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21 Of Our Favorite Events In Los Angeles This Week

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LAist gets a lot of press releases and we go through most of them to curate a list of our favorite events happening in L.A. Here are 21 events you should know about this week. Read on for all the details.

MONDAY, MAY 19

BOOKS: On Monday at 7pm, Vroman’s presents actor Jason Priestley who discusses and signs Jason Priestley: A Memoir. The former Beverly Hills, 90210 reveals a lot about his life as an actor, director and racecar enthusiast. (But personally, we can’t wait to read all those Shannen Doherty stories.)

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COMEDY: The Groundlings continue to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary with special events and guests. On Monday at 8 pm, they present The Black Version, an improv show in which the audience suggests a popular film, and a cast of all-black comedians improvise the “black version.” Taking the stage are Gary Anthony Williams, Jordan Black, Phil LaMarr, Daniele Gainther, Keegan Michael Key and others. Tickets: $17.

VISUAL MUSIC: Prism Pipe is a monthly visual music and live film score event, curated by The Current Sea and Screaming Claws. The event takes place at pehrspace in Echo Park with Monday’s performers: Brian Griffith, Angg Wilson, Jack Bartholet, Alexander Jameson Cole and Benjamin James Alimam. The evening also features the video art of Zara Ruckus with live ambient music by the Prism Pipe Players. Attendees are encouraged to bring a yoga mat to fully immerse themselves in the sonic and visual ambiance. Show at 8:30 pm. Suggested donation: $5.

TUESDAY, MAY 20

SLINGSHOT | Paul Lazarus from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

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DOCUMENTARY: ArcLight Cinemas Hollywood presents the ArcLight DocFest Spring Series on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm through June 3, with several interesting documentaries on the bill. The series continues with SlingShot by director Paul Lazarus, which documents the world of Segway inventor Dean Kamen. “Kamen holds over 440 patents, primarily for devices designed to improve people’s lives. But for the last 15 years, his focus has been on bringing clean water to the world through his remarkable invention the SlingShot. Since 50% of human illness is caused by waterborne pathogens, Kamen stands liked David, armed with his SlingShot, against the Goliath of this problem.” Tuesday marks the Los Angeles premiere of the film. A Q&A and reception follows the screening. Tickets: $14.

LISTENING PARTY: Sonos Studio holds a listening party and Q&A with Matisyahu for his forthcoming album Akeda on Tuesday from 7-10 pm. The event is free, but RSVP is required.

HISTORY: In 79 A.D., the city of Pompeii was buried between layers of volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The Natural History Museum California Science Center opens Pompeii: The Exhibition on Tuesday, which features more than 150 artifacts on loan from the Naples National Archaeological Museum in Italy. The exhibition remains on view through Jan. 4, 2015. General admission (exhibit only) prices: $16.75-$19.75.

LIT TALK: On Tuesday at 7:15 pm, ALOUD presents three genre-crossing writers for the program Sentence After Sentence After Sentence to discuss their “relationships to form—or lack thereof.” Moderated by novelist Jim Krusoe, the speakers are Anne Germanacos, Dinah Lenney and Matias Viegener. Free with RSVP.

VARIETY:
Tonight at 7:30 pm, the Tuesday Night Project presents the next installment of the Tuesday Night Cafe—one of the longest running free art series in DTLA—at the Aratani Courtyard/Union Center for the Arts. The series is dedicated to highlighting the work of visual and performing artists from the LA and Asian American community. Performers this week include: DJ WaxStyles, Frances Huynh, Lisa Sonoda, TeAda Productions, Mark-Anthony Johnson, - Jane Lui and visual artist Jonathan Jue. Free.

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VARIETY SHOW: The Victory Lap variety show returns to The Virgil at 9 pm. Hosted by Seth W. Owen (Movie Night @ The Roosevelt) and Stuart Jenkins (Associate Producer, BBC America’s The Nerdist), the evening promises “slightly unhinged entertainment” with a lineup that includes Chris Thayer (Pete Holmes Show), Andres Du Bouchet (Conan), Myq Kaplan (Last Comic Standing), Jen Kirkman (Drunk History), Jerrod Carmichael (Neighbors) and Johnny Pemberton (22 Jump Street). There’s no cover, and the Virgil has great specials, $6 cocktails, $5 wine and beer all night long. 21+. Free admission. There’s valet so you don’t have to worry about finding a parking space in this neighborhood.

COMEDY: The Laugh Factory presents a benefit show with a night of comedy with “four of the funniest bald dudes around since Mahatma Gandhi.” The lineup features Maz Jobrani, Rajiv Satyal, Ian Edwards and Jason Gillearn. 8 pm. Tickets: $50-$75.

