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

A Valentine's Day on wheels pops up at Union on Tuesday.
A Valentine's Day on wheels pops up at Union on Tuesday.
Vince Masi

A 1980 comedy classic hits the stage, the olden days of porn get their due, a Valentine's Day roller rink pops up at Union and more to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 2/10

"You ever seen a grown man naked?" No doubt you're familiar with that and other memorable quotes from Airplane!, the hilarious, gag-heavy and mildly racist disaster-film parody about a traumatized former pilot who tries to reconnect with an ex-flame/flight attendant on a troubled plane carrying an inflatable doll, pair of naked breasts, singing nun, Hare Krishnas, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and June Cleaver speaking jive. Directed by Tom O'Connor, Airplane LIVE! at Flight Theater at the Complex lovingly re-enacts the 1980 classic comedy, with some modern twists thrown in, including bonus character Samuel L. Jackson, plus two teen girls speaking in millennial terms instead of jive. The cast encourages audience members to yell out their favorite one-liners. Surely they can't be serious? They are serious. And don't call them Shirley. Flight Theater at the Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Feb. 10, 8 p.m. (runs Fri., 8 p.m., and Sat., 8 & 11 p.m., thru March 18); $20. airplanelivela.com. —Siran Babayan

The photo of the man at the drum set could be an outtake from the film Whiplash, but it's for Rules of the Game, choreographer Jonah Bokaer's collaboration with scenographer/visual artist Daniel Arsham for eight dancers, with original music by composers Pharrell Williams and David Campbell. Inspired by playwright Luigi Pirandello, ROTG is one of three scheduled works from Bokaer, a former Merce Cunningham dancer whose combination of dance with video and other elements seems to achieve an equilibrium where the ancillary elements enhance but don't overwhelm or distract from the dancing. UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Westwood; Fri., Feb. 10, 8 p.m.; $29-$49. (310) 825-2101, cap.ucla.edu. —Ann Haskins

"My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today." So wrote Richard Adams in Watership Down, a children's book so disturbing it probably shouldn't be considered one. The Egyptian honors Adams — who himself stopped running last month at 96 — by screening the animated adaptation of his talking-bunnies novel on 35mm. Martin Rosen pulls no punches in bringing the English author's vision to the screen, so rest assured that the fields of blood and dead rabbits are all accounted for. (Rosen also adapted Adams' Plague Dogs a few years later, and it's just as age-inappropriate.) Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

Acropolis Cinema and Mubi co-present the North American premiere of Le Parc, Damien Manivel's minimalist sophomore feature. Described as Before Sunrise by way of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the film unfolds over a single day and night as two adolescents walk and talk their way through a quiet suburban park — a simple premise that, by most accounts, gives way to lush dreaminess. Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Fri., Feb. 10, 8 p.m.; $12. (213) 484-8846, acropoliscinema.com. —Michael Nordine

sat 2/11

Camellias are so beautiful, so seductive that Coco Chanel made the flower an official emblem of her fashion brand. But they're more than just eye candy — the leaves of Camellia sinensis are better known as tea. Like, black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea: all the biggies. Descanso Gardens celebrates its history with the camellia — they were the basis of founder E. Manchester Boddy's cut flower business in the 1940s — at the Camellia and Tea Festival. The two-day event features a walk through the camellia collection, crafts for kids, a tea tasting and two daily performances by Invertigo Dance Theatre. Stop and smell the Chinese roses. Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge; Sat.-Sun., Feb. 11-12, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; $9, $6 seniors & students with ID, $4 children 5-12, free 4 and younger. (818) 949-4200, descansogardens.org. —Gwynedd Stuart

Los Angeles is a city where man-made development butts up against raw, wild nature. The Bowtie Project perfectly embodies this characterization, as the 18-acre postindustrial site along the concrete banks of the L.A. River has been repurposed as a public park. Organized by California State Parks, Clockshop and the National Park Service, Bowtie Field Day offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to take full advantage of this quintessentially L.A. environment. Start the afternoon with park ranger–led nature walks, catch-and-release fishing demos or a clay workshop with artist Julia Haft-Candell. As day turns to night, gather 'round the campfire for an evening of stargazing and s'mores. Bowtie Project, 2780 W. Casitas Ave., Glassell Park; Sat., Feb. 11, 2-7 p.m.; free with RSVP. (323) 522-6014, clockshop.org/event/bowtie-field-day. —Matt Stromberg

What links Don't Look Now and Candyman, beyond a pervasive sense of unease and a lot of death? Both were shot by cinematographer Tony Richmond, who will appear in person at the Aero to discuss this double feature. Not exactly light fare but essential viewing for horror buffs, the two films — adaptations of short stories by Daphne du Maurier (Don't Look Now) and Clive Barker (Candyman) — are as rich in atmosphere as they are in dread. Whatever you do, don't say "Candyman" into the mirror five times when you get home. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

