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Pencil This In: A Guide to 'Straight People,' Beth Orton and Danielle Ate the Sandwich Solo Shows, and Hollywood Fringe

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We sort through a lot of events and happenings around LA so you don’t have to. There are number of good films screening around town, and that doesn’t even count the LA Film Fest, which opens today. In addition, we found Jeffrey Self’s reading/demo of his new book and field guide, Straight People; solo shows tonight with Beth Orton and Danielle Ate the Sandwich; and get ready for theater on the edge all month long as the Hollywood Fringe Festival opens. Read on for all the details.

It’s a night of old school films around town. Tonight at 7:30 pm, the Aero Theatre screens the British period piece Chariots of Fire (1981), with all that running and the Vangelis theme playing in the background. The ArcLight wraps up its Cult Classics screening series with Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles (1974) in Hollywood at 8 pm. Wayne’s World (1992) screens outdoors tonight for free at 8 pm-ish (or whenever the sun goes down) for the Silver Lake Picture Show series in Silver Lake’s Sunset Triangle Plaza. A short film by a local filmmaker precedes the feature.

Tonight at 7 pm, Book Soup hosts actor Jeffrey Self, who has penned the new book Straight People. The comedic tome is modeled after popular bird spotter’s guides, educating readers to the “varied species and subspecies of the sexual majority: the heterosexual.” He examines nesting behavior, mating rituals, feeding habits, identification methodologies and more. Joining the author tonight is the popular blogger and gay rights advocate, Tyler Oakley, who will interview Self and moderate questions from the audience.

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The 4th annual Hollywood Fringe Festival—LA’s largest celebration of the performing arts—officially opens today and runs through the end of the month. Get out and watch live theater. There are more than 200 productions (with more than 1,000 performances) to choose from at 20 venues throughout Hollywood.

We found two great women singer-songwriters playing solo shows tonight. British artist Beth Orton plays the Troubadour tonight to support her new release Sugaring Season, Orton's first album in six years. James Bay opens. Doors at 8 pm, and the event is all ages. Tickets: $30.

The Center for the Arts Eagle Rock presents an evening with Danielle Ate the Sandwich, the stage name of musician and songwriter, Danielle Anderson. She combines humor, great vocals, the ukuele and guitar to give Zooey D. a run for her money. The show is also all ages. Door at 7 pm. Tickets: $15.

The Los Angeles Film Festival takes over L.A. Live today and continues through June 23 with nearly 200 feature films, shorts and music videos from more than 40 countries. Organizers are expecting up to 92,000 visitors for the films, workshops, panels and other anciliary programs. The fest opens today with the North American premiere of Pedro Almodóvar’s I’m so Excited! at the Regal Cinemas at 7:30 pm. Rush line only. Tickets: $20. (In case you missed it, here’s our short list of films to catch at the LAFF.)

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*Pencil pick of the day

Follow me on Twitter (@christineziemba). Or follow Lauren Lloyd—who takes care of Pencil on Wednesdays (@LadyyyLloyd).