FRIDAY, September 26
You know how some films have that certain San Fernando Valley quality? Me either. Still, they are a proud lot, those independent filmmakers who call the 818 home. The eighth annual Valley Film Festival brings “another thought-provoking, entertaining lineup of cinema so independent it can only be found in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley.” I would like to suggest they call it “The Stinkin’ Hot All Year Round But At Least There’s Parking Festival,” but at least they have the “10 Degrees Hotter Awards” for narrative feature, documentary feature and short film. Opening night spotlights director John Putch’s Route 30, a comedy of three interconnecting stories set in rural south-central Pennsylvania. You may remember Putch from the ’70s as Valerie Bertinelli’s boyfriend on One Day at a Time, though not the character played by Scott Colomby. The other one. Films also having their L.A. debut include So Long Jimmy, Live Evil, Welcome to Pornoland and Pretty Ugly People, which all pretty much sum up living in the Valley. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Sept. 24-28; $10-$15; www.valleyfilmfest.com.
The highly self-confident press release announcing the revamped Dive ’n’ Surf Redondo Beach Lobster Festival boasts this “all new” event, which will “appeal to the whole family” with “family, food, fun and sun,” including live bands “Too Rude,” the “Couchois Brothers,” “Player” and the “John Brown Band.” And “kids will delight in their own children’s area, featuring a Jim Gamble puppet show, pirate-ship bounce house, kids arts & crafts, book readings and the Wyland Mobile Learning Center. Professional wakeboarding demonstrations and fashion shows spotlighting all the latest Body Glove and Dive ‘N’ Surf fashions.” Lobster meals, too, of course. Seaside Lagoon, 200 Portofino Way, Redondo Beach; Fri., Sept. 26, 5-11 p.m.; Sat., Sept. 27, noon-11 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 28, noon-9 p.m.; $12. (310) 376-6911 or www.lobsterfestival.com.
SATURDAY, September 27
Hard to believe it was seven years ago when Jimmy Kimmel got the wacky idea to give L.A. a festival like the one in NYC, but now we have the seventh annual Precious Cheese Italian Feast of San Gennaro L.A., which is just like the Little Italy festival but without the accents or ambiance. Once again, Kimmel and Adam Carolla host the fete featuring food booth after food booth, plus live music, carnival rides and games, fashion shows, grape stomps, street performers and bocce ball. 1651 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood.; Fri.-Sun., Sept. 26-28, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; $5. Prima Notte silent auction & fund-raiser featuring Jerry Vale on Thurs., Sept. 25, 5 p.m., $100 & $250. (877) 832-1418.
SUNDAY, September 28
Abbot Kinney Festival has two stages of live music, dancers, performers, food, a spirit garden, a kiddie area with rides and slides, arts & crap booths, and a colorful parade of people walking up and down the festive street in a good mood. Why are they in a good mood? Because they aren’t at the Sunset Junction, where they had to fork over $20 to do exactly the same thing. Abbot Kinney Blvd. between Main St. and Venice Blvd., Venice; Sun., Sept. 28, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; free. www.abbotkinney.org.
Last year, Grand Avenue Festival visitors made downtown L.A. seem almost citylike for a day. And it’s happening all over again this year — music, dance, theater, art and food presented by MOCA, the Music Center, L.A. Opera, the Natural History Museum, Grand Performances and other cultural organizations. A sampling: The Dakah Hip-Hop Orchestra; Centre Theatre Group presenting Things That Go Boom: Live Stage Explosion; Spring Revisited with Christian McBride and the Sonus Quartet; an installment of the “ALOUD” discussion series featuring Lisa See and Nina Revoyr on “forgotten histories.” Grand Ave. between Temple & Fifth streets, downtown; Sun., Sept. 28, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; free (yeah! — but some events require resv.); www.grandavenuefestival.org.
MONDAY, September 29
Like many of us, comic Patton Oswalt was shocked and saddened by the suicide of David Foster Wallace. Oswalt wrote on his blog, “Why the fuck would someone so in touch with camouflaged, mystic dimensions want to leave the feast? I’m not anti-suicide in general. But in specific cases — and specifically in the case of David Foster Wallace — I’m very anti-suicide. I demand that minds and souls like his stick around. Maybe he was sick. Maybe he’d swallowed a moral compromise that was chewing its way out of his soul. I hope not. And I hope despair over the state of our world wasn’t what sent him into the dusk latitudes. If someone as wise and funny and wonderful as Wallace wanted out, then there’s no reason for 80 percent of us to grip the safety bar.” Oswalt probably won’t be so morose at Patton Oswalt & Friends, Largo at the Coronet, 636 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; Mon., Sept. 29, 8:30 p.m.; $25. (310) 855-0350.
TUESDAY, September 30
Today is Rosh Hashanah. Happy Rosh Hashanah, or mazel tov, if you prefer. Did you know most synagogues require paid tickets in order to attend High Holy Day services? We call that “pay to pray,” and Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada is having none of it. This is the 26th year of his free Rosh Hashanah services. “Comedians, actors, other members of the entertainment community, as well as the general public are invited and welcome to attend. Services are conducted in the Reform Jewish tradition by Rabbi Bob Jacobs and led by cantor, Sandy Lasarow.” The Laugh Factory, 8001 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Tues., Sept. 30, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; free. (323) 656-1336, Ext. 1.
WEDNESDAY, October 1
Hard decision of the week: Target Presents AFI Night at the Movies. Take your pick: Sean Connery presents The Man Who Would Be King; Annette Bening presents American Beauty; Jim Carrey presents Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Cameron Diaz presents There’s Something About Mary; Jodie Foster presents The Silence of the Lambs; Dustin Hoffman presents Tootsie; Shirley MacLaine presents The Apartment; Steve Martin presents The Jerk; Rita Moreno presents West Side Story; Mike Myers presents Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery; Keanu Reeves presents The Matrix; Denzel Washington presents Glory. Wow. ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., Oct. 1, 7 p.m.; $25; www.afi.com.
THURSDAY, October 2
It’s one of the most uncomfortable venues in the history of live music, there are those annoying poles to block your view — and there’s no booze! Why do we love McCabe’s? Find out at McCabe’s 50th Anniversary: A Living History of Music, with performances by Jackson Browne, Richard Thompson, Odetta, David Lindley, Jennifer Warnes, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, The Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, Peter Rowan, Peter Case, the Ditty Bops and more. (Also see our feature on McCabe’s in this issue.) Royce Hall, Westwood; Thurs., Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m.; $17-$60. www.uclalive.org; (310) 825-2101.