21 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week
Hannibal: See Thursday.
Michelle Alexander's book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness inspired Karl "Dice Raw" Jenkins' 2013 album, Jimmy's Back, which evolved into The Last Jimmy: A Hip-Hop Musical. Choreographed by Rennie Harris and directed by Ozzie Jones, the show is about the intersection of private profit and disproportionate minority incarceration. It's part of the L.A. Aftershocks series exploring L.A. after the riots of 1965 and 1992. The performance has been dedicated to C. Bernard Jackson, the artistic director who founded L.A.'s Inner City Cultural Center, a pioneering effort in promoting multiculturalism. Grand Performances, California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., July 17, 8 p.m.; free. (213) 687-2190, grandperformances.org. —Ann Haskins
Immerse yourself in the counterculture of yore, namely Easy Rider and Zabriskie Point at the Aero. As these and other director-driven New Hollywood movies can attest, transitioning from the 1960s into the '70s was not without its growing pains. Dennis Hopper put himself, Jack Nicholson and motorcycles on the map as never before with his directorial debut, whose unbelievable critical and financial success stands in stark contrast to the initial failure of Michelangelo Antonioni's second English-language effort. Zabriskie Point's reputation has grown since its release, however, and the film now is considered a classic by many. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., July 17, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine
Step and Repeat is back for a second year of performance-based experiences at MOCA's Geffen Contemporary, with three nights of music, spoken word, site-specific dance, comedy and sculptural installations, plus cash bars, food trucks and DJ sets. Comedians Kate Berlant and Kristina Wong, artist Nao Bustamante, musician James Fauntleroy, poet Nathaniel Mackey and the Mustache Mondays DJs are just some of the art makers on deck. Each night has a different lineup. MOCA's Geffen Contemporary, 152 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo; Fri.-Sat., July 17-18, 6-11 p.m.; Sun., July 19, 6-10 p.m.; $12 per night, $30 three-night pass, free for MOCA members. (213) 626-6222, moca.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot
July 17 is Art Laboe Day in Los Angeles, and Hollywood shop Glitter Death is celebrating with "Dedicated to You," a memorabilia and fan art tribute to the radio icon. Laboe, who'll be 90 in August, has spent decades on the airwaves, and his fan base spans generations. Certainly, it spans genres; Glitter Death is also home of dark-indie label Records Ad Nauseam and hosts shows that are more experimental than the oldies for which Laboe is known. The curators are taking open submissions for this show, and it's not limited to art. Fans are welcome to submit letters and photos as well, all of which will be sent to the veteran DJ after the show closes on Aug. 7. Glitter Death, 1443 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; Fri., July 17, 6 p.m.; free. (323) 839-9872, facebook.com/events/853141774707590. —Liz Ohanesian
Zabriskie Point: See Friday.
Is it GIF with a hard G, or GIF like Jif? Put aside your petty differences and come together for the .GIF Arts Festival, a multimedia extravaganza showcasing the best of the format, which is now celebrating 30 years of existence but became popular much more recently. GIF stands for "Graphics Interchange Format," and it's a series of images arranged in files to create moving pictures. The festival was founded at Fingers Crossed Studios in Vancouver, and the L.A. version is accompanied by musical and interactive acts. Coaxial Arts, 1815 S. Main St., downtown; Sat., July 18, 8 p.m.; $10. (213) 536-8020, facebook.com/events/1405629813092282. —David Cotner
The drive-in movie is a Southern California cultural icon — but snuggling up with your sweetheart in a convertible with the top off is so 1950s. Enter Summer and Music's Bicycle Drive-In, where attendees are encouraged to cycle to the outdoor Wizard of Oz screening (park your bike at the free valet). Add a costume contest, laser light show, silent disco and craft beer garden, and you've got a movie-watching party that is thoroughly of-the-moment. Part of downtown Long Beach's summerlong concert series, the Bicycle Drive-In is free. Just bring a few bucks for beer. The Promenade North (at Broadway), downtown Long Beach; Sat., July 18, 7 p.m.; free. summerandmusic.com. —Sascha Bos
Do not be alarmed. Or do. Temporary Space L.A.'s newest exhibition, "Signs & Alarms: The Art of Margaret Nielsen and Scott Grieger, 1970-2015," is going to be a lot to take in. Nielsen creates an immersive painting and sculptural installation inspired by her recurring themes of wilderness and excitable grizzly bears. Grieger presents selections from half a dozen of his best-known series, including photographs in which he physically "impersonates" blue-chip works of sculpture, and zingy word paintings that read like Tweets from an analog era of conceptual art. The two-part exhibit covers 45 years of output per artist, so allow extra time to read the signs. Temporary Space L.A., 5522 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; Sat., July 18, 6-10 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-8 p.m., through Aug. 29 (part two runs Sept. 5-Oct. 24). (323) 297-8464, temporaryspacela.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
No less radical than New Hollywood — though certainly less recognized — was the independent film movement that arose contemporaneously on the other side of the country. UCLA's Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York, 1968-1986 commences tonight and runs through Aug. 23. The series' chronology is bookended by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the emergence of Spike Lee as a feature filmmaker, with the first two installments in the series falling in between: 1982's Losing Ground, written and directed by Kathleen Collins, and Suzanne Suzanne, from co-directors James V. Hatch and Camille Billops. The former, about a philosophy professor and her husband, didn't get a proper theatrical release; the latter documentary is about a woman's dual struggles with heroin and the traumatic memories of her father. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., July 18, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine
The trailer Cinefamily has put together for its midnight screening of The Reflecting Skin on a rare 35mm print makes it look like a shoo-in for the most bizarre movie playing this week. (Or month, or year...) Philip Ridley's coming-of-age curio tells of an 8-year-old living in rural Idaho circa 1950 who convinces himself that a local widow is actually a vampire. It made a grand total of $17,042 at the box office but won three awards that the Locarno International Film Festival, one of the oldest, most august institutions of its kind. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Sat., July 18, 11:59 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine
Museums are on the hunt for new, younger audiences, right? From the be-careful-what-you-wish-for department comes the Lancaster Museum of Art & History (MOAH) with "The Art of Toys: A Left Coast Retrospective of Designer Toys." It opens Friday night with a big-ticket VIP party, followed by a full day of free public events, demos and all-ages shenanigans today. Art toys is an expanding arena with deep roots in the lowbrow, pop surrealism, comics, fantasy, sci-fi, indie music and cult-cinema realms. This massive exhibition looks at more than 80 of its most influential and innovative artists, including Gary Baseman, Luke Chueh, Frank Kozik, Mark Ryden and Greg (CRAOLA) Simkins. Don't forget to exit through the gift shop. Lancaster MOAH, 665 W. Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster; Sat., July 18, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues Tue.-Wed. & Fri.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thu., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; through Sept. 6. (661) 723-6250, lancastermoah.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot
A toy called Good Morning Sunshine, designed by Joe Ledbetter, is part of "The Art of Toys" exhibit: See Saturday.
Courtesy of Joe Ledbetter
A range of works comprises L.A. Filmforum's extensive 3-D Rarities program, from shorts made by William van Doren Kelley in the early 1920s to a documentary on atomic bomb testing from 1953. A Q&A with Bob Furmanek, founder and president of the 3-D Film Archive, as well as the producer of the restorations being presented today, will follow. Note: This program is at the Downtown Independent rather than at Filmforum's usual space in the Egyptian's Spielberg Theatre. Downtown Independent, 251 S. Main St., downtown; Sun., July 19, 2 p.m.; $10. (323) 377-7238, lafilmforum.org. —Michael Nordine
Jesse Thorn brings his traveling talk Make Your Thing, in which he lectures on how to make your "independent artistic and career aspirations a reality." Thorn has the experience to back up his advice. At 19, he founded the radio show The Sound of Young America, now Bullseye, which is distributed by NPR across more than 50 public radio stations. Thorn also runs podcast network MaximumFun.org, home to such popular shows as Judge John Hodgman and RISK!. Skylight Studios, 10050 Constellation Blvd., Century City; Sun., July 19, 1-3 p.m.; $10. annenbergphotospace.org. —Siran Babayan
The Egyptian's weekend tribute to Jacques Tati concludes with a double bill of Playtime and The Illusionist. Monsieur Hulot, the French master's most recognizable character, is lost in the maze of architecture and technology that is Paris in Playtime. You may have seen the animated Illusionist when it came out five years ago, but you may not have known that it was based on an unproduced script by Tati. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., July 19, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine
If disaffected but well-meaning meandering is your thing, be sure to show up at the sneak preview of the new comedy 7 Chinese Brothers, with Jason Schwartzman and director Bob Byington in person. In the film, Schwartzman tries his best to avoid responsibility, endlessly sponges off his nursing home–bound grandmother (Olympia Dukakis), scores drugs off her nurse (Tunde Adebimpe, lead singer of TV on the Radio) and moons over the supervisor at the Quick Lube. He chatters and natters constantly, his pug Arrow the only captive audience he can find. Well, apart from you in the audience, of course. Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Mon., July 20, 7:45 p.m.; free with RSVP. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —David Cotner
Despite its name, Literary Death Match is purely victimless fun. Hosted by Adrian Todd Zuniga since 2006, the reading series has traveled through dozens of cities, from L.A. to Lillehammer. Four established and emerging writers read excerpts from their work for seven minutes or less in front of a panel of big-name authors and celebrities, who judge them based on "literary merit, performance and intangibles." The two finalists go head to head to see who's crowned the winning wordsmith. Tonight's lineup features contestants Amelia Gray, Jillian Lauren, Liana Maeby and Sarah Tomlinson, and judges Jerry Stahl, Jon Cryer and a TBA guest. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., July 21, 7:30 p.m.; free. literarydeathmatch.com. —Siran Babayan
Richard Johnson's first credited screen performance came in 1950; his most recent is from last year. In recognition of the English thespian, who died last month at 87, the New Beverly is screening two of his horror films from the '70s: Zombie and Beyond the Door. The squeamish and/or easily upset need not apply tonight, especially when it comes to gore maestro Lucio Fulci's classic of undead cinema. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Tue., July 21, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine
Molly Knight: See Wednesday.
