Small, square, absorbent art rules at Coaster Show, sailors swarm the Port of Los Angeles for Fleet Week, Fall TV arrives at the Paley Center and more to do and see in L.A. this Labor Day weekend and beyond.
You know how faces in old photographs look different from the faces you see around you today? Radio Phonic Audio is your doorway into the minds behind those faces, filtered through the minds of newer faces. Performed in the style of an old-time radio program, complete with commercials, terrible jokes and musical segments, it features Radio Phonic writer and prime mover Zak White, fromage fanatic Becca Flinn and Paul "Stop Asking Me About Bernie" Goetz, along with guests including The Eric Andre Show writer Heather Anne Campbell, Skull Orchard musician Tawny Newsome, Metalocalypse creator Brendon Small and the constitutionally right-on DeMorge Brown. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Sept. 2, 7-8:30 p.m.; $10, $8 in advance. (323) 851-7223, holdmyticket.com/event/255224. —David Cotner
The Taste may well be one of the most important food events in Los Angeles, and it certainly brings together the shiniest and brightest collection of renowned local chefs on the illustrious Paramount Studios backlot. Friday's opening-night festivities, titled "An Evening Among the Culinary Stars," is hosted by the L.A. Times' food staff, including critic Jonathan Gold. On Saturday, "Field to Fork" challenges local chefs to work with locally sourced ingredients, and then attendees sip the night away at "Dinner With a Twist," a boozy stroll through the backlot. The festivities wrap up Sunday with a block party and the Gold-hosted "Flavors of L.A." program. It's a great chance to try bites from expensive restaurants and, most likely, run into famous chefs, either at the booths or just wandering around. Paramount Studios, 5555 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Fri., Sept. 2, 7:30-10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Sept. 3-4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. & 7:30-10 p.m.; $100-$300. events.latimes.com/taste. —Katherine Spiers
You may use them only as condensation catchers in bars or at home, but the 1,000 four-inch coasters at the fourth annual Coaster Show are miniature masterpieces. Among the hundreds of artists who've participated in the gallery's popular group exhibit are Elizabeth McGrath, Ron English, Simone Gad and horror-movie actor Sid Haig. This year's painters, animators, sculptors and tattoo artists have been inspired by everything from animals and religious iconography to the 2016 election and the deaths of Bowie and Prince to create their tiny works of art, which are priced between $10 and $250. That's a lot of money to keep your coffee table clean, but they're also good conversation pieces. The show runs in conjunction with "Covered," a collection of comics-themed paintings by Mark Todd. La Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; opening reception Fri., Sept. 2, 8-11 p.m. (runs through Oct. 2); free. (323) 666-7667, laluzdejesus.com. —Siran Babayan
Anyone who's never experienced an evening at Old Town Music Hall would be hard-pressed to find a better occasion than At the Circus, the Marx Brothers' big-tent comedy from 1939. Best remembered for Groucho's epochal rendition of "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady," the film also featured Buster Keaton in an advisory role that saw him attempting to reconcile his comic sensibilities with those of the Marx Brothers — a mismatched pairing that apparently did no favors for anyone involved, final product notwithstanding. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; Fri., Sept. 2, 8:15 p.m.; Sat., Sept. 3, 2:30 & 8:15 p.m.; $10. (310) 322-2592, oldtownmusichall.org. —Michael Nordine
If you frequent UCB's long-running sketch show The Midnight Show, you're probably familiar with cast member and instructor Hal Rudnick (Key & Peele, Community) and his alter ego, Eric Jennifer, a dopey man-child whom Rudnick describes as the darker version of Pee-wee Herman. For summer's last hurrah, Jennifer hosts The Midnight Show Presents: Eric Jennifer's Labor Day BBQ, a variety show with other UCB actors, featuring sketches, character bits and audience participation, as well as food and possibly live music. But instead of saluting workers across America, Jennifer has something else in mind when he thinks of Labor Day. UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; Sat., Sept. 3, 11:59 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan
Chingón is a bit of Mexican-Spanish slang that defines something or someone as "cool" or "badass." A chingóna, then, would be a badass woman. Organized by Muy Monte — a DIY crew of musicians, writers and artists based in the San Gabriel Valley — the Chingóna Festival is an all-ages women's music and arts festival that continues the legacy of Eastside Chicana punk legends such as Alice Bag and The Brat. The event features a range of female-fronted bands — from the Riot Grrrl–influenced indie sound of Pardon Me Sir to Myriad Slits, who layer soulful vocals atop stripped-down synthy beats — alongside visual artists, DJs, food vendors, even palm readings. Green's Center for Plant-Based Nutrition and Gluten-Free Education, 4906 E. Olympic Blvd., East L.A.; Sat., Sept. 3, 4-11 p.m. $5, $3 before 6 p.m. facebook.com/events/1715836342005389. —Matthew Stromberg
