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

Where the ghouls are: ScareLA on Saturday and SundayEXPAND
Where the ghouls are: ScareLA on Saturday and Sunday
Star Foreman

A celebration of small crustaceans, a WOC-only bike ride, a magician explains his magical weight loss and more to do in and see in L.A. this week.

fri 8/5

Now in its 23rd year, the Long Beach Crawfish Festival is a New Orleans–themed weekend with zydeco music, Café du Monde–style chicory coffee and beignets, and crawfish meals that include red baby potatoes, corn on the cob and a creamy remoulade dipping sauce. The Friday night feature is a masquerade ball, while Saturday and Sunday will showcase a variety of brass-band, jazz, Cajun and zydeco music. Drinks tickets are extra, as are the crawfish, which you order by the bucket, in either two- or three-pound sizes. Remember: When it comes to a crawfish boil, the bigger and messier, the better. Rainbow Lagoon Park, East Shoreline Drive, Long Beach; Fri., Aug. 5, 5-10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Aug. 6-7, noon-10 p.m.; $13-$30. longbeachcrawfishfestival.com. —Katherine Spiers

It's salsa night this week at Dance Downtown, the Music Center's free, al fresco summer dance party. Of course, watching is an option, but with beginner lessons available, everyone can join the party for hours of open dance to a live band. After tonight, there are only two more Dance Downtown Friday nights — samba (Aug. 19) and disco (Sept. 2). Before the summer slips away, grab those dancing shoes and join the fun. Music Center Plaza, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., Aug. 5, 7-11 p.m., free. musiccenter.org. —Ann Haskins

Upcoming Events

Gabriel García Márquez's dalliances with screenwriting are so unheralded that most aren't even aware the One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera author transposed his talents to the silver screen. But screenwrite he did, with 1966's Tiempo de Morir (Time to Die) earning a reputation as one of the literary giant's strongest cinematic efforts. Boyle Heights' Libros Schmibros Lending Library marks the Western's golden anniversary with an outdoor screening at the Ford Theatre preceded by a discussion with Márquez's son, filmmaker Rodrigo García (Last Days in the Desert). John Anson Ford Theatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood Hills; Fri., Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m.; $18. (323) 688-4850, librosschimbros.org. —Michael Nordine

The greatest of all Vietnam movies, The Deer Hunter, screens at the Aero. Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken (who won an Oscar for his performance) and John Cazale's characters hail from a coal-mining town in Pennsylvania, and it isn't until they return home — or, in some cases, don't — that the war's full effects take hold. The film was directed by the recently departed Michael Cimino, whose Academy Awards for Best Picture and Director earned him the freedom to do whatever he wanted. What he wanted to do was Heaven's Gate, of course, which was unfairly reviled and torpedoed his career (and which screens Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Aero). Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

sat 8/6

Once a year, the radically feminist and strictly WOC bicycle posse Ovarian Psycos organizes Clitoral Mass, L.A.'s biggest critical mass by and for women, more specifically "womxn of color, trans, queer, two-spirited and gender nonconforming folx." The subjects of a recent eponymous documentary, Ovarian Psycos set out to raise social consciousness — of poverty, gentrification and cycling, of course — by physically taking up space on the streets, and for five years, the Clitoral Mass has successfully spoken louder than words. This year's route is approximately 35 miles with curated pit stops along the way. Ride begins at Lou Costello Jr. Recreation Center, 3141 E. Olympic Blvd., Boyle Heights; Sat., Aug. 6, 9 a.m. (departure at 11 a.m.); free. facebook.com/events/1789249477978168. —Gwynedd Stuart

If you're convinced that this will be the year you outdo your neighbors for Halloween, head to Pasadena for ScareLA. The annual convention has a "Halloween High" running throughout the weekend where you can learn how to turn your home into a haunt, make gory treats and create frightening sounds. You don't have to be a DIY-er to have fun here — whether your interests are in fashion, movies or video games, there's something for anyone with creepy sensibilities. Be sure to check out the frightful experiences inside the convention, which include mazes, escape rooms and even a zombie ballet. Among this year's guests are James Marshall (Twin Peaks), magician Todd Robbins and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena; Sat., Aug. 6, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 7, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; $30-$110. 2016.scarela.com. —Liz Ohanesian

