8 Cheap (or Free) Things to Do This Week

Anna David and Danielle Stewart of the AfterParty storytelling showEXPAND
Anna David and Danielle Stewart of the AfterParty storytelling show
Photo by Andy Marx

From a sober storytelling night to a enormous lightsaber battle to a screening of a Bing Crosby holiday classic, here are eight things to do through Christmas Eve that cost five bucks or less.

Still reeling from Black Friday? As Christmas draws near, steer clear of bustling department stores and head to the Wells Fargo Center atrium to peruse indie oddities at the Bunker Hill Odd Market. Boasting a live DJ and a curated selection of 35-plus artisan vendors and food trucks, the Odd Market is the perfect place to snag a last-minute stocking stuffer or simply enjoy a seasonal afternoon stroll. Whether you fancy a mosaic for Mom, want to treat yourself to some vinyl or vintage or simply soak up the festive ambiance, the Odd Market promises a smorgasbord of fun, food and local wares. Wells Fargo Center Plaza, 330 S. Hope St., downtown; Fri., Dec. 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (323) 630-9795, theoddmarket.com. —Lucy Tiven

You may have heard a drinker or two spread the nasty rumor that addicts and alcoholics in recovery are no fun. Not so — in fact, people who've managed to face down their demons tend to have some pretty funny stories to tell. Brave people in the process of kicking a habit dredge up their pasts for AfterParty magazine's monthly live storytelling show about "drinking, drugging and other shit we don't do anymore." This month's show features author/Nickelodeon host Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, Sex Box host Danielle Stewart, comedian Mary Patterson Broome, writer Sevasti Iyama and author/AfterParty founder Anna David. As David puts it, "It's like a choreographed, funny AA meeting." Open Space Cafe, 457 N. Fairfax Ave., Beverly Grove; Fri., Dec. 18, 8 p.m.; free. (323) 424-3059, rehabreviews.com/afterparty-storytelling. —Gwynedd Stuart

Fans of the Star Wars franchise are so amped about the release of The Force Awakens that you could be forgiven for asking, "Is that a lightsaber in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" Tonight at Lightsaber Battle L.A., you'll have your answer. Organizers expect thousands of Jedi and Sith to descend upon Pershing Square for this nocturnal battle between two make-believe factions of adult men with light-up plastic swords. (They'll be in good company — associated events are happening in cities from San Diego to Seattle.) For stalwart Star Wars cosplayers who have their own sabers, the battle is free, but for 10 bucks, newbies can reserve a color-changing sword in advance to be picked up at downtown's Hive Gallery. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown; Fri., Dec. 18, 8-11 p.m.; free, $10 with sword. thelightbattle.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

Upcoming Events

Earlier this year, Hulu turned an apartment on NYC's Upper Westside into an exact replica of Jerry Seinfeld's apartment, overabundance of cereal boxes and all. In advance of our favorite fictional holiday, Festivus, the online network is bringing Seinfeld: The Apartment to L.A. — you know, where the show was actually filmed — and inviting fans to walk through it. This iteration of the pop-up exhibit includes a Festivus pole and some props from the original set. Sunday is your last chance to slide in the door like Kramer and have people roll their eyes at you. 8445 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Fri.-Sun., Dec. 18-20, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; free. —Gwynedd Stuart

Watch comedians pretend to make their air guitars — and other air instruments — gently weep at Westside Comedy Theater's first Battle of the Air Bands. Fellow comedian JC Currais, along with judges Andrew Duvall and Jonathan London, host six bands composed of improv players and stand-up comics, and with names like Sissy Boy Slap Party and Torture Rack. The fake rock gods will go through three rounds, performing songs lasting three to five minutes, and must meet the judges' criteria of tight lip-syncing, guitar solos and other imaginary skills. Prizes include cash or a paid bar tab, both of which are real. M.I.'s Westside Comedy Theater, 1323-A Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica; Tue., Dec. 22, 8 p.m.; $5. (310) 451-0850, westsidecomedy.com. —Siran Babayan

Comedian-writer-director Allan McLeod, whose credits include Comedy Central's Drunk History and FX's You're the Worst, makes art funny by combining drawing with improv in Allan McLeod and His Beauties. UCB performers Nicole Byer, Casey Feigh, Jessica Jean Jardine, Nick Mandernach, Timm Sharp and others interview one lucky audience member as host McLeod sketches them. The cast then stages a fully improvised show inspired by the drawing. Since it's a holiday edition, expect there to be some Christmas-themed questions. UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; Tue., Dec. 22, 8 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

Among many reasons to see White Christmas at LACMA is the fact that it was the first movie to be released in VistaVision, a gloriously colorful (and long-defunct) wide-screen process developed by Paramount in the 1950s. This is a reworked version of 1942's Holiday Inn, which is most famous for introducing Bing Crosby's original, standard-setting rendition of "White Christmas" to the world. Crosby and Danny Kaye star as a song-and-dance duo who fall for two sisters, also performers; together the quartet use their gifts to revitalize the struggling Vermont inn owned by Crosby and Kaye's former commanding officer in the military. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Dec. 22, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.

The 56th annual Music Center Holiday Celebration offers not only free entertainment but free parking as well. This year's lineup includes music ensembles ranging from mariachi to Korean indie rock to Brazilian forró and choral groups including the ever-popular Gay Men's Chorus. The quintet of dance groups offers a small sampling from the broad spectrum of local dance, with a Korean drum dance from Korean American Youth Performing Artists, Mexican folkloric from Pacifico Dance Company, traditional Chinese dance from Shin Dance Company and contemporary dance from BODYTRAFFIC and Invertigo Dance Theatre. The three-hour event is broadcast locally and streamed on PBS SoCal, a rare opportunity for L.A.-based companies to perform at this county-owned venue and to be seen on local television. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Thu., Dec. 24, 3-6 p.m.; free. (213) 972-3099, musiccenter.org. —Ann Haskins 


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