4 Free Things to Do in L.A. This Week (Plus One for $15!)
A surfer at the Manhattan Beach pier.
This week we have four great free events, from a family-friendly beach-fest to a musical celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. Looking to get some laughs? There's a battle between comic artists (with their comedian buddies) on Saturday, and a live comedy show called Glendalia (spoofing the city, of course) on Tuesday night.
And there's one more event we had to give a shout-out to: Josey Baker, the famed bread man from San Francisco, is making his way down the coast for a carb-filled conversation with some of L.A.'s biggest bread heads, and you can get in on all the yeasty action for just $15. Surf, sun, music, bread, and comedy — sounds like a perfect week in L.A.
5. Hit the Beach
In its 53 years of existence, has the International Surf Festival ever been held in a “state of emergency”? We’re not sure, but after a swimmer was attacked by a great white shark on Fourth of July weekend (those sharks have such a Hollywood sense of timing), the city of Manhattan Beach ignited a debate about water safety by declaring such a state, which persists to this day. Ultimately, the idea is to regulate fishing on the pier — the powers that be are convinced that the problem is less that Jaws is out there picking off victims and more that, by baiting sharks into the shallow waters, fishermen are endangering swimmers. But no matter what happens at City Hall, we’re certain local anglers will be on their best behavior during this highly regarded summer tradition. As part of the weekend festival, hundreds of surfers (and body surfers) will compete Saturday, riding everything from short boards to paddle boards along the picturesque South Bay shores. Watch contestants catch a few waves — or come back Sunday at 7:30 a.m. for a sand castle design contest. Manhattan Beach Pier, 2 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach; also at Hermosa Beach Pier, Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach; Sat., Aug. 2, 6:45 a.m.; Sun., Aug. 3, 7:30 a.m.; free. surffestival.org. —Sean J. O’Connell
4. Get Comical
It’s a comic book battle that even the Avengers couldn’t handle. Tonight, four comic book artists and their stand-up comedian sidekicks will duke it out for sketch-pad supremacy inside Manhattan Beach shop/hangout the Comic Bug. Presented by Comics and Comics, a group of comedians who perform geek-friendly stand-up at conventions across Southern California, Sketch Fighter is a test of skill and speed. With 60 seconds on the clock, teams will vie to be the fastest, funniest sketch artists in the comic book shop. After the game, an auction for drawing pads features both work from the competition and one other drawing from each artist. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Hero Initiative, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance for comic book creators. The Comic Bug, 1807 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach; Sat., Aug. 2, 8 p.m.; no cover. (310) 372-6704, thecomicbug.com. —Liz Ohanesian
See Also: 5 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week.
3. Listen to the People
In 1964, the Civil Rights Act prohibited prejudicial treatment based on race, religion, sex or ethnicity. President John F. Kennedy had introduced the bill five months before his assassination, and it took Lyndon Johnson’s mastery of Congress to push it through after Kennedy’s death. But it wasn’t just the presidents who fought to ban racial discrimination; from folk tunes and religious hymns to jazz and soul, music provided the beat for the march toward racial justice — and, along the way, changed the landscape of American pop culture. In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, Grand Performances presents a lineup of performers including Les Nubians and Ejyptian Queen, the granddaughters of Sam Cooke. Artists breathe life into old favorites as well as original new renditions and arrangements of songs by Nina Simone, John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, Pete Seeger and more. Named People Get Ready after a 1965 album title track written by Curtis Mayfield and recorded by The Impressions, the event is under the creative direction of Jonathan Rudnick and Dexter Story, with KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez as host. Its theme is in keeping with Grand Performances’ own mission: to bring together L.A.’s global community in order to celebrate its diversity. Grand Performances, 350 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Sat., Aug. 2, 8 p.m.; free. (213) 687-2159, grandperformances.org/events/people-get-ready-a-soundtrack-of-the-civil-rights-movement. —Tanja M. Laden
Keep reading for two more exciting events, including a bread-stravaganza and a (free!) Glendale comedy show.
Josey Baker's famous sourdough.
2. Get Baked
Breaking bread among good company is a centuries-old tradition, so it’s only fitting that the grain enthusiasts at Common Grains Collective are hosting a Baker to Baker discussion at Vibiana — originally the L.A. Archdiocese’s first Roman Catholic cathedral. The event will feature the celebrated San Francisco–based indie-boy bread peddler Josey Baker (yes, that’s his real last name), who will be promoting his new cookbook, Josey Baker Bread: Get Baking — Make Awesome Bread — Share the Loaves. Panelists alongside Baker will be the host of KCRW’s Good Food, Evan Kleiman, sometimes called “the Jerry Garcia of cooking,” and Los Angeles’ own Zack Hall, the young entrepreneur behind organic bakery Clark Street Bread. Novice and professional bakers are encouraged to come and learn more from these experts about good bread, the importance of sustainable grains and the complexity of the baking business, or just to taste some samples made by the city’s own bread artisans. Bring your own fresh loaves for the panelists to check out so they can offer you their advice as well. Just don’t forget to bring butter! Vibiana, 214 S. Main St., dwntwn.; Mon., Aug. 4, 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.); $15, book is $27.50. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. facebook.com/commongrains. —John Mroch
1. Go to Glendale
It’s not exactly Portlandia, but when it comes to the latest in chortlesome comedy on the fringes, Glendalia is your place to be. Co-presenters Virginia Jones and Dax Jordan have been working hard since April to evolve this monthly stand-up salon with a raucous roster of punchateers. This week’s comics and their relevant tweets: MADtv’s Matt Braunger (“If I ever decide to commit suicide, it’ll be by doing the worm downstairs.”), Conan’s Tony Camin (“Writing a biography of the HPV virus. Warts and all”), Marcella Arguello (“If there’s one thing I hate, it’s everything.”), Ron Babcock of Why Would You Eat That? gross-out webcast fame and whimsical woman Scout Durwood. That it’s being held in a goth club is also rather amusing: further proof that darkness needs light to exist. Complex, 806 E. Colorado St., Glendale; Tue., Aug. 5, 8 p.m.; free; 21 and older. (323) 642-7519, complexla.com. —David Cotner
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