Detail from Lezley Saar's Bemused Resignation; her CAAM exhibit is the backdrop for a conversation about the trans experience on Tuesday.
Detail from Lezley Saar's Bemused Resignation; her CAAM exhibit is the backdrop for a conversation about the trans experience on Tuesday.
Courtesy Lezley Saar

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

Black Friday on the farm, Small Business Saturday at local bookstores, a Christmas tree lighting downtown, and more to do and see in L.A. this week for $10 or less.

As time and technology progress, human beings spend more time staring into screens and less time staring into things that really matter, like the squishy faces of barnyard animals. Rather than spending Black Friday feverishly searching Amazon for deals or (God forbid) waiting in line outside a Best Buy, Kindred Spirits Care Farm in the Valley hosts Black Sheep Friday, an opportunity to volunteer around the farm in preparation for its annual holiday dinner while also taking in some of that soothing animal companionship. Executive director Karen Snook will be planting and weeding and then feeding the weeds to fluffy alpacas and friendly goats. You might not go home with a flatscreen TV, but you'll go home with hands smelling like dirt and animal fur, and there's nothing better than that. Kindred Spirits Care Farm, 8335 Winnetka Ave., Winnetka; Fri., Nov. 24, 9 a.m.-noon; free. facebook.com/events/1125970604199599. —Gwynedd Stuart

Organizations Vegans From Mars and LB Vegan put on events for vendors selling food and other items that are free of animal products. Their Green Saturday is billed as a "vegan and cruelty-free holiday marketplace." It's held at the Long Beach Petroleum Company, which is kind of ironic. You'll be able to buy vegan-friendly gifts (soaps, sweatshirts with slogans, etc.) and nosh on a ton of vegan food, from doughnuts to tacos to "deviled eggs." Long Beach Petroleum Club, 3636 Linden Ave., Long Beach; Sat. Nov. 25, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; $5. greensaturdayla.com. —Katherine Spiers

This is the time of year when everyone shops at big retailers. Indies First, held every November on Small Business Saturday, however, brings together readers, authors and publishers at events across the country to promote independent bookstores. Los Angeles has innumerable independent and niche bookstores, and today, three of the city's biggest — Book Soup, Vroman's and Skylight Books — collectively host more than a dozen local authors who'll not only sign their books but give reading recommendations on everything from fiction and nonfiction to poetry and graphic novels. At Book Soup: Michelle Latiolais, Justin Torres, Heidi Mastrogiovanni, Dan Lopez and Janelle Brown; at Vroman's: Kwei Quartey, Attica Locke, Curtis Armstrong and Rachel Ignotofsky; and at Skylight Books: Brandy Colbert, Carina Chocano, Meg Howrey, Mandy Kahn, Michelle Tea and Vanessa Davis. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Sat., Nov. 25, 1-4 p.m.; (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com. Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Siran Babayan

Since the day after Halloween, we've all been whining about how it's way too early for Christmas festivities to begin invading our lives. Well, time flies when you're having fun telling the holiday spirit to piss off. Now Thanksgiving has come and gone, and it's officially time for Bing Crosby and roasting chestnuts and illuminated baby Jesuses, whether you like it or not. A highlight of the season (literally) is the L.A. County Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Grand Park, featuring holiday chamber music, performances by local talent, hot chocolate for all and, of course, a massive tree decked out with a blinding array of lights and ornaments. The holiday spirit has arrived — let it in. Grand Park's Fountain Overlook, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Mon., Nov. 27, 5-6 p.m.; free. grandparkla.org. —Gwynedd Stuart

In María Novaro's Danzón, a struggling single mother from Mexico City embarks on a journey to find her missing dance partner, but her quest soon develops into a full-blown existential crisis. A subtle feminist treatise that sees friendship between women as a viable alternative to romantic love, the film is often included among the great Mexican films of its era. Writer-director Novaro will appear on a panel following a screening of a 35mm print courtesy of the Mexican Film Institute. Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Mon., Nov. 27, 7:30 p.m.; $5. (310) 247-3000, oscars.org. —Nathaniel Bell

Vegans tend to be ridiculed. At UCB's second annual Los Angeles Vegan Comedy Festival, which fittingly takes place right after Thanksgiving, the meatiest time of the year, vegans are the ones making the jokes. Though not exactly a festival in size, it's perhaps the only comedy event in the country dedicated to a dietary restriction. It's hosted by Andrew Michaan and Zach Sherwin and features stand-up comics who share the same lifestyle, such as Andrée Vermeulen, Dave Thomason, Jessica Sele and Pete Holmes, star of HBO's excellent series Crashing, who's currently writing a book on religion. The lineup also includes lone vegetarian comedian Preacher Lawson. They're not trying to push their agenda — or are they? — but only want to make us laugh, and maybe poke fun at themselves. UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood Hills; Tue., Nov. 28, 9:30 p.m.; $7. (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

Los Angeles mixed-media artist Lezley Saar's latest work is the subject of California African American Museum's current exhibit, "Lezley Saar: Salon des Refusés" (through Feb. 18). Inspired by 19th-century Paris salons, the collection features three series of portraits, Madwoman in the Attic/Madness in the Gaze, Monad and Gender Renaissance, in addition to Saar's books, which incorporate paint, fabric and digital photos as they explore biracial and gender identity issues. In conjunction with the display, the museum hosts TRANSflective: A Conversation on the Beauty of the Transgender Experience, featuring City of Los Angeles commissioner Ceri Zamora, transgender actress-activist Jazzmun Crayton, transgender author Ryka Aoki and Saar, who'll discuss not only her art but her experience raising a transgender son. California African American Museum, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park; Tue., Nov. 28, 7-9 p.m.; free. (213) 744-2084, caamuseum.org. —Siran Babayan

LACMA's Tuesday Matinees series finishes its three-week tribute to Lupe Velez, the Latina movie star whose tragically short-lived movie career secured her a place in the Hollywood firmament. Redhead From Manhattan is a B-movie lark featuring Velez in a dual role as twin sisters, one a Broadway star, the other a survivor of a recently torpedoed ocean liner. The two inevitably swap identities, resulting in some mild hijinks. Rarely screened anywhere since its original 1943 release, the musical is a window into wartime American culture and mores. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Nov. 28, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell

In her new YouTube videos, Black Girl in a Big Dress, Aydrea Walden plays Adrienne, a modern African-American woman who's so into Victorian-era cosplay, including wearing hoop skirts, bodices and high-button shoes, she often blurs the line between fantasy and reality. Walden will screen selections from the eight videos and join host Jenn Meyer, as well as web series cast members Joe Manente, Lynn Stein and Sarah Ann Masse and Nick Afka Thomas of comedy duo We Are Thomasee, who'll perform stand-up, sketches and storytelling. A former reporter for the Seattle Times, Walden is a comedian, actress and screenwriter. Her last one-woman show at the Hudson Theater, 2015's The Oreo Experience, was based on another web series and satirical blog about a "total whitey in a black chick's body." Comedy Central Stage at the Hudson Theater, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood.; Thu., Nov. 30, 8 p.m.; free with resv. (323) 960-5519, comedycentralstage.com. —Siran Babayan

Since launching in September, Los Angeles Filmforum's ambitious series Ism Ism Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America has channeled a wealth of alternative cinema into theaters across Los Angeles. Tonight at the Hammer Museum, a program of short films salutes experimental women filmmakers from Latin America. Works screening include Narcisa Hirsch's Taller (Workshop), a 16mm essay inspired by the work of Michael Snow. The selections complement Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985, currently on display at the Hammer. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Thu., Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 206-8013, hammer.ucla.edu. —Nathaniel Bell

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