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

José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros' painting Contemporary Family
José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros' painting Contemporary Family
Courtesy of La Luz de Jesus Gallery

fri 8/7

At Sundance Next Fest, a mini film festival based at the Ace Hotel's gorgeous theater, six films make their L.A. premieres. Each movie is paired with special guest talks or a musical performance. Check out Mistress America, a New York–set coming-of-age story directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Greta Gerwig (who also co-wrote the script), plus a live performance by Sky Ferreira. Or Turbo Kid, a postapocalyptic '90s adventure with back-to-back DJ sets by Neon Indian and Toro y Moi. Each event costs about the same as a 3-D movie at your local multiplex but promises to be waaaay cooler. Theatre at the Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Fri.-Sun., Aug. 7-9; $14-$25. sundance.org/festivals/next-fest. —Sascha Bos

As no less a luminary than Desmond Tutu once had the brass to ask, "How could you have a soccer team if all were goalkeepers? How would it be an orchestra if all were French horns?" Frankly, we have no answer to that question, but perhaps we'll find out at Grand Performances' French Horn Massive, wherein 400 — count 'em, 400 — French horn players and those who love them will gather to ruffle, rip, kerfuffle and puffle through "a veritable hornocopia" of pop, rock and classical standards, to our ever-waxing-nostalgic delight. Grand Performances at California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., Aug. 7, noon; free. (213) 687-2190, grandperformances.org. —John Payne

La Luz de Jesus opens two exhibits on fairy tales, folklore and fables — the stuff of dreams, nightmares, innocence and adventure. Whether sparkly Disney or somber Grimm, the idea is to socialize youngsters into societal norms and give them psychological tools to deal with thorny experiences like death and loss. It's a good plan — unless you happen to be suspicious of normative orthodoxies. J.A.W. Cooper offers finely rendered, darkly romantic visions of the violence and strange magic of the natural world. Jose Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros turns the Magic Kingdom on its head, as his hilarious, expertly mimicked images depicting two Disney princes adopting a baby, Pinocchio doing a bong rip or Snow White posting skanky selfies on Tinder make an excellent case for being weird. La Luz de Jesus, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Fri., Aug. 7, 8-11 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 12-6 p.m., through Aug. 30; free. (323) 666-7667, laluzdejesus.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

No longer relegated to the inky black shadows whence it spawned, film noir now is among the most revered and replicated of all cinematic movements. The spotlight of acclaim has never shone on every worthy sub-sub-genre, however — there are simply too many. Enter the Cinefamily, whose Pulp My Daisy: Jazz, Noir & Beatniks series takes a distinctly musical approach to the crime pictures of yore. Tonight's entry is Arthur Penn's Mickey One, starring Warren Beatty as a comedian who hightails it out of Detroit for the greener pastures of Chicago after running afoul of the mob. His subsequent success proves a double-edged sword, as he runs the risk of popping up on the mafioso radar just when he thought he was safe. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., Aug. 7, 4:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org—Michael Nordine

French Horn Massive: See Friday
French Horn Massive: See Friday

Upcoming Events

The Old and New Hollywood of Peter Bogdanovich continues at the Aero with The Last Picture Show and Nickelodeon. The writer-director will appear for a conversation between films on this meta double bill, the first half of which is an elegiac rumination on small-town America that launched the careers of Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd. Nickelodeon, meanwhile, reunites the father-daughter pairing of Ryan and Tatum O'Neal from the endless delight that is Paper Moon in a comic homage to the early years of the movies themselves. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

The long-rumored Space Jam sequel starring LeBron James recently became slightly more likely, once again causing '90s kids everywhere, protective of the original, to throw themselves into existential despair and bemoan the sad state of affairs in which we currently find ourselves. As if to assuage our dread, the Nuart screens the beloved Michael Jordan classic of live-action mixed with animation at midnight — all the better to weed out uncultured kids who aren't allowed to stay up that late. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., Aug. 7, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com. —Michael Nordine

sat 8/8

Unapologetic prankster, The Bone Zone podcaster and 2015 L.A. Weekly Comedy Act to Watch Randy Liedtke has paired an average-Joe outlook with ever-escalating misdirection on mainstream NBC fare Late Night With Seth Meyers and Last Comic Standing, plus IFC comedy-nerd staples Maron and Comedy Bang Bang. Having filmed a Comedy Central half-hour in June, this weekend he records a pair of live shows for his upcoming debut album on Comedy Central Records (tentatively yet accurately titled I'm on a Roll), the release of which will coincide with his special's fall premiere. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 8, 7 & 9 p.m.; free. nerdmeltla.com. —Julie Seabaugh

