A gravy-sopped sandwich anniversary, a Latino-specific comic book convention, an especially special edition of The Special Occasionally Show and more fun stuff to do and see in L.A. this week.
Two L.A. institutions claim to have invented the French dip sandwich: Cole's, "Originators of the French Dip," on Sixth Street downtown, and Philippe the Original in Chinatown. In 2017, it doesn't seem like there's any settling the dispute (or any point in laboring over trying to settle it), but both spots were founded in 1908, which means there's a pair of beefy, gravy-sopped 109th birthdays to celebrate this year. The former celebrates with Cole's 109th Anniversary, a multicourse dinner with live jazz and a best-dressed contest. During four separate dinner seatings, chefs Neal Fraser of Redbird and Christian Page of Cassell's Hamburgers serve up a meal of roast lamb, sides, pie for dessert and, from the bar, two classic cocktails. Naturally, there will be lots and lots of French dip sandwiches. Just don't utter the name Philippe. Cole's, 118 E. Sixth St., downtown; Fri., Nov. 10, seatings at 6, 7, 8 & 9 p.m.; $74.84. facebook.com/events/1748124272155566. —Gwynedd Stuart
From the cowboy shoot-'em-ups of the 1950s to more acclaimed and (supposedly) culturally sensitive films like Dances With Wolves, Hollywood has done a woeful job of putting Native people in control of their own narratives. Now in its 14th year, Red Nation Film Festival screens 46 official selections by Native filmmakers, 22 of those by women. The festival kicks off tonight with the U.S. premiere of The Women in the Sand, a documentary about Death Valley's original people, narrated by Edward James Olmos (at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences). On Saturday, 22 documentary shorts by women screen, and Sunday offers a program of "two-spirit" LGBT films. The fest continues at various locations through Nov. 19; ticket prices vary. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, 1313 Vine St., Hollywood; Fri., Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m.; $12. rednationff.com. —Gwynedd Stuart
The Norton Simon Museum concludes its film series Meeting Death: Conversations With Mortality with Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. Every 1957 filmgoer worth their salt lined up to see if Max von Sydow's blond knight would prevail against the personification of Death in cinema's most famous chess match. This medieval meditation on mortality is free with museum admission and pairs nicely with the current exhibition "R.I.P.: On Art and Mourning." Doors open at 5 p.m. Norton Simon Museum, 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Fri., Nov. 10, 5:30 p.m.; free with museum admission. (626) 449-6480, nortonsimon.org. —Nathaniel Bell
In 1992, Diavolo exploded onto the L.A. dance scene, literally, with acrobatic dancers bursting out of a staircase. Led by French-born choreographer Jacques Heim, the dancer-acrobat-gymnast-daredevils bestrode an expanding collection of giant architectural structures that opened, closed and moved with flexibility that matched the human performers. The company drew national and international attention, including three successive L.A. Phil commissions to music by John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Philip Glass. Recently, Heim and his cohorts forged a special relationship with the Valley Performing Arts Center with a monumental performance of those three L.A. Phil commissions with live music. To mark Diavolo's silver anniversary, Heim, his troupe and some of those amazing architectural constructs return to campus, taking over various locations for 10 hours brimming with workshops, a dance party and performances, including the premiere of Veteran's Project. The name Diavolo has morphed into the current and descriptive Diavolo/Architecture in Motion, flying higher than when it launched 25 years ago. Valley Performing Arts Center, Cal State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Sat., Nov. 11, 7 p.m.; $48-$85. valleyperformingartscenter.org/calendar/details/diavolo. —Ann Haskins
In July 2016, a downed power line landed on a stack of wooden palettes, starting a fire that would almost completely destroy ceramicist Ben Medansky's downtown workshop. Medansky made the best of a bad situation, displaying and selling his charred ceramics, which had been blackened by smoke and flames, and were actually sort of beautiful as a result. Medansky keeps that flame of hope burning this weekend at LIT! A Menorah & Candelabra Clay Workshop with Ben Medansky. Medansky will teach participants how to craft either a menorah or a religion-neutral candelabra using his signature speckled clay. The class fee includes materials, kiln firing and the chance to work with a local master of the craft. Craft & Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Sat., Nov. 11, 1-4 p.m.; $100. (323) 937-4230, cafam.org. —Gwynedd Stuart
