21 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week
Giving back is lots of fun on the Do Good Bus.
Photo courtesy of Do Good Bus
Thanksgiving is over, so normal life can resume—at least until next month. In the meantime, here are some fun ways to shake your tryptophan hangover, from a critical mass to a Laurel & Hardy fest, plus stuff to do on Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday.
See 30 miles of L.A. when you sally forth and join America's Largest Community Bicycle Ride, an initiative of L.A. Critical Mass. Thousands of cyclists will converge to join this journey through the city — cruising at 10 to 12 miles per hour, with no hills to kill the vibe — to raise awareness and celebrate the simple joys of bicycling through the city at night. By the time it wraps up, before midnight at Sunset and Western, riders will have seen the city from a fresh angle — and had a pretty good workout, too. Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue (street level at Purple Line Metro Station), Koreatown; Fri., Nov. 27, 6:30 p.m.; free/donation. lacriticalmass.org/ride-calendar. —David Cotner
Though John Cassavetes is rightly hailed as one of the most influential American filmmakers of the last 50 years, his work in front of the camera tends to receive far less attention. The New Beverly has been correcting that all month, and its tribute to the independent-film icon's acting prowess concludes with The Dirty Dozen and a trailer show. Cassavetes (who received an Oscar nomination for his turn) stars alongside 11 others as a convicted murderer sent on a desperate mission to take out Nazi targets. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 27-28, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com.
The shops surrounding Colorado and Eagle Rock boulevards go all out for Small Business Saturday with the We Heart Eagle Rock Block Party. Now in its fifth year, the neighborhood get-together and shopping extravaganza is expanding beyond retailers to include a handful of restaurants, such as Patio Burgers and Beer and Eagle Rock Brewery Public House. Besides the usual in-store events and promotions, this year there's a health and fitness zone and PetPalooza, featuring pet adoption services from Pardon the Pups. Other Small Business Saturday events are taking place across the county, from a photo scavenger hunt at Tuttle Cameras in Long Beach to a local-vendor spotlight at Book Show in Highland Park and a pop-up shop and cocktail hour at Caffeine 2306 in Burbank. At Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, guests can learn how to make candles or catch a performance from San Pedro City Ballet while they shop. Meanwhile, blog Disneyland Vegan is hosting Green Saturday: A Veg Holiday Marketplace at Alpine Village in Torrance. Shop cruelty-free and help raise funds for the Whiskers and Tails Foundation. We Heart Eagle Rock Block Party, Eagle Rock and Colorado boulevards, Eagle Rock; Sat., Nov. 28, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; leannalinswonderland.com/pages/we-heart-eagle-rock. Tuttle Cameras, 4019 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach; Sat., Nov. 28, 11 a.m.; (562) 424-8633, tuttlecameras.com/files/flyer3.jpg. Book Show, 5503 N. Figueroa, Highland Park; Sat., Nov. 28, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; (213) 438-955, bookshowla.com. Caffeine 2306, 2306 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank; Sat., Nov. 28, 3-7 p.m. (cocktail hour at 6 p.m.); (323) 770-3796, caffeine2306.com. Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, 112 E. 22nd St., Warehouse 10, San Pedro; Sat., Nov. 28, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; (310) 732-1270, craftedportla.com. Green Saturday: A Veg Holiday Marketplace, 833 Torrance Blvd., Torrance; Sat., Nov. 28, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; $5 or free with donation of dog or cat food, pet toys or blankets for the Whiskers and Tails Foundation (kids free); (323) 321-5660, facebook.com/events/507613102749947/. —Liz Ohanesian
The American Cinematheque's tribute to blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo concludes this weekend, with a double bill of Gun Crazy and He Ran All the Way serving as the penultimate screening. Noir enthusiasts who've never seen Gun Crazy would do well to prioritize this story of two lovers fixated on firearms and armed robbery, as it's one of the most pleasingly out-there films of its kind — the sort of curio that only a small budget and genuine ingenuity can produce. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
The bad boy of Christmas: the Krampus
Photo by Al Ridenour
The Krampus has been rearing its goatlike head in American pop culture a lot lately, including in the new horror-comedy film Krampus, starring Adam Scott and Toni Collette. Using historical images, slides, video and a catwalk with costumed characters, Al Guerrero and Al Ridenour of Krampus Los Angeles lecture on the history of the anti–Santa Claus and mythic figure in German folklore, who punishes children for being naughty during the holidays. The discussion is part of L.A. Krampusfest, a multivenue festival that includes a Krampus run, a ball, a film screening, a play and even a show with some metal bands. Goethe-Institut, 5750 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; Sat., Nov. 28, 6 & 8 p.m.; $10. (323) 525-3388, krampuslos0x200Bangeles.com/events/. —Siran Babayan
Watching The Three Stooges at the Alex Theatre after Thanksgiving is as much an L.A. tradition as Black Friday shopping, except here the only knuckleheads committing bodily harm are Moe, Larry and Curly — OK, and Shemp too. For its 18th annual Three Stooges Big Screen Event, the Alex Film Society selects six classic shorts released from 1936 to 1947: A Pain in the Pullman; Healthy, Wealthy and Dumb; Idiots Deluxe; Crash Goes the Hash; Sing a Song of Six Pants; and Dutiful but Dumb. This year's theme, "There's a Stooge in My Soup!," means the shenanigans in each episode revolve around food, including (fittingly) turkey. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Nov. 28, 2 & 8 p.m.; $11-$12. alextheatre.org. —Siran Babayan
John Carpenter is as important to genre filmmakers as Cassavetes is to indie filmmakers. Escape From New York, one of the director's four collaborations with Kurt Russell, introduces Snake Plissken, an inmate on the prison island once known as New York City. Not unlike Cassavetes in The Dirty Dozen, the eyepatch-wearing badass is given a chance to redeem himself by braving the wilds of Manhattan on what is essentially a suicide mission. After Cinefamily's midnight screening, you can — and, really, should — watch the even more ridiculous sequel set here in Los Angeles. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Sat., Nov. 28, 11:59 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org.
