La Bamba screens at the Skirball Center on Friday.EXPAND
La Bamba screens at the Skirball Center on Friday.
Columbia Pictures

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


Lotus Festival returns to Echo Park, the "Citizen Kane of cannibal pictures" screens at Cinefamily, Union Station hosts a train fest, and more to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 7/14

Friday Flights soars again with tonight's titanic triad of creative energies: artist Molly Surno and Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase meld choreography and barbering with We of Me, a soundscape mixed live and propelled by 20 men and their amplified, hand-crafted hairbrushes. There's also a set by Long Beach psychedelic velvet jammer Sun Araw and site-specific work by the Institute for New Feeling, a cabal of artists who unite New Age thinking and corporate mindsets to create "new ways of feeling and ways of feeling new." Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; Fri., July 14, 6-9 p.m.; free (parking is $15, $10 after 3 p.m.). (310) 440-7300, getty.edu. —David Cotner

In 2016, PBS aired John Fugelsang's excellent road-trip documentary Dream On, which followed Fugelsang as he traveled through 17 states to retrace the 1831 journey of Alexis de Tocqueville, author of the book Democracy in America, and find out if the American dream is still accessible to working-class people. Since 2013, the New York–based comedian and SiriusXM host (he's also been a host on VH1 and of America's Funniest Home Videos), has applied that same political sensibility when emceeing Comedy Nation, a stand-up show where fellow comics crack wise about such topics as sex, sexism, gambling and legalizing drugs, followed by a panel discussion. Tonight's lineup for Comedy Nation: Patriotism vs. Party: Are They All Drunk on Power?, features Dulcé Sloan, Rick Overton, Felicia Michaels, Tamer Kattan, Bill Dixon and Robin Tran. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., July 14, 7-8:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —Siran Babayan

The 18th annual Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival is the world’s largest lobster festival, with four Guinness World Record wins to prove it. The star item here is fresh discount Maine lobster meals flown in daily, including lobster rolls, lobster mac and cheese, lobster quesadillas and ... well, you get the idea. (Note: the admission price does not include lobster meal.) Dine and dance to free entertainment including a variety of bands and street performers, and savor a stroll in the pleasant outdoor park along L.A.’s historic waterfront, with tall ships harbored nearby and shopping at Ports O’ Call in San Pedro. Port of Los Angeles, Sixth St. & Harbor Blvd., San Pedro; Fri., July 14, 5-11 p.m.; Sat., July 15, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., July 16, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; $12, free veterans, military and kids under 12. (310) 798-7478, lobsterfest.com. — John Payne

The Citizen Kane of cannibal pictures, Gary Sherman's Death Line (aka Raw Meat) is a minor masterpiece of dread too little known in this country. Sherman shot the picture in the tunnels of the London Underground network, imbuing this tale of subterranean savagery with a visually precise milieu. (Guillermo Del Toro must have looked at this before embarking on his American debut, Mimic.) Cinefamily screens this surprisingly rich suspense exercise — which plays with audience sympathies with masterful grace — as part of its Friday Night Frights series. Sherman will be in attendance, along with producer Paul Maslansky and star David Ladd, to present the restored director's cut. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., July 14, 10:30 p.m.; $14. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Nathaniel Bell

Before dying in the same infamous plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly and J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson, Ritchie Valens achieved legendary status as the granddaddy of Chicano rock. As played by Lou Diamond Phillips in La Bamba, Valens comes across as a sweet, sensitive soul who overcame a culturally stacked deck to become an American success story. The Skirball Cultural Center will screen the film as part of its outdoor Movies That Rock series. Get there early and check out the exhibit "Paul Simon: Words & Music." Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Fri., July 14, 8:30 p.m. (doors 6:30 p.m.); $10. (310) 440-4500, skirball.org. —Nathaniel Bell

sat 7/15

Heavy Metal Magazine — or "Naked Chicks With Wings Monthly," as it was known in eighth grade — embarks upon its fifth decade of riveting fantasy, science fiction and artistic vibrancy at the opening of the Heavy Metal 40th-Anniversary Art Show. The group exhibition presents works by more than 80 artists — everyone from European greats like Moebius and Milo Manara to American visionaries such as Richard Corben and the late genius Jeffrey Catherine Jones. From the breadth and depths of the magazine's history, you'll also see live body painting, cels from the 1981 Heavy Metal film, limited-edition prints, memorabilia and more. Copro Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Ste. T-5, Santa Monica; Sat., July 15, 8-11 p.m. (exhibit runs through Aug. 19); free. (310) 829-2156, copronason.com. —David Cotner

Despite its flamboyant personalities and over-the-top histrionics, American professional wrestling can't hold a candle to lucha libre, the highly theatrical and acrobatic style of Mexican wrestling. Long Beach's Museum of Latin American Art celebrates the popular sport with its Lucha Libre Extravaganza!, an evening of film, music and, of course, wrestling. The program begins with a screening of Wrestling School, Max Minor's documentary about the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy in Bell Gardens, followed by a meet-and-greet with luchadores and a performance by local rockabilly-punk band Cutty Flam. The main event is five high-energy matches, featuring, among others, Thunder Rosa and Taya Valkyrie, international superstars whose prowess inside the ring unites fans on both sides of the border. Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach; Sat., July 15, 5-10 p.m.; $25, members $20. (562) 437-1689, molaa.org. —Matt Stromberg

