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

Get on your bike and ride ... for Ronnie James Dio on Sunday.EXPAND
Get on your bike and ride ... for Ronnie James Dio on Sunday.
Photo by Gene Kirkland

Magic: The Gathering fans gather, bikers ride for Ronnie James Dio, vegans tell jokes and more cool stuff to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 5/20

It's a weird time to be a Magic: The Gathering fan — illustrators Wayne England and Christopher Rush died within a day of each other in March, and 20th Century Fox is planning a massive film franchise based on the game. But all is as it should be at this weekend's Magic Grand Prix, where more than 1,200 players will gather to swap trading cards, bolster their collections at vendors like Hi De Ho Comics and Vancouver's Magic Stronghold, and compete in the $20,000 Super Sunday Series Championship. Ultimately, the greatest magic will be the gathering itself. Through Sunday. Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Fri., May 20, 8:30 a.m.; $10-$12. (800) 448-7775, gpla2016.com. —David Cotner

As a director, John Carpenter is a master at creating disturbing, unsettling moods on a shoestring budget with such films as Assault on Precinct 13 and the original installment of the Halloween franchise. But the L.A. resident also knows how to get under your skin with his music, composing the soundtracks to most of his movies. Despite his long background in music, Carpenter has only recently started performing his minimalist instrumentals live, following the release of 2015's Lost Themes and its new follow-up, Lost Themes II, which features music written with his son, Cody Carpenter, and his godson Daniel Davies. Expect new pieces alongside the eerily skeletal, synth-driven melodies of his classic soundtracks. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Westlake; Fri., May 20, 7 p.m.; $20. (213) 389-3856, bootlegtheater.org. —Falling James

Superstar is no Wayne's World, but in the pantheon of movies based on Saturday Night Live skits, it does at least fascinate as an embodiment of the show's late-'90s/early-aughts heyday. Along with the as-yet-unopened Alamo Drafthouse L.A., the Egyptian presents the first repertory screening of this comedy about a Catholic schoolgirl (Molly Shannon, 35 when the film was released) who's a little too fond of trees and fancies herself an undiscovered megastar. Arrive early for a schoolgirl costume contest; stay late for a discussion with Shannon and director Bruce McCulloch. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.; Fri., May 20, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

The first time I watched The Godfather, I was 14 and didn't get it. The second time I watched The Godfather, I was so enraptured that I immediately put on The Godfather Part II. Courtesy of the Aero, you now have the opportunity to replicate that experience — but on 35mm rather than an old DVD. The rare classics that not only live up to but surpass the hype, Francis Ford Coppola's linked meditations on two different kinds of family are by turns enthralling and heartbreaking. As for Part III, well, let's just say it's slightly misunderstood and leave it at that. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., May 20, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

Witchcraft comes in many forms, and Cinefamily intends to explore all of them over the next two months. The occult celebration begins with the All of Them Witches opening-night party, featuring a video mix of rare and archival footage and an appropriately themed patio party. "Soothsayers and seers of all types" will be present to guide the hands of neophytes and studied conjurers alike, though you're not advised to show up in an Electric Wizard T-shirt — eveningwear is required. (It's not the only worthwhile event at Cinefamily tonight: Pickpocket screens as part of La Collectionneuse at 7:30 and Venom plays at midnight.) Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., May 20, 10 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org—Michael Nordine

sat 5/21

L.A. has all kinds of vegan events — even vegan comedy. Kate Berlant, Zach Sherwin and Andrew Michaan host what's perhaps the first and only Los Angeles Vegan Comedy Festival, featuring Jake Weisman, Allie Goertz, Andree Vermeulen and other animal-loving comedians who prove that vegans do have a sense of humor. No pretentiousness, preaching or converting, just a bunch of funny folks with strict dietary restrictions (and maybe "one token nonvegan") who'll perform stand-up and sketches and fight against the real enemy: raw-food zealots. UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood Hills; Sat., May 21, 10 p.m.; $10. (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

The undead take to the stage in Scaldead, a "dance horror" that's the latest from choreographer Alex Floyd, whose prior horror-themed works included Lunatick, the bedbug-inspired Intrinsick and the almost benign My Worst Enemy. Floyd gets help from OdDancity dancers Timothy Marquis Johnson, Kistina Pressler and Angela Todaro to explore human instability and the borderlands between conscious and subconscious, between being alive and not so much so. Aaron Dilloway supplies the score and Dan Reynolds' artwork contributes to the moody explorations. Pieter, 420 W. Ave. 33, Lincoln Heights; Sat.-Sun., May 21-22, 8 p.m.; $10-$12. pieterpasd.com/events/scaldead-a-dance-horror-performed-by-oddancity. —Ann Haskins

