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

I'm gonna wash them birds right outta my hair and send them on their way ... on Sunday.
I'm gonna wash them birds right outta my hair and send them on their way ... on Sunday.
Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions

A drag performance of Joan Crawford's kooky lifestyle tips, a funny take on opera, an evening with everyone's favorite storyteller David Sedaris and more fun stuff to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 11/11

The book most associated with Joan Crawford is daughter Christina's 1978 tell-all, Mommie Dearest, which begat the 1981 movie/gay camp classic of the same name. But did you know Crawford wrote a how-to guide in 1971 called My Way of Life? In it, the 67-year-old, four-times-married, Oscar-winning actress dispenses highly entertaining, quaint and somewhat looney advice on diet, exercise, food, hostessing, decorating, traveling and, of course, a successful marriage: "There's nothing less stimulating for a man than the day-to-day business of raising four children — that's woman's work." In Unleash the Crawford!, drag queen extraordinaire Jackie Beat — who's written such pop-song parodies as "Baby Got Front," "Retouch My Body" and "Eating Pussy Causes Cancer" — will dress as 1970s-era Joan to read excerpts from the out-of-print book, answer audience questions and maybe even sing. No wire hangers will be used in this performance. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Fri., Nov. 11, 8 & 10 p.m.; $20. (323) 662-4255, brownpapertickets.com/event/2600011. —Siran Babayan

With the exception of New York–based choreographer Gregory Dolbashian, L.A. Contemporary Dance Company stays true to its localism in its fall repertoire concert. Under the banner Force Majeure, LACDC unveils new works from locally based choreographers Christian Denice, Micaela Taylor and its artistic director, Genevieve Carson. One of the city's perennially interesting companies, LACDC made its mark presenting a range of choreographers, not just the artistic director's work on its dancers. After 10 years, the founding artistic director stepped aside; the choice of this atypical venue, known for plays than dance, may reflect some of Carson's vision for the company as the new artistic director as well as a chance to view her choreography. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village; Thu.-Sat., Nov. 10-12, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 13, 6 p.m.; $25, $20 students. forcemajeurelacdc.brownpapertickets.com. —Ann Haskins

The folks at Pacific Opera Project love classic operas, but they never allow a reverence for tradition to get in the way of their rudely funny makeovers. In September, POP brought back its popular, spaced-out, Star Trek–themed reinterpretation of Mozart's The Abduction From the Seraglio, and this weekend sees a revival of its daft update of Gioachino Rossini's The Barber of Seville. Cesare Sterbini's quaint original libretto has been overhauled by POP artistic director Josh Shaw to reimagine the beloved Rosina (mezzo-soprano Meagan Martin) as a freaked-out pop singer who's forced to live with her greedy, amorous manager, Don Bartolo (bass-baritone E. Scott Levin), until she's rescued by her true lover, Count Almaviva (tenor Sergio González) and the irrepressible celebrity hairstylist Figaro (baritone Bernardo Bermudez). Highland Park Ebell Club, 131 S. Avenue 57, Highland Park; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 11-12, 8 p.m. (also Nov. 17-19); $20-$120. (323) 739-6122, pacificoperaproject.com. —Falling James

The New Beverly pays tribute to the inimitable John Cassavetes over the next week, beginning its seven-film series, appropriately enough, with Opening Night and A Woman Under the Influence. Both essential films star the writer-director's wife and collaborator, Gena Rowlands, who delivers what might be the most devastating performance ever captured on celluloid in the latter half of this double feature. Rowlands and Cassavetes are something like the First Couple of independent film, and their joint body of work is an heirloom that we're all lucky to be able to share. Rowlands is scheduled to be present for a Q&A between films. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri., Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

Depending on how the election goes, something more slapstick might make for a less heavy start to the weekend. If that's the case, the Nuart's midnight screening of Blazing Saddles ought to do the trick — though it's also a reminder that we lost Gene Wilder this summer, because 2016. Maybe instead of watching Mel Brooks' satirical Western, which also stars Cleavon Little and Harvey Korman, you might want to just huddle under the covers for the next month and a half and hope that 2017 is less cruel to our heroes. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., Nov. 11, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com. —Michael Nordine

sat 11/12

The Art of Coffee: Enlightenment in a Cup unveils the history and rituals surrounding the miracle of coffee. Celebrated and banned, worshipped and decaffeinated, its roots stretch from antediluvian Africa to this morning's salon, during which culinary archaeologist Maite Gomez-Rejón and educator Mary Lenihan will show off LACMA's exhaustive collection of coffee pots you didn't even know were there. From there, the group trots over to Ray's for baked goods and several kinds of coffee. It's never too early (or late) for a dose of caffeine. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Sat., Nov. 12, 9 a.m.; $55, $50 members. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org/event/art-coffee. —David Cotner

