11 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week
Zoot Suit screens as part of La Vida Pachuca on Saturday.
A book fair in Leimert Park, a celebration of Pachuca culture, an evening with director John Landis and more to do and see in L.A. this week for 10 bucks or less.
Besides being fightin' words in many circles, Comedy Sucks is a multimedia variety show that challenges comedians to prove that premise wrong. Masterminded by Scott Blacks and featuring the best and/or worst in rare VHS clips from @midnight's found-footage collective Grimy Ghost!, this time they're using their clips in battle with comedians like podcaster Todd Glass, Playboy scribbler Jamie Loftus, Nigerian-turned-Angeleno Opeyemi Olagbaju, former jazz pianist Brent Weinbach and the Everything Is Terrible collective, which is no slouch in its own right when it comes to exhuming hysterical and surreal video clips that show just how far we've come and/or fallen as a civilization. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Aug. 19, 7-8:30 p.m.; $10, $8 in advance. (323) 851-7223, holdmyticket.com/event/253486. —David Cotner
Until 2006, only three African-American women had made the print version of The New York Times' Best Sellers List: Toni Morrison, Terry McMillan and Zane. The erotic-fiction writer formerly known as Kristina Laferne Roberts is one of a slew of big names and celebrity authors who'll appear at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Celebrating its 10th year, the fest also is hosting Bobby Brown, who recently released the autobiography Every Little Step: My Story; celebrity celibacy advocates Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin; and White House correspondent April Ryan. Put down whatever you're reading and go. Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw; Sat., Aug. 20, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. leimertparkbookfair.com. —Gwynedd Stuart
More than simply a swing-era throwback, the zoot suit — a flamboyant outfit consisting of baggy trousers and a long, wide-lapeled coat — was adopted as a statement of pride and resistance in the 1940s by Mexican-American youth known as pachucos. La Vida Pachuca celebrates their culture and legacy with a screening of Luis Valdez's 1981 film Zoot Suit, a theatrical account of the Sleepy Lagoon murder case and the subsequent Zoot Suit Riots of 1943. Cast members from the film will be at the event, which will also feature a pachuco dance contest, live swing music, a vintage fashion show, Mexican food and micheladas, and classic cars. La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 N. Main St., downtown; Sat., Aug. 20, 5 p.m.; free. (888) 488-8083, lapca.org/content/la-vida-pachuca-celebrate-35th-anniversary-chicano-film-zoot-suit. —Matt Stromberg
Part of the larger Nisei Week Festival, Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship seems light-hearted, but it's actually an important stop on the speed-eating circuit. Cash prizes are awarded to the top 10 finishers, with $1,600 going to the fastest eater. The current gyoza-eating record: 384 in 10 minutes. Yes, gyoza are a choking hazard when eaten that quickly, which is why participants must be at least 18. Registration is closed for the competitive eating portion, but for those who prefer eating their dumplings at a more leisurely pace, there will be gyoza for sale. Japanese American Community & Cultural Center, 224 S. San Pedro St., downtown; Sat., Aug. 20, 2 p.m.; free. majorleagueeating.com/contests.php?action=detail&eventID=717. —Katherine Spiers
In the mid-1950s, SoCal-based visionaries Ernest Norman and his wife, Ruth, established one of L.A.'s countless kooky, crypto-scientific spiritual organizations: the Unarius Academy of Science. Though its founding members have since departed the earthly realm, the group is still going strong and is currently the subject of a mind-blowing exhibition of photos, videos and related ephemera in the lobby of the Standard in West Hollywood. Women of Cinefamily's closing-night party, We Are Not Alone — The Films of the Unarius Academy of Science, kicks off with the ceremonial release of 33 white doves from the Unariuns' signature spaceship-themed Cadillac. Co-presented by female-centric creative consortium the Front with the clothing line BB Dakota, the far-out freaky festivities culminate with the U.S. premiere of Jodi Wille's documentary short We Are Not Alone, along with a glimpse at a gleaming 16mm-print of the Unariuns' own piece of outsider cinema, The Arrival (1980). Cosmic costumes encouraged. The Standard Hollywood, 8300 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Sun., Aug. 21, 6:30 p.m.; free with RSVP to email@example.com. cinefamily.org. —Tanja M. Laden
A hugely popular musical comedy originally developed by UCB in New York returns to the stage in Hollywood before it hits the big screen. Fucking Identical Twins: A Musical, the lewd and crude two-man Parent Trap–style story penned by Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp, is being adapted by Fox alongside Chernin Entertainment. For now, catch the original stage production, in which two business adversaries suddenly realize they're identical twins and decide to switch places in a bid to reunite their divorced parents. Jackson and Sharp give us a lot more than just Lindsay Lohan's or Hayley Mills' male counterparts — audience participation and a gay men's chorus round out the raucous production. UCB Sunset, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., Aug. 22., 7 p.m., $5. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Neha Talreja
Laraine Newman was one of the original "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" on Saturday Night Live, where she popularized such characters as Sheri the Valley Girl and Connie Conehead. But before becoming a TV star, Newman was one of the founders of the Groundlings. She returns to the famed improv comedy theater for the premiere of her solo storytelling show, The Audition. Directed by writer and Groundlings main company member Annie Sertich, Newman recounts true and humbling tales of auditions from hell, a common experience shared by all actors. Newman recalls auditioning for a TV show starring Bob Hope in the '70s, and for Martin Scorsese's 1982 The King of Comedy, while reading with none other than Robert De Niro. Newman also looks back on working with Lily Tomlin, which led to her being discovered by Lorne Michaels. The Groundlings Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Tue., Aug. 23, 8 p.m.; $10. (323) 934-4747, groundlings.com. —Siran Babayan
The New Beverly has always understood better than anyone in town that an essential part of old-school movie theaters is old-school trailers. As such, its presentation of Trailer Apocalypse Redux only makes sense. Curated by Oscar-winning editor Bob Murawski and his cohorts at Grindhouse Releasing, this feature-length, all-new compilation of exploitation trailers sounds like a must for disreputable genre diehards. As an added bonus, there's even a secret feature, also on 35mm. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Tue., Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine
Lemmy Kilmister bestrode the Sunset Strip like a Colossus, and he presided over the Hollywood rock scene like a leather-jacketed king from his regular perch at his favorite local hangout, the Rainbow Bar & Grill. The longtime hard-rock bar hosted a tribute to the late Motörhead singer-bassist in January, following his death at his nearby apartment in December last year, but this evening the Rainbow presents a more fittingly eternal homage to the guttural crooner. Artist Travis Moore will unveil his life-size bronze sculpture of Lemmy this evening in the bar's patio, following a fundraising campaign to pay for the work that was championed by ardent fan and Hirax lead singer Katon W. De Pena. Rainbow Bar & Grill, 9015 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, Wed., Aug. 24, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 278-4232, rainbowbarandgrill.com. —Falling James
Sundance Film Festival senior programmer John Nein hosts the latest installment of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' film-themed conversation series, Lost & Found at the Movies. Past events have revolved around the roles of love, food and Los Angeles in film, and have included such guests as Kenneth Turan, Buck Henry, Miguel Arteta and Jonathan Gold. For tonight's Lost & Found at the Movies: John Landis, A Man of Many Genres, Nein will interview the director of Animal House, The Blues Brothers, ¡Three Amigos! and An American Werewolf in London about his work in comedy, horror and sci-fi, as well as examples of early cinema that influenced his career (B-movies, Laurel & Hardy, Luis Buñuel) and jobs he had in show business prior to becoming a filmmaker. The discussion will screen clips from his and other movies and include an audience Q&A. Los Angeles Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., downtown; Wed., Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m.; free with reservation. (213) 228-7500, lfla.org. —Siran Babayan
Since 2012, stand-up comedians Jenny Yang, Atsuko Okatsuka, D'Lo and others have been performing as part of the (mostly) all-female, Asian-American Disoriented Comedy. For a second year, the touring comedy troupe and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center co-host the Comedy Comedy Festival: A Comedy Festival, which spotlights both big-name and emerging Asian-American comics from film, TV and the internet. The four-day schedule includes stand-up, sketch, storytelling, musicals and variety shows, and features headliners including Randall Park from the ABC stitcom Fresh Off the Boat as well as actors from Dr. Ken, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Wrecked. Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St., downtown; Thu., Aug. 25-Sun., Aug. 28; $10-$25. comedycomedyfest.com. —Siran Babayan
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