FILM: The Grindhouse Film Festival returns to the New Beverly Cinema on Tuesday with a “double-dose of exploitation classics featuring Vietnam vets facing the mean streets of early 1980's New York City.” First up is Buddy Giovinazzo's Combat Shock (1984), followed by James Glickenhaus' vigilante flick The Exterminator (1980). The double feature begins at 7:30 pm and the tickets are only $8.

NERD NITE: Nerd Nite Los Angeles takes over The Mint at 7 pm. Imported from Boston, the evening is a nerd get-together for presentations and drinking. There are three, 20-minute presentations tonight: Mathletics: The rise of statisticians into the starting lineup in pro sports by Craig Tabita; Deep Learning: The Parsimonious Problem Parsing Paradigm by David Relyea and "That's not a @&$#ing dinosaur!": Misconceptions about Paleontology by Trevor Valle. Doors at 7 pm, presentations at 7:45 pm. Cover: $10.

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WRITING: On Tuesday at NerdMelt at 7 pm, the Writer’s Guild Foundation presents Genre Smash featuring writers from Classic Simpsons episodes. On the panel are Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky (“Bart the Daredevil,” “Like Father, Like Clown”), Jeff Martin (“Lisa’s First Word,” “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet”), Mike Reiss (“The Telltale Head,” “Supercalifragilisticexpiali-Annoyed-Grunt-cious”) and John Vitti (“Mr. Plow,” “Cape Feare”). Tickets: $15.

HOLLYWOOD HISTORY: There’s an interesting lecture at Temescal Gateway Park on the Hollywood sign on Tuesday at 7:30 pm. “From humble creation in 1923 to its current status as the Statue of Liberty of the West, the Hollywood Sign is internationally famous. Join us for a discussion of the most iconic billboard in the world: its history, its myths, and its legends.” Presented by Diana Wright of the Hollywood Sign Trust. Meet at Woodland Hall.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21

DANCE: There’s a dance party at La Cita at 9 pm on Wednesday. Evolv is an evolution of music and dance, featuring tunes from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and now. Custom visuals will play throughout while DJs, Buck Official, Seano and Kid Fish are accompanied by the local break dance crew, the Physical Poets. No cover, but 21+. RSVP needed.

PORTFOLIO / NETWORKING: The ad agency Team One hosts a Portfolio Night in LA on Wednesday at their offices for young copywriters, art directors and designers to meet with several creative directors for networking, advice and recruitment. Participants include Chris Graves, Chief Creative Officer, Team One; Winston Binch, Partner Chief Digital Officer, Deutsch LA; Margaret Keene, Executive Creative Director, Saatchi LA; David Lai, CEO / Creative Director, Hello Design and others. Admission: $30.

Caveirão Trailer #2 from Guilherme Marcondes on Vimeo.

FILM FLUX: The Flux Screening Series is at the Hammer Museum on Wednesday at 7:30 pm. The evening features innovative short films, music videos, filmmaker retrospectives and international visual art. The May event features the L.A. premiere of Guilherme Marcondes short film “Caveirão,” David Shane's “The One,“ and Kyle dePinna's new Major Lazer video. New music videos for Hercules and Love Affair, Sia, and Laura Mvula among others. Filmmaker presentations and a courtyard after-party follows the screening. Free.

HAPPY HOUR: Downtown Culver City’s Live Local Happy Hour takes place every third Wednesday of the month (between the intersection of Culver and Washington Blvds. and Dusquesne Avenue) featuring locally grown foods, SoCal crafted beers and crafts created by Culver City artisans from 5-9 pm. Free parking for up to two hours in city structures.

THURSDAY, MAY 22

FARMERS MARKET: You know summer’s around the corner when there’s jasmine in the air and the Yamashiro Farmers Market reopens. Now in its fifth year, this year’s market coincides with the 100th anniversary of the iconic restaurant. The market runs from 5-9 pm every Thursday from May 22 to September 4. Yamashiro’s executive chef Brock Kleweno brings back his famous taco menu and other perennial fav vendors return, too.

STAGED READING: Unbound Productions presents two performances of Mystery Lit—free staged readings of a mash-up of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Scandal in Bohemia," "The Red-Headed League" and "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" at the Pasadena Central Library. The performances will be held on Thursday, May 22 at 7pm and then again on Saturday, May 24 at 2pm. [Note that Mystery Lit is a moving performance that will require all audience members to be able to walk at least 1,000 steps, stand for 10-20 minutes at a time, and climb stairs.]

ART: The Eastern Star Gallery at The Archer School for Girls in Brentwood presents “Grand Optimist,” an exhibition of original work by Los Angeles-based visual artist Friedrich Kunath. It opens on Thursday and runs through June 5. The opening reception is on Thursday from 6:30 to 8 pm.

Related: Your Ultimate Guide To May: 20 Cool Events Happening In Los Angeles

Want the 411 on additional events and happenings in LA? Follow @LAist or me (@christineziemba) on Twitter.