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

Get a taste of canyon life at the Topanga Days Country Fair (see Saturday).
Get a taste of canyon life at the Topanga Days Country Fair (see Saturday).
Photo by Lina Lecaro

A down-home fair in canyon country, a peek at the dystopian future in which Trump is president, a pop-up dinner inside a video cube, and more of the best stuff to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 5/27

At one point in L.A.'s cultural consciousness, Pippi Longstocking was a beacon of girlish independence and determination. The cinematic exploits of the beloved Swedish children's character were broadcast on KTLA with alarming regularity throughout the 1980s. She makes a welcome return with today's 16mm screening of Pippi in the South Seas. Since it's happening at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater (presented by Cinefamily), expect a preshow marionette performance prior to Pippi's triumph over shitty adults and pointless responsibilities. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., Echo Park; Fri., May 27, 8 p.m.; $15. (213) 250-9995, cinefamily.org. —David Cotner

Although Ferdowsi's Shahnameh is one of the most epic of history's epic poems — at 60,000 verses, it's the longest written by a single author — American audiences are woefully unfamiliar with the tale, which chronicles Iran's prehistory and history. Using a translucent screen, clever lighting, intricate paper cutouts, live actors and animated backdrops, the shadow-puppetry extravaganza Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic brings the story to the stage in a way that resembles something like a pop-up book come to life, thanks to director Hamid Rahmanian and master of Indonesian shadow puppetry Larry Reed. It's a treatment that suits the material: A really big story about star-crossed lovers becomes a really big shadow play. Freud Playhouse, UCLA, 405 Hilgard Ave., Westwood; Fri.-Sat., May 27 & 28, 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., May 28-29, 3 p.m.; $30-$70. (310) 825-2101, kingorama.com/calendar/2016/5/27/los-angeles-freud-theater. —Gwynedd Stuart

If you start your martial-arts journey with contemporary classics such as The Assassin and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon before slowly making your way back in time, you'll inevitably reach King Hu's massively influential A Touch of Zen. Set in the 14th century and merging the political with the supernatural, this 200-minute opus is among the wuxia genre's all-timers. Over the weekend, you'll have three chances to see Janus Films' new 4K restoration at Cinefamily. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., May 27, 7 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org—Michael Nordine

One of Terry Gilliam's many films to be well-received by critics but not make much money, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is this week's midnight offering at the Nuart. John Neville plays the adventurer of the title, who was already the subject of many a tall tale before the director of Brazil12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas brought his exploits to the silver screen. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., May 27, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com—Michael Nordine

sat 5/28

Second City joins in on the ubiquitous Donald Trump mockery with its latest musical parody, In Trump We Trust. Cast members Jose Acain, Allison Bills, Brendan McKay, Christa Nannos, Mirage Thrams, Cat Ventura and writer-director Dave Colan — who plays the Republican party's presumptive nominee — sing original songs in the style of show tunes that tell the story of Trump's presidential campaign, from inception to Election Night. There are impersonations of other familiar faces as well: Ivanka Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Megyn Kelly and Dennis Rodman, better known as Kim Jong Un's BFF and a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice. SC alumnus and instructor Colan knows something about nutty extremists: Last year he created the satirical Twitter handle @nexttokimdavis, which pokes fun at the woman sitting next to anti-gay Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in photos — it has 90,000 followers. Second City Studio Theater, 6560 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., May 28, 9 p.m. (and Saturdays through Aug. 13); $12. (323) 464-8542, secondcity.com/shows/hollywood. —Siran Babayan

A pleasantly rustic charm breezes through the golden-grassy hills at the Topanga Days Country Fair, a fundraiser sponsored by the Topanga Community Club. The fair is just what it sounds like: a place where all friendly parties are welcome to drop in and enjoy plenty of food and drink and arts and crafts, not to mention traditional fun 'n' games such as egg Russian roulette, cherry seed spitting, ye olde egg toss, bucket fill, apple bobbing and the "infamous" pie eating contest. There's loads of live music, too, by lively locals including Los Lobos, Blame Sally, Incendio, Deb Ryder, Venice, Calico and more. And on Monday there's a parade! 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; Sat.-Mon., May 28-30, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; $15-$25, free for kids under 5. (310) 455-1980, topangadays.com. —John Payne

With a loudmouth like Donald Trump shouting about building a wall between the United States and Mexico, it's easy to forget that discrimination lurks everywhere — even in Mexico, among Mexicans. UCLA's Oaxacan student group (aka Grupo Estudiantil Oaxaqueno) hosts the fifth annual Guelaguetza to raise awareness of the discrimination faced by indigenous populations at the hands of fellow Mexicans. With a day of food, music and dance, Guelaguetza celebrates the 16 indigenous communities that call Oaxaca home and the eight distinct regions that make up the southern Mexican state. Cultural ambassadors like Nueva Antequera, Grupo Folklorico Huaxyacac and Maqueos Banda Filarmonica celebrate their roots while attendees feed their faces. Bruin Plaza, UCLA, College Quad, Bruin Walk, Westwood; Sat., May 28, noon-4 p.m.; free. (323) 896-8139, happenings.ucla.edu/all/event/196676. —David Cotner

