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

The Comedy Get Down featuring D.L. Hughley, left, Charlie Murphy, Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin and George Lopez: See Saturday.
The Comedy Get Down featuring D.L. Hughley, left, Charlie Murphy, Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin and George Lopez: See Saturday.
Photo BY Jim McGuire

fri 8/21

At Subversive Women: A Low-Key Night of New Underground Films Made by Women, sample a smorgasbord of new, avant-garde films, none longer than 20 minutes, and hear from the directors themselves. The organizers proclaim that these 12 women-directed short films are "way too wacky, gory, sick, crazy, strange, weird, twisted, odd or insane to show at mainstream film festivals." We like it! Filmmakers Rena Riffel (Astrid), Katherine Sainte Marie (Diaries From Wonderland), Lindsey Haun (Coming To), Amara Grace (Night Shed), Kelly Morton (Guttmatchers), Alexandra Velasco (Vessel), Lauren Morrison (Viscera) and Tamar Halpern (Death, Taxes & Apple Juice) will discuss their works. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m.; $13. (323) 461-2020, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Sascha Bos

In a series of random, seemingly unconnected murders in New York, all of the perpetrators claim the same defense: God Told Me To. Larry Cohen's underseen curio screens tonight at midnight in the latest installment of Cinefamily's ever-spooky Friday Night Frights program. No mere police procedural, the serial-killer yarn also incorporates elements of sci-fi into its oddball narrative. In a comprehensive poll last year, Time Out ranked the movie among the 100 best horror films of all time. Note that this is the Whisper cut, which is surely even stranger and more worthy of your hard-earned dollars than the 1976 theatrical version. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., Aug. 21, 11:59 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine

For all you early adopters out there, Engadget Live is your chance to step beyond the gripes and the hype and try out the latest consumer electronics that everyone you know covets. In addition, the tech site assembles editors, readers and brands for an evening of conversation about the latest state of gadget consciousness. Exchange L.A., 618 S. Spring St., downtown; Fri., Aug. 21, 7-10 p.m.; free. (213) 627-8070, engadget.com. —David Cotner

In the wake of the 1992 L.A. Riots, actors-writers Mark Broyard and Roger Guenveur Smith created Inside the Creole Mafia, a wickedly comical and enlightening vaudeville show, which probes the duo's deeply lived fixations with the mixed-blood heritage of L.A.'s Creole community. The maddeningly complex aspects of identity politics go down easier as Broyard and Smith entertain with hilarious and quite touching inside jokes about good and bad hair, Eurocentric vs. Afrocentric sensibilities and the pigeonholing of the Creole actor in Hollywood, plus a practical guide to patois and a million zingers more. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Echo Park; Fri.-Sat., Aug. 21-22, 8 p.m.; $15 online until 6 p.m. on show day, $20 at door. (213) 389-3856, bootlegtheater.org. —John Payne

Engadget Live
Engadget Live
Photo by Aurelia D'Amore

Upcoming Events

sat 8/22

Nisei Week, the annual celebration of L.A.'s Japanese-American community, comes to a close this weekend. In the final days of a 75th-anniversary celebration that started Aug. 15, Little Tokyo will be abuzz with food, music and other cultural events. The free festivities will feature taiko drummers, martial arts and, on Saturday at 0x000A1 p.m., the Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship. This is for serious eaters willing to cram as many dumplings down their throats as it takes to win the grand prize. Make sure to also check out the art exhibitions and demos taking place on Saturday and Sunday, when you can explore everything from calligraphy to needlework. Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St., Little Tokyo (plus other locations); Sat.-Sun., Aug. 22-23; free. (213) 687-7193, niseiweek.org. —Liz Ohanesian

An evening of "crime jazz" takes over the Aero as Anatomy of a Murder and Odds Against Tomorrow screen in tandem, the latter on 35mm. This double feature is part of the American Cinematheque's ongoing Jazz on Film series (the two movies feature the musical stylings of Duke Ellington and John Lewis, respectively). There may be little new to say about Otto Preminger's Anatomy — when last we checked, it was still considered one of the quintessential courtroom dramas — but Odds Against Tomorrow has gone less remarked. Harry Belafonte stars in the 1959 film noir, making him the first black actor to do so. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

If all the murder and bank-robbing of these first few offerings have you in the mood for something more upbeat, perhaps seeing Pee-wee's Big Adventure at Hollywood Forever will cheer you up (unless you're still weirded out by the whole "seeing movies in a cemetery" thing). Three decades later, Tim Burton's feature-length debut remains a fitful reminder to never steal a rebel's bike. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 22, 9 p.m. (gates at 7:15); $15. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org.

