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5 Entertaining Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Lindsay Lohan and James Deen in The Canyons
Lindsay Lohan and James Deen in The Canyons

This week, let L.A. entertain you. From a comic reflection on summer camp to the bizarre entertainment of a movie starring Lindsay Lohan and a porn star, there are plenty of ways to stay amused this week. Here are just five options to tickle your funny bone or blow your mind.

5. Star-Crossed Hoofers

Forbidden passions, blood feuds and two well-armed families jockeying for political advantage. No, not Game of Thrones. It's Romeo and Juliet, the Shakespeare tragedy that choreographers just can't resist. Jerome Robbins used jazz dance in West Side Story to transport the suicidal lovers to the world of midcentury New York City street gangs, while in his Hollywood years, George Balanchine created a version pitting dancers in pointe shoes against tap dancers in dance duels. In that same inventive spirit, Blue 13's Achinta S. McDaniel and her Bollywood dancers teamed with So You Think You Can Dance hip-hop choreographer Sara Von Gillern and a crew of street dancers. The result, Fire and Powder, has Juliet with her hip-hop Capulet crew, while Romeo and his Montague clan bring Bollywood to the mix. The highly energized, very L.A. dance styles promise to be well-matched as they go toe-to-toe in this dance battle, which includes a nod to West Side Story. It's not required, but audience members can learn some of the choreography at youtube.com/blue13dancecompany, choose to side and sit with Team Capulet or Team Montague, and then stand and perform their side's moves during the show as part of a flash mob. Details on this and other imaginative participatory fun are atblue13dance.com. Preshow activities begin at 6:30 p.m. Ford Theaters, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Hlywd.; Sat., Aug. 3, 8:30 p.m.; $30-$45, $15 students, $12 children. (323) 461-3673, fordtheatres.org/en/events/details/id/568. -- Ann Haskins

4. East Bookstore Heights

Besides the pure joy of having an excuse to say "Libros Schmibros" a bunch of times, the popular bookshop and lending library's name refers to the layered history of the Boyle Heights neighborhood it has celebrated and called home for three years and counting. Once a predominantly Jewish neighborhood (Canter's Deli had its original location there), it has since become mostly Latino -- and, slowly but surely, just the smallest bit hip. Although founder David Kipen has a personal passion for Los Angeles history, the store keeps all manner of literature in stock, the better to appeal to as broad a cross-section of L.A.'s bookish as possible. Through various off-site programs in support of indie bookstores and contemporary authors, Libros Schmibros is invigorating and sustaining the city's love affair with the written word. But this Sunday, the shop adds a new dimension to the reading experience -- cake and music. That's because it's the official Libros Schmibros Third Anniversary Party and belated housewarming of its new Mariachi Plaza home, and sometimes, you just have to put down your book and dance. The shop has a new membership model, and party admission includes not only cake and music but also a one-year membership and five free books of your choice to keep. 1711 Mariachi Plaza, Boyle Heights; Sun., Aug. 4, 3-6 p.m.; $5. (323) 302-9408, librosschmibros.wordpress.com. -- Shana Nys Dambrot

3. Camp Classics

If either summer camp or comic books were part of your past, and an affinity for comedy and live music is part of your present, then Captured Aural Phantasy Theater has a treat that will tickle the nostalgic part of your funny bone. Fresh from performing at Comic-Con, this theater troop is reopening its monthly gig at El Cid with its brand spankin' new show, Comic Book Summer Camp. Take a jaunt down nerd memory lane with re-enactments of your favorite old-school comic book stories set to multimedia projections of the book's original art. A yet-to-be-announced, but promised-to-be-good, live musical act will close the show. The leitmotif running through the evening? Summer camp, of course -- with camp-themed stories and an MC dressed as a counselor. Fortunately, the camp theme stops at the refreshments -- we're told that while there will be food and beverages, they won't include sloppy joes or campfire-roasted weenies. Phew. El Cid, 4212 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; Sun., Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m. doors, 8:30 p.m. show; $10. (323) 668-0318, capturedauralphantasy.com. -- Anya Cohen

2. A Lindsey Lohan Project

Closing out the monthlong "Hardcore: The Films of Paul Schrader" retrospective, director Paul Schrader appears in person for a screening of his latest film, The Canyons. Scripted by Bret Easton Ellis and starring the overexposed Lindsay Lohan alongside the overhyped James Deen, it's a meditation on privacy, communion and -- if the trailer is any indication -- what a bummer it is to look at abandoned movie theaters. Cast and fueled via various forms of social media (Let It Cast, Kickstarter), The Canyons was supposed to be a big comeback for both Lohan and Schrader, who wrote Raging Bull and Taxi Driver before falling out of Hollywood's favor. But those plans were complicated by Lohan's erratic behavior on set -- and a devastating New York Times Magazine takedown in January. Schrader calls the film "cinema for the post-theatrical era." Is that a good thing? Come to the theater and find out. Billy Wilder Theatre at the Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd.; Mon., Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m.; $10 online, $9 at the door, $8 students/seniors. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. -- David Cotner

1. Arsenio's Back

Pop culture has always had a love affair with the sub-guttural -- from KMET 94.7's thrilling rallying cry of "Hoo-yah!" to Tarzan's yell to the "yeah yeah yeah" of The Beatles -- and Arsenio Hall was no stranger to simplicity's siren call, raising the "Roo! Roo! Roo!" from 1989 to 1994. (During that time, he also hosted a memorable appearance by presidential candidate Bill Clinton, who played "Heartbreak Hotel" on the sax.) Hall's new late-night talk show premieres in September on KTLA, and he's on the lookout for new talent as he goes up against the likes of credit-card panderer Jimmy Fallon and the increasingly bored David Letterman. His Arsenio Hall Show Showcase is a boon for comics everywhere, and you'll get to see them tonight in the rarefied spotlight of the Improv before they fall down the Chuckle Hole in East Orange or wherever, later on down the line. Some purveyors, among others, of timing and laughter: Jay Larson (of podcast The Crabfeast), Brendon Walsh (voted "The Funniest Person in Austin" in 2004, but only for that year), and "Best Comedian to See After a Messy Break-Up" Debra DiGiovanni, although in this context the word "see" remains undefined. Hollywood Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs., Aug. 8, doors 9:30 p.m., show 10 p.m.; $5 online, $6 at the door. (323) 651-2583, improv.com. -- David Cotner

See also:

*Our Calendar Section, Listing More Great Things to Do in L.A.

*5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week


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