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

CicLAvia returns on Sunday — this time to Wilshire Boulevard.
CicLAvia returns on Sunday — this time to Wilshire Boulevard.
Brian Feinzimer

A bike ride down Wilshire, a sand sculpture competition in Long Beach, an intro to fish you should be eating and more to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 8/12

Mexican-American singer-songwriter-actress Lila Downs believes that searching for one's roots is a fundamental part of the human experience. For a pair of L.A. shows inspired by ancient cultures, Downs — who's of Mixtec heritage — performs with the local Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company, one of the city's most popular folk dance companies. Through a combination of song and dance, Downs and Grandeza Mexicana honor traditional Mexican culture. Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Hollywood Hills; Fri.-Sat., Aug. 12-13, 8 p.m.; $30-$70. (323) 461-3673, fordtheatres.org. —Gwynedd Stuart

Known for its site-specific events in unusual venues ranging from historic jails to the concrete bed of the L.A. River, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre also has done small-scale performances with classic Cadillacs and a '60s Airstream RV as the "site." This time Duckler and her band of dancers, actors, musicians and writers tackle a 15-foot stainless steel fish sculpture from architect Alex Ward for a series of performances considering water and drought (and fish). This episode, Fish Eyes, set in the fountain area of California Plaza, is just one of three segments; the others are Fancy Fish and Fish Out of Water. Upcoming venues include Tree People (Aug. 25) and Pershing Square (Aug. 30) before a wider SoCal tour. Grand Performances, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., Aug. 12, 8 p.m.; free. heididuckler.org. —Ann Haskins

Upcoming Events

For his second feature, cult hero John Waters set out to make something uniquely tasteless. The result was Multiple Maniacs, released in 1970 but largely unavailable prior to its recent restoration by the soldiers of cinema at Janus Films. Divine is there, of course, though this time Waters' (in)famous muse is leading the Cavalcade of Perversion, kissing her own bloody reflection in a mirror after knifing her boyfriend and, eventually, being violated by a lobster. A must for Waters completists and an appropriately bizarre entree for first-timers. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., Aug. 12, 10:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org—Michael Nordine

Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton appeared onscreen together only once: in Limelight, which Old Town Music Hall screens throughout the weekend. Chaplin — who wrote, directed, produced, starred and composed the score — was denied re-entry to the United States after premiering the film in London, having been accused of holding communist sympathies. A deeply personal, autobiographical endeavor, the film stars Chaplin as a former music-hall star whose popularity has waned in recent years — a clear parallel to the Tramp himself. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; Fri.-Sat., Aug. 12-13, 8:15 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Aug. 13-14, 2:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 322-2592, oldtownmusichall.org—Michael Nordine

Before he was the picture of discomfort while standing next to Kanye, Mike Myers was considerably more carefree as Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Powers' flame was bright but brief, with three successful movies made over just five years, and the Nuart celebrates the spy-sendup franchise's legacy with a midnight screening of the original entry. What this one lacks in Fat Bastard and Mini-Me it more than makes up for in Elizabeth Hurley. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., Aug. 12, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com—Michael Nordine

sat 8/13

Long Beach has hosted an annual sand-sculpture showcase for 83 years, making it one of the longest-running of its kind in the world. But the Long Beach Sand Sculpture Art & Music Festival isn't just about fancy monuments fashioned from sand; it's about bringing together beachside communities for one big celebration full of vendors, live music, drinks and food. The sand sculptures are the biggest highlight, with a masterpiece built by pros as the centerpiece. But you don't have to be a professional sand artisan to take part; there's also a semi-pro category as well as an amateur competition. You'll never be bored at a beach party again (as if you ever were). Granada Beach, 1 Granada Ave., Long Beach; Sat., Aug. 13, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 14, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. lbsandcastle.com. —Tanja M. Laden

Is Bigfoot real? According to Dr. Matthew A. Johnson, aka Dr. J., he certainly is. A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. J. says he and his family came across the elusive Sasquatch back in 2000 at the Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, and he's been researching the fabled simian ever since. Occult L.A. Presents: Bigfoot! features a discussion with Dr. J. as well as an abundance of evidence to substantiate the large, hairy, hominidlike mammal's existence. Expect foot casts, videos, photos and perhaps the most unusual piece of evidence of all: a 3-foot-long lump of excrement allegedly from the beast itself. Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Beverly Grove; Sat., Aug. 13, 6:30 p.m.; $15. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org/films/special-events-august-2016/#occult-la-presents-bigfoot. —Tanja M. Laden

