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

Sergio Arau's Por las nubes at MOLAA: See Friday.
Sergio Arau's Por las nubes at MOLAA: See Friday.

fri 9/11

Mexican artist Sergio Arau pays tribute to lucha libre in his new exhibit, "La Vida Es un Ring," which takes its name from an Amado Nervo poem that goes: "Man is born to wrestle, strive/Like birds are born to fly." Arau, a painter-filmmaker-musician who directed the movie A Day Without a Mexican, created the style he calls ArtNacó in 1983. Nacó is "street kitsch," referring to the authentically Mexican images of lucha libre and altars that Arau represents in his pop-art pieces. The opening-night celebration, "La Lucha de Las Mascaras," includes a lucha libre marketplace, face painting, photo booth and tequila tasting. Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach; Fri., Sept. 11, 7 p.m.; $10 members, $15 nonmembers. Exhibit continues through Sept. 27. (562) 437-1689, molaa.org. —Sascha Bos

A weekend of marathon-worthy genre fare commences at the Egyptian with The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, two exemplars of a bygone era of sci-fi. Mystery and wonder abound in both H.G. Wells adaptations, whose worldviews are at once more fearful and wide-eyed than the similarly minded films they've influenced; we used to fear what extraterrestrials might do to us, while lately we seem more concerned (probably correctly) that, if anyone is out there, they've deliberately chosen to ignore us. Ann Robinson, who starred in War of the Worlds, will appear for a discussion between films. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.; Fri., Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.

Oktoberfest is a beer festival and fun fair in Bavaria dating back to the early 19th century. More than 200 years later, the booze-fueled jubilee is still celebrated across the world, including Los Angeles, where Alpine Village has been hosting the Germanic bacchanal since 1968. Guests are invited to wash down food such as bratwurst, schnitzel and sauerkraut with a Warsteiner beer (or local craft brew) served in a chilled stein. Speaking of steins, there's actually a stein-holding contest, along with oompah dancing and more. (Lederhosen and dirndl optional.) Alpine Village, 833 W. Torrance Blvd., Torrance; Fri.-Sun., Sept. 11-Oct. 31. Fri., 6 p.m.-mid.; Sat., 5 p.m.-mid.; Sun., 1-6 p.m.; closed Sept. 13. After-parties Sat. and Sun. until 2 a.m. in Steinhaus Restaurant; $6-$70. (310) 327-4384, alpinevillagecenter.com/oktoberfest. —Tanja M. Laden

"Schindler: The Prequel" is an exhibition portraying the intellectual climate in Vienna at the time of R.M. Schindler's architectural training, and highlighting the trail of influence linking 19th-century Europe with 20th-century West Hollywood. The exhibit recontextualizes the famous 1922 Kings Road House as a direct result of the debates raging in Vienna Modernist circles from 1890 to 1914, when Schindler was a young student and architectural aspirant. Photographs, drawings and furniture designs detail the grounding principles laid by Viennese architect Otto Wagner, as well as the following generation's responses to his work as personified by Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann. MAK Center L.A. at Schindler House, 835 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood; Fri., Sept. 11-Sun., Dec. 6, Wed.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; $7. (323) 651-1510, makcenter.org. —John Payne

Anyone seeking a more contemporary sensibility in their double features will be better suited for Cinespia's presentation of Grindhouse at Hollywood Forever. The prospect of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez teaming up for a pair of exploitation throwbacks, complete with tongue-in-cheek trailers for nonexistent movies, once seemed too good to be true. Though the lovingly made Death Proof and Planet Terror didn't set the world on fire (as the genre mavens might have hoped), the films' pleasures are readily apparent. Tarantino recently bemoaned his entry as a failure, but he's selling himself short: Death Proof may be his leanest, meanest vehicle to date. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Sept. 11, 8:30 p.m. (gates at 6:45); $15. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org.

sat 9/12

Long Beach Comic Con, now in its seventh year, is a low-key convention that allows fans to mingle with artists, writers, actors and cosplayers without fear of being trampled. This year, the event includes the Columbia Memorial Space Center presenting Space Expo — two days of panels (such as "Sci-Fi vs. Reality") from JPL notables, as well as an exhibit with robotics, 3-D printing and a space suit. Whether you're there for the space show, the celebrities (Chloe Bennet, John Barrowman) or the comic books (illustrators Marc Silvestri and Adam Kubert), you'll be supporting your local Comic Con — not that chaotic melee in San Diego. Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Sat., Sept. 12, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. Sept. 13, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; $30 Saturday, $25 Sunday, $50 weekend pass ($5 more at the door). longbeach0x200Bcomiccon.com. —Sascha Bos

