Keep an eye out for We the Geeks of East L.A. at East L.A. Comic Con on Saturday.
Keep an eye out for We the Geeks of East L.A. at East L.A. Comic Con on Saturday.
John Ceja

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


East L.A.'s first comic con, a book event with Jeffrey Tambor, Pasadena's annual big, free LitFest, and more to do and see in L.A. this week for $10 or less.

The Nuart is touting Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker as "one of the most immersive and rarefied experiences in the history of cinema," and it's not overreaching. For four straight days, the theater will screen Janus Films' new digital restoration of the 1979 Soviet masterwork, giving viewers a chance to visit "the Zone" — the liminal space sought by the characters where time seems to touch the eternal and men's deepest desires are laid bare. The story falls within the precincts of the sci-fi genre, but Tarkovsky is more concerned with inner space, as any random shot will reveal. The patience required of the viewer is amply rewarded by one of the most transcendent codas in all of film. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri.-Mon., May 19-22, 1, 4:30 & 8 p.m.; $9-$11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com. —Nathaniel Bell

Love comic book conventions but don't want to deal with the crowds and hype that took over after the nerds became cool? If so, make plans to head to El Gallo Plaza on Saturday for the inaugural East L.A. Comic Con. Founded by longtime comics fans, including the owner of San Gabriel's Nostalgic Books and Comics, the newest event on the convention circuit puts the books back in the spotlight, where they belong. Guests include Alejandro R. Gamboa and Bernyce Talley (Monty Gomez is the Luchador), Richard Soto and Bruce Logan (The Legend of El Lobo), Jenn Corella (Womanthology), and more. Still, there are more than just comics here. Expect cosplay, podcasting and even appearances from members of Lucha Underground. El Gallo Plaza, 4545 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., East L.A.; Sat., May 20, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; free. eastlacomiccon.com. —Liz Ohanesian

LitFest Pasadena spotlights authors from the neighborhood and beyond, at its annual, communitywide literary gathering, taking place in and around the Pasadena Playhouse and Vroman's Bookstore. Among the 100-plus writers and presenters scheduled to appear are Noel Alumit, Heidi Durrow, Naomi Hirahara, Janis Hirsch, Micheline Aharonian Marcom, Carolina A. Miranda, Luis J. Rodriguez, Lisa Teasley and festival co-founder Jervey Tervalon, as well as L.A. Times food critic and Pulitzer Prize–winner Jonathan Gold discussing "The Legacy of Julia Child," a talk about the famous, Pasadena-born chef. New this year is the Flights of Fantasy Story Theatre at the Pasadena Public Library, as well as Sci-Fest L.A., which features readings by finalists of the Roswell Award. As always, the schedule also includes panels on such topics as "Conflict Zone Reporting for Young Female Journalists," "The Humor & Heartbreak of L.A." and "Writing in the Time of Black Lives Matter." Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Sat., May 20, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. & Sun., May 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. litfestpasadena.org. —Siran Babayan

Don't pretend you're too highbrow for reality TV; we all watch it with the curtains drawn, even the middle-aged catfights on Bravo's The Real Housewives franchise. For the past eight years, executive producer Andy Cohen, the man behind Top Chef, Project Runway, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Kathy Griffin My Life on the D-List, has also hosted Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, interviewing the network's stars, actors and other celebrities. For the first time, Cohen brings his late-night talk show to Los Angeles for a week of live tapings. So now's your chance to hear firsthand who's shading whom on your favorite shows. Palace Theatre, 630 S. Broadway, downtown; Sun., May 21, 11 p.m. (through May 25); free. (213) 488-2009, on-camera-audiences.com. —Siran Babayan

John Ford's final Western, Cheyenne Autumn, is best appreciated after watching his previous three dozen or so, but even a neophyte can cherish its elegiac mood. The civil rights struggles of the early 1960s hang over the story of a cavalry officer (Richard Widmark) assigned to transport a group of Cheyenne back to their reservation. A downbeat film with a heavy social conscience, the film suggests an act of penance by a director whose representation of Native Americans had been widely criticized. The New Beverly presents an IB Tech print in a crisp salute to Ford's artistry. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Sun., May 21, 6:30 p.m.; Mon., May 22, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Nathaniel Bell

