Lucent Dossier Experience performs at City National Plaza (for free) on Thursday.
Lucent Dossier Experience performs at City National Plaza (for free) on Thursday.
Timothy Norris

11 Cheap and Free Things to Do

Comedy for Planned Parenthood, a screening of Scorsese classic Goodfellas, Echo Park Film Center's anniversary celebration and more to do and see in L.A. this week for 11 bucks or less.

Silver Lake is L.A.'s undisputed epicenter of cool, but did you know its roots as a hipster hub date as far back as the early 1900s? Longtime resident Michael Locke wrote about the famous and little-known artists, writers, musicians, architects and political activists who once made the area their home in his new book, Silver Lake Bohemia: A History, co-authored by Vincent Brook. It features fascinating people like Anaïs Nin, whose hilltop house was designed by Eric Lloyd Wright, grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright; Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra, who built 26 homes in the neighborhood; and Harry Hay, who founded the Mattachine Society, one of the first gay rights organizations, in Silver Lake long before West Hollywood was our city's gay and lesbian capital. Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Fri., Dec. 2, 7 p.m.; free, book is $21.99. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —Siran Babayan

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to watch Goodfellas. Easily the best gangster movie to lose the Best Picture Oscar to Dances With Wolves, Martin Scorsese's mafioso masterwork glams up La Cosa Nostra before reminding us that even made men can end up living the rest of their lives like schnooks. Producer Irwin Winkler will introduce the film, and between 5 and 7 p.m. you can purchase books, posters and other cinematic goods as part of the Aero's yearly holiday sale. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna go see Reservoir Dogs? The New Beverly plays Quentin Tarantino's auspicious debut at midnight, because that's the sort of thing you can do when you own a repertory theater. The writer-director's color-coded thieves are a font of memorable lines, which they pull off much more successfully than their would-be heist; the more pear-shaped things go, the more enthralling the film becomes. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri., Dec. 2, 11:59 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

As Christmas draws near, we must all of us remember to be wary of the Wet Bandits. For a reminder of how to combat those sinister home invaders, avail yourself of Home Alone at the drive-in. Macaulay Culkin may have moved on to the "novelty band that sings exclusively about pizza" phase of his career, but the movie that made him a household name seems poised to remain a holiday staple for years to come. Electric Dusk Drive-In, 2930 Fletcher Drive, Glassell Park; Sat., Dec. 3, 6:30 p.m. (doors at 5:30); $10 lawn, $14 car, $60 VIP. (818) 653-8591, electricduskdrivein.com.

Barnsdall Art Park is like a little oasis right in the center of Los Angeles. The intimate, grassy hilltop located just off Hollywood Boulevard is the site of Frank Lloyd Wright's first project in L.A., the Hollyhock House, and offers a perfect spot for an afternoon picnic with stunning views of the city and mountains beyond. The Barnsdall Art Center also holds affordable art classes for adults and kids in painting, sculpture, jewelry, weaving, ceramics and a host of other media. To help support scholarships, programming and the purchase of materials, they hold the annual Barnsdall Art Center Holiday Art Sale & Fundraiser, which features a wide array of student and faculty work for sale. Food and drink is available for purchase from local vendors, as are raffle tickets for prizes ranging from restaurant gift cards to Disneyland tickets. Barnsdall Junior Art Center, 4814 Hollywood Blvd., East Hollywood; Sun., Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (323) 644-6295, barnsdall.org/holiday-art-sale-fundraiser. —Matt Stromberg

Planned Parenthood has been imperiled for years thanks to mostly Republican politicians who insist on putting crowd-pleasing antichoice rhetoric before the well-being of low-income women and men. Now, with a right-wing demagogue about to enter the White House — not to mention a creepy Midwestern vice president–elect who thinks women should have funerals for miscarried fetuses — it's in more danger than ever. But SoCal creatives won't let it go down without a fight. At Plan B: A Benefit for Planned Parenthood, comedians Kate Berlant, Emily Heller, Chris Thayer, Clare O'Kane, Tashi Condelee and Corie Johnson take the stage to raise funds for the essential clinic, and Bethany Cosentino and Tamaryn DJ between sets. There's also a raffle and a gift bag for people who've donated to PP in the past (and have proof). They won the battle — we can't let them win the war. Resident, 428 S. Hewitt St., downtown; Mon., Dec. 5, 7 p.m.-midnight; $10 suggested donation. facebook.com/events/931996026930396. —Gwynedd Stuart

Betzy Bromberg is among the foremost experimental filmmakers in Los Angeles. As it did with her Voluptuous Sleep five years ago, REDCAT is hosting the world premiere of her latest, Glide of Transparency. This new feature is broken into three movements that, in Bromberg's words, amount to "a journey devoid of compass bearings, forging pathways without a path." REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Mon., Dec. 5, 8:30 p.m.; $11. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org.

Conservativism and comedy rarely go hand in hand, but audiences have become increasingly sensitive when it comes to poking fun at racism, sexism, homophobia and politics. Can we no longer take a joke? Where do we draw the line? Zócalo Public Square and UCLA's latest lecture asks the age-old PC question: "Has Political Correctness Really Killed Humor?" New York Times Magazine contributor Carina Chocano moderates this panel discussion, featuring L.A. comedians/actors Kristina Wong and Max Amini as well as Beck Krefting, an associate professor at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York; Krefting also wrote the book, All Joking Aside: American Humor and Its Discontents. MOCA, 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Tue., Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m.; free. zocalopublicsquare.org/event/political-correctness-killed-humor. —Siran Babayan

This week, Echo Park Film Center celebrates 15 years as a community resource for cinephiles and activists alike with five days of free events and programming. The beloved organization has long emboldened youth and community organizers, and EPFC's commitment to equal and affordable access to media empowerment is more important now than ever. The Echo Park Film Center 15th Anniversary Celebration commences with an alumni showcase featuring work by EPFC youth-filmmaking program alumni on Wednesday, followed over the week by an All-Night Anniversary Salon with live music, bike rides alongside the EPFC Filmmobile, an evening of silent films and a traditional open screening night where even you can share your short films. As always, donations appreciated. Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Wed., Dec. 7, 7 p.m. (through Dec. 11); free. (213) 484-8846, echoparkfilmcenter.org. —Neha Talreja

City National Plaza hosts its annual Holiday Spectacular on Thursday evening and, this year, the entertainment comes from Lucent Dossier Experience. The circus arts company is a downtown staple, having made a name for itself during its 2000s residency at the Edison. These days, the troupe balances large concert performances — such as this year's 3-D show as Sahara Tent headliners at Coachella — with intimate performances at Clifton's. Their interactive, improv-heavy shows are always unpredictable. You might spend the evening simply as a spectator, or one whimsical character may drag you into their world. The event is free, but it's also a benefit for Volunteers of America Los Angeles, so attendees are asked to bring donations of new toys, blankets or art and school supplies. City National Plaza, 515 S. Flower St., downtown; Thu., Dec. 8; 5-8 p.m.; free. (213) 485-9595, citynationalplaza.com. —Liz Ohanesian

Tom Hanks is something like our official American Everyman, a role he embodies so well that it's easy to forget he's also a gifted writer and director. Hanks made his behind-the-camera debut 20 years ago with That Thing You Do!, the story of a one-hit wonder from the 1960s, which is itself a kind of cinematic earworm. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Thu., Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

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