It seems like there's always something cool (and free!) happening at downtown's Grand Park, and today, on the penultimate Saturday of summer, you can hit two great events at the same giant venue. The L.A. Taco Festival features tortilla-wrapped goodness from vendors including Kogi, Tacos El Gallito, Homeboy Industries, Danny's Tacos, Los Ruizeñores and Zingo, plus music by California-based, Afro-Latin–influenced Quita Penas. Take your tacos to the PROUD Picnic (or bring your own grub), which will feature even more food trucks, music and games. The picnic is part of a series at Grand Park celebrating our LGBTQ community, which will include a storytelling session in October and a Valentine's Day bash on Feb. 13. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sat., Aug. 22, noon-7 p.m. (L.A. Taco Festival), 1-5 p.m. (PROUD Picnic); free. (213) 972-8080, grandparkla.org, latacofestival.com. —Sascha Bos

The Comedy Get Down hits L.A. this weekend on its national tour. Partially rebooting and expanding late-'90s stand-up juggernaut the Original Kings of Comedy tour, Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley fill the absences left by the late Bernie Mac and TV multitasker Steve Harvey with none-too-shabby replacements George Lopez, Charlie Murphy and Eddie Griffin. Chances are good a new concert documentary won't be too far behind. The Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood; Sat., Aug. 22, 8 p.m.; $49.50-$250. (310) 330-7300, fabulousforum.com. —Julie Seabaugh

Nisei Week
Nisei Week
Photo by Jun Nagata, Rafu Shimpo

sun 8/23

I Remember Harlem, William Miles' four-part series chronicling the neighborhood's centuries-long status as a cultural center of the African-American experience, closes out UCLA's monthlong tribute to black independent cinema. The documentary delves into everything from the Harlem Renaissance to the civil rights movement as it moves forward in time from the 17th century until 1981, the year it was made. I Remember Harlem will be preceded by Syvilla: They Dance to Her Drum, Ayoka Chenzira's 12-minute short about dancer-instructor-choreographer Syvilla Fort; both films will be shown on 16mm. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., Aug. 23, 7 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu—Michael Nordine

Just in case you forgot that the matinee idols of yesteryear occasionally tracked in dirt with their feet of clay, today's Hollywood Home Movies — presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences — is a lighthearted journey into the simpler moments of cinema's Golden Age. With AMPAS archivist Randy Haberkamp as the host, you'll see behind-the-scenes footage of William Randolph Hearst's circus-themed party for his 74th birthday, color footage from the set of Gone With the Wind, a day at Muscle Beach and scenes from a star-studded voyage to San Francisco. The silent movies will be accompanied live on the Hall's 1925 Wurlitzer pipe organ. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; Sun., Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $10 general, $8 seniors. (310) 322-2592, oldtownmusichall.org. —David Cotner

mon 8/24

Let's face it: No matter how much CGI you use to try to dress up comic books, the vast majority boils down to stories about cops fighting robbers. There are rare exceptions — one of which is showcased in the exhibition "Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby." Kirby, who died in 1994 in Thousand Oaks, illustrated everything from the X-Men to the New Gods, and his transcendent work from 1965 onward appears here in one of the most comprehensive retrospectives ever of his art. Main Gallery, California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Mon., Aug. 24-Sat., Oct. 10; opening reception Sat., Aug. 29, 4-7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-2226, www.csun.edu/mike-curb-arts-media-communication/art-galleries. —David Cotner

It takes a big ol' tub of guts to get up in front of a crowd of strangers and tell a story — especially if it's a story that doesn't paint you in the best light. Tonight's Moth GrandSLAM Championship is devoted to the bold truth tellers who have won the past 10 Moth StorySLAMS. The venerable Moth storytelling technique is simple: no notes, no prompter, just a microphone. The Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park; Mon., Aug. 24, 7 p.m.; $25. (213) 413-8200, theecho.com. —David Cotner

tue 8/25

Oz-ploitation night at the New Beverly features two movies from Down Under. In Stone, which predates the original Mad Max by five years, members of a Kawasaki-loving motorcycle gang known as the Grave Diggers (no relation to the monster truck) find themselves being systematically eliminated by unknown agents, while in Dark Age, a man-eating crocodile is loosed upon an unsuspecting populace. The latter never received a proper theatrical release in Australia; it took the efforts of one Quentin Tarantino — who, not coincidentally, owns the New Bev — for it to be shown in its native land at all (in Sydney in 2009), some 20 years after it was made. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Tue., Aug. 25, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com—Michael Nordine

