Free dance lessons in Grand Park, a Morrissey cruise, a celebration of bad gay movies, and more to do and see in L.A. this week.
There are only a handful of dances you don't really need natural rhythm or more than a modicum of coordination to be able to perform, and line dancing is one of them. (Don't kill me, country folk.) But that's what makes it fun. Now in its 13th year, Dance DTLA is hosting a series of biweekly free dance lessons in Grand Park. This week, grab your cowboy boots to learn line dancing and two-step. (The coming weeks' lessons include Bollywood, disco, tango and salsa.) Never struggle with the Electric Slide or Cupid Shuffle at a wedding again. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., July 7, 7-11 p.m.; free. musiccenter.org/events/dancedtla. —Gwynedd Stuart
Although fans of morose British crooner Morrissey likely will feel more at home at a dark club or graveyard poetry reading than aboard an ocean liner, not even the most misunderstood emo kids can resist the siren call of the high seas. At least that's the thinking behind Morrissea: A Morrissey/Smiths Tribute Boat Cruise, which combines a New Wave/Britpop dance party with a maritime excursion. Organized by Depeche Boat (the puns never stop), the event features three levels of DJs as well as a live performance by Morrissey/Smiths tribute band Maladjusted. Dust off your black eyeliner and misanthropic sense of alienation and set sail! Grand Romance Riverboat, 200 Aquarium Way, #4, Long Beach; Fri., July 7, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.; $30. facebook.com/events/1879867722263792. —Matt Stromberg
English playwright Roy Minton's TV drama Scum became a cause célèbre in 1978 when the BBC banned it for being too violent. It resurfaced a year later as a film, also called Scum, scored with critics, and is now the object of a significant cult following. A blisteringly violent look at a British youth correctional facility (or "borstal"), the film is tightly directed by Alan Clarke — who also mounted the TV version — and features a scalding early performance by Ray Winstone. Cinefamily screens a DCP recently restored by Kino Lorber throughout the week. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., July 7, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Nathaniel Bell
Hosted by Live Talks Los Angeles, Sen. Al Franken discusses how he went from a political satirist to a real politician as detailed in his humbly titled new book, Al Franken: Giant of the Senate, with Chelsea Handler. In his memoir, Franken describes his liberal Jewish upbringing in Minnesota and breaking into comedy with high school friend and writing partner Tom Davis. They were two of the original writers hired at Saturday Night Live, where Franken spent 15 years and created the memorable character of Stuart Smalley, the effeminate, self-help guru, who coined the affirmation: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and, doggone it, people like me." Franken also recounts his post-SNL career, which includes several books on politics, hosting on the now-defunct Air America radio network and running for senator of Minnesota. Additionally, he writes about the Trump presidency and calls Ted Cruz the "Dwight Schrute of the Senate." Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., July 8, 8 p.m.; $55-$100. livetalksla.org. —Siran Babayan
Exotica comes of age at the 13th annual Tiki Night, gracing darkest Hollywood with the gentle breezes of tropical paradise and all the celebration that implies. You'll thrill to a nostalgic Tiki Marketplace boasting only the finest exotic ephemera, followed by the dulcet sounds of King Kukulele & the Friki Tikis and the Polynesian Paradise Dancers. There's also a tiki bar, food trucks and a special 35mm screening of 1994's Rapa Nui, a timeless and timely story of class struggle and climate change amidst the hulking stone moai of Easter Island. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., July 8, 1:30 p.m.; $15, $12 members. (323) 461-2020, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —David Cotner
Don't let the heat scare you away from outdoor shopping. The largest DIY craft fair in the world, the Renegade Craft Fair was founded in Chicago in 2003 and has spread to 12 cities in the United States and U.K. This weekend more than 250 independent crafters, artists and designers will gather at Los Angeles State Historic Park, recently reopened after a three-year renovation, to sell personal and kitschy items — everything from apparel, jewelry, apothecary and ceramics to dog treats, laser-cut wood and burlesque-inspired lingerie. The event also features workshops, giveaways, photo booths and DJs. And if you get hungry looking for those one-of-a-kind gifts, stop by one of several food trucks, serving up everything from grilled cheese sandwiches to lobster to falafel. Los Angeles State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring St., Chinatown; Sat.-Sun., July 8-9, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; (213) 620-6152, renegadecraft.com. —Siran Babayan
Bong Joon-ho is one of the few working directors who truly deserves the overused buzzword "visionary." His sixth feature film (and second in English, after 2013's Snowpiercer) revolves around the efforts of an intrepid young girl to liberate a genetically engineered "super-pig" from the clutches of an evil CEO (Tilda Swinton). This is your last chance to preview Okja on a 35mm print struck especially for the New Beverly Cinema. This screening affords genre hounds a chance to get a sneak peek at what looks like a deranged update of Free Willy. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Sat., July 8, 5:30 & 9 p.m.; $12. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Nathaniel Bell
Feeling glum about politics? There's nothing like cinematic self-therapy to sooth the cynical soul, and UCLA has a double dose of 1960s political thrillers that should do the trick. The Best Man, featuring a bracingly intelligent screenplay by Gore Vidal based on his TV play, dramatizes the plight of two presidential contenders (Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson) as they each seek the endorsement of a dying ex-president (Lee Tracy). In Seven Days in May, Kirk Douglas plays a high-ranking aide who suspects his superior, an ambitious general (Burt Lancaster), of plotting a military takeover of the government. The emphasis on surveillance and nuclear disarmament remains eerily relevant, and Rod Serling's righteous screenplay crackles with some of the best lines of the decade. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., July 8, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Nathaniel Bell
You think you know salsa? Well, you can always learn more — like, for instance, that salsa is apparently the top-selling condiment in the United States. The two-day Salsa Festival, held at Pershing Square, has a huge array of salsas for visitors to try, from red and hot to green and mild — and absolutely everything in between, including mole. The event, which includes live music, is free to attend, but salsa-tasting tickets must be purchased, either on-site or ahead of time. You'll get chips, of course. Beer and wine margaritas also will be for sale. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown; Sun., July 9, noon-8 p.m. (also Sat., July 8); free (tasting packages $5-$15), $60 VIP. latinsalsafestival.com. —Katherine Spiers
After a brief hiatus, local performance artist and comedian Dynasty Handbag (Jibz Cameron) relaunches her freaky monthly variety show Weirdo Night. Featured guests this time include artist Nao Bustamante, fresh off a performance at the Whitney Biennial; Oakland-based musician and choreographer Brontez Purnell; and Heather Jewett, frontwoman for queer punk band Gravy Train!!!!, in character as Jerry Jergens, an aging roast comic. The night concludes with a group session of Dance-y-oke, which — as you might've guessed — is a dance version of karaoke set to such hits as Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation" and the Kate Bush classic "Wuthering Heights." Dynasty herself may make an appearance in an especially timely and irreverent Handmaid's Tale–themed mini-play. Zebulon, 2478 Fletcher Drive, Elysian Valley; Sun., July 9, 7:30 p.m.; $12. zebulon.ticketfly.com. —Matt Stromberg
Andrew Dominik's pretentiously mythic, shamelessly beautiful Western is as confident as its title is long. When it came out in 2007, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford hardly made a dent at the box office, despite the heavyweight presence of Brad Pitt and rising star Casey Affleck. Yet it has gained a considerable reputation since then, thanks largely to the entrancingly elegiac tone, Roger Deakins' crystalline photography and Nick Cave's plangent score. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., July 9, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Nathaniel Bell
Just a few weeks ago, season nine of RuPaul's Drag Race wrapped up and Sasha Velour was named "America's Next Drag Superstar." Season-eight winner Bob the Drag Queen appeared in the finale episode to relinquish her crown — reluctantly. It's been a big year for Bob. Cherry Pop, a film in which she has a starring role, was released, and she also taped a stand-up comedy special. In Suspiciously Large Female: Bob the Drag Queen Comedy Special — showing as part of Outfest — Bob returns to his hometown of Atlanta to deliver a routine about Beyoncé, NYC, sex and white people. Sasha Velour's cool, but she'll never make us laugh like Bob did. Harmony Gold Theater, 7655 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., July 10, 9:30 p.m.; $15. outfest.org. —Gwynedd Stuart
Earlier this year, Sara Schaefer created Women Online, a web series for the comedy news network Seriously.TV, where she takes a humorous look at how women use dating apps and how they're harassed on the internet — even one of her own Twitter trolls — with help from fellow comedian Jen Kirkman, author Lindy West and others. Originally from Virginia, Schaefer is a stand-up comedian and writer whose long list of credits includes writing for Not Safe With Nikki Glaser, Problematic With Moshe Kasher and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, hosting MTV's Nikki & Sara Live and blogging for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, which won her two Emmy Awards. Schaefer performs a monthlong stand-up residency at the Lyric Hyperion, with Glaser, Barbara Gray and other guests. Lyric Hyperion Theater & Cafe, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Mon., July 10, 8 p.m. (Also July 17 & 24); $5. (323) 928-2299, lyrichyperion.com. —Siran Babayan
Sunday, July 16, brings purpose and joy back into our collective lives with the return of Game of Thrones on HBO — what better way to prepare for it than with tonight's GOT gabfest Talk the Thrones? Presented by the Ringer, Talk the Thrones is a reunion of players from HBO's 2016 After the Thrones decompress-fest — Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan — as well as Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion, co-hosts of the podcast Binge Mode: Game of Thrones. You'll weep openly at violent deaths, laugh at the frailties of the Lannisters and maybe even put odds on which of Khaleesi's three dragons will die first. Largo, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Tue., July 11, 8:30 p.m. (doors 7 p.m.); $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —David Cotner
