20 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Innovative horror video game Nevermind is amongst the games you can play at this year's IndieCade.
Innovative horror video game Nevermind is amongst the games you can play at this year's IndieCade.
Courtesy of Flying Mollusk

fri 10/23

Y'know those evangelical groups that put on "hell houses" to scare sinners away from fornicating, lying and other things God hates? KillJoy's Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House is a queer, sex-positive take on that concept, providing a view of a nonpatriarchal reality that may frighten the mainstream. Originally a Toronto installation by artist Allyson Mitchell, the Kastle comes to WeHo through the support of the City of West Hollywood, the Andy Warhol Foundation and ONE Archives. The Kastle officially opened Oct. 16 and runs through Oct. 30, so go now. Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; Thu.-Sun., Oct. 22-25, & Wed.-Fri., Oct. 28-30, 6:30-9:30 p.m.; free. otherwild.com/collections/events. —Sascha Bos

Having begun its weekend residency at the Egyptian last night, the ninth German Currents festival of German film continues with a double feature of Jack and Schmitke. Both exemplars of contemporary Teutonic cinema are making their Los Angeles premieres courtesy of the fest, and Edward Berger, who wrote and directed Jack, will be present for an audience Q&A. His movie concerns a 10-year-old forced to provide for his even younger brother the care that their outmatched mother can't, while Schmitke, which is likewise named for its protagonist, tells of an aging engineer trekking into a dense forest after a wind turbine breaks down. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.

Cinespia presents a rare non–Hollywood Forever event at the Million Dollar Theatre, where George Romero's original Dawn of the Dead is but one of many entertainments. Also on the undead docket are DJs doing that record-spinning trick the kids are so fond of, an appropriately themed photo booth and more than one full bar — but really, the Platonic ideal of zombie movies should be more than enough to coax you out of your home in the name of sweet, sweet brains. Due to the alluring mix of metaphorical zombies (consumerism!) and alcoholic libations, the evening's festivities are only open to patrons 21 and older. Million Dollar Theatre, 307 S. Broadway, downtown; Fri., Oct. 24, 9 p.m. (doors at 8); $18. (213) 617-3600, cinespia.org.

Upcoming Events

Whether you're an industry pro, a future developer or just curious about the latest in independently made video games, Indie­Cade has something for you. If you're interested in checking out games nominated for the convention's 2015 awards — such as biofeedback horror game Nevermind and USC Game Innovation Lab's Walden, based on Henry David Thoreau's world — you can do that for free. Other events vary in price. GameU badge holders can check out workshops focusing on various aspects of game making. Get a conference badge if you want to check out the think:indie talks or a festival badge if you want to have a bigger selection. Try to get into Saturday's Night Games, where you can try games that are conducive to outdoor, evening play. IndieCade Village, 9300 Culver Blvd., Culver City; Thu., Oct. 22, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 23, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 24, 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 25, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; free-$525, central@indie0x200Bcade.com, indiecade.com. —Liz Ohanesian

Long before the Terminator franchise, the appeal of a strong, spirited human facing off against a machine was captured in the Appalachian ballad of that "steel-driving man" John Henry. The legend and symbolism of John Henry take on a new life in the West Coast premiere of the rock opera/dance-theater event Steel Hammer. Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Julia Wolfe's oratorio raises issues such as the costs of industrialized progress, which are given a physical dimension by dance-theater troupe SITI Company with Wolfe's score performed live by their frequent collaborators, Bang on a Can All-Stars, with singers Emily Eagen, Katie Geissinger and Molly Quinn. UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Westwood; Fri.-Sat., Oct. 23-24, 8 p.m.; $19-$69. (310) 825-2101, cap.ucla.edu. —Ann Haskins

Rosemary's Baby
Rosemary's Baby

sat 10/24

As you may have noticed, a lot of horror movies are playing this month, none of them better than Rosemary's Baby, which can be seen in many forms (including a superb Blu-ray from Criterion Collection) but only rarely graces us with its presence at a venue like Electric Dusk Drive-In. Descend into paranoia with Mia Farrow as she wonders whether her neighbors are merely nosy or part of a witch cult. You'll never see a scarier movie that relies entirely on the power of what you don't see and can't hope to know — the truth in Roman Polanski's movies, as has sometimes been the case in the exiled filmmaker's life, is even more unsettling than what you imagine it to be. Electric Dusk Drive-In, 1000 San Julian St., downtown; Sat., Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m. (doors at 5); $9 lawn, $13 car, $55 VIP. (818) 653-8591, electricduskdrivein.com.