For relaxing times, make it Lost in Translation time. Sofia Coppola's best film screens at the Palace Theatre in time for Valentine's Day courtesy of Cinespia, which means the Tokyo romance will be complemented by cocktails, DJs, a karaoke bar and the famous free photo booth. We may never know what Bill Murray whispers to Scarlett Johansson at the end, but isn't that probably for the best? Palace Theatre, 630 S. Broadway, downtown; Sat., Feb. 11, 9 p.m. (doors at 7:30); $25–$50. (213) 553-4567, cinespia.org. —Michael Nordine

David Bowie is the new definition of "gone but not forgotten." Beyond his better-known contributions, the multihyphenate starred in a number of art-house favorites, The Hunger among them. Tony Scott's post-punk vampire saga stars the space oddity opposite Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon, with all the stylized moodiness those names imply. Perhaps the greatest moment comes early on and consists of nothing more than a beautifully sad line reading from Bowie: "Forever? Forever ... and ever." New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Sat., Feb. 11, 11:59 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

sun 2/12

Show off your best vintage finds at Long Beach's Museum of Latin American Art for the L.A. Retro Festival, a free, daylong event to celebrate the opening of "Dreamland: A Frank Romero Retrospective." Romero, instantly recognizable for his mural of cars crawling alongside the 101, is a leading figure in Los Angeles' homegrown Chicano art movement, and the exhibition will encompass works from his long and illustrious career. Similarly, the festival looks back at L.A. over the years with a mix of classic cars, fashion and music. Check out old-school rides before catching a fashion show from vintage menswear purveyor Barrio Dandy Vintage or a performance from Greg Esparza of Thee Midniters. The museum will be open for tours of "Dreamland," which opens Feb. 11 and runs through May 21. Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach; Sun., Feb. 12, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. (562) 437-1689, molaa.org/events/l-retro-festival/. —Liz Ohanesian

When Chantal Akerman died last fall, she left behind one of the most revered bodies of work in modern world cinema. If you're a first-timer, there's no better place to start than with the Belgian filmmaker's debut, the massively ambitious Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. The 3½-hour-long domestic drama consists almost entirely of a widowed single mother (Delphine Seyrig, luminous as ever) going about her daily tasks in real time: peeling potatoes, bathing, earning extra money by entertaining male clients. That may sound tedious on paper, but in practice it's uniquely enthralling. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., Feb. 12, 7 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine

Upcoming Events

When skaters from the five roller derby teams in the local women's league L.A. Derby Dolls sweep around their banked oval track at dangerous speeds, they look like comic-book superheroines come to life, a fearsome combination of beauty and brawn rushing past in a blur of Spandex, fishnets, helmets and elbow pads. But even these fierce wonder women need help when battling the bureaucracy of the city of L.A., which has canceled the Derby Dolls' current schedule of games until the league can raise funds for new permits. Tonight's benefit screening of Drew Barrymore's 2009 roller derby film Whip It features appearances by cast members Alia Shawkat and Landon Pigg. The Regent Theater, 448 S. Main St., downtown; Sun., Feb. 12, 7 p.m.; $25. (323) 934-2944, theregenttheater.com/event/1415790-l-derby-dolls-fundraiser-los-angeles. —Falling James

The Golden Age of Adult Cinema is an increasingly rare chance to hear candid conversations about the semi-glorious olden days of adult film. Actors Christy Canyon, Nina Hartley, Porsche Lynn and Seka head up this edition; other speakers in the coming (!) weeks include Veronica Hart, Amber Lynn, and Annie Sprinkle. This evening's symposium benefits the Komen Breast Cancer Fund, and is the final initiative of pornography historian and longtime L.A. X-Press film critic William Margold, who died of a heart attack during a broadcast on Jan. 18, talking about the dirty movies he so loved. Cupcake Theater, 11020 W. Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood; Sun., Feb. 12, 6 p.m.; $25, $60 VIP. (323) 391-3416, thegoldenageofadultcinema.com. —David Cotner

New Zealand export Rhys Darby says funny things at Largo on Wednesday.
New Zealand export Rhys Darby says funny things at Largo on Wednesday.
Wei Shi Photography/Wikimedia Commons

mon 2/13

Don't be ashamed to admit you read romance novels. One of the most popular genres of literary fiction has evolved from those paperback covers of shirtless, long-haired men holding women wearing corsets. How to Write Romance: A Special Valentine's Day Panel at the Last Bookstore will teach you how to break into the romance novel–writing business and possibly become the next E.L. James or Nicholas Sparks. Moderated by Peter Katz, New York Times best-selling authors Laurelin Paige and CD Reiss and USA Today best-selling author Vanessa Fewings, who've collectively released dozens of books, offer advice on getting published, from finding a literary agent and marketing on social media to film and TV adaptations. The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring St., downtown; Mon., Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m.; free. (213) 488-0599, thelastbookstorela.com. —Siran Babayan

tue 2/14

Take a break from doing it like bunnies to visit the most hoppenin' place in Pasadena: the Bunny Museum. Back in 1993, Steve Lubanski gave girlfriend Candace Frazee a plush bunny for Valentine's Day. The couple has been married since 1994, inviting Angelenos into their home since 1998 to gawk at the more than 33,000 bunny-related items inside. Take your sweetheart to thus record-setting museum to learn more about the space's history. This will be the last Valentine's Day event at the original location, as the museum will be hoppin' on over to Altadena in March. The Bunny Museum, 1933 Jefferson Drive, Pasadena; Tue., Feb. 14, 3-6 p.m.; $5. (626) 798-8848, thebunnymuseum.com. —Eva Recinos