You've probably seen photos on Facebook and Instagram of some of your more active friends looking rapturous in Spandex, spattered with highly concentrated powdered pigment. Whether or not exercise brings you quite as much joy, the Color Run has laid claim to being "the happiest 5K on the planet" since it was introduced in 2011. This incarnation, the Tropicolor World Tour, stops in Los Angeles with some island-style accents, like palm trees, arches and Rainbow Beach, an "interactive island" with music and dancing. Next thing you know, you'll be someone's rapturous, active Facebook friend. Dodger Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Ave., Elysian Park; Sat., May 21, 8 a.m. & 2 p.m.; $50. thecolorrun.com/locations/los-angeles. —Gwynedd Stuart

The Silence of the Lambs introduced us to several pop-culture touchstones: fava beans and a nice chianti, the definitive Hannibal Lecter (sorry, Brian Cox), "Goodbye Horses" by Q Lazzarus. Still the only horror film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture — and one of only three to also win in the Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay categories — Jonathan Demme's classic thriller looks even better with age, not least because of all the sequels and TV shows that have followed in its wake. In keeping with ancient Cinespia tradition, a DJ will open and close the show and beer and wine are permitted; bring something classy enough to gain Lecter's approval. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., May 21, 8:30 p.m. (doors at 6:45); $16. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org—Michael Nordine

Look how much fun running can be. Or find out on Saturday.EXPAND
Look how much fun running can be. Or find out on Saturday.
Courtesy the Color Run

sun 5/22

Meet some of the 4,000 different kinds of insects that call L.A. home at the 30th annual Bug Fair. One of the Natural History Museum's most popular events gathers exhibitors that get you up close and personal with insect collections and — if you're brave — tarantulas and centipedes, as well as honey and silk, jewelry and artwork. The weekend of activities also includes nature walks, bug hunts, storytelling, costumed characters and — if you're really brave — crunchy bug snacks from the cooking demonstrations. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park; Sat.-Sun., May 21-22, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; $12, $9 seniors and students, $5 children, under 2 free. (213) 763-3466, nhm.org. —Siran Babayan

In May 2010, legendary metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio — Rainbow, Dio, Black Sabbath — died of stomach cancer. Each year since, his wife, Wendy Dio, has organized events in remembrance and to raise money for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. For the second year, Wendy has organized Ride for Ronnie, a motorcycle ride that kicks off at Harley-Davidson of Glendale and ends in Encino at Los Encinos State Historic Park, with a concert featuring Great White and Lita Ford, and a meet-and-greet with cast members from Sons of Anarchy. Begins at Harley-Davidson of Glendale, 3717 San Fernando Road, Glendale; Sun., May 22, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; $30 for ride and concert. diocancerfund.org/events/index.asp. —Gwynedd Stuart

Upcoming Events

L.A. OLA closes out the weekend at Los Angeles Filmforum after showcasing highlights of Spain's independent film scene all over the city. The festivities begin at 4 p.m. with an industry panel geared toward indie filmmakers trying to sell and market their work, followed by Keina Espiñeira's short film We All Love the Seashore and Mauro Herce's feature-length Dead Slow Ahead. Hailed as a "slow epic" and giving the impression of a less industrial LeviathanDead Slow Ahead tracks a freighter as it slowly makes its way from Ukraine to New Orleans. Herce plays with time and sound to the point of abstraction, using the ship as an all-encompassing sensory environment that requires viewers to find their sea legs. Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., May 22, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 466-3456, lafilmforum.org—Michael Nordine

mon 5/23

Did you know that your taste in music can predict something about your future? Wearing a black turtleneck, Birkenstocks and a cheap platinum wig, Hollywood psychic and radio personality Dr. Lars Dingman, iTunes Psychic, predicts the future and discusses the past lives of audience members in comedy clubs by looking at the last three songs on their digital music players. Tonight Dingman will not only perform psychic readings but also promises a lucky winner a free vacation to Cancun. Though he won't reveal his true identity, Dingman is the alter ego of Emmy-winning comedian, voice actor and TV host Mark DeCarlo, which means all the above is likely bullshit. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., May 23, 7 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

tue 5/24

Rebecca Razo proves that even in L.A., silence is golden. Razo reads from Quiet Los Angeles, her new guidebook for Angelenos looking for quiet in all this chaos. A former LAPD officer, the author lists 120 of the most noise-free spots for loners from Topanga Canyon to Venice to Long Beach, including museums, libraries, bookstores, parks, places of worship, scenic drives, restaurants, hotels and even staircases. The book features oft-visited attractions such as the Huntington Library, Griffith Park, Los Angeles Central Library and Hollywood Forever Cemetery, as well as lesser-known ones like St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pico Union, the REDCAT Lounge downtown and the Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavilion in San Pedro. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Tue., May 24, 7 p.m.; free, book is $19.95. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Siran Babayan

