Since Thanksgiving is the time for, well, giving, you might not have much left in your pocket this week. Before the feasting commences, you can take the family to one of these fun and inexpensive (or free) events. Give back to the community with Gobble Gobble Give, revisit a literary classic on the beach or indulge in vintage fantasia with The Ackermonster Chronicles.
5. Gobble Gobble Give
If you feel that Thanksgiving is a holiday born of political hypocrisy yet still enjoy the sights, smells and tastes of cornbread stuffing and roasted birds, here's a charitable event that's right up your cornucopia: Gobble Gobble Give 2013. For the last 10 years, Gobble Gobble Give has organized Thanksgiving Day food runs for the homeless in larger cities across the country. In 2012, 10,000 homeless people in L.A., San Francisco, Austin, Harlem and Las Vegas were fed home-cooked meals and given toiletry kits and clean blankets by volunteers with a passion for feeding as well as eating. But you don't have to be a cook to participate -- Gobble Gobble Give needs drivers, boxers and other eager beavers to help this event run smoothly. They will even give you turkeys to warm up and bring to the Echo on Thursday morning ready to slice and dice -- and if you can't be there, you can definitely donate financially. With this nonprofit, you can rest assured that 100 percent of your donation will go directly to feeding the homeless. For founder Barry Walker and comrades, this event is not just about pumpkin pie, although that's a big part of it -- it's about showing L.A.'s homeless and needy that they are indeed worthy of care. Yes, in practice Thanksgiving is marked by medical-grade over-gorging, but at heart it's meant to commemorate acts of truly unselfish kindness. Be the change you wish to see in the world, people! The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Thurs., Nov. 28; free. (213) 413-8200, gobblegobblegive.org. --Rena Kosnett
4. Moby Dick Read-a-thon
The L.A. Public Library recently launched a campaign aimed at introducing Herman Melville's Moby Dick to new readers, but the grassroots Venice Oceanarium has been doing just that for nearly two decades. Its inaugural Moby Dick Reading was held in November 1995, and it has since become a Venice Beach tradition in which volunteers read aloud all 132 chapters -- roughly 500 pages, but who's counting? -- over the course of a weekend. "There's something about this particular book that lends itself to oration," says Oceanarium director Tim Rudnick, who organizes the November event to mark the beginning of the gray whale migration season. "It's the perfect thing to read against the crashing waves." The reading takes place on the sand in what Rudnick describes as a tabernacle-like structure, made of whale bones on loan from the Cabrillo Marine Museum. It's so cozy and romantic that one couple even claims they conceived their child under a blanket during the Moby Dick reading of 1995. By the breakwater rocks straight off Windward Avenue, Venice Beach; Sat., Nov. 23-Sun., Nov. 24, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; free. Veniceoceanarium.org. --Jennifer Swann
3. Ackerman's Monster Doc
In the bad old days, monster movies weren't meant to be discussed with any amount of seriousness. What are you -- morbid? The bible for such nutcases was writer and curator Forrest J. Ackerman's monthly Famous Monsters of Filmland. Stuffed with terrible puns and an obsessive attention to detail -- as well as a healthy preview of things to come in fantasy cinema -- it had few peers: the slightly genteel Cinefantastique; brash, gore-soaked upstart Fangoria (which was sort of like what National Lampoon was to MAD magazine); and the brutal luminescence of Michael Weldon's Psychotronic Video magazine. Tonight's screening of the new documentary The Ackermonster Chronicles marks what would have been Forry's 97th birthday (he died in 2008). Well-wishers and fans -- both onstage and off- -- will be treated to a postshow discussion moderated by Chris Alexander, Fangoria's current editor in chief. Shot in the years before Forry died, the documentary unveils the fantasy memorabilia of Ackerman's Ackermansion and features interviews with Forry's friends, including John Landis, the late Ray Bradbury, the late Ray Harryhausen and others you really do wish would come back from the dead one last time. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., Nov. 24, 5 p.m.; $7/$9/$11. (310) 260-1528, aerotheatre.com. --David Cotner
2. Tyson Tells All
"I did not rape Desiree Washington." That's the gist of Mike Tyson's new book, Undisputed Truth -- but certainly not all of it. At the 1992 trial for raping the beauty pageant contestant, the youngest heavyweight boxing world champion had fame, as well as promoter Don King and defense attorneys Vincent J. Fuller and Alan Dershowitz on his side. He also had a record of 38 arrests by age 12, anger-management issues, off-putting arrogance and an Indianapolis jury on the other. Tyson went to prison for three years, yet to this day proclaims his innocence. Tonight, grab a ringside seat to find out what earns Tyson the title of "Iron Mike" when he signs his tell-all tome. He's had a herky-jerky progression from ear biter to comic actor in The Hangover to star of a one-man Broadway show. In a way, Tyson's still in the ring, but now he's squaring off with even more tenacious opponents: a dark past, bankruptcy, addictions. Will he win this bout? If so, he'll earn an additional title: the Comeback Kid. Barnes & Noble, The Grove at Farmers Market, 189 Grove Drive; Tues., Nov. 26, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 525-0270, barnesandnoble.com. --Heidi Dvorak
1. Food Tour in Grand Central Market
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Design East of La Brea's architecture and design tours usually include at least one stop at a food landmark, and when music and art collectives like dublab drop a party, you might find a food truck or two circling the gig. But in honor of the close of this year's Proton Drive fundraiser, dublab and deLaB bring the party to the food. Eat to the Beat combines your interests in progressive DJ culture, historic architecture and eclectic cuisine into a free, one-stop, all-day adventure amid the 45,000-square-foot, 100-year-old bustle of downtown's Grand Central Market. The market itself is a perfect microcosm for the unique (and frequently surprising) juxtaposition of old and new, tradition and innovation, that's defining downtown right now. There are farmers market stalls, authentic street-food stands (pupusas, y'all!), and a host of new-breed food and coffee artisans like Eggslut and G&B bumping up against seriously old-school fare like China Cafe, where Harrison Ford rocked some spicy soup in Blade Runner. Start at noon with author Kevin West's expertly guided tour of the building and enthusiastic insight into its role in the still-evolving urban community it anchors. Stay for eating, dancing, sustainable fashion and crafts from the Little Junebugs kids boutique, live screen printing from HIT+RUN -- and maybe some inspiration for your Thanksgiving feast. Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, dwntwn.; Sat., Nov. 23, noon-6 p.m.; free. (213) 624-2378, designeastoflabrea.org. --Shana Nys Dambrot
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