3 Free Things to Do in L.A. This Week (Plus 2 for Under $25)

L.A. Dance Project in motion.EXPAND
L.A. Dance Project in motion.
Benjamin Millepeid

Let's face it – you don't need to go crazy this week (that's what Halloween weekend is for). But that doesn't mean you have to sit on your couch crafting your costume and sneaking candy all week. Get out there!

With so many great events happening this week, you don't have any excuses. There's a free opera performance in Union Station, a live retelling of Orson Welles' infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast, and a family-friendly celebration on a Long Beach farm, inspired by the upcoming Día de los Muertos holiday. And, if you've got money to spend, check out the L.A. Dance Project's latest three-part program at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, which we recently named Best Revitalized Theater

5. Dance L.A.
Despite its name and its growing number of staff and dancers based here, the L.A. Dance Project spends most of its time away from L.A., touring Europe and the United States. Fortunately, this collection of riveting dancers returns to its namesake town with a triptych program that includes the reprise of a modern dance classic, a U.S. premiere based on the choreographer’s time in L.A., and a preview of a new work from artistic director Benjamin Millepied. The reprise is William Forsythe’s 1993 Quintett, which was part of the Dance Project’s Music Center debut in 2012, and one of the first times Forsythe allowed the piece to be performed outside his own company. The U.S. premiere on the program is Emanuel Gat’s Morgan’s Last Chug. Born in Israel and in recent years based in France, Gat reports that his new work was inspired by his time in L.A. working with the company. In the third slot, Millepied previews a new work. Set to music by Philip Glass, the new (apparently unnamed) dance is only being previewed here, the official premiere being saved for performances outside Los Angeles. Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, dwntwn.; Fri., Oct. 24, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 25, 7 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 26, 3 p.m.; $25-$75. (213) 623-3233, ladanceproject.com, acehotel.com/#losangeles/theatre. —Ann Haskins

4.Celebrate Life 
Although Día de los Muertos, the Mexican tradition of honoring and celebrating the dearly departed, won’t start until Oct. 31, there’s a new Día coming to Long Beach today — Día de los Verdes. The festival takes place at the Growing Experience, a seven-acre farm that once was an empty lot within the Carmelitos Housing Projects. The farm now provides plots where Carmelitos’ residents can grow their own food, as well as a paid job-training program for youth and an affordable CSA open to anyone who wants to eat healthy and locally. Hosted with Green Long Beach, Squeeze Art Collective and Mixt Media Arts, the event will feature live music, crafting, face painting and a squash cook-off. At this twist on the classic ritual, the ofrendas honor not dead relatives but our tenuous relationship with nature — including one remembering extinct animals. The altars will be lit at 6 p.m. as part of the closing ceremony. Inspired by the diversity of Long Beach and the “celebration of life, family and culture” that is Día de los Muertos, Día de los Verdes is “a nod to our community and the ways in which we work together on a daily basis to strive for a sustainable, thriving future,” Green Long Beach organizer Tiffany Chen says. The Growing Experience Urban Farm, 750 Via Carmelitos, Long Beach; Sat., Oct. 25, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. facebook.com/events/517615185050404. —Sascha Bos

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See also: The Hottest Halloween Parties in L.A. (2014 Edition)

3. Soldier On
America’s policy of never-ending war comes at an incalculable price, and it’s our military — our youth — who get stuck carrying the debt. At The Warrior’s Return: From Surge to Suburbia, that ghastly cost, reckoned in loss of life, limbs, innocence and even sanity, will be addressed by two particularly capable speakers: Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Finkel, author of acclaimed books The Good Soldiers and Thank You for Your Service, and clinical psychologist Albert “Skip” Rizzo, director for medical virtual reality at the Institute for Creative Technologies at USC. Finkel, through his exhaustive research, experience and interviews, is intimately acquainted with the struggles and distress that burden our veterans, but Rizzo actively confronts PTSD with immersive simulations that directly re-create specific instances of trauma. He returns his patients to the very moment that plagues them, allowing them to confront the terror head-on. It’s a fascinating field: Rizzo gives these ex-soldiers a set of virtual-reality goggles, hands them a weapon and fires up the tech gear. They’re plunged back into combat mode, replete with goosebumps and adrenaline surges, negotiating what Rizzo calls an “emotional obstacle course.” The slightly sci-fi trappings of virtual reality aside, this discussion is all about human emotion, relief and recovery from trauma — the most boundlessly engaging subject of them all. Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., dwntwn.; Mon., Oct. 27, 7:15 p.m.; free, resv. required. (213) 228-7025, lfla.org. —Jonny Whiteside

Keep reading for two more great events – a free opera at Union Station, and spooky live radio. 
 

Soldiers on a plane, the subject of Monday's talk with David Finkel and Skip Rizzo.
Soldiers on a plane, the subject of Monday's talk with David Finkel and Skip Rizzo.
Damon Winter/The New York Times/Redux

2. Hear Opera in a Train Station
Remember last year when everyone was walking around Union Station with fancy headphones on, and the passengers were all, “What the heck are those people doing?” Go figure: They were listening to a live opera taking place in real time throughout the building. Possibly the only opera to be featured in Wired, Invisible Cities was surreal, futuristic, classical and avant-garde all at the same time — and now it’s also the centerpiece of its production company’s new record label. The Industry Records launches with the Nov. 4 release of the cast recording of Invisible Cities, and to celebrate, they are reprising the work with the original performers, in a one-night-only acoustic concert version in Union Station’s cavernous, vaulted ticket hall. Seating is first-come, so even though there are no headphones to rock this time and no reservations required, you should still get there at least half an hour before departure. Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., dwntwn.; Wed., Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m.; free. (718) 812-9159, theindustryla.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot

1. Listen to the Radio
Today’s generation might be familiar only with Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise’s 2005 adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, but on Halloween Eve 1938, back when radio was the lifeline of the home, Orson Welles’ retelling of the sci-fi novel became the most infamous radio broadcast in American history. Many of a reported 1 million people who tuned in to the CBS program were convinced that a meteorite had landed in New Jersey, sending an army of Martian invaders to eat them. Though Welles and his Mercury Theatre assured listeners the program was merely a play (their “version of dressing up in a sheet and jumping out of the bush and saying ‘boo’?”), mass hysteria and even reports of suicide set in, to the delight of the press. Fake Radio re-creates that fateful night when aliens conquered the country, employing a cast of more than a dozen actors, period music and costumes. Since 1998, the local troupe has been re-enacting old radio scripts from the 1930s to the 1950s, including The Wizard of Oz, The Phantom of the Opera, It’s a Wonderful Life and All About Eve. Past guests have included George Wendt, John Larroquette, Fred Willard and Jeff Garlin. Trepany House at the Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Thu., Oct. 30, 8 p.m.; $20. (323) 666-4268, fakeradio.net. —Siran Babayan

See also: Hello Kitty's Hungry Hunt Takes Over L.A.


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Related Locations

miles
The Theatre at Ace Hotel

929 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015

213-623-3233

www.acehotel.com/losangeles

miles
Trepany House at the Steve Allen Theater

4773 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

323-666-4268

www.trepanyhouse.org

miles
Union Station

800 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

213-683-6897

miles
Los Angeles Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium

630 W. Fifth St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071

213-228-7025

www.lfla.org

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