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

Cinefamily screens the films of the Unarius Academy of Science on Sunday.EXPAND
Cinefamily screens the films of the Unarius Academy of Science on Sunday.
Courtesy the Unarius Academy of Science


A gyoza-eating championship, a pair of dance fests, a tiki feast at Descanso Gardens and more to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 8/19

Besides being fightin' words in many circles, Comedy Sucks is a multimedia variety show that challenges comedians to prove that premise wrong. Masterminded by Scott Blacks and featuring the best and/or worst in rare VHS clips from @midnight's found-footage collective Grimy Ghost!, this time they're using their clips in battle with comedians like podcaster Todd Glass, Playboy scribbler Jamie Loftus, Nigerian-turned-Angeleno Opeyemi Olagbaju, former jazz pianist Brent Weinbach and the Everything Is Terrible collective, which is no slouch in its own right when it comes to exhuming hysterical and surreal video clips that show just how far we've come and/or fallen as a civilization. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Aug. 19, 7-8:30 p.m.; $10, $8 in advance. (323) 851-7223, holdmyticket.com/event/253486. —David Cotner

It's the more the merrier with two dance festivals this week: one established, one brand-new. After its Thursday opening, the 10-year-old MixMatch Dance Festival continues in Santa Monica with 40 troupes, spread over three more shows. After a decade staging this summer event, organizers Amanda Hart and her Hart Pulse Dance have developed a welcoming open-door approach to mixing up the local dance landscape. Each show has a blend of the well-known and the emerging, and styles ranging from high-energy hip-hop and contemporary dance to more introspective modern and postmodern efforts. A few miles east, the new West Hollywood Dance Festival concludes a week of workshops and classes with two shows led by Chad Michael Hall's Multiplex Dance along with Tongue Dance Project, the Taiko Center and festival students. MixMatch Dance Festival at Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica; Thu.-Sat., Aug. 18-20, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 21, 2 p.m.; $18. hartpulsedance.com. West Hollywood Dance Festival at Fiesta Hall, Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 20, 2 & 8 p.m.; $15-$20. multiplexdance.org. —Ann Haskins

With the dog days of summer now fully upon us, the Aero's Welcome to Camp Void 35mm triple feature couldn't be more perfectly timed. Anyone familiar with Scream's opening segment knows that the machete-wielding Jason Voorhees isn't the villain in the original Friday the 13th, but there's still something troubling afoot at Camp Crystal Lake; ditto Summer Camp Nightmare's Camp North Pines and Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers' Camp Rolling Hills, though the latter two lace their horror overtones with darkly comic sensibilities. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., Aug. 19, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

Kate and Laura Mulleavy, those sartorial sisters of Rodarte, present Suspiria as part of Women of Cinefamily Weekend. Dario Argento's defining work remains the gold standard of giallo nearly 40 years later, which means the purported remake starring Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson has much to live up to; who knew ballet and witchcraft paired so well? DJ Mukta Mohan of Honey Power and KXLU show Persistence of Memory will provide a live score. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., Aug. 19, 11 p.m.; $14. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine

At the Nuart everything is fine. Look for Eraserhead on the marquee and subject yourself to David Lynch's debut, which has lost none of its unsettling poignancy in the decades since it put the singular auteur on the map. For all the richly deserved critical plaudits this "dream of dark and troubling things" has received, a bemused moviegoer's immediate reaction to seeing the film after its 1979 premiere is the funniest: "The ultimate suspense thriller. I kept waiting for something to happen and it never did." Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., Aug. 19, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com. —Michael Nordine

sat 8/20

Until 2006, only three African-American women had made the print version of The New York Times' Best Sellers List: Toni Morrison, Terry McMillan and Zane. The erotic-fiction writer formerly known as Kristina Laferne Roberts is one of a slew of big names and celebrity authors who'll appear at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Celebrating its 10th year, the fest also is hosting Bobby Brown, who recently released the autobiography Every Little Step: My Story; celebrity celibacy advocates Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin; and White House correspondent April Ryan. Put down whatever you're reading and go. Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw; Sat., Aug. 20, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. leimertparkbookfair.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

