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

Come to Anime Expo (Fri.-Mon.) or we'll sic these two on you.EXPAND
Come to Anime Expo (Fri.-Mon.) or we'll sic these two on you.
Star Foreman

Between a BDSM celebration, an anime exposition and a beach day for corgis, this July 4 week couldn't get much more patriotic.

fri 7/1

Spawned from her UCB storytelling show, L.A. comedian-actress Erin McGathy's podcast, This Feels Terrible features interviews with comedy-type folks, namely Marc Maron, Colin Hanks, Pete Holmes, Wayne Federman, Gillian Jacobs and Casey Wilson, discussing dating and relationships. It airs on the podcast network Feral Audio, home of Community creator Dan Harmon's Harmontown. For the past four years, McGathy has been frank about her own personal ups and downs, including her marriage to and divorce from Harmon, even broadcasting their wedding reception from the Natural History Museum. Now living in Dublin, McGathy joins fellow comedian, actor and podcaster Mike Mitchell to talk further about love and heartache on the first stop of her podcast's first live tour, which also includes surprise guests and audience participation. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., July 1, 7 p.m.; $8. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —Siran Babayan

Since 1994, Anime Expo — AX, for short — has called Southern California home, bouncing between Anaheim, Long Beach and L.A. It will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center through at least 2019, which is good news for L.A.'s anime fans, from casual enthusiasts to people who treat anime as a lifestyle choice. This year's expo has a slew of screenings of new releases — including Makoto Shinkai's Your Name and an exclusive premiere of Mob Psycho 100 — plus an anime music video (AMV) competition, a comedy showdown, video and tabletop games, and a manga reading room with more than 400 titles. And, yes, cosplay galore — commune with fellow Sailor Moons. Fri., July 1, 10 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sat-Sun., July 2-3, 6 a.m.-3 a.m.; Mon., July 4, 6 a.m.-4 p.m.; $55-$375. anime-expo.org. —Gwynedd Stuart

The concluding entry in Sergio Leone's Man With No Name trilogy is also the most memorable. A landmark Western celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly finds Clint Eastwood at his poncho-wearing best as he, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef vie for buried Confederate gold that none and all have a claim to. Loyalties stay in place as long as the average tumbleweed here, and the cemetery-set Mexican standoff that closes the film is an all-timer — even if you've never seen it, you've undoubtedly heard Ennio Morricone's score. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., July 1, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

sat 7/2

There was a time in all our lives when Saturday mornings were made for little more than marathon cartoon-viewing sessions in front of the TV — not work or brunch lines or, God forbid, kids' sporting events. Saturday Morning Cartoons at Cinefamily harkens back to that simpler time. Sailing directly into summertime, the theme is "The Great Outdoors," so they'll be screening animations that feature nature, including Disney's 1932 "Flowers and Trees." To further the experience, there's a complimentary cereal bar boasting some of the best frosted sugar bombs available today, along with more adult fare like mimosas — which actually pairs quite nicely with a bowl of Froot Loops or King Vitaman. Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Beverly Grove; Sat., July 2, 11 a.m.; $10, free for members and kids 13 and younger. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —David Cotner

David Fincher's cult movie adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's book Fight Club gave us one of film's greatest soundbites — "The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club" — not to mention Brad Pitt's mostly naked and sweaty abs. Palahniuk signs the hardcover graphic novel Fight Club 2, with art by Cameron Stewart and David Mack. Begun last year as a series of 10 comics, Fight Club 2 picks up 10 years after the original story's ending — and almost 20 years after its 1996 publication — and reintroduces the characters of the narrator (now going by the name "Sebastian") and Marla Singer, who've gotten married, had a son and are living a boring life in the suburbs, until Tyler Durden resurfaces to wreak havoc. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Sat., July 2, 3 p.m.; $29.99. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Siran Babayan

The planet Earth is a terrible place. There's war, famine, murder, sexual violence, pollution, the human-driven extinction of species — and just when it seems the only solution is a giant meteor's wholesale destruction of this godforsaken rock and its inhabitants, someone goes and organizes the Summer 2016 "Corg of July" SoCal Corgi Beach Day. With their stumpy legs, big heads and foxy ears, corgis are like a little furry Frankenstein monster created from the parts of dogs of different breeds, and, damn, is it working for them. Hundreds of the funny little Welshmen — many wearing swimsuits and tiny Hawaiian shirts (swoon) — gather at Rosie's Dog Beach to frolic in the surf and remind us that life's worth living after all. Rosie's Dog Beach, 5000 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Sat., July 2, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; free. socalcorgination.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

