20 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week
L.A. Pride Week kicks off on Monday.
An enormous harp sets up atop a downtown skyscraper, a celebration of bread at Grand Central Market, a film fest highlights Mexico, and more fun stuff to do and see in L.A. this week.
Police brutality is no laughing matter, but the sketch show Who Shot Dayquan? manages to find the humor in one of the biggest social issues of our time. Comedy troupe the Edgeucation have not performed for almost a decade since their last sketch show, 2008's History of the Black Man. Here, the story revolves around fictional, 17-year-old Dayquan Mitchell, who's killed by an LAPD officer, though the audience is left to determine who's responsible: Dayquan or the police? Directed by Kamal Abdul-Jabbaar, cast members Kareem Grimes, Sarah Burton, Dion Lack, Kyle Erby, Vertina Love, Mike Wyman, Dave Lease and Dominique Purdy appear in 14 skits — even a musical number — that satirize not only the Black Lives Matter movement but politicians, welfare, gangs and deadbeat dads. ACME Comedy Theatre, 135 N. La Brea Ave., Fairfax; Fri.-Sat., June 2-3, 8 p.m. (through June 24); $25. (323) 525-0202, acmetheatres.org. —Siran Babayan
The harp is normally the gentlest of all musical instruments, its soft plucking of strings evoking the languid ripple of water in a pond and other pastoral idylls. But in musician-inventor William Close's gloved hands, the harp becomes a towering instrument capable of unexpected power and range. At this evening's edition of the free Grand Performances series, the strings of Close's massive Earth Harp will be attached to the top of a 52-story skyscraper above California Plaza to create "the largest playable instrument in the world." The site-specific urban setting actually becomes part of the instrument, shaping its sound as William Close & the Earth Harp Collective — former contestants on America's Got Talent — assemble melodies by everyone from Ludwig van Beethoven and Philip Glass to Lana Del Rey. California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., June 2, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 3, 5 p.m.; free. (213) 687-2190, grandperformances.org. —Falling James
When Marcel Ophuls unveiled The Sorrow and the Pity in 1969, he added a classic to the literature of WWII. Toggling between newsreel footage and modern-day interviews, this 4½-hour documentary compiles an enormous amount of data to create an unblinking picture of what life under Nazi occupation was like. Even if you're familiar with the history, you may emerge feeling as though you've lived through some of it. The 89-year-old Ophuls will appear to introduce the film. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., June 2, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
Culture and technology converge at the debut of i3 Arts Fest, which takes over three venues in downtown L.A. Featuring enormous and responsive art installations, Grand Park temporarily turns into Interaction Park, and a progressive concert experience transforms Grand Performances into Innovation Plaza. Meanwhile, Pershing Square takes the form of Immersion Square, hosting the female-centric i3 Arts Fest Art Car Ball starring Burning Man creation Charlie the Unicorn. Works by more than 30 artists will be on display at the two-day, multidisciplinary celebration, which delivers a wide range of experimental art happenings in what's hopefully going to become an annual affair. Various locations downtown; Sat., June 3 (also Fri., June 2); free, $35-$150 for i3 Arts Fest Art Car Ball. i3artsfest.com. —Tanja M. Laden
Even if you had the means, eating a meal at downtown's 71above, A.O.C. Wine Bar in Beverly Hills and FIG in Santa Monica all in one day would be a time-consuming (and trafficky) prospect. At the Top of the Line Cooking Competition — hosted by the Line Restaurant Talent Agency and judged by, among others, L.A. Weekly food editor Katherine Spiers — features two courses cooked by chefs from all three restaurants: William Prince of A.O.C. is making grilled stone fruit and a poblano relleno; Arvin Bayani of FIG is making tuna poké and short rib adobo; and Eric Chon of 71above is making avocado in green broth and scallops with asparagus. That's six courses and dessert, plus the fun of watching a cooking competition go down in real life. The Park Restaurant, 1400 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Sat., June 3, 7:30-10 p.m.; $62. facebook.com/events/1013219798813315. —Gwynedd Stuart
The Road Warrior (1981) initially was widely regarded as a leaner, louder, more muscular do-over of George Miller's Mad Max. Mel Gibson reprises his role as the rogue cop who finds himself defending, in the style of an old Western, a tight-knit community of post-nuclear desert dwellers against a pack of wheel-bound psychos. The New Beverly will pair it with the recent, universally lauded Mad Max: Fury Road. Miller's belated fourth entry in the series, sturdily supported by a kick-ass Charlize Theron, is a relentlessly exciting chase thriller that adds a potent feminist edge to this testosterone-fueled franchise. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri.-Sat., June 2-3, 7 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Nathaniel Bell
The Los Angeles Bread Festival is back for the third year, and the organizers are putting on that famous butter-churning workout, too. It's the last event of both days: working up a sweat while you churn some butter the old-fashioned way. The whole weekend is free, and if you want to swing by Grand Central Market just to admire some loaves, that's perfectly fine. You can also buy some or attend some of the sessions, which include challah-, pita- and bialy-making demonstrations and talks about refined flours. Plus, there will be plenty of samples. Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, downtown; Sat.-Sun., June 3-4, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (also Sat., June 3); free. grandcentralmarket.com/events/932/3rd-annual-los-angeles-bread-festival-at-grand-central-market. —Katherine Spiers
