21 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week
See Jane Lynch sing on Friday
Photography goes Hollywood this weekend as a pair of photo-centric art fairs set up in facing movie studios on Melrose. With an opening party Thursday night and viewing hours Friday through Sunday, Paris Photo L.A. returns to Paramount Studios. Aside from the coterie of world-class galleries and publishers from L.A. and around the world, plus a rich slate of screenings and programs, this fair's special charm is fueled by its installation in the lot's New York City street set, re-creating the feel of Chelsea gallery-hopping without the danger of rogue taxi cabs. Photo Independent's opening night party is Friday, with viewing hours through Sunday as well. This fair is devoted mainly to single-artist installations, offering a different kind of range and depth on a more intimate scale, and inspiring interaction with the artists themselves. Paris Photo L.A., Paramount Studios, 5555 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Fri., May 1-Sat., May 2, noon-7 p.m., Sun., May 3, noon-6 p.m.; $28. (323) 956-5000, parisphoto.com. Photo Independent, Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Fri., May 1, 7-10 p.m., $95 for a pair; Sat.-Sun., May 2-3, 1-5 p.m.; $15. (323) 466-3111, photoindependent.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Almost any anniversary is an excuse for a party, but some anniversaries seem more significant and become an occasion to look back and forward (as well as to party). Since launching L.A. Contemporary Dance Company in 2005, artistic director Kate Hutter has made a point of recruiting other local choreographers, so it has never been only about Hutter's work. But the company's 10th-anniversary shows are about Hutter and her leadership building it. LACDC's 18 dancers perform six dances Hutter created during the decade. Saturday's show includes a preshow reception and postshow toast. Hutter announced recently that this will be her final year as LACDC's artistic director, but she will continue to choreograph for the company. L.A. Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., downtown; Fri., May 1, 8:30 p.m., $25; Sat., May 2, 6:30 p.m., $75, $40 under 18. (213) 489-0994, lacontemporarydance.org. —Ann Haskins
With a signature neon sign against a majestic backdrop of palm trees, the Safari Inn was used as a shooting location in the 1993 cult film True Romance, directed by Tony Scott. The classic California motel is now the venue for the second annual True Romance Fest, a two-day event celebrating the cinematic story of Clarence (Christian Slater) and Alabama (Patricia Arquette) and their dramatic cross-country quest. Watch an outdoor presentation of the movie hosted by Bronson Pinchot (who played sleazy Elliot in the film), and enjoy a variety of vendors, food trucks and live music performances. There's also a display of props from the film as well as games and other activities. Safari Inn, a Coast Hotel, 1911 W. Olive Ave., Burbank; Fri., May 1-Sat.., May 2; noon for Super VIP and overnight guests, 3 p.m. for general admission; $34-$849. (818) 845-8586 for Safari Inn, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. trueromancefest.com. —Tanja M. Laden
"Manifest: Justice" is a pop-up art exhibition supporting people disenfranchised because of race, gender or sexual orientation. It includes a host of big names in the art world, among them Andrea Bowers, Eric Fischl, Shepard Fairey and Swoon. The goal is to use art and music to teach people about inequality and health issues, and the event's workshops will include theatrical performances, legal clinics, a civil rights forum and a health fair. Baldwin Hills Theatre Building, 3741 S. La Brea Ave., Baldwin Hills; Fri.-Sun., May 1-10, Mon.-Fri., 6-10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10-4 p.m. and 6-10 p.m.; free. manifestjustice.org. —John Payne
Regarded by would-be fans as the greatest superhero movie never made, Tim Burton's Superman Lives remains a haunting question mark for Man of Steel fans everywhere. Included in that company are director Jon Schnepp and producer Holly Payne, who will be at the Egyptian tonight to discuss their documentary The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? Noted Kal-El enthusiast Nicolas Cage was set to star in the film, which was well into the planning stages before being canceled in 1998. Schnepp and Payne's dissection of the whole affair (which has an encore screening tomorrow night at the same time) includes rare test footage and interviews with several key players, including Burton himself. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., May 1, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
If you'd prefer not to start your weekend by bumming out over the lost opportunity to see a potentially great Nic Cage performance, get thee to El Segundo for Old Town Music Hall's 8:15 screening of Castle in the Desert. A Charlie Chan romp from 1942, it features Sidney Toler's 11th turn as the detective as he investigates a string of poisonings in the Mojave. Whatever one's thoughts on the controversial character, who has inspired no shortage of important debates, there's no denying his enduring popularity. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; Fri., May 1, 8:15 p.m.; Sat., May 2, 2:30 & 8:15 p.m.; $10. (310) 322-2592, oldtownmusichall.org.