Professional couple Mitch Silpa and Edi Patterson make sexy time — improvisationally speaking — in Mitch & Edi Making Love. Familiar character actor Silpa has appeared in Bridesmaids, Gilmore Girls and Desperate Housewives, while Patterson's TV credits include Black-ish and Partners. They're both longtime members of the Groundlings' main company. Since 2011, Silpa and Patterson have hosted this two-person improv show, in which they take several audience suggestions and run wild, inhabiting as many as 15 characters at a time. The Groundlings Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Tue., May 24, 8 p.m.; $10. (323) 934-4747, groundlings.com. —Siran Babayan

You know that out-of-context scene you've seen a million times, the one where a man and a woman are locked in a passionate kiss on the beach as a wave crashes ashore? There's an entire movie around it, and it's well worth your time: From Here to Eternity. Fred Zinnemann's World War II drama — set on Hawaii and starring Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed — centers around romantic and pugilistic affairs on a military base before using a certain date that will live in infamy as a world-shattering climax. Its list of Oscars is just as impressive as The Silence of the Lambs': Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor for Sinatra and Supporting Actress for Reed. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., May 24, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org—Michael Nordine

Midweek genre fare at the New Beverly, Continental style: Silvio Amadio's Amuck and Vicente Aranda's The Blood Spattered Bride. The latter, based on Joseph Sheridan le Fanu's vampire story Carmilla, became an underground favorite in its native Spain and abroad for the manner in which it weaves progressive views on sexuality and gender into its brutal, anti-fascist narrative; you may also recognize its title as the inspiration for Uma Thurman's nickname in Kill Bill. No Oscars for either of these, though Bride's poster does proudly inform potential viewers that it won the 1973 Vampire Award for Best Thriller of the Year. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Tue., May 24, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

Kids love bugs. And ladies dressed up like bugs. Bugs abound on Sunday.
Kids love bugs. And ladies dressed up like bugs. Bugs abound on Sunday.
Courtesy the National History Museum of Los Angeles County

wed 5/25

Despite the question mark at the end of Will Genetic Engineering Endanger Humanity?, don't bet on having a definitive answer when you leave this talk at the Skirball Center. The point is to start the conversation, and tonight's appearance by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee is as good a starting point as any on a heavy subject that touches everything from test-tube babies to designer diseases. Mukherjee's premise, outlined in his new book, The Gene: An Intimate History, is that the manipulation of genes has mutated into a method by which humans can play God — and all the Promethean problems that implies. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. (enter at Herscher Way), Brentwood; Wed., May 25, 8 p.m.; free with RSVP. (310) 440-4500, zocalopublicsquare.org/event/will-genetic-engineering-endanger-humanity. —David Cotner

In December, Ben Blacker (co-creator of Thrilling Adventure Hour With Ben Acker) and Andrew Reich (a writer on Friends) announced Dead Pilots Society, a soon-to-be-launched podcast that gives second life to TV pilots bought by networks but never aired. For that episode, Molly Shannon, Sarah Chalke and other actor friends performed a table reading of Laurel and Holly, an unaired script by Reich and former writing partner Ted Cohen. Following their show at January's SF Sketchfest, which included appearances by John Hodgman, Joshua Malina and John Ross Bowie, Blacker and Reich will be joined by Andrew Daly, Kiernan Shipka, Marc Evan Jackson and others reading works written by Blacker and Ben Acker, Matt Gourley and Amanda Lund. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Wed., May 25, 8:30 p.m.; $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —Siran Babayan

thu 5/26

Film Independent at LACMA's An Evening With ... series invites creators and actors to discuss their work to date. This latest edition, An Evening With Robert Kirkman, features the creator of the original The Walking Dead comics series and executive producer of the wildly popular AMC series it spawned. It's an exciting time for Kirkman and his fans as he prepares to debut his latest foray into TV, an adaptation of Outcast, the 2014 comics series he created with artist Paul Azaceta. Kirkman will discuss the underlying ethos of much of his work, the survivor-savior mission that drives so many of his beloved stories. LACMA, Bing Theater, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Thu. May 26, 7:30 p.m.; $15-$25. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org/event/robert-kirkman. —Neha Talreja

From 1958 to 1973, before the Hollywood Improv came to be, its current space was occupied by an eclectic venue called the Ash Grove. Everyone from the Chambers Brothers to Lenny Bruce performed there, and the people keeping the flame of that old venue alive present Outtake-O-Rama: The Voice Talents of Futurama. Voice actors John "Bender" DiMaggio, Billy "Fry" West and Maurice "Various" LaMarche get together to open up their golden throats and spew forth a brilliant panoply of voices that include Futurama characters, Orson Welles, William Shatner, LBJ and many others. The Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., Beverly Grove; Thu., May 26, 7:30 p.m.; $20. (323) 651-2583, hollywood.improv.com/event.cfm?id=449212. —David Cotner


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