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21 Of Our Favorite Events In Los Angeles This Week

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Here are 21 of our favorite events happening in Los Angeles this week. We’ll be back on Thursday with our Weekend Planner column to help you plan—what else?— the weekend ahead. And check out the January Guide for other events.

MONDAY, JAN. 19

MUSEUMS: Both LACMA and the Autry have free general admission on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, until 4 pm. The California African American Museum in Exposition Park is also offering a free open house with special performances and workshops also in honor of MLK Day. The museum is giving away free birthday cake slices for the holiday (while supplies last).

TV: PBS SoCal is at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday at 7 pm to screen the first part of documentarian Ken Burns’ latest work Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. Burns and author Siddhartha Mukherjee will do a panel discussion with moderator and writer Peggy Orenstein after the screening. Tickets: $25.

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GIF+VISUAL ART: Prism Pipe, the monthly visual music event celebrates its one-year anniversary at pehrspace in Echo Park on Monday night. The Fluidity program showcases GIF and video art from around the world, which are set to a live score by the LA-based Twin Braids. Doors are at 8 pm, show at 8:30 pm. Tickets are $5. All ages. Bring a yoga mat for the full, immersive experience.

TUESDAY, JAN. 20

COMEDY: The Victory Lap variety show returns to the Virgil at 8 pm. Hosted by Seth W. Owen (Movie Night @ The Roosevelt) and Stuart Jenkins (Associate Producer, BBC America’s The Nerdist), “the show with the wheel” has a lineup that includes Matt Braunger, Kate Berlant, Ithamar Enriquez and others. Prizes from Boo's Philly Cheesteak, too. There’s no cover, and the Virgil has great $8 premium cocktails during happy hour (7 pm to midnight). There’s valet so you don’t have to worry about finding a parking space in this neighborhood.

BOOKS: Book Soup hosts a Jeff Vespa Book Signing and discussion on Tuesday at 7 pm. The photographer will share stories from his book The Art of Discovery: Hollywood Stars Reveal Their Inspiration. His intimate portraits feature Jessica Chastain, Adam Driver, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anna Kendrick and others. A portion of sales will benefit the arts advocacy programs of The Creative Coalition nonprofit.

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FILM: The Aero Theatre in Santa Monica screens a 35mm print of Cradle will Rock (1999), written and directed by Tim Robbins, at 7:30 pm. The film examines the “growing political skepticism and abandonment of arts support in 1930s New York City. Controversy arises over an Orson Welles theatrical production of Mark Blitzstein’s pro-union musical and a politically-charged Diego Rivera mural commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller.” The film still resonates today, and Robbins participates in a post-screening discussion. Tickets: $11.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21

RACE TALK: On Wedneday at 7:15 pm, ALOUD at the Central Library presents the program Who We Be: Race and Image at the Twilight of the Obama Era, with Jeff Chang, author of Who We Be: The Colorization of America, and Dear White People director Justin Simien. With veteran journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan, they’ll discuss how young people are helping shape the discussion of race through art, social media and activism. The event is free, but reservations are full. Standby only.

FILM: It’s Open Projector Night at the Hammer Museum on Wednesday at 7:30 pm. Hosted by the Sklar Brothers, it’s labeled as “the most raucous independent short film festival around.” Films and videos of all genres—under 10 minutes in length—are either praised or skewered by the hosts and audience. Free popcorn and prizes to the winners. Submissions/signups are first-come first-served and will be accepted only from 7-7:30 pm. Free.

COMEDY: Backyard: A Comedy Show That Feels Like Home is the free bimonthly comedy show held on the first and third Wednesdays of every month in the back atrium at The Backyard Restaurant in East Hollywood. Hosted by Tony Sam and Wes Hudson, featured performers on Wednesday night include Jake Weisman, Eli Olsberg, Jeff Wattenhofer, David Venhuizen and Sean Green.

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COMEDY: The Purge comedy show is at the Steve Allen Theater (Trepany House) on Wednesday at 8 pm. Brendon Small and friends do 30 minute stand-up sets. Hosted by Brandie Posey, featured comics joining Small are Allen Strickland Williams and Dana Gould. Tickets: $12 tickets.