Rejoice, Glee fans! The TV show might be over, but Jane Lynch, known for her role as cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, is on the road and she has a few songs for you. See Jane Sing is the actress's touring cabaret show, filled with comedy and maybe a few earworms. Lynch made her Broadway debut as legendary meanie Miss Hannigan in a 2013 production of Annie, so expect a few numbers that pay tribute to the Great White Way. You might catch a few flashbacks from Lynch's past as well. Prior to Glee superstardom, she appeared in Christopher Guest films, and there's a nod to A Mighty Wind in her repertoire. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Friday, May 1, 8 p.m.; $39-$89. (310) 746-4000, thewallis.org. —Liz Ohanesian
The Gardener, from the exhibit "Manifest Justice": See Friday.
Big City Forum is a series of freewheeling, peripatetic conversations related to life in L.A., merging civic policy with art and design. This edition brings the confab out of the gallery and into nature, presenting an artist-guided trail ride through Griffith Park with Alia Malley. There's nothing like seeing the city — especially a car-centric one such as L.A. — from horseback to change how you perceive it. BCF describes this ride as social art practice that disrupts ingrained assumptions about time, place and community, in a good way. Plus at the end of the trail there are tacos and margaritas. Griffith Park Horse Rentals at Los Angeles Equestrian Center, 480 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank; Sat., May 2, 10 a.m.; $35, space is limited, RSVP to email@example.com. (818) 840-8401, bigcityforum.blogspot.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
British playwright Mike Kenny specializes in works geared toward young audiences, from original scripts to adaptations of fairy tales. With Walking the Tightrope, Kenny delves into one of the most difficult parts of growing up — the death of a loved one. Director Debbie Devine and 24th Street Theatre won rave reviews from L.A. Weekly for their 2013 production and are bringing the play back for one weekend at Culver City's Kirk Douglas Theatre. Shows run May 2-3, with student performances May 1. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Sat.-Sun., May 2-3, 3 & 6:30 p.m. (student performance May 1); $30. (213) 628-2772, centertheatregroup.org. —Liz Ohanesian
Cinefamily keeps the Saturday morning cartoon tradition alive with an Animation Breakdown program centered around the theme of adventure. Animated swashbucklers old and new will be featured, from classics of Hanna-Barbera's heyday to such contemporary fare as Adventure Time. In addition to the show — free for kids 14 and under — there's the all-you-can-eat cereal bar plus milk and cookies, coffee and bagels. Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Sat., May 2, noon; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org.
L.A. still gets evoked as a poster child for the deluded ambitions of midcentury urban planners, little more than the sum of its mistakes. LAtitudes: An Angeleno's Atlas, the new social geography just published by Heyday Books, is more sympathetic, mapping our expansive spirit and inadvertent glories, making pit stops for catacombs, enduring Native American communities and heavenly tacos. At Uncovering L.A.: An Evening With LAtitudes, sit down with contributors Lynell George, Michael Jaime-Becerra, Josh Kun and L.A. Weekly contributor Wendy Gilmartin for an evening of brief presentations delivered in a speed-dating format. George and Kun then will play DJ, pulling together on the fly a playlist designed as an aural tour through L.A.'s many moods, eras and hidden pockets. While you're mingling, those tacos, provided by María Amezquita (Jaime-Becerra's essay subject), are free, but the drinks will cost you. Clockshop, 2806 Clearwater St., Frogtown; Sat. May 2, 6 p.m.; $10 suggested donation. (323) 522-6014, clockshop.org. —Mindy Farabee
Contrary to popular belief, L.A. is full of pedestrians — especially during this weekend's Big Parade Day. The two-day, 35-mile walk of the city is split into smaller neighborhood loops, and it aims to bring people together by having them reclaim L.A. streets and traverse 80 of its public staircases. Participants will be tweeting as they walk, so you can keep up with the foot traffic even if you have to bow out once your "dogs" start barking. Unlike many charity runs and walks, the community walk is not a race or competition but an opportunity for meaningful communion in a public space, with no sponsors or fees. On Sat., May 2, 8:30 a.m., starts at Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; on Sun., May 3, 8:30 a.m., starts at the Music Box Stairs, Vendome at Del Monte, Silver Lake; free. bigparadela.tumblr.com. —Lucy Tiven
Bookworms of L.A. will close their Kindles and flock to brick-and-mortar bookstores for the second annual California Bookstore Day. The lesser-known cousin of Record Store Day began in San Francisco and went nationwide this year. Activities will feature independent booksellers, readings and literary broadside prints at outposts in L.A.'s best loved bookstores. Statewide, 400 bookstores will participate, with 16 exclusive books and art pieces, such as a spray-painted DeLillo quote. Book Soup will be selling literary tea towels and signed prints by Chris Ware, Allie Brosh and Captain Underpants. Various locations, including Book Soup, 8818 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.; Sun., May 3; free. cabookstoreday.com. —Lucy Tiven
Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-Hsien arrives at REDCAT with a new 35mm print of Flowers of Shanghai, one of the Taiwanese auteur's most revered efforts — which is saying a lot. The title refers to "flower houses," an evocative nickname for Chinese brothels, four of which serve as the 1998 film's setting. Hou adapted a 19th-century novel in making the film, which never received theatrical distribution in the United States despite winning plaudits on the festival circuit. The Village Voice named Flowers the third best film of the '90s. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Mon., May 4, 8:30 p.m.; $11. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org.