Most people talk about physical comedy without acknowledging the pain and misery that goes into giving comics their unique type of physicality. Each comic moves through the space of a stage differently — and making her big move this time is Iliza Shlesinger on her Confirmed Kills tour. Telling jokes with seemingly every fiber of her being, Shlesinger has wrung big laughs out of everyone from hired killers to chairborne rangers, navigating her way through morasses of harassment, dating by gaslight, caustic commentary and other random indignities heaped upon her world — her lavish, prosperous, triumphal, Netflix-monied world. Wilshire Ebell Theater, 4401 W. Eighth St., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Feb. 14, 6:30 p.m.; $30. (323) 939-1128, ebellla.org/theatre-events/iliza-confirmed-kills-tour. —David Cotner

Although it's supposedly all about love, Valentine's Day is filled with feelings of inadequacy for many, as those without partners suffer in solitude, while the happily coupled struggle to create that unattainably perfect romantic experience. Instead of the underwhelming but expensive dinner date, why not kick it old-school and head to the roller rink? This Valentine's Day, Thunder Ground and Down & Derby bring their mobile skate party to L.A. with the Rolling Hearts Pop-Up Roller Rink & Disco. The event features multiple DJs spinning a classic roll bounce soundtrack, as Trey Knight & the Knight Rollers dazzle the crowd with their fluid and acrobatic skating. Bringing your own wheels is encouraged, but there will be skates for rent until they run out. Union, 4067 Pico Blvd., Arlington Heights; Tue., Feb. 14, 8 p.m.-2 a.m.; $15-$20. restlessnites.com/rolling. —Matt Stromberg

wed 2/15

One of New Zealand's funniest cultural exports, Rhys Darby is perhaps best recognized for his role as a band manager on Flight of the Conchords, and most recently guest-starred in an episode of last year's revival of The X-Files. But the foundation of his career is stand-up, which he started doing a couple of decades ago, long before relocating to the L.A. area. Rhys Darby's Saying Funny Things Society is a new monthly night of comedy curated by Darby and featuring material by a handful of funny people. As Darby himself quips, they also may be sleeping on his couch. Largo at the Coronet, Beverly Grove; Wed., Feb. 15, doors 7 p.m., show 8:30 p.m.; $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —Tanja M. Laden

Comedian, writer and director Jonathan Browning goes on a humorous journey through sexual discovery from adolescence through adulthood in his storytelling show All This Over an Apple. Browning, whose L.A.-based Screaming Frog Productions makes award-winning short films, recounts the myriad ways he learned about the birds and the bees: the Bible, talks with mom, the schoolyard, sex education and – like other cable watchers of a certain generation – those blocks of late-night, soft-core porn movies on Skinemax. Browning connects the dots between misinformation and shame at a young age, the breakup of his first marriage and how learning more about sex as he's gotten older has made him a better lover and husband the second time around. Comedy Central Stage at the Hudson, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., Feb. 15, 8 p.m.; free with RSVP. comedycentralstage.com. —Siran Babayan

thu 2/16

Kevin McDonald's Kevin McDonald Show just might be the only place to see this many members of The Kids in the Hall. Launched in August, McDonald's comedy-variety podcast features sketches, live music, interviews and stories about the famed Canadian comedy troupe. Past guests have included Kids' Dave Foley, as well as Wallace Shawn, Bob Saget, Rachel Dratch, Michael Showalter, Crash Test Dummies' Brad Roberts, Fruit Bats' Eric D. Johnson, The Long Winters' John Roderick and Ted Leo. (In the first episode's skit, Shawn played Sherlock Holmes and talked about what it was like filming My Dinner With Andre and The Princess Bride.) For the show's first live taping in L.A., McDonald hosts another fellow alum, Scott Thompson, in addition to Dana Gould and Gin Blossoms' Jesse Valenzuela. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., Feb. 16, 7-8:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —Siran Babayan

In light of John Hurt's death a couple weeks back, the Egyptian's double feature of The Elephant Man and Freaks will be especially poignant. David Lynch's and Tod Browning's carnivalesque classics are both exercises in empathy, the latter surprisingly so — about and starring a troupe of circus freaks, it's not at all the movie you expect it to be. Hugely controversial upon its release in 1932, Freaks torpedoed Browning's career and was banned in the U.K. for three decades. The Elephant Man had the opposite effect for Lynch, earning eight Oscar nominations and instantly establishing itself as one of the saddest, most sympathetic movies ever made. Together, the two films cry out: "We accept you, one of us!" Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine


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