a writer and a native Angeleno. She loves art, travel, coffee, and skateboarding.