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

Run a mile in your underpants, why don't you. (See Saturday)
Run a mile in your underpants, why don't you. (See Saturday)
Photo by Nanette Gonzales

fri 2/19

In the time it takes you to read this sentence about the Titmouse 5-Second Animation Night, you could have already watched one of their cartoons. The annual event offers a glimpse into the roiling creative id of the award-winning Titmouse animation studio, and this year's lineup features the usual fleeting moving images along with animations from the Titmouse vaults, which span everything from tonight's offerings to Metalocalypse and The Venture Bros. Titmouse founder Chris Prynoski will introduce the evening, which is perfect for staunch Titmouseketeers and fans of general brevity alike. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—David Cotner

Carb consciousness be damned — at least for a couple hours. Chefs Avner Levi — former pasta chef at Bestia and Sotto — and Santos Uy, both of the DTLA pasta pop-up Cento Pasta Bar, head to Mission Wines in South Pasadena for a one-night pairing of Italian cooking and Italian wines. Part cooking demo, part tasting, the event pairs three dishes, such as fresh gnocchi with marinara, with three wines selected by Mission Wine's staff. Advance tickets are required. Mission Wine & Spirits, 1785 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena; Fri., Feb. 19, 5-7 p.m.; $25. (626) 794-7026, shop.missionwines.com. —Garrett Snyder

The Katydids are further proof that the Internet leads to good TV comedy. The troupe of six women, all of whose names derive from Katherine, have been performing stand-up and improv in L.A. for years, as well as producing online videos that have drawn fans on MTV, the Huffington Post, Funny or Die and the Onion. Based on their web series, Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O'Brien and Kathryn Renee Thomas write and star in new TV Land sitcom Teachers, about a group of woefully unqualified elementary school teachers who display all sorts of bad behavior on the job, including falling asleep, drinking and fornicating. With Cook County Social Club. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood; Fri., Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

If you take the prospect of an all-female Ghostbusters reboot as a personal affront, allay your misplaced anxiety with the Nuart's midnight screening of the original. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, Harold Ramis and Slimer remain a formidable ensemble in everyone's favorite paranormal comedy; dress up, bring your own ectoplasm, but be sure to never cross the streams. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., Feb. 19, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com—Michael Nordine

sat 2/20

Last weekend, while the rest of us were enjoying a light brunch followed by a heavy nap, thousands of indefatigable athletes ran 26 miles in the L.A. Marathon. It's not that those who didn't participate are lazy, per se — we were just resting up for this weekend's Cupid's Undie Run, a party that culminates in a whopping 1-mile, clothing-optional run around downtown. Besides being an opportunity to ogle a bunch of fellow Angelenos in their underpants, the run raises money to combat neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on the brain, spinal cord and nerves. Belasco Theatre, 1050 S. Hill St., downtown; Sat., Feb. 20, noon; $55. cupidsundierun.com/city/los-angeles. —Gwynedd Stuart

Each year in L.A. Weekly's massive, mouthwatering 99 Essentials issue, food critic extraordinaire Besha Rodell shouts out one-shy-of-100 restaurants that have become or remain integral to the city's dining scene. Consider the issue, which hit the streets on Friday, the appetizer before The Essentials, a party featuring bites from dozens of the city's best eateries, from newcomers such as Echo Park barcade Button Mash to tried-and-true crowd-pleasers like Spago. There's also music from DJ Tropikal and wine from an enormous roster of wineries. We're probably biased, but it's gonna be a good time. California Market Center, 110 E. Ninth St., downtown; Sat., Feb. 20, 6-10 p.m.; VIP hour 5-6 p.m.; $45-$105. laweekly.com/essentials. —Gwynedd Stuart

An airy confection of pyrotechnic dancing, the ballet Don Quixote is loosely extrapolated from Miguel de Cervantes' masterpiece about Don Q's exploits pursuing goodness, truth and an elusive beauty named Dulcinea. Los Angeles Ballet's 10th-anniversary season continues with co-artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary's ambitious new production of the full-length Don Quixote. The challenging grand pas de deux is a familiar crowd-pleaser, but the rest of the ballet is a fun-filled excursion brimming with gypsies, matadors, windmills and that knight errant, Don Quixote, with his amusing sidekick, Sancho Panza. Adam Lüders, a former principal dancer with New York City Ballet, guests as Don Quixote, a role he once danced for George Balanchine. Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m.; $31-$99. (310) 998-7782, losangelesballet.org. —Ann Haskins

He is not drinking merlot! Lololol. Sideways is showing on Monday.
He is not drinking merlot! Lololol. Sideways is showing on Monday.

