5 Can't-Miss Events This Week for $15 or Less
Who says it's too hot to have fun? L.A. is bustling with exciting events this weekend - with four great things you can do for $15 or less through Sunday, plus another awesome one on Monday that we just couldn't leave out. After all, nobody puts Jason Priestley in a corner.
5. Check out a free Ghostbusters-themed art show
They came, they saw and they kicked supernatural ass. Ghostbusters was released 30 years ago, and if you were a kid in elementary school who had a Ghostbusters folder, this silliest and slimiest of movies has a special place in your heart. In addition to releasing a new line of apparel and toys, Sony is partnering with Gallery 1988 for a Ghostbusters 30th-anniversary art show, a traveling exhibit that opened in New York and will make stops in Chicago and at San Diego Comic-Con. More than a year in the making, the group show features 70-plus artists who have contributed paintings, prints, sculpture and even plush toys that make plenty of references to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Ecto-1 car, Rick Moranis' colander hat (in velvet!) and, of course, our four proton pack - wearing heroes - Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson. And don't be spooked if you encounter a 7-foot-tall version of Slimer. As with all of the gallery's popular shows, expect a long line to get in on opening night, so bring a couple of Twinkies. Gallery 1988 (West), 7308 Melrose Ave., Fairfax; Sat., May 17, 7-10 p.m.; free. Exhibit Wed.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., through June 1. (323) 937-7088, nineteeneightyeight.com. ? - Siran Babayan
4. Watch a free dance show in a coffeeshop
So you're sitting and sipping that favorite half-caf soy latte, checking out the most recent edits on your screenplay, when A Poet, Some Musicians and 4 Dancers Walk Into a Coffeehouse and start dancing, playing their instruments and talking in rhythms just one step away from singing. Don't be alarmed; they are harmless and quite entertaining. Also known by the shorter moniker Coffeehouse Dances, it's choreographer Keith Glassman's 4-year-old effort to bring dance and music performance to untapped audiences where they live, or at least where they spend lots of time. Glassman and four dancers (Louie Cornejo, Rebeca Hernandez, Steve Irvin and Shoji Yamasaki) will descend on three coffee emporia this weekend and one more at the end of the month. The dancers get help for these one-hour performances from composer/saxophonist Charles Sharp, bassist Jeff Schwartz, drummer Rich West and poets Pat Payne, Shy But Flyy, Aleida Rodríguez and Jen Hofer. Admission is free but coffee drinks aren't. Coffee Connection, 3838 S. Centinela Ave., Mar Vista; Fri., May 16, 7 p.m.; free. Also at Sabor y Cultura Cafe, 5625 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sat., May 17, 8 p.m.; Paper or Plastik Cafe, 5774 W. Pico Blvd., Mid-City; Sun., May 18, 3 p.m.; and UnUrban Coffee House, 3301 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; Sat., May 31, 5:30 p.m. keithglassman.org. ? - Ann Haskins
3. Go shopping for vintage clothes
Fashionistas often are mystified by vintage apparel. They don't understand why anyone would buy used clothing instead of new items created by the hot designer of the minute. But vintage fashion represents iconic legends such as Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Madeleine Vionnet, who remain the inspiration for what appears on runways today. Their well-made clothing and accessories from decades past can often can be found at the Vintage Fashion Expo, where approximately 55 vendors from all over the country gather to sell treasures from the Edwardian era to the 1980s. Here's something else that the fashion-forward don't necessarily know: Vintage fashion tells a story. A bejeweled Enid Collins handbag represents the labors of a Texas gal who began making ornamental purses on her kitchen table in the 1950s. Bakelite jewelry got the public's attention in 1909 due to a plastic made by Leo Baekeland to substitute for the dwindling supply of shellac to insulate electrical cables. History aside, vintage finds may have belonged to fashionistas who no longer roam the earth. So take a memento of the past into the world with you. Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall B, 1201 S. Figueroa St., dwntwn.; Sat., May 17, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (early buy 9-10 a.m.) and Sun., May 18, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; $25 early buy, $15 at the door, $5 Sunday admission with student ID. vintageexpo.com. - Heidi Dvorak
Courtesy of the Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival
2. Listen to the dueling banjos
There's nothing more American than the banjo and fiddle, mostly because the twangy instruments were introduced by the people who made this country what it is: immigrants. Old-time fiddle tunes, bluegrass music, country blues and folk ballads can be traced back to both European settlers and West African slaves, so it makes sense to throw an annual banjo and fiddle festival in Southern California, a national microcosm where multiple cultures have converged to create a lifestyle defined by free spirits and creativity. The Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival began in the hippie enclave of Topanga Canyon way back in 1961, but it has since moved to Paramount Ranch, which provides an appropriate backdrop of Western movie sets for an even more down-home experience. The beloved festival and family event features nonstop music from more than 100 performers, plus prize drawings as well as artisans selling everything from straw hats and needlework to jewelry, leather and metal crafts. With three stages, a dance barn and goodies galore, the festival promises to lift our heads away from our smartphones and sweep us to up in the music. Paramount Ranch, 2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills; Sun., May 18, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; $20, $15 teens/seniors, free 10 and under; free parking. (818) 382-4819, topangabanjofiddle.org. - Tanja M. Laden
And for your special Monday bonus event ....
1. Meet ***swoon*** the man who gave us Brandon Walsh
No one does sculpted virtue quite so well as Jason Priestley. He's signing his brand-new book of memoirs tonight - titled, rather mysteriously, Jason Priestley: A Memoir. Ironically, Priestley was the object of such ardor and fascination during his decade as Brandon Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210 that a confessional, even in the pre-Internet age, was almost moot; his fans seemed to know more about him than he did himself (spoiler: no inside dirt on Joe E. Tata!) The longtime long-distance racer - because goodness is truly dull unless it's tempered by a streak of danger - stars lately on HBO Canada's Call Me Fitz as a metaphysically muddled car salesman. It's a change of character that gently tweaks the previous perception of Priestley as a nice guy. Not that this book signing would change that in any constitutionally substantive way - well, unless you brought him a copy of "I Hate Brenda" to sign, because he's only signing copies of his memoirs and nothing else! Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Mon., May 19, 7 p.m.; free. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. ? - David Cotner
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