When director Jonathan Demme passed away last month, we lost a truly original voice in contemporary cinema, one whose diverse oeuvre included mainstream hits like Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, alongside more offbeat fare like the intimate, ensemble piece Rachel Getting Married. Before all that, however, Demme made Stop Making Sense, "one of the greatest rock movies ever," according to Rolling Stone. Shot over the course of three Talking Heads concerts in 1983, the film captures all of the band's New Wave quirkiness and infectious energy. Beginning with a solo, acoustic performance of "Psycho Killer" by frontman David Byrne, the rest of the band gradually takes the stage, building to an unexpectedly funky finale, thanks to guest musicians including drummer Steve Scales, guitarist Alex Weir and P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell. With artful cinematography, theatrical performances and, of course, a killer soundtrack, this is a film that begs to be seen on the big screen. The Frida Cinema, 305 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana; Mon.-Tue., May 22-23, 8 p.m.; $10, $7 members; $8 seniors, students and military. thefridacinema.org/event/stop-making-sense-monday. —Matt Stromberg

Between 2012 and 2015, a Syrian teen named Mohammed Qutaish created Future Aleppo, an installation that reimagined a modern, idyllic version of his hometown, which has been devastated by Syrian civil war since 2011. Qutaish now lives with his family in a refugee camp in Turkey; a four-by-four-foot version of the 3-D model was first displayed in New York's Mmuseumm in 2016. Qutaish built his project using cardboard, glue, colored pencils and watercolors, and erected not only historic sites such as Aleppo's Citadel — a medieval, fortified palace that's considered one of the oldest landmarks in the world — but also restaurants, gardens, rooftop pools, solar panels and helicopter pads. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Tue., May 23, noon-5 p.m. (continues through Aug. 18); free. (310) 440-4500, skirball.org. —Siran Babayan

Matthew Aucoin is a 27-year-old musical wunderkind who conducts, composes and plays piano. Last year, he was named L.A. Opera's first artist-in-residence and conducted the company's visually flamboyant production of Philip Glass' Egyptian fantasy, Akhnaten. Next year, he'll conduct his own Civil War–era work about Walt Whitman, called Crossing, for L.A. Opera, but this month Aucoin is leading a series of free, traveling recitals, "Mozart: Truth Through Beauty," in which he returns the focus to Mozart's actual music. Singers from L.A. Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program revive operatic selections drawn from Mozart's short career. Brand Library & Art Center, 1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale; Tue., May 23, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 548-2051, laopera.org. —Falling James

Orson Welles co-wrote, supervised and, according to several historians, mostly directed Journey Into Fear after completing his sophomore feature, The Magnificent Ambersons. Although obscure (i.e., not on DVD), it's a highly entertaining thriller in the noir style. Joseph Cotten, who also worked on the screenplay, plays a munitions expert pursued by secret agents across the Atlantic. Among the film's clever touches is a complexly choreographed shootout involving a series of window ledges — an extravagant piece of mise-en-scène that showcases the master's baroque hand. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., May 23, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell

Whether he's portraying a transgender parent on Transparent, acting up as George Bluth Sr. on Arrested Development or stealing scenes as the memorably creepy sidekick Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, actor Jeffrey Tambor has always managed to imbue even the most ridiculous and unlikable characters with an inherent mixture of unselfconscious humor, offhand charisma and even vulnerability. Tambor maintains a certain sad-sack charm and adds a welcome, heavy dose of self-deprecation in his new book, Are You Anybody? A Memoir, which is alternately a sentimentally hilarious look at his life and an insightful handbook for actors trying to make it past the audition. The autobiography is replete with such witty non sequiturs and bon mot asides as "A Bounce commercial became a defining moment in my life." Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Wed., May 24, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Falling James

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