11 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week

The largest lit festival in the country comes to USC on Saturday.
The largest lit festival in the country comes to USC on Saturday.
Courtesy L.A. Times

From a festival of books to a women-only comedy tour, there's loads to do this week for 10 bucks or less.

Here's your chance to wish Hyaena Gallery in Burbank an unhappy birthday. For 10 years, owner Bill Shafer — he's the tall guy inside with the relaxed Mohawk — has been displaying horror-themed, dark and lowbrow art. (In the past, you may have caught tribute shows to John Carpenter, Wes Craven and Guillermo del Toro, or 2011's infamous "Winning: The Charlie Sheen Exhibit," which the actor himself visited.) Shafer hosts Hyaena Gallery's 10-Year Anniversary Party at the equally strange California Institute of Abnormalarts (CIA), featuring live music by Gene Loves Jezebel, The Hellflowers and The Slow Poisoner. Bizarro authors John Skipp and Laura Lee Bahr, live art and a raffle. Shafer also has organized a group exhibit, "A Decade of Scavenging and Sacrifice: The 10-Year Anniversary Show," with artists Jeremy Cross, Michael Kelleher, Kat Philbin, Big Tasty, Terry Bizarro, Lou Rusconi and The Creep, running at Hyaena through April 30. California Institute of Abnormalarts, 11334 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood; Fri., April 8, 7 p.m.-2 a.m.; $10. (818) 221-8065 or (818) 972-2448, hyaenagallery.com. —Siran Babayan

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is the largest literary festival in the country, each year attracting 150,000 attendees who come to see big-name authors, celebrities and other performers. This year's star power is no exception, thanks to appearances by Buzz Aldrin, Stan Lee, Rainn Wilson, Padma Lakshmi, Marcia Clark, Taye Diggs, Henry Winkler, Duff Goldman, Tom Hayden, Joyce Carol Oates and Jonathan Gold. The weekend also offers panels on writing and publishing, workshops on traveling, cooking demonstrations, live music, poetry readings and family activities. The festival's L.A. Times Ideas Exchange Series features Carrie Brownstein and Arianna Huffington in conversation with, respectively, the L.A. Times' Lorraine Ali and Robin Abcarian. USC, Bovard Auditorium, 3551 Trousdale Pkwy., University Park; Sat., April 9, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., April 10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free (certain events are ticketed). (213) 740-5656, events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks. —Siran Babayan

A robots-with-guns triple feature at the Egyptian, because why not: RoboCopThe Terminator and R.O.T.O.R. The first two, which both screen on 35mm, need no introduction, but their contemporary (whose title stands for Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research, obviously) isn't as well known. Less a classic than an exercise in wildly ill-advised camp, it's an update to the age-old "robot motorcycle cop prototype malfunctions and begins executing motorists for minor traffic violations" trope. This is classical storytelling at its finest, folks. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.; Sat., April 9, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

Long Beach is home to the largest population of Cambodians in the country — and it has America's only Cambodian New Year Parade to prove it. Now one of the city's signature cultural events, the parade began 10 years ago as a local kickoff for the three-day-long Cambodian New Year, which starts April 13. Despite being canceled a few times due to low funds, the parade serves as a crucial celebration for a community whose rich traditions were nearly obliterated (along with 2 million people) by the brutal Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. The wounds from that era still run deep, which explains why protests erupted last month when the parade's organizing committee announced it was inviting Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's son, Hun Manet, to the festivities (Manet later canceled his plan to attend). This weekend, expect everything from traditional Khmer dancers to members of a Cambodian cycling club heading down the mile-long stretch of Anaheim Street that's officially known as "Cambodia Town." Then stay afterward for an all-day cultural festival at nearby MacArthur Park, where you'll be able to buy colorful sarongs, eat Cambodian-Cajun crawfish and peruse silkscreened T-shirts emblazoned with images of Khmer pride. Starts on Anaheim Street at Junipero Avenue and continues down Anaheim to Warren Avenue, Long Beach; Cambodian Town Culture Festival continues afterward in MacArthur Park; Sun., April 10, 9:30 a.m.; free. cam-cc.org. —Sarah Bennett

