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Arts and Entertainment

Pencil This In: Figat7th Festival, 'Moby-Dick' Read in Its Entirety, Dwell on Design and a Summer Solstice Party

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Holy moly, there is too much to do in LA tonight. There’s a little bit of everything, from an L.A. Story reading series with Janet Fitch, Rachel Kushner and Doug Kearney, among others; the opening of Dwell on Design; free performances downtown at 7thandFig with Santa Cecilia as well as Grand Performances with DJ Mark de Clive-Lowe (MdCL). Also a Hickcock film series continues, a Croatian film series opens; Moby-Dick gets read in its entirety as party of the Hollywood Fringe; a summer solstice party in Westwood; and a book reading/signing on the definitive guide to Japanese gangster films. Read on for all the details.

PEN Center USA presents a reading series tonight at Hollywood Forever with the programL.A. STORY. Featured authors reading from their works tonight are: Janet Fitch (Paint it Black, White Oleander), Rachel Kushner (The Flamethrowers, Telex From Cuba), Jim Krusoe (Parsifal, Iceland), Doug Kearney (Fear, Some) and Jim Gavin (Middle Men). A book signing follows the reading. Doors at 8 pm and the reading begins at 9 pm. Tickets: $10 online and $15 at the door.

Punk rocker-poet Chris D. began writing Gun and Sword—a definitive encyclopedia of the Golden Age of Japanese yakuza (gangster) films—in 1990. Now more than 20 years later, the reference guide is finally ready for its debut. La Luz de Jesus holds a launch party and book signing with Chris D. tonight from 6-9 pm. The book features all types of Japanese gangster movies made between 1955-1980.

This summer, Arts Brookfield inaugurates the FIGat7th Downtown Festival, which brings free music, dance, visual art, theater and film events to audiences over six Friday nights. Tonight, it’s an evening of indie Latin-infused rock music featuring LA’s own La Santa Cecilia with openers The Boogaloo Assassins, who kick things off at 7 pm. La Santa Cecilia takes the stage at 8:15. There’s also a happy hour and after party with a cash bar and DJs spinning the tunes.

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Beginning tonight at 5 pm on Santa Monica Boulevard, between Cole and Cahuenga, members of the theater troupe Wet the Hippo begin reading <em>Moby-Dick in its entirety to promote their shows at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. The only time they’ll stop this weekend is to perform their Fringe show (7:30 and 9 pm, tonight and tomorrow at the Complex Theater). Members of the 9 person ensemble will work in two-person, four-hour shifts.

MUSICGrand Performances at California Plaza kicks things off this summer with a show by L.A.-based, Japanese New Zealander composer, producer and DJ Mark de Clive-Lowe (MdCL). He’s performing tonight at 8 pm with musicians Walter Smith III and Jamire Williams (ERIMAJ), improvising a live soundtrack to a big-screen montage of sci-fi movie scenes, “interpolated and remixed live by VJ Steve Nalepa - creating a completely original and improvised narrative led by music and soundscapes.” Free.

Dwell on Design—the largest modern design event in America—opens today and runs through the weekend at the LA Convention Center. The weekend features more than 400 exhibitors with super cool products on display, 200 speakers on three stages, along with a variety of workshops and education seminars for the design trade. It’s $425 for an all-access pass, but more affordable options include $15 student tickets, and one- to three-day passes for $35-$60.

The Hammer Museum holds a Summer Solstice Party to usher in the first day of summer and the longest day of the year, featuring music sets by KCRW DJ Jeremy Sole, free museum admission, a cash bar and late gallery hours. The Hammer closes at 5 pm today, but reopens at 8:30 pm for the party. Exhibitions on view at the museum are A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living, Richard Artschwager! and Dream Home Resource Center. Parking is available under the museum for a flat rate of $3 after 6 pm.

The Los Angeles Film Festival isn’t the only film fest in town this weekend. The American Cinematheque presents a whole slate of Croatian films in the weekend festival Kino Croatia: New Films 2013 (at both the Egyptian and Aero theaters). The Cinematheque has collaborated with the Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in Los Angeles, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and other organizations to bring the latest works from the Central European nation. Opening the weekend is the romantic comedy Sonja and the Bull, which screens at the Egyptian at 7:30 tonight. $11.

Cinefamily continues to celebrate Alfred Hitchcock’s work with the series Hitchcock B-Sides & Rarities. Tonight, there’s a screening of The Wrong Man(1956) at 7:30 pm. According to Cinefamily, “Hitch gives us his noir version of a CSI-style procedural. Henry Fonda is fantastic in the lead, thoroughly losing himself in the role of a quiet, humbled, scared-witless Italian-American everyman. And, as the grim tension ratchets up with every passing scene, we know our hero is completely screwed, yet we're in awe of Hitch's myriad maestro touches: every clanking footstep on linoleum, every damp concrete sidewalk, the white-noise roar of every passing subway train, and each terrifying, grimy baby step down the corridors of the archaic NYC justice system.”

Artist Mike Mitchell has curated the group exhibition SPACE: The Gallery Show, which opens tonight with a reception from 7-10 pm at Gallery1988 (West). More than 50 artists have created/contributed works that celebrate the past, present and future of space exploration as well as the just general awe-inspiring nature of the universe. Featured artists include Mitchell, Scott C., Andrew DeGraff, Olly Moss, N.C. Winters, Justin White, Jeffrey Brown, Dave Correia, John Martz and Emily Partridge. The show runs through July 20.

*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).