11 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week

It wouldn't be a sufficiently traumatizing time of the year without the Krampus!
It wouldn't be a sufficiently traumatizing time of the year without the Krampus!
Courtesy tribp

A presentation about a European Christmas monster, tales about pets that came back from the dead, a couple of Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities and more to do and see in L.A. this week.

Ever wonder if celebrities' holiday gatherings are as dysfunctional as yours? For the past three years, comedians/writers Lee Rubenstein and Mike Still have been hosting Celebrity Barf Machine at UCB, where more than a dozen cast members perform crude and inappropriate impersonations of famous folk, from well-known UCB alumni to Shia LaBeouf and Meryl Streep. For Celebrity Barf Machine: Yanksgiving Feast, Rubenstein and Still, imitating Melissa McCarthy and Richard Dreyfuss, respectively, preside over a Thanksgiving dinner set in a secret bunker beneath the Hollywood Sign. Guests including Donald Trump, the Clintons, the Baldwin brothers and other 2016 notables will drop by to share with us what they're thankful for. Rubenstein and Still promise a show so outrageous — 18-and-over and no cameras allowed — it'll make Black Friday at the mall seem tranquil. UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; Fri., Nov. 18, 11:45 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

It's possible that there are greater moviegoing joys than a 35mm John Cassavetes double feature, but few come to mind. The New Beverly continues its seven-film tribute to the singular filmmaker with Husbands and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, which find the writer-director (and, in Husbands, actor) in domestic and genre mode, respectively. Husbands star Ben Gazzara also headlines the latter, more stylized half of the double bill, a tour through smoke-filled rooms full of dim lights and hushed plotting. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri., Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 19, 6 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

America pop culture has finally embraced the Krampus, but how much do you really know about the furry beast with cloven hooves, long horns and longer tongue who punishes children during Christmas? Al Ridenour, author of The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil, discusses the "menacing old-world companion to St. Nicholas." The Krampus took form in 18th-century German and European folk tales, but the mythical figure predates Christianity. Ridenour, who co-directs December's annual L.A. Krampusfest, traces the creature's pagan roots, how its image has evolved over time, the role of witches and ghosts and various Krampus runs and parades in Austria and Bavaria. Ridenour incorporates slides, video clips, costumed characters, a "Krampus Kwiz with prizes (and punishments)" and live music. La Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Sat., Nov. 19, 7-10 p.m.; free. (323) 666-7667, laluzdejesus.com. ­—Siran Babayan

The Terminator movies have gotten so bad that we'd probably be better off if a T-1000 traveled through time to put them out of their misery, but that wasn't always the case. And though The Terminator isn't as awe-inspiring or dazzling as its sequel, the first chapter in James Cameron's man-vs.-machine series is as ruthless and efficient as Arnold Schwarzenegger's cybernetic assassin. Electric Dusk Drive-In, 2930 Fletcher Drive, Glassell Park; Sat., Nov. 19, 6:30 p.m. (doors at 5:30); $10 lawn, $14 car, $60 VIP. (818) 653-8591, electricduskdrivein.com. —Michael Nordine

The Mariachi Plaza Festival, Boyle Heights' beloved mariachi music and community fair, celebrates 26 years this year. The MPF Foundation invites Angelenos to descend on the Plaza for a full day of free performances from a number of mariachi acts, old and new. Its mission is "to celebrate the heritage of Mariachi culture, nurture its presence in our community and invite new audiences to experience its intricate magnificence." Featured performers include Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar, Mariachi Los Reyes and the all-female Mariachi Las Colibri. The festival is one of Boyle Heights' favorite traditions, supported by everyone from Councilmember José Huizar to Telemundo 52. Mariachi Plaza, Pleasant Ave., Boyle Heights; Sun., Nov. 20, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; free. mariachiplazafestival.com. —Neha Talreja