It's a curious blend of enthusiasm and masochism that would inspire a person to do something like watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in one sitting. Having done this, your humble correspondent can personally confirm that it's as grueling as it is rewarding — especially if you're watching the extended versions, which run 11 epic hours in toto. Still, escapism of the highest order awaits all who give themselves over to the One Trilogy to Rule Them All, which remains the greatest silver-screen spectacle of our time. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., Sept. 3, 1 p.m.; $15. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine
Another teen-movie classic at Electric Dusk Drive-In: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which gave us early glimpses of both its stars' (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sean Penn) and creators' (Amy Heckerling, Cameron Crowe) potential. The film has so many iconic moments that it can be easy to forget the lived-in feeling that distinguishes it from other movies about sex, drugs and homeroom. The best part: From the comfort of your own car, no one can tell you, "No shirt, no shoes, no dice." Electric Dusk Drive-In, 2930 Fletcher Drive, Glassell Park; Sat., Sept. 3, 6:30 p.m. (doors at 5); $10 lawn, $14 car, $60 VIP. (818) 653-8591, electricduskdrivein.com. —Michael Nordine
If you've been to a state fair in the past decade or so, fried Oreos and Twinkies are pretty been-there-done-that fair food items. But leave it to the L.A. County Fair to yet again take fried food on a stick to the next level with "chicken in a waffle" on a stick, deep-fried bacon-wrapped chicken legs and, most astoundingly, deep-fried hot sauce (yeah, I don't get it either). Whatever you do, gorge wisely, and save some pocket money for the 70 rides and 40 carnival games, plus the Igloo (which features an ice-skating rink and sledding hill), acrobatics by Esmeralda's Traveling Circus, folksy things like pig races, and that sort-of-gross "Bodies" exhibit of corpses with their skin peeled off. Maybe hold off on the chicken legs till after you've seen that. 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona; Fri., Sept. 2-Sun., Sept. 25 (closed Mon. & Tue., except Labor Day); $8-$20, free for kids 5 and younger. lacountyfair.com. —Gwynedd Stuart
Cinefamily launches its new partnership with Barnsdall Art Park Foundation with a Bowie Tribute Night in the Hollywood park. An outdoor screening of the 1973 documentary/concert film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars will be accompanied by a live performance of classically arranged Bowie favorites by the Stardust String Quartet, plus the Cinefamily crew's own Bowie Mixtape of rarities. Bowie Night kicks off the first of four Sunday-night, wine-and-movie fundraisers to take place on scenic Olive Hill. Each night begins with a curated selection of wines by San Antonio Winery and tasty food-truck options, as well as DJs and other preshow entertainment. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., East Hollywood; Sun., Sept. 4, 5:30 p.m.; $25. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Neha Talreja
Acropolis Cinema joins in on Cinefamily's Unorthodox series of recent innovative nonfiction with a rare screening of Dead Slow Ahead. Hailed as a "slow epic" and giving the impression of a less industrial Leviathan, Mauro Herce's documentary tracks a freighter as it slowly makes its way from Ukraine to New Orleans. Herce plays with time and sound to the point of abstraction, using the ship as an all-encompassing sensory environment that requires viewers to find their sea legs. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Sun., Sept. 4, 4 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine
Don't condescend to True Romance, man. It'll fuckin' kill you, man. Written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Tony Scott, the early-'90s cult classic has endeared itself to a generation of genre fans via endlessly quotable dialogue and grisly violence acted out by a formidable cast: Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette are the lovers/partners in crime at the fore, with everyone from Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson to James Gandolfini and Brad Pitt rounding out the ensemble. And if you've never seen the verbal showdown between Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken, a trip to Hollywood Forever is a must. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Sept. 4, 8:30 p.m. (doors at 6:45); $16. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org. —Michael Nordine
If your perception of Fleet Week has been informed by film and television, you no doubt picture handsome young sailors in their bell-bottomed dress whites walking the streets of New York City looking for a little excitement. It's about time they — and the lady soldiers, too — get a change of scenery. Over Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2-5), San Pedro hosts the first-ever L.A. Fleet Week. The long weekend of festivities includes aerial demonstrations, live music, food trucks and, from 7-11 a.m. on Monday, a 5.3-mile fun run, but the centerpiece is a variety of public tours of Navy and Coast Guard ships docked at the Port of Los Angeles. Can't make it? The event website is live-streaming the ships arriving at port. Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro; Fri., Sept. 2-Mon., Sept. 5; free. lafleetweek.com. —Gwynedd Stuart