Santa's no Montel Williams, but who is?
Photo by William Kidston
Whether you're a fan of the magic of Penn & Teller or just the magic of sponsored balloons and celebrity worship, the 84th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade is the place to be. The magicians are the grand marshals of this year's parade, which features a Special Salute to American Soaps, the Budweiser Clydesdales, local marching bands and the stars of our favorite commercials, like MoneyMutual's Montel Williams and Erik Estrada of California Pines fame. As celebrity-filled cars and mind-shattering musical offerings (Clay Aiken! Daughtry!) make their way along the 3-mile parade route, you'll have plenty of time to ponder the true meaning of Christmas. Hollywood Boulevard (at Orange Street) to Vine Street to Sunset Boulevard (at Orange), Hollywood; Sun., Nov. 29, 5 p.m.; $25-$85. (866) 727-2331, thehollywoodchristmasparade.org. —David Cotner
Cultural and religious conflicts have long inspired music and art, but you don't hear much these days about the ancient battles between the Druids and the Roman invaders of Gaul circa 100 B.C. That was the inspiration for composer Vincenzo Bellini and librettist Felice Romani's classic 1831 Italian-language opera, Norma. Presented by L.A. Opera and directed by Anne Bogart, the tempestuous story of love and war and betrayal unfolds inside scenery designer Neil Patel's artful re-creation of a mystical Druid temple, a surreal backdrop that showcases powerful soprano Angela Meade as the titular heroine as she soulfully wends her way through Bellini's intricate and notoriously difficult bel canto melodies. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sun., Nov. 29 & Dec. 13, 2 p.m.; Dec. 2, 5 & 10, 7:30 p.m.; $17-$262. (213) 972-8001, laopera.org. —Falling James
Old Town Music Hall's Laurel & Hardy Festival closes the weekend in good humor with a program of comic shorts from both the silent and sound eras. No specific titles have been announced, but the duo is a favorite of the theater and a little uncertainty never hurt anyone. As always, the show will commence with a sing-along on the Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 27-28, 8:15 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 28-29, 2:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 322-2592, oldtownmusichall.org. —Michael Nordine
Reality competition Last Comic Standing returned to NBC for the ninth time this past summer, with host Anthony Jeselnik and judges Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Norm Macdonald, before he became Colonel Sanders. Having competed for $250,000 and a network development deal, top five finalists Ian Bagg, Dominique, Andy Erikson, Michael Palascak and Clayton English, who won, are touring theaters across the country with extended sets of both popular and brand-new material. The crowds may rep casual fans over comedy nerds, but any time an editing bay is ditched in favor of live, in-the-moment experiences, it's a win for the art form. Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Sun., Nov. 29, 8 p.m.; $39-$75. (323) 655-0111, sabantheatre.org. —Julie Seabaugh
Nicola Costantino gets the doc treatment.
