9 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week
Edward James Olmos' nonprofit hosts a book fest on Sunday.
Courtesy Ignacio Gomez
A brand new art museum opens its doors in the Arts District, Edward James Olmos' nonprofit hosts a free book fest, too-timely comedy bits get one last shot at laughs, and more to do and see in L.A. this week for 10 bucks or less.
Formerly the Santa Monica Museum of Art, ICA LA — Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles — is opening its 12,700-square-foot, Kulapat Yantrasast–designed facility in the Arts District with a weekend's worth of free festivities themed to its inaugural exhibitions. One of the three exhibits, which is part of the Getty's massive PST: LA/LA initiative, explores the mythic, masterful work of Martín Ramírez, a Mexican immigrant who spent 30 years in California mental institutions. The weekend's events include a workshop in creating art from found materials like Ramírez, a concert to celebrate day laborers and a bilingual tour of the exhibition. ICA LA, 1717 E. Seventh St., downtown; Sat.-Sun., Sept. 9-10, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. theicala.org. —Gwynedd Stuart
Gloria Estefan, an original crossover artist who paved the way for other Latin-pop divas, turned 60 on Sept. 1. More than two dozen performers at UCB are celebrating her in the most UCB-ian way: with a comedy show. Hosted by Libby Doyne and Claire Slattery, Queen Gloria Estefan's 60th Birthday Bash: The Glorification of Gloria features resident teams Improvisos Peligrosos, Musical Mashup Team: The Glorious Estefuns and Star Trek–themed team the Improvised Generation mixing sketches written by Dana Vreede, Ellie Race-Moore and Julian Gonzalez with improv inspired by the singer. Adding to the tribute will be "queens" Blake Wilding, Ryan Parz and Kyle Sheppard from the RuPaul-style competition UCB's Drag Race, singing Estefan and Miami Sound Machine covers, including "Conga," "Get On Your Feet" and "Turn the Beat Around." And no birthday party would be complete without the birthday song and cake. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Sept. 9, 10:30 p.m.; $7. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan
The U.S.-Mexico border is more than the space between one thing and another — it's its own realm altogether. For years, since at least the 1990s, the border has been a site where artists have staged a variety of interventions to comment on issues including immigration and identity. The PST: LA/LA show "The U.S.-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination and Possibility" at the Craft & Folk Art Museum features art that exists in dialogue with the border and all that the border represents. Throughout the show's run (through Jan. 7), the museum is hosting a variety of family workshops, beginning today with a Piñata Making Party. L.A.'s own Piñata Design Studio, an outfit that specializes in handmade, custom piñatas, will coach participants in traditional techniques as well as some newer ones, and everyone will craft their very own work of art. Beating it with a bat afterward is optional. Craft & Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Sun., Sept. 10, 2:30-4:30 p.m.; $7, $5 for kids. (323) 937-4230, cafam.org. —Gwynedd Stuart
For 20 years, Kirk Whisler and actor Edward James Olmos' nonprofit Latino Literacy Now has promoted reading in the Latino community with various annual events, including the Latino Book and Family Festival, which is held in different cities. Just in time for back-to-school, more than 50 authors will be presenting their books and taking part in panels. The daylong schedule also features live music, ballet folklorico, kids activities and workshops on such topics as "Living La Vida Latina: Stories of Modern Chicas," "Overcoming Domestic Violence" and "How to Write a Children's Book." LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 N. Main St., downtown; Sun., Sept. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (888) 488-8083, lbff.us. —Siran Babayan
After a summer at the Hollywood Bowl populated by several large orchestras, massive choirs, multiple fireworks displays and at least one marching band, tonight it all comes down to one man, one cello and six pieces of music by Johann Sebastian Bach. Yo-Yo Ma is probably the most celebrated cellist in the world. The French-born Chinese-American musician is the founder of the Silk Road Ensemble and has long been a restless explorer of multiple genres, from classical and chamber music to jazz, pop, bluegrass and tango. Ma is famous enough to have portrayed himself on The Simpsons, The West Wing and Sesame Street, and this evening he ambitiously wrings out the expressive dark tones from all six of Bach's suites for solo cello. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood Hills; Tue., Sept. 12, 8 p.m.; $1-$154. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —Falling James
Unusable doesn't mean unlovable, and tonight's Unusable comedy salon is a chance to see jokes and routines that expired almost immediately after the comedy shows for which they were originally intended. Eclipse jokes? Sure! Celebrity roast jokes from a year ago? Why not?! A concept within a concept, this show from the fevered and chortlesome mind of host Zach Sherwin is a cornucopia of otherwise amazing songs, sketches and stand-up routines that deserve one last laugh before they wither and rot away forever. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Tue., Sept. 12, 8:45 p.m.; $10, $8 in advance. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —David Cotner
Stormy Weather, the classic 1943 musical based loosely on the life of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, makes a great follow-up to last week's screening of Cabin in the Sky. Showcasing some of the best African-American talent of the time (Lena Horne, Fats Waller, Ada Brown, Cab Calloway), the film is a high-speed comic revue that opened up new opportunities for black performers in Hollywood. No less an authority than Fred Astaire considered the "Jumping Jive" sequence to be the greatest musical number he'd ever seen. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Sept. 12, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell
Coinciding with the Getty's SoCal-wide initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, the Annenberg Space for Photography's latest exhibit, "Cuba Is" (Sept. 9-March 4), explores various subcultures of contemporary Cubans "both on and off the island," from wealthy kids to young punks known as "Los Frikis" to "Chonga" girls in Miami. The more than 120 new and archival images are accompanied by a documentary, a virtual reality experience on Cuba's modern street-music scene and an additional outdoor display, "Violet Isle: A Duet of Photographs From Cuba." Among the nearly two dozen photographers is Cuban-born Leysis Quesada Vera, who, as part of the Annenberg's Iris Nights Lecture Series, discusses her work. Annenberg Space for Photography, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City; Wed., Sept. 13, 6:30-8 p.m.; free. (213) 403-3000, annenbergphotospace.org. —Siran Babayan
In conjunction with the American Library Association's annual Banned Books Week, held every September, Beth Lapides hosts Lenny at the Library, a panel discussion on one of the most controversial comedians of all time, Lenny Bruce. Lapides, creator of the comedy and storytelling series UnCabaret, will muse on the outlaw stand-up comic with fellow comedian Andy Dick, as well as Paul Krassner, editor of Bruce's 1965 autobiography, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People; Merrill Markoe, co-creator of Late Night With David Letterman; Kliph Nesteroff, author of the 2015 book The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy; and Robert Weide, director of the excellent 1998 Oscar-nominated documentary Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth, which featured Krassner as well as Bruce's ex-wife, Honey, and daughter, Kitty. Los Angeles Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., downtown; Thu., Sept. 14, 7-8:30 p.m.; free (RSVP suggested). (213) 228-7000, lapl.org/whats-on/events/lenny-library. —Siran Babayan
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Los Angeles, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.