The mustachioed men and buxom beauties of the Pretty Things Peepshow come through Bob Baker Marionette Studio on Friday.
The mustachioed men and buxom beauties of the Pretty Things Peepshow come through Bob Baker Marionette Studio on Friday.
Photo by Decadence Dolls Photography

22 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Between a bawdy traveling sideshow, a program of the Groundlings' dirtiest sketches, the Razzie awards and a screening of the Sydney Pollack classic comedy Tootsie, there's lots of good stuff to do and see in L.A. this week.

fri 2/26

After last year's hiatus, the Groundlings' X-rated Trash Show returns. An annual, midnight tradition since the '90s, the show includes sketches considered too risqué and inappropriate for the comedy theater's mainstage but perfectly suitable for a skin flick. Alumnus and Saturday Night Live writer Mikey Day again directs members of the main company, who likely will display full frontal nudity. It's like watching intentionally funny porn. Groundlings Theater, 7307 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; Fri., Feb. 26, 11:45 p.m.; $14; 18 and older only. (323) 934-4747, groundlings.com. —Siran Babayan

Although Pacific Opera Project has presented a series of classic operas since opening shop in 2011, there's never been anything remotely traditional about its approach. The local company kicks off its sixth season with Franz Lehár's venerable operetta The Merry Widow, a comedy of manners about European diplomats, which originally was set in 19th-century Paris. But artistic director Josh Shaw and music director/arranger Stephen Karr have moved the action to Gold Rush–era California, with a revised English-language libretto by Josh and Kelsey Shaw, which spotlights a harried widow's fight against a dastardly railroad company that wants to steal her land. Expect plenty of campy cowboy-movie parodies and contrastingly sublime singing mounted on an unusual two-story set that inverts the intimate room's typical stage. Highland Park Ebell Club, 131 S. Avenue 57, Highland Park; Fri.-Sat., Feb. 26-27, 8 p.m.; also March 3, 4, 5, 11 & 12, 8 p.m.; $15-$120. (323) 739-6122, pacificoperaproject.com. —Falling James

There's a decided shortage of sword swallowing and knife throwing happening in modern entertainment. Not so when the traveling variety show Pretty Things Peepshow comes to town. The four-person troupe of muscly men and buxom ladies is part circus sideshow, part classic vaudeville — besides the sword swallowing and knife throwing, there's bawdy puppetry, burlesque, comedy and more. It's a mini-circus minus the horrifying clowns and questionable treatment of animals. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., Echo Park; Fri., Feb. 26, 8 p.m.; $15 in advance, $20 at the door. (213) 250-9995, facebook.com/events/1244735665543791. —Gwynedd Stuart

If its list of plot contrivances is any indication, I Love a Mystery lives up to its title. Henry Levin's adaptation of the radio show of the same name involves a prophecy of doom, a flaming dessert that nearly fulfills said prophecy, a man with a peg leg, a shadowy religious order and, of course, an inheritance worth millions. UCLA screens the pulpy thriller alongside the Southern Gothic–inspired The Unknown — another midcentury mystery concerning a contested will — as part of its Out of the Ether: Radio Mysteries and Thrillers on Screen series. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu—Michael Nordine

Wes Craven will probably always be best remembered for helping to define (and then redefine) the slasher genre with A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, but his legacy extends far beyond Elm Street. Cinefamily digs deep into the horror auteur's back catalog to present The Serpent and the Rainbow, a supernatural curio from 1988. Bill Pullman plays a doctor who treks to Haiti in order to use a voodoo drug as the active ingredient in an experimental anesthetic, as one does, but his Hippocratic plans are complicated by the inevitable-in-hindsight appearance of zombies. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., Feb. 26, 11:59 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org—Michael Nordine