Photo courtesy of REDCAT
Controversial and political, Nicola Costantino is one of the most talked-about visual artists in Argentina. She'll appear at REDCAT for an evening devoted to her work, namely Natalie Cristiani's documentary Nicola Costantino — La Artefacta. Costantino's work touches on everything from Argentine literature to her own pregnancy, inviting superficial interpretations only to upend them. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Mon., Nov. 30, 8:30 p.m.; $11. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org. —Michael Nordine
To the delight of insomniacs, the unemployed and people who just really like watching reruns on TV Land and Lifetime into the wee hours, local comic Peter Murphy's sketch show It's 3 AM! plunges into the world of late-night TV, especially those infomercials advertising male sex enhancements and Time-Life music collections. Murphy, who's made the rounds at UCB, iO West and the Groundlings, joins a cast of comedians and actors who spoof QVC, compilation CDs, morning exercise shows and other programs that make you wish you had a prescription for Ambien. Hudson Theatres, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., Nov. 30, 8 p.m.; free. (323) 960-5519. —Siran Babayan
UCLA goes even further into its archive with A Face in the Crowd and The Naked Kiss, two angry, high-energy slices of midcentury Americana. Andy Griffith's first silver-screen role had the distinction of being directed by Elia Kazan. Griffith's portrayal of a country singer who grows into a national megastar thanks to television is nothing if not prescient — you can still see it on shows such as American Idol or Nashville, albeit without the same righteous outrage. Another highlight of director Samuel Fuller's long career, The Naked Kiss tells of a prostitute who goes on the lam in search of a new life after offing her pimp. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Mon., Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine
Two authors with a graceful yet firm handle on doomed love and the people who pursue it anyway, Isabel Allende and Susan Orlean, talk about Allende's new book, The Japanese Lover (Simon & Schuster). Spanning the globe during World War II and spreading out over the fullness of time, the novel tells the story of young Alma Belasco and her forbidden love with quiet gardener's son Ichimei Fukuda. Allende unveils how Alma and Ichimei manage to love each other deeply in secret over several decades even when, as usual, no one else fucking understands them in the slightest. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Tue., Dec. 1, 8 p.m.; $28 +tax, ticket includes signed copy of the book. (310) 659-3110, skirball.org. —David Cotner
Doing good doesn't always seem easy, but the Do Good Bus makes it pretty simple: Riders show up and are whisked away to somewhere in Los Angeles to volunteer for a charity about which they may know next to nothing. In the face of the greed of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Do Good Bus #GivingTuesday 2015 is a cynicism melter that offers the chance to help people in different communities but the same L.A. Culver City Expo Line Station, 8817 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Tue., Dec. 1, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; $48.24 (includes lunch). (323) 316-5208, dogoodbus.com. —David Cotner
Shortly before she was crowned Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly starred in one last movie: High Society, an MGM musical based on The Philadelphia Story. Bing Crosby plays Kelly's ex-husband, a jazz musician who longs to win her back — an aspiration complicated by her impending marriage to another man and the affections of a reporter played by Frank Sinatra. High Society was shot in VistaVision, one of the most gloriously colorful film stocks ever created. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Dec. 1, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine
Lauren Frost, Angela Rysk and Erin Miller Williams of local sketch group Cake Batter welcome you to the bosom of their second annual all-female, all-comedy Funny Women Festival, where 300-plus comedians from across the country take part in sketch, improv, stand-up and storytelling. The festival also hosts competitions, panel discussions and workshops led by instructors whose credits include Saturday Night Live, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the Emmys (Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; $25). Last year's inaugural event featured The Office's Kate Flannery and Angela Kinsey and Grey's Anatomy's Kate Walsh. This year all three return to join Mo Collins, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Betty Cahill, Laura Krafft, Shulie Cowen and Frangela. A portion of the proceeds benefit Downtown Women's Center, which aids homeless women. iO West, 6366 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., Dec. 2-Sat., Dec. 5, 7 p.m.-2 a.m.; $5 & $10. ioimprov.com. —Siran Babayan
Chocolate, not hot
Photo courtesy of LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
Hot chocolate, once a precious, bitter drink savored only by Olmec, Aztec and Mayan priests and nobility, is now a wintertime staple that comes in a little paper pouch with freeze-dried marshmallows. At Platicas y Pruebas, Chocolate: History and Heritage, learn the story behind this special drink with an interactive (yes, you get to drink chocolate) history lesson from ArtBites founder Maite Gomez-Rejón. Literally "food of the gods," Theobroma cacao has fascinated humans for thousands of years. Get back to chocolate's roots with tastings of Aztec hot chocolate and champurrado, a hot corn-and-chocolate beverage popular in Mexico today. LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 N. Main St., downtown; Thu., Dec. 3, 7-9 p.m.; $15. (888) 488-8083, lapca.org. —Sascha Bos
In Black Girl, Bessie Award winner Camille A. Brown & Dancers take the audience to a children's playground, where they employ a mix of African-American dance vernaculars (hip-hop, steppin', tap, social dancing and double-dutch jump rope) to explore black female identity in urban America. Subtitled "Linguistic Play," the multiple entendre of the playground "plays" out with original live music from Tracy Wormworth (The B-52s, The Waitresses) on electric bass and Scott Patterson on piano. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Thu., Dec. 3.-Sat., Dec. 5, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 6, 3 p.m.; $20-$25, $16-$20 students. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org. —Ann Haskins
As part of Hammer Museum's Hammer Conversations, SoCal artist Sandow Birk discusses and signs his new book, American Qur'an ($60, Liveright). Birk spent nine years studying the Koran in order to complete this artistic interpretation of the Islamic holy book. Using graffiti-style lettering, Birk illustrated and translated into English the Koran's 114 chapters, setting them against a backdrop of scenes depicting ordinary American life: the mall, grocery store, office cubicles. The book includes essays by Iftikhar Dadi and Zareena Grewal, as well as a preface by Reza Aslan, a UC Riverside professor and author of the best-seller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. More than 300 paintings from the project are on display at the Orange County Museum of Art through February. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., West L.A.; Thu., Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m.; free, but tickets are required. hammer.ucla.edu. —Siran Babayan
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