Due to popular, blasphemous demand, Ken Russell's oft-banned The Devils returns to Cinefamily for encore performances throughout the week. Based on an incident in 17th-century France in which several nuns were supposedly possessed thanks to a lecherous priest, this Exorcist forerunner complements a demonic narrative with Derek Jarman's off-kilter set design and phantasmic visuals. As the priest and main nun, respectively, Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave give uncomfortably convincing expression to Russell's unholy screed. (Having learned my lesson the hard way at a recent screening, allow me to humbly offer some advice: Buy your ticket in advance.) Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Sat. July 2, 5 & 10 p.m.; Sun., July 3, 7 p.m.; Wed., July 6, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org—Michael Nordine

Get an early start on Independence Day with the T-Birds, Pink Ladies and the other singing students from Grease at Hollywood Forever. Easily John Travolta's second-best musical of the 1970s, it remains the highest-grossing film of its kind in these United States. Speaking of which, the screening will be followed not only by the usual DJ performance (this time by Chris Holmes) but a professional fireworks display as well. You're the one that I want, America. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., July 3, 9 p.m. (doors at 7:15); $35. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org. —Michael Nordine

Watch these stumpy-legged little shits frolic on a beach on Saturday.EXPAND
Watch these stumpy-legged little shits frolic on a beach on Saturday.
Fabian Ortiz

sun 7/3

For many fetishists, the fine art of consensual bondage isn't an act of violence or oppression so much as it's a symbolic demonstration of romantic passion — being tied up is like an intricately tactile version of a hug. To celebrate its lucky 13th anniversary, the annual Bondage Ball will be held for the first time at Union. Festivities will include nonstop dancing to industrial-strength DJs, a parade of elaborately detailed costumes and fetish wear, blush-inducing public exhibitions of whipping and spanking, and knotty/naughty, gravity-defying bondage demonstrations that usually occur only in the darkest recesses of your imagination. Union Nightclub, 4067 W. Pico Blvd.; Sun., July 3, 9:30 p.m.; $20. bondageball.com. —Falling James

mon 7/4

Today's second annual Barn Dance is as much a celebration of artistic independence as it is patriotic independence, with live, down-home folk and country music, tons of barbecue, a pie-eating contest, a watermelon seed–spitting contest, a cakewalk, horseshoe competition, the terrors of the dunk bucket and a lot more. Also, Uncle Sam will be there, wanting you ... to have fun! Just before you head off elsewhere to fireworks and festivities, you can sit in the beautiful amphitheater where Will Geer weathered the McCarthy blacklist in the 1950s, perfected his craft and grew every plant mentioned in the plays of Shakespeare. Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; Mon., July 4, 11 a.m.; $20 ($22 at gate), kids 5-12) $8 ($10 at gate). (310) 455-3723, theatricum.com/4th-of-july-barn-dance. —David Cotner

Upcoming Events

Amateur pyrotechnical mishaps have become as much a part of Fourth of July as American flag T-shirts and overcooked frankfurters. Fortunately, there are professionals who'll risk life and limb (or eye) so you and yours can enjoy a dazzling all-American display of all-Chinese fireworks. Now in its 90th year, America­Fest at the Rose Bowl is a reliably fun and family-friendly way to spend Independence Day. This year's festivities include a motocross show, a performance by Beatles tribute band Liverpool Legends, a tribute to the U.S. space program and, yes, a big-ass fireworks display. Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena; Mon., July 4, 2:30 p.m.; $13, $25 for reserved seating. rosebowlstadium.com/events/detail/america-fest. —Gwynedd Stuart

tue 7/5

Docunight — the international initiative to publicly unveil documentaries that are about Iran and/or made by Iranians — presents tonight's screening of Malachi Leopold's Alex & Ali. The 2014 doc tells the story of a gay Iranian couple who fell in love in the '70s but were separated by the strictures of the 1979 Islamic Revolution; it reveals how they kept their love alive despite distance and adversity. In May 2012, Leopold chronicled the continuation of that relationship: Alex's reunion with Ali in Istanbul 35 years later, a relationship now transformed into something neither man ever expected. Santa Monica Public Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; Tue., July 5, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 458-8600, facebook.com/events/1102147843161483. —David Cotner

The Sandlot
 will be a sentimental favorite among moviegoers of a certain age for-ev-er, its particular brand of Americana the very essence of childhood for kids of a certain not-to-be-named decade. From "You're killing me, Smalls!" to "You play ball like a girl," it is perhaps the most quotable sports-themed kids movie of the '90s — no small feat, when you consider the likes of Little GiantsSpace Jam and Air BudArcLight Beach Cities, 831 S. Nash St., El Segundo; Tue., July 5, 7:30 p.m.; $14. (310) 607-9630, arclightcinemas.com—Michael Nordine

Time famously opened its review of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by calling the musical "a picture for the ages — the ages between 5 and 12." Still, this tale of a magical car has its defenders, many of whom considered Ken Hughes' adaptation of the Ian Fleming novel a lighthearted corrective to the darker strains of New Hollywood that were by then all the rage: Bonnie and ClydeThe GraduateRosemary's BabyChitty Chitty Bang Bang is many things, but a descent into paranoia involving the literal seed of Satan it is not. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., July 5, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org—Michael Nordine

