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

Go cosplay crazy at this weekend's Anime Expo (see: Sat.)
Go cosplay crazy at this weekend's Anime Expo (see: Sat.)
Shannon Cottrell


A lecture about the history of cats in L.A., a screening of Cindy Sherman's weird thriller Office Killer, Fourth of July fireworks and parades, and more fun stuff to do in L.A. this week.

fri 6/30

626 Night Market was created seven years ago as an homage to the nighttime food markets of East and Southeast Asia. And it's still going strong, as Angelenos get ever more into the idea of food markets that sell a high-quality product, consistently. The Night Market is now spread over a number of weekends all summer, in two locations: This is the L.A. County kickoff. Expect a huge array of grilled meats, takoyaki, seafood in pineapples, bento boxes, burgers and a bunch of novelty desserts. Plus, it goes until well after dark, which is a pleasant change, and welcome in this heat. Santa Anita Park, 285 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia; Fri.-Sat., June 30-July 1, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Sun., July 2, 4-11 p.m.; $3 Fri. & Sun., $5 Sat. 626nightmarket.com. —Katherine Spiers

Drink up and brush up on your knowledge of a great American founding document at the last installment of the Hammer's Constitution Happy Hour series. The guided conversations are the brainchild of artist Linda Pollack, who believes, "The U.S. Constitution is a living document, part of our quotidian life, influencing us in both large and small ways daily." Previous conversations have addressed gender-based rights, immigration rights and voting rights. Tonight's topic: "Is Hate Speech Protected Under the Constitution?" Damon Huss, senior editor and curriculum specialist at the Constitutional Rights Foundation, will expound on the topic. Getting drunk and telling off-color jokes is not recommended. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., June 30, 6 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —David Cotner

Upcoming Events

Beat the Devil, John Huston's cheeky 1953 attempt at suspense parody, is frequently singled out as the first "camp" film. Truman Capote collaborated with Huston on the script, which is filled to the tipping point with bizarre characters, inside jokes and a casual disregard for traditional storytelling mechanics. For years, the film was available only via third-rate public-domain copies, which makes the new digital restoration of the original, uncut release version a special event. UCLA will pair it with The List of Adrian Messenger, Huston's gimmicky 1963 thriller featuring four famous actors disguised under heavy makeup. Everyone in it seems to be having the time of their lives. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., June 30, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.

Jean Vigo was 29 and dying of tuberculosis when he made one of the most beautiful films in French cinema. L'Atalante, his 1934 masterwork about a young village girl's marriage to a barge captain, thrums with life from the very first frame and doesn't let up all the way through the final, transcendent aerial shot. This restlessly inventive romance will play as part of La Collectionneuse, Cinefamily's monthly salon dedicated to the cream of French film culture. The screening will include the obligatory soirée in the backyard of the Silent Movie Theatre, where you can sip cognac and parse the wonders of Vigo's mise-en-scene. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., June 30, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Nathaniel Bell

sat 7/1

L.A.'s Latino heritage is richly represented in murals on walls throughout the city, but particularly in East L.A. and other neighborhoods east of downtown. (No, Silver Lake isn't the Eastside, dudes.) To celebrate that tradition and to encourage transportation policy that encourages bike- and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, Multicultural Communities for Mobility and L.A. Metro are hosting the Eastside Mural Ride, a roughly 10-mile bike ride through East L.A. and City Terrace. Besides mural appreciation, riders will learn about bike safety and riding in traffic with insufficient bike infrastructure, and bike mechanics will be on hand in case of any blowouts or other mishaps. There's no better way to see the city. Ride begins at East L.A. Civic Center, 4801 E. Third St., East L.A.; Sat., July 1, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; free. eventbrite.com/e/eastside-mural-ride-2017-presented-by-metro-tickets-35187198859. —Gwynedd Stuart

In conjunction with its current exhibit "Body Worlds: Pulse," the California Science Center screens the film The Human Body, which shows the inner workings of the human body, from conception and birth to puberty and adulthood, all blown up in IMAX format. Based on a BBC documentary series, the movie uses scanning electron microscopes, thermal imaging, medical computer graphics and other technologies to follow the routine bodily functions of one family — 8-year-old Zannah, teenage Luke, Uncle Buster and pregnant Aunt Heather — for a single day. You get to see how fast hair grows, how a tomato travels through the stomach, how the ear makes sense of sound and how a fetus develops. California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Drive, Exposition Park; opens Sat., July 1, 10 a.m., 12, 2 & 5 p.m. (continues through Sept. 4); $8.50, $6.25 students and seniors, $5.25 children. (323) 724-3623, californiasciencecenter.org/imax/the-human-body. —Siran Babayan

In what has become a Fourth of July tradition, tens of thousands of anime fanatics will spend their holiday weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center for Anime Expo. Many will show up in costumes ranging from simple store-bought pieces to elaborate, homemade re-creations of their favorite characters. Many more will line up for panels, screenings and concerts, and will squeeze through the exhibit hall in search of everything from collectibles to fan art. While there are a few events on Friday, June 30, the extravaganza officially launches July 1 with programming that includes a world-premiere screening of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Arc Prologue. Highlights for the rest of the convention include the World Cosplay Summit U.S. Preliminary on July 2 and a panel with anime artist/director Tensai Okamura (Darker Than Black, Blue Exorcist) on July 3. Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Fri., June 30-Tue., July 4; $20-$115. anime-expo.org. —Liz Ohanesian

Here's a recipe for success: Take a proven crowd favorite and add fireworks to it. Cinespia, L.A.'s premier outdoor screening venue, will show Dirty Dancing, one of the tastier coming-of-age dance flicks to follow in the wake of Flashdance. The pregame show includes a themed photobooth and a DJ dance party. Afterward, a fireworks display will light the sky over Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Shows usually sell out faster than Patrick Swayze can swivel his head, so don't dawdle. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., July 1, 9 p.m. (doors 7:15 p.m.); $16 (plus $12 for on-site parking). cinespia.org. —Nathaniel Bell

Pacific Palisades has a pretty impressive Fourth of July parade — check it out on Tuesday.EXPAND
Pacific Palisades has a pretty impressive Fourth of July parade — check it out on Tuesday.
Luis Velasquez/Palisades News

sun 7/2

Unlike unintentionally funny porn, with its title puns and pizza-delivery-boy plots, Alia Janine and Sovereign Syre are intentionally funny porn stars. In Alia and Sovereign Do America, the two discuss, among other topics, sex, dating, relationships, politics and their careers acting in the adult-film industry. Alia, who's appeared in some 150 movies — don't make us list their names — is retired and lives in New York, while Sovereign is currently on hiatus and lives in Los Angeles. The two crossed over into performing comedy a few years ago and recently launched their stand-up tour in the hopes of not only destigmatizing porn but proving that not all porn stars–turned-comedians are hacks like Ron Jeremy. Alia hosts her own podcast, Whormones, and Sovereign hosts the podcast Observations — she's even opened for Marc Maron. Tonight, they'll be joined by guest Maron, as well as emcee and fellow stand-up comic Tamer Kattan. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., July 2, 9-10:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —Siran Babayan

What to expect at the Culver City Centennial Food & Wine Festival: a lot of food, a ton of booze and fun for a good cause. The ticket price isn't steep and the money goes to a pair of local charitable organizations — Meals on Wheels Culver/Palms and Culver City Backpacks for Kids — as well as local musician Rick Joswick, who is battling cancer. The event is 21 and up, because there will be a number of alcohol vendors, including Spa Girl Vodka, American Born Whiskey, Rock & Roll Tequila, Humboldt Rum and Vodka and Iron Fist Craft Beer — not to mention the wines. Good thing the food vendors tend toward the carby. Courtyard by Marriott, 6333 Bristol Pkwy., Culver City; Sun., July 2, 4-8 p.m.; $60-$100. culvercity100.org/events/culver-city-centennial-westside-food-wine-festival. —Katherine Spiers

mon 7/3

The women's satire website Reductress turns you on to L.A.'s finest comedians with the latest iteration of the comedy showcase Haha, Wow! Hosted by Rekha Shankar of CollegeHumor and Janie Stolar, co-creator of talk show indictment The Female Gaze, and featuring comedy by Amber Nelson, Alison Leiby, Broti Gupta and Brianna Baker, Haha, Wow! tackles issues as wide-ranging as female empowerment, healthy sexual expression and insults that really hit home. Expect to explore the thin line between shocked laughter and knowing laughter. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood; Mon., July 3, 10:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com/performance/55339. —David Cotner

tue 7/4

The political climate being what it is, you might not exactly be in the mood to chant "USA! USA!" this July Fourth. Totally fair. But can anyone resist a free fireworks display, impending doom notwithstanding? Grand Park and the Music Center have again joined forces to host the Fourth of July Block Party, a big downtown L.A. hang session with music, food, games for kids and, of course, a big fireworks show once the sun goes down. Entertainers this year include the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and Angel City All-Star Brass Band, plus DJs and local pop acts. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Tue., July 4, 2-9:30 p.m.; free. grandparkla.org/event/4thofjuly. —Gwynedd Stuart

Perched along steep, crumbling cliffs above the ocean between Santa Monica and Topanga, Pacific Palisades is part of the city of Los Angeles, although you wouldn't necessarily notice it while driving past on PCH, as there are almost no signs marking the wealthy enclave. But for one day each year, the neighborhood welcomes outsiders for a Fourth of July celebration that includes the annual, early-morning Palisades Will Rogers 5K and 10K runs, followed in the afternoon by the Palisades Americanism Parade. Unlike most small-town processions, the parade, which travels down Sunset Boulevard, is a pretty spectacular affair that features skydivers, a horde of marching bands and local celebrities, and culminates in a pop concert and fireworks display. 15120-15140 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades; concert and fireworks at Palisades Charter High School, 15777 Bowdoin St., Pacific Palisades; Tue., July 4, 2 p.m., concert and fireworks at 6 p.m.; free ($50 for grandstand seating), $10 for concert and fireworks. palisadesparade.org. —Falling James

Robert Preston found the role of a lifetime as the titular con artist in The Music Man, the 1962 cinematic translation of the hit Broadway musical. His rat-a-tat line delivery and boyish charm carry the show through the slow bits, and his "Ya Got Trouble" number was immortalized in a Simpsons parody (see: "The Monorail Song"). This thick slice of Americana is an easy choice for a Fourth of July activity; Laemmle's Anniversary Classics series will beam it into three theaters on Independence Day only. Laemmle NoHo (also at the Ahrya Fine Arts and Playhouse 7), 5420 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Thu., July 4, 3:30 p.m.; $11. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com. —Nathaniel Bell

You can't call yourself an American until you've seen James Cagney as George M. Cohan in Michael Curtiz's 1942 musical biopic. As the Irish-American playwright whose Broadway songs defined patriotism for a generation, Cagney sings and dances with such originality that you'll wonder why actors today are even popular. If you're hard-pressed to find a suitable July 4th outlet, Laemmle's Anniversary Classics series helps you out by screening Yankee Doodle Dandy simultaneously in three locations. Miniature American flags are encouraged. Laemmle NoHo, 5420 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood (also at the Ahrya Fine Arts and Playhouse 7), Thu., July 4, 1 p.m.; $11. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com. —Nathaniel Bell

Have a cold one with the Founding Fathers on Friday.EXPAND
Have a cold one with the Founding Fathers on Friday.
Courtesy Hammer Museum

wed 7/5

Paul Koudounaris is a man of many interests. After earning his Ph.D. in art history from UCLA, he set out to photograph the ossuaries and charnel houses of Europe, which resulted in the publication of three books. He's also a fervent animal lover, consistently unearthing some of the most interesting stories about our furry friends. Now, Dr. Koudounaris debuts Los Cat-geles: A History of L.A. Cats, a lecture on the feline residents of his hometown of Los Angeles. Not only is L.A. home to more cats than any other U.S. city, it also has the highest number of cat-related ghost stories, such as the one about Beelzebub, the black cat who used to patrol the former Ambassador Hotel, even in the afterlife. Hear these fascinating stories and more, plus music from Sister Calypso, Gianna Gianna and DJ Don Bolles. Hyperion Avenue Tavern, 1941 Hyperion Ave., Los Feliz; Wed., July 5, 9:30 p.m.-1 a.m.; free. (323) 665-1941, facebook.com/events/263996650741321. —Tanja M. Laden

thu 7/6

Outfest, which turns 35 this year, kicks off on Thursday with the annual opening-night gala. This year's centerpiece is a screening of British director Francis Lee's God's Own Country; Bryan Fuller, screenwriter and producer of American Gods, Hannibal and Pushing Daisies, will be honored with the 2017 Outfest Achievement Award at the party, catered by a dozen restaurants. Nearly 200 feature films, documentaries and shorts from 30 countries will be shown at various venues throughout the LGBT festival's run. Among them are movies about Tom of Finland, famed makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin, Grease producer Allan Carr and Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin, as well as Freak Show , the first fiction feature from director Trudie Styler (aka Mrs. Sting), starring Bette Midler and Laverne Cox. The schedule boasts additional events, including a panel with directors of the TV series Queen Sugar, a preview of the upcoming season of Transparent with cast and crew, and a 20th-anniversary screening of Chasing Amy with Kevin Smith. Various venues through July 16. Opening-night gala, Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway, downtown; Thu., July 6, 6:30 p.m.; opening-night gala $60-$175; regular screenings $15-$20. (213) 480-7065, outfest.org. —Siran Babayan

Artist-photographer Cindy Sherman is best known for her provocative self-portraits in which she sardonically reinvents herself via a series of chameleonic characters. In 1997, she released her only full-length film as a director, Office Killer, co-written with Todd Haynes and others and featuring a stellar, mostly female cast that includes Carol Kane, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Molly Ringwald. Unlike so many dozy and pretentious art projects, Office Killer is a witty, fast-paced, thoroughly campy horror-comedy that portrays Kane as a nebbishy, mistreated magazine editor who ends up murdering her pompous co-workers and even some innocent Girl Scouts. Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Thu., July 6, 8 p.m.; $5 donation. (213) 484-8846, echoparkfilmcenter.org. —Falling James


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