Blues fans mustn't miss Shemekia Copeland's performance at The Mint in Los Angeles this week, while offbeat comedy lovers should check out UCB Theatre's crazy one-act play about George Washington and his battle to save rock 'n' roll from the Nazis. If that sounds too much, hole up in Break Room 86 and toast the arrival of El Nino. And when you need to stretch your legs, head on over to Pasadena to learn from Paul Haddad how to hit 10,000 steps a day in LA.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.
January 7 | Theater
George Washington: The Original American Badass
If the name alone doesn’t intrigue you, then perhaps UCB Theatre's description will. They present this one-act play as "the 100% true story of how George Washington beat the Nazis and saved Rock 'n' Roll forever." Which is precisely the sort of ludicrous but appealing story you'd expect from the home of the Upright Citizens Brigade, the alt comedy troupe that launched numerous illustrious acting careers. So come by to witness the evolution of "George from a cherry-chopping youth to a cherry-popping first president."
9:30 p.m. | UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles | (323) 908-8702 | $5 | website
January 8 | Music
Shemekia Copeland grew up in Harlem, daughter of legendary blues musician Johnny Clyde Copeland. Her father encouraged her singing talent from an early age, even bringing her on stage at the age of eight, and at 16 she joined him on tour. Shemekia Copeland's art blends blues, gospel, soul, and country. She has a powerful yet seductive voice, and sings with such conviction and energy, and The Mint is a small enough venue that you can really experience this. Keisha Renee and then Mad Revival are opening.
8 p.m. | The Mint, 6010 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles | (323) 954-9400 | From $15 | website
January 9 | Book signing
Paul Haddad — 10,000 Steps a Day in L.A.
As Missing Persons sang back in 1982, nobody walks in LA. But thankfully there are people like Paul Haddad trying to change the status quo and get us off the freeways and onto our feet. Haddad is a self-described urban adventurer and his new book, 10,000 Steps a Day in L.A., promises to help you discover new sides to Los Angeles while also hitting a goal of 10,000 steps each day. And with its beaches, mountains, rivers, and parks, Greater LA is actually the perfect place to do this. So walk to the event, maybe? Note that Vroman’s will reserve the signing for those who purchase the book on the premises.
2 p.m. | Vroman’s, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena | (626) 449-5230 | Free with book purchase | website
January 9–10 | Escape the city
Some five hours north of LA, Santa Cruz is a funky beach town with thriving surf and skate cultures and a justifiably famous boardwalk. Established in 1907, the boardwalk is the oldest amusement park in California. It's home to the fifth-oldest roller coaster in the United States, and a hand-carved 1911 Looff carousel that is a National Historic Landmark. You'll recognize much of the boardwalk from eighties classic The Lost Boys. Note that during winter, rides at the boardwalk are only open on weekends. Stay at Santa Cruz Dream Inn, just steps from the boardwalk and with access to great surf—particularly for beginners. The hotel was built on the site of Jack O’ Neill’s first surf shop.
New menu | Cocktails
Break Room 86 Welcomes the New Year
Break Room 86 is starting off 2016 with a new cocktail menu. This is the perfect way to welcome that rainy El Nino weather we've been promised. Celebrate the season while staying dry by booking a karaoke room and sampling such '80s throwback cocktails as the Ecto Cooler, Purple Rain, and Cruel Summer.
Break Room 86, The Line Hotel, 630 S. Ardmore Ave., Los Angeles | (213) 368-3056 | website
Eva Glettner is a writer and a native Angeleno. She loves art, travel, coffee, and skateboarding.