8 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week

Donna Sternberg & Dancers put on a show at a Metro station on Sunday.
Donna Sternberg & Dancers put on a show at a Metro station on Sunday.
Courtesy Donna Sternberg & Dancers

A three-venue arts fest downtown, a celebration of bread at Grand Central Market, a dance performance at a Metro station and more fun stuff to do in L.A. this week for 10 bucks or less.


The harp is normally the gentlest of all musical instruments, its soft plucking of strings evoking the languid ripple of water in a pond and other pastoral idylls. But in musician-inventor William Close's gloved hands, the harp becomes a towering instrument capable of unexpected power and range. At this evening's edition of the free Grand Performances series, the strings of Close's massive Earth Harp will be attached to the top of a 52-story skyscraper above California Plaza to create "the largest playable instrument in the world." The site-specific urban setting actually becomes part of the instrument, shaping its sound as William Close & the Earth Harp Collective — former contestants on America's Got Talent — assemble melodies by everyone from Ludwig van Beethoven and Philip Glass to Lana Del Rey. California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., June 2, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 3, 5 p.m.; free. (213) 687-2190, grandperformances.org. —Falling James

Culture and technology converge at the debut of i3 Arts Fest, which takes over three venues in downtown L.A. Featuring enormous and responsive art installations, Grand Park temporarily turns into Interaction Park, and a progressive concert experience transforms Grand Performances into Innovation Plaza. Meanwhile, Pershing Square takes the form of Immersion Square, hosting the female-centric i3 Arts Fest Art Car Ball starring Burning Man creation Charlie the Unicorn. Works by more than 30 artists will be on display at the two-day, multidisciplinary celebration, which delivers a wide range of experimental art happenings in what's hopefully going to become an annual affair. Various locations downtown; Sat., June 3 (also Fri., June 2); free, $35-$150 for i3 Arts Fest Art Car Ball. i3artsfest.com. —Tanja M. Laden

The Road Warrior (1981) initially was widely regarded as a leaner, louder, more muscular do-over of George Miller's Mad Max. Mel Gibson reprises his role as the rogue cop who finds himself defending, in the style of an old Western, a tight-knit community of post-nuclear desert dwellers against a pack of wheel-bound psychos. The New Beverly will pair it with the recent, universally lauded Mad Max: Fury Road. Miller's belated fourth entry in the series, sturdily supported by a kick-ass Charlize Theron, is a relentlessly exciting chase thriller that adds a potent feminist edge to this testosterone-fueled franchise. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri.-Sat., June 2-3, 7 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Nathaniel Bell 

Upcoming Events

The Los Angeles Bread Festival is back for the third year, and the organizers are putting on that famous butter-churning workout, too. It's the last event of both days: working up a sweat while you churn some butter the old-fashioned way. The whole weekend is free, and if you want to swing by Grand Central Market just to admire some loaves, that's perfectly fine. You can also buy some or attend some of the sessions, which include challah-, pita- and bialy-making demonstrations and talks about refined flours. Plus, there will be plenty of samples. Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, downtown; Sat.-Sun., June 3-4, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (also Sat., June 3); free. grandcentralmarket.com/events/932/3rd-annual-los-angeles-bread-festival-at-grand-central-market. —Katherine Spiers

If the jammed traffic headed to the beach isn't sufficient incentive, Transit Dances offers not one but three good reasons to try the Expo Line. Organized by Donna Sternberg & Dancers, the site-specific event offers three companies — modern dance from Sternberg, South Asian dance from Arpana Dance Company and contemporary jazz dance from JazzAntiqua Dance Ensemble — with the audience viewing dance works at a transit stop before reboarding and moving to the next transit stop for another performance (three stops in all). The event ends within walking distance of the beach — bonus! Expo Line, 26th Street/Bergamot Metro stop, Santa Monica; Sun., June 4, noon & 1 p.m.; $10. transitdances.bpt.me. —Ann Haskins

Julio Torres' name may not sound familiar, but his comedy should. Originally from El Salvador, the Brooklyn-based comedian writes for Saturday Night Live, including such recent sketches and digital shorts as "Melania Moments" and "Wells for Boys," in which a lonely, introspective boy plays with a Fisher-Price toy that looks like a well. For a second time at UCB, Torres hosts Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes. In it, Torres sits at a table and plays with knickknacks and other small-scale objects of various shapes: squares, triangles, spheres. Torres tells funny stories inspired by the shapes — some that remind him of celebrities, including Ivanka Trump, Tilda Swinton and Eddie Redmayne — while he projects the entire performance on a screen. Torres is taking his show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and will star in his own stand-up special on Comedy Central in the fall. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., June 5, 10:30 p.m.; $7. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

In 1969, a brutal police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan's Greenwich Village ignited the gay liberation movement, and a year later, nonprofit advocacy group Christopher Street West helped put together the world's first government-sanctioned gay pride parade. Today, the same organization is behind L.A. Pride Week, which features a series of events designed to bring more visibility to LGBTQ rights. Included are a Women's Party, Trans Party, LGBT Night at Dodger Stadium, the weekend-long L.A. Pride Festival and #ResistMarch, which aims to call attention to not only LGBTQ rights but human rights worldwide. Various locations; Mon., June 5-Sun., June 11; various prices. lapride.org. —Tanja M. Laden

"Early, funny" Woody Allen gave way to "tasteful, dramatic" Woody Allen in the late 1970s, reaching an apotheosis with the trenchant Crimes and Misdemeanors in 1989. Hannah and Her Sisters, made three years prior, is nearly as good: a quilt of New York City life studded with a powerhouse cast. Michael Caine and Dianne Wiest took home Oscars, as did Allen for Best 0riginal Screenplay. If you're a Woody skeptic, this one just might convince you that he was once capable of turning out warm, human-scaled dramas. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., June 6, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell


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