An Armenian film festival, a Patrick Stewart double feature, a chat with Cheech Marin, and more to do and see in L.A. this week.
Artistic director Amit Itelman founded the Steve Allen Theater in 2003 — and its resident, nonprofit arts organization Trepany House in 2012 — hosting theater, comedy, music, horror and magic shows, including such staples as Tomorrow! With Ron Lynch, 2 Headed Dog, Puppetzilla Puppet Slam and Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys, not to mention performances by Louis C.K., Marc Maron, Eddie Izzard, Bob Odenkirk, David Cross and Fred Armisen. Earlier this year, Itelman announced that the 99-seat theater, which is housed in the Center for Inquiry West, will be demolished and replaced by new development. Sadly, tonight is The Last Night of the Steve Allen Theater and the lineup features Lynch, Klein, 2 Headed Dog, Bruce McCulloch, Kimmy Robertson, Max Maven, Crissy Guererro, Brendon Small, Jerry Minor, Kristian Hoffman, Jesse Merlin and other artists who've been regulars at the theater. So wish the Los Feliz institution a fond farewell, whether you want to be a part of its history or just want to party. Trepany House at the Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Fri., Nov. 3, 8 p.m.; $20 & $50. (323) 666-4268, trepanyhouse.org. —Siran Babayan
In addition to highlighting Armenian filmmakers and their subject matter, the 20th Arpa International Film Festival showcases works by artists from around the world who focus on cross-cultural themes. This year's 34 features, shorts and documentaries from 16 countries run the gamut from opening night's Dalida, about the late Egyptian-born French-Italian pop singer, and Listen to Me: Untold Stories Beyond Hatred, about the LGBT community in Armenia, to The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille, about the central California location where 1956's The Ten Commandments was filmed. As usual, the festival offers further insight into the Armenian genocide, including Intent to Destroy: Death, Denial and Depiction by Joe Berlinger (the Paradise Lost trilogy, Metallica's Some Kind of Monster), which examines Turkey's denial of the genocide and the making of this year's Oscar Isaac–starring drama The Promise. The schedule culminates in an awards ceremony honoring Alexander Dinelaris, Carl Weathers, The Promise director Terry George and Chris Cornell, who contributed to the movie's soundtrack. Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Nov. 3, 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 4-5, 11 a.m.; $15-$250. (323) 461-2020, arpafilmfestival.com. —Siran Babayan
Patrick Stewart's rise from British thespian to movie superstar is, in retrospect, unexpected and wholly earned. The American Cinematheque has programmed a double feature that shows two sides of this beloved actor's film career. In Logan, he quietly gathers sympathy as Professor X, the world's most powerful telepath, now suffering from a destructive brain disease. In Match, he vanishes into the role of a Juilliard ballet instructor suddenly confronted with the ghosts of his past. Taken together, they demonstrate Stewart's deft, compassionate touch. Stewart will appear for a discussion in between films. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Nathaniel Bell
Technically Día de los Muertos ended Nov. 2, but on Saturday Boyle Heights gallery Self Help Graphics & Art hosts its 44th annual Día de los Muertos Celebration. The evening features a traditional ceremonial blessing, young musicians from the Eastside, craft and food vendors, live music from Almalafa Mexican Ska and Morrissey tribute band Mariachi Manchester, and scads of people dressed in only the finest skeletal calaca outfits. Self Help Graphics & Art, 1300 E. First St., Boyle Heights; Sat., Nov. 4, 5 p.m.; free. (323) 881-6444, selfhelpgraphics.com. —David Cotner
Now in its eighth year, El Velorio gathers over 100 artists in a benefit for Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts & Education, a venue founded in 1970 to promote culture on L.A.'s Eastside. This year's edition of El Velorio comes complete with a Harley Davidson bike show, fashions by designer Loretta Vampz, and two stages worth of live musicians and DJs providing nonstop entertainment. Like most Día de los Muertos celebrations, this one features face painting along with food, arts and crafts vendors. Mourners/revelers also will have a chance to check out Día de los Muertos works by artists created exclusively for the event, proving once and for all that, when it comes to the Day of the Dead, some funerals can actually be fun. Plaza de la Raza, 3540 N. Mission Road, Lincoln Park; Sat., Nov. 4, 7 p.m.-1 a.m.; $30-$60. (323) 223-2475, elvelorio.eventbrite.com. —Tanja M. Laden
Considerable attention is afforded the dead and undead surrounding Halloween, but throughout Latin American and Latin American communities in the U.S., another celebration follows with Día de los Muertos, combining reverent remembrance of forebears and a solid dose of revelry, perhaps fueled by heightened appreciation of being alive. Now in its 16th year, Gema Sandoval and her Danza Floricanto/USA offer a most polished combination of reflection and jubilance. In addition to shows next week at the troupe's home in East Los Angeles, the group brings its popular Día de Los Muertos celebration to West Hollywood this week. Lee Strasberg Creative Center, Marilyn Monroe Theater, 7936 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; Sat., Nov. 4, 8 p.m. (also at Floricanto Center for the Performing Arts Nov. 11 & 12); $20, $15 in advance. danzafloricantousa.com/store.php. —Ann Haskins
