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The Best Things To Do In LA And SoCal This Week: Nov. 15 - 18

the underside of a tree glowing red set against the dark purple nighttime sky
Lights shine on a bald cypress tree during 'Lightscape,' a light display at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden on November 11, 2021, in Arcadia.
(Patrick T. Fallon
AFP via Getty Images)
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Take part in a moonlit cardio hike. Listen to The Count Basie Orchestra play Ella Fitzgerald songs. Attend a COVID-19 memorial. Walk through a light-scaped outdoor trail. Join the Popular Kids for a comedy show. Watch as contestants keep their Hands on a Hardbody.

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

Vulnerability Comedy Show
The Hollywood Improv
8162 Melrose Ave., Beverly Grove
Hosted and organized by comedian Rebecca Rush, this show asks us to laugh in the face of our insecurities. Audience members are encouraged to submit their vulnerabilities for the comics to riff on. The lineup features Lisa Curry (Jim Jefferies Show), Maggie Maye (Conan), Molly Austin (Comedy Central), Zach Noe Towers (Sketchfest) and a guest headliner.

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Tuesday, Nov. 16; 5:30 p.m.

Jasmine Guillory & Alisha Rai: Women Authors of Color Reinventing the Romance Novel
Award-winning authors Guillory and Rai are at the front of a national movement aiming to redefine the romance genre. Tune in and hear how helpless damsels in novels are transforming into activists, with women of color leading the way. Guillory will share how her experience with the #SchoolsNotPrisons campaign contributed to the plot of her bestselling Wedding Date series. Closed captioning and Spanish interpretation will be available.

a man in a black shirt paints a wall filled with colors and artistic letters
The Fowler Museum hosts the L.A. graffiti artist DEFER for a virtual program.
( Courtesy of DEFER)

Tuesday, Nov. 16; 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Pioneering L.A. graffiti artist Defer has a style that’s at home on concrete walls and in fine art galleries. Hear from talk about his career, his inspirations (Asian calligraphy, L.A.’s Mexican American community) and how his use of stream-of-consciousness impacts his work.

a woman in a long red dress sings on a stage as a full orchestra plays behind her
The Count Basie Orchestra with Lizz Wright plays The Saroya this week.
(Courtesy of the artist and The Saroya)

Wednesday, Nov. 17; 8 p.m.

The Count Basie Orchestra with Lizz Wright
Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya)
18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge 
Thirty years after the passing of William James “Count” Basie, the Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Scotty Barnhart continues the jazz legend’s legacy. The orchestra performs the music of Ella Fitzgerald with guest vocalist Lizz Wright.
COST: Tickets begin at $41; MORE INFO

Wednesday, Nov. 17; 7 p.m.

The Drop: Japanese Breakfast
The Grammy Museum
800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown L.A. 
Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner discusses the project’s latest album, Jubilee, followed by a performance and a reading from her memoir, Crying In H Mart.

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a landscape featuring brush, bushes, scrub grass, a trail and mountains in the distance
Merrell holds a Friendsgiving & Hike event on Nov. 17 in honor of National Take a Hike Day.
(Courtesy of tobo, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Wednesday, Nov. 17; 4 - 7 p.m.

Hike & Friendsgiving with Merrell
Malibu Creek State Park Trailhead
1925 Las Virgenes Rd., Calabasas
Outdoor brand Merrell hosts an event to celebrate National Take A Hike Day. The afternoon features a scenic hike through Malibu Creek followed by an intimate al fresco dinner catered by chef Bricia Lopez , co-owner of Oaxacan restaurant Guelaguetza. Attendees will receive Merrell Moab boots for the hike, as well as a post-event gift.

a man in a mask an dark uniform puts a band-aid on the arm of a young man, also in a mask
EMT Quentin Scarborough applies an adhesive bandage after administering a vaccine dose to student Nathan Alex Perez during a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic at James Jordan Middle School on July 6, 2021, in Winnetka.
(Mario Tama
Getty Images)

Thursday, Nov. 18 - Saturday, Nov. 20

Strength and Love, The City of Angels’ COVID-19 Memorial
The three-day virtual event commemorates Angelenos’ experiences of COVID-19 by honoring first responders, essential workers and caregivers as well as remembering those lost to the pandemic. You can participate in several events from home, including creating posters and contributing to the L.A. Public Library’s COVID-19 Community Archive. You can also visit the white flag memorial installation on the front lawn of the Griffith Observatory.

