5 Great Free Things to Do in L.A. This Week (Besides Seeing Fireworks)

Alex Schaefer's plein air painting set up for DTLA Paint Out
Alex Schaefer's plein air painting set up for DTLA Paint Out
Courtesy of Raw Materials

Like Paris or New York but with way fewer berets, DTLA Paint Out turns the bustling sidewalks of the Historic Core into public art studios. Maybe it's the proliferation of architectural landmarks, but folks with easels aren't at all out of place. The recurring event is hosted by Raw Materials, the city's chillest indie art supply store and favorite of atelier and street practitioners alike. Known for events it sponsors (notably Friday Night Life Drawing at the Grand Central Market) as much as for its curated inventory, Raw Materials has a special fondness for plein air artists such as banks-on-fire painter Alex Schaefer, who leads today's group. Bring your own supplies, pick some up at the store or just follow the group and witness art coming to life amid life happening all around. (In full disclosure, the store has donated materials for L.A. Weekly's Artopia.) Raw Materials, 436 S. Main St., downtown; Sun., July 5, 1 p.m.; free. (800) 729-7060, facebook.com/rawmaterialsla. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Hummingbird rehabilitator Terry Masear signs her new book, Fastest Things on Wings: Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood. From her West Hollywood home, Masear fields calls from panic-stricken Angelenos who find hummingbirds orphaned or injured by animals or the weather. In the last 10 years, Masear has helped heal thousands of these winged creatures, including Gabriel, an Anna's hummingbird she spent four months nursing back to health after it collided with a limousine in Beverly Hills. Masear, who's also a professor of English as a second language at UCLA Extension, describes the birds' eating, mating and migratory habits, as well as some of their rescuers, who range from filmmakers and rock stars to construction workers. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Mon., July 6, 7 p.m.; free, book is $25. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. —Siran Babayan

Imagine being a 20-year-old baseball player from Japan sent to San Francisco in 1964 to play for the Giants. Masanori Murakami will tell you what it was all really like when he discusses his memoir, Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer. Murakami could barely comprehend English when he was sent over as sort of a baseball exchange student, so you can also imagine what kind of complications — and disappointments — ensued during his whirlwind adventures before he was sent back home. Villalobos Hall, Whittier College, 13507 Earlham Drive, Whittier; Tue., July 7, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, whittier.edu. —David Cotner

USC Annenberg professor Josh Kun and Kogi BBQ founder and chef Roy Choi discuss To Live and Dine in L.A.: Menus and the Making of the Modern City. Tied to an exhibition at the Central Library downtown, the book chronicles more than 200 menus — some dating back to the 19th century — drawn from the thousands in the menu collection of the library and shows how the popularity of various foods and types of restaurants has evolved. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Friday, July 17, 7:30 p.m.; free, book is $45. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —David Cotner Note: this event has been rescheduled for the following week, and has been updated to reflect the new date, July 17.

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In 1964, the year the Civil Rights Act was passed, a National Urban League survey ranked Los Angeles as the most desirable city for African-Americans. In 1965, the Watts Riots took place. Josh Sides discusses how the city came to embody "both the best and the worst" for African-Americans escaping discrimination in the South and the rest of the country, in a program titled The Promises and Perils of Postwar Black Los Angeles. Sides is the Whitsett Professor of California History at Cal State Northridge and author of the 2006 book L.A. City Limits: African-American Los Angeles From the Great Depression to the Present. He lectures in conjunction with the museum's current exhibit, "Mark Bradford: Scorched Earth," which includes the L.A.-based artist's 12 paintings and a sound installation inspired by such early-'90s issues as the AIDS epidemic and the 1992 L.A. riots. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Wed., July 8, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu—Siran Babayan

For more things to do this week. see our stage, arts, film and music sections and visit laweekly.com/calendar.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to reflect that To Live and Dine in L.A.: Menus and the Making of the Modern City has been rescheduled

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