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The Best Things To Do In LA And SoCal This Week: Oct. 11 - 14

Several jack-o-lanterns with heart shaped eyes carved into them
"Carved" opens at Descanso Gardens this week with pumpkins lining a one-mile path.
(Descanso Gardens)
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With the COVID-19 Delta variant still out there, it's best to check ahead of time to make sure events are still happening as scheduled.

Walk along along a pumpkin-lined garden path. Watch horror and sci-fi flicks at Screamfest. Attend a musical tribute to Etta James. Explore the Paayme Paxaayt (aka the L.A. River).

Monday, Oct. 11 - Sunday, Oct. 31; 6:30 - 10 p.m.

Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge
The family-friendly Halloween event returns with hundreds of carved pumpkins lining a one-mile walk through the garden’s Camellia Forest and Oak Grove. View sculptures made of sticks and other natural materials, then visit the Pumpkin House and make your way through a hay maze. Halloween-themed food and beverages will be available for purchase.
COST: $25 - $35; MORE INFO

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Monday, Oct. 11; 7:30 p.m.

Mermaid Comedy Hour
The Improv - Lab
8162 Melrose Ave., Beverly Grove
The female-fronted comedy show returns with its October lineup featuring Erin Foley, Alice Hamilton, Pallavi Gunalan, Kiki Andersen, Christine Little and Ellory Smith. Produced and hosted by Valerie Tosi, a two-item minimum and proof of vaccination are required. The show is 21+

a nighttime shot of the LA River, bordered by sloped concrete sides, flowing under a river with the city in the distant background
For Indigineous People's Day, reconnect to our history by talking a self-guided tour along the Paayme Paxaayt (LA River).
(stevelyon, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Monday, Oct. 11

Reconnecting with Paayme Paxaayt (L.A. River)
Various locations
Monday is Indigenous People’s Day (fka Columbus Day). If you want to observe the holiday in a unique way, take a self-guided bicycle ride along Paayme Paxaayt, the indigenous name for the L.A. River. The 30-mile route travels from Griffith Park to Encino. Download a map and self-guided tour on L.A. County's Bicycle Coalition website.

Tuesday, Oct.12 - Thursday, Oct. 21

Screamfest Horror Film Festival
TCL Chinese Theater
6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood 
The long-running festival showcases the work of both filmmakers and screenwriters in the horror and science fiction genres. Feature films in the program include Aileen Wuornos: American Boogeywoman (US, 2021), written and directed by Daniel Farrands, and the world premieres of Father of Flies, a tale that mixes family life and the supernatural, and Wicked Games, where intruders invade a country estate over a long weekend.
COST: Individual screenings start at $11, passes available; MORE INFO 

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Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 13 and 14; Sunday, Oct. 17

Etta at Last
The Huntington (Oct. 13-14)
1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino

The Skirball (Oct. 17)
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood
The MUSE/IQUE ensemble explores the music of Etta James from “At Last” to her influences and collaborations including Billie Holiday and gospel.
COST: $75 for nonmembers (includes admission to three MUSE/IQUE events); MORE INFO

Wednesday, Oct. 13; 7:30 p.m.

Escape from L.A.
Ted Mann Theater
Academy Museum
6067 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire
John Carpenter’s film set in an apocalyptic L.A. screens at the museum as part of the Sound Off: A Celebration of Women Composers series. Listen to Shirley Walker’s score as it moves from surf-rock-inspired tones to Western twangs.
COST: $5 - $10; MORE INFO

a black and white photo of a woman with colorful streaks shooting out of her eyes
The Aussie trio Middle Kids play the Teragram Ballroom on Wednesday, Oct. 13.
(Courtesy of Middle Kids)

Wednesday, Oct. 13; 7 p.m. doors

Middle Kids 
Teragram Ballroom
1234 W. 7th St., downtown L.A.
The Aussie indie trio are on the road to support its sophomore album, Today We're The Greatest, which came out earlier this year on Domino Records. The album was recorded in L.A. in 2019.

a bunch of people wearing swimsuits lay on towels on the sand inside a warehouse
The opera-performance 'Sun & Sea' by Rugile Barzdziukaite, Vaiva Grainyte, Lina Lapelyte at Biennale Arte 2019, Venice.
(Andrej Vasilenko)

Thursday, Oct. 14 - Saturday, Oct. 16

Sun & Sea
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 N. Central Ave., downtown L.A.
Sun & Sea makes its West Coast debut by transforming a warehouse into a sunny day at the beach with 25 tons of sand and sunbathing characters. The touring vocalists, supported by members of the L.A.-based choral group Tonality, will perform songs about the environment and climate change. The project was developed by the creative team of Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelyte.
COST: $20 - $25; MORE INFO

6 people strike dance poses on a dark stage tinged with blue light
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts presents the contemporary dance company, Bodytraffic.
(Courtesy of Bodytraffic)

Thursday, Oct. 14 – Saturday, Oct. 16; 7:30 p.m.

Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Bram Goldsmith Theater
9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica
The contemporary dance company presents three works, including the world premiere of Recurrence, a duet created by Ethan Colangelo. Other pieces in the program include Kyle Abraham’s Kollide and Micaela Taylor’s SNAP, which is set to music by James Brown.
COST: $39 - $99; MORE INFO

Thursday, Oct.14; 7:30 p.m.