sun 2/21

Far more than just a team of basketball players, the Harlem Globetrotters are an all-star assemblage of ambidextrous sleight-of-hand magicians, high-flying acrobats, masterful pickpockets and sublimely expressive mimes. They defy gravity and the laws of physics by dunking, dribbling and nonchalantly looping crosscourt passes with a seemingly effortless aplomb and sinuous grace. While such charismatic showmen as Meadowlark Lemon and Fred "Curly" Neal are long retired, the Globetrotters keep on keepin' on, maintaining the old traditions seamlessly with a new era of players, much like similarly multigenerational troupe the Bolshoi Ballet. Celebrating its 90th anniversary, the team features such stellar female athletes as TNT Maddox and Sweet J. Ekworomadu among its three touring squads. Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Sun., Feb. 21, 12:30 & 5:45 p.m.; $25-$260. (213) 742-7340, staplescenter.com. —Falling James

Alexandra Grant and Keanu Reeves' first collaboration was 2011's Ode to Happiness, a picture book of the L.A. artist's drawings paired with the actor's writings. Grant and Reeves reunite to discuss their latest collaboration, Shadows, at Art Catalogues at LACMA. In the book, Grant's photographs of Reeves' shadows and silhouettes have an X-ray effect, and are accompanied by more of Reeves' text. Images from the book are on display at the ACME gallery through March 12. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Sun., Feb. 21, 4 p.m.; free. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org/event/grant-and-reeves. —Siran Babayan

Not every movie's reputation is fixed. Three decades after sinking a studio and ending the director-driven New Hollywood era, for instance, Heaven's Gate is now hailed by forgiving proponents of the auteur theory as a misunderstood masterpiece. Michael Cimino's follow-up to The Deer Hunter concerns a dispute among ranchers in 1890s Wyoming, which is to say that the period piece is now oddly timely after that business up in Oregon. Screening as a tribute to its late director of photography, Vilmos Zsigmond, the event is co-presented by American Cinematographer magazine and the American Society of Cinematographers. ASC's M. David Mullen will introduce the 219-minute opus. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.; Sun., Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

mon 2/22

If you're beset by evil forces, wish to channel a dead person or need assistance navigating the increasingly fragmented "New Age," let the veritable who's-who at the 14th annual Conscious Life Expo assist you. The event features more than 200 speakers, workshops, lectures and vendors, including panels that explore ancient aliens, vaccines, divination, near-death experiences and UFOs (not to mention enough incense, crystals and readings to get you through the Armageddon of your choice). On Monday, the four-day gathering's final day, big names including "investigative mythologist" William Henry, reporter Linda Moulton Howe, Toltec teacher Don Jose Ruiz and alchemist/astrologer Laura Eisenhower host seminars. Keep your mind open (but not so open your brain falls out). LAX Hilton, 5711 W. Century Blvd., Westchester; Fri.-Mon., Feb. 19–22, 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; admission prices vary. (800) 367-5777, consciouslifeexpo.com. —Skylaire Alfvegren

With a flesh-and-blood turn in The Hateful Eight and affecting voice-over work in Anomalisa, Jennifer Jason Leigh just had a banner year. Less than a week before the Oscars — where, if there's any justice in the world (spoiler: There isn't), she'll be honored for her performance in Quentin Tarantino's latest provocation — the Aero puts on a JJL double feature: Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Single White Female. As a high school student who's gotta be somebody's baby in one and the roommate from hell in the other, Leigh displays in these films the impressive range that has made her a vital presence on the silver screen for more than 30 years. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Mon., Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

On the subject of the Academy Awards, let it never be forgotten that Paul Giamatti not getting nominated for Sideways ranks among the most egregious snubs of our young century so far. As part of the Greg Proops Film Club, Alexander Payne's wine-soaked road-trip movie plays Cinefamily. Melancholy and hilarious, it's a comedy of disappointment, midlife crises and the faint possibility of a fulfilling second act — if only there can be enough pinot noir (and never, ever merlot) to bring it about. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Mon., Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org—Michael Nordine

The Harlem Globetrotters: sometimes they chase children. (See Sunday)
The Harlem Globetrotters: sometimes they chase children. (See Sunday)

Upcoming Events

tue 2/23

On March 6, after a winter hiatus, Fox begins airing the remaining episodes of season two of the very funny sitcom The Last Man on Earth, which revolves around the shenanigans of a group of plague survivors, led by star/writer/executive producer Will Forte. As part of podcast The Writers Panel, host Ben Blacker (co-creator of The Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast) moderates a discussion on the Emmy-nominated series with Forte and co-executive producer Andy Bobrow, and screens a sneak preview of an upcoming episode. Proceeds from live tapings of the podcast benefit 826LA, a nonprofit children's writing and tutorial program co-founded by Dave Eggers. Nerdmelt Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Tue., Feb. 23, 7 p.m.; $10. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —Siran Babayan

