9 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week

Charles Phoenix hosts a free slideshow presentation at Union Station tonight.
Star Foreman


A slideshow that celebrates SoCal kitsch, a fest of books, a storytelling show about revenge, and more to do and see in L.A. this week for 10 bucks or less.

Known as the Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix has turned nostalgia into a cottage industry that has come to include tours, books and, of course, his signature slideshows. This evening at Union Station, he presents Charles Phoenix: Southern Californialand, a slideshow that explores the region's "undiscovered, underrated and misunderstood midcentury architectural gems." Phoenix puts to good use his exhaustive knowledge of the Southland's kitschiest landmarks, from Googie bowling alleys to dingbat apartment buildings and, in particular, a very famous drive-through bake shop in La Puente that looks like a big-ass doughnut. "Festive" dress is encouraged (think a mustard-yellow and ketchup-red tuxedo, like the host's). Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., downtown; Fri., April 21, 8:30-10 p.m. (doors open 8 p.m.); free (seating is first come, first served). unionstationla.com/happenings/metro-art-presents-or-charles-phoenix-southern-californialand. —Gwynedd Stuart

Sure, we hated chemistry class in high school — really, do we need to memorize the atomic weights of elements? — but never in our wildest, angstiest teen dreams could we have imagined we'd have an adult baby president who, like, for real hates science. Alas, here we are — marching in defense of something that shouldn't need defending because of, you know, the scientific method. In honor of Earth Day, the resistance takes to the streets once again for the Los Angeles March for Science, one of many science marches taking place across the United States. It may not change Washington's mind on climate change, but at least a few thousand Angelenos will be on foot instead of driving around. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown; Sat., April 22, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. facebook.com/events/1199770880137011/?active_tab=about. —Gwynedd Stuart

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Los Angeles' Bookchella for bibliophiles and the largest literary festival in the world, returns for its 22nd year. This year's fest features appearances by more than 500 literary heavyweights and celebrity authors, including Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Chuck Palahniuk, T.C. Boyle, Michael Connelly, Michael Eric Dyson, Roxane Gay, Luis J. Rodriguez, Chris Hayes, Dave Grohl, Bryan Cranston, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Cheech Marin, Wil Wheaton, Tippi Hedren, Danica McKellar, Cesar Millan, Keith Morris, Michael Ovitz and Pamela Des Barres. As always, the two-day schedule features 10 stages offering cooking demonstrations, travel workshops, poetry and children's readings, in addition to hundreds of vendors, live music, mural installations, a performance of songs from Into the Woods by the Center Theatre Group and, of course, food trucks. USC, Bing Theatre, University Park Campus, 3500 Watt Way, University Park; Sat., April 22, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., April 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free (paid tickets required for some events). (213) 740-5656, latimes.com/festivalofbooks. —Siran Babayan

Upcoming Events

Sometimes you need to watch a movie about an adorable seal that becomes two brothers' best friend. The New Beverly offers the chance to do just that with Sammy, the Way-Out Seal, presented here as a "kiddee matinee" on an exceedingly hard-to-come-by IB Technicolor print (those colors!). Having not personally seen Norman Tokar's family film, I can't attest to whether it's better than the '90s classic Andre, but there's room for more than one movie in the seals-befriending-kids genre. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Sat.-Sun., April 22-23, 2 p.m.; $6. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

Often misunderstood as an act of atonement for the racism wrought by Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith's Intolerance: Love's Struggle Through the Ages might be better understood as a defiant clarification. The epic screens as part of UCLA's Hollywood and Holy Wood: Silent Cinema Connections Between Los Angeles and Japan series, which examines the flow of talent and ideas across the Pacific. Griffith's hugely ambitious film, a 217-minute opus that tells four parallel stories taking place across different continents and centuries, was meant to show the world that he was an OK guy after all. One thing is beyond dispute after watching it: He was certainly a master filmmaker. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., April 22, 3 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.

KPCC In Person hosts Unheard L.A.: The Stories of Where You Live, a three-part, neighborhood-centric storytelling series emceed by Watts Village Theater Company artistic director Bruce A. Lemon Jr. Whittier, the city named for poet John Greenleaf Whittier — and the childhood home of Richard Nixon — is the backdrop for the first installment, which features Erik Benjamins, Nancy Do, Stephanie Sajor and Eddy M. Gana Jr. (Steady), Brenda Gonzalez, Michael Jaime-Becerra, Aeden Keffelew, Joshua Rigsby, Jonathon Rios and members of Cornerstone Theater Company performing spoken word and songs about their experiences as Angelenos. The next two events take place downtown (April 30) and in Hollywood (May 13), and each show is followed by a mixer with the cast. Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts, 6760 Painter Ave., Whittier; Sun., April 23, 5:30-7 p.m.; free (reservation required). scpr.org. —Siran Babayan

A rumble can be as much a gut feeling as it is a battle between two forces — even if those forces are being presented within the framework of a light-hearted live-lit night. Such chortlesome studies are front-and-center at The Rumble: A Storytelling Show. Tonight's theme is "revenge," and your hosts — American Dad writer Nicole Shabtai and Alec Baldwin's Love Ride writer Laura Willcox — plumb the depths of shame and self-loathing to encourage stand-ups Halley Feiffer, Jon Gabrus and Casey Wilson to face their fears onstage and transform those feelings into something that won't make them puke into the audience. UCB Sunset, 5419 Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood; Mon., April 24, 7 p.m.; $7. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com/performance/53697. —David Cotner

You've read Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and have seen the movies. You may even be familiar with the 1976 porn film, Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Comedy. Now watch Second City's political satire, Alice in Trumperland. Directed by Tom Seidman, the theater's latest musical spoof features cast members Mike Bash, Mike Davis, Brooke Esperanza, Lauren Michaels, Lena Milan, Clare Snodgrass, Sam Taha, Jared Waltzer and Alison Yates singing their way through the famous children's story, but with a twist: It's 2009, and Alicia, a young, Hispanic DREAMer, falls down the rabbit hole and into a fantasy future populated by bizarre characters that look eerily similar to certain famous politicians. Think Bernie Sanders as the Cheshire Cat, Steve Bannon as the Mad Hatter and Donald Trump as the Red Queen. Second City Studio Theater, 6560 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., April 26, 9 p.m. (also Wed., May 10); $10. (323) 464-8542, secondcity.com/shows/hollywood/alice-in-trumperland. —Siran Babayan

People generally like to think they're originals — one-of-a-kind, mold broken, etc. — so it's refreshing to find two people who take joy in their similarities. In tonight's program of hearing double, Vocal Doppelgänger, comedians Ophira Eisenberg and Jackie Kashian perform entirely separate stand-up sets with speaking voices that sound the same, even if their individual artistic voices are as different as night and day. Blindfolds are available in case you'd like to take part in this especially dualistic Pepsi challenge of comedy — but you just might find what they have to say eye-opening. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., April 27, 7-8:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —David Cotner


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