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

Mel Brooks is "Back In the Saddle Again" on Friday.EXPAND
Mel Brooks is "Back In the Saddle Again" on Friday.
20th Century Fox

A shout-out to shitty dads, a massive march against Trump, a drunk spelling bee and more to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 1/20

Think your dad is embarrassing? Jokes about parental issues are as much a staple of stand-up comedy as hecklers, and co-hosts Mary Sasson and Marissa Strickland are working out their childhoods in The Bad Dad Game Show, "the only game show that celebrates negligent fathers and the comedians who had to grow up with them." (Strickland's father once defecated in her fifth-grade teacher's car. Try to beat that.) In their Match Game–style show, the UCB regulars invite two audience members to match answers with three fellow comics who've had similarly unusual upbringings. Previous prizes have included a jar of pickles. It's complicated, and you'll find out why. UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; Fri., Jan. 20, 11:59 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

L.A.'s newest dance festival takes up residence at a venue known as a respected theater, and now emerging as a welcoming dance venue. While most festivals offer brief pieces from many companies, Dance at the Odyssey presents four companies, with each given one or more evenings; the debut last weekend was devoted to German dance collective MAMAZA. This Friday the physical theater of Galiana & Nikolchev's Useless Room explores a graying existence in The Last One. Sunday belongs to flamenco with Olé Flamenco, led by dancer Yolanda Arroyo and her husband, guitarist Paco Arroyo, plus dancers Mikaela Kai, Jani Quintero, "La Pimentilla" and "La Miki." Next weekend the fest concludes with L.A. Contemporary Dance Company's Force Majeure, a quartet of works that enjoyed an extended, sold-out run of several weeks in late 2016. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., Jan. 20-Sat., Jan. 28; $15-$35. (310) 477-2055, odysseytheatre.com. —Ann Haskins

"Hello, handsome. Is that a 10-gallon hat or are you just enjoying the show?" It's an appearance by a showbiz legend in an up-close-and-personal talk about his career plus inside stuff about the making of his classic movie Blazing Saddles. In Mel Brooks: Back in the Saddle Again the director-funnyman gives the inside poop-scoop on that disgracefully hilarious masterpiece of cinema, whose very creation initially shocked solid, staid America and, wouldn't you just figure, went on to be regarded as one of the best and biggest comedy films of all time. Brooks engages in live conversation and an audience Q&A. Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live, 777 Chick Hearn Court, downtown; Fri., Jan. 20, 8 p.m.; $39.50-$109.50. (213) 763-6030, microsofttheater.com. —Matt Stromberg

It's surely a coincidence that the Aero is screening The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin's thinly veiled satire of Hitler, on the day of Donald Trump's inauguration. Far be it from the humble programmers of the repertory theater to suggest a link between our president-elect's rise to power and that of the film's true subject, satirized here in the form of Adenoid Hynkel, the leader of Tomainia who seeks to persecute Jews and invade nearby Osterlich. Chaplin's first all-talking picture, which screens on 35mm as part of The Greatest Generation of Villainy: The Movies vs. the Nazis, manages to end on a hopeful note despite being made in 1940; let's hope it resonates. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.

sat 1/21

Welp, it's happened. A misogynist prick who brags about grabbing women by their pussies has become president of the United States, a nation that, last time the Census Bureau checked, is nearly 51 percent female. The day after Inauguration Day, any Angeleno who "stands for human rights, civil liberties, tolerance of diversity and compassion for our shared humanity" — female, male and non-gender-conforming — will gather in Pershing Square for the official Women's March Los Angeles. The march will weave through downtown and loop back around to Pershing Square, where there will be entertainment, food trucks and informational booths. The election's over but the fight is just beginning. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown; Sat., Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. womensmarchla.org. —Gwynedd Stuart

For the second year in a row, Uncorked L.A. Wine Festival will be taking over Union Station for an evening of wine-soaked revelry. There will be about 50 wineries pouring tastes at the event, mostly California growers and bottlers. In addition to the quaffs, a number of food trucks will be on hand to help prevent any fermented-grape-juice–induced hangovers. There will be live music, too, in case you like it loud. Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., downtown; Sat., Jan. 21, 5-9 p.m.; $60, $70 VIP. uncorkedwinefestivals.com/los-angeles-wine-festival-2017. —Katherine Spiers

A city as big as L.A. is overrun by artist collectives whose members are looking to further their creative opportunities. Curated by Kara Tome, "The Collectivists" showcases works by members of six such networks of supporters located in downtown, Highland Park and the Eastside. More than 60 artists representing Durden & Ray, Eastside International, Manual History Machines, Monte Vista Projects, Tiger Strikes Asteroid and the Association of Hysteric Curators will display paintings, photographs, sculpture and mixed media, as well as take part in panel discussions and workshops throughout the exhibit. The exhibit opens on Saturday and runs through March 12. Brand Library & Art Center, 1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale; Sat., Jan. 21, 6-9 p.m.; free. (818) 548-2051, brandlibrary.org. —Siran Babayan

For something less topical, put your lizard brain in action mode and indulge in the New Beverly's double feature of The Yakuza and Rolling Thunder. The former, which stars Robert Mitchum as a World War II veteran who turns to the detective life after returning home, offers a Japanese-inflected take on the gangster picture, while the latter has been hailed by no less an authority than New Bev owner Quentin Tarantino as "one of the greatest action films of all time, the greatest combination of action film and character study I've ever seen." New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri.-Sat., Jan. 20-21, 7 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com.