It's hard to believe it's only been a few years since Magic Johnson bought the embattled and embittered Dodgers franchise, turning it around from a damaged soap opera to something much more fascinating. Now the truth can be told as ESPN writer Molly Knight discusses her book The Best Team Money Can Buy: The Los Angeles Dodgers' Wild Struggle to Build a Baseball Powerhouse. You'll find out about the details of the sale of the team, trading machinations with the Red Sox and what the Dodgers actually knew in advance about rookie outfielder and Cuban defector Yasiel Puig. Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Wed., July 22, 7 p.m.; free, book is $26. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —David Cotner
Two smart, funny people get together and talk about how beautifully crummy the world is right now, as Live Talks L.A. presents An Evening With Patricia Marx in conversation with Tim Long. Marx (who's written for The New Yorker and Saturday Night Live) and Long (a producer on The Simpsons) will discuss Marx's new book, Let's Be Less Stupid: An Attempt to Maintain My Mental Faculties. She'll explain her foray into immersive journalism, which involves her efforts to ward off senility and to actively become smarter in a world she sees as stupid in an unfunny kind of way. William Turner Gallery, Bergamot Station, Gallery E-1, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; Wed., July 22, 8 p.m.; $20 general, $30 reserved, $43 reserved including a copy of Marx's book. (310) 453-0909, livetalksla.org. —David Cotner
Frank Cities may look like an art magazine, but it's much bigger than that. It's a cross-platform annual publication-based project with components of social engagement, works of art in all media and even a bit of philanthropy. Its fascinating debut issue, "No. 001: There's No Place Like Home," examines the chasm between the richer and poorer parts of L.A. It features the collaborative efforts of art-world figures such as Abel Alejandre, Edgar Arceneaux, Mattia Biagi, Ruben Esparza, Michelle Carla Handel, Anna Sew Hoy, Lauri Firstenberg, Mat Gleason, L.A. Weekly contributor Carol Cheh and Anne Ellegood. Tonight's Frank Cities launch party features an installation of the original works chronicled in the issue's print and web pages, along with an auction of that work to benefit the LAMP Community, an arts-based homeless advocacy program on Skid Row. Imperial Art Studios, 695 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown; Thu., July 23, 8-11 p.m.; free with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. (213) 550-5405, frankcities.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
NBC may have axed Hannibal but the cult TV show refuses to go gently into that good night. LACMA screens tonight's episode, the eighth of its third (and potentially last) season, with series creator Bryan Fuller in person, during An Evening With ... Hannibal. This cautiously optimistic fan of the good doctor's exploits believes the disgusting(ly riveting) show is destined for a second life somewhere and that all is not yet lost, but this may be your last chance to see the show in this format nevertheless. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Thu., July 23, 7:30 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine
Kim Cooper and David Smay, co-editors of the anthology Bubblegum Music Is the Naked Truth: The Dark History of Prepubescent Pop From the Banana Splits to Britney Spears, join contributors Becky Ebenkamp and Gene Sculatti to discuss the curious cultural history of a little-examined music genre. Originally made for kids, 1960s songs such as "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies and "Yummy Yummy Yummy" by Ohio Express have become adult favorites, cross-pollinating with sophisticated musical styles such as British glam. Bubblegum Music Is the Naked Truth seeks to put an end to the genre's "guilty pleasure" stigma with this A/V presentation and Saturday morning cartoons featuring some of the songs, ending with a book signing. Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St., Pasadena; Thu., July 23, 7-8:30 p.m.; free. (626) 744-4066, lavatransforms.org/bubblegum. —Tanja M. Laden
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