Start the new year, new you eating habits next week—this week, enjoy a slice of New York-style pizza from Santa Monica’s newest pie shop. Then shake off last year with a good laugh courtesy of comedian Ritch Shydner. Make sure to show up for a performance by renowned saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, and see the young artist Tallulah Willis’s first gallery exhibition. Escape for a day to Salton Sea, where the wildlife viewing is amazing year-round.

AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.

December 28 | Now open: Restaurant
NY Crust Pizzeria
There is something special about New York City pizza. Some aficionados claim it’s the dough, while others say it’s all about the sauce. Decide for yourself at L.A.’s newest pizza joint, NY Crust, which aims to bring the East Coast’s slice to the West Coast. Try the barbecue chicken or triple pepperoni pizzas to start, and check out the wings if you’re looking to get outside the (pizza) box.
5421 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles | website

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January 6 | Book talk
“Kicking Through the Ashes: My Life as a Stand-Up in the 1980s Comedy Boom”
Ritch Shydner may not be as well known as his famous friends, but he’s just as funny. In his new memoir, he describes life as a stand-up comic during the 1980s and shares stories about time spent with everyone from Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld to David Letterman, Robin Williams, and Richard Pryor. He delves into the funny times as well as the seedy underbelly of the comedy circuit in that era. Catch him at this book talk where he’ll dive deeper into his past and sign copies of his work.
7:30 PM | Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood | Free | website

January 6 - 8 | Music
Pharoah Sanders and the Harold Mabern Trio
To hear Pharoah Sanders play the tenor saxophone live is like being serenaded by angels. He’s a jazz icon who has performed and collaborated with many other legends, including John Coltrane. Sanders’s masterful fusion of African rhythm and soul are an absolute pleasure to the ears. Don’t miss his upcoming show paired with the Harold Mabern Trio’s blend of pop.
Catalina Bar and Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles | From $35 | website

Catalina Bar & Grill

January 6 - February 12 | Art
“Please Be Gentle”
Tallulah Willis is more than just Hollywood royalty (her parents being Demi Moore and Bruce Willis)—she’s a bona fide artist with a story to tell. Please Be Gentle is Willis’s first solo show, where she will display drawings of creatures from her imagination that live outside of gender norms. Her work is haunting, mesmerizing, and unique as it touches on emotions from loneliness to pain and self-doubt.
Eric Buterbaugh Gallery, 8271 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles | Free | website

January 7 - 8 | Escape the city
Salton Sea
Salton Sea is an ideal spot for nature lovers, less than three hours from L.A. The saline lake is bordered by the Imperial Valley on one side and Anza-Borrega State Park on the other, and the area is teeming with wildlife (especially birds). Fun fact: It’s also one of the lowest places in the entire United States, at 228 feet below sea level. After exploring the lake, head to nearby Salvation Mountain, a colorful love letter to God (and great Instagram spot) made by artist Leonard Knight.

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

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