11 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week

Celebrate a favorite condiment on Saturday and Sunday,EXPAND
Celebrate a favorite condiment on Saturday and Sunday,
Courtesy Los Angeles Salsa Festival


A Lotus Festival, a Ukulele Expo, a Salsa Festival and more things to do and see this week for 10 bucks or less.

There was a time, just a few years ago, when even the lotuses didn't bother showing up for the annual Lotus Festival at Echo Park Lake. The lake was murky and polluted, and the surrounding public park was dingy and uninviting, that is until 2013, when it reopened after a massive two-year, $45 million restoration effort. Now the lake is literally blooming with the festival's seasonal namesake pink flowers, floating on saucer-size green lily pads. This year's celebration is sponsored by the Republic of Korea, and there will be Asian music, food and dance performances, as well as races by visually striking dragon boats. Echo Park Lake, 751 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park; Sat., July 9, noon-9 p.m.; Sun., July 10, noon-8 p.m.; free. (213) 485-5027, facebook.com/lalotusfestival. —Falling James

Last year's L.A. Ukulele Expo attempted to beat the Guinness World Record for largest ukulele ensemble. Though the event fell short of its goal, it still attracts more than 1,500 annual visitors celebrating the four-stringed instrument and the artists who make music with it. The day features performances by Brit Rodriguez, Josh Chang, Kalyn Aolani, Lise and Emi Lee, and Jerome Koko, as well as a marketplace, workshops and panel discussions. Also, for the first time, there will be a "bongolele" jam session with percussionist Randy Drake and a community play-along to the tune of the festival's official song, "La Bamba." Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St., downtown; Sat., July 9, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. (213) 628-2725, jaccc.org/laukuleleexpo. —Siran Babayan

Stud that he is, Kirk Douglas is about to turn 100 years old. UCLA has taken it upon itself to celebrate the actor's centenary with a months-long tribute to his career, which has seen him collaborate with some of the most important and influential filmmakers of the 20th century. Among that august company are Billy Wilder and William Wyler, with whom Douglas worked on Ace in the Hole and Detective Story, respectively, which get pride of place during the series' opening weekend. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., July 9, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu—Michael Nordine

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One of those fun-for-the-entire-family–type things this city is pretty good at hosting, the Los Angeles Salsa Festival in downtown's Pershing Square is a great summertime way to soak up a bit of cultural diversity and, of course, get something really good to eat at the same time. There'll be a huge variety of the spicy stuff to sample in the Salsa Tasting Tent, as well as local food vendors slinging food that pairs with the tomatoey accoutrement. There's live music, dancing, an interactive kids zone and a beer and margarita bar, too. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown.; Sat.-Sun., July 9-10, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. (310) 473-3070, latinsalsafestival.com. —John Payne

The ongoing, citywide Chantal Akerman tribute comes to an end with News From Home, an intimate documentary the Belgian filmmaker made about her relationship with her mother. Released in 1977, when Akerman was living in New York, the film pairs imagery of the city with narrated letters from the elder Akerman. These notes range from cheerful to sad to guilt-tripping, and though they don't paint a picture of mother-daughter bliss, Akerman continued this autobiographical thread in her swan song, the moving No Home MovieSpielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., July 10, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 466-3456, lafilmforum.org—Michael Nordine

Get a lot of musical bang for, well, no bucks at 101 Pianists, a free event presented by the L.A. Philharmonic, the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, the Colburn School, Steinway & Sons and Roland. The admirable 101 Pianists program's lofty goal is to move and enthuse the next generation's crop of music aficionados and performers by giving them the chance to display their skills in a social and musical setting with renowned professional musicians. At our town's acoustically perfect Disney Concert Hall, approximately 100 young piano students will perform selected works in collaboration with superstar pianist Lang Lang. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown.; Mon., July 11, 2 p.m.; free tickets available by calling (323) 850-2000, laphil.com/tickets/101-pianists/2016-07-11. —John Payne

The 1990s were a real heyday for musicians who were into slap bass, white-guy dreads and braided goatees. Also, wife-beaters, eyebrow piercings and spiky bleach-blond hair — the list goes on! Many of us have spent the past decade and a half distancing ourselves from the brief moment when nu-metal ruled the airwaves, but we'd all be lying if we said we didn't occasionally want to make like that old dude in the viral video and growl "Bodies" by Drowning Pool into a microphone in a public place. Nostalgists will have their chance at Nu-Metal Karaoke at Complex, a bar that hosts the alternative-karaoke showcase Ground Control every Monday. This special edition presents the unique opportunity to put on a backward ball cap and sing "Break Stuff" so hard you'll want to beat yourself up. Complex, 806 E. Colorado St., Glendale; Mon., July 11, 8 p.m.; free. facebook.com/events/1548311658807737. —Gwynedd Stuart

Frank Pierson's take on A Star Is Born can't claim to be a classic on the level of the 1954 version starring Judy Garland (itself a remake, in case you'd forgotten), but it does boast a screenplay by the husband/wife team of John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion. Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson take the lead in this 1976 update, which was marked by on-set troubles between Streisand and Pierson. The musical proved controversial upon release, but "Evergreen" still won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Mon., July 11, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org—Michael Nordine

One of L.A. County's hotbeds of homicide, South Los Angeles has long been plagued by crime, drugs and gang violence. Zócalo Public Square and California Wellness Foundation's panel discussion Is South L.A. an Urban Success Story? argues that the neighborhood has recently seen a transformation thanks to a rise in home ownership, better schools and more businesses, among other improvements. KCRW president Jennifer Ferro moderates panelists including Community Development Technologies Center CEO Benjamin Torres, former L.A. Board of Public Works president Valerie Shaw, USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity director Manuel Pastor and El Nuevo Sur founder Jorge Nuño. Mercado La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Ave., Historic South-Central; Wed., July 13, 7:30 p.m.; free, reservation required. zocalopublicsquare.org. —Siran Babayan

Much like Thrasher or Screw, Surfer Magazine became a bible for young, adventurous people, particularly those seeking the emerald seas of far-flung corners of the Earth. This evening, two of Surfer's veteran journalists, writer Kevin Naughton and photographer Craig Peterson, sign Search for the Perfect Wave ($70, Naughton/Peterson Ventures). The first book in a series that will be released in several volumes, the book covers travels within California, Mexico and Central America — and, much like the choppy surf, their lives could get just as bumpy. Diesel Books, 225 26th St., Suite 33, Brentwood; Thu., July 14, 6:30 p.m.; free, book is $70. (310) 576-9960, dieselbookstore.com. —David Cotner

Music videos used to be on MTV but now are exclusively online. But why watch a video on YouTube when you can watch it in a theater with a bunch of comedians adding some comic relief? E=MC Hammer members Celeste Busa, BJ Emery, Darius Hamilton-Smith, Jan Lefrancois-Gijzen and Kellan Meador host the Clubhouse's new biweekly show, Yo! MTV Improv, with two guest teams, Ronnie & Jonny and Boss Jr. Each team watches a video and then performs a 15- to 20-minute improv set inspired by the clip. Past videos have included DJ Snake and Lil Jon's "Turn Down for What," Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" and David Hasselhoff's "Hooked on a Feeling," which features bad CGI and the Hoff dancing in front of a green screen. The Clubhouse, 1607 N. Vermont Ave., East Hollywood; Thu., July 14, 11 p.m.-12:15 a.m.; free, donations welcome. clubhouseimprov.com. —Siran Babayan

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