Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week

Mariscos Jalisco is just one of the vendors at Hecho in L.A. Taco Madness on Cinco de Mayo.
Mariscos Jalisco is just one of the vendors at Hecho in L.A. Taco Madness on Cinco de Mayo.
Anne Fishbein

Three awesome Cinco de Mayo events and more fun stuff to do this week for 10 bucks or less.

On May 5, 1862, a ragtag group of Mexican soldiers enjoyed an improbable victory over the better-outfitted French forces in the Battle of Puebla, so now a bunch of Americans commemorate the day by eating tacos and drinking beers. Isn't history funny that way? There's no better place to do those aforementioned things than at Hecho in L.A. Taco Madness, a Cinco de Mayo taco bonanza at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes. Vendors including Mariscos Jalisco, Chichén Itzá Restaurant, Tacos Punta Cabras and Churro Boss will have eats available for purchase, and I Love Micheladas will be on the scene slinging mix to add to your Golden Road beer. Mexican-American DJ trio Metralleta de Oro and DJ Que Madre spin songs so you can dance off the tacos. And then eat more tacos. La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 624 N. Main St., downtown; Fri., May 5, 6 p.m.-mid.; free. facebook.com/events/1845723565689543. —Gwynedd Stuart

The death of Abbas Kiarostami last year deprived the world of one of its greatest cinematic artists. Despite this loss, Iran and its immediate neighbors continue to be a center for inventive filmmaking. One voice to recently emerge from the region is Navid Mahmoudi, whose Parting was selected as the official Afghan entry for Best Foreign-Language Film at the 2017 Academy Awards. This account of a young couple attempting to reach Europe in order to escape economic adversity has all the hallmarks of classical humanist storytelling. The film is part of a monthlong series at UCLA called In Transit: Refugees on Film, curated by Jan-Christopher Horak. With the refugee crisis continuing to rage throughout the Middle East and North Africa, this timely story puts a human face on a pressing social issue. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., May 5, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Nathaniel Bell

Pin collecting never went away; people have long been gathering the tiny souvenirs as an extension of their love of places like Disneyland and events like the Olympics. Still, enamel pins are having a moment right now, and Gallery Nucleus is showcasing the arty variety of these collectibles with its first Pin-Pal-Palooza. The Alhambra hot spot for pop culture–related shows has assembled a hefty group of vendors, including 100% Soft, Joe Ledbetter, Kimchicat and more, to set up shop inside the gallery on Saturday afternoon. Of course, they'll have pins for purchase, in addition to other items. At press time, illustrator Kevin Jay Stanton is known to be releasing a new pin for this event; other pin debuts will be announced via Gallery Nucleus' socials. Gallery Nucleus, 210 E. Main St., Alhambra; Sat., May 6, noon-7 p.m.; free. (626) 458-7482, gallerynucleus.com. —Liz Ohanesian

Upcoming Events

Los Angeles' love affair with the automobile goes back decades, from the era of classic Cadillacs to the latest nitrous-fueled whips. Featuring a broad range of vehicles including lowriders, hot rods and Kustoms, the Cinco de Mayo Car Show welcomes a diverse group of car enthusiasts, car clubs and solo owners to celebrate SoCal's auto obsession. Located on the grounds of the Santa Anita Race Track, the event will feature live music, DJs, Aztec and folklorico dancers, food vendors and a designated area for kids. If you want to take a break from all the chrome and glass to enjoy a more organic form of locomotion, horse races also will be taking place on-site. Santa Anita Park, 285 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia; Sun. May 7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free to attend, $30 to register a car. santaanita.com/events/cinco-de-may-car-show. —Matt Stromberg

A big fat beach read of a movie, Giant more than lives up to its title. Released in 1956, George Stevens' multigenerational saga of a Texas oil family still impresses with its awesome widescreen vistas, and its racial politics have aged surprisingly well. Featuring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean (in his final performance), and culminating in one of cinema's most exciting fistfights, the film is as irresistible as gossip. The New Beverly Cinema is breaking out a 35mm IB Tech print, so the colors should really pop. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Sun., May 7, 6:30 p.m.; Mon.-Tue., May 8-9, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Nathaniel Bell

LACMA's Tuesday Matinees series disinters a 16mm print of Madame Du Barry, a lavish 1934 retelling of the life of the infamous courtesan (played by Mexican-born Hollywood star Dolores del Rio) who became Louis XV's last mistress. Ernst Lubitsch elegantly traversed this territory in a landmark silent film, but this impeccably coiffed comedy, made in the year the Motion Picture Production Code kicked in, remains well worth seeing. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., May 9, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell

Despite the tequila-soaked antics of many an American spring breaker, Cinco de Mayo is not simply an excuse to party. Nor is it, as many north of the border have mistakenly assumed, Mexico's Independence Day (that would be Sept. 16). Instead the holiday commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla, in which an outmanned and outgunned Mexican force managed to vanquish the invading French army, then considered the finest in the world. A symbolic rather than strategic victory, the battle was a source of pride and unity for the Mexican people, and the holiday still inspires such feelings in Mexicans around the world. Rafa Lara's 2013 film Cinco de Mayo: La Batalla depicts the political machinations and military strategy behind the conflict with plenty of the action-packed battle scenes that we've come to expect from this kind of historical epic. Centro Cultural Cinematográfico México, 2401 W. Sixth St., Westlake; Thu., May 11, 4:30 p.m.; free. facebook.com/events/1085577774879760. —Matt Stromberg

CSUN's John Cassavetes retrospective nears its completion with Love Streams, one of the director's most blisteringly emotional works. Cassavetes himself steps in front of the camera to play a best-selling author adrift in booze and paid companionship, while his wife/muse Gena Rowlands provides a counterbalance as his loving but unstable sister. Marked by ruthless honesty and clarity of expression, the film climaxes with one of the most heartbreaking final scenes in 1980s American cinema, effectively lowering the curtain on a remarkable independent career. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., May 11, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu. –Nathaniel Bell


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