Fifteen dollars can get you pretty far, if you spend it wisely. It can buy you a ticket to an interactive show this week, like Eric Andre's raucous comedy set or the re-imagined Nutcracker at the LACDC. You could attend a special film event for '50s pinup Bettie Page. Or, if you're flat broke, skip the shows and take in some art at one of three free gallery shows we recommend. This list of seven events in Los Angeles area can help you get the best bang for your hard-earned buck.
7. Bettie Page Revealed
When 1950s pinup avatar Bettie Page died in 2008, her devoted fans felt not unlike how you'd feel after a painful breakup. Who exactly was this person they'd loved for all this time? After retiring at 34, Page resolutely refused to be filmed or photographed — even as a new generation of fans fell in love with her work in the '80s. Before she died, however, Page busted some of the myths about her disappearance for director Mark Mori's new documentary on her life. Still refusing to be seen on-screen, she tells her story as a disembodied voice (spoiler alert: Vocal cords age, too). Tonight's premiere of Bettie Page Reveals All features Mori introducing the film and explaining a little bit more about what Page was “really like.” Not to be outdone, there's a special burlesque performance by Victory Variety Hour and a Best Retro Style contest with prizes from Bettie Page Clothing and other related couturiers — because they didn't call them “skin flicks” for nothing. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., W.L.A.; Fri., Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m.; plays through Thurs., Dec. 5; $11 general, $8.50 seniors. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com/market/losangeles/nuarttheatre.htm. –David Cotner
6. The Nutcracker, Remixed
It's hard to think of a better launch for the annual December onslaught of Nutcracker ballets than Urban Nut, a contemporary riff on the classic from artistic director Kate Hutter and her L.A. Contemporary Dance Company. At each performance, an audience member is chosen to participate as Clara (or Clarence), who falls asleep at a performance of The Nutcracker, only to be drawn into a dream where the traditional story takes on modern-day elements, including a colorful cast of L.A. characters and an au courant soundtrack. (Only audience members who submit their name on arrival will be recruited, so shy dance lovers need not worry.) Company members Melissa Schade, Kim Thompson, Paolo Alcedo, Kate Andrews, Marcelo De Sa Martins, Gakenia Muigai, Michael Crotty, Jodie Mashburn, Tess Hewlett, JM Rodriguez, Genevieve Carson, Marisa Jimenez, Christian Beasley and Hutter took on choreography assignments, as well as dancing duties for this SoCal original. The Brockus Project Space at the Brewery Arts Complex, 618B Moulton Ave., Lincoln Heights; Thurs.-Fri., Dec. 5-6, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 7, 8 & 10:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 8, 7 p.m.; $10 advance, $15 at the door. urbannut.brownpapertickets.com. –Ann Haskins
5. Comedy with Eric Andre
Modern-day Gallagher Eric André brings his knockdown, drag-out Eric André Show Live — during which he knocks down his set and drags out various people who look like celebrities but clearly aren't — to the Echoplex. André's constitutionally violent show involves the spilling of milk and the crushing of sets — including his desk. It's one of the most profound statements in this particular genre since Andy Kaufman's 1983 PBS special, in which he sat at a 10-foot-high desk and asked his ex-girlfriend penetrating questions. It's all part of André's mission to take disaffected co-host Hannibal Buress and the audience on yet another ride into the fractured, fractious mind of someone for whom vanity is an undiscovered country. Commemorative Eric André ponchos will be available for purchase (gee, thanks), and if you're worried about getting exploding milk or garbage on your nice clothes, just hide behind one of those big girders. That's what they're there for. The Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park; Tues., Dec. 3, 8 p.m.; $12 (18 and older). (213) 413-8200, attheecho.com. –D.C.
4. Artists Make Homo-Masculinity
The current show at MOCA's Pacific Design Center annex pairs Bob Mizer's game-changing photography with his colleague and contemporary, artist Tom of Finland. The brilliant exhibition continues through Jan. 26, but the panel discussion Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland: Making Models of Homo-Masculinity takes place today to mark World AIDS Day, also known as Day With(out) Art — a salient occasion considering the revolutionary influence the brave, engaging, charming and once-transgressive artwork of these two gifted men has had. Tom of Finland is a well-known figure within both the erotic and gay-culture realm and the art world generally; his lushly rendered, sensually stylized drawings of leather-bound hunks and off-script bikers are exhibited internationally. Mizer was a pioneer of physique photography, a decidedly homoerotic genre of studio portraiture and film celebrating the male body's many fine qualities in precious Hollywood style. Mizer also published influential magazine Physique Pictorial, which included drawings by Tom of Finland way back in 1957 — more than 20 years before Tom started spending significant time here in L.A. This timely panel is moderated by exhibition curator Bennett Simpson and features Dennis Bell, president of the Bob Mizer Foundation; Durk Dehner, president of the Tom of Finland Foundation; and artists Richard Hawkins and John Sonsini in a conversation about what has changed and what has endured. West Hollywood City Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Sun., Dec. 1, 3 p.m.; free. (213) 621-1745, moca.org. –Shana Nys Dambrot
3. Hammer Conversations: Catherine Opie and Diana Nyad
Photographer Catherine Opie and athlete/sports journalist Diana Nyad are no strangers to acclaim; even so, 2013 has been pretty spectacular for both of them. Opie produced at least two exhibitions of powerful photography in both a survey of her architectural work and a series of new portraiture. Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, without stopping, and without a shark cage. Damn. Still, at first glance, tonight's Hammer Conversations pairing might seem to be an unlikely art/sport crossover. In fact, it's inspired. Both women have fought gender-based stereotypes. Opie's ineffable portraiture has redefined how we think about the female body, beauty and motherhood, and she has returned frequently to the subject of young athletes, from the surf to the football field. For her part, Nyad has been interested in expanding the universe of the broadcast voice and the columnist's purview in ways that have inspired and challenged the character of sports as a social metaphor. Also, she swam from Cuba to Florida. So it seems they'll have a lot to talk about after all. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd.; Thurs., Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. –S.N.D.
2. Banksy Street Art Auction
Despite what Banksy might think about having his work stay where it was originally conceived — on the street — now you can buy his Flower Girl and many other examples of street art at Julien's inaugural Street Art Auction. Ripped from the walls much as the previous generation of art was torn from the headlines, the viewing starts today and runs through Thursday, Dec. 5. At 6 p.m. that day, there'll be an auction of works by Banksy, as well as such renowned street artists as Chaka, Chaze, Cope2, Indie 184, Mear One, Miner I and Risk. Flower Girl — an image of a little girl marveling at the CCTV camera growing at the top of a flower stalk — used to be on the gas station at the corner of La Brea and Beverly; when the owner got wind of its importance, he promptly hid it — which, in its way, is fitting, because the things that make L.A.'s streets interesting stay hidden on a fairly regular basis. You don't know what's out there until you go see them — or make them more interesting yourself. Julien's Auctions, 9665 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 150, Beverly Hills; Mon., Dec. 2, 10 a.m.; free. (310) 836-1818, juliensauctions.com. –D.C.
1. The Three Stooges Do Family Values
If you can't throw a pie at someone's face this holiday season or drop a piano lid on their fingers, you can still work out your post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas hostility by watching the misadventures of Moe, Larry and Curly — OK, Shemp, too — at the 16th annual Three Stooges Big Screen Event! presented by the Alex Film Society. This year's theme is “Hello Pop! Stooges Family Values,” and the scheduled shorts include “3 Dumb Clucks,” in which they stop their dad from marrying a gold digger; “Brideless Groom,” in which they help Shemp find a bride; “Three Smart Saps,” in which all three get hitched; “Sock-a-Bye Baby,” in which they raise an abandoned baby; and “We Want Our Mummy,” in which they go to Egypt to find the mummy of King Rootin' Tootin', and which includes the first use of “Three Blind Mice” as the Stooges' theme song. A highlight for your wiseguys is a screening of Hello Pop!, a 1933 MGM Technicolor musical comedy featuring creator Ted Healy; it was lost in a studio fire in 1967 and restored this year. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Nov. 30, 2 & 8 p.m.; $12.50. (818) 243-2539, alextheatre.org. –Siran Babayan
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