22 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Sarah Michelle Gellar is radiant and she wrote a cookbook. Go say hi on Monday.
Sarah Michelle Gellar is radiant and she wrote a cookbook. Go say hi on Monday.
Gretchen Easton

Hamilton-themed burlesque, a Bette and Joan double feature, an exhibit dedicated to author Octavia Butler and more to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 4/7

Monster movies wouldn't have quite the same impact without really convincing monster makeup. I mean, without his melted, fresh-from-the-boiler-room face, Freddy Krueger is just a really annoying guy who won't let teenagers sleep. The three-day horror-effects extravaganza Monsterpalooza returns to Pasadena with an insane roster of exhibitors (250 of them), plus celebrity guests from the makeup community and the horror community at large. Among the luminaries slated to appear are Piper Laurie, Tom Savini, William Katt, George Wendt, Nancy Allen, Ve Neill and Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund. Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena; Fri., April 7, 6-11 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., April 8-9, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; $30 each day, $70 for three-day pass. monsterpalooza.com/spring/index.html. —Gwynedd Stuart

Still waiting to see Hamilton? No worries, Hamiltease Vol. 1: Wait for It will sate your inner musical geek for the time being. Local favorites Peepshow Menagerie have burlesqued everything from Morrissey to the Haunted Mansion, and now they're joining forces with Vamptastic Productions, led by award-winning burlesque artist Tas DeVille, for this sendup of the Broadway blockbuster. The tease may steal the show, but there will be more than costume flinging here. The super fans from Cabinet of Hamiltunes L.A. have a sing-along session in store, and there will be a cosplay contest too. Fais Do Do, 5257 W. Adams Blvd., West Adams; Fri., April 7, 9 p.m.; $15. (323) 931-4636, peepshowmenagerie.com. —Liz Ohanesian

Part performance artist, part comedian, all professional weirdo, Jibz Cameron, known by her stage name Dynasty Handbag, creates theatrical works that revel in the grotesque, the bizarre and the absurd. They are also very, very funny. After performing at highbrow cultural institutions such as the Broad and the Hammer Museum, Cameron brings her one-woman show I, an Moron to the Cavern Club Celebrity Theater, fittingly located in the basement of a Silver Lake Mexican restaurant. Named after I, an Actress, a film by godfather of underground camp cinema George Kuchar, I, an Moron features Cameron's histrionic musings on current events, success, "white women having babies," living in L.A. and, of course, Rihanna. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Fri.-Sat., April 7-8, 9 p.m.; $20. (323) 662-4255, dynastyhandbag.com/calenderrr/2017/4/7/i-an-moron-at-cavern-club. —Matt Stromberg

"The ordinary Japanese actor might need 10 feet of film to get across an impression," Akira Kurosawa once said of his most frequent collaborator. "Toshiro Mifune needed only 3 feet." Every movie the two made together is worth seeking out — and there are a lot, from Seven Samurai and Rashomon to Yojimbo and Throne of Blood — but Red Beard has special significance insofar as it was also their last. Mifune, recently the subject of an affectionate documentary, plays the director of a 19th-century clinic in one of Kurosawa's best, most humanistic offerings. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri.-Sat., April 7-8, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

sat 4/8

On Friday, April 7, beer drinkers will celebrate National Beer Day much as they celebrate every other day — by cracking a cold one. And on Saturday, 80 local, national and international breweries keep the party going at the ninth annual L.A. Beer Festival. Eighty breweries — including L.A.'s own Boomtown, Angel City, Indie Brewing and Santa Monica Brew Works — are pouring more than 200 brews, from stinky IPAs to the darkest stouts. All the beer you can (responsibly) drink is included in the price of admission, and food is sold separately for sopping up the sudsy stuff. Bonus: Proceeds benefit local dog-rescue organization Noah's Bark. Bottoms up! Los Angeles Center Studios, 450 S. Bixel St., Westlake; Sat., April 8, noon-3 p.m. & 5-8 p.m.; $45-$80. drinkeatplay.com/labeerfest. —Gwynedd Stuart

Last year, Jason Reitman took a break from Live Read at Film Independent at LACMA, his popular monthly series of celebrity readings of such movies as The Breakfast Club, Reservoir Dogs, The Graduate, Goodfellas, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Big Lebowski, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Dr. Strangelove. In response to our current administration, Reitman and Mr. Mudd, the film production company co-founded by John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith, present this 10th-anniversary Live Read of Reitman's Oscar-nominated 2007 comedy-drama Juno, featuring original cast members Ellen Page as the titular pregnant teen and Jennifer Garner as the adoptive mom, with other actresses filling the male roles. (Reitman has previously directed all-female readings of Glengarry Glen Ross and Stand by Me.) Additional cast members will be announced a few days before the event. Proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Sat., April 8, 7:30 p.m.; $25-$150. (213) 235-9614, acehotel.com/calendar/losangeles/juno-live-read. —Siran Babayan

The Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens dedicates its latest exhibit, "Octavia E. Butler: Telling My Stories," to the life and career of the African-American science-fiction author, who was the only science-fiction writer to win the MacArthur Genius Grant. Since 2008, the museum has housed the literary archives of Butler, who was born in Pasadena and would have turned 70 on June 22 of this year (she died in 2006). Central to her work were subjects of race, gender, slavery and politics. The display features approximately 100 items, including journal entries, photographs, personal notes and first editions of her books, especially the 1979 best-selling novel Kindred. Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino; Sat., April 8, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (through Aug. 7); $23, $19 seniors & students, $10 children, free under 4. (626) 405-2100, huntington.org. —Siran Babayan

Corey Ryan Forrester, Trae "Liberal Redneck" Crowder and Drew Morgan come to town on the wellRED Comedy Tour on Thursday.
Corey Ryan Forrester, Trae "Liberal Redneck" Crowder and Drew Morgan come to town on the wellRED Comedy Tour on Thursday.
Nicol Biesek

sun 4/9

KCRW's yearlong series Going Gray in L.A.: Stories of Aging Along Broadway looked at how the elderly in Los Angeles are make a living and coping with the aging process along an 18-mile stretch of Broadway that runs through neighborhoods including Lincoln Heights, Chinatown, downtown and South L.A. Produced by Ruxandra Guidi, the stories are accompanied by photographs by her husband, Roberto (Bear) Guerra, of senior citizens shopping and taking the bus, practicing tai chi, attending dances at community centers and living in senior housing developments. KCRW hosts Going Gray in L.A.: How Are Seniors Faring in the Big City?, a photography exhibit and panel discussion, featuring station anchor Jonathan Bastian, Guidi and Guerra, as well as Brandi Orton of St. Barnabas Senior Services, Kenwood Jung of Chinatown Community for Equitable Development and Michelle Cotton, a family caregiver. Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., downtown; Sun., April 9, 2 p.m.; free with reservation. events.kcrw.com/events/goinggraylive. —Siran Babayan

The spring edition of REDCAT Studio, a quarterly showcase of new and in-progress dance and performance, arrives with six offerings curated by dancer Wilfried Souly and visual artist Christine Marie. Watch for the always inventive choreographer Meg Wolfe in a duet with dancer Myrrhia Jade; a solo from choreographer Abagail Fritz inspired by photographer Edward Burtynsky and scientist Masaru Emoto; and L.A.-based Mihwa Koo with Ohio-based Ani Javian as they reconsider the "duet" with one dancing live and the other on a screen. Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, REDCAT Studio has an enviable track record for giving artists a place to launch new work and illustrates how the endangered NEA provides the wind that allows artists' ideas to take flight. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Sun.-Mon., April 9-10, 8:30 p.m., $15, $12 student. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org. —Ann Haskins