Wouldn't Shark Tank be better if, instead of entrepreneurs, the contestants were charities, and instead of merely being hilarious, the judges were actual comedic characters? The Awesome Show delivers this scenario when finalists pitch real projects to Ricardo Branson (James Adomian), the Home Shopperifical Network (Jamie Denbo and Jessica Chaffin) and Ron Livingston (Ron Livingston). The L.A. branch of the Awesome Foundation — dedicated to "advancing the interest of awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time" — has funded projects ranging from a group that plants native seeds in L.A. to a high schooler who turns sound waves into pyrotechnics. But tonight's winner might just be whomever Branson wants to get drunk with. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood; Mon., May 4, 8:30 p.m.; $25. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Jane Borden
If you missed Winter Sleep's weeklong run at the Aero a few months back, fret not: Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Palme d'Or winner screens at LACMA, with the writer-director in person. Ceylan's in-depth study of an aging innkeeper and his many failings is as melancholy as it is beautiful to behold; every scene is filled with gorgeous images. Snowy landscapes abound in the three-hour film, as do philosophical musings, all of it subtly captivating as Ceylan takes us deeper into his protagonist's psyche. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., May 5, 7:30 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.
Golden Globe–nominated actress Maria Bello's new book, Whatever ... Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves, is inspired by her 2013 New York Times column, "Coming Out as a Modern Family," in which she reveals how being in a same-sex relationship has affected her family, including her 12-year-old son. "I realized that there was a new conversation to be had about the labels society gives us and the labels we give ourselves," she writes. Live Talks L.A. hosts a conversation with Bello and actress Camryn Manheim. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Tue., May 5, 8 p.m.; $20-$95. (310) 260-1528, livetalksla.org. —Siran Babayan
What could cats from earlier eras be like? Mean? Wild? Sweet? You can think about it all you want — because cats are pretty good to think about — but you really need some proof. Lost & Found Film Club presents Intercat '69: The First International Cat Film Festival, which first graced the world in Mew York City in December 1969. More than five hours of films were curated by singing filmmaker Pola Chapelle, although tonight's program represents just the best of them, including small moments of vernacular, personal cinema by artists such as Roberto Rossellini, Maya Deren and Saul Bass. Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Wed., May 6, 10 p.m.; $10. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —David Cotner
All good things must come to an end, and so it is with Cal State Northridge's semester-long Yasujirô Ozu retrospective. Capping things off tonight at 7 is An Autumn Afternoon, a characteristically bittersweet examination of the family unit, and the Japanese master's swan song. A man attempts to arrange his daughter's marriage as he nears the end of his own life in postwar Japan, with complications naturally arising between the two generations. Ozu was always kind to his characters, and this film is no exception. As with all Thursday Nights at the Cinematheque events, this screening is free and open to the public. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., May 7, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu. —Michael Nordine
The Skirball Cultural Center's "Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution" chronicles the life and career of one of the greatest figures in music promotion. A German Jewish refugee who fled the Nazis, Graham became a concert promoter who launched then-budding artists such as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Santana. Graham, who died in a helicopter crash in 1991, also was the owner of several concert venues, namely the famed Fillmore West and East, and helped organize Live Aid, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. Among the 400-plus items on display are family photographs, costumes, instruments belonging to Joplin, Santana and Pete Townshend, classic posters from the Fillmore and other artifacts. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.; Thu., May 7, noon-5 p.m.; $10, $7 seniors & students, $5 children, free under 12. Exhibition runs through Oct. 11. (310) 440-4500, skirball.org. —Siran Babayan
For more events visit laweekly.com/calendar.
Correction: An earlier version of this post listed a screening of the movie Animal House on May 2. It is actually taking place May 9. We regret the error.
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