THURSDAY, JAN. 22

SCIENCE TALK: StarTalk Live! is a live program that mixes science, comedy and pop culture. It makes its debut at the Palace Theater on Thursday night with Bill Nye the Science Guy and co-hosted by actor/comedian Eugene Mirman. The evening will be recorded live for airing later on StarTalk Radio. Other guests include comedian Tig Notaro and NASA/JPL scientists Dr. Suzanne Smrekar and Dr. Abigail Allwood. Doors 7:30 pm, show at 8:30 pm. All ages. Tickets: $35-$48.

LIVE READ: Thursday at 7:30 pm, Film Independent at LACMA presents the first 2015 installment of Jason Reitman’s Live Read series. A surprise cast reads a script from a seminal film—tonight it’s Goodfellas—from LACMA’s Bing Theater stage. Reitman slowly reveals the names on Twitter this week, so follow him for updates. Tickets: $25 for Film Independent, LACMA Film Club and The New York Times Film Club members. $35 for LACMA members, students with valid ID, and seniors (62+); $50 for the rest of us. Standby tickets only.

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DANCE: Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre celebrates its 30th year by reviving its 1992 production Parts and Labor Redux on Jan. 22-23 in the parking lot behind Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE). The re-imagined dance piece explores America’s love for the automobile with dancers performing on and around a 1970 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. Percussionists from the band Antenna Repairmen will accompany them onsite, playing amplified metal. Tickets: $20-$40.

HOT SAUCE: Tabañero Hot Sauce hosts a Tabañero Takeover of the Parlor on Melrose for National Hot Sauce Day on Thursday from 5-8 pm. They’re offering hot sauce-inspired food and cocktails, a hot sauce fountain, giveaways including a year supply of Tabanero and more. Music provided by a doing a Red Hot Chili Pepper cover band. Free with RSVP.

FILM: The Velaslavasay Panorama and LA Filmforum present the film series Mush! to the Movies!: A Polar Film Club with films set in the Arctic and Antarctic Regions. The first screening is on Thursday at 7:30 pm, featuring 90 Degrees South: With Scott to the Antarctic (1933), which is paired with Roald Amundsen’s short film, "South Pole Expedition Film" (1912). $10 general admission (price includes popcorn).

BOOK TALK: The Last Bookstore presents a reading and discussion of the book Rocket Girl with author George D. Morgan and moderator Ashley Stroupe on Thursday at 6:30 pm. The book chronicles the untold story of America’s first female rocket scientist, Mary Sherman Morgan, and “her crucial behind-the-scenes contribution that launched America into the Age of Space.”

DTLA TALK: The Standard, Downtown LA presents a new Fireside Chat Series on Thursday night with a reception at 5:30 pm, followed by the talk at 6 pm. The first chat "DTLA Rising" will feature two of Downtown LA's prominent figures, Hal Bastian and Brigham Yen to lead a dynamic discussion about the past, present and future of Downtown Los Angeles.

FOOD: Los Angeles magazine presents its annual Best New Restaurants event on Thursday night at Lot 613 in DTLA. Sample items from LA’s best new restaurants, including Faith & Flower, Night+Market Song, Pine and Crane, République, Scopa Italian Roots, Smoke.Oil.Salt, and Union from 7-9 pm. Tickets are $70 (all food and cocktails are included). This is event is 21+.

TATTOO ART: Fine art and tattoo artist Jun Cha's has launch event for his new MONARC Studios in DTLA. Hosted by The Well LA, the evening features a pop-up gallery of prints of his tattoo art and other photography. 8:30 pm. To attend, please RSVP: rsvp@monarcstudios.com.

BOOK TALK: Skylight Books presents a discussion between Marky Ramone and comedian Tom Kenny on Thursday at 7:30 pm to discuss Ramone’s new memoir Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone. He’ll discuss the early days of punk in New York, what it was like being the band’s drummer and his own personal struggles. While the reading is free and open to the public, Skylight is expecting a big crowd, so they’re giving out numbered ticket for the signing line (with purchase of Punk Rock Blitzkrieg at Skylight Books).

LIT: Literary Death Match returns to Largo on Thursday at 8:35 pm (sharp) for a judged competition of fierce scribes. The evening features T.J. Miller, Wayne Federman, Timothy C. Simons, Iliza Shlesinger, Peter Mehlman, M.G. Lord, Steph Cha and Lucas Neff. Tickets: $30.

Related: January Events Guide: 20 of Our Favorite Events in L.A.

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