9 Cheap and Free Things to Do in L.A. This Week

If you don't remember the Rose Parade is on Monday this year, you'll be ...EXPAND
If you don't remember the Rose Parade is on Monday this year, you'll be ...
Courtesy Tournament of Roses


A NYE celebration in Grand Park, a Japanese cultural event for kids, an exploration of black British film and video, and more to do and see in L.A. this week for little to no money.

Gene Wilder & Fidel Castro's New Year's Rockin' Eve (in Limbo) is an immersive theater experience in which you may finally find some kind of closure with the massive level of loss that defined the year 2016. Wilder and Castro greet you at the doors to Limbo, congratulate you on dying a semi-interesting death and show you around the place. Some highlights: Rock & Roll Heaven's subdivision for one-hit wonders and ska cover bands playing you off with renditions of hits by Bowie and Prince; the Facebook Echo Chamber; and four hidden, magical, life-changing Golden Tickets. UCB Sunset, 5419 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Dec. 30, 7:30, 9 & 10:30 p.m.; $6. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com/performance/50997. —David Cotner

For the first time in recent memory, we can't even pretend that the new year might have better things in store than the shitty one that preceded it (unless you're an arms dealer and WWIII is on your wishlist). Alas, if you have kids and won't be permitted to drown your sorrows like so many other people, Grand Park and the Music Center's N.Y.E.L.A. Countdown to 2017 isn't a half-bad place to be. The alcohol-free, family-friendly event has live music and DJs on three stages — the Countdown Stage, the Get Down Stage and the Funktown Stage — as well as a photo booth, inflatable art and food from vendors including Bling Bling Dumplings, Mario's Tacos and Pizza on Wheelz. Don't worry — there will be plenty of opportunities to tie one on in the coming year. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sat., Dec. 31, 8 p.m.-1 a.m.; free. grandparkla.org/nyela. —Gwynedd Stuart

2017: A New Hope is your locus for New Year's Eve's most transformative moments — and what better place to cultivate much-needed hope than in a comic book store, where good triumphs over evil with persistent frequency? Tonight's extravaganza is hosted by RiffTrax contributing writer Joseph Scrimshaw, and offers up fun from Muppeteer Phoebe Bottoms, The Duff screenwriter Josh A. Cagan, Luck of the Draw host Caitlin Durante, talk show host Lucia Fasano and J. Elvis Weinstein, the original puppeteer and voice of Tom Servo and Gypsy on Mystery Science Theater 3000. And, performing Tchaikovsky's entire Nutcracker holiday musical in five minutes, dancer Sara Stevenson Scrimshaw. NerdMelt, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Dec. 31, 6:45 p.m.; $8. (323) 851-7223, holdmyticket.com/event/264198. —David Cotner

Oshogatsu is the Japanese New Year celebration, and Little Tokyo is the place to celebrate it. Festivities run through the early afternoon with events centered around Weller Court and Japanese Village Plaza. You'll find Japanese cultural programming such as taiko drum performances, mochi demonstrations, a kimono fashion show and martial arts. Over at the Frances Hashimoto Plaza, across from Japanese Village Plaza, kids can learn calligraphy, play games and listen to stories. Street food vendors will be serving up okonomiyaki, takoyaki and other dishes. Little Tokyo tends to get pretty busy on New Year's Day and, while there is shuttle service available this year, your best bet is to take the Metro. The Gold Line's Little Tokyo station is a short walk from the action. Weller Court, 123 Astronaut E.S. Onizuka St., downtown; Sun. Jan. 1, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (213) 626-3067, facebook.com/events/1154509294645784. —Liz Ohanesian

With a new year upon us, we must all of us remember to be wary of the Wet Bandits. For a reminder of how to combat those sinister home invaders, avail yourself of Home Alone at the New Bev. Macaulay Culkin may have moved on to the "novelty band that sings exclusively about pizza" phase of his career, but the movie that made him a household name seems poised to remain a holiday staple for years to come. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Sun., Jan. 1, 2 p.m.; $6. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

The Rose Parade and the related Rose Bowl college football game usually are held on New Year's Day, except in years when Jan. 1 falls on a Sunday. When that occurs, the festivities are moved to Monday, in keeping with a quaint tradition that began in 1893 to prevent churchgoers' horses from being startled by noise from the parade. This year's theme, "Echoes of Success," is a vaguely cheery salute to generosity and unselfishness, and the parade is led by a triumvirate of Olympic athletes — Janet Evans, Allyson Felix and Greg Louganis — one of just a handful of times that multiple grand marshals have been chosen. Lavishly decorated like gigantic cakes frosted with intricate layers of flower petals, the parade's celebrated floats will drift like slow-moving clouds over to the intersection of Sierra Madre Boulevard and East Washington Boulevard for more public viewing on Monday afternoon and Tuesday. Colorado & Orange Grove boulevards, Pasadena; Mon., Jan. 2, 8 a.m.; free-$68. tournamentofroses.com. —Falling James

In the spring of 1981, tensions between police and South London's African-Caribbean population boiled over, resulting in a three-day riot known as Brixton Rising. After the fact, Margaret Thatcher would refuse to recognize that racism, rampant unemployment and widespread income inequality were contributing factors that led to the riots, but a positive outcome was the surge in black indie filmmaking in Great Britain. The Hammer program The Workshop Years: Black British Film and Video After 1981 revisits the film and video work of collectives such as Black Audio Film Collective, Sankofa Film and Video Collective and Ceddo Film and Video Workshop to reveal the ways in which they subverted the mainstream media. Something tells us it'll be instructive even today. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., Jan. 3, noon-4 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Gwynedd Stuart

Upcoming Events

Speaking of rom-coms, Ernst Lubitsch directed some of the greatest ever made (including The Shop Around the Corner, which Ephron loosely remade as You've Got Mail). Among that august company is Trouble in Paradise, an exemplar of the "Lubitsch touch" that countless filmmakers have attempted to emulate. In it, a thief (Herbert Marshall)and a pickpocket (Miriam Hopkins) fall in love and plan to part a perfume mogul from his riches — a scheme that begins to fall apart when their mark's wife enters the picture. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Jan. 3, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

Hot off their appearance at the Rose Parade, Fukushima Honda Tomodachi, a cultural exchange program made up of high schoolers from Fukushima, bring you up-to-date on the effects of the cataclysm that was the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami. They'll explain how they're dealing with this constant nightmare in tandem with a performance led by Hawaiian musician and multiple Grammy winner Daniel Ho. Also included are expansive thoughts and contemplative actions from the members of the Grateful Crane Ensemble's Tohoku Goodwill Tour, which produced entertainment for the benefit of survivors, many of whom lost everything in the disaster. Aratani Theater, Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St., Little Tokyo; Wed., Jan. 4, 8 p.m.; free with RSVP. (213) 628-2725, jaccc.org/tomodachiconcert. —David Cotner


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >