Quentin Tarantino favorite Rolling Thunder screens at the New Bev on Friday and Saturday.EXPAND
Quentin Tarantino favorite Rolling Thunder screens at the New Bev on Friday and Saturday.

10 Cheap and Free Things to Do in L.A. This Week

An exhibit that collects the work of art collectives, a drunken spelling bee and a showcase of female-produced films are among the fun things you can do this week for 10 bucks or less.

Think your dad is embarrassing? Jokes about parental issues are as much a staple of stand-up comedy as hecklers, and co-hosts Mary Sasson and Marissa Strickland are working out their childhoods in The Bad Dad Game Show, "the only game show that celebrates negligent fathers and the comedians who had to grow up with them." (Strickland's father once defecated in her fifth-grade teacher's car. Try to beat that.) In their Match Game–style show, the UCB regulars invite two audience members to match answers with three fellow comics who've had similarly unusual upbringings. Previous prizes have included a jar of pickles. It's complicated, and you'll find out why. UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; Fri., Jan. 20, 11:59 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

A city as big as L.A. is overrun by artist collectives whose members are looking to further their creative opportunities. Curated by Kara Tome, "The Collectivists" showcases works by members of six such networks of supporters located in downtown, Highland Park and the Eastside. More than 60 artists representing Durden & Ray, Eastside International, Manual History Machines, Monte Vista Projects, Tiger Strikes Asteroid and the Association of Hysteric Curators will display paintings, photographs, sculpture and mixed media, as well as take part in panel discussions and workshops throughout the exhibit. The exhibit opens on Saturday and runs through March 12. Brand Library & Art Center, 1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale; Sat., Jan. 21, 6-9 p.m.; free. (818) 548-2051, brandlibrary.org. —Siran Babayan

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For something less topical, put your lizard brain in action mode and indulge in the New Beverly's double feature of The Yakuza and Rolling Thunder. The former, which stars Robert Mitchum as a World War II veteran who turns to the detective life after returning home, offers a Japanese-inflected take on the gangster picture, while the latter has been hailed by no less an authority than New Bev owner Quentin Tarantino as "one of the greatest action films of all time, the greatest combination of action film and character study I've ever seen." New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri.-Sat., Jan. 20-21, 7 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine

Villa Aurora, the Spanish-style home in Pacific Palisades that once belonged to German author Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife, Marta, was an intellectual watering hole in the 1930s and '40s for European expatriates and other German-Jews fleeing the Nazis, namely Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, Arnold Schoenberg, Fritz Lang, Thomas Mann, Charlie Chaplin and Charles Laughton. Now a residency for visual artists, filmmakers and musicians, Villa Aurora hosts ongoing salons such as tonight's discussion, Artists in Exile, which looks at the community of European emigres in L.A. around WWII. Panelists include Academy Museum of Motion Pictures curator Doris Berger, Villa Aurora project coordinator Friedel Schmoranzer, music producer Neal Brostoff and moderator Donna Rifkind, whose upcoming book, The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler's Exiles in Hollywood, is about the Viennese actress who lived in Santa Monica and wrote the screenplays for Queen Christina and Anna Karenina, both starring Greta Garbo. Villa Aurora, 520 Paseo Miramar, Pacific Palisades; Sun., Jan. 22, 3 p.m.; free, RSVP required. cap.ucla.edu. —Siran Babayan

Barker, a semi-silent picture from 1928 about a carnival barker who disapproves of his son's blossoming relationship with a sideshow performer. (Though initially made without dialogue, the film went back into production in order to add talking sequences.) Though it's fallen out of favor as cinematic source material of late, the circus once was the subject of a great many films — see also Freaks and The Greatest Show on Earth for a three-ring feature. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., Jan. 22, 7 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine

Journalist Brad Schreiber signs and explains his new book, Revolution's End: The Patty Hearst Kidnapping. As Schreiber has exhaustively researched, what the world previously thought was a mélange of class warfare and Stockholm Syndrome turns out to be the story of Symbionese Liberation Army head Donald "Cinque" DeFreeze. Molded in more ways than one by a CIA officer, DeFreeze didn't quite effect the changes he'd meant to and so he started the SLA, kidnapping heiress Hearst along the way and ultimately losing his life in that notorious South-Central shootout on East 54th Street. Chevalier's Books, 126 N. Larchmont Blvd., Larchmont; Tue., Jan. 24, 7 p.m.; free. (323) 465-1334, chevaliersbooks.com. —David Cotner

Kay Francis lights up LACMA once again in Another Dawn, another '30s drama with a lean runtime (73 minutes) and European backdrop. Errol Flynn co-stars in the film, about a British colonel who returns from a colony to England and falls in love with an American (Francis). There's a problem, of course: Her aviator fiancé died in a plane crash and she isn't ready for love. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Jan. 24, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine

Some people like to show off by proving how smart they are to a bunch of strangers. Other people like to show off by drinking profusely without vomiting. At the inaugural Slurring Bee L.A., showoffs of either ilk can, well, show off. The game is simple: Pay five bucks and get a fruity shot and a word to spell; get it right, and get a free shot for each round you stay standing (literally and figuratively). Hosts Billy Parker and Mandy Levy have toured the Bee to Cincinnati, NYC and Chicago — now Angelenos have the chance to slur themselves to victory and a slot in the Tournament of Champions. The Virgil, 4519 Santa Monica Blvd., East Hollywood; Wed., Jan. 25, 7-10 p.m.; free to watch, $5 to play. facebook.com/events/1051988761594375. —Gwynedd Stuart

Two of the most politicized subjects in our current political carnival are the U.S.-Mexico border and women, and the incoming administration seems more than eager to build up the former and tear down the latter. Bringing together the two, the Femme Frontera Filmmaker Showcase features short films by female directors from cities on both sides of the border. These include Laura Bustillos Jáquez's documentary Undocumented Freedom, which follows a young man who was brought to the United States illegally as a child; The Appleseed Project by Yennifer Lucero, about a cross-border community of female musicians; and La Catrina by Ilana Lapid, in which a grieving widow becomes the Dia de los Muertos figure of death in order to find her dead husband. Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Thu., Jan. 26, 8 p.m.; $5. (213) 484-8846, echoparkfilmcenter.org. —Matt Stromberg

Cal State Northridge begins its semesterlong John Cassavetes retrospective with Shadows, which more or less ushered in the independent filmmaking movement. Raw, visceral and performed by a cast of nonprofessionals, it's a directorial debut for the ages — and, remarkably, a film Cassavetes improved upon several times over throughout his singular career. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., Jan. 26, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu. —Michael Nordine


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