Comedy festivals with big-name talent cost big bucks. As long as you have the stamina to watch nearly 200 local improv teams perform for 13 hours straight, the free L.A. Indie Improv Festival is the best bargain in town. These performers love the element of surprise and are fast on their feet. They've made the rounds at theaters including UCB, Groundlings, iO West and Second City, they produce their own shows, and their acting and writing credits include Saturday Night Live, MADtv, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Key & Peele. Shows take place at Los Feliz–area venues the Clubhouse, Impro Theatre, Moving Arts Theater and Lyric-Hyperion Theater & Cafe, as well as on a shuttle, which will transport attendees between stages. The festival also features beverages and food trucks during lunchtime. Various locations; Sat., Aug. 6, noon-1 a.m.; free, donations requested. (323) 540-0935, laindieimprovfestival.com. —Siran Babayan

Two Maurice Pialat/Gérard Depardieu collaborations at UCLA: Loulou and Under the Sun of Satan. Made in 1980, the sexually charged Loulou finds Depardieu opposite another Gallic icon of the screen, Isabelle Huppert — a pairing that wasn't repeated until this year's enigmatic Valley of LoveSatan, which was greeted by a chorus of boos when it won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1987, is a controversial drama about a priest's dealing with a murderess; it's a dark, hard-won look at the intricacies of grace, temptation and forgiveness. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine

Cinespia continues its summertime revelry with Speed, known in some circles as The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down. To call this Peak Keanu would falsely imply that Mr. Reeves is not an immortal being who will always be at the top of his game (look it up), but it's certainly an exemplar of mid-'90s genre filmmaking. Sandra Bullock co-stars in Jan de Bont's thriller, a classic action flick as well as a time capsule of Los Angeles as it was 20 years ago. The adrenaline rush may inspire you to seek out the sequel, 1997's Cruise Control, but that's one boat best left in the harbor. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 6, doors 7:15 p.m., movie 9 p.m.; $16. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org. —Michael Nordine

Tear some small crustaceans apart with your teeth at the Long Beach Crawfish Festival on Friday.
Tear some small crustaceans apart with your teeth at the Long Beach Crawfish Festival on Friday.
Susan Slade Sanchez

sun 8/7

Summer is supposedly flea market season, but who feels like rummaging through stuff — old or new — when it's approximately 10 degrees hotter than hell outside? On the first Sunday of every month, the Regent Theater's Great Rock & Roll Flea Market offers a pleasant, climate-controlled alternative to outdoor swap meets. In addition to the obvious — vendors selling vinyl, vintage clothes, jewelry and a variety of handcrafted food stuffs — there's a full bar, DJs and even brunch. Sure beats sweating all over a crate of someone's old VHS tapes. Regent Theater, 448 S. Main St., downtown; Sun., Aug. 7, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. rnrflea.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

This afternoon's inaugural DTLA Proud Festival, featuring parties, performances and DJ sets, rockets like a firework into the sky to celebrate both the energized DTLA area and the LGBTQI movement. High-minded matters of community will be at hand, but at its heart, DTLA Proud is a party that just happens to feature things like community booths showcasing dozens of local restaurants and shops, as well as DJs, a pop-up water park, parties by Queen Kong, Dragalicious, legendary performance troupe The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Jackie Beat, Carole Pope and scads of others in performance spaces ranging from the New Jalisco to the new Globe Theater. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown; Sun., Aug. 7, noon-10 p.m.; $10. (213) 847-4970, dtlaproudfestival.org. —Gwynedd Stuart

A bucket-list item for cinephiles, the kind that only screens every few years and remains unavailable on DVD or Blu-ray, Celine and Julie Go Boating plays on 35mm courtesy of Cinefamily's Une fantaisie: The Dream Cycle of Jacques Rivette (1974-1981) series. Co-presented by La Collectionneuse and Mubi, the four-film retrospective looks at the French auteur's most fantastical period. Celine and Julie is revered as a standout among standouts, an exploration of magic and narrative marked by whimsy and puns. Stick around for an afterparty with a DJ to be named. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Sun., Aug. 7, 8 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine

mon 8/8

You know Pete Davidson as the "Resident Young Person" on Saturday Night Live, where he sits in on the "Weekend Update" segments and riffs on mostly millennial-related topics, including The Walking Dead, Hulk Hogan, transgender rights and pot. At 22, he's the youngest current cast member in the series. And as a featured player, he doesn't get much screen time, which is why he's embarking on his first national tour — entitled "Prehab" — returning to his stand-up roots, where he began at 16. He'll be performing new material in anticipation of his first Comedy Central special in the fall. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Mon., Aug. 8, 7 p.m.; $30. largo-la.com. —Siran Babayan

