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Four uber cool things to do this weekend

Central Avenue Jazz
Central Avenue Jazz
Courtesy of Central Avenue Jazz

New Original Works (NOW) Festival, Thursday July 24 - Saturday July 26 -

REDCAT, CalArts’ downtown center for contemporary arts will kick off its 11th annual New Original Works (NOW) Festival. This will be a three-week celebration of Los Angeles’ vibrant community of artists making work for the stage.

This weekend’s offerings will feature Wilfried Souly: Saana/The Foreigner, Rosanna Gamson/ World Wide:Still, and Overland Industries:ICELAND

Drawing from his native Burkina Faso and contemporary dance theater forms, spellbinding choreographer and dancer Wilfried Souly’s solo performance features live music by Julio Montero and Tom Moose. The three collaborators are all immigrants to the US who bring their personal experiences to this new work focused on Souly’s journey to create a new life expressing his personal tale with a multi-layered blend of dance, music, and spoken word.

In Rosanna Gamson’s World Wide:Still, Virtuosic dancers share intimate or volatile moments, floating in a shifting landscape of veils, shadows and changing light. Performed by six dancers Still is Gamson’s kinetic investigation of the neuroscience of dreams.

ICELAND, a new multidisciplinary work, presented by Overtone Industries’ will close out the evening with soaring vocal harmonies and riveting stagecraft. Written, composed and directed by O-Lan Jones in collaboration with critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Emmett Tinley, Iceland is a modern love story, set in a mythical and timeless world, where elemental forces and ancient creatures influence and guide the hero and heroine on an archetypal journey. The piece explores their passage through the “dark night of the soul” as the couple travel through a hidden world in order to find themselves and each other.

The tale is told through a visually fluid world, vertically and horizontally, using a chorus of multidisciplinary performers to create landscapes, weather, pathways and flashbacks. Students from Art Division will be helping to create gigantic maps each night that are destroyed each night when our heroine goes off the grid, falling through them into unknown territories. The production features a twelve-member Hidden Folk choir, two soloists and a chamber orchestra.

For the New Original Works Festival 2014, Overtone will present the first half hour of this two-act piece.

For tickets, additional information and scheduling for weeks 2 and 3 visit; http://www.redcat.org/event/new-original-works-festival-2014

Central Avenue Jazz Festival, July 26 – 27,

Love great music, great food and great times? Don’t miss the 19th annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival. This free community festival which celebrates the rich cultural history of Los Angeles kicks off on Saturday at 11:30 am on Central Avenue, between 42nd and 43rd streets in front of the newly renovated historic Dunbar Hotel.

Central Avenue was once one of America’s most legendary and vital jazz mainsprings this was the area where jazz music in Los Angeles was happening in the 1930s and 40’s. The Dunbar hotel played host to the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Billie Holiday. At that time, even though these greats were allowed to play in Hollywood and other areas, they still could not stay in “white” neighborhoods, so they came to the Dunbar. Club Alabam at the Dunbar was where these jazz legends would gather and play after hours. All around the hotel other clubs featuring jazz and blues became the launching point for the careers of many well-known musicians.

This year’s line-up once again features some of the best players in the area. Michael Session with Maia, and Patrice Russhen & Ndugo Chanceler, Dr. Bobby Rodrigues and the Jazz Leaders, Kamasi Washington & Next Step, Gerald Wilson, LA’s most loved Ernie Andrews, Mongorama, need I say more? There will also be some out of sight young people, The Bravo High Latin Jazz Band, the Hamilton Jazz Combo, these are the jazz musicians of the future.

Hungry? You won’t find fast food outlets or gourmet food trucks here. This is a thoroughly non-commercial event. Chow down on Mickey Momma’s BBQ, Mama’s Kitchen Soul food, Paricia’s Tacos, Hambone’s BBQ, Jambalaya Man’s Jambalaya and Turkey Legs.

For a complete schedule and additional info visit: http://www.centralavejazz.org/

Roaring Nights at the Los Angeles Zoo, July 25

A different kind of wildlife takes over the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens during Roaring Nights. Featuring indie bands, full bars and favorite L.A food truck dining plus pop-up zookeeper talks, animal encounters and a DJ dance party give grown-up an excuse to go to the zoo without the kids. There will also be an “Animal Artistry Paint Party” at which guests can express their creativity by painting a favorite animal (or whatever inspiration strikes them) on a small canvas to adorn the home or office.
This Friday spotlights Los Angeles quartet KIVEN, an energetic multi-faced rock band and Queen Caveat, a hard-hitting, explosive Los Angeles based rock band let by Lauren Little.
For directions and tickets visit; http://lazoo.org/roaringnights/

Getty Center's Saturdays off the 405, July 26

These outdoor evening concerts provide a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the spectacular evening views, the summer exhibitions, have a glass of wine and a snack under the stars while catching some cool musical talent.

This week The Getty Center’s ongoing series, Saturday’s off the 405 will feature songwriter and producer Jesse Nolan’s new project, Caught A Ghost. Nolan explains, the name of his band refers to the sensation of being filled with a spirit of the past. As the writer and lead singer of the band Nolan is a devotee of music from bygone eras. His music recalls influences from soul, and rock yet still feel modern with references to hip-hop and electronic recordings from the ‘90s to contemporary tracts.

While you’re there check out the uncanny, bizarre and often mystical world of James Ensor! The Scandalous Art of James Ensor is filled with paintings, drawings and etchings by this avant-garde Belgian artist who invited ridicule and criticism, but also championed a new way of expression through self-invented sarcastic and scandalous imagery.

Getty Center Courtyard, Free, 6-9 p.m. www.getty:edu/museum/programs/performances/saturdays_405