For decades, mainstream comic books have depicted a predominantly white world, with the subject matter and audience growing more diverse only fairly recently. Now in its seventh year, the Latino Comics Expo provides a much-needed showcase of Latino comic book artists and writers, featuring 65 exhibitors and a program of workshops and talks. Highlights include an interview with this year's headliners, the Hernandez Brothers, creators of the seminal Love & Rockets books, as well as appearances by Cathy Camper, writer of the YA series Lowriders From Outer Space; Vicko Alvarez, whose comic Rosita Gets Scared focuses on an undocumented girl facing deportation; and cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, a consultant on Pixar's upcoming film Coco, showing just how far Latino comics artists have come. Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 11-12, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; $10, $7 seniors & students, free MOLAA members & children under 12 (free admission all day Sunday). (562) 437-1689, molaa.org/latino-comics-expo-2017. —Matt Stromberg
There has never been a more suitable time for an apocalyptic opera. Composer Annie Gosfield's operatic adaptation of Orson Welles' infamous radio drama War of the Worlds makes its Disney Hall debut featuring narration by the Alien queen herself, Sigourney Weaver. The otherworldly performance — which includes L.A. Phil players and opera star Suzanna Guzmán — is the brainchild of director Yuval Sharon, who recently won an esteemed MacArthur Fellowship, aka "the Genius Grant." Sharon has been responsible for large-scale musical projects that redefine operas and performance for the 21st century. In Hopscotch, he coordinated a citywide performance inside a fleet of limos and at various historic places in L.A. neighborhoods. Sharon's opera Invisible Cities was enacted in downtown's Union Station, where performers intermixed with travelers in the railway station. Like his other works that engaged communities, War of the Worlds also will be broadcast for free at three WWII-era air raid sirens throughout L.A. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Sun., Nov. 12, 2 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 18, noon & 2 p.m.; $25-$58, free at various air raid siren sites. laphil.com. —Drew Tewksbury
Argentine artist Adrián Villar Rojas creates immersive, site-specific environments that completely transform institutional spaces through architectural interventions and the juxtaposition of organic, cultural and ephemeral objects. His current project at MOCA Geffen, The Theater of Disappearance, incorporates petrified wood from Italy, columns from the U.A.E. city of Sharjah and silicone molds from Istanbul into an installation that explores decay and obsolescence. To celebrate the exhibition, MOCA is throwing a Day Party featuring free admission, food trucks, cash bar, DJs and family-friendly events related to the show. Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 152 N. Central Ave., downtown; Sun. Nov. 12, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. moca.org/program/moca-day-party. —Matt Stromberg
Sean Baker's speedy ascent to the top rank of independent auteurs is evidenced by his two latest features, neatly assembled on a double bill by the American Cinematheque. The more recent of the two, The Florida Project, encourages the viewer to see through the eyes of a 6-year-old girl (Brooklynn Prince) during a languid summer in the American Southeast. Tangerine, famously shot on an Apple iPhone, chronicles the efforts of a transgender sex worker (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) to locate her cheating pimp. Each is an example of a newly emerging brand of cinematic humanism in an increasingly technocentric age. Baker will appear to discuss his work between films. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Nathaniel Bell
Everyone needs someone to talk to sometimes, and tonight's The Special Occasionally Show: A Trans Lifeline Benefit helps fund the telephone hotline that believes there should be an ear for every voice. Founded in San Francisco in 2014, Trans Lifeline is the only crisis line run by and for the trans and gender-nonconforming community. True to its name, The Special Occasionally Show happens only, well, occasionally, so make this an occasion to remember by bedecking yourself in irregular resplendence (for real, evening wear is encouraged) and enjoy the comedic stylings of Rhea Butcher, Cameron Esposito, Olivia Haidar, Jeffrey Jay, Danielle Radford and hosts Caitlin Durante and Riley Silverman. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., Nov. 13, 8:45 p.m.; $20, $15 in advance. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —David Cotner
Machine-gunning Jews in Boyle Heights? Hanging Charlie Chaplin and Al Jolson? Those were just some of the demented plans the Nazis had for WWII Los Angeles. Attorney Leon Lewis rallied the local spies who smashed these schemes — and today, Steven J. Ross discusses his book Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America. The Nazis were hot on getting control of Hollywood — and all the propaganda that implies — so while the feds were busy chasing commies, it fell to Lewis' network to infiltrate those fascist cells and annihilate them from the inside. Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Mon., Nov. 13, 7 p.m.; free, book is $30. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —David Cotner
Located inside UCLA's Design Media Arts department, the UCLA Game Lab investigates new ways to make video games by focusing on the field's emerging genres, while also exploring innovative possibilities in gaming's aesthetics and contexts. The lab co-presents the UCLA Game Art Festival 2017, which unveils a number of interactive projects to the public. The fifth edition of the gaming juggernaut features live music, libations and pioneering new works from the UCLA Game Lab in the courtyard of the Hammer. In addition to enjoying a sneak peek at a host of groundbreaking projects, old-school gaming geeks will be happy to hear there's a tournament, too. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., Nov. 14, 7-10 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Tanja M. Laden
LACMA's Tuesday Matinees is showing The Girl From Mexico, the first in the popular "Mexican Spitfire" series starring Lupe Velez. A popular leading lady at a time when Latina roles were scarce, Velez eventually returned to Mexico in 1944 to star in Nana, based on the Zola novel. Less than a year later she passed into legend as one of Tinseltown's most notorious suicides. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Nov. 14, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell
For roughly a year, Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher have been comedy's most adorable married couple, without ever once making us want to barf. Leggero (of Comedy Central's Another Period) and Kasher (of Comedy Central's Problematic) are taking their wedded bliss on the road with the Honeymoon Tour, which is being filmed and will eventually become a Netflix special. Rather than just flaunt their happiness, the duo will be offering live relationship advice to couples in the audience, whose relationships may or may not survive the evening. But either way, it's for the best, no? UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood Hills; Wed., Nov. 15, 8 p.m.; $8. (323) 908-8702, ucbtheatre.com/performance/57862. —David Cotner
Joey Arias: Still Misbehavin' is a rare opportunity to experience a singer who is truly one of the most interesting people in the world: signed to Capitol Records as a teen, encouraged to pursue drag by Andy Warhol, backed David Bowie on "The Man Who Sold the World" with Klaus Nomi on SNL. And tonight, accompanied by jazz pianist Peter Smith, Arias' performance will be shot through with riveting tales of his artistic influences. At once timeless and timely, his renowned interpretations of the works of Billie Holiday and his groundbreaking drag style are rare and scintillating wonders to behold. Advance tickets are sold out, but interested parties can show up 15 minutes before the show to inquire about cancellations or no-shows. Cavern Club Celebrity Theater, Casita del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; Wed., Nov. 15, 9 p.m.; $25-$40. (323) 662-4255, chrisisaacsonpresents.com/public_html/events/joey-arias-still-misbehavin-2. —David Cotner
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
As a writer and showrunner, Matthew Weiner has given us two of television's greatest sympathetic antiheroes: Tony Soprano and Mad Men's Don Draper. He used the latter to channel a sort of suburban, midcentury ennui that smacked, on occasion, of the work of Revolutionary Road author Richard Yates. Now Weiner has taken that a step further by writing a novel, Heather, the Totality. He discusses the book — praised by the Guardian as "captivating" — with author and longtime New Yorker writer Susan Orlean as part of Live Talks L.A. Ann and Jerry Moss Theater, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica; Thu., Nov. 16, 8 p.m.; $43-$53 (includes book). livetalksla.org. —Gwynedd Stuart
The Long Goodbye, Robert Altman's hip Chandler update, contains some of the best Los Angeles location work of the 1970s, but it's the forlorn tone that sticks with you. Elliott Gould (at his Elliott Gould–est), saunters through the picture as Philip Marlowe, a private eye with a knight's heart. His mounting anguish at the corruption around him finally lets loose in a controversial ending that cynically subverts the Chandler ethos. Laemmle will screen the film as part of its Throwback Thursday series co-presented by Eat/See/Hear. Laemmle NoHo, 5420 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Thu., Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com. —Nathaniel Bell
The American Cinematheque's annual celebration of Italian cinema launches with a screening of A Ciambra, Italy's official Oscar submission. Written and directed by Jonas Carpignano and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, this slice-of-life story of a street-tough teenager appears to be a direct descendant of Italian neorealism, the post-WWII genre that invented a new movie language. A discussion with Carpignano will follow the screening. Tickets are free through AFI Fest starting Nov. 1. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., Nov. 16, 6:30 p.m.; free. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Nathaniel Bell