ABBA and Australians collide in Muriel's Wedding, screening on Tuesday.EXPAND
ABBA and Australians collide in Muriel's Wedding, screening on Tuesday.
Miramax

tue 8/9

Is "Films based on the music of ABBA, featuring ABBA-loving characters or generally embracing ABBA in all their glory" an official genre yet? Whoever's in charge of that can look to 1994's Golden Globe–winning Muriel's Wedding for a persuasive dose of quirky dramedy. Our delightful protagonist (Toni Collette), obsessed with the music of ABBA, yearns to leave her tiny hometown of Porpoise Spit for the glamorous, metropolitan life that surely awaits her in the big city — Sydney (oh yes, the film is Australian; ABBA fandom spreads far and wide). The hilarious Claudia O'Doherty (Trainwreck) and John Early (The Characters) host, alongside a DJ who's only allowed to play — well, you know. Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood; Tue., Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m.; $14. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Neha Talreja

The L.A. Philharmonic is aptly calling tonight's concert Magical Mozart, because, really, is there anything more magical than a full evening of Mozart under the hazy stars at the Hollywood Bowl? Guest conductor Andrew Manze presides over a program that demonstrates much of W.A. Mozart's dynamic range, from the dramatic grandeur of the overture to the opera Don Giovanni to the winsome lyricism of the Austrian composer's 41st (and final) symphony. In between, Manze — a violinist himself and a noted scholar of Mozart's music — welcomes German-Japanese violinist Arabella Steinbacher, who will weave her way through the Violin Concerto No. 5 with achingly evocative precision. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood Hills; Tue., Aug. 9, 8 p.m.; $8-$113. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —Falling James

Disney's animated version is a classic and we've little reason not to give the new live-action version starring Emma Watson a chance, but Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast likely will remain unmatched in its visual sumptuousness. Josette Day and Jean Marais are la belle et la bête in this 1946 adaptation of the fairy tale, which turns on a rose surreptitiously plucked from a garden and the death sentence doled out as a result. LACMA screens the romantic fantasy as part of Fuel for Nightmares, a series curated by Guillermo del Toro. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Aug. 9, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

wed 8/10

Selfish is an intersectional art-and-lit magazine born out of the desire to see a world where female-identified storytellers "create without consequence," i.e., a world where women are encouraged to be selfish. The publication's last two years of experimental output has included innovative forms of memoir — recent issues have delved into themes like losing one's innocence, the "modern woman" and the general fluidity of female identity (duh). Latest issue "Hot and Bothered" unpacks the ever-present tension underlying women's daily lives (and no, it's not always the good kind). Join six of the badass women featured in the issue — A. Nicole Kelly, Bonnilee Kaufman, Allison Noelle Conner, Dacy Lim, Kelsey Nolan and Chloe Isabella Parks — for an evening reading with plenty of wine. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Wed., Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Neha Talreja

Dallas Clayton is an L.A.-based children's author, poet, illustrator and public speaker behind the Awesome Book series (An Awesome Book!, An Awesome Book of Thanks!, An Awesome Book of Love!). In 2015, Amazon Prime ran a series based on Clayton's other children's book, Lily the Unicorn, produced by the Jim Henson Company. That year, he collaborated with Amy Poehler's online network, Smart Girls, to create a mural at Downtown Disney to celebrate the release of Inside Out. Clayton also has performed at UCB, where he's hosting new, monthly adult show Radical Feelism With Dallas Clayton, which will mix personal storytelling with poetry. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., Aug. 10, 7 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

The only good bug is a dead bug. Starship Troopers has, like much of Paul Verhoeven's oft-maligned filmography (see also: Basic Instinct and Showgirls), been somewhat reclaimed in recent years, but just because there's more to this fascist allegory than giant, murderous bugs doesn't mean that said giant, murderous bugs aren't awesome in a lizard-brain kind of way. ArcLight Culver City, 9500 Culver Blvd., Culver City; Wed., Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (310) 559-2416, arclightcinemas.com. —Michael Nordine


thu 8/11

Penn Jillette was about to turn 60. His blood pressure was violently high. He weighed more than 300 pounds. He thought his kids might watch him die before his time. He was a haunted dude! So, using that existential terror and a former NASA scientist's nutritious potatoes (for real), he bounced back and wrote a book about it. Tonight, Jillette discusses his book Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales. He'll also discuss his feelings about God, sex, magic, showbiz and anything else about which he feels like cracking wise. Ann & Jerry Moss Theater, 3131 W. Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica; Thu., Aug. 11, 8 p.m.; $20-$95. (310) 855-0005, livetalksla.org/events/penn-jillette. —David Cotner


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