It's impossible to know where artistic inspiration comes from. Many artists look back into history — though they tend to do this in books and museums. Jeffrey Vallance prefers to go straight to the source, staging performative séances to seek the advice of great artists who have passed to the spirit world. This process results in reliquaries and other works that the likes of Marcel Duchamp and Jackson Pollock have advised him to produce, as well as a series of "Spirit Photos" directly depicting images and messages on their behalf. At tonight's Ghost Writers performance, Vallance and psychic Joseph Ross host a séance invoking the spirits of dead art critics, whom he hopes to convince to review his current exhibition, "The Medium Is the Message," at the gallery. CB1 Gallery, 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown; Sat., Aug. 8, 8 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues, Tue.-Sat., 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., through Sept. 5. (213) 806-7889, cb1gallery.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

It Happened One Night has as much claim to the title of greatest romantic comedy of all time as any other exemplar of the genre, and tonight you have the chance to see it under the stars. In a rare feat, Frank Capra's lovely film won all five major Oscars (Best Picture and Director for Capra, Actor for Clark Gable, Actress for Claudette Colbert and Screenplay for Robert Riskin), which was all the more impressive considering it deserved them all. Gable and Colbert play a reporter and disenchanted heiress, respectively, brought together by necessity and kept together by, well, you know. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 8, 9 p.m. (gates open 7:15); $15. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org.

ScareLA in Pasadena
ScareLA in Pasadena

The annual ScareLA at the Pasadena Convention Center is part Halloween preview, part fan-centric party. Professional haunters from Dark Harbor and other major events will be on hand to give a glimpse into this year's scares. Go behind-the-frights with monster makeup tutorials and prop demos, catch a few horror shorts and pick up some theme art in the exhibit hall. Watch out for the zombies and other ghouls running loose inside the convention center. The scares will hit when you're least expecting them. Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena; Sat., Aug. 8, 10 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sun., Aug. 9, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; $39.49 (Saturday only), $33.99 (Sunday only), $55.99 (weekend pass). (626) 449-7360; scarela.com. —Liz Ohanesian

If Tacolandia is L.A. Weekly's ode to the city's most important culinary import, then Burgers and Beer is our celebration of L.A.'s most powerful food-and-booze union. Our first Burgers and Beer extravaganza will feature all-you-can-stuff-in-your-face samples of more than 35 of L.A.'s favorite burgers, along with tastings from 30 of the region's breweries. Curated by our staff, the festival's lineup of restaurants, bars, food trucks and roadside stands includes Belcampo, Cassell's, Grill 'Em All, Hawkins House of Burgers and Ledlow (see how some of these fared in our ultimate burger battle in this very paper; see Summer Dining pullout). Breweries include Alosta, Drake's, Bottle Logic, MacLeod Ale Brewing, Strand Brewing, I&I Brewing and Ninkasi. L.A. Memorial Coliseum, 3911 S. Figueroa St., Exposition Park; Sat., Aug. 8, 3-7 p.m. (VIP entry begins at 2 p.m.); $49.75-$75. microapp.laweekly.com/burgersand0x200Bbeer/2015. —Sarah Bennett

sun 8/9

A night of Italian zombies dubbed into English at the Egyptian: Nightmare City and Burial Ground. After being exposed to radiation, a plane's entire passenger manifest arrives at its final destination as a horde of undead in Umberto Lenzi's contribution to the evening. Burial Ground, meanwhile, is a veritable party of bourgeois brain-eaters. The double bill is part of the Egyptian's ongoing Night of the Living '80s: A New Wave of Horror series. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sun., Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

Is there a food as distinctively Californian as the avocado? We use it in everything from omelets to sandwiches to salads, but avocado ale might seem a little bizarre for even the biggest devotees of the lush, spreadable fruit. At Angel City Brewery, though, the Avocado Ale is a big deal. To celebrate its return, Angel City hosts its third annual Avocado Festival. The Surfer Taco, Brewwings, Si Paletas and the Green Truck are coming down to match the ale with eats. When you're not munching, take a tour of the brewery or go on an avocado hunt. Live art, live music and a photo booth will fill out the day. Angel City Brewery and Public House, 216 S. Alameda St., downtown; Sun., Aug. 9; noon-8 p.m.; free. (213) 622-1261, angelcity0x200Bbrewery.com. —Liz Ohanesian

The Hammer Museum hosts The Watts Rebellion: 50 Years Later, a scholarly discussion of the causes, destruction and aftermath of the violence that took place from Aug. 11-17, 1965, with University of Houston professor Gerald Horne and UCLA professor Brenda E. Stevenson. Horne's 1997 book, Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s, examines the rebellion in the context of the Red Scare, Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam, while Stevenson's 2013 book, The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the L.A. Riots, looks back on the 1991 killing of Harlins and how, according to the author, it led to the 1992 civil unrest. Together the two address the "past and present of race relations in the United States." Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., Aug. 9, 2 p.m.; free, tickets required. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Siran Babayan

