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

The first of the season's Chinatown Summer Nights is on Saturday.
The first of the season's Chinatown Summer Nights is on Saturday.
Photo by Tessie Navarro

A French/Brazilian hip-hop dance troupe, comedy's favorite pimp, a vegan beer fest and more fun stuff to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 6/17

At the Music Center, L.A.'s often oh-so-serious bastion of high culture, a four-day street-dance festival revolves around performances by Compagnie Käfig, a French/Brazilian hip-hop dance troupe that's having too much fun to be serious. After Friday's show, a ticketed after-hours event (11:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.) featuring roller skating, dancing, DJs and battles between local dance crews takes over Disney Hall. On Saturday morning, Compagnie Käfig dancers lead a free beginner hip-hop class before their evening show. Take a break from Sunday's free Beat Swap Meet, with dance competitions, freestyle dance and a vinyl record swap, to see Compagnie Käfig's finale. The Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri.-Sat., June 17-18, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., June 19, 2 p.m.; $34-$138. (213) 972-0711, musiccenter.org/about/our-programs/1516-season/compagnie-kafig. —Ann Haskins

For more than 25 years, Beth Lapides' comedy and storytelling series UnCabaret has attracted the likes of Patton Oswalt, Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho. In conjunction with the Skirball's "Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American," which examines the history of American Jews and other immigrants and minorities in our country's favorite pastime, the cultural center hosts UnCabaret: Out of Left Field, featuring more comics cracking wise "about baseball. And Jews. And Jews in baseball." Tonight's incarnation includes Julie Goldman, Wayne Federman, Erin Foley and Jason Sklar. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Fri., June 17, 8 p.m.; $15, $8 for students. (310) 440-4500, skirball.org. —Siran Babayan

They Live
 has come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass — and it's all out of bubble gum. John Carpenter's 1988 cult classic feels as cutting as ever (if not more so) in the current election cycle, with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's greatest screen performance serving as a populist yawp for all disenchanted Americans to echo. The Nuart's midnight screening on 35mm is apropos of the film itself, which always felt like a secret the Man didn't want you to know about. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., June 17, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com—Michael Nordine

sat 6/18

Tasty comestibles from esoteric eateries are in plentiful supply at Chinatown Summer Nights, a super-pleasant hang under the moon and stars in one of the most people-friendly places in town. Among the things to do: Watch Chinese chefs demonstrate their cooking magic; grab dinner and a drink from the vast fleet of L.A.'s wildly eclectic food trucks and craft brew boosters; check out the outdoor video projections and hands-on Chinese cultural activities presented by local organizations and museums; dance your bootay off to the sonic sorcery of KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Raul Campos, as well as local bands at the L.A. Weekly live music stage. 943-951 N. Broadway (Central and West Plazas), downtown; Sat., June 18, 5 p.m.,-mid. (also July 16 and Aug. 20). chinatownsummernights.com. —John Payne

Get your shoes dirty on the way to the museum? Fear not, fashionisto. At For the Love of Shoes, a special footwear-focused event that coincides with LACMA's exhibit "Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715-2015" — which features, among lots of other things, footwear by Jeremy Scott for Adidas, Rick Owens and more — the museum offers a complimentary sneaker-cleaning booth. Premium shoe caregiver Jason Markk will lavish upon your soles a solution that's gentle and biodegradable, softly annihilating the filth with a dazzling brush, after which you should really have them buffed with a fine chamois — but I digress. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Sat., June 18, 1 p.m.; $25 adults, free for members and children 17 and younger. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org/event/love-shoes. —David Cotner

Since 2010, L.A.'s annual Vegan Beer & Food Festival has dutifully reminded us that, no, not all beer is vegan. Some breweries use fish byproducts in their filtering processes, others put milk in their stouts — basically, you might as well twist the head off a baby goat and drink its blood. Here attendees can rest assured that the suds and the grub are cruelty-free. Breweries including New Belgium, Ballast Point, Stone, Eagle Rock Brewery and Smog City fill your 4-ounce tasting glass, while vegan eateries from Little Pine to Donut Friend have food on offer. There's also cold-brew coffee, craft soda and a marketplace with vegan-friendly stuff from clothes to bath products. And there's kombucha, because of course there is. Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena; Sat., June 18, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; $40-$100. veganbeerfest.com/losangeles. —Gwynedd Stuart

If, as far back as you can remember, all you ever wanted was to see Goodfellas at a cemetery, then allow Cinespia to grant you a favor that totally won't end with you owing them protection money. Easily the best gangster movie to lose the Best Picture Oscar to Dances With Wolves, Martin Scorsese's 1990 masterwork glams up the mafioso lifestyle before reminding us that even made men can end up living the rest of their lives like schnooks. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., June 18, 9 p.m.; $16. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org—Michael Nordine

Cinefamily's screening of The Blood of Heroes answers the question we've all had on our minds for years: What is Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch's favorite post-apocalyptic film from the late '80s? Rutger Hauer and Joan Chen star in the gladiatorial genre picture, about a dystopian society in which the hoi polloi engage in a blood sport called "jugging"; as you might imagine, sportsmanship isn't a key factor. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Sat., June 18, 10:30 p.m.; $14. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org—Michael Nordine

Temporary artworks take over Pasadena on Sunday.
Temporary artworks take over Pasadena on Sunday.
Photo by Star Foreman

sun 6/19

For nearly 25 years, the Pasadena Chalk Festival — the largest street-painting festival in the world — attracts more than 100,000 onlookers admiring some 600 artists as they create soon-to-be-washed-off masterpieces that pay tribute to everything from rock stars and cartoon characters to politicians and family members. The two-day event features live music, a children's area, an art gallery, silent auction and Pasadena Police classic car show, as well as Sunday's awards ceremony, which includes Best in Show, Best Use of Color, Best 3-D Effect and Most Humorous. Proceeds benefit the Light Bringer Project, a Pasadena nonprofit arts organization. Paseo Colorado Mall, 375 E. Green St., Pasadena; Sat.-Sun., June 18-19, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; free. pasadenachalkfestival.com. —Siran Babayan

Author Walter Mosley has published some 50 works in his career. Live Talks Los Angeles hosts An Evening With Walter Mosley and Friends, a discussion that celebrates the 25th anniversary of his most popular novel, 1990's Devil in a Blue Dress. The first in the crime-novel series, it introduced the character of Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins, the African-American detective hero living in post-WWII Watts who's trying to solve the mystery of a woman in a blue dress; later it was the basis for the 1995 Denzel Washington movie of the same name. Tonight, Mosley and his guests, Khandi Alexander, John Singleton and Gary Phillips, read passages from that book, as well as from the newest in the series, Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery. Ann & Jerry Moss Theater, New Roads School, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica; Sun., June 19, 7:30 p.m.; $20/$43/$95. (310) 828-5582, livetalksla.org. —Siran Babayan

Not every movie about the movies is an uplifting tale of cinema's transportive power. In some of them, people simply want to watch a film and be sad. That's the case in Tsai Ming-liang's Goodbye, Dragon Inn and Lisandro Alonso's Fantasma, both of which are set in movie theaters (in Taipei and Buenos Aires, respectively) and center around a single screening. King Hu's Dragon Inn is the "star" of Tsai's film, while Alonso's own Los Muertos is an elusive presence in his. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., June 19, 7 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu—Michael Nordine

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mon 6/20

In March, L.A.-based comedian Bobby Slayton lost his wife of 30 years, Teddie Tillett, following a car accident the previous month. At Comics Support Their Own, a star-studded lineup of fellow stand-up comedians rallies together to celebrate Tillett's life. Appearing onstage: Ray Romano, Brian Regan, Bill Burr, Dana Carvey, Louie Anderson, Bob Saget and Jon Lovitz, with host Arsenio Hall. Good friends are hard to find — especially funny ones. Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Mon., June 20, 8-11 p.m.; $50-$65. sabanconcerts.com/events/comics-support-their-own. —Gwynedd Stuart

For the past four years, New York political comedy show Electoral Dysfunction has attracted a mix of comedians and political pundits, including Brian Lehrer (host of radio's The Brian Lehrer Show), Lizz Winstead (co-creator of The Daily Show), Dee Dee Benkie (political strategist, former aide to President George W. Bush) and others. Each week, they sit down for a debate on current events, then perform an improv scene based on their discussion. After recently bringing the event to L.A., co-creator Nate Starkey hosts the lineup, featuring Lucas Hazlett, Julie Sharbutt, Haley Finnegan, Scott Eckert, Ashley Ward, Sean Conroy, Brigid Boyl, Carey Wedler, Amir Zendehnam, Nate Williams and James Mastraieni. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., June 20, 10:30 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

tue 6/21

But what if we're wrong? The question endures within the human perception of reality, making the entire concept a kind of perpetual riddle. You remember — the Earth was flat, and then it wasn't. In his new book, But What If We're Wrong?, Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs) discusses our current reality with some of the greatest creative thinkers of our age, as if it's the distant past. The minds of David Byrne, Junot Díaz, Richard Linklater, Neil deGrasse Tyson and others indulge in a bit of imaginative retrospection on today's ideas of time, gravity, dreams and less abstract ideas such as the future of sports and experience of television. Klosterman appears for an in-store reading and Q&A. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Tue., June 21, 7:30 p.m.; free, book is $26. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Neha Talreja

