Things to Do

5 Free Ways to Have Fun in L.A. This Week

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Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 7:00 AM
click to enlarge Abbott Kinney Festival returns this week - WENDY GILMARTIN
  • Wendy Gilmartin
  • Abbott Kinney Festival returns this week

L.A. may be known for its luxe cultural events, but not everybody can afford to go to the Hollywood Bowl every week. Look around and you'll find dozens of places offering fun at a discount -- or, better yet, free of charge. This week, offer to treat your friends to a movie, a festival, or even some fine art. You won't end up wasting a penny.

Here are five free events happening around the city:

5. See a Movie on Santa Monica Pier

Fear not, for although Jimmy Cliff has brought the Santa Monica Pier's Twilight Concert Series to an epic end, that rickety old wooden boardwalk is still the place to be for some of the best (free!) fun in the city. Fall is the season for bundling up and enjoying (free!) movies on California's front porch, starting tonight with the L.A. premiere of Los Wild Ones. The documentary by filmmaker Elise Salomon goes behind the scenes of the Los Angeles label Wild Records, a local outfit that specializes in Latino musicians who live for that crazy rockabilly beat. Featured band The Rhythm Shakers will jump and shake and rock the pier with a live performance to celebrate the screening. The Front Porch Cinema series has an impressive lineup of films set for Friday evenings through Oct. 18, a perfect way to start your weekend with the salty ocean breeze, some good company, delicious junk food and a cozy, block-party feel. Should you forget your recliners, old-timey lawn chairs are available to rent. Santa Monica Pier, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica; Fri., Sept. 27, doors 6 p.m., movie 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 458-8901, santamonicapier.org/front​porchcinema/. -- Rena Kosnett

4. Take in Some Art at LAX

Navigating the new normal of our nation's airport scene can sometimes make you feel as if you're trapped in a performance-art fever dream, terminals and travelers blurring into a psychedelic symphony of color, movement and stasis. Time slows and speeds up at random, space bends in on itself, objects are miniaturized, and emotions run high. So, crazy as it seems, maybe the arrivals terminal is actually the perfect place for an art exhibition and a bit of avant-garde dance. Certainly Sarah Elgart is the perfect choreographer to turn to for the Los Angeles World Airports Art Program's first public performance event. Everywhere Nowhere, which features an original score by Yuval Ron, is "a site-specific, multisensory spectacle of movement, media, and color" -- just like LAX itself. Making movement pieces in unconventional settings is sort of Elgart's thing, with previous works unfolding at municipal plaza fountains and bus stations, inside museum exhibitions and on overpasses. It was commissioned as part of Influx: Art at LAX, a unique public-art festival throughout the airport, featuring installations by some 45 local artists. Audiences for Elgart's Saturday performance are, ahem, encouraged to arrive two hours early -- not for security lines but to take part in the 5 to 7 p.m. self-guided tour of nearby Influx installations, with maps available at the Terminal 1 art kiosk. You can keep your shoes on the whole time. LAX, outdoor courtyard outside arrivals between terminals 1 and 2; Sat.-Sun., Sept. 28-29, 7:30 p.m.; free. art@lawa.org, lawa.org. --Shana Nys Dambrot

See also: Our Calendar Section, Listing More Great Things to Do in L.A.

3. Join the Crowd on Abbot Kinney

Managers of the Abbot Kinney Festival expect to pull 120,000 people to this Sunday event -- roughly 3 percent of L.A.'s total population. Whoa, there! The largest free festival in the country, AKFest promises activities to please absolutely everyone: Adults can enjoy the flowing Stella Artois in one of three beer gardens, while the little ones design tutus and ride ponies in the Kidsquad. Music aficionados will split between two performance venues: dubFrequency is staging dance experimentalism on the Palms and stage, while Milkmade hosts a blend of soul and roots rock on the Brooks stage. Rounding out the show are 300 craft vendors, 20-plus food trucks, rock walls, spoken-word poetry and a Ferris wheel. As an added bonus, the festival's proceeds will be seeded back into Venice via a community grant program. Abbot Kinney Boulevard between Main Street and Venice Boulevard, Venice; Sun., Sept. 29, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. (310) 396-3772, abbotkinney.org. 
--Sarah Diamond

See also: 5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week

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