7 Great Free Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Fair Play, screening at Czech That FilmEXPAND
Fair Play, screening at Czech That Film

Czech That Film takes over USC for the next five days and proves that Czech Republic–related puns remain charming and hilarious. Andrea Sedlácková’s Fair Play gets pride of place as the opening-night selection tonight at 7. Set in the 1980s, when the Central European nation was still known as Czechoslovakia and under the thrall of the U.S.S.R., it tells of an aspiring Olympic runner faced with a moral quandary in the form of anabolic steroids. After the movie, which was its country’s Oscar submission this year, Sedlácková will participate in a Q&A. Also worth going to is Sunday’s 4 p.m. screening of the excellent miniseries-turned-film Burning Bush, which is definitely worth...czeching out (sorry). USC, 900 W. 34th St., University Park; Fri., March 27, 7 p.m.; free, RSVP required. (213) 740-2804, cinema.usc.edu. —Michael Nordine

The costumes might just be the best part of going to the opera. But where do those extravagant pieces go once the season is over? They're not burned up, Marie Antoinette–style — they stay at the L.A. Opera's Costume Shop, which is preparing to move. The Costume Shop Moving Sale — only the third open-air sale in the company's history — will offer costumes from productions such as The Grand Duchess and Cinderella at prices from $25 to $650 for entire ensembles (you can snag accessories for $2 to $20). With deals like those, who needs a fairy godmother? L.A. Opera Costume Shop parking lot, 330 S. Alameda St., downtown; Sat., March 28, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. laopera.com. —Sascha Bos

If you like spending lazy Saturday afternoons reading a book under a tree at Grand Park, make sure to show up this weekend — there'll be hundreds of people joining you. The third annual Downtown Bookfest mainstage features 2014 Los Angeles poet laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, plus L.A. writers doing readings in other languages and young-adult readings. The Music Center's Artizen Lab boasts kids storytelling, poetry and crafts, while the Family Pavilion includes more readings for young'uns, bilingual English/Spanish sing-alongs and a preview of the Ahmanson Theatre's upcoming Matilda the Musical. And if you're looking to take home more than sunburn, Writ Large Press' pop-up shop offers books, graphic novels and other souvenirs. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sat., March 28, noon-5 p.m.; free. grandparkla.org—Siran Babayan

Would you want to buy these costumes?
Would you want to buy these costumes?
Photo by Craig T. Matthew

The Universal Domino League, billed as the world's biggest, hosts the L.A. Open Domino Tournament, which spans six mind-melting, spine-shattering hours. You'll see the best players in the region competing for up to $5,000 in prizes and the coveted championship belt — and no, it is not made entirely of dominoes. Hosted by longtime domino enthusiast and Married ... With Children actor David Faustino, it may be the one time in your life when experiencing the domino effect is a good thing. West Coast Hooters, 1248 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Mon., March 30, 6 p.m.-mid.; free to watch, $100 for participants. (213) 222-9464, universaldominoleague.com. —David Cotner

Upcoming Events

Writers, artists and performers fill the lineup for Sister Spit: The Next Generation at the Hammer tonight. A continuation of the touring, spoken-word crew formed by Sini Anderson and Michelle Tea in the 1990s, the current show is hosted by Virgie Tovar, the body-image activist behind the hashtag #losehatenotweight. This tour features authors Myriam Gurba (Dahlia Season), Thomas Page McBee (Man Alive) and Kate Schatz (Rad American Women A-Z), as well as artist Miriam Klein Stahl and drag performer Mica Sigourney. Special guests include Weetzie Bat author Francesca Lia Block, writer Nikki Darling (whose work has been featured in L.A. Weekly) and artist Zackary Drucker. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., March 31, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Liz Ohanesian

As baseball season starts, USC takes a scientific look at the sport with Velocity and Vulnerability: Baseball Pitchers and the Limits of Human Performance. Representing the players will be Robb Nen, of the 1997 World Series champion Florida Marlins, and Tom House, an Atlanta Braves pitching legend and USC alum. The scientists will be Keck School of Medicine orthopedic surgeon Seth Gamradt and USC Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering professor Jill McNitt-Gray. Among the questions raised: Has the human body reached its limit when it comes to pitching? Is a 120mph fastball something we'll ever see? And what do the catchers think about all this? Dedeaux Field, University Park Campus, 1021 Childs Way, University Park; Tue., March 31, 6 p.m.; free, RSVP required. (213) 740-0483, visionsandvoices.usc.edu. —David Cotner

Lakers Hall of Famer Jamaal "Silk" Wilkes discusses and signs Memoirs of the Original Smooth as Silk, which includes the forward's beginnings at UCLA with coach John Wooden, two NCAA Championships and an 88-game winning streak, plus the 1975 Lakers' championship season. Silk — who entered the Hall in 2012 — has had a storied life, doing everything from starring in the film Cornbread, Earl and Me to becoming a popular motivational speaker. His jersey may be retired, but Wilkes is anything but retiring. Eso Won Books, 4327 Degnan Blvd., Leimert Park; Thu., April 2, 7 p.m.; free. (323) 290-1048, esowonbookstore.com. —David Cotner


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