More than simply a swing-era throwback, the zoot suit — a flamboyant outfit consisting of baggy trousers and a long, wide-lapeled coat — was adopted as a statement of pride and resistance in the 1940s by Mexican-American youth known as pachucos. La Vida Pachuca celebrates their culture and legacy with a screening of Luis Valdez's 1981 film Zoot Suit, a theatrical account of the Sleepy Lagoon murder case and the subsequent Zoot Suit Riots of 1943. Cast members from the film will be at the event, which will also feature a pachuco dance contest, live swing music, a vintage fashion show, Mexican food and micheladas, and classic cars. La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 N. Main St., downtown; Sat., Aug. 20, 5 p.m.; free. (888) 488-8083, lapca.org/content/la-vida-pachuca-celebrate-35th-anniversary-chicano-film-zoot-suit. —Matt Stromberg

Part of the larger Nisei Week Festival, Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship seems light-hearted, but it's actually an important stop on the speed-eating circuit. Cash prizes are awarded to the top 10 finishers, with $1,600 going to the fastest eater. The current gyoza-eating record: 384 in 10 minutes. Yes, gyoza are a choking hazard when eaten that quickly, which is why participants must be at least 18. Registration is closed for the competitive eating portion, but for those who prefer eating their dumplings at a more leisurely pace, there will be gyoza for sale. Japanese American Community & Cultural Center, 224 S. San Pedro St., downtown; Sat., Aug. 20, 2 p.m.; free. majorleagueeating.com/contests.php?action=detail&eventID=717. —Katherine Spiers

"Hi, I'm Johnny Knoxville. Welcome to Jackass!" Few would have guessed, when MTV first began airing the ultimate in don't-try-this-at-home TV back in 2000, that those words would eventually open a trilogy of surprisingly well-received stunt movies, but here we are. Alamo Drafthouse Los Angeles co-presents all three films at the Egyptian, with "audience participation challenges" promised between screenings; one can only hope that none of these involve the butt chug. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 20, 5 p.m.; $20. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

Put yourself to the fullest possible use — which, as any HAL 9000 computer can tell you, is all any conscious entity can ever hope to do — by experiencing 2001: A Space Odyssey. Silver-screen sci-fi reached its heady zenith with Stanley Kubrick's 1968 masterwork about all manner of life (whether primate, artificial, extraterrestrial or otherwise) on Earth and beyond; SolarisStar WarsAlien and The Thing are all grand, but Zarathustra only spake once. DJ Cut Chemist will complement Strauss' iconic tone poem by spinning before and after the movie. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 20, doors 7:15 p.m., movie 9 p.m.; $16. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org. —Michael Nordine

Everyone loves tiki and they will prove it on Sunday.
Everyone loves tiki and they will prove it on Sunday.
Courtesy Descanso Gardens

sun 8/21

From Pacific Island–themed museum exhibits to a general enthusiasm for fruity drinks with lots of garnishes, L.A. is in the throes of a tiki resurgence. One more excuse to play like you're in Polynesia for the night: Tiki Bash at Descanso Gardens. Hosted on the main lawn of the lush botanical garden, the evening features a luau-style live dance performance, tiki drinks such as the mai tai and Navy grog, and a full Hawaiian buffet spread with kalua pork, teriyaki chicken, mashed taro root and more. They'll have to stuff an apple in your mouth when it's all said and done. Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge; Sun., Aug. 21, 6-9 p.m.; $75. (818) 949-4200, descansogardens.org/event/tiki-bash. —Gwynedd Stuart

