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

Cindy Crawford has a new memoir
Cindy Crawford has a new memoir
Courtesy of Live Talks L.A.

fri 10/9

If politics is your poison, come drink your cup at Politicon, a nonpartisan Comic-Con–style gathering for pundits. The event offers panels, debates, TV and film screenings, live radio, podcasts, comedy shows, Q&As, book readings, interviews, music performances and lots more. Confirmed participants include James Carville, Meghan McCain, David Axelrod, Newt Gingrich, Doris Kearns Goodwin, The Yes Men prankster troupe and Jordan Klepper of The Daily Show. The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Vice, The Young Turks, KCRW, The Daily Beast, Slate, Politico and others will be programming events. Los Angeles Convention Center, West Wing, 1201 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Fri., Oct. 9, 2-10 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 10, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; $25-$50. politicon.com. —John Payne

Even in a week filled with younger comedians leading big laugh fests (Festival Supreme Oct. 10, Oddball Fest in Irvine Oct. 11), Jerry Seinfeld is worth seeing on his own. He returns to his stand-up roots for his current tour, delivering his trademark deadpan observations about pop culture and his personal life — family, kids, aging, yadda yadda yadda. Though he'll never do another Seinfeld, the comic has starred in the web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee since 2012, playing chauffeur to David Letterman, Jay Leno, Howard Stern, Mel Brooks and more. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., Oct. 9-10, 7 & 9:30 p.m.; $59.50-$150. (800) 982-2787, hollywoodpantages.com. —Siran Babayan

New York's heralded performance company Beth Morrison Projects brings the West Coast premiere of Song From the Uproar, composer Missy Mazzoli's multimedia opera combining musical performance and original film. Mazzoli's modernist sonorities lace a work inspired by the journals of the heroic Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904), who at age 20 left her life in Switzerland to explore an alternative existence in the North African desert. Song From the Uproar is a surreal experience that traces Eberhardt's evolving sense of self via her eye-opening arrival in Africa and the rather murky circumstances of her demise. Presented by REDCAT and L.A. Opera. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Thu.-Sat., Oct. 8-10, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 11, 2 p.m.; $69. (213) 972-8001, redcat.org. —John Payne

The weekend begins silently with The Cat and the Canary at Old Town Music Hall. Well, semi-silently: As is Old Town's wont, this presentation of the 1927 horror/comedy made in the German Expressionist style will feature live accompaniment on the Wurlitzer organ. Twenty years after the passing of a wealthy recluse, the dearly departed's relatives gather in his cavernous mansion to read his will. Once described as "the cornerstone of Universal's school of horror," this is the first of six silver-screen adaptations of John Willard's 1922 play and, according to some, still the best. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; Fri., Oct. 9, 8:15 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 10, 2:30 & 8:15 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 11, 2:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 322-2592, oldtownmusichall.org. —Michael Nordine 

Rob Sato is amongst the artists contributing to Giant Robot Biennale 4
Rob Sato is amongst the artists contributing to Giant Robot Biennale 4
Courtesy of Giant Robot

sat 10/10

Good eats and good causes intertwine at the sixth annual BAM Fest (Beer, Art & Music Festival), a fundraiser for the nonprofit outreach programs of the 18th Street Arts Center. In addition to craft beer and local music, there will be open galleries, food trucks and samplings from wineries. (Admission gets you a glass that's a ticket to seemingly infinite inebriation.) At the very least, the headiness of all this sensory stimulation will make you see art from a decidedly different perspective. 18th Street Arts Center, 1639 18th St., Santa Monica; Sat., Oct. 10, 1-5 p.m.; $45-$50. (310) 453-3711, 18thstreet.org. —David Cotner

Jack Black and Kyle Gass of Tenacious D return to curate the third annual Festival Supreme, featuring more than two dozen comedy and musical acts — and some that do both. This year's lineup boasts The Kids in the Hall, Amy Poehler, the original cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Die Antwoord, The Darkness, Andrew W.K., Rocket From the Crypt, Henry Rollins and Tenacious D performing a jazz set, among others. New this year is Largo's "An All Star Show," set in a tent and featuring lounge acts. Also a highlight is the lucky couple who'll be getting married at the festival. Jack and Kyle are offering to legally officiate a Vegas-style wedding for two Facebook contest winners, who'll receive VIP passes, an on-site photographer and other goodies. Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall, 665 W. Jefferson Blvd., University Park; Sat., Oct. 10, 2 p.m.; $75-$250. (888) 929-7849, festivalsupreme.com. —Siran Babayan

Beyond Bill T. Jones' more public profile from the Broadway shows that brought him two Tony Awards, some of his most interesting, experimental and provocative work is through his Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. For this visit, Jones makes a rare onstage appearance with his modern dance company in Story/Time. Inspired by composer John Cage's Indeterminacy, which presented 90 one-minute stories interrupted by a chance musical score, Story/Time is a shorter collage of dance, music and 70 short stories (written by Jones) randomly rearranged for each performance. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 4200 Atherton St., Long Beach; Sat., Oct. 10, 8 p.m.; $40-$50. (562) 985-7000, carpenterarts.org. —Ann Haskins

Since its former life as a magazine and in its current existence as an art gallery and store, Giant Robot has a reputation for championing up-and-coming artistic talents, many of whom have gone on to acclaimed careers. Now the fourth edition of the Giant Robot Biennale returns to the Japanese American National Museum, bringing together some of the best known artists associated with the brand. James Jean's sketchbooks will be on display. Edwin Ushiro will have a re-creation of his own studio as part of the exhibition. Katsuya Terada is providing live art and the husband-wife duo kozyndan is creating a mural in the museum. Plus there will be works from the likes of Luke Chueh, Audrey Kawasaki and Yoskay Yamamoto. The show runs through Jan. 24, but hit up the opening party to catch a live set from Daedalus and more festivities. Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo; Sat., Oct. 10, 7-10 p.m., through Jan. 24; free. (213) 625-0414, janm.org. —Liz Ohanesian

sun 10/11

Cliff Curtis will appear in person for a double feature of The Dark Horse and Once Were Warriors at the Aero. After paying his dues in supporting roles for decades, the Kiwi actor is winning raves for his starring performance as bipolar speed-chess master Genesis "Gen" Potini in The Dark Horse, which has yet to be officially released in theaters. Once Were Warriors, meanwhile, delves into the troubles of a Maori-descended family in New Zealand circa the early 1990s. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine 

After the recent reopening of Clifton's Cafeteria following an extensive renovation, Edmond J. Clinton III will discuss his book Clifton's & Clifford Clinton: A Cafeteria and a Crusader. Clinton's grandfather Clifford Clinton opened the L.A. landmark at the height of the Depression, feeding everyone who came in, whether they could pay or not. Clinton was a firebrand: A staunch Christian, he led a campaign to recall the mayor and lived a life the secrets of which will be laid bare before you this afternoon. Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Sun., Oct. 11, 4 p.m.; free, book is $30. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —David Cotner

NASA-JPL's annual Open House couldn't have come at a better time. After all, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recently spotted evidence of water on the red planet. The discovery raises a lot of questions, including: Will we be able to send humans to Mars? And is our neighboring planet home to life? At the open house, guests will have the chance to ask JPL's experts about this and other projects. Throughout the weekend, space fans can check out a full-sized re-creation of the Mars Curiosity Rover. NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, La Cañada Flintridge; Sat.-Sun., Oct. 10-11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (818) 354-1234, jpl.nasa.gov. —Liz Ohanesian

Courtney Love and Todd Almond in the musical Kansas City Choir Boy.
Courtney Love and Todd Almond in the musical Kansas City Choir Boy.
Photo by Cory Weaver

mon 10/12

Upcoming Events

The Hou Hsiao-Hsien retrospective may have packed up and left town months ago, but that doesn't mean you have to go without. The Assassin, Hou's first new film in seven years, receives its West Coast premiere at the Egyptian. The Taiwanese auteur won Best Director honors at Cannes for this wuxia epic set during the Tang dynasty of 9th-century China; it also is his country's official submission for the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscars. Early word is that it leans more toward the moody and contemplative end of the genre than some of its action-packed predecessors and peers, but as there are few filmmakers like Hou around and distribution of such movies is always an uncertain affair, it's in your interest as a soldier of cinema to see this on the largest screen possible while you can. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine 

Whether you're a die-hard fan of Game of Thrones or just want to learn how to say the word "nerd" in Dothraki, join David J. Peterson as he discusses The Art of Language Invention: From Horse-Lords to Dark Elves, the Words Behind World-Building. Peterson, the tirelessly creative mind behind the barbarian Dothraki language used in the hit HBO fantasy saga, also invented the alien languages of Irathient and Castithan for the Syfy series Defiance, and he'll tell you everything you need to know about that eldritch synergy that happens when ear and imagination entwine. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Mon., Oct. 12, 7 p.m.; free, book is $17. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —David Cotner

Long before WTF With Marc Maron, Serial or last month's Los Angeles Podcast Festival, Keith Malley and Chemda Hennessy began co-hosting a digital comedy/talk show out of a New York City apartment. A decade later, they average a million downloads a month, maintain their own studio and network, and make their entire living from the medium they helped popularize. In honor of Keith and the Girl's 10th anniversary, the podcast pioneers are touring the West Coast and Midwest, with tonight's live taping welcoming special guests Paul F. Tompkins, Zach Sherwin and Jesse Joyce. The Comedy Store, 8433 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Mon., Oct. 12, 8 p.m.; $24.50. (323) 650-6268, thecomedystore.com. —Julie Seabaugh

tue 10/13

LACMA serves up more classic midweek horror with Ghost of Frankenstein. The fourth entry in Universal's Frankenstein mythos, it also marks the first appearance of Lon Chaney Jr. as the misunderstood monster of the title; three go-rounds apparently were enough for Boris Karloff. The village of Frankenstein has grown weary of the monster's semi-annual outbursts of violence, and Ygor, ever the benevolent caretaker, brings him to Doctor Frankenstein himself in order to replace the creature's criminal brain with that of a mellower, more law-abiding cadaver. Having seen only the first two installments in the series, I can only assume that everything goes according to plan and everyone lives happily ever after. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Oct. 13, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org—Michael Nordine 

Part of Hammer Conversations, L.A.'s Red-Light Era features Liz Goldwyn discussing her new book, Sporting Guide: Los Angeles, 1897, with The New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean. Set in the underbelly of 1890s Los Angeles, Goldwyn's short-story collection is filled with prostitutes, corrupt politicians, entrepreneurs and immigrants — with "sporting guide" referring to a guidebook to the city's brothels and ladies of the night. Though fictional, Goldwyn's characters are based on historical figures, namely the real Pearl Morton, a madam who ran a bordello in downtown at the turn of the century. Goldwyn's book also includes more than 100 historical photographs and illustrations. Granddaughter of MGM Studios co-founder Samuel Goldwyn, the author and filmmaker directed HBO's 2005 burlesque documentary Pretty Things. Orlean is writing a book on the history of L.A.'s Central Library. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m.; free, tickets required. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Siran Babayan

wed 10/14

Cinefamily's Lost & Found Film Club: Eerie Archives returns to the Silent Movie Theatre, presumably even spookier than it was in its first incarnation. This latest horror-themed grab-bag includes a safety film produced in the 1970s that educates viewers on the evils of masks and witches; music videos by The Residents; experimental stop-motion animation; and Body Work, a documentary from Down Under about the trials and tribulations of morticians. Despite the subject matter, we've been assured it's surprisingly un-graphic and thus unlikely to offend the delicate sensibilities of any squeamish viewers. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Wed., Oct. 14, 10:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org—Michael Nordine 

Just before her 50th birthday, Cindy Crawford is releasing her new memoir, Becoming, in which she discusses topics such as her early modeling years, motherhood and her marriage to and divorce from Richard Gere,. The book also includes photos of Crawford by the likes of Annie Leibovitz and Herb Ritts. Tonight she speaks with L.A. Times fashion critic Booth Moore. Ann and Jerry Moss Theater, 3131 W. Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica; Wed., Oct. 14, 8 p.m.; $20 general, $60 reserved seats plus book, $95 pre-event reception, reserved seats, book. (310) 855-0005, livetalksla.org. —David Cotner

DesdemonaEXPAND
Desdemona
Photo by Mark Allan

thu 10/15

Coincidentally, in addition to Song From the Uproar (see Oct. 9 listing), another West Coast premiere from the indie musical theater and opera company Beth Morrison Projects arrives this week. Kansas City Choir Boy is a theatricalized concept album and a moody mystery of two lovers in small-town America who separate when one goes in search of her destiny ... and vanishes into thin air. Themes from ancient myth abound in this show featuring electronicized original songs performed by infamous rock idol Courtney Love; the work's composer-lyricist, Todd Almond; a chorus of swooning sirens; and a string quartet under the musical direction of David Bloom. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Thu., Oct. 15, 8 p.m.; continues Tue.-Sun. through Nov. 8; $30-$70. (213) 972-4444, centertheatregroup.org. —John Payne

Cal State Northridge's semesterlong Orson Welles retrospective continues with Mr. Arkadin, known by some as Confidential Report. Welles wrote, co-produced, directed and starred in this story of a smuggler making inquiries into the death of a billionaire, at great personal risk. As there have been more versions of this film than Blade Runner, it should interest you to learn that CSUN will be showing the "Comprehensive Version" put together by the Munich Film Museum just under a decade ago; it's also available on DVD from the Criterion Collection. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., Oct. 15, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu. —Michael Nordine

The howls of outrage spewed upon Igor Stravinsky at the Paris 1913 premiere of his The Rite of Spring is one of modern music's most famous and favorite tales. In retrospect, of course, ol' Igor was only doing what any forward-thinking composer ought to have been doing: messing with the social and artistic order, and in the process changing the shape of the universe just a teensy bit. The L.A. Phil under conductor Gustavo Dudamel demonstrate how the now-timeless piece's brutal beauty paved the way for so much groundbreaking music of the 20th century and beyond. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown.; Thu.-Sat., Oct. 15-17, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 18, 2 p.m.; $26.50-$195.50. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com. —John Payne


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