The sight of young people smoking cannabis lost its edge long before Proposition 64 passed, but oh, to see it in 1958! High School Confidential, intended as a lightly shocking piece of Beat-sploitation, has aged into a fine piece of cheese. Russ Tamblyn stars as a knife-wielding hipster ("Too young to be careful, too tough to be afraid!" as the trailer exclaims) commercially constructed to titillate the kids and terrify the grownups. Jerry Lee Lewis even drops in for a cameo. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Sat., Nov. 4, 11:59 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Nathaniel Bell
Lin-Manuel Miranda spent some six years creating Hamilton. The cast of UCB's Shamilton! An Improvised American Musical will spend just a few seconds. Co-directed by Al Samuels and Peter Gwinn, actors Joey Bland, Ross Bryant, Amanda Blake Davis, Chris Grace, John Hartman, Lucas Kavner, Jiavani Linayao, Jessica McKenna, Zeke Nicholson, Zach Reino, Ashley Ward and Lou Wilson will ask the audience to suggest a historical or popular figure, accompanied by three interesting facts about him or her. (Past characters have included everyone from Genghis Khan and Rasputin to Mark Wahlberg and Kim Kardashian.) They then improvise an entire, 75-minute musical, complete with story, lyrics, choreography and a live band. It may be the next best thing to seeing Hamilton, and the ticket price is cheaper than the cost of parking at the Pantages. A former writer for The Colbert Report, Gwinn is the founder of another musical improv group at UCB, Baby Wants Candy!, which counts Aidy Bryant, Thomas Middleditch and Jack McBrayer as alumni. UCB Sunset, 5419 Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood; Sun., Nov. 5, 9 p.m.; $7. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan
Griffith Park has come a long way since its humble beginnings as an ostrich farm. Beginning in 1919, following the death of its founder Griffith J. Griffith (yes, that was really his name), the park expanded to include the Greek Theatre and Griffith Observatory, and has since become an L.A. landmark as a whole. Now, thanks to the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, along with the L.A. Parks Foundation and the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild, there's the Griffith Park Fall Festival, which features live music, food, games and local craft brews. The whole event is designed to be car-free, complete with a bike valet and pedestrian street. Everyone is welcome, including dogs (just make sure they're leashed). Griffith Park, 4740 Crystal Springs Drive, Griffith Park; Sun., Nov. 5, noon-4 p.m., free. laparksfoundation.org. —Tanja M. Laden
Blue Roof Studios in South L.A. is a new event space and "arts hub" that's aiming to be a kind of community center as well. To celebrate its opening, the founders are putting on a dinner, the proceeds from which will go to Big City Forum's community-based projects. At the Big City Forum Dinner, food will be provided by RootDown L.A., an urban farm that gets kids into vegetables; the beer comes from Pasadena's Craftsman Brewing. When else can you support so many good causes all at once? Blue Roof Studios, 7329 S. Broadway, Florence; Sun., Nov. 5, 5-9 p.m.; $40-$60. eventbrite.com/e/big-city-forum-community-dinner-tickets-38796697968. —Katherine Spiers
Best known as one-half of legendary stoner comedy duo Cheech and Chong, Cheech Marin is also a prolific art collector. Since the 1990s, the actor and director has amassed more than 700 examples of Chicano art, some of which have been on loan to museums, including LACMA's 2008 exhibit "Los Angelenos/Chicano Painters of L.A.: Selections From the Cheech Marin Collection." And earlier this year it was announced that Marin is establishing the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry in Riverside, the only museum in the country that will showcase exclusively Mexican-American art. Tonight, LACMA hosts The Director's Series: Michael Govan and Cheech Marin, during which Marin will discuss his contributions to the museum's current exhibit, "Playing With Fire: Paintings by Carlos Almaraz" (through Dec. 3). LACMA, Bing Theater, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Mon., Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m.; free, tickets required. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org. —Siran Babayan
Lucrecia Martel's 2001 breakout feature, La Ciénaga, announced a major talent in world cinema. The story of a well-to-do Argentine family's summer vacation reverberates with disturbing undertones even while nothing of consequence appears to be happening. Each carefully composed image seems ready to erupt into violence, while the densely layered soundtrack keeps the viewer continually on edge. Martel will be present to discuss her film. Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Mon., Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m.; $5. (310) 247-3000, oscars.org. —Nathaniel Bell
