This Halloween weekend is all treats, no tricks – with a bunch of great (and cheap!) events from the flashy to the funny to the… Cat-y?
Hit up the city's best Halloween Parade on Friday, then celebrate Mexico's Día de los Muertos by choosing from one of four awesome parties around the city (three of which are free!). After honoring the dead, you're going to need some laughs. Which is where Triple Header, the coolest thing to hit L.A. standup in a while, comes in.
If you're looking for something even weirder, hit up Catopia, a one-night-only cat-centric variety show with music, lectures, and magic. On Thursday, an exhibit featuring everyone's favorite pastime – stalking each other on the internet – opens with a ping!
5. Join the Parade
Though it’s the fleshiest gathering outside the Playboy Mansion, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval is not clothing-optional. In fact, the 500,000 attention-getters expected tonight have been working on their amazing outfits almost since the day they shed last year’s Miley Cyrus’ wrecking-ball gear. The biggest people-watching event in town — and, as a parade, second only to the Tournament of Roses — includes 50-plus performers, live bands and DJs across six stages, a costume contest and the crowning of the honorary “Queen of the Carnaval” (last year, Queen Latifah held that title). So what will be the most popular costume idea this year? Maleficent? The three-breasted woman? Ebola? Put on a hospital mask or hazmat suit and find out. Santa Monica Boulevard between Doheny Drive & La Cienega Boulevard, W. Hlywd.; Fri., Oct. 31, 6-11 p.m.; free. (800) 368-6020, visitwesthollywood.com. —Siran Babayan
4. Honor the Dead
3. Laugh Your Head Off
Producer Hannah Kyle Crichton’s new comedy salon, Triple Header, is that rare and rarefied manifestation of comedy at its most immediate: three comedians doing long sets with no host. While “long” is a fairly malleable concept in the vast scheme of time, it can seem like forever when 25 minutes stretch to infinity across the audience in front of you. It’s also a test when it comes to audience patience; modern comedy viewers have become accustomed to glib snatches of stand-up, which makes tonight’s stand even more daring. The inaugural troika includes Ian Karmel, late of Chelsea Lately (“Living in Los Angeles means that anytime anything is mildly out of the ordinary, you assume it’s the end of days”), Ron Funches of Undateable (“God bless Halloween for making my candy purchases look normal”) and Mary Lynn Rajskub of 24, which is coincidentally the number of laughs you’ll get from her set. NerdMelt Showroom, 7522 W. Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Tue., Nov. 4, 9 p.m.; $8 advance, $10 at door. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —David Cotner
Keep reading for two more great events, including a social media-centric art exhibit and a cat festival.
2. Be a Cool Cat
Romance novelist and English professor Mary Bly once quipped, “Dogs come when they’re called; cats take a message and get back to you later.” Felines are returning our missed calls en masse with an evening devoted exclusively to the beloved species — as fickle, curious and confounding as it is. Cat-meets–Black Sabbath tribute band Cat Sabbath headlines Catopia, which features a cat séance conducted by the reputed white witch of L.A., Maja D’Aoust. There’s also a lecture on cats, demonology and witchcraft by art historian and author Dr. Paul Koudounaris, while occult-inspired art-rockers Clowns and Fetuses perform a tribute to the Royal Cats of Burma, and Cat Museum provides furball-themed visuals. Alexandra Crockett, musician, jewelry designer and author of Metal Cats, also drops by, with other “cat-tastic” surprises along the way. Of course, the evening wouldn’t be complete without a live appearance from the kitties themselves, and so a clowder of actual cats up for adoption is promised to appear. (Yes, a group of cats is “a clowder,” as well as the slightly more appropriate “a glaring.” Some proceeds go to G.R.A.C.E. Animal Rescue, so even though cats won’t always come when they’re called, at least some will have a safety net. Trepany House at the Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Wed., Nov. 5, 8 p.m.; $12 (cash only at door). (323) 666-4268, trepanyhouse.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=697246. —Tanja M. Laden
1. Stalk this Art
“Adam Mars: Once Upon a Time, We Weren’t Stalkers” opens this week at Gusford Gallery, but at least one of its key text-based images (“I Loved You, Then I Googled You”) is already up on a billboard — which is kind of perfect, since the work is about how much we relentlessly chronicle every moment of our lives in public. The emotional highs and lows, triumphs, epic fails and misapprehensions that once were private affairs have become 140-character public confessions, one-way broadcasts in which we hurl our bullshit into the public sphere without filter. OK, so maybe social media–fueled narcissism isn’t a sign of the apocalypse, but the confluence of word, image, technology and bottomless need for attention is certainly a phenomenon worth addressing — and Mars’ visual art, which both celebrates and impugns the practice, is the perfect way to do it. By painting his texts on a tactile, expressive, brick-backed abstract patterning, he both evokes the “real world” in a literal brick-and-mortar sense, and addresses the outside voice represented by truncated, decontextualized online pronouncements. Also, they are hilarious. Please try to remain aware of the irony when you repost them on Instagram, OK? Gusford Gallery, 7016 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd.; Thu., Nov. 6, 6-9 p.m.; continues Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; through Dec. 20; free. (323) 452-9563, gusfordgallery.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Public Spectacle, L.A. Weekly's arts & culture blog, on Facebook and Twitter: