With Memorial Day weekend on the horizon, L.A. is giving you the opportunity to expect the unexpected. Save the burgers, fireworks and beer to fuel your patriotic fervor for the Fourth of July -- this week, Korean BBQ, knit graffiti and HempCon, among other endeavors, will help burst your celebrations out of the box.
5. Everybody Must Get Stoned
This year's HempCon features live actions by some of the controlled substance's most uncontrollable creative forces: EPMD, Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs, Cappadonna of Wu-Tang Clan and Redman, among many others. Lest you think this is one big, blacklight orgy of people flapping their arms like chickens on their way to score some M, there also are seminars on how to start a delivery service (just like Samson Simpson!), how to be compliant in California (whether that means being in line with California law or just acting nice when the cops bust down your door) and a lecture (but not a scolding) by keynote speaker and helpful attorney Freddy Sayegh. Yes, we can(nabis)! L.A. Convention Center, Hall B, 1201 S. Figueroa St., dwntwn.; Fri., May 24-Sun., May 26; $20 per day. (626) 961-6522, hempcon.com. -- David Cotner
4. It's a Small (Dance) World After All
Don't call it a festival. Dance Bistro 2013 is more like a feast -- with 13 companies in two (mostly) different programs over two nights. Each show is preceded by video streaming of the dress rehearsals; low-priced tickets should lure dance fans away from the grill Memorial Day weekend. Presented by the TuTu Foundation and Mandarin Orange Performing Arts, both nights promise an aerial kickline from Luminario Ballet, a premiere from choreographer Kyle Abraham danced by the excellent modern troupe BODYTRAFFIC, and a contemporary Chinese dance company performing to new music from Swedish composer Henrik Åström, joined by a half-dozen other companies each night. Southern California has long been a mecca for fusion cuisine thanks to our diversity; it's only natural the region should give rise to a fusion dance festival. Catch a preview at dancebistro.com. Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach; Fri.-Sat., May 24-25, 8 p.m., $5. (562) 985-7000, dancebistro2013.brownpapertickets.com. -- Ann Haskins
3. A Laugh a Minute
L.A.'s improv community assembles again for the second annual Los Angeles Indie Improv Festival. The one-day, 12-hour event will be jam-packed with laughs as more than 125 improv groups perform across three stages in Hollywood. The festival is produced by indie comedy shows Crashbar Improv, the Manifesto Show, Room 101, Tuesday Night Thunder and the 11th Hour show, who joined forces to create a festival showcasing the vast base of talented improv ensembles that perform outside of established comedy theaters (see: IO West, Upright Citizens Brigade, etc.). In true indie spirit, you'll see a multitude of improv styles, from groups that create an entire one-act musical based on your suggestion to weirder, more experimental comedy sets. It's all made up on the spot and it's all free, though donations are highly encouraged. Art/Works Theatre, 6569 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Oh! My Ribs Stage, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Clubhouse Theatre, 1107-A El Centro, Hlywd.; all Sat., May 25, noon-mid.; free. Laindieimprovfestival.com. -- Steve La