11 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week

Comedian John Early kicks off his monthly residency at the Satellite in Silverlake on Tuesday.
Comedian John Early kicks off his monthly residency at the Satellite in Silverlake on Tuesday.
Courtesy Jesse Untracht-Oakner

The new George Takei exhibit, John Early's residency at the Satellite and more fun stuff to do and see in L.A. this week for 10 bucks or less.

ArtNight Pasadena is the city's twice-yearly tradition of free art, music and other entertainment, which last fall attracted 28,000 visitors. Eighteen of the area's art and cultural institutions extend their hours, and some will have food trucks parked outside. It's a sizable spread, so you can either walk to the venues or take advantage of complimentary shuttle rides, whether you want to listen to soul music at the Jackie Robinson Community Center, hear poetry at the Pasadena Museum of California Art or admire works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Degas and Picasso at the Norton Simon Museum. Various locations, Pasadena; Fri., March 10, 6-10 p.m.; free. artnightpasadena.org. —Siran Babayan

Denizens of D.C. have to wait another couple weeks for their cherry blossom festival to kick off, but here in Southern California, the pink buds are already in bloom. This is the second weekend of Descanso Gardens' Cherry Blossom Festival, celebrating this spectacular symbol of the arrival of spring. Besides scheduled walks through the cherry blossoms, this weekend's festivities include origami-folding workshops, Japanese cuisine for purchase in the Camellia Lounge and taiko drumming from On Ensemble. Advance reservations are required. Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge; Sat.-Sun., March 11-12, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; $9 adults, $6 students & seniors, $4 children. (818) 949-4200, descansogardens.org. —Gwynedd Stuart

This year, Downtown Bookfest at Grand Park is partnering with the City of L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs' Big Read to celebrate the poetry of Emily Dickinson. The annual literary gathering highlights the work of L.A.-based writers and publishers with daylong readings, spoken word and activities featuring members of 826LA, Get Lit Players and others. You can catch performances by Mayda Del Valle, David Prather and Cut Chemist + Hymnal, take part in a book-making workshop inspired by Dickinson's collection of 400 plant specimens, pose for pictures in a Victorian-themed photo booth or write poems on vintage typewriters. And if you want to skip a trip to the bookstore, Red Hen Press, Skylight Books and Get Lit Publications will sell books and other souvenirs in pop-up bookshops. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sat., March 11, noon-5 p.m.; free. grandparkla.org/event/downtown-bookfest. —Siran Babayan

UCLA offers a night of Classic Animated Shorts From Paramount, with 35mm restorations of such old-timey favorites as Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, A Cartoon Travesty of the Raven and Educated Fish. Max and Dave Fleischer are responsible for the lion's share of cartoons being showcased, while stop-motion innovator George Pal will be represented by his 1941 short Rhythm in the Ranks. Adult Swim this is not, but the charm and ingenuity of animation circa the 1930s and '40s is hard to replicate — especially when it's shown on actual film stock. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., March 11, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine

Famed Star Trek actor and community leader George Takei is the subject of the Japanese American National Museum's latest exhibit, "New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei." The display's timeline follows the L.A.-born Takei's life and career, from his family's incarceration in the Japanese-American internment camps in California and Arkansas during WWII and his many film and TV roles to his outspoken gay activism and stints in public service, including serving on the Southern California Rapid Transit District. Among the collection's personal items are photographs, artwork, scripts, awards, campaign materials from Takei's 1973 bid for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council and the torch he carried in the leadup to the 1984 Summer Olympics in L.A. Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., downtown; Sun., March 12, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (runs through Aug. 20); $10, $6 seniors & students, free children under 5. (213) 625-0414, janm.org. —Siran Babayan