If the jammed traffic headed to the beach isn't sufficient incentive, Transit Dances offers not one but three good reasons to try the Expo Line. Organized by Donna Sternberg & Dancers, the site-specific event offers three companies — modern dance from Sternberg, South Asian dance from Arpana Dance Company and contemporary jazz dance from JazzAntiqua Dance Ensemble — with the audience viewing dance works at a transit stop before reboarding and moving to the next transit stop for another performance (three stops in all). The event ends within walking distance of the beach — bonus! Expo Line, 26th Street/Bergamot Metro stop, Santa Monica; Sun., June 4, noon & 1 p.m.; $10. transitdances.bpt.me. —Ann Haskins
Horror buffs don't need to be told about Carnival of Souls, the 1962 freakout made for pennies in Kansas by Herk Harvey, but newbies might be inexplicably drawn to its morosely poetic, black-and-white imagery. The threadbare story centers on a church organist (Candace Hilligoss) who survives a drag race and is subsequently haunted by a horde of pasty-faced ghouls. This is one of those shoestringers in which the limited budget works brilliantly; the footage feels as cold and clammy as death itself. Hilligoss herself will be present. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., June 4, 8 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Nathaniel Bell
Hedwig and the Angry Inch screens at Laemmle's NoHo on Thursday.
New Line Cinema
Julio Torres' name may not sound familiar, but his comedy should. Originally from El Salvador, the Brooklyn-based comedian writes for Saturday Night Live, including such recent sketches and digital shorts as "Melania Moments" and "Wells for Boys," in which a lonely, introspective boy plays with a Fisher-Price toy that looks like a well. For a second time at UCB, Torres hosts Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes. In it, Torres sits at a table and plays with knickknacks and other small-scale objects of various shapes: squares, triangles, spheres. Torres tells funny stories inspired by the shapes — some that remind him of celebrities, including Ivanka Trump, Tilda Swinton and Eddie Redmayne — while he projects the entire performance on a screen. Torres is taking his show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and will star in his own stand-up special on Comedy Central in the fall. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., June 5, 10:30 p.m.; $7. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan
In 1969, a brutal police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan's Greenwich Village ignited the gay liberation movement, and a year later, nonprofit advocacy group Christopher Street West helped put together the world's first government-sanctioned gay pride parade. Today, the same organization is behind L.A. Pride Week, which features a series of events designed to bring more visibility to LGBTQ rights. Included are a Women's Party, Trans Party, LGBT Night at Dodger Stadium, the weekend-long L.A. Pride Festival and #ResistMarch, which aims to call attention to not only LGBTQ rights but human rights worldwide. Various locations; Mon., June 5-Sun., June 11; various prices. lapride.org. —Tanja M. Laden
Comedian Chris Fleming is a refreshing reminder that not all YouTube celebrities are talentless millennial a-holes with webcams, too many opinions and way too much time on their hands. Fleming rose to internet prominence playing the title character, Gayle, in a series of webisodes about a Type-A suburban mom on the rampage. He's since gone on to delight fans with genuinely funny YouTube rants about anxiety, his gender (he's a dude who just happens to have long hair) and hooking up with Mike Pence, not to mention viral songs such as "I'm Afraid to Talk to Men," about not feeling adequately masculine, and "Back in the Subaru," about having a tendency to attract lesbians who are giving guys one last shot. The L.A. transplant stops by Largo on his West Coast tour. Largo, 366 N. La Cienega, Beverly Grove; Tue., June 6, 8:30 p.m. (doors 7 p.m.); $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —Gwynedd Stuart
Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, the animated comedy that ran on Comedy Central between 1995 and 2002, was about a nebbishy psychotherapist and single dad (voiced by Jonathan Katz), with a slacker son (H. Jon Benjamin) and an apathetic receptionist (Laura Silverman), who treated the various neuroses of famous patients. Co-created by Tom Snyder using his Squigglevision animation method, the episodes included the voices of David Mamet, Winona Ryder, Jon Stewart, Conan O'Brien, Louis C.K., Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Joan Rivers and Patton Oswalt, among many others. (Best line by divorced Joy Behar: "I want a man in my life, but not in my house.") Earlier this year, Katz starred in a stage version at several comedy festivals, including January's Riot L.A. If you still want to hear what the bald, soft-spoken doctor has been up to after almost 20 years, Audible launches the 15-episode Dr. Katz: The Audio Files on June 8, featuring Sarah Silverman, Ted Danson, Ray Romano, Margaret Cho, "Weird Al" Yankovic and others. To celebrate the series, Cinefamily hosts the taping Dr. Katz: The Audio Files Live!, with Katz, Laura Silverman and special guests. Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Beverly Grove; Tue., June 6, 7:30 p.m.; $25. (323) 330-4412, cinefamily.org. —Siran Babayan
