10 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week

10 Cheap and Free Things to Do This WeekEXPAND
Courtesy Phaidon

A big-ass craft fair, the opening of Griffith Park's beer garden, a fest of films made with a Fisher-Price camera, and more to do and see this week for 10 bucks or less.

What better way to welcome warm weather than with a sci-fi fright flick about ants? Metro Arts continues its sci-fi screening series on Friday with Them!, the 1950s B-movie classic, on Union Station's north patio. In the coming months, those tiny invading armies seeking water droplets and crumbs might make us harried, but right now we can still have fun with the sight of oversized ant-monsters. Years before Mothra, Them! pioneered the insect-as-behemoth monster craze with its giant, ugly creeps. Metro's screening serves a historic purpose, too, as Union Station's rail yard was one of the filming locations. Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., downtown; Fri., May 12, 8 p.m.; free. (213) 683-6729, unionstationla.com/happenings/metro-art-presents-sci-fi-at-union-station-or-them. —Liz Ohanesian

Los Angeles has a seemingly never-ending supply of creatives, and seldom is that more evident than at the Echo Park Craft Fair. In fact, makers from all over the country travel to L.A. for the two-day event, which takes over Mack Sennett Studios in Silver Lake this Mother's Day weekend. The lineup is always great, and as new artists join the fold, it only gets better. First-timers include Are Studio, Stevie Howell, 69, Une Heure, Danielle Yukari, Clyde, Joseph Brooks Jewelry, Kelci Potter, Lori, Marlow Goods, Martiniano, Nicholas Berkofsky, Nu Swim, Sophie Monet, Studio Cue L.A., DeKor and Orris Perfumery. If you get snacky while shopping, there's food and drink from Moon Juice, Canyon Coffee, Leaves and Flowers, Alejandra's Quesadillas, SOO N, Gorumando, Lori, Morning Glory Confections, Solstice Canyon, Sun Potion and Todo Verde. Mack Sennett Studios, 1215 Bates Ave., Silver Lake; Sat., May 13, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., May 14, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; $10, $16 two-day ticket. echoparkcraftfair.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

Given L.A.'s nearly year-round perfect weather and cloudless skies, it's somewhat surprising that there are so few outdoor venues to grab a bite or a cocktail, especially east of the 405. That's about to change this weekend when the Griffith Park Beer Garden opens its doors or, rather, its fence gate. Located in one of our city's most bucolic natural settings, the Beer Garden will offer an array of microbrews from Iron Triangle, Garage, Coronado and others, as well as more common ales like Tecate, alongside sausages, pizza and diner fare from the Roosevelt Cafe. One of the best deals will be a flight of four tasters and a brat for $20. The Saturday-only cafe is an ideal spot for a mid-afternoon day drink or a preshow pint before hitting the Greek Theatre, just down the road. Griffith Park Beer Garden, 2650 N. Vermont Ave., Griffith Park; Sat., May 13, noon-dusk; free admission, menu prices. facebook.com/events/140441246486107. ­—Matt Stromberg

"Love means never having to say you're ugly." That's the ingenious tagline for The Abominable Dr. Phibes, a genuinely weird horror pastiche that came out on the heels of Love Story (but didn't get as much Oscar attention, alas). Vincent Price stars as the eponymous character, a horrendously disfigured surgeon who exacts vengeance on the doctors responsible for his wife's death by dispatching them in the manner of the 10 plagues of Egypt. It's all good, ghoulish fun, with eye-catching art deco sets and a climax that anticipates Saw in its macabre invention. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Sat., May 13, 11:59 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Nathaniel Bell

UCLA continues its Nitrate Treasures series with You and Me, Fritz Lang's underrated 1938 comedy featuring offbeat musical interludes written by Kurt Weill (The Threepenny Opera). Silvia Sidney and George Raft play a pair of recently paroled criminals who work in a department store staffed exclusively with ex-cons. The movie would be worth seeking out for its own sake, but the promise of a 35mm nitrate print only increases the incentive. The rarest of traditional film bases, this highly flammable substance is treasured among buffs for its luminous, contrast-rich image due to the presence of actual silver in its DNA. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Mon., May 15, 7 p.m.; $9. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Nathaniel Bell

