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

Heathers is screening in a cemetery in Long Beach
Heathers is screening in a cemetery in Long Beach

fri 9/4

Cinecon 51 is now in full force, having begun last night and continuing its residency at the Egyptian through Monday. A low-key celebration focusing on lesser-known exemplars of the silent era and early talkies alike, the weekend affair places a premium on 35mm prints and live accompaniment to its silent features. Highlights from today's schedule include Erich Von Stroheim's Blind Husbands at 4:30 p.m. and William A. Seiter's Synthetic Sin at 9:50 p.m., with a number of shorts and features in between. Passes for individual days or the entire weekend are available. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Holywood.; Thu., Sept. 3-Mon., Sept. 7; $30 (day pass), $120 (full weekend). (323) 466-3456, www.cinecon.org. —Michael Nordine

La Luz de Jesus Gallery brings the bar to the gallery. For its third annual "The Coaster Show," painters, illustrators, animators, sculptors and tattooists use more than 1,000 4-inch coasters as their canvas, transforming them into miniature pieces of art. With some priced at $250, these are undoubtedly the most expensive coasters you'll ever purchase, but at least the beer at the reception is free. La Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Fri., Sept. 4, 8-11 p.m.; free. Exhibit continues through Sept. 27. (323) 666-7667, laluzdejesus.com. —Siran Babayan

What is this nice li'l fella from outer space? Maybe he's a pig — he sure eats like one. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Steven Spielberg's classic fable about a boy and his alien buddy, gets a deluxe HD showing on the Bowl's big screen as conductor David Newman leads the L.A. Phil in a live-to-picture performance of the film's score by composer John Williams, who'll be on hand to introduce the event. Re-experience E.T.'s touching wonders in the best possible place: under the moon and stars. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., Sept. 4-5, 8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m.; $28-$182. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —John Payne

Upcoming Events

The Quay Brothers in 35mm features fresh prints of three films by Stephen and Timothy Quay, along with director Christopher Nolan's new short Quay, about the London-based animators' studio. The stunningly strange cinematic art of the identical twins, best known for their groundbreaking, puppetry-peopled, stop-motion animated films, is seen and heard in up-close-and-personal detail with a choice batch of some of their most whimsically weird: In Absentia, The Comb and Street of Crocodiles, the last of which animator-director Terry Gilliam proclaimed as one of the 10 best animated films of all time. Nolan gives a short talk on opening night. Cinefamily at Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri.-Sat., Sept. 4-5, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 6, 4 p.m.; Mon., Sept. 7, 2 p.m.; Wed., Sept. 9, 10:15 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., Sept. 11-12, 10 p.m.; Thu. & Sun., Sept. 10 & 13, 10:30 p.m.; Sept. 4 screening $18, other dates $12, free for members. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —John Payne

Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez, better known as Korda, was the Cuban photographer who captured the iconic image of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara that we now see emblazoned on T-shirts and walls alike. This famous photograph and 18 others by Korda are on view at the Museum of Latin American Art through Sept. 6. MOLAA will screen Hector Cruz Sandoval's film Kordavision (2005), which chronicles Korda's journey from fashion photographer to political artist. While you're there, check out the giant rhinoceros sculpture by fellow Cuban William Pérez. MOLAA, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach; Fri., Sept. 4, 7 p.m.; free with museum admission ($9/$6 seniors, students/children under 12 free). (562) 437-1689, molaa.org. —Sascha Bos

The Brothers Quay in 35mm at Cinefamily
The Brothers Quay in 35mm at Cinefamily
Courtesy Zeitgeist Films

sat 9/5

In L.A., winters are green and summers are fiery. Then there's May gray, June gloom, the passionfruit-pink haze of smog and drought-fueled sunsets entertaining drivers of candy-colored cars. Inspired by the colors of Los Angeles, American Bachelor author Michael Rababy curates "My L.A.," featuring works by photographers who capture the city's ever-elusive light. It's part of a larger group photo show curated by the gallery. Hive Gallery, 729 S. Spring St., downtown; reception Sat., Sept. 5, 8-11 p.m.; $5 suggested donation. Exhibition continues Wed.-Sat., 1-6 p.m., and by appointment through Sat., Sept. 26; free. (213) 955-9051, hivegallery.com. —Tanja M. Laden

Buskerfest, an annual free, outdoor showcase that counts Cold War Kids, Chicano Batman and Avi Buffalo as past performers, asks up-and-coming musicians to get back to the roots of live performance: playing in the street. Audience members use wooden nickels to vote for their favorite local musicians in a lineup that features Bloody Death Skull, Rosie Harlow & the Tall Tale Boys, Full Tilt Trio, Tall Walls, Tall Tales & the Silver Lining, Forest of Tongue, Tacky Little Hat Shop and Paper Thin Hands. With minimal setups, this show is all about connecting with the audience. East Village Arts District, First Street between Linden Avenue and Elm Avenue, Long Beach; Sat., Sept. 5, 5-11 p.m.; free. summerandmusic.com. —Sascha Bos

