FRIDAY, September 28
There’s a new festival in town calling itself Swerve Festival (the Swerve people ask that you call it “Swerve Festival,” not “The” “Swerve Festival”). “Celebrating West Coast Culture,” Swerve brings films, music and art together and will appeal to people who like surfing and skateboarding in their documentaries and wild experimentation in their rock bands. Filmmaker Doug Pray’s Surfwise will have its premiere and is described as “the inspiring, humorous and surprisingly tumultuous story of 85-year-old legendary surfer Dr. Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz and his wife, Juliette, who raised and homeschooled their nine children in a small camper on a California beach, rigorously adhering to the strict diet and lifestyle of animals in the wild.” (I think that means they don’t wipe themselves.) A slew of original art installations is planned, including some intriguing ideas, such as “Listening Trees” — trees equipped with hidden headphones playing looped soundscapes and spoken word for your tripping pleasure. You can also get a Polaroid portrait of yourself with artist-painted novelty backdrops by the graffiti crew Thee Gents of Desire. Bands include Black Angels, Bonde Do Role, Oh No! Oh My!, Snowden and many more. Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd.; Fri.-Sun., Sept. 28-30; some concerts free, others $10. Screenings at Vista Theater, 4473 Sunset Blvd; $20. Full schedule at www.swervefest.com.
SATURDAY, September 29
Two ways to get your food on today. For $300, you can feast on delectables prepared by such star chefs as Nobu Matsuhisa, Wolfgang Puck, Mark Peel, Paul Prudhomme, Piero Selvaggio and Joachim Splichal, among many others, plus more fine wines than you can shake a cork at, all to benefit the Los Angeles Meals on Wheels program, at the American Wine & Food Festival. Get toasted in the Moet & Chandon Lounge, then go bid on an African safari at the silent (sshhhhhh!) auction. Add blues bands, plus acrobats and aerialists (is there really a difference?) and this is actually quite an entertaining evening for your three bills. Universal Studios Backlot; Sat., Sept. 29, 6-11 p.m.; $300. www.awff.org.
Or for a lot less, stuff yourself silly with chicken Parmesan sandwiches and cannoli at the Precious Cheese Feast of San Gennaro, which is just like the Little Italy street festival in NYC but without the accents or ambiance. Hawthorne St. at Highland Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sun., Sept. 28-30; $5, Prima Notte kickoff $100. (818) 508-0082.
SUNDAY, September 30
Last year, Grand Avenue Festival visitors made downtown L.A. seem almost citylike for a day. And it's happening all over again this year — music, dance, theater, art and food presented by MOCA, the Music Center, the L.A. Opera, the Natural History Museum, Grand Performances and other cultural organizations. A sampling: Korean Classical Music and Dance Ensemble, Moscow Nights, Brasil Brazil, Avenue Q, Colburn Ballet, Sakai Flamenco. Grand Ave. between Temple & Fifth sts., dwntwn.; Sun., Sept. 30, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free (yeah!); www.grandavenuefestival.org.
MONDAY, October 1
Stephen Farber’s acclaimed Reel Talk series is back with some film titles you’ll definitely want to say you saw before anybody else. This week: Rendition, a suspense film about secret CIA interrogations in the Middle East with Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep and Alan Arkin. Having not seen the movie, I don’t buy any of those actors in their roles. Director Gavin Hood, Oscar winner for Tsotsi, talks and answers questions. Wadsworth Theater, on the VA grounds, 11301 Wilshire Blvd.; Mon., Oct. 1, 7 p.m.; $20. (310) 479-3003.
TUESDAY, October 2
You to your Brentwood friend: “Three great writers who are on Akashic Press are reading at Skylight Books tonight. They’re all winning raves for lively and edgy prose about living in our times.”
Your Brentwood friend: “Where is that?”
You to your Brentwood friend: “Los Feliz — don’t worry, they have a Pinkberry there now.”
Your Brentwood friend: “Okay, but what about parking? I don’t want my car to get broken into.”
You to your Brentwood friend: “God, you really are an asshole. You’re buying the frozen yogurt.”
Chris Albani, Felicia Lemus and Joe Meno, a.k.a. The Akashi Press All-Stars, read from their acclaimed latest works. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Tues., Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 660-1175.
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WEDNESDAY, October 3
The Sarah Silverman Program returns tonight on Comedy Central. Tonight is Morrissey’s night off from his 10 Hollywood Palladium dates. Did he plan that so he could stay in and watch it? Or will he venture out to catch They Might Be Giants at Avalon? They were nerds before you were a nerd. Avalon, 1735 Vine St., Hlywd.; Wed., Oct. 3, 8 p.m.; $25. (213) 480-3232.
THURSDAY, October 4
As a California It Girl, I was the product of beautiful, well-connected Beverly Hills parents who divorced: My father became a transvestite, coming out when I was a young adult at Musso & Frank in Hollywood. My mother, Diana, went through a succession of husbands and eventually relinquished me to the state. Having dated Bob Dylan by age 13, I ran away from the Vista del Mar orphanage to New York and hung out at Andy Warhol’s Factory. I met Denny Laine of the Moody Blues, who became an abusive husband and father of my child while I was still in my teens. I shopped on King’s Road in Chelsea and partied with members of the Beatles, the Who and the Rolling Stones, among others. When the marriage didn’t work, I took my son back to California and romanced Jackson Browne. Oh, wait — that wasn’t me — that’s Catherine James’ new Dandelion: Memoir of a Free Spirit. The author reads and signs at Book Soup. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd; Thurs., Oct. 4, 7 p.m.; free, book is $24.95. (310) 659-3110.