If one all-time-great horror movie isn't enough, test your mettle with seven of varying reputations in a row. The Aero's '80s-centric 10th annual Dusk-to-Dawn Horrorthon features Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Death Spa, Anguish, Spookies, Dead and Buried, Pieces and The Nest. Cost of admission gains you access not only to the all-night-long marathon but also food between films, giveaways, trailers, short films and more. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m.; $20. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.

The booze- and candy-filled fun of Halloween isn't until next week, but you can still be among kindred spirits at Hollywood Forever's 16th annual Dia de Los Muertos, the country's largest celebration of honoring the dead held at a cemetery. "Shamanic Visions of the Huichol" is the theme for this year's event, which includes a blessing and procession, Aztec ritual dancers, costume contest, curated art exhibit in the Cathedral Mausoleum, arts and crafts, food and three stages of music and theater performances by Grammy-winning singer Lila Downs and many others. Of course, the highlight is getting to admire the 100-plus decorated altars — judged in three categories — whether they're paying tribute to deceased loved ones, family pets or celebrities. Hollywood Forever, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Oct. 24, noon-midnight; $20, children and seniors free until 4 p.m. (323) 469-1181, ladayofthedead.com. —Siran Babayan

For every '80s kid who is totally ticked about that upcoming Jem remake, there's a party going on at the Cinefamily. Starbright: A Truly Outrageous Celebration of Jem and the Holograms is for those who still have 30-year-old cartoon pop songs committed to memory and who still have burning questions about that bizarre Jem/Rio/Jerrica triangle. Original series creator Christy Marx will be on hand to share some goodies from her own collection. Fans will watch vintage episodes and related music video clips, as well as Off Hollywood, a documentary series about showbiz ups and downs; the premiere episode spotlights Marx. Fan-made art will be on display, and bands will perform Jem-related cover songs. The Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Blvd., Fairfax; Sat., Oct. 24, 2:30 p.m.; $15, free for Cinefamily members. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Liz Ohanesian

Celebrate the original Jem and the Holograms on Saturday at Cinefamily.
Celebrate the original Jem and the Holograms on Saturday at Cinefamily.

sun 10/25

Few characters have survived more incarnations than Count Dracula, and some of the strangest versions of ol' Vlad the Impaler are also the most interesting. That's certainly the case in Werner Herzog's Nosferatu the Vampyre, which the New Beverly is pairing with John Badham's Dracula (also from 1979) for a particularly Transylvanian double bill. Nosferatu is one of the eccentric soldier of cinema's many collaborations with best friend/sworn enemy Klaus Kinski, and also benefits from the presence of Bruno Ganz and the singularly evocative Isabelle Adjani. Badham's cast is no less impressive, with sexy vampire Frank Langella flanked by Laurence Olivier and Donald Pleasance. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Sun., Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com.

Diarist Anaïs Nin's erotic relationship with novelist Henry Miller and a Spanish fable about a cursed red guitar are the subjects of Push Play 3's double bill from Los Angeles Rock Opera. Written and composed by Cindy Shapiro, Anaïs: A Dance Opera considers Nin and Miller's affair in the context of 1930s Paris. LAROC's Janet Rosten directed and choreographed. LAROC's Mark Governor collaborated with Barcelona composer Marc Sambola on Possession: The Legend of El Rojo, drawing from a Spanish tale about a man who falls under the spell of an enchanted guitar in his efforts to win a woman's love. Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Oct. 23-24, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 25, 7 p.m.; $12. (800) 838-3006, brownpaper0x200Btickets.com/event/2342178. —Ann Haskins

mon 10/26

REDCAT devotes an entire night to Roberta Friedman and Grahame Weinbren, two stalwarts of the experimental film world, who've been collaborating for decades. The two first joined forces on the decade-spanning Straight From Bertha in 1976, the latest version of which was completed last year, and they will appear in person to discuss their work. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Mon., Oct. 26, 8:30 p.m.; $11. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org.

Last year, Chicago institutions Second City and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago joined forces to stage The Art of Falling, a full-length production that marries sketch comedy and dance. Created by five choreographers and four writers, and starring more than 30 dancers and actors, the collaboration revolves around three story lines and short vignettes. In anticipation of the performance's West Coast debut next month at the Music Center, Second City Hollywood hosts The Art of Falling pop-up improv show, featuring some of the club's L.A.-via-Chicago comedians, plus a chance to win tickets to opening night at the Ahmanson. Upstairs at the Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Mon., Oct. 26, 7-8 p.m.; free with RSVP. acehotel.com/calendar/losangeles/second-city-hollywood-art-falling. —Siran Babayan

tue 10/27

Between 1941 and 1952, 526 episodes of Inner Sanctum Mystery aired on the radio, and from these Universal produced six low-budget horror flicks starring Lon Chaney Jr. That august company includes Weird Woman, in which Chaney plays a professor who weds an exotic native while on holiday in the South Seas and is greeted by trouble upon his return to the mainland — no one much cares for his new wife, whose belief in voodoo coincides with strange happenings. You could almost squeeze this 63-minute adaptation of Fritz Leiber Jr.'s novel Conjure Wife into your lunch break. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Oct. 27, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

