Entertainment and culture: What to expect in 2015
A look at the year ahead in movies, TV, video games, theater, art, architecture, classical music, pop music and books.
Since influential all-female guitar band Sleater-Kinney went on hiatus in 2006, its influence has only grown. That’s because of a combination of an enduring musical legacy and the pop cultural ascent of singer-guitarist Carrie Brownstein, the band’s cofounder. Now, Brownstein, the star of the comedy series “Portlandia,” and bandmates Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss are returning with their first new album in eight years, “No Cities to Love.” The band also performs at the Hollywood Palladium on May 1 and 2.
A cult classic ahead of its time, “Grim Fandango” marries story and gameplay with humor and a Day of the Dead art style. Narrative games are again in vogue, and “Grim Fandango,” in which the afterlife comes with its own daily stresses, should dazzle in its HD makeover.
‘The Ghosts of Versailles’
Los Angeles Opera’s revival of John Corigliano’s 1991 comic meta-opera is directed by Darko Tresnjak, who won a Tony Award this year for “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” The production stars Patricia Racette and Patti LuPone and will feature the seldom-performed full score.
Along with likely new releases from Adele, Rihanna and Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar’s follow-up to his highly touted “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” is one of the coming year’s most anticipated albums, especially after memorable recent performances on “Saturday Night Live” and “The Colbert Report.” Lamar will also perform at part of snowboarder Shaun White’s Air + Style festival at the Rose Bowl on Feb. 21.
‘Alice in Wonderland’
Although L.A. Opera originally commissioned it, the company has never produced composer Unsuk Chin’s version of the Lewis Carroll tale. The L.A. Philharmonic has decided to take up the challenge, presenting a semi-staged multimedia version being billed as a collaboration with L.A. Opera.
UCLA Festival of Preservation
The biennial event returns for a monthlong showcase of restored and preserved films, from early silent movies to Golden Age classics to contemporary gems. Featured works included those by Edgar J. Ulmer, Anthony Mann, Samuel Fuller, Leo McCarey and Julie Dash.
‘Tête-à-Tête: Three Masterpieces From the Musée d’Orsay’
A new exchange with Paris’ Musée d’Orsay will bring three paintings to the Norton Simon in Pasadena. Édouard Manet’s “Émile Zola,” 1868, Paul Cézanne’s “The Card Players,” circa 1892-96, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s “Portrait of the Artist’s Mother” are the components of “Tête-à-Tête: Three Masterpieces From the Musée d’Orsay.”
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
Even though the lineup has yet to be announced, both weekends of the festival are sold out. If that suggests a fan base that cares less about the specific music than the experience itself, the festival’s devotees have been busily prognosticating headliners. U2, AC-DC, Foo Fighters, Jack White and Coldplay all seem within the realm of possibility (perennially rumored acts David Bowie or the Smiths less so).
Gala to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s opening on Wilshire Boulevard and a kick-off of events through the year. LACMA was part of the Museum of Natural History until 1961, but it wasn’t until 1965 that it opened its doors in its current location.
Toni Morrison | ‘God Help the Child’
Still writing in her 80s, Nobel Prize winner Morrison will publish her 11th novel, “God Help the Child.” Sonny Mehta, chairman of publisher Knopf, says the book “is a compact, fierce work of contemporary fiction, one that unfolds in the aftermath of an allegation made by a student about a teacher.”
A rare sight on the West Coast (much less Los Angeles), saxophonist and genre-unto-himself John Zorn offers a marathon survey of his prolific career in a show presented by the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA. The show begins with an early morning set of organ improvisations at Royce Hall, a near-unfathomable six-hour performance with various ensembles around the galleries of LACMA and a “Triple Threat” concert of Zorn’s compositions with Abraxas, Secret Chiefs 3 and Bladerunner, a trio featuring Zorn with Bill Laswell and Slayer’s Dave Lombardo. Rest up now.
Jonathan Franzen | ‘Purity’
Farrar, Straus and Giroux publishes “Purity,” the latest novel by Franzen, about a young woman named Purity Tyler, who goes by Pip, searching for her father. Things to watch for: resemblances to Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” and a fable-like turn in Franzen’s fiction.
‘Halo 5: Guardians’
The game that’s expected to be the showcase title for Microsoft’s Xbox One, “Halo 5: Guardians” will also be watched to see if the franchise has a life outside of a console. The game is expected to launch around the same time as that of a Steven Spielberg-produced TV series.
Once a small festival dedicated to independent games, IndieCade is now a multi-day Culver City event and is ground zero for some of the most diverse, risk-taking games in the biz. Not a video gamer? Don’t worry, there are also board games and outdoor games that span city blocks.
Among the films waiting under the tree for moviegoers are “Joy,” starring Jennifer Lawrence; “Mission: Impossible 5,” starring Tom Cruise”; “The Hateful Eight,” directed by Quentin Tarantino; “The Revenant,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio; and “Dirty Grandpa,” with Robert De Niro.
Maddie & Tae
The best commercial country song of the year was devoted to country songs themselves: Maddie & Tae’s “Girl in a Country Song.” The catchy kiss-off to the male singers who treat their ladies like objects hit the top of the charts, and the forthcoming debut full length will likely do the same. Fans were given an appetizer in November, when the duo released its first EP. Given that they’re signed to the Taylor Swift-affiliated Big Machine Records, expect to hear much more.
Nintendo relies heavily on its stable of recognizable characters, so when the company releases a game without Mario, Link or Donkey Kong it’s an event, especially when Mario creator and game legend Shigeru Miyamoto has a say in it. “Splatoon” looks nutty, with characters armed with paintball guns who can turn into squids.