Alden Ehrenreich has been cast as the young Han Solo, which should come as welcome news to anyone who saw his hilarious turn in the Coen brothers' Hail, Caesar! Before Harrison Ford's other iconic character gets rebooted, relive the original Indiana Jones trilogy at the Egyptian with a Raiders of the Lost ArkTemple of Doom and The Last Crusade (on 70mm) triple feature. (Sorry, Shia fans: no Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.) The screening closes out the American Cinematheque's tribute to cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, who died in February after a 40-year career and is said to have used the shadow of his thumb as a makeshift light meter while working on the Indy movies. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.; Sat., May 28, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

You've always wanted to eat dinner inside a giant video cube, right? (See Wednesday)
You've always wanted to eat dinner inside a giant video cube, right? (See Wednesday)
Courtesy Monkey Town

sun 5/29

Chip in some of your hard-earned entertainment dough for a worthy cause and get a lotta bang for your buck at Share the Journey: A Benefit for Refugees. This charity show supports IRIS (Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service), an organization providing resettlement services in L.A. to refugees displaced from their homes around the world, including Central America and Syria. IRIS' programs include refugee resettlement, immigration legal services, an employment program, cultural orientation and ESL/civics courses. The big bonus tonight is that four great musical acts provide the eclectic sounds: singer-songwriter Simone White, composer-performance artist Dorian Wood, indie-rock aces Derde Verde and new-jazz artscapists the Alexander Noice Sextet. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Westlake; Sun., May 29, 7 p.m.; $10-$15. bootlegtheater.org. —John Payne

Besides being an excuse for Americans to drink canned beer and eat charcoal-grilled meats, Memorial Day is our annual reminder to say thanks to our grandpas and grandmas, moms, dads, brothers and sisters who've sacrificed their lives — for a while or permanently — to serve in the military. For the occasion, Clifton's Cafeteria is flashing back to the USO shows of the 1940s to host the Clifton's Canteen. CAC Studios, the creative force behind the patriotic shindig, promises drinks, a hot jazz band and swing dancing. WWII-era garb encouraged — military uniforms too, no doubt. Clifton's Cafeteria, 648 S. Broadway, downtown; Sun., May 29, 7-10 p.m.; $10, free for active military and veterans. cacstudios.com/uso. —Gwynedd Stuart

The master of suspense's only foray into 3-D, Dial M for Murder finds Alfred Hitchcock in familiar narrative territory: a murder plot gone wrong. The Aero is running Have a Hitchcock Holiday throughout the weekend, with screenings of Rear Window and Psycho as well. "It's a nine-day wonder," Hitchcock said of 3-D, which fell out of fashion shortly after the release of Dial M, starring Grace Kelly and Ray Milland, "and I came in on the ninth day." That's a break from tradition — Hitchcock was almost always ahead of the curve. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., May 29, 7:30 p.m.; $13. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

Upcoming Events

For an entire generation, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is the essence of childhood distilled into movie form. Since there's no better place to remind you that your youth is never coming back than a cemetery, Cinespia is screening Steven Spielberg's otherworldly classic at Hollywood Forever. The usual Cinespia accoutrements will be involved: a DJ before and after the movie, beer and wine permitted (Reese's Pieces as well, one imagines) and a photo booth. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., May 29, 8:30 p.m. (doors at 6:45); $16. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org—Michael Nordine

mon 5/30

The programmers at Cinefamily have an interesting hypothesis: Every movie is interesting for at least its first five minutes. They'll put that idea to the test on Memorial Day with The Five Minutes Game. Amid a traditional back-patio barbecue and potluck, the theater will screen the first five minutes of 15 brutally obscure films and then ask the audience to vote on the one they want to watch all the way through. What better day to put democracy to work, and for a good cause — no one wants to watch all 90 minutes of a shitty movie. Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Beverly Grove; Mon., May 30, 5 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org/films/special-events-may-2016/#the-5-minutes-game-2016-edition. —David Cotner

I can tell you almost nothing about either Tropical Heat Wave or Panama Sal, which is what makes the New Beverly's double feature so intriguing. Here's what's known: RG Springsteen's 1952 musical comedy and William Witney's 1957 drama both clock in under 75 minutes and neither has ever been made available on DVD. Panama Sal will be projected on 16mm. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Mon., May 30, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com—Michael Nordine

See a new restoration of A Touch of Zen on Friday.
See a new restoration of A Touch of Zen on Friday.