Union Station, with its Early California architecture built in 1939, hosts the first Union Station Summer Train Fest. It's a nostalgic nod to trains of that era that features a display of vintage train engines and cars, including the 1927 Santa Fe 3751 steam locomotive and the 1959 Tioga Pass business car. The daylong family event includes model trains, tutorials, a kids zone organized by Griffith Park Travel Town, food trucks, DJs and live music by harmonicist Ross Garren. And if you're a hobbyist, Skylight Books, Train Shack and other local vendors will be offering model train supplies, themed merchandise and train safety education. Union Station , 800 N. Alameda St., downtown; Sat., July 15, noon-6 p.m.; free; tour of Santa Fe 3751 $20, $10 children, under 5 free. (213) 683-6875, unionstationla.com. —Siran Babayan

The Museum of Latin American Art hosts a Lucha Libre Extravaganza! on Saturday.
The Museum of Latin American Art hosts a Lucha Libre Extravaganza! on Saturday.
David Espinoza

sun 7/16

Every year Echo Park Lake becomes the site of a festival timed to coincide with the awe-inspiring bloom of countless lotus flowers along the northwest shore. Thanks to last winter's much-needed rain, the lakeside blossoms are particularly showy this year, which is as good a reason as any to drop by the 37th annual Lotus Festival. Each year's festival is hosted by a different country, and this year it's Bangladesh. Dancers from the host country join vendors selling street food and handmade crafts, adding to a range of other multiculti attractions that have become part of an L.A. tradition spanning nearly four decades. Echo Park Lake, 751 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park; Sat., July 16-Sun., July 17, noon-9 p.m.; free. (213) 485-5027, laparks.org/lotusfestival. —Tanja M. Laden

When a volubly chatty and possibly disturbed American woman with no apparent boundaries (Weeds' Mary-Louise Parker) kisses the neck of a stranger — reticent, 76-year-old British butcher Alex (Denis Arndt) — in a London train station, it sets in motion a series of unexpected exchanges in Simon Stephens' witty 2015 play Heisenberg, directed for Center Theatre Group by Mark Brokaw. Is the woman merely trying to take advantage of the butcher for some reason, or is their bizarre, meet-cute encounter the beginning of a passionate affair between two seemingly mismatched loners? As Georgie, Parker is an astonishing, beguiling presence as she's swept up within the nonstop whirlwind of Stephens' artful words, contrasted by Arndt's anchoring gravitas. Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sun., July 16, 1 & 6:30 p.m.; also Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 & 8 p.m.; through Sun., Aug. 6.; $25-$95. (213) 628-2772, centertheatregroup.org. —Falling James

Before he became the most successful French film producer in recent history, Luc Besson was a poster child of the "Cinéma du Look," a 1980s movement that privileged surface flash over abstemious formalism. By the time he made The Professional, Besson was already an international sensation, with seven César nominations to his credit. This was preceded by La Femme Nikita, a robustly stylish thriller about a troubled teenage girl recruited and reprogrammed as a deadly spy. The Egyptian will screen both in anticipation of Besson's forthcoming science fiction extravaganza, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The director will appear between shows to discuss his storied career. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., July 16, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Nathaniel Bell

One of L.A.'s best kept secrets is the Silent Society, an offshoot of the Hollywood Heritage Museum that screens vintage 16mm flicks at Paramount Ranch, deep in the hills of Agoura. There you can eat a leisurely picnic dinner and take a guided tour of the derelict sets of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman while you wait for the sun to go down and the show to begin. It doesn't really matter what's playing; it's the rustic, family-friendly, congenial atmosphere that appeals. The summer season kicks off with the 1926 Beau Geste, starring a handsomely mustachioed Ronald Colman. Be sure to bring a lawn chair for comfort and a flashlight for the moonless walk back to the parking lot. Paramount Ranch, 2903 Cornell Road, Agoura; Sun., July 16, 8 p.m.; $6 ($3 for kids under 12). hollywoodheritage.org. —Nathaniel Bell

mon 7/17

Even if you're a musical-theater hater who doesn't enjoy watching people break into song and dance, you might be intrigued by The 24-Hour Musicals: Los Angeles. An offshoot of New York–based the 24 Hour Company's The 24-Hour Plays, The 24-Hour Musicals challenges film and TV actors, writers, composers and choreographers to create four, wholly original short musicals within the 24 hours prior to performance, from 8 p.m. to 8 p.m. The lineup for tonight's first L.A. event features Shoshana Bean, Wayne Brady, Nellie McKay, Michelle Visage, Garrett Clayton, Janina Gavankar, Alicia Witt, Vella Lovell, Donna Lynne Champlin, Amanda Seales, Andrew Leeds, Deborah Ann Woll and others. Who knows, you may witness the next Hamilton. Speaking of, VIP ticket holders will have a chance to win orchestra seats to Hamilton. Proceeds benefit the Dramatists Guild of America's Legal Defense Fund. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway Ave., downtown; Mon., July 17, 8 p.m.; $175-$500. theatre.acehotel.com/events/24-hour-musicals-los-angeles/. —Siran Babayan