Upcoming Events

In the mid-1950s, SoCal-based visionaries Ernest Norman and his wife, Ruth, established one of L.A.'s countless kooky, crypto-scientific spiritual organizations: the Unarius Academy of Science. Though its founding members have since departed the earthly realm, the group is still going strong and is currently the subject of a mind-blowing exhibition of photos, videos and related ephemera in the lobby of the Standard in West Hollywood. Women of Cinefamily's closing-night party, We Are Not Alone — The Films of the Unarius Academy of Science, kicks off with the ceremonial release of 33 white doves from the Unariuns' signature spaceship-themed Cadillac. Co-presented by female-centric creative consortium the Front with the clothing line BB Dakota, the far-out freaky festivities culminate with the U.S. premiere of Jodi Wille's documentary short We Are Not Alone, along with a glimpse at a gleaming 16mm-print of the Unariuns' own piece of outsider cinema, The Arrival (1980). Cosmic costumes encouraged. The Standard Hollywood, 8300 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Sun., Aug. 21, 6:30 p.m.; free with RSVP to unarius@cinefamily.org. cinefamily.org. —Tanja M. Laden

If binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix has you jonesing for some genuine throwback fare, there's always The Goonies. ArcLight Hollywood invites you to join the whole gang as they seek to unearth One-Eyed Willy's treasure, with all the truffle shuffles and whimsical childhood adventuring that entails. For added authenticity, this matinee screening is being projected on actual film, because 35mm never says die! ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Aug. 21, 3 p.m.; $17.25. (323) 464-1478, arclightcinemas.com. —Michael Nordine

mon 8/22

A hugely popular musical comedy originally developed by UCB in New York returns to the stage in Hollywood before it hits the big screen. Fucking Identical Twins: A Musical, the lewd and crude two-man Parent Trap–style story penned by Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp, is being adapted by Fox alongside Chernin Entertainment. For now, catch the original stage production, in which two business adversaries suddenly realize they're identical twins and decide to switch places in a bid to reunite their divorced parents. Jackson and Sharp give us a lot more than just Lindsay Lohan's or Hayley Mills' male counterparts — audience participation and a gay men's chorus round out the raucous production. UCB Sunset, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., Aug. 22., 7 p.m., $5. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Neha Talreja

The Grammy Museum and local nonprofit WordTheatre co-host A Tribute to Langston Hughes: Stories, Poems, Jazz & the Blues. Directed by Cedering Fox, this celebration of the Harlem Renaissance–era novelist, playwright and poet features an original jazz score by the Supa Lowery Brothers Band performed to Hughes' work as read by a host of actors, including Emmy nominee Sterling K. Brown, Emmy winner Keith David, Emmy winner Lynn Whitfield, Daytime Emmy nominee Jason George, Jerrika Hinton, Ryan Michelle Bathe and Reign Morton, as well as rapper PJ Bucknor. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Mon., Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m.; $40, $32 museum or WordTheatre members. (213) 765-6800, grammymuseum.org. —Siran Babayan

tue 8/23

Laraine Newman was one of the original "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" on Saturday Night Live, where she popularized such characters as Sheri the Valley Girl and Connie Conehead. But before becoming a TV star, Newman was one of the founders of the Groundlings. She returns to the famed improv comedy theater for the premiere of her solo storytelling show, The Audition. Directed by writer and Groundlings main company member Annie Sertich, Newman recounts true and humbling tales of auditions from hell, a common experience shared by all actors. Newman recalls auditioning for a TV show starring Bob Hope in the '70s, and for Martin Scorsese's 1982 The King of Comedy, while reading with none other than Robert De Niro. Newman also looks back on working with Lily Tomlin, which led to her being discovered by Lorne Michaels. The Groundlings Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Tue., Aug. 23, 8 p.m.; $10. (323) 934-4747, groundlings.com. —Siran Babayan

The New Beverly has always understood better than anyone in town that an essential part of old-school movie theaters is old-school trailers. As such, its presentation of Trailer Apocalypse Redux only makes sense. Curated by Oscar-winning editor Bob Murawski and his cohorts at Grindhouse Releasing, this feature-length, all-new compilation of exploitation trailers sounds like a must for disreputable genre diehards. As an added bonus, there's even a secret feature, also on 35mm. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Tue., Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