Jackalope: An Indie Artisan Market is the brainchild of three women who decided to launch a community-driven craft fair in each of their hometowns: Pasadena, Denver and Phoenix. Melissa Shipley, Laura Fischer and Sara Diederich all wanted to create a semiannual tradition in the form of a curated bazaar where both local and national makers offer handmade wares to the public. With more than 200 artisans on hand, shoppers can browse everything from high-quality clothing and accessories to superior examples of art and design. It's an ideal opportunity to take care of some early holiday shopping while supporting independent artists. Central Park, 275 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 12-13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. (323) 989-2278, jackalopeartfair.com/pasadena. —Tanja M. Laden

Based on the Marvel Comics character, 2007's Ghost Rider starred Nicolas Cage as a stunt motorcycle rider who sells his soul to Mephistopheles and then becomes a flaming-skulled vigilante trying to take down a group of bad guys, led by the devil's son, Blackheart. The picture garnered bad reviews plus a Razzie Award nomination for worst actor for Cage. Marc Calderaro, however, has seen it more than 150 times, and he's determined to make you a fan, too. Calderaro began hosting his unironic live commentary, Ghost Rider: My Favorite Film, in his native Austin, Texas, in 2010. He screens the movie while providing in-depth knowledge of the original story, development, casting and special effects, in the hopes of getting you to give it a second chance. For his first L.A. show, Calderaro will be joined by Ghost Rider actor Jonathan Oldham. The event is BYOB, and it'll help if you're nicely liquored up. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Nov. 12, 3-5 p.m.; $10. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —Siran Babayan

Anna May Wong's face can currently be seen on banners and posters across the city for AFI Fest. At Cinefamily on Saturday, the silent-era star also can be seen in Old San Francisco, playing the deceitful daughter of a gangster. Her character conforms to the dragon-lady stereotype that was then so prevalent in Hollywood; as recent whitewashing controversies show, we've yet to fully live down that legacy. Alan Crosland's film will be shown on 35mm with its original sound effects and Vitaphone score, which should prove especially vital during the climactic earthquake sequence. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Sat., Nov. 12, 2 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine

If binge-watching all eight episodes of Stranger Things has left you feeling empty inside, consider revisiting one of the Netflix series' main reference points: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Steven Spielberg's childhood classic plays at the drive-in for maximum nostalgic effectiveness, so bring your Reese's Pieces and don't forget to phone home. Electric Dusk Drive-In, 2930 Fletcher Drive, Glassell Park; Sat., Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m. (doors at 5:30); $10 lawn, $14 car, $60 VIP. (818) 653-8591, electricduskdrivein.com. —Michael Nordine

Maria Bamford records her new comedy special on Thursday.
Maria Bamford records her new comedy special on Thursday.
Courtesy Piper Ferguson

sun 11/13

It's a vegetable bonanza at the California Vegetarian Food Festival, a one-day food extravaganza held at Hollywood's Raleigh Studios. Speakers will hold forth on topics related to health, like how to go vegan, what organic means, sports nutrition, weight loss and more. There will be vegan recipe demonstrations. Vendors from Donut Farm, India Jones Chow Truck, Bomb Fries & Ice Cream, Farm Fresh to You and more will be on hand giving out food samples and selling full meals. There will also be live music and an area for dancing. Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Ave., Larchmont; Sun., Nov. 13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; $30. cavegfoodfest.com. —Katherine Spiers

Upcoming Events

Not that you need a special reason to watch The Birds, but here are two: Tippi Hedren will appear in person for the Aero's screening of Alfred Hitchcock's avian thriller, and it's being shown on 35mm. The actress will be signing copies of her memoir, which is said to confirm our worst fears about Hitchcock's treatment of her and make the production of The Birds sound more horrifying than the film itself. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., Nov. 13, 6:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

mon 11/14

Anthony Bourdain lives a charmed life. After working his way up through the ranks in restaurant kitchens and serving as head chef at New York City brasserie Les Halles, Bourdain gave foodies a glimpse behind the swinging doors in the memoir Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, which turned him into a culinary celebrity. Now he gets to travel the world and eat great food and tell us all about it on TV. In his new live show, Anthony Bourdain: The Hunger, he delivers a monologue about his travels, street food and more, and then opens the floor to questions from the audience. Want to hear more of his thoughts on beer snobs? Now's your chance. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m.; $65-$170. hollywoodpantages.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

tue 11/15

David Sedaris is like the Picasso of the personal essay. Mining his childhood — and adulthood — for funny stories, Sedaris has managed to release eight books, including a compendium centered around his childhood speech impediment and the Christmas favorite Holidays on Ice, in which he details the winter he spent as an elf at Macy's. Reading Sedaris is one thing, but listening to him tell his stories is an even more complete experience; he's long been a favorite contributor to the public radio standby This American Life. At An Evening With David Sedaris, expect stories about sister Amy, partner Hugh and the rest of the characters in the author's orbit. Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena; Tue., Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m.; $42-$175. visitpasadena.com/events/david-sedaris. —Gwynedd Stuart