Despite working with the likes of James Stewart, Kim Novak, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedren and many others, Alfred Hitchcock directed only one of his performers to an Oscar win: Joan Fontaine in Suspicion. (Maybe it had something to do with him thinking they should all be treated like cattle.) Fontaine plays an heiress who, upon tying the knot with a charismatic fellow played by Grant, begins to suspect that her new beau wants to off her and pocket said inheritance for himself. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Feb. 23, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org—Michael Nordine

James Dean starred in just three pictures before dying in a car accident at the age of 24, earning Oscar nods for two of them. (The one he wasn't nominated for, Rebel Without a Cause, is still the most famous.) The last of these was released posthumously: Giant. Beginning in the 1920s and ending after World War II, George Stevens' epic documents the lives of a Texax cattle-ranching family led by Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. Dean's legacy is outsized for a reason, and this is the largest canvas we'll ever get to see him on. ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Tue., Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $14. (323) 464-1478, arclightcinemas.com—Michael Nordine

wed 2/24

The avant-ish new music of Lori Freedman and Quasar Saxophone Quartet promises as much a night of deep probing into unknown sonic spaces as it does a thrillingly physical and drily witty blast of sax-skronkin' entertainment. Montreal-based contrabass/bass clarinet virtuoso Freedman presents a 55-minute cycle of compositions, including her own extraordinary "No Man's Clan," along with several rarely performed self-written pieces and a few items written especially for this project. Revered art-rock guitarist-composer Fred Frith (ex–Henry Cow) joins the assembled forces in a performance of his 2000 piece "The Big Picture" for saxophone quartet and two improvising soloists. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Wed., Feb. 24, 8:30 p.m.; $20. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org. —John Payne

The Hammer Museum screens City of Gold, Laura Gabbert's 2015 documentary on Pulitzer Prize–winning L.A. Times (and former L.A. Weekly) food writer Jonathan Gold. Gabbert chronicles the life and career of Gold as a restaurant critic as well as cultural commentator who has championed every type of distinctly L.A. cuisine, from Korean food trucks to street tacos. Due in theaters March 11, the film follows Gold as he visits his favorite eateries from Boyle Heights to Alhambra, and includes testimonials from family, co-workers, fellow food critics and restaurateurs who attest to the power of his recommendations. Gold takes part in a Q&A following the screening. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Wed., Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Siran Babayan

Sean S. Baker's 2015 feature Tangerine is probably best known as "that movie that was filmed entirely on an iPhone," which is unfortunate if only because it reduces a fresh, funny and deeply human story to a gimmick. The slice-of-life picture follows a handful of L.A. denizens — a pair of transgender prostitutes, a taxi-driver john, a drug dealer and an unfortunate hostage who gets caught in the middle — as they spend a day traversing the familiar streets of Hollywood. Much of the time, the city feels like the movie's true star. Director Baker and star Kitana Kiki Rodriguez appear for a screening of the film and a discussion afterward. Will & Ariel Durant Branch Library, 7140 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., Feb. 24, 3 p.m.; free. (323) 876-2741, lapl.org/whats-on/events/tangerine-screening-followed-director-and-cast-qa. —Gwynedd Stuart

thu 2/25

Stand-up comic and actor Kirk Zipfel plays satirical acoustic songs on his guitar about Canadian women, herpes and the beachy earnestness of Jack Johnson, demonstrating that the tried-and-true formula of comedy plus music equals double the funny. For his show Melodion at the Westside Comedy Theater, Zipfel again combines laughs and tunes with fellow comedians and actors who also have taken up singing or playing instruments, including Barry Rothbart, Bill Chott, David Fickas, Brice Beckham (whom you may remember as Wesley from Mr. Belvedere) and Drennon Davis, who, with partner Karen Kilgariff, was selected by the L.A. Weekly as 2015's Best Comedy Duo. M.i. Westside Comedy Theater, 1323-A Third St. Promenade, Santa Monica; Thu., Feb. 25, 8 p.m.; $10. (310) 451-0850, westsidecomedy.com. 0x000A—Siran Babayan

ARRAY @ the Broad
, a new screening series established by Ava DuVernay's arts collective to highlight films by women and people of color, co-presents Ashes and Embers along with REDCAT. About a black veteran who returns home from war and has to reconcile the ideals that sent him halfway across the world with the disenchanting realities of his new life, Haile Gerima's post-Vietnam drama has rarely been seen since its initial release in 1983. DuVernay will host the festivities. Broad Contemporary Art Museum, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Thu., Feb. 25, 8:30 p.m.; $20. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org. —Michael Nordine

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