The Hammer celebrates Peruvian singer Yma Sumac on Saturday — for free.EXPAND
The Hammer celebrates Peruvian singer Yma Sumac on Saturday — for free.
Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer

8 Cheap and Free Things to Do in L.A. This Week

An art show celebrates the tiki aesthetic, Cheech Marin introduces a screening of Born in East L.A., LACMA screens Universal's Spanish-language version of Dracula, and more to do and see in L.A. this week for 10 bucks or less.

La Luz de Jesus' annual "The Art of Tiki" art show is officially old enough to enjoy its first mai tai. Since 1996, the lowbrow art gallery has celebrated and probed midcentury America's obsession with Polynesia, a cultural phenomenon that had as much to do with escapism as aesthetics, with a group art show. Around that time, midcentury kitsch was experiencing a resurgence thanks to the likes of Shag and Mitch O'Connell, who are just a couple of the artists with pieces in this year's show, along with Mark Ryden, Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker, Mary Fleener, Atomikitty and others, both stalwart participants and newbies. The exhibit is broken up into two sections: One reflects a modern view of the tiki aesthetic while the other consists of vintage items from tikimania's first wave. Tiki scholar Sven Kirsten also signs his latest book, appropriately titled The Art of Tiki. La Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Fri., Oct. 6, 8-11 p.m. (runs through Oct. 29); free. (323) 666-7667, laluzdejesus.com/tiki-21. —Gwynedd Stuart

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UCLA is in the midst of a retrospective celebrating the urban character of Berlin, a sister city to Los Angeles. The series highlights 10 German films, many of them rarely screened stateside. Tonight is a double bill starting with Plus-Minus Zero, Eoin Moore's low-budget feature about a group of young fringe dwellers living just enough for the city. The second feature is Hannes Stöhr's Berlin Is in Germany, the story of an ex-con trying to make a fresh start as a taxi driver. Martin Koerber of the Deutsche Kinemathek will talk about the films. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Nathaniel Bell

From high in the Andes came a thrilling, trilling wail, and it wasn't a bird or a princess locked in a tower — it was the unearthly, ungodly vocal instrument of a young Peruvian named Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo, who, as the eternally magnificent Yma Sumac, rode that five-octave sound and an exotically regal persona to fame in 1950s Hollywood. Voices of the Xtabay: A Tribute to Yma Sumac tips a wide-brimmed hat to the late singer with Latinx vocalists and musicians, including Alberto López of Jungle Fire, Empress Of, Nite Jewel, Maria Elena Altany, Ceci Bastida, Dorian Wood, Carmina Escobar and Francisca Valenzuela. And be sure to check out the museum's "Radical Women" exhibit while you're there celebrating a woman who was pretty radical herself. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu. —John Payne

Heart of L.A., one of CicLAvia's classic rides, returns to downtown and its environs this weekend. Perfect for the cyclist — or walker or jogger or skateboarder or scooterer — who loves options, the closed-streets ride has four hubs: in Echo Park, in Chinatown, in Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights and on Broadway, not far from Pershing Square. Riders can start at any of the hubs and ride to downtown-adjacent neighborhoods without braving the brushes with road rage; look forward to fewer wheels, slower speeds and better vibes. Broadway Hub, Seventh Street between Hill and Spring streets, downtown; Sun., Oct. 8, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. ciclavia.org. —Gwynedd Stuart

Cheech and Chong's 1985 comedy/music album Get Out of My Room featured the song "Born in East L.A.," a spoof of Randy Newman's "I Love L.A." and Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." ("Walked all day in the burning sun/Now I know what it's like to be born on the run.") That parody inspired the 1987 movie Born in East L.A., about an unlucky German-Spanglish-English–speaking Mexican-American sap from East Los Angeles, who's mistaken for an illegal alien in an immigration bust, gets deported to Mexico and tries to cross the border. It was a comedy that satirized a serious issue that's even more relevant today, which writer-director-star Cheech Marin will no doubt discuss at tonight's 30th-anniversary screening. Hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, panelists include film co-stars Daniel Stern, Paul Rodriguez and Kamala Lopez. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Mon., Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m.; $3-$5. (310) 247-3000, pstlala.oscars.org/event/born-in-east-la. —Siran Babayan

"Soy ... Drácula!" It's an injustice that the Spanish-language version of Bram Stoker's deathless novel — shot concurrently with the Tod Browning/Bela Lugosi adaptation on the same sets — is so little known. The pace is swifter, the camerawork more fluid, and the sybaritic Lupita Tovar so compelling that this film can hold its own against any version extant. LACMA's Tuesday Matinees series will screen Drácula in a recently restored, subtitled DCP. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Oct. 10, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell

High school can be a nightmare and few want to relive it, so Max Olesker and Ivan Gonzalez do it for you in Max & Ivan: The Reunion. The British comedy duo's credits include SXSW, Edinburgh Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The two also starred in a BBC Radio 4 detective sitcom called The Casebook of Max and Ivan and a Channel 4 series of shorts called The Reunion. In the latter, Olesker (playing Tom, a down-and-out cater-waiter) and Gonzalez (playing hopeless Brian, who's allergic to everything) catch up at their 10-year high school reunion, where they mingle with past friends, including old flames, bullies, drunk teachers and a kid whose name no one remembers. In tonight's stage version, the comedians take on all 100-plus characters in just under an hour. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood; Thu., Oct. 12, 8:30 p.m.; $7. (323) 908-8702, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

CSUN's Buster Keaton retrospective continues with two of the silent clown's most charming features. First on the list is College, in which the Great Stone Face plays an Ivy League nerd determined to impress the girl of his dreams by becoming an athlete. In Steamboat Bill Jr., he's the gawky son of a tough-as-nails riverboat captain whose mettle is tested aboard his dad's paddle steamer. In one of silent cinema's greatest set pieces, Keaton does battle with a cyclone ripping through the local town. Leaning into the mighty wind, he becomes an icon of resilience in the face of life's vicissitudes. CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; Thu., Oct. 12, 7 p.m.; free. (818) 677-1200, csun.edu. —Nathaniel Bell


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