Women from both sides of the border screen their films at Femme Frontera on Thursday.
Women from both sides of the border screen their films at Femme Frontera on Thursday.
Courtesy EPFC

sun 1/22

Villa Aurora, the Spanish-style home in Pacific Palisades that once belonged to German author Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife, Marta, was an intellectual watering hole in the 1930s and '40s for European expatriates and other German-Jews fleeing the Nazis, namely Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, Arnold Schoenberg, Fritz Lang, Thomas Mann, Charlie Chaplin and Charles Laughton. Now a residency for visual artists, filmmakers and musicians, Villa Aurora hosts ongoing salons such as tonight's discussion, Artists in Exile, which looks at the community of European emigres in L.A. around WWII. Panelists include Academy Museum of Motion Pictures curator Doris Berger, Villa Aurora project coordinator Friedel Schmoranzer, music producer Neal Brostoff and moderator Donna Rifkind, whose upcoming book, The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler's Exiles in Hollywood, is about the Viennese actress who lived in Santa Monica and wrote the screenplays for Queen Christina and Anna Karenina, both starring Greta Garbo. Villa Aurora, 520 Paseo Miramar, Pacific Palisades; Sun., Jan. 22, 3 p.m.; free, RSVP required. cap.ucla.edu. —Siran Babayan

Wayang, Indonesian shadow puppetry, is a centuries-old theatrical art form in which skilled performers manipulate puppets behind a lighted scrim to tell entrancing, epic stories. Acclaimed Indonesian artist Eko Nugroho has updated this tradition by introducing street art, hip-hop, found objects and live actors to create a dazzling, hybrid form called Wayang Bocor, which often takes on contemporary social or political topics. REDCAT presents God Bliss (In the Name of Semelah), which recounts how Islam came to Java in the 15th century, mixing with Hinduism, Buddhism and animism to make Indonesia the most populous Muslim-majority nation in the world. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Sun., Jan. 22, 7 p.m.; $12-$25. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org/event/eko-nugroho-and-wayang-bocor. —Matt Stromberg

As charities brace for possible financial struggles under the new administration, the Improv hosts Laughing Matters: The Inaugural Comedy Ball, a post-inauguration night of stand-up benefiting nonprofits the Feminist Majority Foundation, which advances women's rights, power and economic development, and Human Rights Watch, which works to expose and stop human rights abuses. Providing the yucks are Kevin Nealon, Carol Leifer, Andy Kindler, Erica Rhodes and host Bruce Vilanch. The Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Sun., Jan. 22, 7 p.m.; $50-$100. (323) 651-2583, hollywood.improv.com. —Siran Babayan

Barker, a semi-silent picture from 1928 about a carnival barker who disapproves of his son's blossoming relationship with a sideshow performer. (Though initially made without dialogue, the film went back into production in order to add talking sequences.) Though it's fallen out of favor as cinematic source material of late, the circus once was the subject of a great many films — see also Freaks and The Greatest Show on Earth for a three-ring feature. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., Jan. 22, 7 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.

Though it's one of the most vaunted of all Westerns, Once Upon a Time in the West isn't even Sergio Leone's only classic of the genre. The Italian auteur also was responsible for the Man With No Name trilogy — A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly — and is the premier spaghetti Western director. Widescreen vistas abound in Once Upon a Time, a three-hour blood feud between Charles Bronson and Henry Fonda, co-written by Dario Argento and Bernardo Bertolucci. Also featured: one of Ennio Morricone's many iconic scores. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.