Bondage Ball is going to hurt so good on Sunday.
Bondage Ball is going to hurt so good on Sunday.
Nanette Gonzales

wed 7/6

Beneath the big orange moon and the twinkly stars is the perfect place to experience Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in Concert, a musical celebration of J.K. Rowling's first book and later the first time the world's favorite wizard was immortalized on film. The magic and mystery of the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry comes to life at this screening of the film in high-definition on the Hollywood Bowl's giant screen as the Los Angeles Philharmonic performs John Williams' original score note for note in its entirety. Hang onto your hat and enter on platform 9¾. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood Hills; Wed., July 6, 8 p.m.; $26-$182. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —John Payne

The visceral intensity of rock & roll has rarely been translated authentically when adapted via the distancing artifice of the theatrical stage, but a new play by actor John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory) has a fascinating premise. Based on several rock biographies, Four Chords and a Gun re-creates a year in the life of The Ramones in the late '70s, when the legendary New York punks were so desperate for crossover pop success that they attempted to record an album with megalomaniacal, gun-waving producer Phil Spector — a disastrous experience that caused a schism in the band that persisted for decades. Hey, ho, let's hope Bowie's nonmusical play can capture a hint of The Ramones' cartoonish charisma. Bootleg Theater, 2200 Beverly Blvd., Westlake; Wed., July 6, doors 6:30 p.m., show 7 p.m. (runs through Sun., July 31); $25-$30. (213) 389-3856, bootlegtheater.org. —Falling James

Spectrum Reverse Spectrum and Color Correction probably are unlike anything you've seen before: cameraless films. Margaret Honda's two experimental works — one made by exposing 70mm film to colored light in a film printer, the other by using the color-correction timing tapes for an unknown Hollywood movie without the actual negative to go with it — screen for free as part of the Hammer Museum's Made in L.A. 2016. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Wed., July 6, 7:30 p.m. (also Sun., Aug. 7, 2 p.m.); free. (323) 466-3456, lafilmforum.org—Michael Nordine

thu 7/7

This year's Outfest, Los Angeles' leading LGBT-oriented film festival, comes at a trying time for the community. In light of recent events, the festival's organizers put out a statement reminding us that "powerful forces are out to separate our community from the rest of the world, and even to turn us against each other.?..." Outfest has always striven to breed understanding by exposing a larger audience to LGBT narratives. This year, the fest highlights local strides in independent production with the Made in L.A. series, as well as Latin American cinema with an impressive array of films from abroad. Thursday night's opening gala will feature relationship comedy The Intervention. Various locations in Hollywood and downtown; Thu., July 7-Sun., July 17; $11-$175. outfest.org. —Neha Talreja

When he was with the Bolshoi Ballet, Alexei Ratmansky established himself as a master of the full-length story ballet, but he has cemented that rep with eight new works since becoming American Ballet Theatre's artist in residence. L.A. gets to sample Ratmansky's oeuvre as ABT arrives with his "Firebird" (2012), set to Igor Stravinsky's score (with SoCal natives and recently promoted principal dancers Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera); "Symphony #9," set to that Dmitri Shostakovich work; and the West Coast premiere of an untitled ballet set to Leonard Bernstein's "Serenade (After Plato's 'Symposium')." Opening night features "Firebird" as part of what is dubbed a Summer Soiree with a postperformance party at nearby Grand Park. Details and casting at the website. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown.; Thu.-Sat., July 7-9, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., July 10, 2 p.m.; $34-$125. (213) 972-7211, music0x200Bcenter.org. —Ann Haskins

The Grammy Museum's latest exhibit, "Ladies and Gentlemen ... The Beatles!," looks back at the peak of Beatlemania in America between the Fab Four's arrival in 1964 and their last concert in 1966. Among the hundreds of artifacts and memorabilia are photographs, records, posters, vintage instruments, costumes and an oral history booth for visitors. In conjunction with the display, museum executive director Bob Santelli hosts Celebrating Beatlemania, a panel discussion with former game show host Bob Eubanks, Fab Four Exhibits' Chuck Gunderson and Russ Lease, Beatles author/historian Bruce Spizer and Debbie Gendler Supnik, who was an audience member when John, Paul, George and Ringo made their American debut performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Thu., July 7, 7 p.m.; $20. (213) 765-6800, grammymuseum.org. 0x000A—Siran Babayan

Akira Kurosawa was hugely prolific but he was also remarkably consistent. Ran, a late classic from the Japanese master, transposes King Lear to feudal Japan. where a warlord attempts to retire in peace and divvy up his kingdom among his three sons. You can surely guess how well that goes, but no description could truly do justice to the film's awe-inspiring visuals and scope — made in 1985, Ran was at that time the most expensive Japanese film ever. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.; Thu., July 7, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine


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