The Society for the Activation of Social Space Through Art and Sound (aka SASSAS, aka a mouthful) brings sound. to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook on Sunday.
The Society for the Activation of Social Space Through Art and Sound (aka SASSAS, aka a mouthful) brings sound. to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook on Sunday.
Courtesy SASSAS

9 Cheap and Free Things to Do This Week

The title of NPR host Bob Boilen's new book is somewhat self-explanatory: Your Song Changed My Life: From Jimmy Page to St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson to Hozier, 35 Beloved Artists on Their Journey and the Music That Inspired It. For Boilen, who hosts All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts, that life-changing song was The Beatles' "A Day in the Life." In Boilen's interviews, nearly three dozen musicians reveal the songs that most affected them, among them David Byrne, who was inspired by James Brown's "Cold Sweat"; Michael Stipe by Patti Smith's "Birdland"; and Carrie Brownstein by The Replacements' "Bastards of Young." Boilen discusses and signs the book this evening. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Fri., May 13, 7:30 p.m.; free, book is $25.99. (323) 660-1175, —Siran Babayan

UCLA is in the midst of celebrating a very different cinematic movement, namely the Iranian New Wave. Tonight's offering is The Cow, which many credit with ushering in the entire movement. Dariush Mehrjui's 1969 parable tells of a villager and his beloved bovine, which perishes without the man's knowledge. Intending to keep it that way lest the man experience the kind of heartbreak that only the loss of an animal friend can induce, his well-intentioned neighbors exacerbate an already trying situation. Hamid Naficy will sign copies of A Social History of Iranian Cinema beginning at 6:30 p.m. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., May 13, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013,—Michael Nordine

In a city that feels as if it's forever evolving, Los Angeles has a remarkable amount of history around every corner. It's raring to be sought out at Museums of the Arroyo Day, during which all six of the Arroyo Seco's history-based museums open their doors free of charge. Among them: Heritage Square in Montecito Heights, a living history museum comprising Victorian homes from neighborhoods all over the city; the Los Angeles Police Museum in Highland Park, full of LAPD artifacts and memorabilia; and the Pasadena Museum of History; plus the Gamble House, the Autry's Mount Washington campus and Lummis Home & Garden. Seeing all six in one day isn't necessarily recommended, but taking the Gold Line definitely is. Various locations; Sun., May 15, noon-5 p.m.; free. —Gwynedd Stuart

Get funky with all things pickled and fermented at the first Grand Central Market Pickle Party. The daylong event will feature a pop-up marketplace filled with local pickle crafters, chef demos, menu specials from market vendors and a communal sauerkraut-making session led by fermentation guru and cookbook author Sandor Katz. Topics will include Asian and Latino pickles and condiments, "leaf-to-root" pickling and pickling with wild foraged edibles. Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, downtown; Sun., May 15, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. (213) 624-2378, —Garrett Snyder

Watch a bunch of movies made on this janky Fisher-Price camcorder on Thursday.
Watch a bunch of movies made on this janky Fisher-Price camcorder on Thursday.
Courtesy Gerry Fialka

L.A.'s venerable and totally admirable organization SASSAS (the Society for the Activation of Social Space Through Art and Sound) is, as its name might suggest, dedicated to a very important thing our little town could use a lot more of. Among its offerings is the series sound. at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, free public performances featuring site-specific modern music and visual art created by L.A.-based artists. This particular event invigorates the ions with a choicely curated crew of progressive performers including multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno (of Best Coast), cornetist Dan Clucas and dance visionary Simone Forti. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, 6300 Hetzler Road, Culver City; Sun., May 15, 4-7 p.m.; free. (323) 960-5723, —John Payne

Laughing together onstage since 2003, comedians Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal implore you to take a dip with them in their Hot Tub, their weekly "wet jubilee" of a variety show that's all about comic warmth, with only a fraction of the mold. Square-jawed, nattily attired Braunohler and adorably dippy Schaal take self-deprecation and reference beyond the limits of ordinary comedy, working out new bits each week by themselves and with guests. Everyone from chortlesome cellist Nina Daniels to the incisively insightful Candy Lawrence has dropped by, marinating you in the egg drop soup that is this stand-up spa tub. The Virgil, 4519 Santa Monica Blvd., East Hollywood; Mon., May 16, 7:30 p.m.; $5 pre-sale, $8 door. (323) 660-4540, —David Cotner

Experience a midcentury classic at midday courtesy of LACMA, where A Place in the Sun is this week's Tuesday Matinee. Perhaps the saddest of the semi-noirs, George Stevens' film stars Montgomery Clift as a poor young man whose ambition and romantic nature lead him down a tragic path involving co-stars Elizabeth Taylor and Shelley Winters. A Place in the Sun won six Oscars (including Best Director for Stevens) plus the first-ever Golden Globe for Best Picture, and was hailed by no less an authority than Charlie Chaplin as "the greatest movie ever made about America." LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., May 17, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000,—Michael Nordine

Not only is the FIGat7th shopping metropolis turning 30 this year, but so is noted cinematic recruiting poster Top Gun — and what better way to enjoy dinner and a movie than with tonight's 30th-anniversary screening? Even the dullest office drone can appreciate the power and the glory in the story of Navy fighter weapons school students competing to be the best of the best, inspiring everyone in the film's wake to play beach volleyball if not climb in the cockpit of a fighter jet. Also stirring: a live DJ and happy hour within the mall. FIGat7th, 735 S. Figueroa St., downtown; Wed., May 18, 6 p.m.; free. (213) 955-7170, —David Cotner

One of the oldest film festivals in Los Angeles, PXL, now in its 25th year, features Pixelvision films made with the Fisher-Price PXL-2000 camcorder. Festival founder Gerry Fialka will explain his affinity for the toy, which uses cassettes as recording media to produce enigmatic, security-cam-quality images. You'll see 30 Pixelvision shorts, including LM Sabo's Dadaesque Ready Made Inertia, Luis Macias' Thomas Edison–inspired The Kiss and Nicole Zwerin's Watch When You Blink, which uses everything from cellphone footage to PXL visions to mine the subconscious with any number of mysterious images. Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Thu., May 19, 8 p.m.; $5. (213) 484-8846, —David Cotner


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