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

Maybe flying Maleficent lady will be back for this year's WonderCon? Starts Friday.EXPAND
Maybe flying Maleficent lady will be back for this year's WonderCon? Starts Friday.
Christopher Victorio

WonderCon migrates up from the O.C., Dave Chappelle gets back to the business of making us laugh, the 420 Games encourage a healthy high — and more awesome stuff to do in L.A. this week.

fri 3/25

William Gaines, publisher of gruesome 1950s comics Tales From the Crypt and Weird Fantasy, was such a maverick provocateur that the U.S. government shut him down, just as he was planning a special 3-D edition of his infamous Weird Science title. Now, thanks to Gaines' family and Captured Aural Phantasy Theater's Weird Sci-Fi 3-D Live show, we get a multimedia extravaganza adapted from that unpublished issue. The trash-mad pop-culture fiends perform three acrobatically imaginative stories, and the mix of high-camp EC Comics dialogue and action, all against a backdrop of enlarged projected images from the source, should be dazzling. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., downtown; Fri.-Sat., March 25-26, 8 p.m.; $20. (213) 250-9995, capturedauralphantasy.com. —Jonny Whiteside

Orange County's loss is L.A.'s gain as WonderCon, the sister geekfest to San Diego's Comic-Con, debuts at the Convention Center. The explosive variety of panel discussions, movie and television events, workshops, seminars and artist spotlights surely will tickle the ganglia of comics and fantasy fans alike. The cosplay heaven WonderCon Masquerade and goofy fun events, such as a live reading of James Cameron's belly-up Amazing Spider-Man script, remain highlights, while headier fare includes the academically minded Comics Arts Conference throughout the duration (exploring psychology, philosophy, even feminism, in comics), and the Pop Culture Hero Coalition discussing "How Pop Culture Media Brings Justice and Healing." L.A. Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Fri., March 25, noon-7 p.m.; Sat., March 26, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., March 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. $15-$30, Sun. $9-$18. comic-con.org/wca. —Skylaire Alfvegren

Known for its distinctive melding of music and movement of the African diaspora, New York–based troupe Ronald K. Brown Evidence arrives with a program of three works. In "The Subtle One" (2014) the lithe, muscular dancers blend Afro-Caribbean movement with modern dance technique to music by Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Jason Moran. In "Come Ye," Brown draws on soulful jazz music from Nina Simone and Nigerian Afro-beat pioneer Fela Kuti. Perhaps the pièce de résistance is "Grace" (1999/2004) originally created in 1999 for the much larger Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, but in 2004 adapted and added to the Evidence repertory incorporating music from Duke Ellington, Roy David Jr. and Kuti. Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., March 25-26, 7:30 p.m.; $40-$85. (310) 434-3200, thebroadstage.com. —Ann Haskins

It seems odd to characterize anything Quentin Tarantino has made as a cult classic, so successful has the video-store auteur been throughout his career, but the man himself is on the record as considering Grindhouse's reception a disappointment. In a way, that may be fitting: The kind of movies to which he and co-director Robert Rodriguez were paying tribute were themselves consigned to dingy theaters, far from mainstream attention. A double feature in the style of old-school exploitation fare, Tarantino's Death Proof and Rodriguez's Planet Terror were conceived as a total experience, complete with trailers for nonexistent movies. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Wed., March 23-Sat., March 26, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com—Michael Nordine

Bring your Leeloo Dallas multipass to the Nuart, where The Fifth Element is this week's midnight movie. Luc Besson's sci-fi drama finds nearly everyone involved — Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, Chris Tucker and Besson himself — at their best; the director marries his maximalist aesthetic to an equally (but enjoyably) over-the-top story about preventing the end of the world. If you've never seen the film but have been to your share of Halloween parties, consider this a chance to discover the source of a certain white costume. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., March 25, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com—Michael Nordine

sat 3/26

When Dave Chappelle finally returned to the comedy big leagues in 2014 with 10 shows at Radio City Music Hall, his fans were every bit as eager as they were the moment he abruptly stepped out of the limelight in 2005. Shows sold out almost instantly. Fans readily forgave him but they hadn't forgotten — the media wasted no time asking that $50 million question. Though his answers remain frustratingly vague, Chappelle's legendary brand of irreverent humor is slowly but surely outshining the controversy. Since Radio City, he's continued to tour, albeit somewhat quietly, with dates that seem to pop up suddenly with no promotion. Los Angeles is lucky enough to get a string of shows at the Hollywood Palladium, three days of early and late shows Thursday through Saturday. The beloved comedian doesn't have plans to disappear again anytime soon, but any chance to catch a master of the craft is one to be taken. Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Thu.-Sat., March 24-26, 6 & 9 p.m.; $103.50. (323) 962-7600, thehollywoodpalladium.com. —Neha Talreja

A night of future-Earth music comes to shake the walls of our stately Walt Disney Concert Hall. L.A. hometown kids and Grammy winners La Santa Cecilia are a broad-visioned combo that mashes pan-American rhythms like cumbia, bossa nova, bolero and politically charged nueva canción with rock, ska and R&B — savor their soulful Spanglish take on The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever." Spanish flamenco vocalist Buika is flat-out sensational, boasting a sensually smoky singing instrument and a sagely genre-smashing repertoire that pulls from reggae, flamenco, jazz and world music. Like La Santa Cecilia, she oozes relevance as she tears down old genre boundaries. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Sat., March 26, 8 p.m.; $48.50-$98.50. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com. —John Payne

Getting high isn't typically associated with robust physical activity (unless that activity is eating Taco Bell). But healthy, responsible pot users who want to put to rest the stereotype of the lazy, slobby stoner with glassy eyes and shredded cheese in his beard will gather for the 420 Games, a 4.2-mile run/jog/walk/skate/ride followed by a beer tasting at the Santa Monica Pier and an after-party at the V Lounge with reggae star Pato Banton. Besides beer from Lagunitas, the post-run gathering at the pier features educational speeches about weed, plus vendors and stand-up comedy. And the reggae show will have samples for people with Proposition 215–approved MMICP cards. There's going to be some very relaxed people wandering around Santa Monica. Begins in the north lot at Santa Monica Pier; Sat., March 26, 9 a.m.; $40 for race and both after events. 420games.org/los-angeles-420-games. —Gwynedd Stuart

The Thin Red Line
 — which, just for the record, happens to be the greatest film of all time — screens at the Aero as part of the theater's weekend-long Terrence Malick retrospective. Each and every one of the five films that comprise the series is essential viewing, none more so than this evocative World War II drama featuring one of the most stacked ensemble casts ever assembled: Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Jim Caviezel, Adrien Brody, John Travolta, George Clooney, Woody Harrelson, John Cusack and more — a reflection of how urgently almost every actor in Hollywood wanted to be in the director's first movie in 20 years. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., March 26, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

UCLA's sporadic, ongoing Archive Treasures program continues Celebrating William Cameron Menzies with a double bill highlighting the innovative production designer's work on Tempest and The Bat. Both dramas from the late 1920s will be shown on restored 35mm prints. Tempest traces a young Russian's journey from peasant to soldier to revolutionary, while The Bat is an atmospheric mystery whose eponymous criminal indirectly influenced the creation of Batman. Author James Curtis will be present to sign copies of his book William Cameron Menzies: The Shape of Films to Come, and Cliff Retallick will provide live musical accompaniment. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., March 26, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu—Michael Nordine

