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

21 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week
Lai Lin Robinson

A celebration of Culver City, a celebration of Legos, a celebration of beer and bacon, and loads more fun stuff to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 8/26

Culver City is probably best known for being an entertainment-industry hub, home to motion-picture makers from Hal Roach Studios to Sony (formerly MGM). But long before it was a hotbed for filmmaking — long before it was called Culver City, in fact — the area was part of a Mexican land grant called Rancho la Ballona and was later the site of training camps for Union soldiers during the Civil War. Now, Culver City continues to celebrate its cultural heritage as a vital L.A. neighborhood with Fiesta La Ballona, an annual blowout in Veterans Memorial Park. Expect more than 100 booths featuring everything from handmade goods to swag from local organizations, as well as food trucks, a beer-and-wine garden, live music and dance, and a full-on carnival. Hollywood may be Tinseltown, but this weekend, the real action is in Culver City. Veterans Memorial Park, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City; Fri., Aug. 26, 4:30 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 27, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 28, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; free. (310) 253-6667, fiestalaballona.org. —Tanja M. Laden

Even among all the charismatic personalities spotlighted in the L.A. punk documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, Keith Morris stood out, with his manic onstage energy and sodden sarcasm, revealing a soft heart when he admonished bullies to stop picking on smaller kids in the slam pit. The Hermosa Beach native was the first and fieriest of the four Black Flag singers, and he later went on to lead Circle Jerks, Bug Lamp and Midget Handjob before currently fronting the hardcore supergroup Off! with members of Redd Kross, Burning Brides and Earthless. The dreadlocked warrior has seen (and recovered from) a lot of madness in his 60 years, and this evening he discusses his new memoir, My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor, with co-writer and Vermin on the Mount ringleader Jim Ruland. Skylight Books, 1818 Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Fri., Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m.; free, book is $24.99. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Falling James

The Nutty Professor
 and The Ladies Man, two comedy classics most viewers of a certain age are likely to have seen only in their remade forms, kick off the weekend at the Aero. The double feature is part of the theater's Jerry Lewis to the Max series, a celebration of the writer-director-producer-star ongoing through Sunday. You won't see Eddie Murphy playing multiple roles here, but this Nutty Professor offers ample opportunity to watch Lewis throw shade at his former comedy partner, Dean Martin. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

Where have you gone now that we need you most, Brendan Fraser? One of the most affable stars of the 1990s and early 2000s rarely shined brighter than he did in The Mummy, an action-adventure film whose blend of thrills and laughs continues to be a tonic 17 years later. (We also have it to thank for introducing Rachel Weisz to the wider world.) Next year's remake starring Tom Cruise may be a successful revival, but there's no way it gets the Im-ho-tep chant down like this one. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., Aug. 26, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com. —Michael Nordine

For a more extreme midnight option, there's Lucio Fulci's A Cat in the Brain — a typically over-the-top exercise in sex and violence in which the director plays himself and reworks scenes from his prior films into a new, ungainly form as he's stalked by a killer attempting to do unto Fulci as Fulci has done unto his characters. If that sounds self-indulgent, well, sure, but it's also meant to be self-reflective — an examination of the effect that making horror movies has on their creator. (There's also a Nazi, because why wouldn't there be?) Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., Aug. 26, 11:59 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine

sat 8/27

Legos aren't just for kids. Though the Danish toy company is one of the sponsors, Brick Fest Live! is a purely fan-run operation that began in 2014 in Philadelphia and now takes place in other cities, attracting Lego fans of all ages who love building stuff with those plastic bricks. The daylong event takes up 60,000 square feet with Lego-themed activities and attractions, including a derby race down a 35-foot-long track; the chance to contribute to a large-scale floor mosaic; video games; miniature golf; live entertainment; vendors; hosts from the Lego YouTube channel, The Brick Show; and 7-foot-tall Lego models of Woody from Toy Story and other popular characters. Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena; Sat.-Sun., Aug. 27-28, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; $27. (866) 442-4433, brickfestlive.com. —Siran Babayan

Coming off last year's highly successful residency at UCLA, L.A.-based Contra-Tiempo joins Brooklyn's Urban Bush Women in a shared evening, part of the Ford's prestigious Signature Series. Defiantly blending polished technique with elements drawn from the African diaspora, UBW takes on the life and legend of jazz musician John Coltrane in Walking With 'Trane, set to a score drawn from Coltrane's music. Provocatively, L.A.'s Latin dance troupe Contra-Tiempo worked with African-American choreographer and former UBW member Marjani Forté-Saunders to consider the counterpoint in the lives of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and Nigerian deity Mami Wata in SHE WHO: Frida, Mami & Me. A night of two high-energy dance ensembles in one show. Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Hollywood Hills; Sat., Aug. 27, 8 p.m.; $30-$70. (323) 461-3673, fordtheatres.org. —Ann Haskins

