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

Air Sex: The Movie, which chronicles the 2013 Air Sex Championships, screens on Saturday.
Air Sex: The Movie, which chronicles the 2013 Air Sex Championships, screens on Saturday.

From Martin Luther King, Jr. Day volunteering to a screening of a movie about people who are competitive air sexers, there's loads of fun stuff to do in L.A. this week.

fri 1/15

Celebrated violinist Itzhak Perlman starts this weekend's program with L.A. Philharmonic by knitting together two short works by W.A. Mozart — the austerely lulling idyll Adagio in E major and the more courtly and elegant Rondo in C major. Both pieces are well suited for the Tel Aviv native, a longtime interpreter of Mozart, who draws out the Austrian composer's melodies with an expressive romanticism. Far from a dour technician, Perlman clearly revels in Mozart's ever-entrancing passages; his somber countenance quickly turns joyful onstage. The ambidextrous New Yorker will perform on violin while simultaneously conducting the orchestra through Mozart's playful Symphony No. 27 and Tchaikovsky's comparatively monumental Fifth Symphony. Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., Jan. 15, 11 a.m.; Sat., Jan. 16, 8 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 17, 2 p.m.; $72.50-$213.50. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com. —Falling James

In 2014, Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans of local indie band YACHT launched 5 Every Day, a free mobile app that recommends users try five new things a day. The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum partners with the couple to curate It's the Pits!, a "creative salon" where hand-picked groups and individual artists take over the museum grounds. The Lost & Found Film Club and Ghosting screen science films and animation; Tom Carroll leads guided tours; Jasmine Albuquerque performs a site-specific dance piece; and Jherek Bischoff plays with a string quartet — all while Dublab DJs spin records. Of course, there's also Ice Age Encounters, the museum's ongoing multimedia live show about the extinct animals that roamed L.A. more than 10,000 years ago. La Brea Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Fri., Jan. 15, 7-10 p.m.; free with RSVP. (323) 857-6300, tarpits.org/museum/programming. —Siran Babayan

Samurai of the Screen, the Egyptian's two-weekend Akira Kurosawa series, commences with Yojimbo and its sequel, Sanjuro on 35mm. Kurosawa is a wonderful gateway director for anyone hoping to delve into older and/or foreign fare; Seven SamuraiThrone of Blood and The Hidden Fortress (among many, many others) remain as epic and pulse-pounding as ever. These two, in particular, are among his most rewarding collaborations with frequent star Toshiro Mifune, which is saying a lot — they made as many classics together as any other actor/director pair in history. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.; 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. Michael Nordine

Though not as well-remembered as some of her contemporaries, Betty Grable was among Hollywood's most bankable stars in the 1940s; she was Fox's go-to leading lady for musicals and maybe their most reliable performer. Grable made Sweet Rosie O'Grady at the height of her fame in 1943, starring as a music-hall star whose past threatens to upend her engagement to a high-society duke. As they're wont to do, the folks at Old Town Music Hall will begin the evening with a sing-along accompanied by the Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; Fri., Jan. 15, 8:15 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 16, 2:30 & 8:15 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 17, 2:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 322-2592, oldtownmusichall.org. —Michael Nordine

sat 1/16

Air Sex: The Movie is a documentary that follows the 2013 national Air Sex Championships, an air guitar competition's naughtier and more embarrassing cousin. Comedian Chris Trew hosts contestants — who go by names like "King Dong," "Dorian's Gray Balls" and "Mary Tyler Whore" — as they pretend to make love to imaginary partners, both human and animal, and later apologize to their mothers. Trew, director Jonathan Evans and producer Brock LaBorde conduct a Q&A following the screening and demonstrate an air sex routine. To paraphrase one of the contest's judges, you'll probably get a yeast infection after watching this. Part of NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Film Fest, AT&T Center, 1139 S. Hill St., downtown; Sat., Jan. 16, 9:25 p.m.; $5 in advance, $7 at the door. (323) 521-7385, airsexworld.com. —Siran Babayan

By now Vivian Maier — the nanny who secretly shot more than 100,000 photographs of 20th-century American life, told no one and died in obscurity — is an art-world enigma on par with Henry Darger and Robert Johnson, and tonight's opening of a new retrospective of Vivian Maier's photography peels back yet another layer of a cultural onion that just keeps unpeeling. Exhumed by Realtor John Maloof in 2007 at a Chicago auction house, Maier's images depict street scenes in Chicago, New York, Egypt and Los Angeles; more than 65 images have been selected for this exhibit, including modern limited silver gelatin and color prints. KP Projects, 170 S. La Brea Ave. (in the ART 170 Bldg.), Mid-Wilshire; Sat., Jan. 16, 7 p.m.; free. (323) 933-4408, mkgallery.com. —David Cotner

Manoel de Oliveira died last year at 106. Even more impressive than his longevity is the fact that the Portuguese auteur never stopped working; his last film, Gebo and the Shadow, came out in 2012 and wasn't even intended to be his swan song. REDCAT pays tribute to the departed master with a rare screening of Amor de Perdição (Doomed Love), Oliveira's 1978 adaptation of the Camilo Castelo Branco novel. How else would you spend your Saturday if not with a 4 1/2-hour movie presented in 16mm? REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; 6 p.m.; $11. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org. Michael Nordine

The Aero's yearlong celebration of its 75th anniversary nears an end with a screening of Pinocchio, which, like the theater itself, came into the world in 1940. Lighter fare than Oliveira to be sure, it's also a classic for a reason — a highlight from Disney's golden age, which keeps getting passed from one generation to the next. Just don't see it after claiming to your cinephile friends that you're actually going to the Amor de Perdição screening (unless you want your nose to grow). Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

Kurosawa's Yojimbo screens at the Egyptian on Friday.
Kurosawa's Yojimbo screens at the Egyptian on Friday.

sun 1/17

Darryl Holter and William Deverell stop by Vroman's to discuss their new book, Woody Guthrie L.A.: 1937 to 1941, a collection of 12 essays that look at how the legendary folk and protest singer's brief time in L.A. informed both his music and his politics. Guthrie was among the thousands of Okies who fled to California during the Dust Bowl. Here, he recorded some of his best-known songs and hosted a daily radio show. And in L.A. he befriended Will Geer, Eddie Albert and Burl Ives, as well as members of the Communist Party and left-wing activists. The book also includes more than a dozen of Guthrie's satirical cartoons. Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Sun., Jan. 17, 3 p.m.; free. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —Siran Babayan

Another Hangover Matinee with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall at Cinefamily: The Big Sleep. The first adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel of the same name stars Bogey and Bacall as archetypal hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe and femme fatale Vivian Rutledge. Anyone feeling well enough to arrive to Cinefamily's patio an hour early can avail themselves of cocktails and a live set by DJ Mean Mr. Mustard. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine

Zulu, Cy Endfield's dramatization of an 1879 battle in which 150 British soldiers held off as many as 4,000 Zulu warriors, is the latest in UCLA's Endfield retrospective. Decide for yourself whether the film bemoans or glorifies British colonialism — a debate that's raged since Zulu premiered more than 50 years ago. Brian Neve, who wrote The Many Lives of Cy Endfield, will be present to share his insights. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; 7 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine

Upcoming Events

mon 1/18

More than 274 restaurants — from 10e to Ziran — take part in the 2016 dineL.A. Winter Restaurant Week. The idea is simple: Go into any of the participating restaurants, bistros, breweries and wineries, enjoy a wide selection of prix fixe lunches and dinners from around the world, and expand your palate, as well as your mind. No need to feel guilty about gorging: This year, dineL.A. partners with longtime nonprofit L.A. homeless helpers the Midnight Mission, which gets a $1 donation whenever a seated reservation is booked online through OpenTable. Restaurants throughout Los Angeles; Mon., Jan. 18-Sun., Jan. 31; $15, $20 or $25 lunch / $29, $39 or $49 dinner. (213) 236-2345, discoverlosangeles.com/dinela. —David Cotner

If you thought being a comedian was an unusual occupation, try being a scientist who studies bats, a marine biologist who studies disco clams or an author who's read the Oxford English Dictionary cover to cover and has written about the history of the phone book. Comedian Chris Duffy hosts this live taping of You're the Expert, a Boston-based podcast and game show where a panel of fellow comedians tries to guess what the guest experts — usually academics, including a Nobel Prize winner — do for a living, and learn a few things about his or her area of interest. Past contestants have included Janeane Garofalo, Eugene Mirman, John Hodges, Sarah Vowell, Wyatt Cenac and Maria Bamford. Tonight's lineup features 30 Rock's Scott Adsit and other panelists. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., Jan. 18, 9 p.m.; $12. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —Siran Babayan

Martin Luther King Jr. Day should be the perfect time to reflect on the progress we've made as a society since the civil rights leader was gunned down in Tennessee in April 1968. But if the events of the past few years — from Ferguson to whatever the hell these racists in Oregon are doing at the moment — make reflection seem a bit too passive, it's also an official Day of Service. Or as volunteer mobilization group L.A. Works calls it a "day on, not a day off." This year that organization will be revitalizing the campus of Woodcrest Elementary School in South L.A., including landscaping and repainting chipped murals. We promise it'll be more rewarding than sleeping in. Woodcrest Elementary School, 1151 W. 109th St., Westmont; Mon., Jan 18, 6 a.m. or 8 a.m.; free. laworks.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

