Everyone's favorite oval-shaped cat-owl-raccoon creature pops up at JapanLA on Saturday.EXPAND
Everyone's favorite oval-shaped cat-owl-raccoon creature pops up at JapanLA on Saturday.
Studio Ghibli

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

A Studio Ghibli pop-up on Melrose, a vegan mac and cheese fest, free smells at the Institute of Art and Olfaction, and more fun stuff to do in L.A. this week for 10 bucks or less.

The name Jonathan Goldsmith might not immediately ring a bell, but his TV persona — the "Most Interesting Man in the World" in a long-running series of commercials for Dos Equis — probably does. You know, the guy from the ads that claim "his charm is so contagious, vaccines have been created for it." On Friday, Goldsmith discusses his new book, Stay Interesting: I Don't Always Tell Stories About My Life, But When I Do They're True and Amazing. The 78-year-old writes that he was practically living out of his truck when he auditioned for the part of the suave, older man, which he landed by mimicking Fernando Lamas. Goldsmith played the role for 10 years and became so popular he was invited to President Obama's 50th birthday party at Camp David and had celebrity fans like Michael Jordan asking for his autograph. In his memoir, Goldsmith recounts how he spent decades as a struggling actor in Los Angeles and New York, his friendship with Dustin Hoffman, affairs with one of Groucho Marx's wives and Gilligan's Island's Tina Louise, and even that time he dated Judy Garland. The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring St., downtown; Fri., June 23, 8 p.m.; free. (213) 488-0599, lastbookstorela.com. —Siran Babayan

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Studio Ghibli may not be a household name like Disney, but the Japanese animation studio has amassed legions of dedicated fans the world over with its combination of moving stories, fantastical characters and visual whimsy. These aren't your parents' cartoons, though. Beloved films like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away have an emotional and narrative maturity that has made them popular with children and adults alike. "Cute culture" shop JapanLA is hosting a monthlong Studio Ghibli Pop-up featuring a wide array of Ghibli merch, plus limited-edition enamel pins and jackets. There's also a Totoro photo booth, so you can pose with everyone's favorite oval-shaped cat-owl-raccoon creature. Organizers recommend arriving well before the 11 a.m. opening time, as they will be giving out tickets to only the first 800 people in line. JapanLA, 7320½ Melrose Ave., Fairfax; Sat., June 24, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; free. (323) 934-5201, facebook.com/events/769244469910420. —Matt Stromberg

Do you love mac and cheese? Are you also a vegan? Well, you may just be in luck. Mac Down L.A. (which is actually in Pasadena) hosts eight cooks in its quest to create the best vegan macaroni and cheese on the planet. The contestants aren't all full-time chefs, but they're all known in the health/wellness/raised-consciousness arena. Attendees will get to taste the entries and vote for their favorite. It's a pretty good deal, pricewise, since vegan food vendors will be at the event, handing out free samples of their products. DJ Veg-O will perform. Shumei Hall, 2430 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Sun., June 25, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; $8. eventbrite.com/e/mac-down-la-tickets-34872513627. —Katherine Spiers

The UCLA Film & Television Archive is in the middle of an extensive salute to John Huston, the peripatetic filmmaker responsible for one of the most varied and honored careers in the industry. Of the four dozen or so films in his oeuvre, The Misfits earns a place near the top. A powerful drama about a group of down-and-out cowboys, the film boasts a finely wrought screenplay by playwright Arthur Miller and some exceptional work from stars Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift and Eli Wallach. Gable and Monroe would never make another movie, which renders the downbeat story all the more poignant. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., June 25, 7 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu. —Nathaniel Bell

Since 2014, the Institute for Art and Olfaction has hosted an awards ceremony to recognize the pre-eminent names and organizations in new fragrance creation. Creations by perfumers from all over the world are available for sniffing at the IAO's Art and Olfaction Awards Finalists: Smelling Party. This year's winning concoctions have names such as Bruise Violet, Altruist and Fathom V. If the aromas aren't sufficiently intoxicating, there will also be beer and wine for quaffing. The Institute for Art and Olfaction, 932 Chung King Road, Chinatown; Tue., June 27, 6-8 p.m.; free. (213) 616-1744, artandolfaction.com. —Gwynedd Stuart

Sofia Coppola made her directorial debut with the offbeat, aesthetically ambitious The Virgin Suicides, an enduring cult item that signaled the arrival of an exciting female voice. Set in Detroit in the 1970s, it recounts the rebellion of five sisters against their suffocatingly uncool parents (James Woods and Kathleen Turner) as witnessed by the smitten boys in their school. With its fastidious, almost worshipful attention to clothes, furniture, music and other cultural signposts, it established a template for future American indies. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., June 27, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Nathaniel Bell

One of the best characters created by famed Canadian comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall was Buddy Cole, a gay, ascot-wearing, cocktail-sipping raconteur with a blond pompadour, who claimed Oscar Wilde stole from him, and who sat on a barstool delivering bitchy monologues about everything from racism and gay marriage to the Great White North. ("Americans know as much about Canada as straight people do about gays.") More than 20 years after the series ended, actor Scott Thompson has periodically resurrected his alter ego in one-man shows; Kids reunions; a 1998 parody memoir, Buddy Babylon: The Autobiography of Buddy Cole; and, most recently, as a correspondent from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics for The Colbert Report, where he reported on Russia's anti-gay laws. Still bitter, Cole will be spilling his martini in Apres le Deluge: The Buddy Cole Monologues, where he'll no doubt rant about Trump and whatever else has him currently incensed. UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; Wed., June 28, 8 p.m.; $7. (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan

One exhibit, one night, one theme: Nick Cave smoking. "Lethal Amounts Presents Nick Cave Smoking" is a collection of photographs of goth's sharpest dressed man doing just that. Inspired by a blog post Lethal Amounts ran last year, and curated by gallery founder Danny Fuentes with Andi Harriman and Hannah Nance Partlow, the display features some 40 color and black-and-white images dating back to the late 1970s by 15 photographers. Shots by the likes of Ed Colver, Dave Corio, Polly Borland and David Arnoff capture the singer indulging in his favorite vice, whether he's onstage, surrounded by books or sitting in a bathtub. For fans not going to Cave's sold-out show at the Ace Theatre tonight, this will be like a secondhand thrill, or secondhand smoke, but without the health risks. Segovia Hall at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Wed., June 28, 6:30-10:30 p.m.; free. (213) 623-3233, acehotel.com/calendar/losangeles/lethal-amounts-presents-nick-cave-smoking. —Siran Babayan


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