sat 2/27

L.A. may have the monopoly on Morrissey fandom, but the limited-edition photography book To Me You Are a Work of Art shows the singer has devotees all over the country, and they have tattoos of his face, autograph, lyrics and album covers to prove it. Edited by Anthony Amor and Julian Chavez, and photographed by Patrick Moore, Nicole Kuntz and Jared Polin, this visual representation captures diehard fans in 10 cities, from Oakland to New York, who've marked themselves as tribute to Moz, who in the book's foreword lovingly writes: "Ink has brought me into being as a part of so many lives, and only death can seal it up or cut it down or scorch it off." This book launch and exhibit includes an appearance by guitarist Jesse Tobias of Morrissey's band. Lethal Amounts, 1226 W. Seventh St., downtown; Sat., Feb. 27, 8-10 p.m.; free, book is $55. (213) 265-7452, lethalamounts.com. —Siran Babayan

On the eve of Hollywood's biggest annual circle jerk, the fine folks behind the Razzie Awards gather to dole out Golden Raspberries to actors, writers and directors who really stunk up theaters and Redboxes in 2015. This year's nominees include Johnny Depp for his role as a mustachioed asshole in the cinematic abortion Mordecai and "Adam Sandler and Any Pair of Shoes" for worst onscreen duo in The Cobbler, a movie that came out apparently. Besides the awarding of awards, the show features skits, sketches and, of course, the requisite overblown musical number. Palace Theatre, 630 S. Broadway, downtown; Sat., Feb. 27, 8 p.m.; $14-$35. razzies.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

Two love stories at the Aero, one romantic and one platonic: Twentieth Century and The Odd Couple. A screwball benchmark, the former stars John Barrymore and Carole Lombard as a Broadway producer and an up-and-coming starlet whose working relationship turns into a romantic entanglement; Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are the opposites who attract in Gene Saks' adaptation of the Neil Simon play. The Odd Couple is one of those classics so well known and well regarded that many are exceedingly familiar with its legacy without having actually seen it; if that applies to you, consider finally seeing what all the fuss is about. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., Feb. 27, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com—Michael Nordine

Bill Pullman gets himself in some voodoo doo doo in The Serpent and the Rainbow, screening on Friday.EXPAND
Bill Pullman gets himself in some voodoo doo doo in The Serpent and the Rainbow, screening on Friday.

sun 2/28

When he won Tony and Olivier awards for his choreography for The Lion King, Garth Fagan credited Geoffrey Holder for opening doors for his own career. Fagan and his troupe Garth Fagan Dance arrive with Geoffrey Holder Life Fete ... Bacchanal, a critically praised tribute to choreographer-dancer-director Holder and his marriage/partnership with the equally legendary dancer Carmen de Lavallade, who began her career in L.A. before moving to New York as the star of a nascent Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Known beyond the dance world for his distinctive Trinidad-accented baritone in television ads pitching 7Up made from the "un-cola nut," in the dance and theater world Holder broke racial barriers as a multihyphenate dancer, choreographer, director and designer, applying all those talents in The Wiz, his retelling of The Wizard of Oz from a distinctively African-American perspective, winning Tony Swards for costume design and direction. Fagan offers a new generation a glimpse at this giant talent. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., West Adams; Sun., Feb. 28, 3 p.m.; also Fri., Feb. 26, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 27, 2 & 8 p.m.; $35. ebonyrep.org. —Ann Haskins

Don't just let the people at Cometbus, Motorbooty and Spaghetti Cinema steal all the glory. In observance of Zine Week L.A. and the 2016 L.A. Zine Fest (coming March 6), today's Ama-ZINE Workshop offers the chance for attendees to make eight-page zines they can fill with anything from poetry to comics to insults that really hit home. Also on hand: the fest's traveling zine library and a button-making station. It's a perfect opportunity to finally realize those teenage punk-rock dreams of zine publishing stardom. Craft & Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Sun., Feb. 28, 1 p.m.; $5 members, $10 general. (323) 937-4230, cafam.org/programs. —David Cotner

Feeling nostalgic for the days of field trips? Obscura Society L.A. and Cartwheel Art Tours have the answer for that. Sunday's Riverside Road Trip is a bus-based journey into the heart of the Inland Empire's art world. You'll stop at Tio's Tacos, a wonderful restaurant filled with sculptures made from found and recycled objects by owner Martin Sanchez, and take a private tour of the spectacular Mission Inn. Travelers will move on to the "Women of the New Contemporary" at La Sierra University's Brandstater Art Gallery, where they will view a new collection of murals, sit in on artist talks and attend the exhibition's opening reception. It's a lot of art packed into one day and, while you'll be traveling by bus, you'll need to be ready for plenty of walking too. The bus departs from Los Angeles' Arts District. Urban Radish, 661 Imperial St., downtown (meeting point); Sun., Feb. 28, 12:30 p.m.; $75; (213) 537-0687; cartwheelart.com/art-tours, atlasobscura.com/events. —Liz Ohanesian

Who says vegans can't enjoy a good old-fashioned chili cook-off? For the fourth year in a row, Golden Road Brewing founder Tony Yanow is hosting the Vegan Chili Cook-Off, a celebration of meatless chili, at his Burbank craft-beer pub. Five high-profile vegan chefs from across L.A. will do battle, including Roy Elam of Plant Food and Wine and Mollie Engelhart of Sage Organic Vegan Bistro. For $10, spectators can taste 3-ounce samples of each entry — and vote for the people's choice winner. Tony's Darts Away, 1710 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; Sun., Feb. 28, noon-4 p.m.; $10. (818) 253-1710, tonysda.com/happening-at-tonys. —Garrett Snyder

Temper the disappointment and rage that comes with the Academy Awards by enduring the overlong telecast at Cinefamily. Doug Benson Watches the Oscars will be preceded by a taping of the latest Dining With Doug and Karen podcast, making this a full afternoon and evening of commentary and snark. The potluck event (actual dishes are encouraged) is free, but online pre-registration is required. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Sun., Feb. 28, 3:30 p.m.; free. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org—Michael Nordine

mon 2/29

Are you frightened of the emptiness farewells leave yet know that truly facing your fears will make you a better adult human being? Then come see the Last Terrified, a live taping of the final episode of Terrified, one of Nerdist's most celebrated podcasts, an exploration of how fucked up people are based on their various fears and anxieties. Comedians/therapists/empaths (circle one or more) Dave Ross and Anna Seregina plumbed the depths of the human condition over the course of two years — this final show includes surprise guests joining them to perform the rawest unveiling of fears in public that you could possibly imagine. NerdMelt Showroom, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood Hills West; Mon., Feb. 29, 9-10:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —David Cotner

tue 3/1

Is America feeling the Bern? Will Trump triumph? Are we ready for another Clinton in office? When master of horror Stephen King deemed Ted Cruz the "scariest candidate," was that an endorsement or a warning? Find out how the electorate answers these questions and more at the Hammer Museum's Super Tuesday Bash, co-presented by the UCLA Bruin Democrats and the UCLA Bruin Republicans. The university's politically minded students invite you to follow the polls on the Hammer's big screens for a night of toasting the political process, endless commentary and boozy ideological debates fueled by a cash bar. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., March 1, 5:30 p.m.; free. (310) 825-4321, hammer.ucla.edu/programs-events/2016/03/super-tuesday-bash. —Neha Talreja

Comedian Nikki Glaser, host of Comedy Central's Not Safe With Nikki Glaser, interviews Bonnie McFarlane about her new book, You're Better Than Me. In her memoir, McFarlane writes about her life and comedic career, from her childhood on a Canadian farm to her appearances on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Late Show With David Letterman and Last Comic Standing. McFarlane also directed the 2014 documentary Women Aren't Funny, which looked at the age-old debate about sexism in comedy and featured Joan Rivers, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Rosie O'Donnell, Wanda Sykes and Adam Carolla. But fans know McFarlane best as co-host of the podcast My Wife Hates Me, in which she and comedian husband Rich Vos mostly bicker about their marriage and the industry. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Tue., March 1, 7:30 p.m.; free, book is $15.99. (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. —Siran Babayan