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

Hands on a Hardbody
New Beverly Cinema
7165 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Grove
In this 1997 documentary from director S.R. Bindler, contestants compete in a test of stamina and sanity to win a brand-new truck. They must keep their hands on the truck and the last person standing wins it. Bindler joins the event for a post-screening discussion. While the show is sold out online, there will be a standby line for seats that may be available at showtime.

a giant full moon set against the black night sky
Do a cardio hike by the light of the full moon in Orange County.
(Courtesy of egefan [Suzan Almond], licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Thursday, Nov. 18; 5:30 p.m.

Full Moon Cardio Hike: Baker Canyon
Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park
Baker Canyon Rd. & Black Star Helo Pad Rd., Silverado 
Take on a challenging 7-mile hike that involves steep climbs and descents, accumulating more than 1,000 feet of elevation. The fast-paced cardio hike by the light of the full moon will give participants great nighttime views and nocturnal animal sightings. Please bring a minimum of 70 ounces of water and trail snacks. If you feel the need to bring a flashlight or headlamp, please ensure it has a red lens or filter, as white light is highly discouraged. RSVPs mandatory. You must be 18+ to participate.

Thursday, Nov. 18; 7 p.m.

El Super Show
Elysian Theater
1944 Riverside Dr., Echo Park 
The new weekly comedy show from writer, comedian and recent L.A. transplant Carmen Christopher. You'll also hear sets from Greta Titelman (Los Espookys), Brandon Wardell (I Think You Should Leave), Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby) and Caleb Hearon (Human Resources).

a greenish stone statue of a woman gazing into the distance
CaltechLive presents a program that focuses on the book, 'Behind The Book: City of Immortals.'
(Carolyn Campbell)

Thursday, Nov. 18, 5 p.m.

Conversations with the Scientists in Père-Lachaise Cemetery
CaltechLive! continues its Behind the Book series with photographer and author Carolyn Campbell and Caltech history professor Jed Buchwald. Based on Campbell’s book City of Immortals: Pére-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, the evening invites guests to commune with several of the great scientists of the 18th and 19th centuries who are buried there. Campbell interviews Buchwald as he takes on the persona of three scientists: astronomer Jérôme Lalande; mathematician, physicist, and historian Joseph Fourier; and decipherer of Egyptian hieroglyphics Jean-François Champollion.

Thursday, Nov. 18; 8 p.m.

Popular Kids Club
Permanent Records
1906 Cypress Ave., Cypress Park
The outdoor comedy show, which now takes place the first and third Thursdays of the month, features funny folks performing and hanging out at this intimate venue. Hosted by Luke Wienecke, this week's lineup includes Tim Heidecker, Johnny Pemberton, Eddie Della Siepe, Pallavi Gunalan, Molly Kearney and Morgan Jay.
COST: FREE / $5 suggested donation; MORE INFO

four people gather around a man sitting at a table and playing trumpet. everyone wears old timey clothes that look like they come from the 1930s or 40s
'Paradise Blue,' directed by Stori Ayers, is now running at Geffen Playhouse.
(Justin Bettman)

Through Sunday, Dec. 12

Paradise Blue
Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse
10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood
Dominique Morisseau’s noirish drama is set in a sultry jazz nightclub in Detroit in 1949. Trumpet-playing club owner Blue has a tough decision to make. Should he sell the joint as gentrification hits the old neighborhood? The band wants to stay. He’s tempted to go. Then, a seductive stranger turns everything upside down. Directed by Stori Ayers, the cast includes Tyla Abercrumbie, Wendell B. Franklin, Alani iLongwe, John Earl Jelks and Shayna Small. This is a West Coast premiere.
COST: Tickets start at $30; MORE INFO  

an elf figurine stands amid a lit-up Christmas display including candy canes, a cookie and a spilled carton of milk
The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey is a theatrical and immersive drive-through experience where guests help Santa save Christmas.
(Alex J. Berliner/ABImages

Through Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022

The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey
1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona
The outdoor experience takes audience members on a journey, shrinking them down to elf size and embarking on a quest with Scout Elf Tiny Tinkerman to raise the Christmas Spirit. The journey features new and enhanced scenic displays, a Christmas village for shopping and dining options, an ice-skating rink and a magical trolley ride.
COST: Tickets start at $19.95 for children and $24.95 for adults; MORE INFO

Through Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022; 5:30 - 8:45 p.m. (last entry)

Lightscape LA
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
301 North Baldwin Ave., Arcadia
Walk through an illuminated, one-mile trail in this after-dark outdoor experience. The immersive light installations come alive with color and sound as guests view thousands of twinkling lights in various attractions from the Winter Cathedral to the Star Tunnel and the Fire Garden.
COST: $18 - $32; MORE INFO

