9 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week

Lost & Found Film Club: The Gong Show on Wednesday is sure to be funny. And loud.
Lost & Found Film Club: The Gong Show on Wednesday is sure to be funny. And loud.
Courtesy Cinefamily

From a evening with "Opposite Bob Dylan" to a screening of a punk-rock documentary, there's all sorts of stuff to do in L.A. this week for 10 bucks or less.

Before you see Bob Dylan live in June, you might want to check out what could be the oddest tribute ever to the troubadour. In Opposite Bob Dylan's Unfunny Non—April Fools Day Show, Emmy-nominated comedian and writer Craig Rowin (UCB, Adult Swim, @midnight, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire) impersonates Dylan, except he says and sings everything in reverse. So if you're familiar with the Dylan albums Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, you'll probably be able to follow along to Rowin's Highway 16 Visited for the Very First Time and Brunette Off Brunette. For April Fools Day, Rowin gathers fellow UCB cast members, including Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch, Saturday Night Live alum John Milhiser, plus Jon Gabrus, John Gemberling and Jenn Bartels, who'll each perform their own comedic routine, which may or may not involve punking the audience. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., April 1, 10:30 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

One of the most famous musicals of the pre-Code era, Gold Diggers of 1933 is the most revered adaptation of Avery Hopwood's play of almost the same name for a reason. Lewd subject matter, Busby Berkeley's direction of the iconic musical sequences and playful performances combine to make the self-proclaimed "show of a thousand wonders" a distinctly enjoyable song-and-dance act. Sequels followed, none of them attaining the same cultural cachet. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; Fri., April 1, 8:15 p.m.; Sat., April 2, 2:30 & 8:15 p.m.; $10. (310) 322-2592, oldtownmusichall.org—Michael Nordine

Among the many off-site events taking place during the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference & Bookfair (AWP) is the third annual Rock and Roll Reading. Created by Kansas State University associate professor Daniel Hoyt, and previously held in AWP host cities Seattle and Minneapolis, the reading series invites writers to present fiction and nonfiction works, each lasting the average length of a rock song and each inspired by a rock artist; in the past, subjects of the works have included Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Prince, Kurt Cobain and Jon Bon Jovi. Some of tonight's dozen-plus L.A.-and-beyond writers — Alice Bolin, Stephen Burt, Melissa Chadburn, Jerry Gabriel, Eleanor Henderson and more — are also musicians and singers, and they'll perform music during their readings. The Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park; Sat., April 2, 4 p.m.; free. (213) 413-8200, theecho.com. —Siran Babayan

Aside from marrying someone for love and then finding out they're a billionaire, what could be better than a Sunday afternoon performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony? Not much, except perhaps if the concert were free — which this one is. Ludwig Van's most popular meisterwerk, along with his Leonore Overture No. 3, are tackled by world-class massed forces including the Colburn Orchestra conducted by David Zinman, Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, Vox Femina Los Angeles and the Northridge Singers. Note that this excellent venue makes a commendable point of offering free cultural events of a similarly high caliber throughout its seasons. Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Sun., April 3, 3 p.m.; free with reservation. (818) 677-3000, valleyperformingartscenter.org. —john Payne

The ongoing, citywide tribute to Chantal Akerman continues with Sud (South) at L.A. Filmforum. Akerman was already planning to make a film about the American South when James Byrd Jr. was murdered by white supremacists in Jasper, Texas, in 1998; the grisly details of the crime and ensuing media attention shaped the scope of Akerman's film. Sud explores the silence, natural environment and weight of history that haunts this region of the country in a way that perhaps only a documentary made by a foreigner could — Akerman was troubled and enthralled by it. Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., April 3, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 466-3456, lafilmforum.org—Michael Nordine 

Within the grimy walls of a classic "grindhouse" theater, you were likely to find a slew of equally grimy films. These sorts of exploitation movies were characterized by relentless depictions of sex, violence and gore decorated with an abundance of twisted humor. Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's deconstructed homage to the genre brought it back into the mainstream in 2007, and the Groundlings' finest reinvent it yet again for the stage with The Naut, an over-the-top, postapocalyptic musical extravaganza for all you scum-of-the-earth types. It's written and directed by and starring Chicago Tribune– and A.V. Club–lauded puppeteer/improviser Colleen Smith, with an original soundtrack by Ian Smith. Groundlings Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave, Fairfax, Mon. April 4, 8 p.m.; $10. (323) 934-4747, groundlings.com. —Neha Talreja

Some countercultures take years to find their intended audience. Case in point: tonight's screening of Positive Force: More Than a Witness, a documentary that exhaustively chronicles the 30-year history of punk activists Positive Force D.C. Filmmaker Robin Bell weaves archival footage of bands including Bikini Kill, Fugazi, Rites of Spring and many others with contemporary interviews with Positive Force co-founders Mark Andersen and Jenny Toomey, along with Ian MacKaye, Jello Biafra and many more. Bell appears tonight with special guests to offer even more perspective on those tumultuous times, the problems of which still remain. Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Tue., April 5, 8 p.m., free. (213) 484-8846, echoparkfilmcenter.org/events/positive-force-more-than-a-witness. —David Cotner

Upcoming Events

For the TCM set, there's always LACMA. This week's Tuesday Matinee is The Maltese Falcon, John Huston's adaptation of the Dashiell Hammett novel — not to mention his directorial debut. Humphrey Bogart is the private eye and Mary Astor is the femme fatale in this film-noir classic, which concerns multiple parties searching for the same thing: a priceless, centuries-old statuette. MacGuffins of this sort tend to bring out the best in people, which often makes for the best movies. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., April 5, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

If you've ever wanted to scream at the screen without having to suffer through MST3K-style comedy, tonight's edition of the Lost & Found Film Club: The Gong Show is the place you should be. The Club's curators pick through a grab bag of 16mm short films and screen them for either your delectation or your scorn, pushing their projectionist to the brink as the golden gong heralds a swift descent into the cinematic storm sewer. You never know just what you'll see at Lost & Found Film Club, and it's that kind of disorientation that has the greatest entertainment value. Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Beverly Grove; Wed., April 6, 10:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —David Cotner


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