One of the most renowned stage-to-screen musicals of the 1930s, Show Boat screens as part of LACMA and Outfest's Classically Queer: LGBTQ Directors in Hollywood's Golden Age. James Whale — best known for directing FrankensteinThe Invisible Man and Bride of Frankenstein — helmed the production, partly as an attempt to rid himself of his association with genre fare; Show Boat excepted, that endeavor was largely unsuccessful. Set over the course of 40 years and prominently featuring an actual boat on which shows are performed, it stars Irene Dunne as the new focus of her family's floating stage show. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., June 21, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org—Michael Nordine

Though he's rarely afforded the opportunity to showcase it these days, Nicolas Cage has one of the most dynamic ranges of any living actor. As much is evident in the New Beverly's curious double feature of Valley Girl and The Wicker Man, which show the actor at his most restrained and unhinged, respectively. Lest you think Cage isn't in on The Wicker Man's bees-and-honey joke, allow the man himself to assure you: "You don't go around doing the things that character does — in a bear suit — and not know it's absurd. It is absurd." New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Tue., June 21, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com—Michael Nordine

wed 6/22

Austin, Texas, earned its status as the live music capital of the world thanks to South by Southwest and Austin City Limits. Following its premiere at this year's SXSW film festival, A Song for You: The Austin City Limits Story screens at the Grammy Museum. The documentary looks at the 40-year history of TV's longest-running music show — and its subsequent festival. Director Keith Maitland includes archival footage of performances by a who's-who of legendary artists, as well as testimonials by Jeff Bridges, Beck, Dave Grohl, Pixies, Bonnie Raitt, St. Vincent, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Guy and Willie Nelson, who appeared in the first show broadcast on PBS in 1975. Following the screening, Grammy Foundation vice president Scott Goldman leads a panel discussion with Maitland, ACL executive producer Terry Lickona and film producer Sarah Wilson. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Wed., June 22, 7:30 p.m.; $15. grammymuseum.org. —Siran Babayan

thu 6/23

People have been writing and drawing on walls since ancient times. According to L.A.-based Roger Gastman's Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence, a book and companion documentary narrated by John Waters, graffiti as an urban art form began spreading to the American mainstream in New York and Philadelphia between 1963 and 1973. Gastman, who was a consulting producer on the 2009 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, includes archival footage and photographs in the film, as well as interviews with nearly two dozen of the tagging pioneers who made their mark with names like Taki 183, Mike 171, SJK 171, Kool Klepto Kidd, Rocky 184 and Lewis. The screening is followed by a Q&A led by Cheech Marin and featuring the director, Taki 183 and Kool Klepto Kidd. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Thu., June 23, 8 p.m.; $15-$60. acehotel.com/calendar/losangeles. —Siran Babayan

Katt Williams' rap sheet is so long, even he pokes fun at it. "They arrested me so many times that as soon as I see the police, my body just automatically assumes the position," he said during his 2014, Spike Lee–directed HBO stand-up special, Priceless: Afterlife. Unfortunately, Williams has had more run-ins with the law since then — three arrests this year alone. But you can't keep a good pimp and his luxurious perm down. And Williams, with that unmistakable manic delivery and weaselly, high-pitched voice, is still one of the funniest men in comedy, whether he's riffing on racism, politics, sex or weed. Williams reunites with his Friday After Next co-star Mike Epps as part of the BET Experience at L.A. Live's series of music and comedy events. Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Thu., June 23, 7:30 p.m.; $59.50-$159.50. (888) 929-7849, staplescenter.com. —Siran Babayan

We may not be spending four years with Bernie anytime soon, but you can at least spend a couple hours with a different one at the Aero. Weekend at Bernie's plays alongside the original Fun With Dick and Jane as part of the Aero's ongoing tribute to Ted Kotcheff, who directed both comedies. He'll be joined by Bernie's star Jonathan Silverman for a discussion between the films, both of which screen on 35mm. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Thu., June 23, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

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