The short La Jetée will probably always be better known, but Sans Soleil is in some respects Chris Marker's most distinctive film. In addition to showcasing the French auteur's feline obsession, this nonfiction treatise on travel, memory and the movies explores "two extreme poles of survival" (namely, Japan and Guinea-Bissau), with many stops along the way. Cinefamily presents it on 35mm as part of La Collectionneuse, the theater's monthly French cine-salon. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Sun., April 9, 7 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine

mon 4/10

So you want to be a stand-up comic? You can earn the title of "Fastest Joke Slinger in the Westside" at Westside Comedy Theater's sixth annual Westside Stand-Up Showdown comedy festival. Hosted by previous winners and finalists, 70 emerging comedians chosen from a group of more than 200 entrants compete for a week in front of comedy-industry judges for a chance to nab $500 in prizes and meetings. Past winners have gone on to perform on Conan, Last Comic Standing and Adam Devine's House Party. The competition also features panel discussions on various topics, such as Comedy Central, comedy festivals, late-night bookings and women in comedy. M.i.'s Westside Comedy Theater, 1323-A Third St. Promenade, Santa Monica; Mon.-Thu., April 10-13, 6:30-10 p.m.; $5, free admission for panels. (310) 451-0850, westsidecomedy.com. —Siran Babayan

Sarah Michelle Gellar is really good at getting people to help her with things, whether it's fighting demons on Buffy or tormenting Reese Witherspoon in Cruel Intentions. Now she has her kids involved. This evening Gellar presents Stirring Up Fun With Food: Over 115 Simple, Delicious Ways to Be Creative in the Kitchen. Brimming with a plethora of easy and allegedly delicious recipes, it's the perfect way to bring everyone together at home for one of those ever-dwindling chances to actually act like a family for a change. Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Mon., April 10, 7 p.m.; free, book is $28. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —David Cotner

Upcoming Events

Ben Wheatley has yet to match his singularly disturbing Kill List, but hope springs eternal. His latest attempt, the feature-length shootout that is Free Fire, screens early as part of USC's ongoing Outside the Box [Office] series; like all such events, this one is free but requires a reservation. Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Sharlto Copley are among the belligerents on both sides of an arms deal gone wrong, and though many (if not most) of them are surely not long for this fictional world, Wheatley and his screenwriting partner/wife, Amy Jump, are known to have their characters depart in memorable fashion. USC, 900 W. 34th St., University Park; Mon., April 10, 7 p.m.; free, RSVP required. (213) 740-2804, facebook.com/groups/223769338060863.

tue 4/11

As fake news increasingly makes its way through social media feeds, maybe it's time to ask where the phenomenon stands in the face of free speech. But first, there needs to be a consensus about the definition of "fake news" itself. David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, joins constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh and writing professor Mark Marino in a timely discussion titled Fake News and the First Amendment: How to Tell Fact From Fiction. Moderated by KPCC's Alex Cohen, the conversation examines the impact of our Constitution on fake news, as well as the myriad legal repercussions involved. The Crawford Family Forum, 474 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; Tue., April 11, 7-8:30 p.m.; free with RSVP. (626) 583-5100, scpr.org/events/2017/04/11/2270/fake-news-and-the-first-amendment-how-to-tell-fact. —Tanja M. Laden

Mise-en-scène is the most difficult of all cinematic terms to put in words. If looking it up provides little clarity, try acquainting yourself with the films of Josef von Sternberg, whose Shanghai Express plays at midday on 35mm. The Austrian-born filmmaker had a rich, lavish aesthetic that paired perfectly with frequent leading lady Marlene Dietrich, whom von Sternberg helped make a star in The Blue Angel. Their fourth collaboration (of a total seven) was also their most successful, bringing in more money than any other film released in 1932. In it, Dietrich plays a woman who encounters a former lover while en route to Shanghai on a rather eventful train ride. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., April 11, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

Learn about Kosher soul food from writer-chef Michael W. Twitter on Thursday.
Learn about Kosher soul food from writer-chef Michael W. Twitter on Thursday.
Courtesy Jacob W. Dillow

wed 4/12

Los Angeles has a proud history of grilled cheese consumption, and La Brea Bakery used to make grilled cheese parties a regular event. There hasn't been one in a year, but as it happens, April is Grilled Cheese Month according to the gods of consumerism. So of course the party's back! At Grilled Cheese Night, a DJ will play you through the many varieties of wine available, as well as the passed sandwiches: cheddar, brie and fontina with tomato soup; taleggio, roasted mushrooms and roasted garlic on Kalamata olive bread; havarti, house-cured gravlax and red onion compote on pumpernickel; and about four more sandwich varieties. All this plus a professional cheese stretcher! La Brea Bakery Cafe, 468 S. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park; Wed., April 12, 7-10 p.m.; $35. eventbrite.com/e/la-brea-bakery-grilled-cheese-night-april-12-2017-tickets-32663359989. —Katherine Spiers

Here's the deal: People keep feeding the birds around Venice Beach, just as a colony of endangered Southern California least terns is developing, and because so many crows are hanging out and eating tern eggs and chicks, things have taken a tern for the worse. Tonight the Los Angeles Audubon Society presents Erich Eberts discussing Terns and Crows: Lessons in Endangered Shorebird Management From Venice Beach. Find out about new methods of nonlethal predator control, such as systems that use electricity, or just enjoy the million-dollar view — but stop feeding the birds, all right? Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, 6300 Hetzler Road, Culver City; Wed., April 12, 7-9 p.m.; free. (323) 876-0202, losangelesaudubon.org. —David Cotner

If you're the sort to go see Cinemania at a repertory theater 15 years after it was first released, chances are you're not unlike the film's subjects. Angela Christlieb and Stephen Kijak's documentary follows five of New York City's most devoted cinephiles in what ends up being more a portrait of obsession than a celebration of movie magic. They arrange nearly every aspect of their lives around screening schedules, with some partaking in low-fiber diets that ensure their enjoyment of rare archival prints won't be interrupted by trips to the bathroom. Perhaps it's time for a Los Angeles–set spinoff/sequel? Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Wed., April 12, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine

thu 4/13

The Skirball Cultural Center hosts Kosher/Soul: Black and Kosher Foodways with chef and food writer Michael W. Twitty. Originally from Washington, D.C., Twitty is an African-American Jew who runs the blog Afroculinaria and teaches Judaic studies. In his first talk, Twitty discusses his experiences being both African-American and Jewish. In his second talk, he discusses the African-American/Jewish relationship with food and shares recipe samples from his forthcoming first cookbook, The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South, in which he looks at both the history of and his family's connection to Southern cuisine. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Thu., April 13, 2 & 8 p.m.; free for afternoon session, $20 for evening session. (310) 440-4500, skirball.org. —Siran Babayan

Calling himself the "Liberal Redneck," Trae Crowder is a Tennessee-native comedian, who rants on YouTube about politics and current events — everything from Trump to Black Lives Matter to transgender bathrooms — but from a surprisingly leftist point of view. Attracting millions of hits, those viral videos led to the wellRED Comedy Tour (which sold out last month at Largo), featuring fellow Tennessee stand-up comics Corey Ryan Forrester and Drew Morgan, and to the trio's 2016 book, The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Outta the Dark. Crowder has appeared on Real Time With Bill Maher and The View, and regularly as the resident "Hillbilly-in-Chief" on the New York Daily News' YouTube channel. Crowder is even developing a Fox sitcom based on his life. Largo, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Thu., April 13, 8 p.m. (doors 7 p.m.); $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —Siran Babayan

John Cassavetes specialized in close-quarters character studies, making the genre thrills of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie all the more notable. Ben Gazzara, who also appeared in the writer-director's Husbands and Opening Night, is our guide through the smoke-filled bars and clubs of a seedy L.A. underbelly that Cassavetes can't help but make seem coolly alluring. Rest assured that this one lives up to the promise of its lethal title, which hints at but doesn't fully convey the criminal element seen in what might be Cassavetes' most visually arresting film. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., April 13, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu. —Michael Nordine

Anyone watching Feud: Bette and Joan who's yet to see What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? would do well to fill that blind spot at the Egyptian. Robert Aldrich's film, often lauded with backhanded praise as a camp classic, kicks off a series revolving around Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, which includes the equally essential Johnny Guitar (on Friday) and All About Eve (on Saturday). Here, the two larger-than-life personalities contend with one another as sisters (one a former child star, the other a paraplegic) in a Hollywood mansion. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., April 13, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine


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