Beginning on Nov. 2 and continuing through Nov. 19, 14 theater companies from all over the Americas — including L.A.'s very own Latino Theater Company — are holing up at the Los Angeles Theatre Center for Encuentro de las Americas for 17 days of performances that celebrate Latin American voices. Today the programming takes a break from theater for an evening entitled Cinema + Music. The festival screens Chavela, a new documentary about Mexican music icon Chavela Vargas, who toyed with notions of gender before that was a thing to do. The evening also features live music, naturally. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., downtown; Tue., Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m.; free with registration. (866) 811-4111, encuentrodelasamericas.org. —Gwynedd Stuart
Writer-comedian-raconteur Mara Shapshay uses her addiction-riddled, psychologically vexed yet exciting life as fuel to propel a passionate activism around substance abuse and mental health disorders. The ex-Bostonian's 20 years of fast-lane L.A. living culminated in a five-month informal rehab stay in Carrie Fisher's guest house. Now recovered and paying it forward, Shapshay presents The Resistance Variety Show, in conjunction with mental health/storytelling nonprofit This Is My Brave, featuring musicians Peter DiStefano (Porno for Pyros) and Wes Geer (Korn), storyteller Jerry Quickly (KPFK), comedians Ant, Ed Crasnick, Lisa Sundstedt and Greg Behrendt. Comedy Store, 8433 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Tue., Nov. 7, 8 p.m.; $25. (323) 650-6268, thisismybrave.org/events. —Adam Gropman
Dinners for DACA are not fundraisers, they're educational events. Over the course of the evening, organizers will give you all the tips you need for actively supporting the continuation of DACA and the people who have used the program. They'll have handouts, too: letters you can mail to your elected officials. This one at Button Mash will include a dinner of crispy tofu, chicken wings, Brussels sprouts, fried rice and garlic noodles, plus a beer and credits at the restaurant's arcade games. Button Mash, 1391 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Tue., Nov. 7, 7:30-10 p.m.; $35. eventbrite.com/e/dinners-for-daca-button-mash-tickets-38962259166?aff=erelexpmlt. —Katherine Spiers
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Plácido Domingo is a lion in the world of opera. Born in Spain and raised in Mexico, the vocalist came to international attention in the 1960s as a powerful tenor and much later was part of the massively popular supergroup The Three Tenors with José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti; they drew a World Series–size crowd at their landmark appearance at Dodger Stadium in 1994. In recent years, Domingo, who is also a conductor and the longtime general director of L.A. Opera, has switched to baritone roles, and his lower and deeper tone should add forceful gravitas when he continues in his titular role as the Babylonian king in director Thaddeus Strassberger's production of Giuseppe Verdi's biblical epic Nabucco. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Wed., Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m. (through Nov. 19); $25-$350. (213) 972-0777, laopera.org. —Falling James
Industrial music in America is as synonymous with Chicago as deep-dish pizza. Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher opened their Wax Trax! Records shop in the 1970s, first in Denver and later Chicago. In 1980, they launched a subsequent label, which signed punk, new wave, alternative and especially industrial bands, namely Ministry, KMFDM, Front 242, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult and their various side projects. In 1992, the label went bankrupt and was sold to TVT Records; Nash died in 1995, and Flesher in 2010. Directed by Julia Nash (daughter of Jim), the documentary Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records features interviews with more than 40 former staffers, artists and family, who recall how the store and company popularized the industrial genre in the late '80s and early '90s. Tonight's screening includes a panel discussion, moderated by DJ Lance Rock of Yo Gabba Gabba!, with Nash, Frankie Nardiello, Marston Daley, Paul Barker, Chris Connelly and Richard 23, as well as a pop-up shop selling original pressings, apparel and other memorabilia. The Montalban, 1615 N. Vine St., Hollywood; Thu., Nov. 9, 8 p.m.; $25 & $76. (323) 871-2420, themontalban.com. —Siran Babayan
Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly is one of the great modern movies. Based on a Mickey Spillane potboiler, it chronicles the increasingly dangerous attempts of private eye Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) to locate a suitcase ("the Great Whatsit") that emits an ominous, unearthly glow when opened. The ostensible hero is an antisocial sadist, the location photography is outstanding, and the ferocious screenplay by A.I. Bezzerides sets the stakes no lower than the survival of the entire human race. Laemmle's Throwback Thursdays presents this late noir masterpiece in partnership with Eat/See/Hear. Laemmle NoHo, 5420 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Thu., Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com. —Nathaniel Bell