Somewhere between enthusiasm and masochism lies the impulse to do something like watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in one sitting. Having done this, your humble correspondent can personally confirm that it's as grueling as it is rewarding — especially if you're watching the extended versions, which run 11 epic hours in toto. If it's escapism of the highest order you're after, give yourself over to the One Trilogy to Rule Them All at the Aero. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., Sept. 12, 1 p.m.; $15. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre was known for a decade as Media Center Ballet, and became known for emphasizing Sergei Diaghilev–inspired works from the Ballets Russes. Then the Burbank-based company took an extended hiatus, returning three years ago with its new name. Whatever its moniker, the ensemble continues to be led by Natasha Middleton, the daughter of Andrei Tremaine, a Ballets Russes star who became a revered local ballet teacher. This two-part program, La Pasión de España, devotes the first act to the seductive charms of Bizet's Carmen and the second act to the romance and chivalry of that knight errant Don Quixote, both choreographed by Middleton. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Sat., Sept. 12, 8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 13, 3 p.m.; $41-$49, $100 VIP Friday only. (818) 508-4200, elportaltheatre.com. —Ann Haskins

He's back from a stint in New York City, and so is his fast-paced, brilliantly farcical, competitive schmoozefest. Guy Branum's Talk Show: The Game Show, from the Chelsea Lately vet and writer for breakout Hulu series Difficult People, makes its triumphant return after nine long months when Branum hosts guest gabbers Jon Daly, Nicole Byer and Max Silvestri. Judges Emmy Blotnick, Louis Virtel and Casey Schriener will award points for best project plugging, name dropping and anecdote telling. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Sat., Sept. 12, 9 p.m.; $8. nerdmeltla.com. —Julie Seabaugh

We're gonna need a bigger car. Seeing Jaws at a drive-in may seem a cinematic luxury afforded only to those in attendance for its original release, but try telling that to the proprietors of Electric Dusk. Steven Spielberg's stock rose astronomically after he directed this, the blueprint for countless summer blockbusters to follow, and Hollywood has never been the same. Neither the filmmaker himself nor the fat cats lining their pockets with the hard-earned dollars of moviegoers could have foreseen the extent to which this simple tale of a very large shark would come to define their business model. Electric Dusk Drive-In, 1000 San Julian St., downtown; Sat., Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m.; $7.50 (lawn seats), $55 (VIP treatment). (818) 653-8591, electricduskdrivein.com. —Michael Nordine

Originally conceived in 2001 by San Francisco–based arts nonprofit Southern Exposure, Monster Drawing Rally has since become a yearly tradition in Los Angeles benefiting the Armory Center for the Arts. The live-drawing event is an opportunity for art lovers, collectors and spectators to witness the practical application of creativity in real time, with 100 talented people making works that are then sold for $75 apiece. Drink local beer on tap from the Craftsman Brewing Company and buy an original drawing made on the spot to raise funds for one of Pasadena's favorite arts institutions. Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; Sat., Sept. 12, noon-5 p.m.; $10. (626) 792-5101, armoryarts.org/monster. —Tanja M. Laden

Long Beach Comic-Con
Long Beach Comic-Con

sun 9/13

The mastermind behind The Cremaster Cycle, Matthew Barney, expertly takes an uncharted, multidisciplinary approach to his practice, creating works using drawing, photography and film. "Matthew Barney: River of Fundament" is the artist's first major solo show at an L.A. museum, featuring a six-hour-long film divided into three acts exploring the U.S. automotive industry. It also includes a group of sculptures made especially for the presentation at MOCA, as well as storyboards and other images that document the painstaking, nearly seven-year process of making of Barney's new film, which screens at various times. Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 152 N. Central Ave., downtown; Sun., Sept. 13-Mon., Jan. 18, Mon. & Fri., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thu., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; $12 adults, $7 students with ID and seniors (65+), children under 12 free. (213) 626-6222, moca.org. —Tanja M. Laden

Upcoming Events

Organized by the Centre Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, the major retrospective "Frank Gehry" opens today at LACMA, tracing the trajectory of the L.A.-based architect's designs dating back to the early 1960s. Focusing on the themes "urbanism and the development of digital design and fabrication," the exhibit is divided into six themes, and highlights more than 60 of Gehry's projects as seen through 200 drawings and 66 models. (A Q&A with Gehry and author Paul Goldberger today at 2 p.m. is standby only.) LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; Sun., Sept. 13-Sun., March 20, Mon., Tue. & Thu., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; $15. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Siran Babayan

mon 9/14

Given that Richard Milhous Nixon thoroughly divided the nation while he was president, it's fitting that there's a book about him that addresses some divisions — but not the kind you might think. To clarify it all, Evan Thomas discusses his new book, Being Nixon: A Man Divided, which paints a portrait of the president as conflicted but ultimately well-intentioned underneath all those layers of atrocity and double-dealing. After all, Nixon also tried to desegregate Southern schools, ended the draft and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Mon., Sept. 14, 7 p.m.; free, book is $35. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —David Cotner

