11 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week

Who is Leigh Bowery? Filmmaker Charles Atlas explains.
Who is Leigh Bowery? Filmmaker Charles Atlas explains.
Charles Atlas

An Italian food fest, a book fair in Little Tokyo, a screening of a really important documentary and more things to do this week for 10 bucks or less.

A family festival celebrating Italian culture, music and food, the Galbani Italian Feast of San Gennaro is held annually the last weekend of September in Hollywood, behind El Capitan Theatre. (That's where Jimmy Kimmel shoots his show, and he's a big San Gennaro booster.) The festival is meant to honor the patron saint of Naples and "propagate unity and cooperation among Italian-Americans." There are live music performances plus a lot of games and rides (it's very kid-friendly), as well as a parade, but the main focus is on the food. Italian restaurants and purveyors are well represented here. The festival is free, but the food is not. Behind El Capitan Theatre, 6838 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Sept. 23, 5 p.m.-mid.; Sat., Sept. 24, 11 a.m.-mid.; Sun., Sept. 25, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; free. feastofla.org. —Katherine Spiers

The Getty Center exhibit "London Calling" features two paintings by Lucien Freud of Leigh Bowery, a performance artist and staple of the London club scene known for his flamboyant, avant-garde costumes. Bowery had an influence on everyone from Boy George to Alexander McQueen before his death from AIDS in 1994. In order to illuminate Freud's work, the museum is screening video artist Charles Atlas' 2002 biographical documentary The Legend of Leigh Bowery, as well as the short film Teach, which features Bowery doing a performance to an Aretha Franklin song. Atlas himself hosts the whole thing. Harold M. Williams Auditorium, the Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; Fri., Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m.; free. getty.edu/museum/programs/performances/london_calling_filmseries.html. —Gwynedd Stuart

The Japanese American Cultural & Community Center highlights the accomplishments of Asian-American authors at its first Little Tokyo Book Festival. Following opening remarks, daylong activities include signings and readings by nearly two dozen writers, a reception and small-press vendors, as well as panel discussions on the topics "Past," "Community" and "Identity/Self," hosted, respectively, by Naomi Hirahara (former editor of Japanese-English daily newspaper the Rafu Shimpo), Traise Yamamoto (associate professor of English at UC Riverside) and Oliver Wang (writer, DJ and former L.A. Weekly music contributor). JACCC, 244 S. San Pedro St., downtown; Sat., Sept. 24, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; free with reservation. (213) 628-2725, jaccc.org/ltbf. —Siran Babayan

The first annual Art House Theater Day is underway across the country. To celebrate, the New Bev is giving away Time Maps to the first 100 attendees of Time Bandits. One of Terry Gilliam's more lighthearted works, the fantasy film has been described by the Monty Python mainstay as one of three in a trilogy about the "craziness of our awkwardly ordered society and the desire to escape it through whatever means possible," the other two being Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Sat., Sept. 24, 2 p.m.; $6. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

While Jeopardy! it ain't, @midnight With Chris Hardwick's seemingly off-the-cuff contestant responses actually emerge via collaborative writing, and the minds amassing those answers remain some of the quickest in comedy. Assorted staff writers, top winners and general favorites of the globally trending Comedy Central game show perform stand-up and more when @midnight @nerdmelt @9pm host Blaine Capatch welcomes Ron Funches, Allie Goertz, Calise Hawkins, Jesse Joyce, Jordan Morris, Ify Nwadiwe, Dan Telfer, Dave Thomason and Brendon Walsh to Hardwick's own Nerdist Showroom. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., Sept. 26, 9 p.m.; $8. nerdmeltla.com. —Julie Seabaugh

Speaking of nonfiction masters, Kartemquin Films' 50th anniversary is being toasted at UCLA. The 10-day retrospective comes to a close with Steve James' The Interrupters, a look at ground-level attempts to curb violence in Chicago. The Hoop Dreams director focuses on three members of the CeaseFire movement whose efforts are a means of reckoning with their own violent pasts. UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Mon., Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine

Perhaps the word "celebration" is a bit chipper when it comes to observing freedoms being trampled upon and artists being pilloried — then again, what else can you call the continued triumph of freedom of expression but a celebration? Tonight's Night of Silenced Voices: A Banned Books Week Celebration sees Skylight partnering with other bookstores as they present such wonders as the Banned Books Week Open Mic, the Blind Date With a Banned Book sale and guests like Zero Fade author Chris L. Terry; L.A. Review of Books noir editor and author Steph Cha; and Grace author Natashia Deón. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Tue., Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —David Cotner

An anthology film that apparently frightened a young Guillermo del Toro enough to include it in his Fuel for Nightmares series, Kwaidan is this week's Tuesday Matinee. Masaki Kobayashi's Oscar-nominated oddity is comprised of four discrete tales (the title translates to "strange stories") — "The Black Hair," "The Woman of the Snow," "Hoichi the Earless and In a Cup of Tea" — running a total of three hours, presented here on 35mm. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Sept. 27, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

Upcoming Events

Comedian-filmmaker Negin Farsad looks at comedy from the perspective of an Iranian-American female who holds a dual master's degree in African-American studies and public policy. Tonight she'll do stand-up and discuss her new memoir, How to Make White People Laugh, in which she draws on her childhood growing up with immigrant parents in Palm Springs, visiting her ancestral homeland, pursuing comedy and the challenges of online dating for women of color. "It's hard to date when you're an ethnic lady," she writes. "Women of color are like day-old sandwiches — you pick one if all the fresh sandwiches are taken." Farsad also has co-directed two documentaries, including 2008's Nerdcore Rising, about the nerdcore genre of hip-hop, and 2013's excellent The Muslims Are Coming!, which followed Muslim-American comics touring in post-9/11 America and featured interviews with Jon Stewart, Lewis Black, Janeane Garofalo, Colin Quinn, Rachel Maddow, Aasif Mandvi and Maz Jobrani. The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring St., downtown; Wed., Sept. 28, 7:30-9 p.m.; free. (213) 488-0599, lastbookstorela.com. —Siran Babayan

Cartoonist-filmmaker Riad Sattouf was born in Paris to French-Syrian parents. He contributed to the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for 10 years (before its office was the target of terrorist attacks, which killed 12 people, in 2015), and has directed two films, including 2012's Jacky in Women's Kingdom, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg. Last year, he published The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984, a graphic memoir translated into 15 languages, chronicling his early life, from his parents meeting at the Sorbonne University to the six years he spent as a child in Libya and Syria. As part of Central Library's ALOUD series, Sattouf discusses with KCRW host Elvis Mitchell the sequel, The Arab of the Future 2: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1984-1985, which focuses on his youth and schooling in Syria under president Hafez al-Assad's regime. Los Angeles Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., downtown; Thu., Sept. 29, 7:15 p.m.; free with reservation. (213) 228-7500, lfla.org. —Siran Babayan

Robert Bresson is one of the most revered auteurs ever to step behind the camera. Even among an oeuvre that includes masterworks like Au hasard Balthazar and Pickpocket, A Man Escaped has always been especially acclaimed. His adaptations of French Resistance fighter André Devigny's memoirs begins inside Montuc prison, from which our hero is (you guessed it) trying to escape. As ever with Bresson, though, a plot synopsis can't hope to fully convey the experience of watching A Man Escaped — his films are all about the grace in small moments. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., April 3, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu. —Michael Nordine

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