9 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week

Kurosawa's Red Beard screens tonight.EXPAND
Kurosawa's Red Beard screens tonight.
Kurosawa Production Co.

Classic movies, a comedy fest and a panel discussion on fake news — all for 11 bucks or less.

"The ordinary Japanese actor might need 10 feet of film to get across an impression," Akira Kurosawa once said of his most frequent collaborator. "Toshiro Mifune needed only 3 feet." Every movie the two made together is worth seeking out — and there are a lot, from Seven Samurai and Rashomon to Yojimbo and Throne of Blood — but Red Beard has special significance insofar as it was also their last. Mifune, recently the subject of an affectionate documentary, plays the director of a 19th-century clinic in one of Kurosawa's best, most humanistic offerings. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri.-Sat., April 7-8, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

KCRW's yearlong series Going Gray in L.A.: Stories of Aging Along Broadway looked at how the elderly in Los Angeles are make a living and coping with the aging process along an 18-mile stretch of Broadway that runs through neighborhoods including Lincoln Heights, Chinatown, downtown and South L.A. Produced by Ruxandra Guidi, the stories are accompanied by photographs by her husband, Roberto (Bear) Guerra, of senior citizens shopping and taking the bus, practicing tai chi, attending dances at community centers and living in senior housing developments. KCRW hosts Going Gray in L.A.: How Are Seniors Faring in the Big City?, a photography exhibit and panel discussion, featuring station anchor Jonathan Bastian, Guidi and Guerra, as well as Brandi Orton of St. Barnabas Senior Services, Kenwood Jung of Chinatown Community for Equitable Development and Michelle Cotton, a family caregiver. Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., downtown; Sun., April 9, 2 p.m.; free with reservation. events.kcrw.com/events/goinggraylive. —Siran Babayan

So you want to be a stand-up comic? You can earn the title of "Fastest Joke Slinger in the Westside" at Westside Comedy Theater's sixth annual Westside Stand-Up Showdown comedy festival. Hosted by previous winners and finalists, 70 emerging comedians chosen from a group of more than 200 entrants compete for a week in front of comedy-industry judges for a chance to nab $500 in prizes and meetings. Past winners have gone on to perform on Conan, Last Comic Standing and Adam Devine's House Party. The competition also features panel discussions on various topics, such as Comedy Central, comedy festivals, late-night bookings and women in comedy. M.i.'s Westside Comedy Theater, 1323-A Third St. Promenade, Santa Monica; Mon.-Thu., April 10-13, 6:30-10 p.m.; $5, free admission for panels. (310) 451-0850, westsidecomedy.com. —Siran Babayan

Upcoming Events

Ben Wheatley has yet to match his singularly disturbing Kill List, but hope springs eternal. His latest attempt, the feature-length shootout that is Free Fire, screens early as part of USC's ongoing Outside the Box [Office] series; like all such events, this one is free but requires a reservation. Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Sharlto Copley are among the belligerents on both sides of an arms deal gone wrong, and though many (if not most) of them are surely not long for this fictional world, Wheatley and his screenwriting partner/wife, Amy Jump, are known to have their characters depart in memorable fashion. USC, 900 W. 34th St., University Park; Mon., April 10, 7 p.m.; free, RSVP required. (213) 740-2804, facebook.com/groups/223769338060863. —Michael Nordine

Sarah Michelle Gellar is really good at getting people to help her with things, whether it's fighting demons on Buffy or tormenting Reese Witherspoon in Cruel Intentions. Now she has her kids involved. This evening Gellar presents Stirring Up Fun With Food: Over 115 Simple, Delicious Ways to Be Creative in the Kitchen. Brimming with a plethora of easy and allegedly delicious recipes, it's the perfect way to bring everyone together at home for one of those ever-dwindling chances to actually act like a family for a change. Vroman's, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Mon., April 10, 7 p.m.; free, book is $28. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com. —David Cotner

As fake news increasingly makes its way through social media feeds, maybe it's time to ask where the phenomenon stands in the face of free speech. But first, there needs to be a consensus about the definition of "fake news" itself. David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, joins constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh and writing professor Mark Marino in a timely discussion titled Fake News and the First Amendment: How to Tell Fact From Fiction. Moderated by KPCC's Alex Cohen, the conversation examines the impact of our Constitution on fake news, as well as the myriad legal repercussions involved. The Crawford Family Forum, 474 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; Tue., April 11, 7-8:30 p.m.; free with RSVP. (626) 583-5100, scpr.org/events/2017/04/11/2270/fake-news-and-the-first-amendment-how-to-tell-fact. —Tanja M. Laden

Mise-en-scène is the most difficult of all cinematic terms to put in words. If looking it up provides little clarity, try acquainting yourself with the films of Josef von Sternberg, whose Shanghai Express plays at midday on 35mm. The Austrian-born filmmaker had a rich, lavish aesthetic that paired perfectly with frequent leading lady Marlene Dietrich, whom von Sternberg helped make a star in The Blue Angel. Their fourth collaboration (of a total seven) was also their most successful, bringing in more money than any other film released in 1932. In it, Dietrich plays a woman who encounters a former lover while en route to Shanghai on a rather eventful train ride. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., April 11, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

Here's the deal: People keep feeding the birds around Venice Beach, just as a colony of endangered Southern California least terns is developing, and because so many crows are hanging out and eating tern eggs and chicks, things have taken a tern for the worse. Tonight the Los Angeles Audubon Society presents Erich Eberts discussing Terns and Crows: Lessons in Endangered Shorebird Management From Venice Beach. Find out about new methods of nonlethal predator control, such as systems that use electricity, or just enjoy the million-dollar view — but stop feeding the birds, all right? Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, 6300 Hetzler Road, Culver City; Wed., April 12, 7-9 p.m.; free. (323) 876-0202, losangelesaudubon.org. —David Cotner

John Cassavetes specialized in close-quarters character studies, making the genre thrills of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie all the more notable. Ben Gazzara, who also appeared in the writer-director's Husbands and Opening Night, is our guide through the smoke-filled bars and clubs of a seedy L.A. underbelly that Cassavetes can't help but make seem coolly alluring. Rest assured that this one lives up to the promise of its lethal title, which hints at but doesn't fully convey the criminal element seen in what might be Cassavetes' most visually arresting film. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., April 13, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu. —Michael Nordine


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