"Early, funny" Woody Allen gave way to "tasteful, dramatic" Woody Allen in the late 1970s, reaching an apotheosis with the trenchant Crimes and Misdemeanors in 1989. Hannah and Her Sisters, made three years prior, is nearly as good: a quilt of New York City life studded with a powerhouse cast. Michael Caine and Dianne Wiest took home Oscars, as did Allen for Best 0riginal Screenplay. If you're a Woody skeptic, this one just might convince you that he was once capable of turning out warm, human-scaled dramas. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., June 6, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell
Before he launched one of the biggest global brands, Walt Disney had far more humble beginnings as a young animator in Los Angeles. Disney and his brother, Roy, set up the Disney Bros. Cartoon Studio at 4649 and 4651 Kingswell Ave. in Los Feliz, and later at 2719 Hyperion Ave., where Mickey Mouse was created and the first full-length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was released. Hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Hollywood Heritage Museum, Evening @ the Barn: Walt's Dream Factory looks at the early history of the Disney studio, including its current location in Burbank, which opened in 1940. Jim Fanning, author of 2015's The Disney Book: A Celebration of the World of Disney, uses rare photographs and clips to explore the studio's backlot, soundstages and buildings from the 1940s to the '60s. The program includes a raffle and display of Disney memorabilia. Hollywood Heritage Museum, 2100 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood Hills; Wed., June 7, 7:30-10 p.m.; $15. (323) 874-4005, hollywoodheritage.org. —Siran Babayan
Although Mexican filmmakers have received a good deal of international attention recently, most of the focus has been on the "Three Amigos of Cinema": Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu. There is a lot more going on in contemporary Mexican cinema, however, than films by these three influential, crossover directors. The largest showcase of Mexican film outside of Mexico, the Hola Mexico Film Festival offers a glimpse at the current crop of emerging Mexico auteurs, screening 20 new movies over five days. The diverse offerings include La Carga, a lush, reimagined Western set against the backdrop of the Spanish conquest; Somos Lengua, a documentary on Mexican hip-hop; and Emiliano Rocha Minter's phantasmagoric, post-apocalyptic horror film Tenemos la Carne. Most screenings are at Regal L.A. Live, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Wed.-Sun., June 7-11. $12 regular screenings. holamexicoff.com. —Matt Stromberg
Before Cinefamily, the boxy auditorium on Fairfax was known only as the Silent Movie Theatre, and it specialized in playing Golden Age Hollywood classics to quiet crowds. The current regime is keeping a flicker of that tradition alive by periodically screening a silent, and tonight it's a great one: Victor Sjöström's The Phantom Carriage (1920). A ghostly tale of sin, remorse and otherworldly judgment, this masterpiece of Scandinavian cinema captured the imagination of a young Ingmar Bergman, who claimed to watch it annually. Pianist-composer Matti Bye will provide musical accompaniment. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Wed., June 7, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Nathaniel Bell
Los Angeles' design aesthetic could best be described as a heterogeneous hodgepodge, with a layering of incongruous styles contributing to the city's characteristic but fractured visual identity. The seventh annual Los Angeles Design Festival celebrates this diversity, with a series of exhibitions, workshops, pop-up showrooms, discussions, tours and screenings. The festival kicks off with an opening-night party at City Market South, featuring music from dublab and a performance by contemporary dance troupe MashUp, followed by three days of programs that explore various perspectives on Angeleno design from architecture and urbanism to furniture, food, fashion, technology and craft. Various locations; Thu.-Sun., June 8-11; $35 opening-night party; prices vary for other events, many free. ladesignfestival.org. —Matt Stromberg
There's a moment in each Ojai afternoon when the sun bows to the horizon, lighting the sky ablaze in a technicolor sunset. They call it "the pink moment," a nearly hallucinogenic experience that pairs exceptionally well with the 71st Ojai Music Festival, the outdoor concert series highlighting contemporary composers whose works are often slightly edgy or avant-garde. This year, pianist-composer Vijay Iyer takes the helm of the four-day fest as music director, offering jazz-infused performances of his original works and collaborations, kicking off the festival tonight. Of the dozens of performances and lectures, standouts include a free show by saxophonist Anthony Braxton, Iyer's duet with minimalist trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and trance-like Carnatic vocals by Indian singer Aruna Sairam. Libbey Bowl, 210 S. Signal St., Ojai (and various Ojai locations); Thu.-Sun., June 8-11; $20-$150, some events are free. ojaifestival.org. —Drew Tewksbury
Sixteen years ago, Hedwig and the Angry Inch shimmied into art-house theaters and catapulted its writer-director-star, John Cameron Mitchell, to instant indie fame. A tender tale of self-acceptance in the guise of a rollicking rock musical, the film now can be viewed as a kind of watershed moment for queer cinema. The glammed-up numbers and raunchy humor do not preclude the occasional reach for soul-baring poignancy. Laemmle's NoHo will co-present it with Eat/See/Hear as part of its Throwback Thursday series. Laemmle NoHo, 5420 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Thu., June 8, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com. —Nathaniel Bell
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