Does summer really begin before the Hollywood Bowl season opens? Well, summer definitely starts now, with the Bowl's classical season launched by a star-studded quartet of ballet luminaries and Gustavo Dudamel conducting the L.A. Phil. With music by Tchaikovsky, Adam and Prokofiev, Dudamel and Stars of Ballet highlights some of the most popular ballets ever. Two of ballet's reigning queen bees, Misty Copeland and Natalia Osipova from American Ballet Theatre and Britain's Royal Ballet, respectively, are joined by ABT's Marcelo Gomes and Royal Ballet alum Sergei Polunin. Not sticking strictly to a classic approach, Gomes is slated to don feathered knickers for the White Swan solo from Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, with Copeland essaying the more traditional choreography. Osipova and Polunin appear in an extended Giselle excerpt and Copeland and Gomes pair up for the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. The Dude and the Phil contribute other selections from these ballets and Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; Tue., July 11, 8 p.m.; $1-$154. hollywoodbowl.com. —Ann Haskins
Marlon Brando darkened his skin and flared his nostrils to play Mexico's most famous revolutionary in Elia Kazan's Viva Zapata!. But it was Anthony Quinn who wound up taking home an Oscar in the supporting role of Zapata's brother. Dated but still powerful, the picture is intelligently scripted by no less an eminence than John Steinbeck, who is perhaps guilty of romanticizing one of the bloodiest armed conflicts of the early 20th century. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., July 11, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell
With his baby-blue lab coat and kicky bowtie, Bill Nye became an icon of '90s pop culture with his hit half-hour TV series, Bill Nye the Science Guy. The show was as quirky as it was educational, and, according to the National Academies Press, it was effective, too. Kids who watched it wound up being better at explaining science than those who didn't. After appearing on air for five seasons and winning a bunch of Emmys, Nye sits down with chapeaued journalist Patt Morrison for the Los Angeles Times Ideas Exchange With Bill Nye to discuss his new book, Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap Into Radical Curiosity and Solve Any Problem. Indeed, science rules. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Wed., July 12, 7:30 p.m.; $25-$100. (213) 623-3233, acehotel.com/calendar/losangeles. —Tanja M. Laden
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Anyone can talk smack about a shitty film, but leave it to professional comedians to turn the smack-talking into an entire show. Since 2014, actor and Groundlings alum/instructor Drew Droege and former MTV VJ and author Dave Holmes have hosted Bad Movie Night as part of Outfest. With help from guest stand-up comics who provide commentary, the two screen and lambast a crappy piece of LGBT cinema that makes gay-cult stinkers like Showgirls and Mommie Dearest look like Citizen Kane. While the movie is kept secret until the evening of, past obscure titles have included Ben and Arthur, That Tender Touch and The Plug Lady, about a New York drag queen who goes by the name ... the Plug Lady. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Thu., July 13, 9:45 p.m.; $15. outfest.org. —Siran Babayan
Before American Idol, America's Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance, there was Fame. Based on Alan Parker's 1980 film, the 1980s TV series centered on a group of aspiring artists at a New York performing arts school. They had big dreams and big perms, and learned life lessons, often while breaking into impromptu dance numbers in the cafeteria. The opening credits included the famous line from Debbie Allen's dance-teacher character: "You want fame. Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying ... in sweat." For the first time in more than three decades in the United States, cast members Allen, Jesse Borrego, Cynthia Gibb, Erica Gimpel, Billy Hufsey, Carlo Imperato, Valerie Landsburg, Lee Curreri and P.R. Paul appear in Fame 35th-Anniversary Reunion Concert, where they'll perform music from the TV show's soundtrack albums, namely the iconic theme song "Fame." Proceeds benefit the Actors Fund, which provides programs and services to professional performing artists and members of the entertainment industry in need. The Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; Thu., July 13, 8 p.m.; $55-$175. (310) 276-1158, actorsfund.org/fame. —Siran Babayan
For this week's Throwback Thursdays, Laemmle's NoHo screens Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder's indispensable contribution to the noir canon. Deliciously pessimistic, the film is awash with the trademarks of the American crime cycle of the 1940s: idiomatic narration, entrapment motifs, fatalistic romance, murder and, of course, a femme fatale (Barbara Stanwyck, sporting a sexy anklet and a conspicuous blond wig). Wilder and Raymond Chandler adapted James M. Cain's novel, setting the noir bar for the next 10 years. Grab yourself a gimlet and get over to the theater. Laemmle NoHo, 5420 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Thu., July 13, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com. –Nathaniel Bell