Lotus Festival returns to Echo Park this weekend.
Lotus Festival returns to Echo Park this weekend.
Lina Lecaro

tue 7/18

One of the quintessential elements of any proper Southern California summer soundtrack has long been the affable voice of Vin Scully deftly weaving in references to Shakespeare and postwar Brooklyn in his broadcasts of L.A. Dodgers games. Because of the ongoing limitations of the Dodgers' current television deal, most local fans couldn't see much of Scully's final seasons covering the baseball team before he retired last year, but he emerges from retirement tonight, putting his reassuring, mellifluous voice to use in his orchestral debut with the L.A. Phil as the narrator of Lincoln Portrait, composed by fellow New York native Aaron Copland. Conductor Gustavo Dudamel throws out the first pitch with Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man before guiding the orchestra through Beethoven's epic, choral-infused Ninth Symphony. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; Tue., July 18, 8 p.m.; $1-$154. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —Falling James

wed 7/19

Part of the success of Stranger Things, Netflix's retro-themed, sci-fi/horror drama that takes place in a small Indiana town in 1983, was its soundtrack, which featured tunes from The Clash, Joy Division, New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen and Modern English, as well as an original, synth score, including the opening credits, composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein. The two are half of Austin quartet S?U?R?V?I?V?E and were nominated for two Grammys for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. In anticipation of the show's season-two premiere in October, Grammy Museum executive director Scott Goldman interviews Dixon and Stein about The Music Behind Stranger Things, exploring the creative process and the pair's collaboration with series creators the Duffer Brothers. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; Wed., July 19, 8 p.m.; $15. grammymuseum.org. —Siran Babayan

thu 7/20

No 1980s-inspired party would be complete without Oingo Boingo's theme song to Weird Science, with its synths, horns and sample from 1935's Bride of Frankenstein. The soundtrack to John Hughes' 1985 teen-angst comedy, about two Chicago suburban nerds who gain popularity by using their computer to create the perfect woman ("just like Frankenstein ... except cuter"), is one of the director's most memorable. Tonight, Film Independent at LACMA will do away with that at Bring the Noise: Weird Science with Live Music by Ulises Lozano, Carlos Chairez and Gil Cerezo of Kinky. Launched earlier this year, the museum's screening series has paired classic films with original scores composed by Seth Bogart, Yacht and Jack Antonoff, who, in April, performed to that other famous Hughes movie, The Breakfast Club. LACMA, Bing Theater, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Thu., July 20, 7:30 p.m.; $30, $25 students and seniors. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org. —Siran Babayan

The boldly ever-morphing Zola Jesus is not one to shy away from the scary potentialities to be encountered in trekking the outer parameters of a new "pop" sound. The singer-composer's somewhat gothy path along several sonics-stretching albums of uncanny vocal acrobatics laced with electronic atmospheres — and, more recently, big brass and beats on her choicely ultra-widescreen Taiga album of 2014 — is a thrilling one, if only for her brave-hearted determination to do things her very own way. Also performing: singer-songwriter Lawrence Rothman, Norwegian electronic duo Smerz and the Echo's Part Time Punks DJ Michael Stock. The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 152 N. Central Ave., downtown; Thu., July 20, 6:30 p.m.; free with reservation. (213) 621-1741, moca.org. —John Payne

The American Cinematheque will tip its hat to the antiquated X rating in a series designed to showcase some of the best films to earn that rare designation. Mileage may vary on which shows tickle your fancy, but this writer's choice would be the Pier Paolo Pasolini double header, The Decameron and Arabian Nights. Together they comprise two-thirds of Pasolini's "Trilogy of Life," a quixotic attempt to will humanity back to a premodern existence. (The middle part of the trilogy, an appropriately randy adaptation of The Canterbury Tales, is generally considered to be the weakest.) Vaguely Marxist in its symbolic depiction of bodies undefiled by capitalism, the films endure as examples of pure storytelling for its own sake: amoral, sensual, mysterious. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., July 20, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Nathaniel Bell

Dan Duryea might be the quintessential noir actor. The lanky, laconic star had a knack for creating slimy characters with a mere whine of his nasal voice. His mannerisms suggested a concealed insecure streak, and when he played the good guy, he could be oddly touching. In celebration of a new biography by Mike Peros, the American Cinematheque will screen two classic Duryea films. In Criss Cross, he partners with Burt Lancaster to pull off an armored car robbery in broad daylight. In Black Angel, extracted from a Cornell Woolrich novel, Duryea plays an alcoholic pianist who teams up with a woman to clear her husband of murder charges. Between films, Peros will discuss Duryea's legacy with Richard Duryea, the late actor's son, moderated by Alan K. Rode of the Film Noir Foundation. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Thu., July 20, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Nathaniel Bell

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