A celebration of Russian culture, a roller derby showdown, a tribute to the incomparable Linda Ronstadt and more to do and see in L.A. this week.
UCLA's departments of comparative literature, musicology and Slavic languages/literatures have joined forces for a three-day celebration of Russian arts and cuisine. Far From Moscow is a multidisciplinary look at what's going on in Russia right now, from comic books to music. The festival launches on Friday with events both on campus and around town, at a variety of price points. No knowledge of Russian is necessary; everything will be translated or subtitled in English. Head to the Fowler Museum for a free show of comics and graphic arts, most of which will be seen in the United States for the first time. For $15, check out a screening of Queen of Spades, a film derived from Tchaikovsky and Pushkin, at the James Bridges Theatre. Foodies might want to shell out $185 for a seven-course dinner from an all-star roster of Russian chefs at Verlaine in West Hollywood. Contemporary and classical music concerts at multiple venues also are part of the event. UCLA Fowler Museum, 308 Charles E. Young Drive N., Westwood; Fri.-Sun., Dec. 9-11, noon; free-$185. (310) 825-9212, ffmfestival.com. —Liz Ohanesian
Rules Don't Apply may not have been the return to form you were hoping for from Warren Beatty, but neither is it his only movie playing on the big screen — there's also Bonnie and Clyde. That Beatty's latest film is in part a paean to the Tinseltown of yore is a bit odd, given that he helped usher in the New Hollywood era by both producing and starring in this most urgent tale of lovers on the lam. Watch as Beatty and Faye Dunaway's bank-robbing spree reaches its bullet-ridden conclusion on 35mm courtesy of the Nuart. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., Dec. 9, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com. —Michael Nordine
Whoa Nellie! With names like Demolicious, Shockme Amadeus, Thora Zeen and Marina del Rage, the wild women of roller derby give fair warning: They are not to be trifled with, bud. It's a night of thrills on wheels when the best of the best clash, jam and roll at the L.A. Derby Dolls Championship, wherein two crews of SoCal's premier banked-track, quad-skating female roller derby league collide in full-body-contact Fleetwood smackdowns to emerge fist-pumpingly victorious. The theatrically spectacular Derby Dolls are a league of more than 150 skaters and volunteers, divided into five teams. Tonight's match: Fight Crew vs. Tough Cookies. The Dolloseum, 4900 Alhambra Ave., El Sereno; Sat., Dec. 10, doors 6:30 p.m., bout starts 8 p.m.; $15-$35, $10 children, students, seniors & military. derbydolls.com. —John Payne
Come Jan. 1 (well, Jan. 2 this year, because Pasadena), the snowbound parts of this country enviously eye the Rose Parade and SoCal's sunny beneficence, yet throughout December artificial snow and ice spring up here as seasonally as Christmas trees and Nutcracker ballets. Recognizing this sun-drenched area's fascination with the snow L.A. lacks, Heidi Duckler, L.A.'s mistress of the site-specific performance, and her band of dancers, singers and musicians tackle the idea and object of snow in SoCal. Join Heidi Duckler Dance Theater as it exploits Culver City's temporary snowpack in Snowbound. There's only one show; they have to be quick before it melts! Helms Bakery, 8685 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Sat., Dec. 10, 7 p.m.; $25-$50, $15 students. bit.ly/hddtsnowedunder. —Ann Haskins
Let Sandra Bernhard drive as she premieres her latest show, Sandra Monica Blvd: Coast to Coast, a typically sardonic combination of stand-up comedy and musical performance, which she promises will be delivered, sentimentally enough, in "the muted colors of dreamy landscapes." The longtime film and television provocateur and host of the satellite-radio program Sandyland envisions her new piece as "a journey to find the soul of America ... while weaving in the soundtrack you might hear on an AM radio station you pick up from Oklahoma." In past performances, that soundtrack has included the New York comedian's surreally irreverent reinterpretations of such schlocky tunes as Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind," interspersed with nostalgic storytelling, personal confessions and ruthless eviscerations of her fellow celebrities. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Sat., Dec. 10, 8 & 10 p.m. (also Thu. & Fri.); $70. (310) 246-3800, thewallis.org/sortingroom. —Falling James
Forty years later, the first King Kong remake doesn't exactly boast a legacy in keeping with its massive box office take. John Guillermin's update certainly has its champions, however, and with yet another reboot on the way, the Aero's screening presents an opportunity to get intimately acquainted with the Kong mythos: Don Mancini will moderate a postfilm discussion with legendary make-up artist Rick Baker, cinematographer Richard H. Kline, Martha and Raffaella De Laurentiis, King Kong: The History of a Movie Icon author Ray Morton and Richard Kraft of Kraft-Engel Management. (Whether any of them will be chained onstage in tribute to Kong himself could not be confirmed.) Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine
Get your tongue stuck to a pole at the New Beverly, where A Christmas Story gets the midnight treatment — which is to say, by the time the movie starts it'll be only two weeks until Christmas. Director Bob Clark also is responsible for the equally seasonal Black Christmas, an early slasher that the New Bev is given to celebrating during the holidays; suffice to say that people lose their eyes in that one as well. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Sat., Dec. 10, 11:59 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine
Linda Ronstadt is one of the most powerful voices in the history of popular music. Period. No arguments will be heard. The Stone Poneys frontwoman-turned–solo powerhouse retired from performing in 2009, and then in 2013 re-emerged with tragic news: She had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and can no longer sing. At A Tribute to the Music of Linda Ronstadt, old friends and plenty of admirers — Grace Potter, Jackson Browne, Dawes, Maria Muldaur, Gaby Moreno, I'm With Her, David Lindley, JD Souther and Watkins Family Hour — honor her musical legacy by performing songs such as "Different Drum," "You're No Good" and "Blue Bayou." All proceeds go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, so hopefully another musical legend won't be robbed of their gift when they could still be sharing it with the world. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Sun., Dec. 11, 8 p.m.; $49.50-$250. (213) 235-9614, acehotel.com/losangeles/theatre. —Gwynedd Stuart
Women's magazines were abuzz last year when Maria Borges became the first model to walk in Victoria's Secret's annual lingerie show sporting a short afro. This year, all of the models will forgo the usual wigs and extensions. The mainstream fashion world might have been late to adopt natural hairstyles, but more and more women of color are eschewing chemicals and hairpieces and opting for a more natural look. The Afrolicious Hair & Beauty Expo "celebrates, educates & demonstrates" natural haircare. The daylong event features hair demos and discussion panels, as well as a Little Miss Afrolicious Pageant for 5- to 12-year-olds, a fashion show and music from DJ Looney. A portion of the proceeds goes to My Friend's House, a charity dedicated to helping downtown L.A.'s homeless. Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Sun., Dec. 11, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; $20-$50. (424) 262-AFRO, afrolicioushairaffair.com. —David Cotner
It's been said you can't train a cat, but professional clown, physical comedian and animal trainer Gregory Popovich has done much more than that, incorporating two dozen canines and felines into his small-scale circus. Even more impressive, all of his performing pets are shelter rescues, proving that you don't have to be pure-bred to put on a good show. Straight from the Las Vegas Strip, the multifaceted entertainer brings his Popovich Comedy Pet Theater to Los Angeles for a weekend of animal acrobatics and furry fun. Alongside the pups and pussycats, the spectacle features new additions including the goat duo of Kurt and Helga and the miniature horse with the showbiz name, Mr. Diamond. Freud Playhouse, 245 Charles E. Young Drive E., Westwood; Fri., Dec. 9, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 10, 3 & 6 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 11, 2 & 5 p.m.; $17-$50. ticketmaster.com/popovich-comedy-show-tickets/artist/2243744. —Matt Stromberg
There's no place like home, but UCLA will have to do if you feel like seeing The Wizard of Oz on the big screen. The crown jewel of 1939, a year often remembered as Hollywood's best — see also Gone With the Wind (likewise directed by Victor Fleming) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington — is movie magic personified. UCLA presents it as a free matinee, so bring the young ones — just don't tell them how the studio treated poor Judy Garland until they're older. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., Dec. 11, 11 a.m.; free. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Michael Nordine
Moonlight is perhaps the most lauded film of the year, and rightfully so. Barry Jenkins' first feature in eight years (following 2008's Medicine for Melancholy) is gorgeous and gripping; it's a film that clenches your heart long after you leave the theater. Three incredible leads offer us potent, often painful fragments of an African-American man's journey of self-discovery, from boyhood to manhood. The film is likely to continue sweeping up awards and well-deserved exposure for Jenkins, so don't miss this unique opportunity to explore the film's complex humanity at the Hammer's Moonlight screening and Q&A with the director. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Mon., Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —Neha Talreja
Yippee ki-yay, moviegoer: Die Hard screens at the ArcLight. Certainly the only film to have been hailed as both the best Christmas movie and the best action flick ever made, John McTiernan's holiday classic will be bittersweet now that Alan Rickman has left us. His Hans Gruber is the perfect foil to Bruce Willis' John McClane — an exacting villain from the days when movie terrorists hailed from Europe. ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Mon., Dec. 12, 8:15 p.m.; $15.75. (323) 464-1478, arclightcinemas.com. —Michael Nordine
Before he began writing for and acting in bit parts on Conan, Emmy-winning comedian Andrés du Bouchet hosted Giant Tuesday Night of Amazing Inventions and Also There Is a Game in New York between 2002 and 2006. The weekly sketch/stand-up/improv hybrid featured du Bouchet playing an MC named Francisco Guglioni from the fictional country of Boliviguay, who presided over skits involving wacky inventions and games with Christopher Walken impersonators, as well as appearances by then–little knowns Nick Kroll, Aziz Ansari, Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal. Du Bouchet brings the show to L.A. for the first time with Giant Tuesday Night of Amazing Inventions and Also There Is a Game's 15th Annual Holiday Special, which includes sidekick/keyboardist Adam Felber and guests Dana Gould, Dan Cronin, Brandon Wardell, Ed Salazar and Rebecca Schiffman. Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Tue., Dec. 13, 9-10:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —Siran Babayan
Like The Apartment before it, Irma La Douce was directed by Billy Wilder and stars Jack Lemmon alongside Shirley MacLaine. This adaptation of Marguerite Monnot and Alexandre Breffort's stage musical (English title: "Irma the Sweet") stars MacLaine as the eponymous prostitute and Lemmon as a former police officer who falls under her spell in Paris. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Dec. 13, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.
This year, Santa had to outsource the holiday presents to China, but he's bankrupt and needs to pay off the Chinese. No money, no toys. No toys, no Christmas. In order to get the kids their gifts, St. Nick has called on Fred Willard and his celebrity do-gooder friends to perform comedy and music and answer the phones at Santa-Thon 2016. The comedic actor and Christopher Guest's right-hand man has hosted the mock telethon for several years, and past performers have included names as big as Jay Leno. Tonight's lineup features mostly returning guests, including The Lampshades' Kate Flannery and Scot Robinson, The Love Boat's Ted Lange, Illeana Douglas, Nikki Glaser, Jo Anne Worley, Todd Sherry and Heather Olt, Judy Nazemetz, Wayne Federman, Paul Greenberg and Jackie Harris, Moses "Dreidel Top" Silbermintz, Phillip Wilburn, Edd Hall, Lou Wagner, Chris Fairbanks, Paul Wilson and Jimmy Brogan. Acme Comedy Theatre, 135 N. La Brea Ave., Fairfax; Wed.-Thu., Dec. 14-15, 8 p.m.; $20 advance, $25 at the door. santa-thon.com. —Siran Babayan
For 90 years, Hollywood Forever Cemetery has hosted an annual memorial for Rudolph Valentino, who died at age 31 on Aug. 23, 1926. For fans of the silent film sex symbol who missed last summer's gathering, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Hollywood Heritage have organized a tribute, Evening at the Barn — Remembering Valentino, which commemorates the 90th anniversary of the actor's death. The schedule features a screening of Death of the Sheik, a modern silent movie starring Vladislav Kozlov, as well as two Kinescope interviews, one with Gloria Swanson discussing Valentino, and one with the original "Lady in Black," Ditra Flame, who, as legend has it, was the mysterious woman who visited Valentino's tomb every year until 1984. The event also includes refreshments, memorabilia and rare videos of Valentino's two funerals (the first held in New York) and his Beverly Hills estate, Falcon Lair, which was later owned by Doris Duke for years and demolished in 2006. Hollywood Heritage Museum, 2100 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood Hills; Wed., Dec. 14, 7:30-10:30 p.m.; $15. hollywoodheritage.org. —Siran Babayan
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Tumultuous times making you wish for a kinder and gentler Christmas? Impro Theatre's 1966 Holiday Variety Extravaganza takes you back to the homey and wholesome Andy Williams and Perry Cuomo Christmas specials of the 1960s and '70s, with their colorful costumes, vocal harmonies and cheesy skits. L.A.-based Impro produces improvised full-length plays, including Shakespeare Unscripted, Jane Austen Unscripted and Tennessee Williams Unscripted. Taking suggestions from the audience, the cast stages a mock, period-themed TV show — complete with commercials — featuring comedy, singing, dancing, storytelling and even puppetry, accompanied by a five-piece jazz band. The Broad Stage, Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Thu., Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m. (also Fri. & Sat.); $32-$60. (310) 434-3200, thebroadstage.com. —Siran Babayan
Keith Haring created pop art on street and subway walls, in advertising campaigns and even on cars, his signature cartoon-style stick figures a response to sociopolitical issues such as capitalism, drugs, apartheid and AIDS, which took his life in 1990. After displaying Haring's 1971 Land Rover in its lobby last summer, the Petersen Automotive Museum includes five more of Haring's art vehicles in its new exhibit "The Unconventional Canvases of Keith Haring" (Dec. 17-June 4), including his 1962 SCAF/Mortarini Mini Ferrari, 1963 Buick Special, 1991 BMW Z1 and 1987 Honda Hurricane motorcycle. Prior to opening day, the museum hosts this preview reception, featuring remarks by board member Michael Armand Hammer and executive director Terry Karges, DJ Peanut Butter Wolf and catered food. Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Thu., Dec. 15, 8 p.m.; $35, $25 members. (323) 930-2277, petersen.org. —Siran Babayan
This week in "Want to feel old?" events, Cinespia is here to remind us that Little Miss Sunshine came out a full decade ago. It's making up for that by putting together a 10-year reunion screening for the indie film that could, complete with appearances by co-directors Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris and to-be-announced cast members; as is Cinespia custom, there will be DJs, a free photo booth and full bars (making this 21+ only). Palace Theatre, 630 S. Broadway, downtown; Thu., Dec. 15, 9 p.m. (doors at 7:30); $18–$45. (213) 553-4567, cinespia.org. —Michael Nordine