At 178 minutes, The Longest Day might be deemed The Longest Movie by impatient viewers. But Ken Annakin, Darryl F. Zanuck, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki and Gerd Oswald's film, which follows the D-Day landing from both the Allied and Axis perspectives, has long been heralded as a classic befitting its momentous subject matter. Many of the actors were veterans of the war, as were a number of consultants hired to ensure the utmost accuracy. The Longest Day received a Best Picture nod for its efforts but ultimately lost to an epic based on the first Great War: Lawrence of Arabia. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Nov. 15, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

wed 11/16

There've been shelves worth of books about Morrissey — including his own 2013 memoir — but now British guitarist Johnny Marr finally gets to have his say on The Smiths and more in Set the Boy Free, which he discusses with KCRW's Jason Bentley. Marr talks about doo-wop, glam rock and other early musical influences of his youth in 1960s Manchester, England. In 1981, he, Morrissey, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce formed one of the greatest indie bands in history; The Smiths lasted only five years but influenced countless alternative bands that followed, from Stone Roses to Oasis to Radiohead. Marr opens up about leaving the group and enduring one of the most oft-asked questions in pop music. (Marr admits he and Morrissey seriously discussed the possibility of a Smiths reunion in 2008, but plans went nowhere.) Marr also chronicles his equally notable post-Smiths career, which includes three solo records and prolific collaborations with The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse and The Cribs. Vista Theatre, 4473 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.; $35 (includes book). (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Siran Babayan

If, as the old saying goes, comedy is tragedy plus time, then Native Americans should sadly have no shortage of material. Despite this, they are still woefully underrepresented in comedy roles on stage and screen. Presented in conjunction with the L.A. Skins Fest — a Native American film festival now in its 10th year — the Native Sketch Comedy Showcase was established in 2013 to provide greater exposure for Native American comedians and actors. Just as important as the increased attention, however, the showcase offers the seven featured actors the opportunity to finally reclaim narratives that have been written by others for too long — and do so with a heavy dose of humor. Comedy Central Stage at the Hudson, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., Nov. 16, 1 & 8 p.m.; free with RSVP (rsvp@laskinsfest.com). (323) 856-4249, laskinsfest.com/event/sketch-comedy-showcase. —Matt Stromberg

San Francisco–based writer Kevin Smokler discusses the real and fictional towns of his favorite childhood films in his new book, Brat Pack America: Visiting Cult Movies of the '80s. Organized according to themes — movies set in the 1950s, sports movies, early hip-hop movies, John Hughes' entire canon — the chapters map out the locations of some of the decade's biggest flicks, from the San Fernando Valley of Valley Girls to the Universal Studios backlot that stood in for Hill Valley in Back to the Future to the Hughes-created Shermer, Illinois, used in Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Weird Science. Smokler also includes interviews with actors and filmmakers such as Sixteen Candles' Gedde Watanabe, directors Amy Heckerling, Martha Coolidge and Savage Steve Holland and writer Daniel Waters. Stories Books & Cafe, 1716 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Wed., Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.; free. (213) 413-3733, storiesla.com. —Siran Babayan

Robert De Niro is God's lonely man in Taxi Driver, a lost soul who wishes the rain would wash the scum off the streets and doesn't realize that description most likely applies to him. "You talkin' to me?" remains the most quotable line in Martin Scorsese's 1976 benchmark, but Travis Bickle (De Niro) is at his most disturbing when he's quieter and still trying (but failing) to get "organizized." ArcLight Sherman Oaks, 15301 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; Wed., Nov. 16, 7:10 p.m.; $16. (818) 501-7033, arclightcinemas.com. —Michael Nordine

thu 11/17

If you binge-watched Lady Dynamite, Maria Bamford's show-business parody about a comedian in Hollywood struggling with bipolar disorder, no doubt you're thirsting for season two. But fans of Bamford know she was a comedy star long before her Netflix series, perfecting her wholly unique, woman-behind-the-funny-voices stand-up since she was in her early 20s. (In an episode of Comedy Central's This Is Not Happening last month, Bamford riffed on taking nearly two years off work after checking into a psychiatric ward. And in a recent appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the host told her point blank she was his "favorite comedian on planet Earth.") Catch Bamford in her stand-up element as she tapes a new special for Comedy Central. With opener Jackie Kashian. The Novo by Microsoft, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Thu., Nov. 17, 8 p.m.; $29.50-$39.50. thenovodtla.com. —Siran Babayan

Comedians/filmmakers Chris Mancini and Graham Elwood co-host the Comedy Film Nerds podcast and produce the annual L.A. Podcast Festival. Tonight, they screen the premiere of Ear Buds: The Podcasting Documentary, which chronicles the medium's origins, rise in popularity and role in promoting live comedy. Mancini and Elwood interview star hosts such as Marc Maron, Chris Hardwick, Jimmy Pardo, Joe Rogan, Aisha Tyler, Scott Aukerman, Doug Benson, Todd Glass, the Welcome to Night Vale guys and many others — some who've been podcasting for more than a decade — as well as look at the impact of such significant episodes as Glass' coming out and President Obama's interview, both on Maron's WTF. The movie also delves into the tight-knit, far-reaching group of fans from L.A. to Sydney to Tokyo, who listen to their podcasts not only as a diversion but as a form of therapy while coping with cancer, mental illness, deployment and even natural disasters. The Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Thu., Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m. (doors 7 p.m.); free. (323) 651-2583, hollywood.improv.com. —Siran Babayan


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