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

U.S. Air Guitar Championships
U.S. Air Guitar Championships
Photo by Timothy Norris

fri 6/12

Antler shards shape-shift to phalli and then into serving spoons as "co-conspirators" Rebecca Bryant and Nehara Kalev share a sense of humor, tending toward the sexual, in Imaginary Women on a Very Short Leash. Locally based, both choreographers have strong backgrounds in contemporary dance, but as a Diavolo alum, Kalev is also an accomplished aerialist and gymnast, skills displayed in her solo Autobiography of Lies. Known for her collaborations with composers, visual, video and other artists, Bryant recruited Texas' Big Rig Dance Collective for the latest installment in her Suite Female series. Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., June 12-13, 8:30 p.m.; $20, $15 seniors & students. (310) 315-1459, highwaysperformance.org. —Ann Haskins

It takes a lot to upset New York–based celebrity art critic Jerry Saltz — but Bay Area artist Porous Walker and Santa Monica gallerist Daniel Rolnik have found a way. Despite being something of a trickster himself, Saltz is way not on board with "The Fake History of the World's" cohort of satire-loving visual artists and their insistence on making stupid art for smart people. This group show will combine an irreverent appreciation of outsider-art bravado with the caustic yet insightful appeal of a program like Comedy Central's Drunk History, complete with a slightly carnivalesque atmosphere of midway games, prizes and a bona fide Twitter war under the hashtag #Stupid0x200BArt0x200BMovement. Daniel Rolnik Gallery, 1431 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., June 12, 7-11 p.m.; free. (310) 729-3399, Danielrolnikgallery.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Comedy and horror commingle grandly in the work of genre icon Joe Dante, who’s being celebrated by the American Cinematheque in advance of his new film, Burying the Ex. The Atomo-Vision of Joe Dante continues at the Egyptian with The ’Burbs and Matinee, the latter on 35mm, starting at 7:30. Tom Hanks’ neighborhood goes to hell in The ’Burbs, which pokes fun at the mundanity of suburban living via some decidedly strange new neighbors. Dante and John Goodman go meta in Matinee, with Goodman as an opportunistic B-filmmaker shopping his latest creature feature in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., June 13, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

Upcoming Events

It pains me to deliver this news, but the days of being able to see Hou Hsiao-hsien movies in revival houses all across our fair city are drawing to a close. UCLA eases us into this sad new era by presenting Flight of the Red Balloon, the Taiwanese master’s riff on everyone’s favorite movie from freshman-year French. Made in 2008, it was Hou’s most recent picture until The Assassin premiered to much fanfare at Cannes last month. Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., June 12, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine

Tonight kicks off 13 Fridays of free dance parties at the Music Center's Bring Your Own Dance Moves. Every other Friday this summer, L.A. DJs will spin tracks from 7 to 11 p.m., with a bar opening at 8. Kicking off BYODM are Peanut Butter Wolf, who travels the world in search of rare 45s; '80s dance and rap fixture Egyptian Lover; and Jimi Hey of Dublab, the nonprofit web radio station co-curating BYODM. (It alternates with Dance Downtown in the same location.) Music Center Plaza, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., June 12, 7 p.m.; free. (213) 972-7211, musiccenter.org. —Sascha Bos

Do the Right ThingEXPAND
Do the Right Thing

sat 6/13

This year, the Air Guitar World Championships celebrates its 20th anniversary. That's longer than most bands are together, and almost as long as it took Axl Rose to release Chinese Democracy. Anyone completely lacking in skill — and shame — can enter tonight's regional U.S. Air Guitar Championships, which is followed by the Southwest Semifinal, National Finals and the final round in Oulu, Finland. Contestants must perform to two songs, each lasting one minute, and meet the judges' criteria of technical merit, stage presence and "airness." No other air instruments or air groupies allowed onstage, but air groupies, air STDs and air ODs are OK backstage. We know it's only air rock & roll, but make us proud anyway. Viper Room, 8852 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Sat., June 13, 9 p.m.; $10, $15 entry fee. (310) 358-1881, airguitarla.com. —Siran Babayan

There was a time when silent films, heavily reliant on music for emotional effect, were accompanied by pianists in theaters across the country. This practice ended with the Great Depression, but tonight you can experience the thrill of hearing a film score live with LACO @ the Movies Celebrates Walt Disney Animation Studios. The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Emmy-winning composer Mark Watters, will perform alongside Disney shorts from Poor Papa (1927), which has not been shown in 50 years, to Get a Horse! (2013), the Oscar-nominated piece that accompanied Frozen. All this will happen in the Theatre at Ace Hotel, the beautifully renovated 1927 landmark and Best of L.A. winner. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Sat., June 13, 7 p.m.; $40-$105. (213) 622-7001, laco.org. —Sascha Bos

