A tribute to a Coen Brothers classic, a Laurel & Hardy extravaganza, a cupcake tour of Beverly Hills and more fun stuff to do and see in L.A. this week.
Can I make it through roughly four sentences about Lebowski Fest Los Angeles without quoting the Coen brothers classic from which it gets its name? Don't be fatuous, reader. Launched in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2002 — meaning it took just four years for the 1998 film to achieve a cult following — and later expanding to L.A. and other cities, this year's Lebowski Fest features a Friday night Movie Party and a Saturday night Bowling Party at Fountain Bowl in Orange County. The former, hosted at the much more conveniently located Wiltern, features music by The Kyle Gass Band, a screening of the film and appearances by awesomely obscure bit actors like Leon Russom (who plays the Malibu sheriff who throws a mug at the Dude's head) and James G. Hoosier (who plays the Jesus' mild-mannered bowling partner Liam). The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown; Fri., March 3, 7 p.m.; $20. lebowskifest.com/fests/lebowski-fest-los-angeles-2017. —Gwynedd Stuart
Led by Diavolo alum Jones (Welsh) Talmadge and Laura Covelli, Not Man Apart Physical Theater has a strong track record successfully taking on contemporary issues filtered through historical prisms, often Greek mythology, as in the recent Ajax in Iraq, which considered parallels between U.S. military involvement in Iraq and the great warrior Ajax from the Trojan War. For Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, opening this week, NMA takes aim at John Milton's epic poem about the battle of angels versus demons and the fall from grace of Adam and Eve. An original score and live digital animation, video and lots of other technical goings-on underscore the dance, acrobatics and onstage theatrics. Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., March 3, 8 p.m. (runs Fri.-Sun.; through April 2); $20-$30, $15-20 students & military. (323) 673-0544, greenwaycourttheatre.org/paradiselost. —Ann Haskins
When President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972, it was a bold and unexpected diplomatic move that ended the long, unofficial state of hostilities between the two countries and ushered in an epochal shift in attitudes that brought the cultures of the West and East closer together. In a similar way, composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman's 1987 opera, Nixon in China, represented a dramatic change, not only in Adams' own music but also in the critical perception of modern American operas. Evolving away from his earlier minimalist approach, Adams imbued the work with relatively lavish orchestration, mixing classical, jazz, choral and electronic influences into a newly relevant form of opera. Backed by a large cast of singers and dancers, Adams conducts L.A. Phil as part of his ongoing 70th-birthday celebrations. Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Fri., March 3, 8 p.m. (also Sun., March 5, 2 p.m.); $20-$183. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com. —Falling James
You can call Elle a comeback, considering it marks Paul Verhoeven's first film in a decade, but it's worth remembering what made him worth missing in the first place. Case in point: Starship Troopers, which is looking smarter and more prescient with each passing year. Like much of the Dutch provocateur's oft-maligned filmography (see also: Basic Instinct and Showgirls), Verhoeven's adaptation of Robert Heinlein's novel has seen its reputation grow in recent years, but just because there's more to this fascist allegory than giant, murderous bugs doesn't mean that said giant, murderous bugs aren't awesome in a lizard-brain kind of way. Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; Fri., March 3, 11:59 p.m.; $11. (310) 473-8530, landmarktheatres.com. —Michael Nordine
You know what they call Pulp Fiction in Paris? Probably the same thing they call it here — a decade-defining classic — only in French. Though watching Quentin Tarantino's nonlinear masterwork for the first time is revelatory, the kind of experience that makes you realize movies can do things you might not have thought possible before, revisiting it is no less rewarding. That's doubly true in this case, as the New Beverly is screening it on a 35mm print from Tarantino's personal archive. The film has inspired countless imitators, which have never come close to matching its lyrical dialogue and inventive, cross-cutting narrative — ironic, considering how heavily QT relies on homage. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri., March 3, 11:59 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine
Beverly Hills isn't exactly the culinary capital of L.A. County, but the bakers there sure do know how put together some pretty little confections. Specifically cupcakes and macarons — which, remember, are different from macaroons. The Cupcake & Macaron Tour of Beverly Hills (it's a walking tour, so wear comfortable shoes!) will take you from one end of Beverly Hills' commercial district to the other, starting at Sprinkles Cupcakes and ending at 'Lette Macarons. In between you'll make a number of stops at little stores selling tiny, edible jewels. Begins at Sprinkles Cupcakes, Ice Cream & Cookies, 9635 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Sat., March 4, 3 p.m.; $50. besttours.com/cupcake-tour-of-beverly-hills.html. —Katherine Spiers
The Bureau of Feminism reaches out and touches someone today with Telethon. A logical progression from avant- and/or prankish '60s art actions, it's a performance staged for a live audience — a performance during which the Bureau calls people randomly and poses various questions about feminism. The ring tones, the dial tones and the overtones of confusion, surprise and hostility — they're all here, coming at you in a big, flaming ball that's actually a larger statement about feminism and the kaleidoscopic uncertainty about its significance by the public at large and down the line. The Hammer Museum courtyard, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., March 4, 3 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu/programs-events/2017/02/telethon. —David Cotner
Workaholics, the Comedy Central series about three dim-witted, obnoxious, prank-playing telemarketers set in Rancho Cucamonga, is in its seventh and final season. But creator and actor Adam DeVine won't be gone for good. DeVine still hosts his other Comedy Central show, the sitcom-stand-up hybrid Adam DeVine's House Party, which has featured performances by Pete Davidson, Ron Funches, Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal. He and Workaholics' Anders Holm and Blake Anderson will star in an upcoming comedy-action movie on Netflix co-produced by Seth Rogen. And in the last few years his film career has taken off, thanks to big roles in Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2 and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. DeVine returns to his stand-up roots in his new Weird Life tour, with opener Adam Ray. The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown; Sat., March 4, 7 p.m.; $29.50-$95. (213) 388-1400, wiltern.com. —Siran Babayan
Now that we live in the future, all anyone wants to do is relive the past. And now that Saturday Morning Cartoons no longer exist as they once did, the fine folks at Cinefamily have taken it upon themselves to present a monthly showcase devoted to the halcyon days of animated TV shows. This month's theme is Monsters, perhaps of the Aaahh!!! Real variety, so bring the kiddos — anyone under 14 gets in for free. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Sat., March 4, 11 a.m.; $10. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine
Shirley MacLaine recently received a lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and now the Aero is honoring the luminary actress with a double bill of The Apartment and Being There, the latter on 35mm. MacLaine stars opposite Jack Lemmon in Billy Wilder's classic and Peter Sellers in Hal Ashby's, the two lighthearted films separated by nearly 20 years. Both serve as showcases for the Oscar winner's one-of-a-kind talents, as do more recent outings such as Richard Linklater's Bernie. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., March 4, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine
If Jim Henson's beloved Muppets were proof of anything — besides Henson's genius — it's that puppetry isn't just for kids. In that spirit, the Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry is hosting Puppetzilla Puppet Slam, an evening of music, comedy and a variety of human-operated, felt surrogates. Performers include puppeteer Pam Severns, ventriloquist Karl Herlinger, silent comedian Ithamar Enriquez, and singer-comedian Kara Morgan, who's premiering an episode of her new stop-motion web series The Kara Morgan Show. BYOB. Trepany House at Steve Allen Theatre, 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Sun., March 5, 7:30 p.m.; $15, $10 in advance. comedycake.com/archives/42019. —Gwynedd Stuart
For almost 30 years, Lambda Literary Foundation has been a LGBTQ-centric literary organization, and among its programs and events is the prestigious annual Lambda Literary Awards, which has honored such gay and lesbian writers and artists as John Waters, Tony Kushner, David Sedaris and Armistead Maupin. The first Lambda Litfest Los Angeles (March 6-12) presents a week of readings, discussions, workshops, comedy and other performances across various venues in the city and features well-known performers Luis Alfaro, Zackary Drucker, Noel Alumit, Julie Goldman, Alec Mapa, Beth Lapides and others. The fest kicks off on Monday with Yes Femmes, writing and performance that explores the femme experience, at Pieter Performance Space in Lincoln Heights and Queer Bird Lit, a celebration of contemporary queer authors, at Stories in Echo Park. The week culminates with a full-day fest at Barnsdall Park on Saturday and a closing party at Akbar on Sunday. Various locations; Mon.-Sun., March 6-12; free. lambdalitfest.org. —Siran Babayan
Scuba diving is a breathtaking experience, bringing you face to face with a wondrous world of flora and fauna that only exists beneath the surface of the waves. Until now that is. Created by Wevr studios, theBlu: An Underwater VR Experience uses virtual reality headsets to transport visitors to environments that previously required quite a bit of gear and training to visit. The six-minute, immersive expedition features different marine ecosystems, where you'll see sunken ships, coral reefs, manta rays, even a blue whale, and includes a stop at the ocean floor — a destination that even the most experienced divers rarely get to see. Although the trip is perfect for the kid in all of us, it is limited to guests 10 years old and older. Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park; opens Mon., March 6, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; $10, plus general admission. (213) 763-3466, nhm.org/site/explore-exhibits/special-exhibits/vr. —Matt Stromberg
He's an Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning actor, Donald Trump impersonator and Saturday Night Live's most frequent host — a whopping 17 times. But what you might not know about Alec Baldwin is he's also a podcaster. Since 2011, Baldwin has hosted his New York–based podcast, Here's the Thing, where he's interviewed such big-name actor and artist types as David Letterman, Michael Douglas, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Sarah Jessica Parker, Chris Rock, Kathleen Turner, Debbie Reynolds, Carol Burnett, Julie Andrews and Michael Eisner, as well as politicians, political pundits and business leaders, including Anthony Weiner, Dan Rather, Brian Williams, George Stephanopoulos and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. For his first live podcast taping in L.A., Baldwin sits down with husband-and-wife comedy couple Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, whose stage show, Summer of 69: No Apostrophe, will air on Epix later this year. The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Mon., March 6, 8 p.m.; $30-$55. theatre.acehotel.com/events/alec-baldwins-heres-thing-podcast. —Siran Babayan
Horror-themed and other storytelling podcasts are slowly reviving the old-fashioned radio show. In 2011, Toronto-based voice actor David Cummings created The NoSleep Podcast, inspired by the Reddit forum No Sleep, where users post first-person horror fiction. Narrated by Cummings, each episode features fellow voice actors reading several of the forum's top-rated stories, whose dark topics run the gamut, from spiders and monsters to paranormal activity, accompanied by original music; throughout its seven seasons the podcast has generated 18 million downloads. The No Sleep Podcast Sleepless Tour features live narration by Cummings and readings by regular contributors Jessica McEvoy, Peter Lewis, David Ault and Nichole Goodnight, as well as a live score by composer Brandon Boone. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Tue., March 7, 7 p.m.; $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com. —Siran Babayan
Francis Ford Coppola has famously said of Apocalypse Now, "My film is not a movie; it's not about Vietnam. It is Vietnam." The Deer Hunter is a movie about Vietnam, meanwhile, and it's the best ever made. Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken (who won a richly deserved Oscar for his performance) and John Cazale's characters hail from a coal-mining town in Pennsylvania, and it isn't until they return home — or, in some cases, don't — that the war's full effects take hold. The film was directed by Michael Cimino, whose Academy Awards for Best Picture and Director earned him the freedom to do whatever he wanted. What he wanted to do was Heaven's Gate, of course, which ended about as well as for him as the war does for his characters. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., March 7, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine
Four new exhibitions are coming to the California African American Museum. Marking the 25th anniversary of the Rodney King riots, "No Justice, No Peace: L.A. 1992" offers a fresh perspective of the Los Angeles uprising, while "Paperworks: Selections from the Permanent Collection" showcases works on paper from the last 200 years. The museum also highlights projects by two solo artists with "Derrick Adams: Network" and "Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle: The Evanesced." To celebrate the new shows, CAAM is throwing an all-ages, family-friendly fête. Can't Stop, Won't Stop! not only features food trucks and DJs but it also offers more than enough creative inspiration to go around. California African American Museum, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park; Wed., March 8, 7 p.m.; free with RSVP. (213) 744-7432, caamuseum.org. —Tanja M. Laden
Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are reportedly starring in an upcoming biopic about film's first great comedic pair, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Until then, fans should attend Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Hollywood Heritage's Evening at the Barn — Laurel & Hardy: A 90th Anniversary Celebration, The Birth of a Team, which commemorates the year the two began co-starring in films as a duo. The schedule features screenings of archival prints the 1927 movies Putting Pants on Phillip, With Love and Hisses, Call of the Cuckoo and The Battle of the Century, accompanied by live music by Scott Lasky, in addition to author Randy Skretvedt discussing his 1987 book, Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies. The event also includes a display of the museum's new wax statues of the comic pair. Hollywood Heritage Museum, 2100 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood Hills; Wed., March 8, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (323) 874-4005, hollywoodheritage.org. —Siran Babayan
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A dozen or so years after it faded from the programming lineup, Adult Swim presents the return of Samurai Jack. A cornerstone of early 2000s Cartoon Network, it told the story of a mysterious, unkillable samurai wielding a mystical katana and righting wrongs before being hurtled into a dystopian future by his arch-nemesis, the demon Aku. Tonight's sneak preview of the renewed fifth season of the series boasts an onstage Q&A with series creator Genndy Tartakovsky, surprise guests (probably Samurai Jack's voice, Phil LaMarr), gift giveaways, and a general overall appreciation for the singular beauty of this very strange cartoon. The Theater at Ace Hotel, 929 Broadway, downtown; Thu., March 9, 7 p.m.; free with RSVP. (213) 623-3233, acehotel.com/calendar/losangeles/adult-swim-presents-samurai-jack. —David Cotner
Rooted in the Book of Esther, Purim tells the story of how Mordecai and his cousin Esther saved the Jews from extermination in ancient Persia. Commonly referred to as the Jewish Mardi Gras or Halloween, Purim this year begins at sunset on March 11 and ends on sunset on March 12, and is observed with a feast, gift giving and wearing costumes. If you're looking to celebrate the spring holiday without kids, however, you can laugh and unwind at the Purim Comedy Concert hosted by Elon Gold. The comedian, actor and former judge on ABC's The Next Best Thing competition show often spoofs Jewish stereotypes in his stand-up, especially on his 2014 Netflix special, Chosen and Taken. "If there was a Jewish rapper, he'd be 40 Cent," he once joked. The evening includes additional stand-up by Alex Edelman, drinks and a DJ. Saban Theatre, 8440 W. Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Thu., March 9, 8 p.m.; $40-$80. (888) 645-5006, sabanconcerts.com. —Siran Babayan
One doesn't watch Rosemary's Baby so much as endure it, which isn't to say the movie isn't thrilling. Roman Polanski's nerve-jangling masterpiece gets under your skin and in your head, calling into question the plausibility of its own narrative — could there really be witches in this old apartment building, and who are those late-night incantations invoking? — as you try to believe that both you and Rosemary (a never-better Mia Farrow) are simply imagining things. Cal State Northridge screens the movie for free as part of its semester-long John Cassavetes retrospective, an apt reminder that the innovator of independent film was also a damn fine actor. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., March 9, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu.
What's this war in the heart of nature? Find out at the Egyptian, where The Thin Red Line — which happens to be the greatest movie ever made — kicks off The Songs of Terrence Malick. In some ways the inverse of Apocalypse Now, this World War II drama is only about war insofar as it's kind of about everything. (It's still the best WWII movie of 1998, though — sorry not sorry, Saving Private Ryan.) There's calm amid the chaos, life among the dying and beauty in every single frame. This one is transcendent and not to be missed. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., March 9, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine