This week, Los Angeles proves there are many different ways to tell a story. First, see the true tale of the creation of The Ramones’s most dramatic album, told in the theater by a star-studded cast. Then, learn the stories of local artists straight from the source at a new kind of pop-up gallery. Brush up on the history of tattoos at Tatau: Marks of Polynesia, or take a break from all that storytelling to enjoy Napa Valley Grille’s special, summer-only menu.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
July 28 | Theater
Four Chords and a Gun
This dramedy tells the sometimes unbelievable, always entertaining true story of how The Ramones produced their fifth album, End of the Century. The unconventional process led to broken hearts and raised guns, but the result was a stellar record that has gone on to stand the test of time. Four Chords and a Gun delivers a solid cast and a fascinating script about how the band linked up with eccentric producer Phil Specter in the late 1970s with the goal of achieving mainstream success. Actors involved include Josh Brener of Silicon Valley, Johnathan McClain of Mad Men, and James Pumphrey of Arrested Development.
6:30 p.m. | Bootleg Theatre, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles | From $25 | website
July 30–31 | Art
Mercado Los Olvidados
This event, billed as a “magical market of underground artists,” is a game changer in the Los Angeles art world because it completely switches up the artist and gallery model. Curator Camille Rose Garcia hopes to bring artists and their communities directly together in an unassuming and unpretentious way with her new market model. Mercado Los Olvidados is a chance to purchase artwork directly from the artists, as well as talk with them about the pieces. If you don’t know where to start, we’re especially intrigued by contemporary pop-surrealist Mab Graves and illustrator Kristen Liu-Wong.
Times vary | Pskaufman, 8th St. and Werdin Place, Los Angeles | $9.50 | website
July 30–31 | Escape the city
Montecito is a great, easy escape from L.A.—by car, only 90 minutes away—because it’s equal parts wine country and backcountry. The Santa Barbara town has plenty of hiking, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and more to keep you busy on the adventure front. When you want to relax, head to one of the area’s many tasting rooms. Try the Deep Sea Tasting Room, located by the pier on Stearns Wharf, where you can sip on chardonnay without ever leaving that calming sea breeze. Rest your head at San Ysidro Ranch, which includes over 500 acres of sprawling land between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. There are private bungalows, spa services in the privacy of your own cottage, and 17 miles of hiking.
July 30–January 8 | Photography
Tatau: Marks of Polynesia
The Japanese American National Museum opens a new exhibit this week that focuses on the centuries-old Samoan tradition of tatau. Artists who create this intricate tattoo work are revered in Samoan culture because obtaining a tatau is a right of passage for young people. Tatau: Marks of Polynesia is curated by San Jose–based, Japanese American tattoo artist and author Takahiro “Ryudaibori” Kitamura and features photographs of Polynesian tattoo art in all its myriad forms. Come on opening day, when the exhibit kicks off with a traditional Samoan ‘ava ceremony, followed by live tattoo drawing demonstrations and other performances.
12 p.m. | Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles | From $9 | website
Through July 31 | Special menu
Napa Valley Grille
Napa Valley Grille is ringing in August with a sweet mid-summer menu celebrating delectable seasonal fare. From now until the end of the season, check out the special three-course menu and prepare your palate for dishes such as a grilled octopus salad with red beets and squid ink pesto or sustainably fished petrale sole. Take advantage of warm Southern California evenings and eat outside on the patio.
1100 Glendon Ave., Westwood | $55 per person | website
Eva Glettner is a writer and a native Angeleno. She loves art, travel, coffee, and skateboarding.