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Pencil This In: 'California's Designing Women,' Brew at the Zoo, Ampersand Reading and Chicano Batman

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Let's start the weekend off on the right foot with these events: Cold brews at the zoo; Ampersand readings at Book Soup; a new Autry exhibit looks at the contributions of women designers; a documentary showcase opes in North Hollywood; Katselas Theater opens a new works series; and a few more odds and ends. Read on for all the details.

Don't let the heat scare you. There's a great event tonight—Brew at the Zoo— tonight at the LA Zoo from 6-10 pm. Spend an evening sampling 4.5 oz tastes from local craft brewers and microbreweries with entertainment provided by the Laugh Factory, DJ MORNINGSTAR, live local bands, pub-style food for purchase. Some of the animals will stay out an watch all the humans get silly. This is a 21+ event. Tickets: $40 (presale); $45 at the door (subject to availability) and designated drivers: $20. The zoo closes at 4 pm to prep for the event.

Book Soup presents a reading event that features LA-based authors published in the Ampersand Review or its anthologies and collections. On tap for tonight are writers Garrett Socol, Jim Ruland, Joy Allen, Travis Sentell and Jordan Wingate. 7 pm. Free.

The Autry opens a new exhibition today—California's Designing Women, 1896-1986—that runs through Jan. 6. The show recognizes the work of more than 50 women designers and entrepreneurs who helped shape California’s creative design aesthetic. Adult admission to the museum: $10.

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Katselas Theater Company presents seven provocative new works by its professional playwriting lab in a new series that begins tonight and runs through Sept. 16 at Skylight Theatre complex. LAb Works 2012 offerings include: Death by Papercuts by Tim Furlong, Dusty de los Santos by Boni B. Alvarez, Flim Flam by Doug Cooney, Focus Group Play by Carrie Barrett, Harry and the Thief by Sigrid Gilmer, Sympathy for the Devil by Lynn Manning, and Wild Geese by Ron Burch. Tickets: $17.50 and up.

The International Documentary Association (IDA) presents the 16th Annual DocuWeeks™ Theatrical Showcase today through Aug. 30 at the Laemmle NoHo 7. The festival presents 17 feature films and 11 shorts from 19 different countries, including the titles: The Anderson Monarchs, Defiant Requiem, Digital Dharma: One Man's Mission to Save a Culture, Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story, Out of the Clear Blue Sky and Beauty CULTure.

LACMA’s Friday family outdoor film series—Animation August—continues tonight with the screening of Puss in Boots in the adjacent park behind the museum at 8-8:30 pm (whenever the sun goes down). Come early for Jazz at LACMA with the Dale Fielder Quartet tonight at 6 pm. The Music Center’s Dance Downtown presents an evening of 60’s dance at Grand Park from 6:30-10 pm. And last, but not least, Chicano Batman plays a free set tonight at 6 pm at Amoeba on Sunset.

*Pencil pick of the day

Want more events? Follow me on Twitter (@christineziemba). Or follow Lauren Lloyd—who takes care of Pencil on Wednesdays (@LadyyyLloyd).