Two not-at-all-identical actors riff on The Parent Trap in Fucking Identical Twins: The Musical on Monday.
Two not-at-all-identical actors riff on The Parent Trap in Fucking Identical Twins: The Musical on Monday.
Michael Kayne

wed 8/24

Lemmy Kilmister bestrode the Sunset Strip like a Colossus, and he presided over the Hollywood rock scene like a leather-jacketed king from his regular perch at his favorite local hangout, the Rainbow Bar & Grill. The longtime hard-rock bar hosted a tribute to the late Motörhead singer-bassist in January, following his death at his nearby apartment in December last year, but this evening the Rainbow presents a more fittingly eternal homage to the guttural crooner. Artist Travis Moore will unveil his life-size bronze sculpture of Lemmy this evening in the bar's patio, following a fundraising campaign to pay for the work that was championed by ardent fan and Hirax lead singer Katon W. De Pena. Rainbow Bar & Grill, 9015 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, Wed., Aug. 24, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 278-4232, rainbowbarandgrill.com. —Falling James

Sundance Film Festival senior programmer John Nein hosts the latest installment of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' film-themed conversation series, Lost & Found at the Movies. Past events have revolved around the roles of love, food and Los Angeles in film, and have included such guests as Kenneth Turan, Buck Henry, Miguel Arteta and Jonathan Gold. For tonight's Lost & Found at the Movies: John Landis, A Man of Many Genres, Nein will interview the director of Animal House, The Blues Brothers, ¡Three Amigos! and An American Werewolf in London about his work in comedy, horror and sci-fi, as well as examples of early cinema that influenced his career (B-movies, Laurel & Hardy, Luis Buñuel) and jobs he had in show business prior to becoming a filmmaker. The discussion will screen clips from his and other movies and include an audience Q&A. Los Angeles Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., downtown; Wed., Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m.; free with reservation. (213) 228-7500, lfla.org. —Siran Babayan

thu 8/25

Bramwell Tovey leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Cinematic Sounds, a mixed-mood program of music by film composers. First up is Bernard Herrmann's wrenching "Scène d'Amour" and the ominous/gorgeous main theme from Vertigo, Hitchcock's gripping tale of romantic obsession run amok. There'll be a new double concerto from the late James Horner played by the Norwegian brother-sister duo who commissioned it, Mari Samuelsen, violin, and Håkon Samuelsen, cello; also Bernstein's beautifully shapeshifting Symphonic Suite for On the Waterfront, his only commissioned film score; and a finale of full-spectrum light and wonder with Gershwin's "Shall We Dance: Finale and Coda." Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood Hills; Thu., Aug. 25, 8 p.m.; $16-$149. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —John Payne

Before The Doors became the house band at the Whisky a Go-Go in the mid-1960s and started their quick ascent to fame, there was another, more popular group in town with a similarly unusual keyboard-based sound, fronted by an even wilder and more charismatic lead singer. The Seeds are best known now for their 1966 hit "Pushin' Too Hard," which was distinguished by the curious combination of Daryl Hooper's merrily playful electric-keyboard melodies and Sky Saxon's feral, raw vocals. The Seeds were the quintessential snarling garage-rock band before venturing into trippy flower-power mysticism, a spiritual path that continued when Saxon rejected fame, joined the Source Family cult and disappeared to live off the grid in Hawaii. Tonight, Hooper and the filmmakers answers questions following a screening of the fascinating Seeds documentary Pushin' Too Hard. The Canyon Club, 28912 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills; Thu., Aug. 25, doors 6 p.m., movie 7 p.m.; $19.50. (818) 879-5016, canyonclub.net. —Falling James

Since 2012, stand-up comedians Jenny Yang, Atsuko Okatsuka, D'Lo and others have been performing as part of the (mostly) all-female, Asian-American Disoriented Comedy. For a second year, the touring comedy troupe and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center co-host the Comedy Comedy Festival: A Comedy Festival, which spotlights both big-name and emerging Asian-American comics from film, TV and the internet. The four-day schedule includes stand-up, sketch, storytelling, musicals and variety shows, and features headliners including Randall Park from the ABC stitcom Fresh Off the Boat as well as actors from Dr. Ken, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Wrecked. Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St., downtown; Thu., Aug. 25-Sun., Aug. 28; $10-$25. comedycomedyfest.com. —Siran Babayan


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