Narrowing down the list of Howard Hawks' greatest films is no easy task, but few would begrudge Only Angels Have Wings a place near the top. Its recent Hitchcock program now concluded, LACMA screens the 1939 drama about a fleet of mail-delivering pilots in South America as this week's Tuesday Matinee. The film made a star of Rita Hayworth and managed to distinguish itself in a year that also brought us Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of OzLACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., March 1, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org—Michael Nordine

Celebrate the release of a book full of photos of tattooed Morrissey fans on Saturday.
Celebrate the release of a book full of photos of tattooed Morrissey fans on Saturday.
Courtesy Julian Chavez

wed 3/2

Schitt's Creek on the POP network (formerly TV Guide Network) is a Canadian sitcom about the reverse rags-to-riches story of an obnoxious, wealthy family that loses its fortune and moves into a motel in a small, rural town. The Paley Center hosts a discussion on the comedy series with the cast, including co-creators Eugene Levy and son Daniel, SCTV alum Catherine O'Hara, Annie Murphy, Emily Hampshire and Jennifer Robertson, and screens a preview of season two, which begins airing March 16. The Paley Center for Media, 465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills; Wed., March 2, 7 p.m.; $25. (310) 786-1000, paleycenter.org. —Siran Babayan

After Cherie Currie's harrowing 2010 memoir, Neon Angel, singer and guitarist Lita Ford gets to have the latest word on the story of '80s rockers The Runaways. As part of Live Talks Los Angeles, Ford discusses her new book, Living Like a Runaway, in which she writes about joining the band at 16 and recording and touring with the group, which was hugely popular in Europe and Japan, even though they never achieved arena status in the United States. Later Ford found solo success as a Grammy-nominated pop-metal princess. She also looks back on being managed by Kim Fowley and Sharon Osbourne, as well as her collaborations and relationships with Ozzy Osbourne, Nikki Sixx, Jon Bon Jovi, Eddie Van Halen, ex-fiance Tony Iommi and ex-husbands Jim Gillette and Chris Holmes. Bootleg Theatre, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Westlake; Wed., March 2, 7:30 p.m.; $20-$95. livetalksla.com. —Siran Babayan

thu 3/3

Who better to satirize the musical-theater genre and the "farcical aspects of science fiction" than a sibling duo composed of a playwright and a Caltech theoretical physics grad student? Boldly Go! A Musical Parody Based Upon Star Trek promises to go "where no musical has gone before." Sure, musical theater has already been turned on its ear, but not Spock's pointy ones, and the idealism of Gene Roddenberry's original creation is brought to life in 19 original numbers (including "Warp Drive Tango" and "Live Long and Prosper"), as the Starship Enterprise navigates the late 23rd century in this brainy concoction of love, triumph, intergalactic discovery and "musical mayhem." Theater Arts at Caltech (TACIT), 275 S. Hill Ave., Pasadena; Thu., March 3-Fri., March 4, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., March 5, 2:30 p.m.; $18 ($5 Caltech students, $9 Caltech faculty). (626) 395-3295, tacit.caltech.edu/shows/1516boldlygo. —Skylaire Alfvegren

No one made heady science fiction like Andrei Tarkovsky, whose vast body of work is being celebrated all semester long at CSUN. The latest in the school's free screening series is Stalker, whose title refers to a dystopian shepherd leading two men on an expedition to the Zone, a mysterious place where travelers are said to find that which they most desire. This makes the film kin to Solaris, which likewise explores the perils of being confronted by the possibility that finally getting what you want — or think you want — is worse than being denied it. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., March 3, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu—Michael Nordine

Dustin Hoffman has said that he never considered Tootsie a comedy, which is not to say Sydney Pollack's 1982 classic isn't funny. Famously starring Hoffman as a struggling actor who poses as a woman in order to land more gigs, it landed 10 Oscar nominations (including a win for Jessica Lange) and set a new standard for movies about men dressing as women for comedic effect. That's genuinely one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it's rarely been carried out with this level of insight and charm. ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., March 3, 7:30 p.m.; $14. (323) 464-1478, arclightcinemas.com. —Michael Nordine


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