tue 5/31

San Francisco–based author Michael Helquist discusses the biography of the "lesbian, anarchist doctor you've never heard of" in his new book, Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions. Born in 1872, Equi was a doctor — one of the first practicing female physicians in the Pacific Northwest — who provided poor and working-class patients with birth control and abortions, which were illegal. She lived most of her life in Portland, Oregon, as an openly gay woman, and even legally adopted a child with one of her partners. She also championed labor rights and took part in relief efforts after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. After opposing America's entry into WWI, Equi was convicted of sedition and served a year at San Quentin State Prison, the only known lesbian to be incarcerated at the time. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Tue., May 31, 7 p.m.; free, book is $24.95. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Siran Babayan

Edward Dmytryk's Raintree Country likely isn't the first to come to mind when you think of Civil War epics about doomed romances based on novels, but what Raintree Country lacks in not being Gone With the Wind it makes up for in not being Gone With the Wind. Montgomery Clift, Oscar nominee Elizabeth Taylor and Eva Marie Saint star in the melodrama. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., May 31, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

wed 6/1

The Hammer Museum screens Idiocracy, the first film in its election-themed series of events, Election Fever. The 2006 Mike Judge–directed social and sci-fi parody stars Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph as two "average Americans" who take part in a secret military experiment and wake up 500 years later in a futuristic society that's run by idiots and has been dumbed down by corporate commercialism. The movie has proved so prophetic that co-writer Etan Cohen, poking fun at the current presidential election, recently tweeted: "I never expected #idiocracy to become a documentary." Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Wed., June 1, 7:30 p.m.; free with RSVP. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu/election-fever-2016/. —Siran Babayan

Part pop-up dinner, part video installation, Monkey Town is a one-of-a-kind cinema and culinary project launching its first — and final — L.A. run. Diners sit inside a massive 27-foot video cube while eating a five-course meal prepared by former Momofuku chef Nick Montgomery, and take in short films and live music throughout the evening. After 10 years of performances in NYC and limited runs in Denver, Barcelona and Austin, Monkey Town is setting up shop in L.A. all summer long. Performances/dinners take place every Tuesday through Saturday from June 1 through Oct. 1 (except Labor Day week). 111 W. 21st St., Historic South-Central; Wed.-Thu. & Sun. (5-course menu), 6:30 & 9 p.m.; $65; Tue. (4-course menu), 6:30 & 9 p.m.; $50.; Fri.-Sat. (5-course menu), 6:30 & 9 p.m.; $80. monkeytownhq.com. —Garrett Snyder

thu 6/2

As part of its ALOUD lecture series, L.A.'s Central Library hosts An Evening With Eddie Huang. The New York restaurateur and author's first memoir, 2013's best-selling Fresh Off the Boat, looked back on his Taiwanese-Chinese upbringing in Orlando, Florida, in the mid-'90s, and is the basis for the ABC sitcom of the same name. (Huang was critical of the TV adaptation during its first season and no longer serves as the show's narrator.) Actress Constance Wu, who plays the no-nonsense, penny-pinching matriarch in the series, interviews Huang about his new book, Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food and Broken Hearts in China, in which he writes about dating and rediscovering his roots in his ancestral homeland. Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St., downtown; Thu., June 2, 7:30 p.m.; $35-$55. (213) 680-3700, lfla.org. —Siran Babayan

Insightful, intelligent and entertaining, L.A. choreographer Rosanna Gamson and her company World Wide are known for combining spoken text with video and music to underscore the dancing while illuminating subjects ranging from a post-feminist Scheherazade (Layla Means Night) to a paean to L.A. that's peppered with lecture excerpts from physicist Richard Feynman (Grand Hope Flower). In her latest, Still/Restless, Gamson unleashes an octet who dance to a sound score but have taken a vow of silence. Expanding on themes raised in her highly praised Still, Gamson considers the fascinating subject of dream states, the neuroscience and history of dreaming, and the ever-gnawing question of why do we dream? REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Thu.-Sat., June 2-4, 8:30 p.m.; $25, $20 students. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org. —Ann Haskins

In 2015, actor B.J. Novak launched li.st, an app for people who just really like lists. In celebration of the list — and to raise money for 826LA, Dave Eggers' free creative writing program for local kids — famous performers take the stage to read original works for Tell Me a Story. Eggers, Novak, Catherine Keener, Keegan-Michael Key, Al Madrigal, Bob Odenkirk, Patton Oswalt and others read their writings, some of which might even take the form of those beloved, organized, enumerated collections of thoughts or ideas. The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown; Thu., June 2, 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception, 7:30 p.m. show; $50. (213) 388-1400, 826la.org/save-the-date-826las-tell-me-a-story-returns-on-june-2-2016-at-the-wiltern-2. —Gwynedd Stuart

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