Lately it seems as if beer is the vegan's one true liquid love, what with all the vegan beer festivals around town. The San Pedro Bacon & Beer Festival pushes back, pairing beer with its more traditional accompaniment: pork products. Specifically bacon. Which will be provided by a number of food trucks, which have been given a mission to provide their best bacon dishes for the evening, though that will cost you extra. Enjoy a plethora of beer vendors, both authentically local and those that would have you believe they're local. (As long as the beer's good, right?) VIP tickets allow early entry and a free mimosa bar. Battleship Iowa, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro; Sat., Aug. 27, 6-10 p.m.; $60-$75. eventbrite.com/e/beer-bacon-festival-san-pedro-tickets-24499891836. —Katherine Spiers

Perhaps the strangest and most off-putting John Hughes offering, Sixteen Candles screens in the ideal setting for an '80s teen movie: the drive-in. The chronology can be difficult to remember now, but in preceding both The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, this was the film that birthed the Hughes/Molly Ringwald collaboration; the writer-director is even said to have penned the screenplay over the course of a single weekend with Ringwald in mind after seeing her headshot. Electric Dusk Drive-In, 2930 Fletcher Drive, Glassell Park; Sat., Aug. 27, 6:30 p.m. (doors at 5); $10 lawn, $14 car, $60 VIP. (818) 653-8591, electricduskdrivein.com. —Michael Nordine

They're here — here in this case being Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which, though quite an Indian burial ground, nevertheless seems a fitting venue for a late-night screening of Poltergeist. Written and produced by Steven Spielberg but directed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre auteur Tobe Hooper, this early-'80s horror standout is a strange melding of its makers' contrasting sensibilities that's most frightening in some circles for the persistent rumor that the film itself is cursed; several cast members died premature deaths. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 27, 9 p.m. (doors at 7:15); $16. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org. —Michael Nordine

sun 8/28

How will your essence be preserved when you die? A slightly more evolved version of accidentally swallowing a loved one's ashes during a funeral when the wind shifts, the Hereafter Institute Tour is futurist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo's generation-defying project chronicling the latest technological advances in "digital soul" harvesting. The tour invites you to contemplate options for uploading yourself to the digital realm, including but not limited to wearable memorials, 3-D body scanning and personal data monuments that will stay behind long after you've been released into the Great Beyond. They're even offering individual consultations. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Sat.-Sun., Aug. 27-28, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. & 3-4:30 p.m.; free with RSVP. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org/event/hereafter-institute-tour. —David Cotner

Upcoming Events

Tag along with LAVA (Los Angeles Visionaries Association) co-founder/L.A. historian Richard Schave and special guests for the organization's latest DTLA walking tour, Broadway on My Mind. Following LAVA's Sunday Salon, tour attendees will gather in the basement of Grand Central Market, where things start with a brief slideshow, then it's into the wild noirish yonder to explore downtown's moodily evocative deserted and surviving tunnels along Hill Street and Broadway. Be smart and bring bottled water, wear good walking shoes and a hat couldn't hurt. The Sunday Salon and tour are separate events, so sign up for either/both. Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, downtown; Sun., Aug. 28, 2-4 p.m.; free, reservations required. lavatransforms.org/event/broadway-on-my-mind-16. —John Payne

Lawrence of Arabia is the rare classic that actually exceeds its imposing reputation, and nothing does its breathtaking sweep justice like a giant screen. Lucky, then, that ArcLight Hollywood is screening it in the Cinerama Dome. Don't be intimidated by the 216­-minute runtime: David Lean's epic flies by with all the force of a passing sandstorm, and Peter O'Toole's magnetic performance (the first of many) as Lawrence is one for the ages. ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Aug. 28, 3 p.m.; $17.25. (323) 464-1478, arclightcinemas.com. —Michael Nordine

mon 8/29

In the nearly 30 years since he retired from basketball, former Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — the NBA's all-time leading scorer — has become a prolific author, Time magazine columnist and Sherlockian, having published memoirs, children's books and last year's Mycroft Holmes, his first novel about the life of Sherlock Holmes' older brother (now a comic book series, which he debuted at Comic-Con). As part of Live Talks Los Angeles, Abdul-Jabbar discusses his eleventh book, Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White, co-written by Raymond Obstfeld. In the midst of all the racial violence, Abdul-Jabbar looks at race as a starting point but also examines and offers humble advice on other contentious topics, including religion, gender, gun control and education, as well as the Constitution. Ann & Jerry Moss Theater, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica; Mon., Aug. 29, 8 p.m.; $20-$95. (310) 828-5582, livetalksla.org. —Siran Babayan