The Silent Treatment, Cinefamily’s monthly tribute to a time when actors needed only faces, not dialogue, presents Josef Von Sternberg’s The Docks of New York. The silent drama stars George Bancroft as a dock worker who rescues a prostitute from drowning after she flings herself into the unforgiving sea. Von Sternberg is responsible for some of the richest, most inventive mise-en-scène of his day, and Docks of New York is one of many treasured works by the Austrian transplant, who began his legendary collaboration with Marlene Dietrich a year after its release. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Sat., June 13, 2 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org.

The Los Angeles Design Festival has been popping up all over the city with unique installations, tours and marketplace festivities — but tonight LADF takes over a whole neighborhood. Chinatown — and specifically the Chung King Road plaza behind Hill Street — has been in the spotlight for its many art galleries and the huge crowds on their coordinated opening nights. At tonight's Chinatown Design Night + Pop-Up Market, it's the area's population of designers and makers feeling the glow of the red-lantern spotlight. With Chung King Road pillars Preen and Fifth Floor leading the charge, this block party features food, music and a rollicking pop-up market welcoming such diverse design talents as Birch & Bone, Capsule Labs, Delusions of Grandeur, Ink+Smog, Irving Place Studio, Janel Foo Glassworks, Laure Joliet Photography, Lumpkin Furniture, Post Studios, Rewilder, Stacy Wong Handmade and the Happening. 931 Chung King Road, Chinatown; Sat., June 13, 6-9 p.m.; free. (213) 625-2100, ladesignfestival.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Fight the power at Hollywood Forever with Do the Right Thing. Movies rarely sear their way into the public conscious the way Spike Lee's comedy-turned-tragedy about one unbearably hot day in New York did back in 1989; the credit sequence alone is iconic. An outdoor screening is especially fitting for the film, in which tension (both racial and otherwise) slowly comes to a boil among the eccentric residents of Bed-Stuy. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., June 13, 9 p.m.; $14. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org. —Michael Nordine

sun 6/14

In May, a fire broke out in the backyard of nonprofit performance space HM157, causing significant damage, not just for the collective but for its neighbors, too. The Phoenix Carnivale: A Red Flag Day Fiesta is part of a recent string of fundraising campaigns to help get both HM157 residents and their neighbors back on their feet. Organized by Jason Savvy (Malabomba!) and Ursula Knudson (The Fishtank Ensemble), the event brings together friends and associates of the nearly 7-year-old venue. Folk singer and HM157 regular Feather Beard is among the hefty list of musicians on the bill. Expect dance, magic and clown performances, as well as an art auction that includes contributions from Miyu Decay, Paul Koudounaris, Fallen Fruit and others. HM157, 3110 N. Broadway, Lincoln Heights; Sun., June 14, 3 p.m.; $10 donation (kids are free). (562) 895-9399, hm157.com. —Liz Ohanesian

Two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster comes to Santa Monica as part of Broadway at the Broad. Foster is a talented performer both onstage (Anything Goes, Thoroughly Modern Millie) and on the small screen (Younger, Bunheads). For this concert, she'll be accompanied by SiriusXM radio host Seth Rudetsky, a musician who's full of fun facts about musical theater. The performers are good friends, so expect an evening full of banter in addition to belting. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Sun., June 14, 5 & 8 p.m.; $75-$125. (310) 434-3200, thebroadstage.com. —Katie Buenneke

Speaking of creature features, the Aero’s Golden Age of 3-D series remains in full swing with Creature From the Black Lagoon, one of many classics in the genre cranked out by Universal between the 1920s and ’50s. Jack Arnold’s black-and-white chiller represents the twilight of that era, as the amphibious monster of the title is considered the last iconic figure in a lineage that includes Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Wolf Man. Tonight’s screening is preceded by Spooks, a 16-minute Three Stooges short. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., June 14, 3 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

mon 6/15

In our app-driven age, diminutive Jewish bubbe/sexpert Dr. Ruth Westheimer is still dishing out advice about the boudoir. As part of Live Talks L.A., West­heimer discusses her new memoir and self-help book, The Doctor Is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life and Joie de Vivre. After narrowly escaping the Holocaust, West­heimer was raised in a Swiss orphanage, trained as a sniper during Israel's War of Independence and lost her virginity on a kibbutz. She studied psychology in France and in the 1980s went on to become a famed psychosexual therapist, who made TV and radio audiences blush with her frank sex talk. Ann & Jerry Moss Theater, New Roads School, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica; Mon., June 15, 8 p.m.; $20 general, $30 reserved, $43 reserved seating plus book. (310) 828-5582, livetalksla.org. —Siran Babayan