It's hard to imagine a better place to see Heathers than in a cemetery. In the 1988 film written by Daniel Waters and directed by Michael Lehmann, Veronica (Winona Ryder) and J.D. (Christian Slater) set out to teach the popular kids a lesson and end up in a spiral of murder, sex and self-destruction. With its biting humor and gorgeous cast, the movie both romanticizes violence and provides viewers with the kind of reality check that will make you never want a bad boy again. As you wait for the sun to set, enjoy an '80s-inspired set by local band Spare Parts for Broken Hearts. Sunnyside Cemetery, 1095 E. Willow St., Long Beach; Sat., Sept. 5, 7:30 p.m. (doors 6:30 p.m.); $12 online, $15 at the door. lbcinema.org. —Sascha Bos

sun 9/6

If you're going to spend your Labor Day weekend indoors, you should do it at Pacific Media Expo. The long-running Asian pop culture convention is not a typical fan event. Sure, you can check out the first L.A. appearance from visual kei band Femme Fatale, fronted by glam-goth Japanese singer Kaya. Anime voice actor Kyoko Hikami and Lolita fashion–friendly illustrator Kira Imai will be on hand, too. But even if you're unfamiliar with these names, you will find something exciting to do. Learn the Hawaiian martial art Kajukenbo or Filipino boxing during the day Saturday and sit in on a mahjong workshop that night. Then check out Sunday's fashionable tea party before 8BitLA shows you how to make music with vintage video game consoles. On Monday, don't miss the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tournament. Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena; Sat.-Sun., Sept. 5-6, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Mon., Sept. 7., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; $30-$65, children 5 and under free with an adult. (626) 449-7360, pacificmediaexpo.info. —Liz Ohanesian

Marlon Brando once said that the reason people connect so strongly to his "I coulda been a contender" speech from On the Waterfront has little to do with his talent and everything to do with relatability — we all see ourselves in that moment, pondering the life that could have been. He was underrating himself — the role did earn him his first Oscar, after all — but it's an insightful observation nevertheless. See if you agree with the epochal thespian's assessment when Arclight Hollywood screens Elia Kazan's classic. ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m.; $14. (323) 464-1478, arclightcinemas.com—Michael Nordine

Pacific Media Expo
Pacific Media Expo
Photo by Shannon Cottrell

mon 9/7

Listeners of the Nerdist Network may be familiar with Dave Ross' Terrified podcast. Since 2013, the L.A. comedian has been interviewing fellow comics, writers, musicians and the like about their fears, traumas and things they don't like about themselves, from OCD and social anxieties to depression and even rape. Ross, who hosted the now-defunct Holy Fuck at the Downtown Independent, is taking his podcast on the road for a statewide tour, performing it live in L.A. for the first time. While tonight's lineup is still TBA, past guests have included Todd Glass, Jackie Kashian, Karen Kilgariff, Baron Vaughn and Moshe Kasher. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., Sept. 7, 9 p.m.; $8. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —Siran Babayan

tue 9/8

How would we react if we were actually visited by intelligent life from another world? The Day the Earth Stood Still suggests we would meet such an event with fear, nervously shooting our new visitor as soon as he makes a sudden movement. Klaatu, the alien in question, is pretty cool about the whole thing, so it makes sense that he was played by Keanu Reeves in the 2008 remake. LACMA screens the original version as part of its Tuesday Matinee series, which is currently on a science fiction kick. As with most great sci-fi, Robert Wise's classic reveals more about our own world than those we've yet to visit. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Sept. 8, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org—Michael Nordine

Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel discuss their new book, Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My..., which centers on middle schooler Franklin Isaac Saturday, who doesn't get along with his stepfather, is unpopular with his classmates and has a crush on a girl. For a school assignment, he writes a letter to Benjamin Franklin describing his angst-ridden life, and the founding father responds from 1776. They continue their correspondence and develop a pen-pal friendship. Fans of Mansbach know his popular 2011 kids book for adults, Go the F**k to Sleep. Zweibel was among the original writers of Saturday Night Live and co-created It's Garry Shandling's Show. Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Tue., Sept. 8, 6:30 p.m.; free, book is $12.99. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —Siran Babayan

wed 9/9

Michelle Franke, executive director of PEN Center USA, founded The Rattling Wall in 2010. Published by Narrow Books, the L.A.-based literary journal prints everything from short fiction and travel essays to poetry, illustrated by an artist. The featured artist in the latest installment is Kristina Collantes, whose work has been in The New Yorker and Juxtapoz. Celebrate the launch of Issue 5 at Skylight Books, where a few featured writers — David Ulin, Cecil Castellucci, Rita Williams, David Francis, Julianne Ortale and Susan Berman — read their work. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Wed., Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, therattlingwall.com. —Tanja M. Laden

