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Best Things To Do This Week In Los Angeles And SoCal: May 15 - 18

A closeup of black and white image of actor Tom Hanks in sunglasses.
Hear from actor and novelist Tom Hanks, seen here at last year's Cannes Film Festival, at a Writers Bloc/LAist event on Monday, May 15.
(Valery Hache
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Watch The Black Version of films come to life through improv. Listen to stories that people never thought they’d share in public. Attend The Paramount Showcase. Rock to the folksy, neo-soul of Wilder Woods.


Monday, May 15; 7:30 p.m.

Tom Hanks: The Making of Another Motion Picture Masterpiece
The Ebell of Los Angeles
4401 W. 8th St., Mid-Wilshire
Writers Bloc and LAist team to present an evening with Tom Hanks, who discusses his new novel The Making of Another Motion Picture Masterpiece with LAist’s John Horn. Hanks’ book draws inspiration from his personal Hollywood experiences, offering a satirical take on “the infrastructure of a colossal superhero movie.”

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A fake movie poster with a fiery car crash, and Black actors in '70s attire.
The Black Version returns to The Groundlings for improv comedy.
(The Black Version
Courtesy of The Groundlings)

Monday, May 15; 8 p.m.

The Black Version
The Groundlings
7307 Melrose Ave., Fairfax
The show’s concept is simple but brilliant (and hilarious): The audience suggests the title of a popular film, and a cast of all Black comedy actors improvise the “Black version” of the film.

Monday, May 15; 7 p.m.

RISK! Live in LA and Online
The Hotel Cafe
1623 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood
RISK! is the live show (and podcast) where people tell true stories they never thought they’d share. Listen to stories from Jonathan Tipton Meyers, Adam Newman, Elissa Marcus and Jil Chrissie. Hosted by Jonathan Bradley Welch.
COST: $15 - $20; MORE INFO

Monday, May 15; 8:30 p.m.

Enter the Dragon: 50th Anniversary Weekend
The Frida Cinema
305 E. 4th St. #100, Santa Ana 
The Frida wraps up its celebratory weekend of Robert Clouse's Enter the Dragon — starring Bruce Lee — considered the greatest martial arts film of all time. COST: $6 - $12; MORE INFO

A poster image of Wonderland Comedy Night with the performers in miniature around a school desk/chair.
Wonderland Avenue School has its annual comedy night at Largo on May 16.
(Wonderland Avenue Elementary School
via Facebook)

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Tuesday, May 16; 8 p.m.

Wonderland’s 8th Annual Comedy Night
Largo at the Coronet
366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove
The Sklar Brothers return to host the annual benefit for Wonderland Avenue School with standup from Aparna Nancherla, Demetri Martin and Donnell Rawlins, with musical guest Aimee Mann.
COST: $50 - $100; MORE INFO

Tuesday, May 16; 4 p.m.

The Exoneration of El Maestro
Benjamin Franklin Library
2200 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights
The Center Theatre Group’s community play readings series presents a reading of Anthony Aguilar's new work, which focuses on a luchador who goes to the Aztec afterlife. He must battle the gods in order to get a second chance back on Earth. If you can’t make Tuesday’s reading, there are two additional readings in Boyle Heights: at Robert Louis Stevenson Library on Wednesday and at Malabar Library on Thursday.

Tuesday, May 16; 7:30 p.m.

Wilder Woods
The Roxy Theatre
9009 W Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
Bear Rinehart, frontman of the rock band NEEDTOBREATHE, brings his neo-soul solo project Wilder Woods to The Roxy in support of his recently released album Fever / Sky. Ida Mae opens. All ages.

Wednesday, May 17; 7:30 p.m.

F*ck This Month!
Dynasty Typewriter
2511 Wilshire Blvd., Westlake
This improv comedy show turns your crappy month and misery into laughter. Share what made your month so terrible and comedians Nicole Byer, Jess McKenna, Jacquis Neal, Vic Michaelis, Jacob Wysocki, Lauren Knutti, Eli Gonzalez, and Jeff Whitaker will turn those tales of woe into comedy gold. The show is 18+.COST: $20 - $25; MORE INFO

A promotional graphic with yellow, green, and blue zig zag background with the overlaying text “Navigating Identities a conversation with River Garza”
'Navigating Identities A Conversation With River Garza' is an LAist live event at The Autry.
(LAist Design

Thursday, May 18; 7:30 p.m.