Ed Helms, right, and his Lonesome Trio bandmates
Ed Helms, right, and his Lonesome Trio bandmates
Photo Courtesy of Sugar Hill Records

tue 6/16

Ed Helms: Daily Show breakout, Office overseer, Hangover Wolfpack-er, bluegrass guitar and banjo virtuoso. More than two decades ago he formed acoustic-roots band The Lonesome Trio with fellow Oberlin College alumni Ian Riggs (bass) and Jacob Tilove (mandolin), and they have since performed at the hallowed likes of the Newport Folk Festival. Fresh from Bonnaroo and capping their June headlining tour, they're celebrating the release of their self-titled 12-track debut album, written and recorded over two weeks at Asheville, North Carolina's Echo Mountain studios and available now on Nashville's Sugar Hill Records. Largo, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Tue., June 16, 8:30 p.m.; $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —Julie Seabaugh

There's no more divisive issue in big cities than gentrification — i.e., white, college-educated, middle-class hipsters moving into the 'hood. For folks on either side of the fence, Zócalo Public Square hosts "Is Gentrification L.A.'s Next Defining Issue?" to examine the political, cultural and economic effects of changing neighborhoods. KCRW news producer Saul Gonzalez leads this panel, with UCLA cityLAB director Dana Cuff, former city planning commissioner Maria Cabildo, the Actors Fund Western region director Keith McNutt and urban planner Gilda Haas. Museum of Contemporary Art, 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Tue., June 16, 7:30 p.m.; free, reservations required. (213) 626-6222, zocalopublicsquare.org. —Siran Babayan

A mobster wants a singer who loves a piano player in The Man I Love. That may sound like the formula for a breezy rom-com, but Raoul Wash’s 1947 noir starring Ida Lupino as the crooner in question is considerably darker in tone. Any Gershwin fans who recognize the title will be pleased to learn that the song features prominently in the film. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., June 16, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

The Hammer's sixth annual Bloomsday Celebration honors the life of author James Joyce and the travails of character Leopold Bloom in Joyce's staggering novel Ulysses. June 16 is not only the date when the Dublin-set novel takes place but it's also the anniversary of the author's first date with his future wife, Nora. There'll be a live reading of passages from Ulysses by actors, music by Rattle the Knee and more Irish food and Guinness than you can shake a shillelagh at. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., June 16, 6:30-10 p.m.; free, tickets required for reading. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —David Cotner

wed 6/17

Plumbing the depths of consciousness, neuropsychiatrist Peter Whybrow discusses his new book, The Well-Tuned Brain. Director of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, Whybrow talks about human habits forged in antiquity and how the consumerist world attempts to graft itself to those habits in order to sell you stupid things. You'll find out how to become aware of why you do what you do, and why some temptations are antithetical to our evolution as human beings who really should know better by now. William Turner Gallery, Bergamot Station, Gallery E-1, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; Wed., June 17, 8 p.m.; $20 general, $30 reserved, $46 includes book and reserved seating, $95 includes 6:30 pre-reception, book and reserved seating. (310) 453-0909, livetalksla.org. —David Cotner

Quentin Tarantino’s affinity for Westerns knows no bounds, as both his recent work and programming choices can attest. For the latest example, see Anthony Mann’s 1960 adaptation of Edna Ferber’s Cimarron tonight and tomorrow at the New Beverly. Glenn Ford leads a sprawling cast in an equally sprawling narrative, which begins in 1889 and continues into the 1910s. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Wed., June 17, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

thu 6/18

In January, This Is Not Happening became the first Comedy Central web property the cable network adapted to a full-fledged TV program. (It also holds the unique distinction of being the first filmed at Hollywood Boulevard's Cheetahs strip club.) Though host Ari Shaffir ditched L.A. for NYC a few years back, every other Thursday in June and July, his home club's Belly Room will tide fans of the storytelling series over until its upcoming third season with live, true tales of altered-state escapades, sexual sagas and other bad behavior that makes for riveting, revealing recitation. The Comedy Store, 8433 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Thu., June 18, 8 p.m.; $5. (323) 650-6268, thecomedystore.com. —Julie Seabaugh


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