One of the best, most understated animated films of the last few years, Song of the Sea plays at UCLA. Tom Moore, who also directed The Secret of Kells, once again brings Irish folklore to vivid life, this time telling a story involving a lighthouse, fairies and a selkie (read: seal in the water, human on land). It's playing as part of UCLA's (free!) Family Flicks series, but as with most worthwhile animated fare, you needn't be a kid to appreciate this one's joys. Your time has come at last, Pixar agnostics. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., April 10, 11 a.m.; free. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu—Michael Nordine

New York City's Abbi Crutchfield (Broad City), Kaytlin Bailey (SiriusXM), Carrie Gravenson (New York Underground Comedy Festival's Emerging Talent Stand-Up Competition winner) and recent L.A. transplant Erin Judge (Last Comic Standing) formed the Pink Collar Comedy Tour in 2012, seeking to subvert stereotypes concerning traditional "women's work" (nursing, childcare, secretarial). They've since hit more than 40 cities and this week kick off a six-date West Coast tour. Of the smart, story-driven and highly personal shows, Judge says, "It's a privilege to perform with three other comics who always kill it!" Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., April 11, 9 p.m.; $8. nerdmeltla.com. —Julie Seabaugh

Nathalia Holt discusses her new book, Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars. In the 1940 and 1950s, before the advent of the desktop computer, the newly formed Jet Propulsion Laboratory recruited an all-female group of mathematicians to work as "human computers." Their calculations "powered early missiles, rocketed heavy bombers over the Pacific, launched America's first satellite, guided lunar missions and planetary explorations, and even navigate Mars rovers today." A Boston microbiologist and science writer, Holt interviewed surviving members of this team, who reflect on how they balanced their contributions to the American space program with marriage and motherhood. Buena Vista Branch Library, 300 N. Buena Vista St., Burbank; Mon., April 11, 7-8 p.m.; free, book is $27. (818) 238-5620, burbanklibrary.com. —Siran Babayan

Addressing the problems with the tyranny of the eye, multimedia artist M. Lamar talks with UCLA professor Uri McMillan about everything from the pornographic objectification of black male bodies to how black male agency can be reasserted through awareness and dialogue. McMillan, author of Embodied Avatars: Genealogies of Black Feminist Art and Performance, will confer with Lamar about the experience of constantly being hassled just for being oneself; Lamar also will discuss the concurrent Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition as well as his abiding fascination with "doom spirituals," gospel music designed for the endtimes. LACMA, Brown Auditorium, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., April 12, 7:30 p.m.; free, reservations required. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org/event/m-lamar. —David Cotner

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Based on the perception you're likely to get from its title and the era in which it was made, 1948's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre may just be the most expectation-defying film of classic Hollywood. A dispiriting anti-adventure, John Huston's take on the B. Traven novel stars Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston (the director's father) as two itinerant Americans looking for work — and, after meeting a prospector, gold — south of the border. The fabled treasure, if it exists at all, is an end unlikely to justify the means these two desperate pilgrims go to in order to find it; the prospect of unimaginable wealth rarely brings out the best in people. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., April 12, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org—Michael Nordine

Way back in 1980, The Buggles declared that video had killed the radio star — but maybe that's not so. At I Want My MTV!: A Talk With Terrence Butcher, the film studies MFA will discuss how the music channel David Bowie really wanted you to want saved the record industry, turned kids on to aspects of avant-garde cinema and made you wait for that one Gino Vannelli video that maybe had guys dressed like girls in it but you couldn't really tell through the scrambled signal. Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Thu., April 14, 7:30 p.m., $5 suggested donation. (213) 484-8846, echoparkfilmcenter.org/events/i-want-my-mtv-a-talk-with-terrence-butcher. —David Cotner

CSUN's semester-long Andrei Tarkovsky: His Films and His Legacy retrospective has completed the "Films" portion of its program and moved into the "Legacy" phrase. After screening Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life last Thursday, Lars von Trier's drastically different Antichrist is on the docket this week. The Danish provocateur's last few films have been misfires, but this dissection of two grief-stricken parents (Willem Dafoe as He, Charlotte Gainsbourg as She) finds the endlessly neurotic filmmaker at his best. Gainsbourg rightfully won Best Actress laurels at Cannes for her performance, but a certain CG fox should have been honored as well. Chaos reigns! CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., April 14, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu. —Michael Nordine

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