Part of the 1960s postmodern dance movement centered at New York's Judson Church, Trisha Brown's 50-year career defies easy categorization and explains why UCLA's weeklong Trisha Brown Retrospective Project in 2013 in venues ranging from the Getty rooftops to the Royce Hall's stage only whetted appetites for more. Again organized by CAP UCLA, over the past week Trisha Brown: In Plain Site Los Angeles has hosted site-specific public performances, mostly free, all over town at art institutions that signed on to be sponsors as well as sites for Brown's unpredictable, inventive, thoughtful and often witty choreography. This weekend's finale moves from the Getty Center (Friday) to LACMA (Saturday) and winds up at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, a recent addition to the Arts District, housed in a repurposed flour factory. The free public performance is followed by a big-ticket benefit for CAP UCLA. Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, 901 E. Third St., downtown; Sun., March 12, 4:30 p.m.; free. cap.ucla.edu. —Ann Haskins

Neither Diary of a Mad Housewife nor Play It as It Lays is available on DVD, making the New Beverly's 35mm double bill all the more alluring. Frank Perry's two literary adaptations — one from Sue Kaufman, the other from Joan Didion's landmark L.A. novel — were released within a few years of each other, exploring early-'70s malaise from the perspective of beleaguered women at their wits' end. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Sun., March 12, 6:30 p.m.; Mon., March 13, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

Sometimes the most pivotal figures in art are its enthusiasts. Legendary art dealer Virginia Dwan speaks with LACMA director Michael Govan, minimalist art expert James Meyer and modern art aficionado Stephanie Barron about her life and times running galleries in Westwood (1959-67) and New York (1965-71), the logistics and arcana behind her boredom-shattering exhibitions of everyone from Edward Kienholz to Yves Klein and Robert Smithson, and how she got her hands dirty cheerleading the dawn of land art. It's a more expansive aspect of the "Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959-1971" exhibition, which opens March 19. Bing Theatre at LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., March 14, 7 p.m.; free (ticket required). (323) 857-6010, lacma.org/event/virginia-dwan. —David Cotner

Comedian-actor John Early is all over the place these days. Last year he played a vapid, gay millennial on TBS' recently renewed comedy Search Party, starring Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat and co-created by Michael Showalter, and appeared on Netflix's sketch series The Characters. This year Early teamed up with frequent creative partner Kate Berlant for Vimeo web anthology 555, co-produced by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. Similar to the monthly variety show Showgasm he hosted in his native New York, Early kicks off a monthly residency at the Satellite. Tonight's lineup features stand-up by Sam Jay, Frankie Quinones and Baskets actress Martha Kelly, in addition to music by house band BUCK. The Satellite, 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake; Tue., March 14, 9 p.m.; $8. (323) 661-4380, thesatellitela.com. —Siran Babayan

Thirty-six years and 17 Oscar nominations ago, Meryl Streep was The French Lieutenant's Woman. Featuring two affairs in one, Karel Reisz's adaptation of the novel by John Fowles stars Streep and Jeremy Irons as actors whose illicit romance takes place both in front of and behind the camera — both with disastrous consequences. LACMA screens it on 35mm in the early afternoon, the perfect time to sneak into the theater with a secret lover of your own. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., March 14, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

The brutal beating of Rodney King by LAPD officers is frequently cited as being an impetus for the L.A. Riots, which took place 25 years ago this April. Less frequently do people remember Latasha Harlins, a 15-year-old girl who was shot in the back of the head by Korean convenience store clerk Soon Ja Du after a dispute over orange juice. Du was tried and convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and was sentenced to probation and community service and had to pay a $500 fine but served no prison time. In honor of Harlins and girls who have or will suffer similar fates, the California African American Museum hosts a panel discussion called #BlackGirlsMatter, featuring Brenda Stevenson, professor of history, UCLA; Funmilola Fagbamila, professor, activist, and an original member of Black Lives Matter; Shamell Bell, UCLA doctoral candidate and an original member of BLM; Tia Oso, national organizer, Black Alliance for Just Immigration; Denise Harlins, Latasha's aunt; and Britni Danielle, Ebony Magazine. CAAM, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park; Thu., March 16, 7-9 p.m.; free with RSVP. (213) 744-2024, caamuseum.org. —Gwynedd Stuart


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