The launch of Angels Flight (not the funicular) is the grand blastoff of an ambitious literary salon series to be held at the venerable, quintessentially downtown Clifton's Cafeteria. The night focuses on writings about Los Angeles history and how L.A. provokes change in our lives. Author and USC English professor Dana Johnson (Elsewhere, California: A Novel) and screenwriter-novelist David Kukoff (Children of the Canyon and the forthcoming Los Angeles in the 1970s: Weird Scenes in the Goldmine) read from their work, followed by a Q&A. Attention writers: You can share your own writing, completed and in-progress, on this ever-fascinating subject. Themed beverages and dining available. Clifton's Cafeteria, 648 S. Broadway, downtown; Sun., Nov. 20, 4-6 p.m.; free. aflwmag.com. —John Payne

Tippi Hedren was the quintessential example of the so-called Hitchcock blonde, the fair-haired actress who embodied Alfred Hitchcock's ideal of a female lead who remains coolly poised and icily elegant even in the face of danger. In her new autobiography, Tippi: A Memoir, co-written with Lindsay Harrison, Hedren reveals more details of the famously contentious and allegedly abusive encounters she had with the British director while filming The Birds and Marnie. But the Minnesota native, who's the mother of Melanie Griffith and the grandmother of Dakota Johnson, doesn't see herself as a victim, and she also delves into her longtime passion for rescuing lions, tigers and other big cats at her Shambala Preserve in the Mojave Desert. Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Mon., Nov. 21, 7 p.m.; free, book is $28.99. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —Falling James

Before there was the TV show there was the movie, and though suicide is painless, the Korean War was not. Nor, for that matter, was Vietnam, which Robert Altman's dark comedy MASH was really about — made in 1970 and taking a sardonic view of our foreign entanglements, the film's subtext is clear. Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt and Elliott Gould lead the way as three doctors at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (hence the acronym) in the film, which won the prize we now know as the Palme d'Or and received five Oscar nods. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Nov. 22, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

Celebrating 80 years of kindness and charity, the L.A. Mission shines a light on the other side of downtown L.A. with its annual Thanksgiving Street Event. Plebes and politicians, celebrities and commoners — all will rub shoulders as they volunteer to serve to the homeless a ton and a half of turkey, pound after pound of mashed potatoes, gallons of giblet gravy and pulchritudinous piles of pie. Volunteers also will hand out more than 1,400 warm blankets and 1,200-plus tarps to shelter the hardiest unfortunates as they take life day by day in the streets and doorways of the city. Downtown L.A. Mission, 303 E. Fifth St., downtown Los Angeles; Wed., Nov. 23, 9 a.m.; free. (213) 629-1227, losangelesmission.org. —David Cotner

A Depression-era mongoose, evil dog and decapitated feline all make cameos in this masterful slideshow and lecture by Dr. Paul Koudounaris. Tails From the Crypt: Animal Ghosts chronicles some of the most bizarre, unbelievable and delightfully disturbing stories featuring apparitions of dead creatures, including an account of a cat that saved a person's life on public transportation, as well as a dog that miraculously diverted a catastrophe at a train station. Koudounaris, who holds a Ph.D. in art history from UCLA, rounds out the evening of weird and wacky tales with an anecdote about Rudolph Valentino's dog, Kabar. You'll never think of your furry friends in quite the same way again. Hyperion Tavern, 1941 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Wed., Nov. 23, 9:45 p.m.; free. (323) 665-1941, facebook.com/events/1771299696464408. —Tanja M. Laden

Despite what this year's election results might lead you to believe, empathy is not dead. On Thanksgiving morning, nice, helpful people come together for Gobble Gobble Give, a program that distributes food, clothing and toiletries to homeless people in Los Angeles. Thanksgiving Day volunteers are asked to bring a hot dish (side, main or dessert) plus five toiletry kits and blankets or warm clothes to give away, and to handle tasks range from delivering food to sorting care packages. Giving thanks and giving go hand in hand. The Regent Theater, 448 S. Main St., downtown (there are also locations in Echo Park, Santa Ana and Santa Monica); Thu., Nov. 24, 10 a.m.; free. gobblegobblegive.org. —Gwynedd Stuart


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