Tired of frequenting the same routine haunts for entertainment? Suffer no longer with these fantastically quirky events, from Kathy Griffin's outspoken stand up at a benefit concert featuring Ozzy Osbourne to a festival where you can witness the awesomeness of an arcade game strapped to a human's back. Kiss that forgettable night out goodbye.
5. Escape From the D-List
Kathy Griffin's gays gasped last month when they found out that Bravo had canceled her late-night talk show, Kathy — the TMI funny lady has been a fixture on the network since Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, which ran for six seasons. But fear not, fans. Though you'll be hard-pressed to find another talk-show host who'll allow a guest to motorboat her breasts, Griffin — to quote her many stand-up specials — has “balls of steel,” and “she'll cut a bitch.” Word has it Griffin and her BFF, silver fox Anderson Cooper, recently shot a test pilot for a show for CNN. And on May 18, she'll be emceeing An Evening With Women, a benefit for the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, produced by rocker Linda Perry and featuring performances by Ozzy Osbourne, Natasha Bedingfield and Sia. In the meantime, make sure to catch tonight's performance. Part of Griffin's current stand-up tour, it undoubtedly will feature the fearless redhead revisiting her favorite topics: The Real Housewives franchise, celebrity screwups and her boozing mom. Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Sat., May 4, 8 p.m.; $50-$110. (323) 308-6300, dolbytheatre.com. — Siran Babayan
4. The Force Is Strong With This One
If you've never spent the night on a sidewalk in a Wookie costume waiting for the box office to open for the newest Star Wars installment, you might not know about May 4. It's international Star Wars Day — as in, May the Fourth Be With You — and it elicits costumed mega-fanship in a remarkably broad segment of the population. Even by superfan standards, however, artist Sean Starwars takes things to an impressive degree: For a start, he legally changed his name to reflect his devotion. Starwars' artwork combines skillfully traditional woodblock printing with the images and allegories of the Star Wars pantheon. Currently ankle-deep in a self-set challenge to complete at least one new print a week for the rest of his life, Starwars moves into Coagula Curatorial this weekend for an all-day commemoration of the most awesome day of the year. His live printmaking will be just one small part of the spectacle. From noon to 6 p.m., you've got your kid-friendly art show, a puppet show, a famous balloon-animal maker and a thematic costume contest; from 6 to 10 p.m. it's the “grown-up” art reception, where costumes are encouraged but not mandatory. At 9 p.m., the ongoing Coagula Comedy Hour night gets all Skywalker Raunch on the stand-up mic, so you'll want to hide the kids and beware the dark side by that point. Coagula Curatorial, 977 Chung King Road, Chinatown; Sat., May 4, noon-11 p.m.; free. (424) 226-2485. coagulacuratorial.com. — Shana Nys Dambrot
3. All Cinco's Eve
Just like kids who have both Jewish and Christian parents, now you too can spend time with two different cultures via Meltdown Comics' Cinco de Melt-O. The interns of the Nerdist Showroom — Jake Baumgart and Adam Murray — have cobbled together a cornucopia of comedy with stand-up and performances by sketcheteers Kyle Clark, Celeste Reno, Matthew Burnside and many others. The organizers boast that you'll meet the founder of Cinco de Mayo itself, preview the latest buddy sitcom about two serial killers and witness the public shaming of a wizard (as opposed to private shame, which is what most modern wizards experience) — or, at minimum, enjoy the special guest appearances of DC Pierson (of NYU Internet sensation Derrick Comedy), Dan Telfer (of The Onion), Ed Salazar (the Meltdown) and Ricky Carmona (Mash-Up). In case these chortlesome masterminds aren't tickling your funny bone quite the way you thought they would, there's also free beer and tequila — for which there is an equal and opposite fall-down for every stand-up. Meltdown Comics, NerdMelt Showroom, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Sat., May 4, 7 p.m.; free. (323) 851-7223, meltcomics.com. — David Cotner
2. The Games We Play
This isn't just another corporate finger-fest turning you on to new games with all the same old dead-eyed faces. Instead, the third annual UCLA Game Arts Festival re-examines the interplay between people as much as between man and machine. More than 35 play-ready games will unfold across the courtyard at the Hammer Museum. A returning highlight from last year will be the UCLA Game Lab Arcade Backpack: a playable video game strapped to the back of a roving, human arcade man-machine. Some other games you can try: Perfect Woman, designed by Lea Schoenfelder and Peter Lu, which runs a woman through the obstacles of lifelong peer and societal pressures; Laser Cabinet, designed by Khalil Klouche, which transforms a dull, wooden surface into a slightly more exciting wooden surface using triggers both LED and OCD; and Ulak Tartysh, an extortionately scarce 1983 arcade game that simulates the Central Asian sport of buzkashi, for which you play polo with the carcass of a headless goat — something you'll need a few more of those refreshments before tackling, loving the pixels even as you become increasingly pixilated. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd.; Wed., May 8, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. — D.C.
1. The Ecstasy of the Agony
North Hollywood's California Institute of Abnormal Arts is a wondrous spot, sort of a man-made Bermuda Triangle, where the unnatural collides with the supernatural to create a decadent, sickly atmosphere. It's a surrealist's fantasyland where anything can happen — and frequently does. While any visit to the, er, facility is dizzying, tonight's latter-day freakercise, Zamora's Sideshow, ups the agony ante with a mixture of nauseating self-abuse, feats of daredevil skill and confounding old-school theatrics, served with a rock & roll twist. Headliner Zamora, the infamous Torture King who almost singlehandedly reinvigorated the classic American schlock sideshow format some 20 years ago, endures a series of the most ghastly and stomach-churning punishments imaginable — lying on a bed of nails, eating broken light bulbs, breathing fire, enduring thousands of volts of electricity, being pierced, suspension-by-sabre — the whole vile, astonishing gamut. The performance of septuple Guinness World Record holder Frank Simon is equally mind-bending: He's a paragon of endurance who can balance such objects as motorcycles, kitchen ranges and washing machines on his teeth. Rounding out the night is Dr. Odd's Medicine Show, a fast-moving, self-propelled nightmare of Grand Guignol-gone-snakeoil shenanigans brought to you by Mike Odd, a renegade from the trash-rock troupe Rosemary's Billygoat. Stupefaction guaranteed. California Institute of Abnormal Arts, 11334 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri., May 3, 8:30 p.m.; $12 online, $15 at door. (818) 221-8065, ciabnormalarts.com. — Jonny Whiteside
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