As part of the WNBA's Breast Health Awareness Week, the L.A. Sparks are hosting Barbells for Boobs Night. Barbells for Boobs is a Santa Ana–based nonprofit that hosts fitness campaigns for workout buffs to raise money for breast cancer screenings in the hope that more women can detect the disease early. Before tipoff in the Sparks' game against the Minnesota Lynx, BFB invites ticket holders to show up early (1:15-2:15 p.m.) for a Crossfit workout on the court. Sweat it out and then watch some amazing athletes do the same. Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Tue., Sept. 6, 1:15-9 p.m. (game starts at 6:30 p.m.); $16-$32. facebook.com/events/1795777980650637. —Gwynedd Stuart
The Moth plunges headlong into its second decade as it presents tonight's StorySLAM meditation on the topic of money. Founded in 1997 by writer George Dawes Green to bring together like-minded loudmouths to tell stories both glorious and gory, this latest StorySLAM covers anything that money corrupts or encompasses. Whether it's a story about a marathon session of sperm donation, getting a callback for a snuff video or just finding $20 between the couch cushions, a welcoming and reliably enthusiastic audience awaits. Los Globos, 3040 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; Tue., Sept. 6, 7 p.m.; $10. (323) 666-6669, themoth.org/events/money-los-angeles. —David Cotner
"What we wear is dangerous gear," The Clash's Joe Strummer once sang. "It'll get you picked on anywhere." Punk fashion might be commonplace these days, but in the late 1970s punk rockers were routinely harassed and beaten up by cops just because of the way they looked. In his new book, Punk London 1977., photographer Derek Ridgers shares more than 130 startling images from England's punk scene. Although the veteran author (The Dark Carnival, Skinheads: 1979-1984) starkly captures such charismatic musicians as The Slits' Ari Up, Adam Ant and Blondie's Deborah Harry early in their careers, he's most interested in documenting the young fans who ripped up their old clothes and repurposed them into garishly shocking new statements. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Wed., Sept. 7, 7 p.m.; free, book is $19.95. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Falling James
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The Hollywood Bowl periodically adds dance, often local dance ensembles, to its concerts but generally as a side dish or a bit of seasoning. With L.A. Dances, three local troupes with national reputations — Ate9 Dance Company, Bodytraffic and L.A. Dance Project — are the main course, dancing to music by L.A. composers. Ate9's artistic director, Danielle Agami, is known as a proponent of Israeli choreographer and Batsheva director Ohad Naharin's gaga technique, while Bodytraffic gained attention for attracting internationally known choreographers to set new works on its sterling dancers. L.A. Dance Project also has splendid dancers but is best known for its director-choreographer Benjamin Millepied (yes, the one married to Natalie Portman), who recently returned to running LADP after abruptly resigning as director of the Paris Opera Ballet. This may be a first look at what Millepied's plans are now that he's refocused on L.A. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 Highland Ave., Hollywood Hills; Thu., Sept. 8, 8 p.m. $8-$98. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —Ann Haskins
The 10th annual PaleyFest Fall TV Previews give you a sneak peek at the newest, most buzzed-about sitcoms and dramas on NBC, CBS, Fox, The CW, Starz and, this year, the Robert Rodriguez–launched, English-language El Rey network. The Paley Center for Media hosts screenings and panel discussions with the cast and crew of Pitch, Lethal Weapon, Son of Zorn and The Exorcist (Sept. 8); From Dusk Till Dawn and Lucha Underground (Sept. 9); American Housewife, Notorious and Designated Survivor (Sept. 10); Frequency and No Tomorrow (Sept. 10); Pure Genius, Kevin Can Wait, MacGyver and Bull (Sept. 12); This Is Us, The Good Place and Timeless (Sept. 13); and Ash vs. Evil Dead (Sept. 14). The festival ends with The Mindy Project: Inside the Writers Room, featuring star Mindy Kaling and members of the creative team behind the Hulu comedy (Sept. 15). The Paley Center for Media, 465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills; Thu., Sept. 8, 6 p.m. (runs through Sept. 15); $20 per event. (310) 786-1000, media.paleycenter.org/paleyfest-fall-tv-previews-2016. —Siran Babayan
Along with his Bad Seeds bandmate Warren Ellis, Nick Cave has become one of the premier film-score composers over the last decade. No one knows that better than Andrew Dominik, whose elegiac The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford features standout work from Cave. Dominik will appear in person at the Egyptian to discuss One More Time With Feeling, his 3-D (!) concert film screening one night only in advance of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' new album, Skeleton Tree. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m.; $13. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is so synonymous with George Miller's postapocalyptic series that people often forget about the original film. Less austere and heady than 1979's Mad Max, the envelope-pushing sequel envisions a primitive future run by roving gangs who maim, rape and kill in the name of gasoline. Most fearful among these is Lord Humungus, one of cinema's most absurd(ly awesome) villains, who has no recourse but to once again unleash his dogs of war on our down-under hero. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Thu., Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine