7 Cheap and Free Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Learn to dance with Jareth on Tuesday.EXPAND
Learn to dance with Jareth on Tuesday.
Jim Henson Company


Comedians skewer the sure-to-blow Emoji Movie, a screening of The Wizard of Oz, a tour of a DTLA distillery, and more fun stuff to do this week for 13 bucks or less.

The Emoji Movie, the latest example of how smartphones inspire dumb film ideas, is out today, and Matt Apodaca and Edgar Momplaisir are already certain it stinks. In We Demand Answers: The Emoji Movie, the UCB cast members do just that. The two take an investigative approach as they interview Steven Wright, James Corden, Anna Faris and Sofia Vergara — as impersonated by James Adomian, Mookie Blaiklock, Haley Mancini and Carla Valderrama — who are among the voices behind the emoji characters, and ask them some hard-hitting questions. For instance, why is Vergara once again relying on Latina stereotypes for laughs? And why is Patrick Stewart, a classically trained Shakespearean actor and Jean-Luc Picard himself, the voice of poop? UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; Fri., July 28, 11:45 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

Before it airs on HBO on Aug. 7, LACMA screens Lisanne Skyler's documentary, Brillo Box (3 Cents Off), followed by a discussion with the director. Skyler traces the journey of the Andy Warhol Brillo Box pop-art piece her parents, Martin and Rita, bought in 1969 for $1,000. After they sold it a few years later, the same sculpture was resold at Christie's in 2010 for $3 million, and again in 2014 for $1.7 million. The Brillo Box is among the more than 120 paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture and other items on display in "Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959-1971" (through Sept. 10), LACMA's current exhibit on the history of Virginia Dwan's famed gallery, which opened in Westwood in 1959 and in New York in 1965. LACMA, Bing Theater, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Sun., July 30, 1 p.m.; free. lacma.org. —Siran Babayan

We're only 17 years in, but the 21st century is shaping up to be a real fuckin' bummer. Step back in time with the Victorian Tea & Dance Society, a club of manners that (among other things) hosts Tuesday dance classes that harken back to the tastes of the turn of the last century. On Tuesdays throughout the month of August, they're hosting Labyrinth of Jareth Historical Dance Classes, which fuses the 1880s and one of the best/weirdest kids' movies of the 1980s, Jim Henson's David Bowie vehicle Labyrinth. Attendees will learn the rotary waltz, which Sarah dances in the masquerade ball scene. Who knows, you might meet the Goblin King of your lusty pre-teen dreams. Pasadena Scottish Rite, 150 N. Madison Ave., Pasadena; Tue., Aug. 1, 7:30-9:30 p.m.; $8. victorianteaanddance.org. —Gwynedd Stuart

Upcoming Events

The folks who run the L.A. Phil early on recognized the startling potential of Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, selecting the relatively unknown Lithuanian native as assistant conductor of the orchestra in 2014 before promoting her to associate conductor the following year. Since then, she's been anointed as music director of City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in England, although she continues to work with the L.A. Phil. Whether she's unlocking the intricately tricky puzzle boxes of atonal 20th-century avant-garde composers or — as she'll do tonight — summoning forth the more melodic and billowing swells of Claude Debussy's La Mer, the 30-year-old conductor coaxes out the most subtle tonal nuances with a balletic flair. Another young phenom, 24-year-old Italian pianist Beatrice Rana, ignites Tchaikovsky's stirring Piano Concerto No. 1. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood Hills; Tue., Aug. 1, 8 p.m.; $1-$154. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —Falling James

Before a certain Broadway musical reframed her as the victim of a smear campaign, the Wicked Witch of the West was, for many, the personification of evil. But she is only one character of several that branded themselves on the brains of innumerable impressionable tots. Looking back at The Wizard of Oz from the perspective of a grownup, especially if you haven't seen it in a while, may open up an appreciation of just how utterly peculiar it all is. The discerning viewer may detect a strong current of surrealism submerged beneath the gallons of MGM paint (Exhibit G: the blue-faced, bellboy-attired flying monkeys). LACMA will show this critic-proof studio chestnut on 35mm as part of its Tuesday matinees series. How brave are you? LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Aug. 1, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell

As an example of film noir, Out of the Past stands out like a lustrous diamond, hard-edged in its particulars and yet dreamy in style. The reason for that has to do with the grace that its director, the French-born Jacques Tourneur, brings to the pulp subject matter. As the ex-private eye that gets pulled back into the criminal underworld that he long ago left behind, Robert Mitchum—barrel-chested and mournful of countenance—cuts a poignant figure. Make it a Mitchum double with Cape Fear, in which the star plays an ex-con with a vendetta against the lawyer (Gregory Peck) who wronged him. Both will be featured in three Laemmle locations in celebration of Mitchum's centennial. Film historian Jeremy Arnold will introduce the program at the Ahrya only. Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre (also at the NoHo and Playhouse 7), 8556 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, Thu., August 1, 5:10 p.m.; $13. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com. —Nathaniel Bell

The Spirit Guild is one of the few spirits distilleries in L.A. County — and one of four in downtown Los Angeles. The employees here focus only on vodka and gin, both made with Southern California clementines. In fact, they're grain-free, so the gluten-intolerant can get blitzed. During the Spirit Guild Tour, you'll get to visit not only the artsy communal spaces but also the back rooms where the huge copper kettles cook up all that delicious booze. The program lasts around 45 minutes and includes a tasting; the admission price includes a $5 discount toward the purchase of a bottle. The Spirit Guild, 586 Mateo St., downtown; Wed., Aug. 2, 4:30-5:30 p.m.; $10. thespiritguild.com/tours-and-tastings. —Katherine Spiers


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