What to Do This Month in New York City and L.A.

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Here we are: August, and, with it, the dog days of summer. With the heat at its zenith, it’s easy to let the warm-weather fatigue do you in. Resist the temptation to rest until September comes, and hit any one of these excellent to-dos. Herewith, your guide to the best events happening this August.

LOS ANGELES: Devotees of both high fashion and thrift store bargain hunting owe it to themselves to catch Louis Vuitton X, a sprawling gallery show of the brand’s greatest pieces spanning 160 years of haute history. Over 180 items will be on display, featuring designs by Karl Lagerfeld, Rei Kawakubo, Frank Gehry, and photography legend Cindy Sherman, along with new collaborations with Yayoi Kusama, Richard Prince, and Zaha Hadid. The Los Angeles exhibition is the world premiere of Louis Vuitton X, which will hit cities like Paris and Tokyo later this winter. One room sure to be a fan favorite displays a retrospective of Louis Vuitton designs worn on the red carpet. Over 31 Nicolas Ghesquière-designed looks will be shown, including dresses donned by Alicia Vikander, Michelle Williams, Taylor Swift, and Sophia Turner. Show open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. // 468 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills // Free admission

LOS ANGELES: Biggie in his crown, Salt-N-Pepa decked out in leather jackets, Jay-Z holding up the roc in Brooklyn. Hip-hop and photography have been immersed in a beautiful love affair for four decades, and the very best of it will be on display at Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop. Over 140 pieces from 60 different photographers will cover the Annenberg Space for Photography for a show that ranges from timeless album covers to outtakes that have rarely been seen outside the darkroom. Featuring creative direction from Fab 5 Freddy, the show is based on the recent art book of the same name, and offers up the chance to see these music photographs beautifully printed at size that matches the swagger captured in each frame. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. // Annenberg Space for Photography, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles // Free Admission

LOS ANGELES: The radiant, anthemic power of Kacey Musgraves cannot be denied. Still soaring off the power of her 2018 album Golden Hour, the Texas songwriter has seemingly done the impossible—gaining international star status while shifting her music into a more complex and thoughtful space. Part country, part dream pop, Musgraves has carved out a genre all her own with her latest batch of songs, and is now fronting an impeccable band as she tours the world, bringing “Butterflies” and “Space Cowboy” to the masses. She’ll play the Greek Theater late this month, and it’s sure to be a can’t-miss summer night. Friday, August 23rd, 8 p.m. // The Greek Theater, 2700 North Vermont Avenue Los Angeles // Tickets $39.50 and up

NEW YORK CITY: The ’80s were a decade of major breakthroughs and art house accolades for women filmmakers across America. This month, BAM Cinema will be screening Punks, Poets, & Valley Girls, an extensive selection of women-directed movies from the 1980s, including marquee works by Kathryn Bigelow, Amy Heckerling, and Penny Marshall, plus more subversive independent pieces by Kathlee Collins, Lizzie Bordern, and Donna Deitch. Turning the camera’s lens onto more militant strains of feminism, the growing movement for queer rights, and a sentimentality that centered women, rather than objectifying them between action sequences, these movies helped reshape the course of Western filmmaking. If your recent trips to the theater have been failing the Bechdel test, this two-week series will help bring you up to a passing grade. Series runs August 7-20th; Showtimes vary // BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn // Tickets $15

NEW YORK CITY: Once described as John Lennon’s voice caught in a bottle and taught to sing new songs, the music of Tame Impala bridges the gap between our modern digitized era and a hazier, dreamier, analog one. Led by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Kevin Parker, the group used to be known for their note-perfect proficiency during live shows, but recent years have seen their concerts loosen up a bit—and that’s a good thing. After selling out an initial date at Madison Square Garden, the band added this second night so that late ticket-buyers and fans from out of town will get their own chance to sway along to hits like “The Less I Know The Better” and “Mind Mischief.” If you like rock ‘n’ roll, you probably already know and love Tame Impala. But if you don’t, don’t let that stop you: this is one of the best bands on earth. Thursday, August 22nd, 7 p.m. // Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, Manhattan // Tickets $49.50 and up

NEW YORK CITY: This town has no shortage of summer music festivals, and the best of them all is AfroPunk. Set at the crossroads between art, fashion, activism, and music, the two-day party in Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park. This year’s lineup includes FKA Twigs, Leon Bridges, Jill Scott, Kamasi Washington, Toro y Moi, Santigold, Gary Clark Jr, Goldlink, Danny Brown, and so many more that it’s hard to believe it’s even happening. But that’s Afropunk, a no-apologies tribute to black culture, activism, and the healing powers of getting down to the best music on earth. The lines to get in are notoriously long, but with so many fashion mavens in attendance, the pre-show people watching is part of the fun. Saturday and Sunday, August 24th and 25th // Commodore Barry Park, Broolyn // Tickets $70 and up

Photo courtesy of Yonghyun Lee

Scott Heins

Scott Heins

Scott Heins is a writer and photographer living in New York City. Born in Minnesota, he currently works in Brooklyn as a journalist and portrait artist. He's fascinated by anything in the world that's strange, futuristic, or forgotten.