One of the last remnants of Old Hollywood is the neon sign from the Brown Derby restaurant that sat at Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street (the chain restaurant's most famous location and birthplace of the Cobb salad). After the eatery closed in 1985, the sign was handed over to private collectors before being donated to the Museum of Neon Art. The newly reopened museum and the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles co-host this opening reception for the exhibits "Hats Off to Hollywood!" and "John Swope, Photographs of Los Angeles Neon From 1938" (through Dec. 31). Festivities include a lighting of the restored 1930 rooftop sign as well as drinks, appetizers and tunes by DJ Howling Hobo. The event is also a fundraiser for the restoration and remounting of the neon sign that hung above Zinke's shoe repair store, which relocated to Pasadena in 2014 after more than 65 years in Glendale. Museum of Neon Art, 216 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Aug. 13, 7-10 p.m.; $30 members, $40 nonmembers. (818) 696-2149, neonmona.org/calendar-events. —Siran Babayan

The Monkees' heyday lasted all of two years, but the popularity of their music has endured since the debut of their TV show on Sept. 12, 1966. To commemorate the band's 50th anniversary, surviving members Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork are once again on tour and have released a new album, Good Times!, featuring songs written by Rivers Cuomo, Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and XTC's Andy Partridge. The American Cinematheque also marks the occasion with tonight's The 50th Anniversary of The Monkees, a screening of four episodes of The Monkees: "Monkee vs. Machine," where the group infiltrates a toy factory; "Monkees Get Out More Dirt," where they crush on Julie Newmar; "The Devil and Peter Tork," where they make a deal with the Devil; and "The Frodis Caper," the series' last, Dolenz-directed episode, which includes a performance by Tim Buckley. The screening of episode two is followed by a discussion with Dolenz, moderated by Illeana Douglas. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 13, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 461-2020, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Siran Babayan

UCLA presents a night of Nitrate Noir featuring Leave Her to Heaven and Nightmare Alley, both on the highly flammable material that once was the norm for film projection. Both halves of the double feature are of the rarely seen, mid-'40s variety of noir, with Leave Her to Heaven marked by atypically bright (and Oscar-winning) cinematography and Nightmare Alley centering around a scheming would-be psychic. Hollywood historian Mark A. Vieira will be on hand to sign copies of Into the Dark: The Hidden World of Film Noir, 1941 to 1950 starting at 6:30. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., Aug. 13, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine

Winona and Johnny Forever at Hollywood Forever, where Cinespia presents its sixth annual Movies All Night event: HeathersEdward Scissorhands and Cry Baby. In addition to the triple feature and usual DJ/photo booth accompaniment, this year's cinematic slumber party promises to-be-announced surprises for all bleary-eyed attendees. Netflix's Stranger Things is the most recent reminder of Winona Ryder's greatness; why not avail yourself of this nostalgia-fest and relive the height of her stardom? Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 13, doors 7:15 p.m., movies at 9 p.m.; $18. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org—Michael Nordine

John Waters' Multiple Maniacs screens at the Cinefamily on Friday.EXPAND
John Waters' Multiple Maniacs screens at the Cinefamily on Friday.
Dreamland

sun 8/14

There's no need to dress up like a superhero or a character out of a ridiculous fantasy at BrunchCon, the world's first convention dedicated to that special time of day when breakfast and lunch get married and have lots of little calories. It's six hours of some of the best brunchtime activities, including a hangover lounge — replete with much-needed low light and relaxation — cooking demos, hangover cures, speed dating, yard games and scads of food vendors, including Ludlows Cocktails, Groundwork, the Brooklyn Pig and Black Ring Coffee. There's also an adjacent market that will fulfill all your future brunching needs. Magic Box at the Reef, 1933 S. Broadway, downtown; Sun., Aug. 14, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; $32.64-$104.67. (213) 763-5811, brunchcon.com. —David Cotner

Forty years ago, Ciclovía first popped up in Bogotá, Colombia, where the congested streets since are regularly closed to automobile traffic so that bicyclists can temporarily claim them as their own. The idea has long since traveled to Los Angeles, where it's been renamed CicLAvia. Today's CicLAvia — Iconic Wilshire Boulevard is an opportunity to see the famed thoroughfare in a whole new way. With a 3.5-mile course between Koreatown and downtown, you can actually cruise along Wilshire without cursing under your breath while trapped in gridlock. But if you're driving, remember to expect even more traffic, because Wilshire will be temporarily closed to cars. Wilshire Boulevard between Grand and Western avenues; Sun., Aug. 14, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (213) 355-8500, ciclavia.org/ciclavia_wilshire16. —Tanja M. Laden

