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

Check out the lotuses on Echo Park lake on Saturday and Sunday.
Check out the lotuses on Echo Park lake on Saturday and Sunday.
Lina Lecaro

A celebration on Echo Park Lake, a really large concentration of ukuleles, stand-up by Louis C.K. and more to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 7/8

Local comedy ensemble Lost Moon Radio revives one of its episodes, Night. First staged at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2012, Night revolves around a DJ from outer space named Jupiter Jack, and includes sketches and original music backed by house band The Moon Units. Founded in 2009, the 15-member group performs in a live-radio format. They have twice hosted the L.A. Weekly Theater Awards, and you may have recently caught them on Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch's Late Night Snack on truTV, a short-form comedy show that includes original sketches, found videos and animation. Lyric-Hyperion Theater & Cafe, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Fri.-Sat., July 8-9, 8 p.m.; $15. (323) 540-0935, lyrichyperion.com. —Siran Babayan

In Sneaker Suites, the 11-member hip-hop troupe Antics celebrates sneakers, those coveted, often seriously expensive and sometimes dangerous fashion items. And to street dancers, sneakers aren't just footwear — they're akin to a ballerina's pointe shoes or a tap dancer's tap shoes. Led by Amy "Catfox" Campion and spoken-word artist Mark Gonzales, the Antics dancers display their sneakers in an array of street-dance styles. Audience members who donate a pair of gently used shoes get a $5 discount on the ticket price. (Shoes go to Soles4Souls, an antipoverty nonprofit that collects and distributes shoes and clothing to those in need.) Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd., Palms; Fri.-Sat., July 8-9, 8 p.m.; $30, $25 students & seniors, $5 discount with sneaker donation. anticsperformance.com. —Ann Haskins

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Though technically screening as part of the American Cinematheque's Warren Oates: The Wild Card retrospective, Two-Lane Blacktop and Cockfighter are also a Monte Hellman double feature. The actor and the director collaborated back-to-back on these two slices of fringe Americana in the early '70s, which find the actor playing a restless driver and a cockfighter who's taken a vow of silence until his next victory, respectively. If you fancy yourself a fan of New Hollywood and have never seen either of these, get thee to the Aero and experience some vital countercultural bliss. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., July 8, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

Speaking of fruitful filmmaker/leading-man partnerships, there's little outdoing John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. Snake Plissken is their most memorable joint creation, and he stars in both Escape From New York and its underrated follow-up, Escape From L.A. Carpenter replaces the slow-burning social relevance of the original with hang-gliding, half-court basketball shots and giant wave–surfing; in both cases, the citywide prison is no match for the eyepatch-wearing antihero. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.; Fri., July 8, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

sat 7/9

There was a time, just a few years ago, when even the lotuses didn't bother showing up for the annual Lotus Festival at Echo Park Lake. The lake was murky and polluted, and the surrounding public park was dingy and uninviting, that is until 2013, when it reopened after a massive two-year, $45 million restoration effort. Now the lake is literally blooming with the festival's seasonal namesake pink flowers, floating on saucer-size green lily pads. This year's celebration is sponsored by the Republic of Korea, and there will be Asian music, food and dance performances, as well as races by visually striking dragon boats. Echo Park Lake, 751 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park; Sat., July 9, noon-9 p.m.; Sun., July 10, noon-8 p.m.; free. (213) 485-5027, facebook.com/lalotusfestival. —Falling James

In the Bordeaux region's olden tymes, the term garagiste was a diss hurled at small-lot wine makers who created joy juice their very own custom ways, damn the rules. As time rolled on, garagiste became a badge of honor and indeed a full-on micro-production movement that has, the enological eggheads say, developed some of the most naively amusing vino in the entire imbibing world. The third annual Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure gathers more than 60 artisan winemakers from across California to pour 200-plus wines; there's also a VIP backstage seminar and a rare and reserve hour. The fest talks up its "no snobs allowed" — we'll see about that. The Wiltern, 3780 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown; Sat., July 9, 2-6 p.m.; $59-$129. garagistefestival.com. —John Payne

Last year's L.A. Ukulele Expo attempted to beat the Guinness World Record for largest ukulele ensemble. Though the event fell short of its goal, it still attracts more than 1,500 annual visitors celebrating the four-stringed instrument and the artists who make music with it. The day features performances by Brit Rodriguez, Josh Chang, Kalyn Aolani, Lise and Emi Lee, and Jerome Koko, as well as a marketplace, workshops and panel discussions. Also, for the first time, there will be a "bongolele" jam session with percussionist Randy Drake and a community play-along to the tune of the festival's official song, "La Bamba." Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St., downtown; Sat., July 9, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. (213) 628-2725, jaccc.org/laukuleleexpo. —Siran Babayan

Stud that he is, Kirk Douglas is about to turn 100 years old. UCLA has taken it upon itself to celebrate the actor's centenary with a months-long tribute to his career, which has seen him collaborate with some of the most important and influential filmmakers of the 20th century. Among that august company are Billy Wilder and William Wyler, with whom Douglas worked on Ace in the Hole and Detective Story, respectively, which get pride of place during the series' opening weekend. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., July 9, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu—Michael Nordine