Navigating Identities: A Conversation with River Garza
The Autry + Livestream
4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park
LAist’s Brian De Los Santos talks with artist River Garza about the ways in which their cultural identities shape and inform their presence in the world. The conversation will examine how they keep traditions alive, honor their pasts, and how that makes them who they are today. Get there early enough to view the Autry’s Waterways exhibition featuring Garza's Water: Bring of Life & Community. dublab DJ Encarnación spins music at 6 p.m. and the Trail Grill will be open for food and drink purchases.

Thursday, May 18; 7:30 p.m.

Bring The Noise: If These Walls Could Sing
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Bram Goldsmith Theater
9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills
Film Independent, and Film @ The Wallis presents an evening of conversation and a live orchestral performance of some of the legendary songs recorded at Abbey Road Studios. The evening celebrates renowned photographer and filmmaker Mary McCartney and her critically acclaimed Disney+ documentary film If These Walls Could Sing. The orchestra will be conducted by Mark Graham, and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville will moderate an audience Q&A.
COST: Tickets, $45 ($35 per ticket for Wallis subscribers and Film Independent Members); MORE INFO

Thursday, May 18 - Saturday, May 20; 12 - 3 p.m.

The Paramount Showcase
Hollywood Athletic Club
6525 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood
It’s FYC Emmy season, and Paramount hosts a public pop-up experience showcasing its leading shows from several of its networks. Saddle up to the bar at the 1923 experience while exploring the series’ costumes and props; hang out in Yellowstone’s great room; walk through the Yellowjackets compound; slay your own Werk Room entrance at the RuPaul’s Drag Race vignette; visit the 10 Forward bar from Star Trek: Picard; and sit behind the desk of The Daily Show.COST: FREE with RSVP; MORE INFO

Viewing pick

Sick of Myself + Q&A
Talk about toxic relationships. In this dark comedy from writer-director Kristoffer Borgli, Signe (Kristine Kujath Thorp) and Thomas (Eirik Sæther) are in an unhealthy, competitive relationship. But things get even more vicious when Thomas breaks through as a contemporary artist. Signe desperately seeks top status by creating a “whole new persona hell-bent on attracting attention and sympathy.” Presented in Norwegian with English subtitles. The film screens with a Q&A with Borgli on May 18 at 7:30 p.m.

A shot of the signs at Topanga Social, with Slab, Amboy, Shrimp Daddy, and Burrata House.
Topanga Social, a new food hall, has opened at Westfield Topanga in Canoga Park.
(Renee Cascia
Courtesy of Topanga Social)

Dine and Drink Deals

Here are a few dine and drink options to indulge in this week .

  • Westfield Topanga has recharged its food and beverage game with Topanga Social, a new food hall that opened last week. Shoppers and diners can choose from more than two dozen of L.A.’s famed eateries including Amboy Quality Burgers, Burrata House, Dumpling Monster, Fat Sal’s, I Love Micheladas, Jay Bird’s Chicken, Katsu Sando, MANEATINGPLANT, Pearl Champagne Bar, Primo's Donuts, The Pie Room by Curtis Stone, Tail O’ the Pup, and Wanderlust Creamery.
  • Melanie Wine Bar on West 3rd Street in Beverly Grove launches Melanie Burger, a daytime lunch offering between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17. Four different smash burgers, fries and their signature Havesum Ranch sauce are served in a to-go style, sack-lunch paper bag. Available for dine-in, take-out and delivery.   
  • Eating out is expensive, so NORMS Restaurants is offering a great steak dinner deal from Monday, May 15 to Thursday, May 18 from 2 to 10 p.m. for its 24/7 Rewards and E-Club members. Order a multi-course New York Steak Dinner special for $10.99. In addition to the ½ lb. NY steak, guests also receive a soup and salad as well as a choice of potato and daily vegetable. This deal is valid for dine-in and to-go only.
  • To toast to their new cocktail almanac, The Maison Premiere Almanac: For the Sensualist, Aesthete, and Flaneur, the James Beard Award-winning, Brooklyn-based bar Maison Premiere holds two L.A. events this week. On Wednesday at 7 p.m., the authors Joshua Boissy, owner, and bar director William Elliott, will discuss their book at Now Serving in Chinatown (tickets required). On Thursday, the team holds a menu pop-up with Juliet in Culver City from 5 p.m. to midnight for a night filled with Oysters & Elixir. Make reservations for Juliet through Resy.
  • Every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m., Belles in Venice Beach holds a Yappy Hour for you and your four-legged bestie on its oceanside patio. Take advantage of the special pricing on drinks and bites while people-watching. 
What questions do you have about Southern California?

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