Who says punk rock doesn't have a sense of humor? Puns N Punx is a punk-themed night of stand-up comedy featuring tattooed and pierced comedians delivering punchlines with an edge, minus the threat of getting elbowed in the eye in the pit. Jenn Scott emcees fellow comics — sans scabies and safety pins — Will Weldon, Melissa Villasenor, Kyle Clark and Ed Galvez, who hosts The Ed Galvez Punk House show at the Westside Comedy Theater. San Diego's one-man, sci-fi punk and electronic band The Digital Lizards of Doom will perform originals and covers in between sets. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., Aug. 29, 9-10:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —Siran Babayan

tue 8/30

"Our vets would kill for us," reads Operation Comedy's tagline, "so our comics kill for them." The recurring nonprofit series has previously featured stellar lineups featuring comedians like Judd Apatow, Adam Carolla, Joe Rogan, Ron White, Jeff Ross, Christopher Titus, Jim Jefferies and Pauly Shore; tickets for current and veteran military personnel are offered at no charge. Tonight's lineup, which includes The Carmichael Show star Jerrod Carmichael and former MADtv ensemble member Bobby Lee, is no exception, promising good comedy for a great cause. The Comedy Store, 8433 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Tue., Aug. 30, 8:30 p.m.; $18. (323) 650-6268, thecomedystore.com. —Julie Seabaugh

It's been 21 years since Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivar, but her legacy lives on, thanks to her fans — and Change.org. In two separate online petitions, fans lobbied MAC cosmetics to create a line of makeup dedicated to Selena and encouraged Madame Tussauds to create a wax sculpture of the singer. Both campaigns were successful, and on Tuesday, Madame Tussauds in Hollywood unveils the likeness of Selena at an official figure reveal. The museum's general manager, Colin Thomas, said in a statement: "Her influence has transcended generations, and her passionate fans continue to be inspired by her to this day ... we are proud to join her fans in celebrating her legacy by immortalizing her." Only the first 300 annual pass holders in line will be admitted to the event, so get there early. Madame Tussauds, 6933 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Tue., Aug. 30, museum opens at 10 a.m.; $30 for annual pass. (323) 798-1670, madametussauds.com/hollywood/en. —Gwynedd Stuart

wed 8/31

In the 1920s, the Pacific Electric mass-transit system was the largest electric railway network in the world, with stops from Canoga Park and Redlands to Rancho Cucamonga and Newport Beach. Take a Trip on the Red Car: A Lecture & Slideshow by Red Car Maven & Historian Alan Fishel is an illustrated presentation about the Red Car's services on the Westside, beginning with its debut in the 1880s, its expansion at the turn of the 20th century and its eventual decline following WWII. In honor of its 30th anniversary, the Venice Historical Society has Fishel taking the audience on two Red Car rides down Memory Lane — one from downtown to Venice via Hollywood and West L.A., and the other along Venice Boulevard through Culver City and Santa Monica. Learn how Angelenos got around long before automobiles and freeways characterized L.A.'s urban sprawl. Oakwood Recreation Center, 767 California Ave., Venice; Wed., Aug. 31, 7 p.m.; $8 ($5 for Venice Historical Society members). (310) 967-5170, venicehistoricalsociety.org. —Tanja M. Laden

Caroline Goldfarb's celebrity-centric podcast This Week Had Me Like is notorious for many reasons, but her brief celeb beef with none other than Sarah Jessica Parker's son is perhaps one of the more telling ones. The 12-year-old was addressed on air after he mildly cyber-bullied Goldfarb on her insanely popular Instagram account, @OfficialSeanPenn. He sent over an adorable apology, and the beef was squashed within the first few episodes, but the podcast's snarky notoriety lived on amongst millennials who grew up with Perez Hilton, desperate for an updated fix. Catch a live taping of the podcast with Goldfarb and special guests. The Virgil, 4519 Santa Monica Blvd., East Hollywood; Wed., Aug. 31, 8:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-4540, thevirgil.com. —Neha Talreja

Cinecon Classic Film Festival returns to the Egyptian for its 52nd edition over Labor Day weekend. Among the rarities and special screenings are The Clown Princes of Hollywood, 1932's four-hour Jungle Mystery (presented in 12 chapters between Thursday and Sunday) and the newly restored King of Jazz. Several guests will be making appearances, and a number of silent films will be accompanied by live piano. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., Sept. 1-Mon., Sept. 5; $40 day pass, $150 weekend pass. (323) 466-3456, cinecon.org. —Michael Nordine

thu 9/1

Authors Tom Zimmerman and J. Eric Lynxwiler present their new book, Spectacular Illumination: Neon Los Angeles 1925-1965. With more than 200 images of the stunning signs that drenched Los Angeles in light from Broadway to suburbia, photographers Will Connell, J. Howard Mott, John Swope and others were savvy enough to commit to pictorial posterity these beacons of L.A. culture, some of which were fortunate to have been preserved at the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale, for which Lynxwiler hosts the spectacular Neon Cruise. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Griffith Park; Thu., Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com/event/tom-zimmerman-and-j-eric-lynxwiler-present-their-book-spectacular-illumination. —David Cotner

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