mon 1/23

Every week on their podcast LadyWatch With Ryan & Jason, Ryan O'Connor and Jason Powell commit the daring act of discussing and honoring famous women over the age of 48 (aka the age of Celine Dion). To further celebrate a gay male affinity for iconic women, a fascination that often begins in childhood, the duo presents LadyBoyhood, an evening of music and stories about their 20-year friendship and, naturally, the entertainment industry's most beloved ladies of a certain age. Rockwell Table & Stage, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Mon., Jan. 23, 8 p.m.; $15-$20. (323) 669-1550, rockwell-la.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

tue 1/24

A Presidential Medal of Freedom, multiple Grammys and Emmys: Violinist Itzhak Perlman's list of awards and achievements is legendary in itself and is owed to the fact that, within a vast and varied repertoire, his astounding technical facility has never faltered and his charming passion for the music radiates from stages worldwide. Perlman is joined by pianist Rohan de Silva in performances of the Vivaldi Violin Sonata in A major, Op. 2, No. 2, RV 31; Beethoven Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24 ("Spring"); Schumann Fantasiestücke, Op. 73, and Stravinsky (arranged by Dushkin) Suite Italienne for Violin and Piano. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Tue., Jan. 24, 8 p.m.; $54-$95. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com. —John Payne

Journalist Brad Schreiber signs and explains his new book, Revolution's End: The Patty Hearst Kidnapping. As Schreiber has exhaustively researched, what the world previously thought was a mélange of class warfare and Stockholm Syndrome turns out to be the story of Symbionese Liberation Army head Donald "Cinque" DeFreeze. Molded in more ways than one by a CIA officer, DeFreeze didn't quite effect the changes he'd meant to and so he started the SLA, kidnapping heiress Hearst along the way and ultimately losing his life in that notorious South-Central shootout on East 54th Street. Chevalier's Books, 126 N. Larchmont Blvd., Larchmont; Tue., Jan. 24, 7 p.m.; free. (323) 465-1334, chevaliersbooks.com. —David Cotner

Kay Francis lights up LACMA once again in Another Dawn, another '30s drama with a lean runtime (73 minutes) and European backdrop. Errol Flynn co-stars in the film, about a British colonel who returns from a colony to England and falls in love with an American (Francis). There's a problem, of course: Her aviator fiancé died in a plane crash and she isn't ready for love. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Jan. 24, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.

wed 1/25

Some people like to show off by proving how smart they are to a bunch of strangers. Other people like to show off by drinking profusely without vomiting. At the inaugural Slurring Bee L.A., showoffs of either ilk can, well, show off. The game is simple: Pay five bucks and get a fruity shot and a word to spell; get it right, and get a free shot for each round you stay standing (literally and figuratively). Hosts Billy Parker and Mandy Levy have toured the Bee to Cincinnati, NYC and Chicago — now Angelenos have the chance to slur themselves to victory and a slot in the Tournament of Champions. The Virgil, 4519 Santa Monica Blvd., East Hollywood; Wed., Jan. 25, 7-10 p.m.; free to watch, $5 to play. facebook.com/events/1051988761594375. —Gwynedd Stuart

thu 1/26

Two of the most politicized subjects in our current political carnival are the U.S.-Mexico border and women, and the incoming administration seems more than eager to build up the former and tear down the latter. Bringing together the two, the Femme Frontera Filmmaker Showcase features short films by female directors from cities on both sides of the border. These include Laura Bustillos Jáquez's documentary Undocumented Freedom, which follows a young man who was brought to the United States illegally as a child; The Appleseed Project by Yennifer Lucero, about a cross-border community of female musicians; and La Catrina by Ilana Lapid, in which a grieving widow becomes the Dia de los Muertos figure of death in order to find her dead husband. Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Thu., Jan. 26, 8 p.m.; $5. (213) 484-8846, echoparkfilmcenter.org. —Matt Stromberg

As part of its conversation series, the Broad Museum takes over the Theatre at the Ace Hotel for The Un-Private Collection: Thomas Houseago + Flea. The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist is also an art collector and friend of the L.A.-based British artist, who currently lives in Flea's former home in Los Feliz. The two will discuss Houseago's work and the "impact that visual art and music can have on each other." Houseago's one-eyed, 15-foot-tall bronze sculpture Giant Figure (Cyclops) is featured in the museum's latest exhibit, "Creature," which includes paintings, drawings, prints and more sculpture by Joseph Beuys, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, Andy Warhol and others. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 933 S. Broadway, downtown; Thu., Jan. 26, 8 p.m.; $15. thebroad.org/programs/un-private-collection-thomas-houseago-flea. —Siran Babayan

Cal State Northridge begins its semesterlong John Cassavetes retrospective with Shadows, which more or less ushered in the independent filmmaking movement. Raw, visceral and performed by a cast of nonprofessionals, it's a directorial debut for the ages — and, remarkably, a film Cassavetes improved upon several times over throughout his singular career. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., Jan. 26, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu.

Movies projected on actual film are a rarity these days, 16mm doubly so. Cinefamily offers an exception to the rule with Mike Leigh's Naked, a classic of the '90s featuring David Thewlis' greatest performance (sorry, Professor Lupin fans). He plays Johnny, a miserable but philosophically minded Londoner ranting his way through the streets at all hours of the night — the kind of character it can be hard to root for but even more difficult to turn away from. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Thu., Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine


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