5 Exciting Things to Do in L.A. This Week for $15 or Less
Dan OzminkowskiFeaturing the dancing and vocal talent of 21 young performers, the performance by Spirit of Uganda will be sure to amaze audiences.
In the mood for some animated animals? We give you internet cat sensations to behold. If you'd rather watch something else other than cats, check out the remastered documentary Red Hollywood. And if you're not a fan of felines or films, you're no doubt still a fan of free things - and Free Museum Day offers more than 20 facilities to fulfill your cultured needs. If you've got $15 to spare, here are some events for you to spend it on!
1. Take advantage of Free Museum Day
Life in Los Angeles can be challenging. It's easy to get lost in our kaleidoscopic blur of gas stations, fast food joints, liquor stores - an aesthetic purgatory that sprawls from ocean to mountains. Even worse than the endless miles of strip malls is the fact that some of what passes for "art" in these parts is a materialistic masquerade, a commercial con game that suckers our souls and spirits. Fortunately, the upcoming countywide Free Museum Day offers a social, historical and artistic balm at absolutely no cost. With 20 facilities participating - including the California Science Center, MOCA, Hammer, Fowler, Autry, LACMA, Skirball and USC Pacific Asian Museum - it's a most welcome opportunity to feed your psyche at a lavish cultural buffet. Already done LACMA a dozen times? Why not check out a lesser-known gem, like Long Beach's Museum of Latin American Art? Warning: While admission is free, parking fees still apply (we're talking about you, Getty Center) and special ticketed exhibits may still be extra. Sat., Jan. 25, hours vary; socalmuseums.org. - Jonny Whiteside
2. Experience the Spirit of Uganda
If you're convinced that Uganda is mostly Idi Amin and Joseph Kony, go annihilate your useless cynicism with tonight's performance by Spirit of Uganda. An initiative of Empower African Children, it's a veritable cornucopia of potential unveiled unto you on behalf of Uganda's 2.7 million (!) orphans. What you get for your willing suspension of disbelief: thunderous drums, ecstatic dancing and the primal call-and-response vocals of 21 young performers. Guided by artistic director Peter Kasule and the Afrigo Band's Rachel Magoola, these kids will knock your metaphorical socks off with the sheer joy they take in expressing themselves, voyaging across oceans and continents and making you feel faintly ashamed for being such an uninspired clod. Relatively speaking, of course! Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; Wed., Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m.; $35/$30/$15. (310) 506-4522, pepperdine.edu. - David Cotner
3. Check out an Internet Cat Video Film Festival
Today the cat gets to be the top dog, thanks to the Internet Cat Video Film Festival. The inaugural event in 2012 in Minnesota drew 10,000 people - so naturally it's now an international touring show, featuring 85 videos of furry, four-legged shenanigans that'll make you laugh, cry and question your life, in that order. The local stop includes a costume contest, live music by the band Cat Museum, vendors and representatives from animal shelters and humane societies. You also can shake hands, or paws, with host William Braden (creator of web series Henri, le Chat Noir), the Keyboard Cat and the one and only Grumpy Cat. Tardar Sauce to her parents, the star sourpuss has her own Wikipedia entry, more than 120,000 Twitter followers, a New York magazine cover, endorsements, merchandise, book and upcoming movie. Meow and cha-ching! Now, we're all grumpy. Echoplex, 1822 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Sat., Jan. 25, 2 p.m.; $14. (213) 413-8200, theecho.com. - Siran Babayan
4. Watch Red Hollywood
In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee began to target Communists in the entertainment industry, leading to a highly public blacklist, which writer Arthur Miller, in his play The Crucible, likened to the Salem witch trials. From Noël Burch and Thom Andersen (the latter director of Los Angeles Plays Itself), Red Hollywood is a film that features original research, interviews and a compilation of clips culled from more than 50 movies by the so-called "Hollywood Ten" - Communist party members, sympathizers and other outspoken intellectuals who made their living in cinema. The documentary highlights films from individuals who refused to throw their colleagues under the bus for alleged anti-American sentiments. But rather than preaching about the First Amendment, the film focuses on the directors' and screenwriters' often subtle objections to the McCarthy-era blacklist, unearthing the contributions of filmmakers whose work became casualties of the Cold War. Andersen will be present when REDCAT screens a newly remastered and re-edited version of this documentary sleeper, originally released 17 years ago, which remains relevant today. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., dwntwn.; Mon., Jan. 27, 8:30 p.m.; $10 general, $8 REDCAT members/students, $5 CalArts students, faculty and staff. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org/event/red-hollywood. - Tanja M. Laden
5. See a Midnight Showing of TMNT
The world might never be prepared for a live-action rendition of America's favorite deformed, vaguely reptilian freaks of nature, but in 1990, it got one. (And then it got more, because sequels.) Based on the long-beloved story of four color-coordinated, Renaissance-named sewer monsters who survived radioactive disaster to fight crime on two legs and gorge on pizza, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the movie is everything that the Turtles' earlier comic books and television series were, except even weirder. It's cheesy, radical and hard to follow, with the added bonus of Corey Feldman, Jim Henson Productions and lots of dramatic Ninjutsu sequences. In short, it's incredibly '90s, unlike the Michael Bay reboot set for release this summer. Before Bay, shall we say, transforms another old-school franchise, the Nuart Theatre will screen the hokey classic (and proud earner of a 44 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes) in a one-off midnight showing. Cowabunga! Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., W.L.A.; Fri., Jan. 24, mid.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com. - Kelsey Whipple
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