Through Sunday, Jan. 30

Mystic Universe 
Wisdome LA
1147 Palmetto St., downtown L.A.
The experiential art park’s latest immersive art and meditation exhibition takes participants on a 90-minute journey beyond the boundaries of space and time. Explore ancient civilizations, see reconstructed architectural monuments and re-examine the five gross elements: earth, water, wind, fire and ether. While at Wisdome, check out makers, vendors, artists, dancers, food and interactive fun.
COST: Adult general admission starts at $50; MORE INFO

TV/Streaming Pick

Tiger King, Season 2
If you binged Tiger King during the early days of the pandemic, tune into its second season as it follows big cat handlers and private zoo owners. Joe Exotic is featured in the second season, participating from prison, as is Carole Baskin. The series continues to investigate the 1997 disappearance of Don Lewis, who was married to Baskin. The series drops on Netflix on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

two croissants are stacked on top of each other. they are both filled with meat and red jam
Milk Bar releases limited-edition holiday treats for the next five weeks, starting with their popular Thanksgiving Croissant.
(Courtesy of Milk Bar)

Dine and Drink Deals

Check out the 411 on other restaurant happenings in SoCal.

  • Starting Monday, Nov. 15, Milk Bar will release its limited-edition Holiday Lab treats. The festivities kick off with the Thanksgiving croissant featuring herbed puff pastry filled with cranberry sauce, roasted turkey and gravy (pictured above). They're available online and in-store. Each offering will be announced the morning of its release. Sign-up for drop announcements via the website.
  • Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks celebrates its 65th anniversary on Monday, Nov. 15 with $1.98 meals. Enjoy rollback 1956 pricing on the House Combinacione #1 (your choice of two: beef, chicken, cheese enchilada; chicken, beef taco, chile relleno, sweet corn, vegetable, chicken, beef tamal). The deal is only available during lunch (11:30 a.m. -  4:30 p.m.).
  • On Monday, Nov. 15, all 21 Miguel’s Jr. locations are offering $1.99 bean, rice and cheese and bean and cheese burritos.
  • Dig in during the “ World Week of Italian Cuisine, ” which runs Nov. 15 - 21. Participate in programs online and in-person, including a cooking class and contest featuring leftover pasta and a session on how to create your own tagliere italiano (both take place at Eataly LA ).
  • Strings of Life cafe in WeHo transforms into an S.O.L. Pie Shop, Nov. 15 - 25. Enjoy a selection of gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan pies, available whole or by the slice. There are also holiday drinks and a Thanksgiving Gobbler Sausage Roll. Preorder a whole pie by Friday, Nov. 19 for pick-up until 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. Options include a Basque cheesecake, a lemon meringue pie, caramel cream and fairy bread cream pie (coconut). 
  • The Common Good has launched its first pop-up at Food Lab in Hollywood, offering a menu of plant-based comfort food and meat-based options. The menu includes artichoke “crab cakes,” Korean fried popcorn chicken or cauliflower, cornmeal pizzas, Cajun shrimp and cheddar grits and the Evan Kleinman Plate (a seasonal vegetable plate sourced from the Santa Monica Farmers Market). The pop-up runs Monday – Saturday, 5  - 10 p.m.
  • FIVE 55 is an upscale sports bar that recently opened in the Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles Monterey Park Hotel, featuring Japanese whiskies and California-style craft beers. The cocktail menu includes a Japanese Old Fashioned prepared with Japanese Iwai 45 Whisky and MAS, which combines mezcal, Scotch and Lillet.
  • Pollo Campero , the chicken chain that started as a family-owned restaurant in Guatemala, offers a deal on its 22-piece bundle through the end of the year. Get their hand-breaded fried chicken or savory, citrus marinated grilled chicken with four sides for $40.  
  • The Empire Hot Dog truck , a Middle Eastern-inspired halal hot dog truck that also offers pastrami burgers, hot dog fries, chili Doritos, kabobs and cheesesteaks, now has a semi-permanent location in West L.A. (11819 Santa Monica Blvd.). (h/t LA Taco )
  • Messhall Kitchen in Los Feliz holds a prix-fixe California Coastal Wine Dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. Executive Chef Charbel Adaimy prepares brioche uni toast, red oak tri-tip, spot prawns and lava cake. They're paired with biodynamic wines from Verdad Wine Cellars . Tickets are $85. 
  • Poppy & Seed at the Anaheim Packing District has launched a new seasonal tasting menu that incorporates fresh fruits, vegetables, microgreens and herbs from the restaurant’s in-house garden. The meal is served family-style and is available in a three-course ($65) or five-course ($85) option.
Got an event in Southern California you want us to consider for one of our event roundups?
Send us the basic info — who, what, when, where, cost, URL and event description — at least a week in advance. We can't guarantee your listing will make it to publication but we'd love to read your pitch.

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