tue 9/15

Documentary filmmaker Leslie Zemeckis, wife of director Robert Zemeckis, detailed the heyday of burlesque in 2013's Behind the Burly Q: The Story of Burlesque in America. In her latest book, Goddess of Love Incarnate: The Life of Stripteuse Lili St. Cyr, Zemeckis narrows in on one of the dance form's biggest names. Though not as well-known as her contemporary Gypsy Rose Lee, St. Cyr was a popular dancer, first working as a Hollywood chorus girl and later in Vegas, where she performed her trademark striptease in a bathtub. Zemeckis chronicles the height of St. Cyr's career in the 1940s and '50s and her retirement in the '70s. The author also delves into the dancer's six marriages, rumored romances with Orson Welles and Yul Brynner, suicide attempts and reclusive final years in Hollywood, where she died in 1999. Barnes & Noble at the Grove, 189 The Grove Drive, Beverly Grove; Tue., Sept. 15, 7 p.m.; free, book is $28. (323) 525-0270, barnesandnoble.com. —Siran Babayan

The New Beverly's adoration of the Shaw Brothers continues unabated, as its latest double bill can attest: Black Magic and The Boxer's Omen. In the former, a magician specializing in love spells makes things difficult for himself when he tries to make the object of a customer's affections fall in love with him. In Boxer's Omen (also known as Mo), a fellow visits Thailand for the simple, noble purpose of avenging his brother after a fight with a corrupt Muay Thai practitioner left said sibling crippled. This too gets complicated, thanks in no small part to a blend of magic, wizards and Buddhism. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Tue., Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com—Michael Nordine

Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre's Carmen: See Saturday.
Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre's Carmen: See Saturday.
Photo by Deck Photography

wed 9/16

If you find out more about the world from High Times than the L.A. Times, the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo is your window onto the world. There are workshops including the "Marijuana Investor Summit" and "How to Open a Cannabis Business," and talks by everyone from Melissa Etheridge to dethroned Men's Wearhouse founder George Zimmer, who's big on the therapeutic use of MDMA. Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., West Hall B, downtown; Wed.-Fri., Sept. 16-18; $125-$495. (201) 580-2050, cwcbexpo.com. —David Cotner

thu 9/17

Jimi Hendrix's appearance at the 1970 Atlanta Pop Music Festival — his largest U.S. concert ever, with an estimated 300,000 fans — is the subject of a just-aired Showtime documentary, Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church. Director John McDermott goes behind the scenes with festival organizer Alex Cooley on the logistics of putting together the concert, which took place over the Fourth of July weekend in 1970, 10 weeks before Hendrix's death. The set list features Hendrix hits "Foxey Lady," "Fire," "All Along the Watchtower," "Hey Joe" and his version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" played to a backdrop of fireworks. The film includes interviews with The Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist Billy Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell, plus Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood and more. Sister Janie Hendrix introduces this screening, followed by a discussion with music publicist Bob Merlis, McDermott, Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer and Steve Rash, who shot the performance footage. The Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite A245, downtown; Thu., Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (213) 765-6800, grammymuseum.org. —Siran Babayan

Cinefamily is partnering with SpectreVision to present the latest iteration of SpectreFest, a genre- and music-intensive series running through the end of October. Ingmar Bergman's surrealist horror pic Hour of the Wolf looks to be the oldest film in the catalog, which skews more contemporary, and certainly one of the best. Kreng will provide a live score for the film, which stars Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann as a married couple experiencing a series of strange, unsettling occurrences. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Thu., Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine

Jerry Stahl releases the 20th-anniversary edition of Permanent Midnight next month with a new cover and foreword by Nic Sheff. Stahl has published eight works in the two decades since his 1995 debut book, but it's the heroin confessional, in which he chronicles his years as a drug-addicted Hollywood writer, that put him on the literary map. Stahl marks his career milestone with readings by two fellow authors who've also penned substance-abuse stories. In 2013's Junkie Love, Joe Clifford recounts being a drug addict in San Francisco and L.A., where he lived on Skid Row; 2014 novel Wasting Talent was written while Ryan Leone was serving a four-year prison sentence for drug smuggling. The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring St., downtown; Thu., Sept. 17, 7:30-9 p.m.; free. (213) 488-0599, lastbookstorela.com. —Siran Babayan

After a performance in June, stand-up comic and actor Kevin Hart returns for two additional L.A. dates as part of his massive What Now? tour, touted as the most successful comedy tour in history. In his last stand-up special, 2013's Let Me Explain, Hart mused on his recent divorce, kids and the loneliness of being single, especially when your friends are too busy baking cupcakes together at home. Hart got engaged in 2014 and is having an even better 2015, starring in two Hollywood comedies, hosting Saturday Night Live and The Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber (though, truth be told, it was Martha Stewart who killed) and the fourth season of reality TV spoof Real Husbands of Hollywood. Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim; Thu., Sept. 17, 7 p.m.; $63.50-$144.50. (800) 653-8000, livenation.com. Also at The Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood; Fri., Sept. 18, 7 p.m.; $70-$174.50. (800) 745-3000, ticketmaster.com. —Siran Babayan

For more events visit laweekly.com/calendar and see our film, music and culture sections.

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