Lady Snowblood and its sequel, Love Song of Vengeance, are among many old-school genre curious known to many for their influence on Quentin Tarantino (namely Kill Bill), but Toshiya Fujita's two-part revenge cycle has much more to offer than influence. Meiko Kaji is Yuki, whose entire life revolves around avenging the mother she never knew. An aesthetic treat that delivers on the promise of its title, the first film in particular is an essential part of the vengeance canon. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Aug. 14, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

mon 8/15

Those interested in food and/or the environment know that we're overfishing our planet's oceans. But some perfectly delicious fish are rarely eaten by humans. Eat These Fish!, held at the very hip Preux & Proper, aims to broaden restaurant-goers' appreciation of seafood by enlisting celebrity chefs to cook lesser-known critters. Mary Sue Milliken, David LeFevre and Elia Aboumrad are among those cooking five courses, with dishes including vermillion rockfish and longspine thornyhead. Champagne and Kumamoto oysters (from Humboldt Bay) also are on the menu, which has been put together by a consortium of chefs, scientists and conservationists. Preux & Proper, 840 S. Spring St., downtown; Mon., Aug. 15, 6:30 p.m.; $125. chefscollaborative.org/programs/seafood-solutions/trash-fish-dinner/eat-these-fish-la. —Katherine Spiers

tue 8/16

Just because you're dead doesn't mean you can't have a sense of humor, and tonight's Historical Roast of Marilyn Monroe is proof perfect, as hosts Eddie Furth and Ryan Pigg gather a caustic roundtable of comedians — Bill Dixon, Scout Durwood, Dave Ross and Jessica Michelle Singleton — to deliver unto Marilyn the roasting she's needed all these years. From "You have to sleep forever next to Hugh Hefner?" to "Shouldn't that song be 'Candle in the Mud' now?" to "What's Arthur Miller look like naked?" it's like a night at the Friars Club, only with fewer guests of honor. Nerdist Showroom at MeltDown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Tue., Aug. 16, 8:45 p.m.; $8. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com or holdmyticket.com/event/253749. —David Cotner

The Getty's latest exhibit, "Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road" (through Sept. 4), explores the history, art and conservation of the Mogao Buddhist cave temples that date between the fourth and 14th centuries, and are located in morthwest China along the ancient Silk Road. The "three complementary experiences" include paintings, sculpture, manuscripts, three full-scale cave replicas and a multimedia area with 3-D technology for visitors. In conjunction with the exhibit, the Hammer Museum hosts a discussion with Buddhist studies historian D. Neil Schmid, who lectures on the history of Buddhism in China. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Aug. 16, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu/programs-events/2016/08/body-of-the-buddha-art-of-the-dunhuang-temples-with-d-neil-schmid. —Siran Babayan

Long Beach's 83rd sand sculpture showcase is happening on Saturday and Sunday.
Long Beach's 83rd sand sculpture showcase is happening on Saturday and Sunday.
Jim "Woody" Woods

wed 8/17

He helped kick off the rockabilly revival. He owned L.A.'s Cat Club. He married Britt Ekland. There's more to his life than those high points, of course — and tonight he'll tell you about the shitty parts, too, when Slim Jim Phantom blabs about A Stray Cat Struts: My Life as a Rockabilly Rebel. From humble Brooklyn beginnings to his rocket to fame drumming with The Stray Cats and recording hits such as "Stray Cat Strut" and "Rock This Town," which would both dazzle fans and annoy mall shoppers 30-plus years later, he's lived a life most would only dream of. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Wed., Aug. 17, 7 p.m.; free, book is $25.99. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —David Cotner

John Fry began recording in his parents' garage at age 14. In 1966, he founded Ardent Studios, whose most notable act was Alex Chilton's power-pop band Big Star. The Memphis studio and label has released more than 100 gold and platinum albums and singles, and has been the recording home to artists including Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Isaac Hayes, Stevie Wonder, Waylon Jennings, R.E.M. and The White Stripes. To celebrate its milestone, the Grammy Museum hosts Ardent Studios: 50 Years of Music History, which includes a performance and discussion moderated by Grammy Foundation and MusiCares vice president Scott Goldman. Panelists include studio manager and Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, Gin Blossoms' Jesse Valenzuela, Those Pretty Wagons' Luther Russell and producer/engineer Adam Hill. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Wed., Aug. 17, 7 p.m.; $25. (213) 765-6800, grammymuseum.org. —Siran Babayan

The Aero's annual Best of Recent Belgian Cinema spotlights Joachim Lafosse's The White Knights, the writer-director's follow-up to his wrenching Our Children. A dramatization of the Zoé's Ark controversy, it stars Vincent Lindon as a Frenchman who travels to Darfur in order to rescue hundreds of orphans. Come for the humanitarian drama, stay for the postscreening Belgian beer reception. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Wed., Aug. 17, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

thu 8/18

Choosing the right podcast is essentially looking for "squad." We're all shooting the same shit — so who else out there is shit-shooting on politics and pop culture the way you do? Call Your Girlfriend hosts Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow are good candidates to become any gal's virtual BFFs. Join them at the Ace Hotel for Call Your Girlfriend Live, a night of wine, wit and wonderful company; they're basically bringing all our group chats to life with their incredibly intelligent friends Stephanie Beatriz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine; Caroline Goldfarb, of the Instagram account @officialseanpenn and the podcast This Week Had Me Like; and Lindsey Weber from the podcast Who? Weekly!!!. Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown, Thu., Aug. 18, 8 p.m.; $30-$100. (213) 623-3233, acehotel.com/calendar/losangeles/call-your-girlfriend-live. —Neha Talreja


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