An exhibit of outsider street photographer Vivan Maier's work opens on Saturday.
An exhibit of outsider street photographer Vivan Maier's work opens on Saturday.
Courtesy KP Projects

tue 1/19

Rising from the 1970's New York underground male drag scene, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo became a worldwide phenomenon. Initially, the Trocks drew attention with the humorous concept of men in pointe shoes and stage names like Yakaterina Verbosovich and Nina Immobilashvili, but their staying power over four decades derives from the fact that underneath the laughs, these guys are serious ballet dancers performing hilarious but polished parodies of Russian ballet classics. In advance of their weekend performances on Jan. 23 and 24, the Carpenter Performing Arts Center screens the film Leaping Over Boundaries: A History of the Trocks, a documentary about the troupe's rise and how these excellent male dancers transform themselves into their Trock alter egos. Come for the free screening, return over the weekend for the real show. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 E. Atherton St., Long Beach; Tue., Jan. 19, 7 p.m.; free with reservation. carpenterarts.org. —Ann Haskins

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Museum curator Kevin Jones presents Dressed in Diamonds: American Princesses & Gilded Age Fashion, a lecture on the fashion and jewelry of the Gilded Age. The term was coined by Mark Twain to describe the period of American opulence and prosperity in the late 19th century. Jones uses as examples several "Dollar Princesses" — American heiresses and socialites — including Jennie Jerome, Consuelo Yznaga, Consuelo Vanderbilt, Helena Zimmerman and May Goelet. Co-presented by FIDM and Pasadena Museum of History's Textile Arts Council, this is the first in a three-part lecture series on fashion throughout the decades, including one on the Gatsby period and one on Hollywood costume designer Walter Plunkett. El Segundo Museum of Art, 208 Main St., El Segundo; Tue., Jan 19, 8 p.m.; $20. (626) 577-1660, pasadenahistory.org.—Siran Babayan

Now regarded by many as the first film in which Alfred Hitchcock became a truly "serious" director, Notorious is also a characteristically gripping thriller by the master of suspense. Ingrid Bergman plays the daughter of a Nazi forced by Cary Grant's government agent to infiltrate a group of exiled Nazis in Brazil. Two of Hitchcock's most famous scenes are on display, including one in which he cleverly stretched a kissing scene to nearly three minutes despite the Production Code's insistence that they last no more than three seconds. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

wed 1/20

When Cat Fancy ceased operations in 2014, it left a gaping void in feline-publishing landscape. Though it launched that same year, Puss Puss magazine is nothing like Cat Fancy. Born of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the sleek, London-based publication is full of features about chic, millennial cat lovers like Tyler, the Creator and model Anja Konstantinova, and fashion-magazine quality pictures of cats. It's like the entire Internet's tactile companion piece. To ingratiate itself to American cat people, Puss Puss hosts a party with drinks, a DJ set by Clean White Linens and plenty of riveting cat convo, no doubt. Upstairs Bar at the Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Wed., Jan. 20, 8:30 p.m.-2 a.m.; free with RSVP. guestlistapp.com/events/400773. —Gwynedd Stuart

thu 1/21

In advance of the opening of the new exhibit Respect!: Otis Redding and the Revolution of Soul on Jan. 22, the Grammy Museum hosts a special event featuring appearances by Redding's wife, Zelma, daughter Karla Redding-Andrews and son Otis Redding III. The display, which runs through Sept. 15, illustrates the life and career of the legendary soul singer via such artifacts as photographs, performance footage, stage outfits and Redding's 1968 Grammy award for "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," which was posthumously released after his death in a plane crash in 1967. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic, downtown; Thu., Jan. 21, 7 p.m.; $25. (213) 765-6800, grammymuseum.org. —Siran Babayan

Located in the old City Hall building in Venice, Beyond Baroque has been the neighborhood's literary center since 1968, housing more than 40,000 art, literary and poetry books, and hosting readings, workshops and performances. During last year's rain, the bookstore's roof suffered leaks that damaged some of its materials. With El Niño threatening to do more harm, the organizers of Stand Up for Beyond Baroque: A Comedy Fundraiser hope to raise money for repairs while hosting laughs courtesy of Eddie Brill, Dylan Brody, Kelly Carlin, Talia Harari, Tamer Kattan, Cathy Ladman, Rick Overton, Rick Shapiro, Eric Schwartz, Suzanne Whang and David Zasloff. Hotel Erwin, 1697 Pacific Ave., Venice; Thu., Jan. 21, 7 p.m.; $50-$150. beyondbaroque.org. —Siran Babayan

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