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

A couple of Canadians and a bunch of Californians unite at Long Beach Comic Con (see: Sunday).
A couple of Canadians and a bunch of Californians unite at Long Beach Comic Con (see: Sunday).
Liz Ohanesian

fri 9/16

The struggle for Mexican independence began with a cry — un grito — and each year it's celebrated on Sept. 16 with a few more shouts (and live music and dancing) on the steps of L.A.'s City Hall. Presented by City Councilman José Huizar, this year's El Grito Mexican Independence Day Celebration includes performances by Los Tigres del Norte and Christian Felix, plus kids stuff and food. And Mexico is graciously sharing the occasion with other Central and South American countries that celebrate their own independence days in September: Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., downtown; Fri., Sept. 16, 5:30-11:30 p.m.; free. (323) 526-9332, josehuizar.com/grito2016. —Gwynedd Stuart

Twenty years ago, Sarah McLachlan organized the first Lilith Fair concert and later tour, which ran for four years and was one of the biggest feminist moments in music history. But where have all the cowgirls gone? UCB imagines what the all-girl, man-repellent festival would look like today in musical parody Lilith Fair 20-Year Reunion Show. Kat Palardy and Kaitlin Thompson host a (mostly) female cast as they impersonate concert headliners such as McLachlan, Ani DiFranco, Fiona Apple, Tracy Chapman, Natalie Merchant, Linda Perry and others while singing original parodies and cover songs. So start growing out your armpit hair and relive the folky female fun of the late '90s, before Britney Spears came along and ruined everything. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Sept. 16, 10:30 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

Read any good books about same-sex haikus and cats lately? Oakland-based sex and relationship columnist Anna Pulley and her illustrator partner, Kelsey Beyer, discuss The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (With Cats!), their new collection of nearly 500 examples of the Japanese form of poetry, which pokes fun at the mysteries and stereotypes of lesbian sex and dating. Pulley organizes her humorous haikus, such as "Lesbianism: So much more than folk music and hemp shorteralls," into chapters with such titles as "How to Pick Up a Lesbian" and "U-Hauling," which are paired with Beyer's watercolors of "cats in various states of lesbian anxiety." Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Fri., Sept. 16, 7 p.m.; free, book is $14.99. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Siran Babayan

Upcoming Events

sat 9/17

Of all the iconic images to be immortalized in paint on black velvet, the clown — the sad hobo clown, in particular — is among the most glorious and kitschy. In celebration of our red-nosed friends, weeping and mirthful alike, Velveteria: The Museum of Velvet Paintings hosts its Clowntacular, a show of "clowns of renown from all around," which join the museum's other treasures, from a portrait of Anderson Cooper in a thong to one of Liberace in a fur-lined cape. Velveteria: The Museum of Velvet Paintings, 711 New High St., Chinatown; Sat., Sept. 17, 8 p.m.-1 a.m.; $10. facebook.com/events/299446430418275. —Gwynedd Stuart

Whether you drink it hot or cold, tea is the most popular beverage in the world. And what better way to beat the heat in the final days of summer than with the quintessential summer drink at the second annual Los Angeles Iced Tea Festival. Co-presented by the Japanese American National Museum and Chado Tea Room, the daylong event offers more than 20 varieties of iced tea, boba tea and tea ice cream, as well as vendors selling tea-related wares. You also can enjoy live jazz as well as tea authors and experts leading panels on topics including "Iced Tea Blends and Flavors" and "How to Steep a Perfect Summer Iced Tea." Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., downtown; Sat., Sept. 17, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; $12, free for children. icedteafest.com. —Siran Babayan