Out of the Past / Notorious
Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica
American Cinematheque’s series, Tourneur & Hitch: The Films of Jacques Tourneur and Alfred Hitchcock, brings together works from two master moviemakers. The series kicks off with Tourneur’s Out of the Past, starring Robert Mitchum as a private eye hired by gangster Kirk Douglas. It's followed by Hitchcock’s thriller starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.
COST: $8 - $13; MORE INFO

Thursday, Oct. 14; 9 p.m.

Florentine Gardens 
5951 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
Fatale Factory, the all-female western cabaret, begins a monthly residency by reimagining Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West. The night features circus artists, dancers, burlesque starlets and outlaws performing tricks and acts.
COST: Tickets start at $50; MORE INFO 

a bunch of large, black and white posters are posted on the side of a fence
Installation view of 'Pride Publics' in West Hollywood; the exhibition is now on view in downtown L.A.
( Jon Viscott)

Through Sunday, Oct. 24

Pride Publics: Words and Action
Los Angeles State Historic Park
1245 N. Spring St., downtown L.A.
ONE Archives Foundation recently opened a new iteration of an exhibition that ran during Pride Month in June. This outdoor version stages a visual dialogue between historical and contemporary LGBTQ+ change-makers. Find it on the south end of the park, near the Welcome Center. It's open from 8 a.m. to sunset.

Through Sunday, Oct. 31

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood
Warner Bros. Studio
3400 Warner Blvd. Burbank 
The popular studio tour has extended its offer for SoCal residents through the end of October. Residents who live in zip codes 90000-93599 can get a discount on admission on any regular operating day (including weekends). New additions include an expanded Central Perk Café and Friends Boutique at Stage 48 and a new “Action and Magic Made Here” grand finale experience.

TV/Streaming Pick

We’re Here
The Emmy-nominated unscripted series, We’re Here, returns for its second season on Monday — National Coming Out Day. The season follows Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela as they visit small towns across America (including Temecula) to spread love and connection. They recruit locals to participate in one-night-only drag shows. The eight episodes will air weekly on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

an overhead shot of a bunch of sushi rolls topped with avocado and drizzles of a creamy white sauce, all on top of a wood cutting board
The modern Mexican street food outpost VIDA Modern Taqueria opens on Oct. 12 in Redondo Beach’s Riviera Village neighborhood, from local restaurant veterans, Mickey Mance (Mickey’s Italian Deli) and Justin Essman (Baja Sharkeez Restaurant Group).
( Courtesy VIDA Modern Taqueria)

Dine and Drink Deals

Check out the 411 on other restaurant happenings in SoCal.

  • Mexican street food outpost VIDA Modern Taqueria opens in Redondo Beach’s Riviera Village neighborhood on Tuesday. Mickey Mance (Mickey’s Italian Deli) and Justin Essman (Baja Sharkeez) have developed a menu with 16 variations — from asada to birria de res and Beyond Beef — all served on homemade, hand-pressed tortillas.
  • Winemaker Wednesdays continue through October at natural wine shop and restaurant Good Clean Fun in downtown L.A. This week, the shop welcomes Jonathan Ross from Merchants of Thirst/Fifi Wines. 
  • Loam (named after a fertile soil found throughout L.A.), opened last weekend at the Ace Hotel in DTLA. Taking over the space formerly occupied by Best Girl, the dining establishment has a plant and seafood-focused menu with dishes such as beetroot reuben and smoked black cod, courtesy of chef Joshua Guarneri.
  • Randy’s Donuts has created special treats for the Halloween season. Available now are spider-raised donuts (vanilla iced raised donut with an Oreo center) and pumpkin cake donuts with cream cheese. 
  • Despite its name, we hear The Dump is a tasty new Chinese dumpling pop-up in Santa Monica, sharing Bluey’s Kitchen every day, 4:30 - 8:30 p.m. (h/t L.A. Taco)
  • There are only a few Fridays left to enjoy the poolside spritz happy hour at Hotel June (8639 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester). From 5 to 7 p.m., get a token you can redeem for a complimentary Lo-Fi Spritz, which you can sip by the pool while enjoying sets by DJ Lady Sinclair
  • October is Filipino American History Month, and L.A.-based and Filipina-owned brands Spread The Love and Coolhaus have teamed up on a special edition ice cream flavor called “Turon-osaurus Almond Butter.” It's adapted from the street food dessert Turon or Banana Cue, traditionally made from fried saba bananas coated in caramelized brown sugar. Throughout the month, the limited-edition flavor will be added to dessert menus at Yamashiro Hollywood, Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza. (There’s also a finale party at Coolhaus in Culver City on Oct. 28, 5:30 - 8 p.m.)
  • Runway Playa Vista holds its first Taste of Runway food festival on Thursday, 5:30 - 9 p.m. A ticket ($29) gets you 10 vouchers for samples at participating restaurants including Bull & Butterfly, Hopdoddy, Urban Plates, Joliet Café, Loqui, Sol Cocina, N'ice Cream and Neighbors (coming soon to Runway). Drinks and alcohol are sold separately.
  • Eat for a good cause on Wednesday as Tastemakers of Orange County returns to Costa Mesa to benefit the nonprofit O.C. Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance. Two dozen local chefs and restaurants will participate, including Takashi Abe and Ted Lee of Bluefin, Lisa Dang of Brodard, the Gaviña family of Gaviña Coffee, Tin Vuong of Little Sister and Ross Pangilinan of Mix Mix. Tickets: $95 - $135.
  • In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica is offering two pink cocktails with 20% of proceeds benefiting Making Strides of Santa Monica. The Amass Gin Faerie Collins is available for those 21+ in the Lobby Lounge and FIG Restaurant.
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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