The Weekender: Just Say Yes

Five things to say “YES!” to this weekend

Photo taken in Los Angeles, United States

People in L.A. have a hard time saying no. This is a problem I don’t have. I say no to things all the time because I’m never afraid I’ll miss out.

This bothers my say-yes-to-everything friend. Not only does she say yes to everything, but an enthusiastic: YES! Every invitation is an opportunity. An adventure waiting to happen. Every dinner party is a chance to make new connections. “You might surprise yourself,” she tells me.  I assure her I won’t.

“You don’t know what you’re missing until you go,” she says.

I know what I’m missing: Staying home.

Also, it’s worth pointing out, the pressure doesn’t work both ways. You’ll never hear me pushing someone to turn down an invite or begging them not to leave the house. But for ‘say yes’ people, it’s not enough that they say yes to everything, they need you to say yes too.

I tell her I can think of multiple reasons to say no.

I don’t want to fake my way through a conversation about the global debt crisis. 

I don’t want to tell someone I’m a writer and be asked, “Would I have heard of your book?”

I don’t want to eat dinner at 9 PM (as explained previously).

I don’t want to meet someone successful and be reminded that humility is a liability.

I don’t want to be cornered and asked about Succession because I haven’t watched it yet.

I don’t want to find out someone I hate on social media is a decent person in real life.

I don’t want to hear about your journey of self discovery.

I don’t like knowing I’ll have to get in the car and drive for 45 minutes before I can get into bed.

It’s not that I don’t like to have a good time, I just prefer to have it without other people around. 

Here are 5 things to say “YES!” to this weekend:

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Go See

Ava: The Secret Conversations

Elizabeth McGovern wrote and stars in the play which is based on the book, The Secret Conversations by Peter Evans and Ava Gardner – a biography which Ava Gardner wouldn’t allow to be published in her lifetime. The book (which she apparently agreed to do because she needed the money) focuses on the working relationship the two of them had putting the book together. Drunken phone calls, her doubts about whether her life was interesting enough, the negotiations over if the book was worth publishing, her seductive powers and whether or not she was in control of her fate. These conversations form the basis for the play.

I’ve loved Elizabeth McGovern since I first saw her in Ordinary People. And she was in some of my favorite movies from the 80’s including Once Upon A Time in America, Ragtime, and Racing With The Moon. Most people will know her from Downton Abbey and she’s effortlessly elegant in the role and captures how depleted Ava Gardner was by all the various men (Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, Howard Hughes and Frank Sinatra) in her life. You don’t have to be a movie star to relate.

Photo by Justin Bettman

When: Through May 7th

Location: The Geffen Playhouse | 10886 Le Conte Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90024L


Check Out

Refik Anadol: Living Paintings

Why is everyone talking about these AI-generated living paintings? Refik Anadol: Unsupervised, the artist’s first solo North American museum presentation, opened at The Museum of Modern Art, in New York in November 2022, and it’s been on everyone’s radar since.

Now the Turkish-born/LA-based Anadol has his first major solo exhibition and it’s on display at the Jeffrey Deitch Gallery. He creates “living paintings” from data and algorithms and no matter how many times it’s explained, I’ll never understand what’s actually happening. He’s found a way to blend art and technology and take real-time weather, images of national parks and wind forecasts over the ocean—and turn them into multicolored, dreamlike, swirling video installations. Like a giant screensaver. You have to see it for yourself. I’ve never taken acid and thanks to this exhibition, I’ll never have to.

Photo by Joshua White 

When: Through April 29

Location: Jeffrey Deitch Gallery | 925 N. Orange Drive, Los Angeles

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11am-6pm. Gallery closes promptly at 6pm.

Parking: available at 953 N. Sycamore Ave. and 926 N. Sycamore Ave. with 90 minute validation


Check Out

Spring Garden Show and Fleurs de Villes

This annual four day show takes place at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa and centers around a dramatic 25-foot-high floral creation with whimsical depictions of California animals and plants, all made with poppies, orchids, and other natural materials.

There are a few moving parts of the show. Fleurs de Villes is the floral mannequins and installations, while the main Southern California Garden Show features vendors selling rare and collectible plants and flowers, as well as design vignettes of outdoor spaces. Maybe it sounds overwhelming – it did to me – but if you love flowers and gardening and installations made out of flowers, leaves and plants, this is your dream come true. There are garden vendors offering exotic plants and flowers, mannequins dressed in fresh flower ensembles….it’s a floral extravaganza. And when you’re burnt out on flowers, there’s shopping.

Photo courtesy of South Coast Plaza

When: Friday – Sunday April 23rd

Location: 3333 Bear Street, Costa Mesa, California

Parking: Free!


Go To

Angel City FC vs San Diego Wave FC

L.A’s female professional soccer team has lit up the city’s sports landscape with its mix of Hollywood glamour (Natalie Portman and Jennifer Garner are among its investors and are fixtures at games), party atmosphere (drum circles, dance performances, rosy haze of smoke bombs ringing the supporters section), and, of course, some of the world’s best women’s soccer players (18 year old Harvard Westlake phenom Alyssa Thompson, newly signed U.S. national team star Julie Ertz).

This Sunday at BMO Stadium, Angel City FC is playing their arch-rival, the San Diego Wave, who feature such stars as Alex Morgan and Naomi Girma. My pals, David Hirshey and Roger Director, co-editors of the new book “Pride of a Nation: A Celebration of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team” have assured me there’s no experience like it. Even the parking stress won’t keep them away, which is saying a lot.

A capacity crowd of 22,000 is expected this Sunday but there are still tickets available. If you can’t make it this week, check the schedule for future games.

Photo by Angel City FC

When: Sunday April 23 at 5 PM

Where: BMO Stadium | 3939 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90037

Parking: Details can be found here!


Check Out

Claire Dederer and Madeleine Brand

This talk is an alternative to attending the much-hyped L.A. Times Book Festival. You can avoid the crowds, go to this event instead and hear Claire Dederer (who is also on a panel at the LA Book Fest with Roxanne Gay and Geoff Dyer) speaking one-on-one in conversation with Madeleine Brand, host of KCRW’s news and culture show, Press Play.

Several years ago, Dederer wrote an essay in the Paris Review called “What Do We Do With The Art of Monstrous Men?” it went viral, and prompted her to write a book on the same subject, called Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma. The question of whether or not we can (or should) accept the art of monstrous men – Roman Polanski, Michael Jackson, Woody Allen, Picasso, Richard Wagner – is an endlessly fascinating topic. Should be a lively discussion.

When: Sunday, April 23, 2023 at 3 PM

Where: New Roads School | 3131 Olympic Boulevard Santa Monica, CA 90404

Parking: New Roads School does not offer on-site parking. The closest parking is at 1815 South Centinela Avenue, Santa Monica.