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

Photo by Ed Carrasco

As no less a luminary than Desmond Tutu once had the brass to ask, "How could you have a soccer team if all were goalkeepers? How would it be an orchestra if all were French horns?" Frankly, we have no answer to that question, but perhaps we'll find out at Grand Performances' French Horn Massive, wherein 400 — count 'em, 400 — French horn players and those who love them will gather to ruffle, rip, kerfuffle and puffle through "a veritable hornocopia" of pop, rock and classical standards, to our ever-waxing-nostalgic delight. Grand Performances at California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., Aug. 7, noon; free. (213) 687-2190, grandperformances.org. —John Payne

La Luz de Jesus opens two exhibits on fairy tales, folklore and fables — the stuff of dreams, nightmares, innocence and adventure. Whether sparkly Disney or somber Grimm, the idea is to socialize youngsters into societal norms and give them psychological tools to deal with thorny experiences like death and loss. It's a good plan — unless you happen to be suspicious of normative orthodoxies. J.A.W. Cooper offers finely rendered, darkly romantic visions of the violence and strange magic of the natural world. Jose Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros turns the Magic Kingdom on its head, as his hilarious, expertly mimicked images depicting two Disney princes adopting a baby, Pinocchio doing a bong rip or Snow White posting skanky selfies on Tinder make an excellent case for being weird. La Luz de Jesus, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Fri., Aug. 7, 8-11 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 12-6 p.m., through Aug. 30; free. (323) 666-7667, laluzdejesus.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Unapologetic prankster, The Bone Zone podcaster and 2015 L.A. Weekly Comedy Act to Watch Randy Liedtke has paired an average-Joe outlook with ever-escalating misdirection on mainstream NBC fare Late Night With Seth Meyers and Last Comic Standing, plus IFC comedy-nerd staples Maron and Comedy Bang Bang. Having filmed a Comedy Central half-hour in June, this weekend he records a pair of live shows for his upcoming debut album on Comedy Central Records (tentatively yet accurately titled I'm on a Roll), the release of which will coincide with his special's fall premiere. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Aug. 8, 7 & 9 p.m.; free. nerdmeltla.com. —Julie Seabaugh

It's impossible to know where artistic inspiration comes from. Many artists look back into history — though they tend to do this in books and museums. Jeffrey Vallance prefers to go straight to the source, staging performative séances to seek the advice of great artists who have passed to the spirit world. This process results in reliquaries and other works that the likes of Marcel Duchamp and Jackson Pollock have advised him to produce, as well as a series of "Spirit Photos" directly depicting images and messages on their behalf. At tonight's Ghost Writers performance, Vallance and psychic Joseph Ross host a séance invoking the spirits of dead art critics, whom he hopes to convince to review his current exhibition, "The Medium Is the Message," at the gallery. CB1 Gallery, 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown; Sat., Aug. 8, 8 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues, Tue.-Sat., 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., through Sept. 5. (213) 806-7889, cb1gallery.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot

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Is there a food as distinctively Californian as the avocado? We use it in everything from omelets to sandwiches to salads, but avocado ale might seem a little bizarre for even the biggest devotees of the lush, spreadable fruit. At Angel City Brewery, though, the Avocado Ale is a big deal. To celebrate its return, Angel City hosts its third annual Avocado Festival. The Surfer Taco, Brewwings, Si Paletas and the Green Truck are coming down to match the ale with eats. When you're not munching, take a tour of the brewery or go on an avocado hunt. Live art, live music and a photo booth will fill out the day. Angel City Brewery and Public House, 216 S. Alameda St., downtown; Sun., Aug. 9; noon-8 p.m.; free. (213) 622-1261, angelcity0x200Bbrewery.com. —Liz Ohanesian

The Hammer Museum hosts The Watts Rebellion: 50 Years Later, a scholarly discussion of the causes, destruction and aftermath of the violence that took place from Aug. 11-17, 1965, with University of Houston professor Gerald Horne and UCLA professor Brenda E. Stevenson. Horne's 1997 book, Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s, examines the rebellion in the context of the Red Scare, Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam, while Stevenson's 2013 book, The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the L.A. Riots, looks back on the 1991 killing of Harlins and how, according to the author, it led to the 1992 civil unrest. Together the two address the "past and present of race relations in the United States." Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., Aug. 9, 2 p.m.; free, tickets required. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Siran Babayan

CicLAvia, L.A.'s series of bicycle celebrations taking place every few months, returns to the Westside today. The six-mile route starts in Venice Beach and heads up Grand Boulevard to Venice Boulevard, then right on Centinela, left on Washington Place, under the 405, then left on Washington Boulevard and into downtown Culver City, all the way to the Expo Line station (though you can ride it in reverse or join at any point along the way). Skaters and walkers are welcome, too. It's one of the city's most celebrated new institutions — but if you miss it, there's another one coming up in downtown on Oct. 18. Various locations, see website for route map; Sun., Aug. 9, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (213) 355-8500, ciclavia.org. —Zachary Pincus-Roth

To help pose questions about systemic racism and how it tends to disrupt cities with depressing regularity, tonight the Hammer screens Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, the 2000 filmed version of the 1994 Tony-nominated play in which Anna Deavere Smith confronted the issues lingering beneath the embers of the 1992 L.A. Riots. Constructed from Smith's interviews with people involved in the aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King trial, it takes immersive journalism to dizzying, violently honest heights. The screening precedes a discussion with critic and L.A. Weekly contributor Ernest Hardy and UCLA history professor Brenda E. Stevenson. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Wed., Aug. 12, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —David Cotner

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