So many ukuleles at L.A. Ukulele Expo on Sunday
So many ukuleles at L.A. Ukulele Expo on Sunday
Courtesy Doug Katsumoto

sun 7/10

Will self-driving cars find their way into luxury car culture? Why are there no Uber drivers using low-riders? While you're pondering these weighty issues, the 17th annual DUB Show, which includes appearances by 50 Cent, Schoolboy Q, Migos, Fat Joe and many others, features practically every aspect of car culture (except maybe NASCAR). DUB, the L.A. magazine that showcases high-end, high-performance automobiles, isn't so much about unattainable dreams cranked out on factory lines as it is about the enduring vision of individuals who customize their cars in ways that are outrageous and inescapably intertwined with the Los Angeles experience. Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Sun., July 10, noon-6 p.m.; $30-$125. (562) 228-1737, dubshowtour.com. —David Cotner

Though his FX comedy Louie is on hiatus, Louis C.K. has been anything but MIA this year. In January, he unexpectedly self-distributed on his website his dramedy series Horace and Pete with an all-star cast that included Steve Buscemi, Jessica Lange, Edie Falco and Alan Alda. In May, he performed two surprise shows at the Comedy Store. And, currently, he can be found in theaters as the voice of an animated dog in The Secret Life of Pets. Never away from the stage for too long, the comedian returns to his stand-up roots in this national tour, where he'll no doubt tackle such quintessential Louis topics as aging, dating, the generation gap and raising young girls. The Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood; Sun.-Mon., July 10-11, 8 p.m.; $30-$70. (800) 653-8000, louisck.net/tour-dates. —Siran Babayan 

One of those fun-for-the-entire-family–type things this city is pretty good at hosting, the Los Angeles Salsa Festival in downtown's Pershing Square is a great summertime way to soak up a bit of cultural diversity and, of course, get something really good to eat at the same time. There'll be a huge variety of the spicy stuff to sample in the Salsa Tasting Tent, as well as local food vendors slinging food that pairs with the tomatoey accoutrement. There's live music, dancing, an interactive kids zone and a beer and margarita bar, too. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown.; Sat.-Sun., July 9-10, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. (310) 473-3070, latinsalsafestival.com. —John Payne

The ongoing, citywide Chantal Akerman tribute comes to an end with News From Home, an intimate documentary the Belgian filmmaker made about her relationship with her mother. Released in 1977, when Akerman was living in New York, the film pairs imagery of the city with narrated letters from the elder Akerman. These notes range from cheerful to sad to guilt-tripping, and though they don't paint a picture of mother-daughter bliss, Akerman continued this autobiographical thread in her swan song, the moving No Home MovieSpielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., July 10, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 466-3456, lafilmforum.org—Michael Nordine

Louis C.K. wants to make you laugh and maybe feel mildly uncomfortable on Sunday.
Louis C.K. wants to make you laugh and maybe feel mildly uncomfortable on Sunday.
Courtesy FX

mon 7/11

Get a lot of musical bang for, well, no bucks at 101 Pianists, a free event presented by the L.A. Philharmonic, the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, the Colburn School, Steinway & Sons and Roland. The admirable 101 Pianists program's lofty goal is to move and enthuse the next generation's crop of music aficionados and performers by giving them the chance to display their skills in a social and musical setting with renowned professional musicians. At our town's acoustically perfect Disney Concert Hall, approximately 100 young piano students will perform selected works in collaboration with superstar pianist Lang Lang. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown.; Mon., July 11, 2 p.m.; free tickets available by calling (323) 850-2000, laphil.com/tickets/101-pianists/2016-07-11. —John Payne

Since the 1970s, some of the funniest people in the world have called the Groundlings home, and as they've flown the nest, many have gone on to continue to be extremely funny people on stages, in movies and on TV. The theater and school celebrates its distinguished alumni — and raises money — at its third annual Decades Night Fundraiser. Over the course of one evening, four shows feature performers representing four decades — the '70s, '80s, '90s and '00s — including Stephanie Courtney, Laraine Newman, Karen Maruyama and Jim Rash. Up for grabs in the insane-sounding silent auction: tickets to Saturday Night Live, memorabilia signed by Pee-wee Herman and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and lots more. The Groundlings, 7307 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Mon., July 11; 7, 8:30, 9:45 and 11 p.m.; each show $20 (includes one drink), $100 for all four shows plus open bar. (323) 934-4747, groundlings.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

The 1990s were a real heyday for musicians who were into slap bass, white-guy dreads and braided goatees. Also, wife-beaters, eyebrow piercings and spiky bleach-blond hair — the list goes on! Many of us have spent the past decade and a half distancing ourselves from the brief moment when nu-metal ruled the airwaves, but we'd all be lying if we said we didn't occasionally want to make like that old dude in the viral video and growl "Bodies" by Drowning Pool into a microphone in a public place. Nostalgists will have their chance at Nu-Metal Karaoke at Complex, a bar that hosts the alternative-karaoke showcase Ground Control every Monday. This special edition presents the unique opportunity to put on a backward ball cap and sing "Break Stuff" so hard you'll want to beat yourself up. Complex, 806 E. Colorado St., Glendale; Mon., July 11, 8 p.m.; free. facebook.com/events/1548311658807737. —Gwynedd Stuart