Undaunted by artistic borders, the dance company String Theory often creates unconventional instruments, including its signature gigantic harp, and has been known to garb its dancers in music-making costumes. Led by Luke and Holly Rothschild, this eclectic ensemble of dancers, musicians, composers and stringed instruments reprises the site-specific Seaclipse in Tongva Park's al fresco environs. Starting at the big tree at the park's north end (Colorado Avenue between Ocean Avenue and Main Street), the performers guide the audience through the striking, ocean-adjacent space. The park recently was named one of six finalists in this year's international Urban Space Award Competition. Tongva Park, 1615 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; Wed., Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m.; free. tongvapark.smgov.net. —Ann Haskins

Thanks to PaleyFest Fall TV Previews, you can spend the week hanging out with doctors, lawyers, forensic investigators and killers. The Paley Center for Media hosts screenings of this fall's new TV comedies and dramas: NBC's Truth Be Told and Undateable (Sept. 9); Univision's La Banda (Sept. 10); ABC's Dr. Ken (Sept. 12); CBS' Code Black (Sept. 12); The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Sept. 14); and Fox's Grandfathered, The Grinder and Scream Queens (Sept. 15). Panel discussions after screenings will feature cast and crew, including Rob Lowe, John Stamos, Ricky Martin, Marcia Gay Harden, LL Cool J and Ken Jeong. The festival also highlights two special events: the fall premiere of NCIS: L.A. (Sept. 11) and a farewell to CSI (Sept. 16). Paley Center for Media, 465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills; Wed., Sept. 9, 6 p.m.; through Sept. 16; $20-$30. (310) 786-1000, paleycenter.org. —Siran Babayan

Last year, on Comedy Central's The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail filmed at Meltdown Comics, Emmy-nominated writer and comedian Neal Brennan attempted what looked like the stand-up version of spinning plates. He simultaneously performed on three microphones: one each for traditional stand-up, one-liners and confessional monologues. In just under four minutes, Brennan riffed on depression, ex-girlfriends, those ASPCA commercials with Sarah McLachlan, Lance Armstrong's charity and stupid YouTube users. Brennan is the co-creator of Chappelle's Show, and he's directed for Inside Amy Schumer and written for MTV's Singled Out and Nickelodeon's Kenan & Kel. If you miss Brennan's 3 Mics show tonight, you can always catch his weekly show, Neal Brennan and Friends, at the Westside Comedy Theater. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Wed., Sept. 9, 8:30 p.m.; $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —Siran Babayan

Rattling Wall
Rattling Wall
Photo by Jason Gutierrez

thu 9/10

Brian Kellow discusses his biography of show business agent Sue Mengers, Can I Go Now?: The Life of Sue Mengers, Hollywood's First Superagent. Born to German-Jewish parents who left Europe during the rise of Nazism, Mengers — the subject of 2013 one-woman show I'll Eat You Last, starring Bette Midler — rose through Hollywood's ranks, first as a secretary at William Morris Agency, then as an agent at Creative Management Associates (later ICM). Her clients included Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Candice Bergen and, most notably, Barbra Streisand. Kellow, whose previous bios were of Pauline Kael and Ethel Merman, chronicles the height of Mengers' career in the '60s and '70s, and its decline in the '80s, including her falling-out with Streisand. Kellow interviewed more than 200 celebs, including Streisand, Polly Bergen, Tuesday Weld, Sherry Lansing, Rona Barrett and Tina Sinatra. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Thu., Sept. 10, 7 p.m.; free, book is $27.95. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Siran Babayan

Not to take anything away from Citizen Kane, whose nonpareil reputation is certainly well-deserved, but the unofficial Greatest Film of All Time isn't even the greatest Orson Welles movie. That would be The Magnificent Ambersons, which you can see for free at Cal State Northridge as part of the school's semesterlong Welles retrospective. Deeply melancholy but also strangely warm, like a night spent alone in front of the fireplace, it features some of the most soothing narration of all time (courtesy of the filmmaker himself) as it tells of a once-great family's fall from grace. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., Sept. 10, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu—Michael Nordine

Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini's creative/romantic partnership led to some of both artists' finest work, with Journey to Italy and Stromboli being highlights among highlights. A visit to Pompeii factors into the former, in which Bergman plays a woman whose marriage is seemingly near its end; her Stromboli character isn't so dissimilar, though in this case the nuptials are more recent. Both films evince a sense of extreme displacement experienced by their wayward heroines, a quality Bergman expresses so hauntingly well that you may start to worry for her. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Thu., Sept. 10, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

Music videos aren't the phenomenon they once were, and MTV was never the only game in town (even if it was the largest). For a year and a half in Boston, a free channel called V66 provided an independent alternative and either featured or influenced the likes of New Edition, Dropkick Murphys and The Cars. Filmmaker Eric Green will be on hand at Echo Park Film Center to discuss his new documentary, Life on the V: The Story of V66, which features archival footage from V66 as well as interviews with the artists and fans affected by the channel. Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Thu., Sept. 10, 8 p.m.; free. (213) 484-8846, echoparkfilmcenter.org. —Michael Nordine

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