Spanish flamenco vocalist Buika performs with La Santa Cecilia at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Saturday.
Spanish flamenco vocalist Buika performs with La Santa Cecilia at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Saturday.
Photo by Javi Rojo

sun 3/27

Leather Pride Week launches with a vengeance at Faultline with Glory Bound: L.A. Leather Pride 2016 Kickoff Party. Scads of hot cowhide-clad people descend on this venerable LGBTQI watering hole as host and nightlife maestro Mario Diaz conducts the proceedings. It all climaxes with the introduction of Mr. L.A. Leather contestants as they blaze into the parking lot for the motorcycle ride-in preceding the drawing of contestant numbers. Whether you're a leather daddy or a cub on the hunt, this afternoon's bacchanal is kink heaven. Faultline, 4216 Melrose Ave., East Hollywood; Sun., March 27, 3-7 p.m.; $10. (323) 660-0889, losangelesleatherpride.com/event/bound-for-glory-la-leather-pride-2016-kick-off-party. —David Cotner

Lest we forget about Easter — as if the drugstore candy section would let us — the Aero celebrates with a program of Bugs Bunny cartoon classics. American Cinematheque programmers had 167 original Bugs cartoons to choose from, and they picked a dandy selection of 15 seven-minute cartoons, from the seasonally appropriate "Easter Yeggs" to perennial classics like "Tortoise Wins by a Hare" and "Rabbit Seasoning," plus Oscar winner "Knighty Knight Bugs." There's also free Easter candy for all kids in attendance, because what would Sunday cartoons be without some empty calories? Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., March 27, 4 p.m., $7-$11. (310) 260-1528, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —David Cotner

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Elsewhere in weekend-long retrospectives hosted by the American Cinematheque, the Egyptian's Centennial Salute to Sterling Hayden marches on with a 35mm double bill of Johnny Guitar and The Asphalt Jungle. Hayden, an enduring icon of the screen, is flanked by great co-stars and guided by masterful directors in these two: Joan Crawford and Nicholas Ray in the elegiac Western Johnny Guitar, Marilyn Monroe and John Huston in Asphalt Jungle. Both are classics of midcentury American cinema. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.; Sun., March 27, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

mon 3/28

The Museum of Broken Relationships began in 2006 when Croatian couple Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic decided to publicly display the remnants of their breakup alongside items donated by other failed couples. The exhibit traveled to other countries, and in 2010, a permanent museum opened in Zagreb. The museum’s second permanent branch opens in the old Frederick’s of Hollywood store on Hollywood Boulevard in late May. In anticipation of its launch, the Ace Hotel hosts a preview of the exhibit, which will feature items accompanied by text. The museum’s website is currently seeking submissions. Upstairs at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Mon., March 28, 8 p.m.; free with RSVP. brokenships.la. —Siran Babayan

tue 3/29

Noel Fielding is best known as a member of the Mighty Boosh, the weirdo comedy troupe that created the eponymous, much-missed BBC/Adult Swim cult hit about the fantasy world of two zookeepers, a shaman, talking animals and other eclectic characters, starring Fielding and Julian Barratt. In An Evening With Noel Fielding, the British comedian blends stand-up, music, interactive animation, props and costumes, and will perform alongside some familiar guests, including his brother, comedian Michael Fielding. Fielding's first American tour is a huge treat for British comedy fans who missed seeing the Mighty Boosh's only two L.A. shows in 2009 and 2013 at Festival Supreme. The Fonda Theatre, 6126 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Tue.-Sat., March 29-April 2, 8 p.m.; $41. (323) 464-6269, fondatheater.com. —Siran Babayan

Orson Welles wrote, directed and starred in many movies, a number of which are more celebrated than Lady From Shanghai. But Welles is a filmmaker who rewards completism, with each new production beyond Citizen Kane revealing something new about what made him tick as both a director and a person. Welles' adaptation of Sherwood King's novel, which stars his then-estranged wife Rita Hayworth, concerns a nautical murder scheme that once again displays strong personalities getting in over their heads but not realizing it until it's much too late to change course. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., March 29, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org—Michael Nordine