Frank Pierson's take on A Star Is Born can't claim to be a classic on the level of the 1954 version starring Judy Garland (itself a remake, in case you'd forgotten), but it does boast a screenplay by the husband/wife team of John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion. Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson take the lead in this 1976 update, which was marked by on-set troubles between Streisand and Pierson. The musical proved controversial upon release, but "Evergreen" still won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Mon., July 11, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org—Michael Nordine

There's no noir quite like Orson Welles noir, and Touch of Evil takes on even darker shades than most crime pictures of its era. Taking place in a U.S./Mexico border town where everything that can go wrong does, it stars Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh as newlyweds in the wrong place at the wrong time after a car bombing. Welles himself plays the police captain tasked with sorting the bad from the good — a difficult task even on the best of days, of which there are exceedingly few. ArcLight Santa Monica, 395 Santa Monica Blvd. #330, Santa Monica; Mon., July 11, 7:30 p.m.; $13.25. (310) 566-2810, arclightcinemas.com—Michael Nordine

tue 7/12

Museum educator and private chef Maite Gomez-Rejon started ArtBites in 2007 after coming across a group of medieval cookbooks that sparked her interest in culinary history's relation to art. The menu designed for her latest event, LACMA's Cur-ATE: Biting the Big Apple, is sure to be far more accessible. Join museum patrons after-hours for a special, private viewing and lecture on the exhibit "Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium," followed by a four-course, sit-down meal at Ray's & Stark Bar inspired by the exhibition and prepared by chef Fernando Darin. You'll hear stories from the New York art scene of the 1970s and '80s that are sure to inspire some brilliant conversation at the dinner table afterward. Tickets include tour, dinner and parking. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., July 12, 6:30 p.m.; $110, $100 members. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Neha Talreja

Laemmle's Anniversary Classics series presents Judgment at Nuremberg, first released 55 years ago. Stanley Kramer's was among the first American films to focus on the issue of war crimes in post-WWII Germany, and the result — which featured the likes of Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Montgomery Clift, Judy Garland and William Shatner — was nominated for 11 Oscars. Kramer's widow, Karen, will appear for a Q&A session before the film. Laemmle's Royal Theatre, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; Tue., July 12, 7 p.m.; $13. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com. —Michael Nordine 

wed 7/13

One of L.A. County's hotbeds of homicide, South Los Angeles has long been plagued by crime, drugs and gang violence. Zócalo Public Square and California Wellness Foundation's panel discussion Is South L.A. an Urban Success Story? argues that the neighborhood has recently seen a transformation thanks to a rise in home ownership, better schools and more businesses, among other improvements. KCRW president Jennifer Ferro moderates panelists including Community Development Technologies Center CEO Benjamin Torres, former L.A. Board of Public Works president Valerie Shaw, USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity director Manuel Pastor and El Nuevo Sur founder Jorge Nuño. Mercado La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Ave., Historic South-Central; Wed., July 13, 7:30 p.m.; free, reservation required. zocalopublicsquare.org. —Siran Babayan

thu 7/14

Much like Thrasher or Screw, Surfer Magazine became a bible for young, adventurous people, particularly those seeking the emerald seas of far-flung corners of the Earth. This evening, two of Surfer's veteran journalists, writer Kevin Naughton and photographer Craig Peterson, sign Search for the Perfect Wave ($70, Naughton/Peterson Ventures). The first book in a series that will be released in several volumes, the book covers travels within California, Mexico and Central America — and, much like the choppy surf, their lives could get just as bumpy. Diesel Books, 225 26th St., Suite 33, Brentwood; Thu., July 14, 6:30 p.m.; free, book is $70. (310) 576-9960, dieselbookstore.com. —David Cotner

Music videos used to be on MTV but now are exclusively online. But why watch a video on YouTube when you can watch it in a theater with a bunch of comedians adding some comic relief? E=MC Hammer members Celeste Busa, BJ Emery, Darius Hamilton-Smith, Jan Lefrancois-Gijzen and Kellan Meador host the Clubhouse's new biweekly show, Yo! MTV Improv, with two guest teams, Ronnie & Jonny and Boss Jr. Each team watches a video and then performs a 15- to 20-minute improv set inspired by the clip. Past videos have included DJ Snake and Lil Jon's "Turn Down for What," Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" and David Hasselhoff's "Hooked on a Feeling," which features bad CGI and the Hoff dancing in front of a green screen. The Clubhouse, 1607 N. Vermont Ave., East Hollywood; Thu., July 14, 11 p.m.-12:15 a.m.; free, donations welcome. clubhouseimprov.com. —Siran Babayan

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