The Last Picture ShowEXPAND
The Last Picture Show

First performed in 1853 in Venice, Giuseppe Verdi's operatic love story La Traviata was originally titled Violetta, after its main character. Chock-full of the most thrillingly heart-wrenching melodies in all of operadom, it tells of the ill-fated courtesan (sung tonight by Venera Gimadieva) and her young nobleman, Alfredo (Francesco Demuro). It's performed by a sterling cast of solo vocalists along with the L.A. Philharmonic, under the direction of Diego Matheuz, and L.A. Master Chorale, led by artistic director Grant Gershon. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; Sun., Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m.; $13-$177. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —John Payne

CicLAvia, L.A.'s series of bicycle celebrations taking place every few months, returns to the Westside today. The six-mile route starts in Venice Beach and heads up Grand Boulevard to Venice Boulevard, then right on Centinela, left on Washington Place, under the 405, then left on Washington Boulevard and into downtown Culver City, all the way to the Expo Line station (though you can ride it in reverse or join at any point along the way). Skaters and walkers are welcome, too. It's one of the city's most celebrated new institutions — but if you miss it, there's another one coming up in downtown on Oct. 18. Various locations, see website for route map; Sun., Aug. 9, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (213) 355-8500, ciclavia.org. —Zachary Pincus-Roth

If you haven't seen the Los Angeles Public Library's fantastic exhibit "To Live and Dine in L.A.," a showcase of its historic menu collection, go now to view everything from menus and neon green dining tables to 100-year-old food paraphernalia. Then enjoy To Live and Dine in L.A.: A Live Mixtape, a night of food talk and music at the Regent, hosted by USC professor Josh Kun and hip-hop artist Rakaa Iriscience (Dilated Peoples). Evan Kleiman does a live taping of Good Food, DJ Cavem Moetavation and Alkemia Earth present an "interactive culinary concert," and Roy Choi freestyles with MC Supernatural. It's everything but the food itself. Regent Theater, 448 S. Main St., downtown; Sun., Aug. 9, 7 p.m. (doors 6 p.m.); $20 ($60 VIP). (323) 284-5727, theregenttheater.com. —Sascha Bos

mon 8/10

Not content with presenting its mega-hit animated film Inside Out in its flagship theater, those folks at Disney kick things up another notch with Music of Light, a mesmerizing stage show blending live dance with cutting-edge 3-D projected landscapes. So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Dave Scott guides five dancers in styles ranging from street dance to aerial as they portray joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust, the five emotions starring in the film, which screens right after each performance. El Capitan Theatre, 6838 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; daily through Wed., Aug. 19, 10 a.m., 1, 4 & 7 p.m., plus 9:55 p.m. on Sat. & Sun.; $18-$28, $15 seniors & kids. (800) DISNEY6, elcapitantheatre.com. —Ann Haskins

tue 8/11

Not content with presenting its mega-hit animated film Inside Out in its flagship theater, those folks at Disney kick things up another notch with Music of Light, a mesmerizing stage show blending live dance with cutting-edge 3-D projected landscapes. So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Dave Scott guides five dancers in styles ranging from street dance to aerial as they portray joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust, the five emotions starring in the film, which screens right after each performance. El Capitan Theatre, 6838 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; daily through Wed., Aug. 19, 10 a.m., 1, 4 & 7 p.m., plus 9:55 p.m. on Sat. & Sun.; $18-$28, $15 seniors & kids. (800) DISNEY6, elcapitantheatre.com. —Ann Haskins

wed 8/12

To help pose questions about systemic racism and how it tends to disrupt cities with depressing regularity, tonight the Hammer screens Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, the 2000 filmed version of the 1994 Tony-nominated play in which Anna Deavere Smith confronted the issues lingering beneath the embers of the 1992 L.A. Riots. Constructed from Smith's interviews with people involved in the aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King trial, it takes immersive journalism to dizzying, violently honest heights. The screening precedes a discussion with critic and L.A. Weekly contributor Ernest Hardy and UCLA history professor Brenda E. Stevenson. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Wed., Aug. 12, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —David Cotner

thu 8/13

Michael Des Barres' fate as a rock star in the 1970s was foreshadowed in the late '60s, when he played one in a nude musical in London. Though mostly famous for marrying the high priestess of groupies, Pamela Des Barres, the L.A. musician and actor has fronted supergroups like Power Station and appeared in shows such as Roseanne and, most memorably, as bad guy Murdoc in MacGyver. In his new documentary, Michael Des Barres: Who Do You Want Me to Be? — the title taken from his song "Obsession" — Des Barres delves into his professional and private life, dating back to his boarding school years and his first acting role in To Sir, With Love. The film includes interviews with Duran Duran's John Taylor, Steve Jones, Don Johnson, Gabriel Byrne, Ed Begley Jr. and Allison Anders. Following the screening, Please Kill Me author Legs McNeil moderates a discussion with Des Barres and director J. Elvis Weinstein. The Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Thu., Aug. 13, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Siran Babayan

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