If you agree that there's nothing wrong with being an alcohol enthusiast, tonight's bartenders panel discussion and book signing for Adrienne Stillman's Where Bartenders Drink is the place to be to hear the collected wisdom from the big shots who serve up all those tiny bubbles. From the booze at SkyBar in West Hollywood to the cocktails at the Chimneysweep Lounge in Sherman Oaks, Stillman understands the vibrancy of L.A.'s bar scene, as she's chronicled more than 700 watering holes across 60 countries. Following the discussion, the Collectif 1806 brain trust serves up cocktails mixed by the notorious Nathan Burdette. Arcana Books on the Arts, 8675 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Tue., May 16, 6-8 p.m.; free with RSVP. (310) 458-1499, arcanabooks.com/blog/2017/Apr/11/book-signing-panel-where-bartenders-drink-may-16th-6-8. —David Cotner

LACMA continues to celebrate Dolores Del Rio with a Tuesday matinee of her 1935 Warner Bros. musical In Caliente. The beautiful and talented Mexican-born star plays a dancer who falls for the critic who wrote her a scathing review — a slim plot on which to hang some fetching numbers, including "The Lady in Red." This song is known to include, in the best Busby Berkeley tradition, a chorus line of martini shakers. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., May 16, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell

For 12 years following the 1992 L.A. riots, hundreds of low-income, mostly Latino farmers used the 14-acre South Central Farm at 4051 S. Alameda St., one of the largest urban farms in the country, to grow fresh produce for their families and the community. In 2006, after a series of complicated legal battles with the land developer and the city of Los Angeles, the farmers were evicted from the lot, which was bulldozed and still sits vacant. Scott Hamilton Kennedy's 2008 Oscar-nominated documentary, The Garden, tracked the protesters as they fought — and eventually lost — to keep their land, with help from politicians, civic leaders and celebrities including Daryl Hannah, Willie Nelson, Martin Sheen, Danny Glover, Joan Baez and Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha. In conjunction with the exhibit "Hammer Projects: Andrea Bowers," the Hammer Museum hosts a screening of the film and a discussion with the director. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Wed., May 17, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu/programs-events/2017/05/the-garden. —Siran Babayan

In the din of competing voices clamoring for attention during the recent presidential election cycle, it was most often Amy Goodman's that rang true, offering a lucid, calm and rationally humanist perspective amid all the partisan hysteria. As Donald Trump ramps up his push to extend a massive oil pipeline through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, the Democracy Now! host has continued to focus her attention on the situation, much as she did last year when most of the national media studiously ignored the impassioned protests of Native Americans and environmentalists. Goodman weighs in on the current state of our disunion and discusses her latest book, Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America, along with co-author Denis Moynihan. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Thu., May 18, noon; free, book is $16. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Falling James

In 1987, Fisher-Price came out with the PXL-2000, a cheap, black-and-white camcorder that recorded low-quality footage onto audiocassettes. Originally marketed as a toy, the PXL-2000 quickly became popular among video artists and experimental filmmakers, who were drawn to its point-and-shoot simplicity and lo-fi aesthetic. In 1990, Gerry Fialka founded PXL THIS, the first festival to showcase Pixelvision films, as they've become known. Now in its 26th year, it bills itself as the second oldest film festival in L.A. — not bad for movies made with a $100 camera originally intended for kids. The event features a broad cross-section of cineastes, from influential underground filmmakers to preteen amateurs to homeless auteurs, highlighting the camera's potential to democratize cinema. Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Thu., May 18, 8 p.m. (doors at 7:30 p.m.); $5. (213) 484-8846, echoparkfilmcenter.org/events/pxl-this-26. —Matt Stromberg


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