L.A. author Simon Goodman recounts his efforts to reclaim his family's Holocaust-looted art in his new book, The Orpheum Clock: The Search for My Family's Art Treasures Stolen by the Nazis. The British-born Goodman's grandparents, members of a German-Jewish banking dynasty, were murdered in the concentration camps. After his father's death, Goodman and his brother sought out his family's lost treasures, some of which went to Hitler, some to private collectors, dealers and museums. In the book, Goodman chronicles his arduous dealings with the art world in recovering some of the works, including silver and furniture, as well as paintings by Degas, Renoir and Botticelli. Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Tue., Aug. 25, 7 p.m.; free, book is $28. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —Siran Babayan

Pom Poko
Pom Poko

wed 8/26

The Egyptian's weeklong Studio Ghibli retrospective comes to a close with Pom Poko and My Neighbors the Yamadas. Both were directed by Isao Takahata, who also helmed Grave of the Fireflies (possibly the most depressing animated film of all time) and last year's much-lauded The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Pom Poko is well-known for introducing Western viewers to tanuki, aka Japanese raccoon dogs — real-life animals depicted in Japanese folklore as anatomically incorrect shape-shifters with a penchant for mischief. Yamadas is considerably less fantastical than most Ghibli fare, focusing on a contemporary family of ne'er-do-wells. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

Get thee back to the New Bev for an evening devoted to Lina Wertmüller, the first woman nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. She also wrote both of tonight's selections: Swept Away and Love & Anarchy. A yacht-owning capitalist and a communist who works on said seafaring vessel wind up marooned on a deserted island with only their clashing beliefs to keep them company in Swept Away, whose premise surely precludes the two from falling in love with one another. Meanwhile, in Love & Anarchy, a farmer and a prostitute whose political ideals unite them in hatred of the Fascists launch a scheme to assassinate Mussolini. The program repeats tomorrow — same time, same place — if you can't make it tonight. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Wed., Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

If you're a '90s kid, you probably have Friday memorized. The Ice Cube/Chris Tucker vehicle was a cable staple, a perennially quotable entry in the pantheon of stoner misadventures. But is there more to Friday than what you see on the screen? Artist Mark Bradford, whose "Scorched Earth" exhibition is on view at the Hammer through late September, selected this film for screening. According to the museum's website, the event's goal is to explore about how "the 'hood" is sold in cultural works. Ernest Hardy (who writes for L.A. Weekly) and author-professor Tisa Bryant (Unexplained Presence) will speak on the subject after the film. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Wed., Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Liz Ohanesian

Marc Maron isn't the only one with a popular comedy podcast. Since 2009, Kevin Pollak has hosted comedic and acting heavyweights on his podcast/Internet show, Kevin Pollak's Chat Show. The actor revisits some of his biggest talking heads in his directorial debut, Misery Loves Comedy. In the documentary, which premiered earlier this year, Pollak sits down with Tom Hanks, Larry David, Whoopi Goldberg, Martin Short, James L. Brooks, Jimmy Fallon, Christopher Guest, Judd Apatow, Amy Schumer and others to crack wise about the age-old question of whether misery begets comedy. Following the screening, Pollak leads a discussion with special guests. Ace Hotel Downtown, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Wed., Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (213) 623-3233, acehotel.com. —Siran Babayan

thu 8/27

Akin to small-plates dining, the Mix Match Dance Festival experience offers tastes that cover the dance spectrum. For its ninth iteration, Mix Match presents a dizzying 50 troupes spread over four days. Hosted by choreographer Amanda Hart and her Hart Pulse Dance Company, the lineup of familiar and fresh faces is dominated by contemporary dance, but the eclectic brew is spiced with hip-hop, tap, belly and pole dancers, with the host company closing each show. Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica; Thu.-Fri., Aug. 27-28, 7:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Aug. 29-30, 2 p.m.; $17. hartpulsedance.com. —Ann Haskins

Nick Offerman's Ron Swanson, the mustachioed, woodworking, meat-eating man's man from Parks and Recreation, is no longer on TV, but the character's voice is all over Offerman's newest book, Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom With America's Gutsiest Troublemakers. In the book, which is getting a "release show" at Largo, Offerman compiles 21 historical figures, writers, musicians, comedians, farmers, boat makers and furniture makers whom he considers "great Americans," including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass, Eleanor Roosevelt, Carol Burnett, Willie Nelson, Conan O'Brien and ... Yoko Ono. Offerman mixes humor with history when describing how his heroes' grit inspired him. "At great personal cost, this excellent 'first American' set our country sailing ... full speed ahead upon the winds of gumption," he writes of Washington. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Thu., Aug. 27, doors 7 p.m., show 8:30 p.m.; $40 (includes a copy of the book). (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —Siran Babayan

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