With the exception of the Night at the Museum films, most of the exhibits in natural history museums are not alive. As of Friday, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County adds a bit of color and vitality to its array of fossils, bones and dioramas with the opening of its Butterfly Pavilion. Visitors will be able to interact with hundreds of butterflies from more than 25 North American species — monarchs, queens, buckeyes, malachites and more — as they flutter about the habitat's flora. Don't forget to wear bright colors if you want butterflies to land on you. Since the pavilion is open only through Oct. 16, it is highly recommended that visitors purchase timed tickets in advance. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park; open through Oct. 16; $17, $14 students and seniors, $8 kids, free for members. (323) 763-DINO, nhm.org/site/explore-exhibits/special-exhibits/butterfly-pavilion. —Matt Stromberg

Quentin Tarantino's decade-defining Pulp Fiction is as entertaining the 10th time as it is the first, perhaps more so. Endlessly quotable and filled with some of cinema's most memorably amoral characters, it has inspired countless imitators that have never come close to matching its verbose dialogue — ironic, considering how heavily QT relies on homage. This screening takes place at the drive-in, so you might have trouble getting Zed's chopper in. Electric Dusk Drive-In, 2930 Fletcher Drive, Glassell Park; Sat., Sept. 17, 8 p.m. (doors at 6:30); $10 lawn, $14 car, $60 VIP. (818) 653-8591, electricduskdrivein.com. —Michael Nordine

Cinespia's summer program comes to an end with Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson's charming tale of young love. The filmmaker somehow manages to keep topping himself, and here, on a fictional island housing a summer camp that only Anderson could dream up, he crafts another winsome coming-of-age drama that builds on its predecessors while still feeling distinctive and new. (And speaking of quotable dialogue, "I love you, but you don't know what you're talking about" is an instant classic.) Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Sept. 17, 8:30 p.m. (doors at 6:45); $16. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org. —Michael Nordine

Cheer up a sad clown at Velveteria's Clowntacular on Saturday.
Cheer up a sad clown at Velveteria's Clowntacular on Saturday.
Courtesy Velveteria

sun 9/18

Visual art, fashion design and forming a rock band lined Christian Rizzo's unorthodox path to becoming a dancer and then a choreographer. Better known in Europe than in the United States, Rizzo now heads France's prestigious Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier–Languedoc-Roussillon. An enfant terrible to some who regard his often minimal movement as being overwhelmed by the music and design elements, his fans consider his blending of dance with other theatrical elements a cutting-edge sensibility. Rizzo arrives with d'après une histoire vraie (based on a true story) with eight male dancers blending contemporary moves with abstracted folk dance set to tribal rock music composed and performed live by percussionists King Q4 and Didier Ambact. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Sun., Sept. 18, 7 p.m. (also Fri.-Sat., Sept. 16-17, 8:30 p.m.); $25-$30, $20-$24 students. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org/event/christian-rizzo-ici-ccn-montpellier-france. —Ann Haskins

It's been 14 years since Firefly launched its all-too-short run on Fox and just over a decade since Serenity hit theaters, but time has not diminished many fans' love of Joss Whedon's space Western. Fortunately, you can get your Browncoat fix at Long Beach Comic Con. Saturday will be the big event for Firefly fans with a mini-reunion panel featuring Nathan Fillion. On both Saturday and Sunday, though, fans can pose for photo ops with Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher and Summer Glau. That's not the only draw at this two-day convention. Fans of Batman: The Animated Series will have the chance to meet Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester, the respective voices of Batman and Robin, as well as other TV and comic book fan favorites. Make time to check out the artist alley, as Long Beach Comic Con often swells with booths from up-and-coming and established comic creators. Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Sat.-Sun., Sept. 17-18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; $30-$55. (562) 436-3636, longbeachcomiccon.com. —Liz Ohanesian

To this day, many people still associate Kenneth Anger's name with his scandalous Hollywood Babylon books. But Anger's career is identified first and foremost by his psychedelic, occult-themed experimental films. As an underground auteur, Anger has always been famous for flying in the face of convention, and this screening of a selection of his Magick Lantern Cycle films shows why. Featuring shorts such as the sexy film-school staple Scorpio Rising (1964), Kenneth Anger: Screening and Live Performance concludes with a Q&A with the ageless director, as well as a performance with collaborator Brian Butler in their magic-ritual band, Technicolor Skull. (Yes, the 89-year-old is even in a band, but did you expect anything less?) The Regent Theater, 448 S. Main St., downtown; Sun., Sept. 18, 7 p.m.; $20-$50; 18 and over. (323) 284-5727, theregenttheater.com/event/1263017-kenneth-anger-magick-lantern-los-angeles. —Tanja M. Laden

Studio Ghibli is being celebrated all weekend at the Aero, with My Neighbor Totoro perhaps the most crowd-pleasing selection. The eponymous creature is one of the most beloved in the world of animation — ditto director Hayao Miyazaki, whom this film put on the world stage. We should all be so lucky as Satsuki and Mei, two young sisters whose new house sits at the edge of a forest containing not only the friendly Totoro but other spirits as well. Note that this version features dubbed English dialogue, not the original subtitled Japanese. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., Sept. 18, 3 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

In news that should come as a surprise to no one, the new Ben-Hur didn't live up to the original. William Wyler's biblical epic, shot in Ultra Panavision and starring Charlton Heston, won a record-setting 11 Oscars (a feat since matched by Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) and made beaucoup bucks. It's a sweeping, sometimes overstated saga, and very much the kind of old-school classic everyone should experience at least once. Bonus fact: Ben-Hur premiered at the Egyptian in 1959, making this a homecoming. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

mon 9/19

Inspired in part by a selfie taken after dodging violent death in Morocco, star of The Good Wife and sometime teleporter Alan Cumming signs his memoir, You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and Pictures. Every picture tells a story, so they say, and in this compendium of 45 recollections of a life that's been spent doing everything from singing sappy songs to crafting a perfume called Cumming to entertaining deathlessly graceful Helen Mirren, you get to see photographs that reveal these adventures in Cumming's storied life. Ann and Jerry Moss Theater, 3131 W. Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica; Mon., Sept. 19, 8 p.m.; $20 general seating, $45 general and book, $50 reserved seating and book, $95 reception, reserved seating and book. (310) 855-0005, livetalksla.org/events/alan-cumming. —David Cotner

Krzysztof Kieslowski's 10-film Dekalog is at Cinefamily all week, an event unto itself. The Polish master expanded one of those hourlong chapters into 1988's A Short Film About Killing, the first feature he completed after his masterful cycle inspired by the Ten Commandments. Among its many other merits, such as winning the Jury Prize at Cannes and the European Film Award, A Short Film About Killing is credited with helping bring about the abolition of the death penalty in Poland. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Mon., Sept. 19, 10 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine

tue 9/20

Of all the varieties of martial arts, not many are commonly referred to as "games." But that's exactly what capoeira is. With roots in west and central Africa, capoeira was created in Brazil by slaves from various nations and tribal traditions in the 16th century. Judging by the 18th International Capoeira Festival and Batizado, its popularity has not only increased but has become a worldwide phenomenon. The Afro-Brazilian martial art is an electric combination of dance, street fighting, acrobatics and music, yet its purpose is less about self-defense and more about bringing communities together. This six-day capoeira juggernaut is full of performances, workshops, lectures, seminars and, of course, parties. Free evening rodas (circles where practitioners play capoeira) follow the intimate workshops, and the festival culminates with a free batizado (graduation) ceremony at noon on Sunday, Sept. 25. Capoeira Brasil Los Angeles, 5557 W. Washington Blvd., Mid-City; Tue.-Sun., Sept. 20-25; workshop prices vary, rodas and batizado free. (323) 935-2224, capoeirabrasil.com/batizado. —Tanja M. Laden

In a week of screenings marked by master filmmakers, Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander is the most subtly epic of them all. Originally made for Swedish television, this three-hour drama (the original version is nearly twice as long) centers around the two siblings of the title as they grow up in Sweden in the early 20th century. LACMA screens Bergman's domestic opus as part of Fuel for Nightmares, a series curated by Guillermo del Toro in conjunction with the museum's ongoing exhibit devoted to the Spanish auteur. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Sept. 20, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

Alan Cumming signs his memoir on Monday.
Alan Cumming signs his memoir on Monday.
Francis Hills

wed 9/21

Stranger Things, Netflix's '80s-inspired, sci-fi/fantasy/horror drama about missing kids, horny teens, monsters and government bad men running amok in a small Midwestern town, was recently renewed for a second season. Until then, fans will just have to wonder what's in store for the folks of Hawkins, Indiana, next year. But you can let your imagination run wild at Westside Comedy Theater's improvised spoof, Strangerer Things. Cast members Shaun Boylan, Amy Bury, Judd Cherry, Jennifer Cowan, Morgan Christensen, Charlie Farrell, Joey Greer, Mary Gutfleisch, Miranda Shade, Jennifer Smedley McAdams and Cole Stratton will play the series' major roles while taking audience members' suggestions about plot lines involving their respective characters — even what '80 songs will be used. The parody is complete with costumes, soundtrack and Christmas lights that communicate from the beyond. M.i. Westside Comedy Theater, 1323-A Third St. Promenade, Santa Monica; Wed., Sept. 21, 10 p.m.; $5. (310) 451-0850, westsidecomedy.com. —Siran Babayan

The eighth annual DTLA Film Festival takes extra care to highlight the artistic and political interests of our dynamic downtown community. Programming focuses on hot-button issues, with film series called "Income Inequality" and "The People and the Police." Tribeca Film Fest's best documentary feature winner, Do Not Resist, stands out as essential viewing. Unique to the event is its focus on the area's architecture and innovation in design, as well as L.A.'s first Cuban film series since the normalizing of diplomatic relations between that country and our own. And music fans, be sure to catch the L.A. premiere of Björk: The Creative Universe of a Music Missionary. Various locations, L.A. Live, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Wed., Sept. 21-Wed., Sept. 28. dtlaff.com. —Neha Talreja

thu 9/22

LuckyRice Slurpfest is a party for noodle lovers and cocktail sippers alike. And most Angelenos do enjoy both noodles and cocktails. There are different seatings for the ramen dinners, all featuring ramen and soup creations by Shin Ramen, Ramen Hood, the Ramen Joint and more. Bombay Gin will be on hand to showcase a new cocktail featuring lime juice, pomegranate syrup and oolong and mandarin teas. There are other events associated with this main ramen-eating one, too, including cocktail parties at the Alexandria Hotel. Check the LuckyRice site for full details. Millwick, 800 E. Fourth Place, downtown; Thu., Sept. 22, seatings at 5:30, 7 & 8:30 p.m.; $100. luckyrice.com/event/los-angeles-slurpfest-2. —Katherine Spiers

The Los Angeles Podcast Festival returns to the Sofitel Beverly Hills Friday through Sunday for its fifth annual weekend of panels, networking events and live recordings of podcasts, including Welcome to Night Vale, Aisha Tyler's Girl on Guy and Kevin Pollak's Chat Show. Thursday night the Improv offers a preview kickoff featuring We Hate Movies and Plz Advise with Molly McAleer at 8 p.m., plus 10 p.m.'s High & Mighty with Jon Gabrus and an encore We Hate Movies (whose NYC foursome bring the show on its inaugural trip West). Hollywood Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Thu., Sept. 22, 8 and 10 p.m.; $15 each. (323) 655-9050, hollywood.improv.com. —Julie Seabaugh

Now a few weeks into its semester-long Robert Bresson retrospective, Cal State Northridge screens the French director's first masterwork: Diary of a Country Priest. Claude Laydu's performance as the titular young priest, who arrives to his new parish of a small French village, has long been hailed as one of the greatest ever; Jean Tulard wrote in his Dictionary of Film that "no other actor deserves to go to heaven as much as Laydu." CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., Sept. 22, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu. —Michael Nordine


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