Why pay big bucks at those elaborate theme-park Halloween haunts when you can go to a comedy club and laugh and get scared — and possibly wet — at the same time? Directed by Groundlings member Chris Eckert, You Paid to DIE* Tonight (*laugh) turns the club into its own haunt filled with smoke, strobe lights, costumed characters, sketches and stories about The Groundlings' spooky past and even a parody song inspired this year's scariest woman — Kim Davis. Wear a rain slicker and hold a friend's hand. The Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave., Fairfax; Tue., Oct. 27, 8 & 10 p.m.; $15. (323) 934-4747, groundlings.com. —Siran Babayan

wed 10/28

Adult Swim fans are nothing if not devoted, and as the network enters its 15th year, it gives back to those fans with Adult Swim Drive-In. Park to watch special sneak previews of what's coming next for the programming block that brought you Robot Chicken, The Boondocks and Rick and Morty. You'll also experience unaired specials and pilots, food trucks galore, trivia contests and the chance to meet others as stoked about your favorite cartoons as you are. The Rose Bowl, Lot F, 837 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena; Wed., Oct. 28, 6 p.m.; free with RSVP. (626) 577-3100, adultswim.com/presents. —David Cotner

Though most people don't know it, the world's biggest skin rag is as much associated with jazz as it is with naked centerfolds. Patty Farmer discusses the history of this connection in Playboy Swings: How Hugh Hefner and Playboy Changed the Face of Music. After the first concert in Chicago in 1959, the Playboy Jazz Festival has been an L.A. staple since the late 1970s. But Farmer's book traces Hefner's love affair with jazz back to high school. Later, his organization would not only champion jazz entertainers but also help break down the color barrier through various outlets, including the Playboy clubs, Playboy-produced recordings, TV shows, Playboy Jazz Poll, the magazine's first feature on the Dorsey brothers and the first Playboy interview with Miles Davis. Farmer includes approximately 60 black-and-white photos, as well as hundreds of interviews with musicians, Playboy personnel, former Bunnies and Hefner himself. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Wed., Oct. 28, 7 p.m.; free, book is $24.95. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Siran Babayan

The thrilltastic of American burlesque and Mexican wrestling known as Lucha VaVoom presents its annual Halloween spooktacular, Mexican Horror Story. This strange and hilarious carnival features such fearfully farfetched acts as transvestite wrestlers who swan-dive from a third-story balcony to pin their opponents to the floor and high-wire acrobats stripped nearly naughtily naked and spinning high above the clamoring crowd. Howls of fright and glee will greet this year's wicked selection of masked maniacal marvels, including Japan's Kikutaro and Mr. Cacao, Dr. Cerebro and Dr. Maldad vs. Vampiro Blanco and Relampago, Marawa the Amazing, aerial-pole star Leigh Acosta and an all–mini monster match. Mayan Theatre, 1026 S. Hill St., downtown; Wed.-Thu., Oct. 28-29, doors open 7 p.m., start time 8:30 p.m.; $40-$75; 21+. (213) 746-4674, luchavavoom.com. —John Payne

Think you know The Walking Dead? Then test your knowledge Wednesday night at Stupid Gets You Killed: A Walking Dead Quiz. Pub-quiz pros Geeks Who Drink have a knack for stumping even hard-core fans with their hyper-detailed quizzes on pop culture properties ranging from Game of Thrones to Star Wars. Rewatching the series won't be enough preparation; in addition to testing fans on the first five seasons of the show, there may be questions about the comics and other parts of the franchise. Get a group together and tackle this challenge as if it's the zombie apocalypse. Don't forget your walker makeup, as costumes are welcome. Pitfire Pizza, 108 W. Second St., downtown; Wed., Oct. 28, 8 p.m.; $5. (213) 808-1200, geekswho0x200Bdrink.com. —Liz Ohanesian

thu 10/29

Who Owns Water?, part of Hammer Lectures: The Next Wave, focuses on the legal ramifications of the ongoing drought, which has transformed water into California's most potent potable. Mark Gold, UCLA associate vice chancellor for environment and sustainability, moderates a panel discussion featuring Eric L. Garner, the first American to chair the International Bar Association's Water Law Committee; Earth Law Center executive director Linda Sheehan; and Buzz Thompson, founding director of Stanford Law's Environmental and Natural Resources Program. State laws regarding groundwater ownership originated in English common law — but who ultimately possesses the water that flows beneath us? Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Thu., Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —David Cotner

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