Being a pothead isn't just being all stonery, dudes. Find out at the 420 Games on Saturday.
Being a pothead isn't just being all stonery, dudes. Find out at the 420 Games on Saturday.
Richard Haick

wed 3/30

On March 14, Jeff Miller, the National Football League's executive VP of health and safety policy, finally admitted that there's a link between hard tackles and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. That admission comes just as former USC running back Anthony Davis signs Kick-Off Concussion: How the Notre Dame Killer Recovered His Brain (Lulu, $19.95), his memoir about the concussion that almost pushed him over the edge — and the treatments that brought him back from the abyss. You'll hear Davis' truth about everything from gastric bypass surgery to the greatness of the game — and how winning the game of life remains his greatest victory. Eso Won Books, 4327 Degnan Blvd., Leimert Park; Wed., March 30, 7 p.m.; free, book is $19.95. (323) 290-1048, esowonbookstore.com. —David Cotner

Hosted by the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, the annual AWP Conference & Bookfair is the largest literary conference in North America, with more than 2,000 presenters and 550 readings, panels and lectures. This year's readers include Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Franzen, Jonathan Lethem, Luis J. Rodriguez and Hector Tobar. The four-day conference and its concurrent book fair take place at the L.A. Convention Center and JW Marriott Los Angeles. Though registration is a hefty $300, a Saturday pass is only $45, and dozens of AWP-related events are happening at libraries, bookstores, galleries and elsewhere around town. Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Wed.-Sat., March 30-April 2; $45-$300. awpwriter.org/ awp_conference/overview. —Siran Babayan

Shipwreck is the creation of Casey Childers, Steven Westdahl and Amy Stephenson, who started the monthly, erotic fan fiction competition in San Francisco in 2013. Six local writers create adult fan fiction ranging from randy to smutty inspired by one great literary work, and their works is blind-read by Baruch Porras-Hernandez. Past books have included The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, Slaughterhouse-Five, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Wind in the Willows and The Lord of the Rings. For Shipwreck's first local event, L.A. writers Carmiel Banasky, Nina Bargiel, Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Myriam Gurba, Zoë Ruiz and Matt Young tackle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The winner gets bragging rights associated with having the dirtiest mind. Bootleg Theater, 2200 Beverly Blvd., Westlake; Wed., March 30, 7-8:30 p.m.; $12. (213) 389-3856, bootlegtheater.org. —Siran Babayan

When Chantal Akerman died last fall, she left behind one of the most revered bodies of work in modern world cinema. It's also radical enough to have rarely been seen in anything near its complete form. Chantal Akerman: Contre l'Oubli/Against Oblivion, a citywide retrospective being held at several venues over the coming weeks, seeks to remedy this. If you're a first-timer, there's no better place to start than with the Belgian filmmaker's debut, the massively ambitious Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. The 3½-hour-long domestic drama consists almost entirely of a widowed single mother (Delphine Seyrig, luminous) going about her daily tasks in real time: peeling potatoes, bathing, earning extra money by entertaining male clients. That may sound tedious on paper, but in practice it's uniquely enthralling. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Wed., March 30, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine

thu 3/31

L.A. club douchebags, ditzy public relations girls, Canadian teens — Nick Kroll created some hysterical characters on Kroll Show. Though it ended last year, the Comedy Central sketch series' two other funny characters live on. In the show's "Oh, Hello" skit, Kroll and John Mulaney played Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, two disheveled, miserly old gents from the Upper West Side, who wear turtlenecks and sensible sneakers, and love tuna fish sandwiches and Alan Alda. The comedians created their alter egos in the mid-2000s, and they'll resurrect them in Oh, Hello, a live show that no doubt will include some region-specific jokes. Watch them closely. They're your future. Ricardo Montalban Theatre, 1615 N. Vine St., Hollywood; Wed.-Sun., March 30-April 3, 8 p.m.; $39-$69. (323) 871-2420, themontalban.com. —Siran Babayan

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