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Arts and Entertainment

Weekend Planner: 20 Things To Do In Los Angeles

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Here are 20 of our favorite events happening in L.A. this weekend. Check out the November Guide for more suggestions.


Scarlett Johansson* Presents: Opening Night of Doctor Strange is a night of Asian American comedy that addresses the issue of whitewashing Asian roles in Hollywood on the opening night of Dr. Strange. People can come watch a show that actually features Asian Americans. Matt Damon* gives a brief lesson on Chinese history, too. The show takes place at UCB Sunset - Inner Sanctum Cafe on Friday at 9:30 pm. Free admission. *Scarlett Johansson and Matt Damon will not be there, fyi.

Funny Therapy is a brand new show that is launching at the Nerdmelt Theater on Friday night at 7 pm. Hosted by comedian Kat Radley, Funny Therapy features Nicole Byer (star of MTV's new show Loosely, Exactly Nicole), Scout Durwood (star of MTV's show Mary + Jane), Jamar Neighbors (Keanu), Hampton Yount (Comedy Central Half-Hour and Conan) and Brandon Wardell (also from Comedy Central) who perform their own material and then come back to give the crowd a therapy session. (The audience asks or writes them for advice, etc). Tickets: $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

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Derek Jarman's film Blue, a “feature-length poetic meditation on color, death, and the void,” screens outdoors on the Getty's Garden Terrace overlooking L.A.’s night sky on Friday at 7:30 pm. The event features text narrated by Tilda Swinton, Nigel Terry and John Quentin and an ambient musical soundtrack by Simon Fisher Turner with Brian Eno, Coil and others. The screening is free, but reservations are required.

Nahko and Medicine for the People is an L.A.-based band whose folksy, roots music is entwined with activism, environmentalism and supporting rights of Native American lands, among other causes. The band headlines a show at the Fonda Theatre on Friday night, with Patrick Baker opening the night. Doors at 8 pm, show at 9 pm. Tickets: $25-$30.

The first Taste Talks in Los Angeles happens this weekend, Friday through Sunday, exploring the future of food through conference sessions, demos and of course, tastings. Curated by singer/chef Kelis, the weekend features a conference brunch at The Line Hotel, an All-Star BBQ at Mack Sennett Studios and more. Single tickets ($49-$99) and weekend passes ($145-$495) are available.

Interested in a road trip this weekend? Or already planning a trip to Big Bear? The Big Bear Comedy Festival happens this weekend (Friday and Saturday) at several venues in Big Bear Lake. Performers include Suli McCullough, Chris Fairbanks, Rawle Dee, Sina Amedson, Flip Schultz, Liz Stewart, Chris Bennett, Laura Hayden, Thai Rivera, Eric Shantz, Allison Weber, Mark Fry, Kris Rubio and Shawn Halpin. Tickets: $15-$20 for each show or $49 (plus service fee) for Festival Pass (seven shows at four venues).

Novsky Projects presents The Origin of Species, a multidisciplinary exhibition that hopes to balance out the anti-immigrant vitriol of the election climate. For the show, 10 immigrant artists illustrate “personal struggles dealing with cultural identity, social acceptance, legal limitations, expected gender roles, and discrimination“ through drawing, photography, ceramics, video and performance.” The opening reception is on Friday from 6-9 pm, and the works remain on view through Dec. 3.


EL VELORIO (Dia de los Muertos)
El Velorio is a Dia de los Muertos event that takes place at Plaza de la Raza on Saturday from 6 pm to 1 am on Sunday. Produced by LA-based artist Antonio Pelayo, El Velorio is expected to draw thousands of people for a night long celebration with live music (headlined Metalachi), DJ sets, performances, more. The companion art exhibition features more than 100 local artists, live mural painting, airbrush makeup, a fashion show, photobooths and food. A portion of the proceeds from El Velorio will be donated to Plaza de la Raza’s after-school arts education and mentorship programs for children. Tickets: $35-$65.

The Museum of Neon Art presents its Hollywood Neon tour on Saturday night at 6:30 pm. Take a bus tour of neon signs, movie marquees and permanent installations of contemporary neon art through Hollywood on the top deck of a convertible British bus. Knowledgeable tour guides share the history and anecdotes of the area with guests. Tickets: $65.

TOHOKU FOOD FAIR (Japanese fest)
On Saturday and Sunday, the Rising Tohoku Food Fair takes place at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance. The fair celebrates the cuisine and culture of Japan’s Tohoku region, which was decimated in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. In addition to the foods, there will be presentations, craft workshops and dances. Rising Tohoku is a way to re-introduce the region’s food products to a wider audience. The food fair runs 10 am-7 pm each day.

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DAS HUND (Art performance)
Actual Size Los Angeles presents Das Hund: Alternative Living Tour on Saturday night at 8 pm. UK-based artists/musicians Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski have journeyed through Joshua Tree and L.A. shooting footage for a new film and writing poetry and lyrics for Das Hund’s debut record, due for vinyl release in 2017. From the gallery: “Their performance elements include live instruments and looped drumbeats that are remixed using analogue tape delays, in combination with artists’ projected films. Das Hund re-imagine radical ideas and reflects on concerns about the place of art in a contemporary society that increasingly seeks to commodify creativity.” The live performance begins promptly at 8:30 pm.

From Indian Lakes headlines the Echo on Saturday night with Buffalo-based Made Violent and the London-based outfit Wild Wild Horses playing in support. Tickets: $12.50-$14.50. Doors at 6 pm. This is an early, all-ages show.

The Greek Theatre neighbors and Live Nation are throwing a free community pancake breakfast from 9-11 a.m., rain or shine, at 2650 N. Vermont Ave. (Griffith Park, just south of the Greek). The breakfast aims to bring the community together to benefit the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, which provides supplies and equipment for the LA Fire Department. Pancakes are free, and donations will be gladly accepted.

DO GOOD. BE GREEN (Eco fest)
The first Do Good. Be Green festival takes place on Saturday at The Collection in DTLA from 10 am to 4 pm. Model and activist Angela Lindvall is the featured speaker for the event that brings together more than 20 eco-friendly and cruelty-free, high-end brands in beauty, wellness, fashion and healthy food. Exhibitors include Blissoma, KINDri, LVX, Enrou, OSEA, Susi Shoes, Kristinit, Saper Aude, Hipsters for Sisters, Lippy Girl, PLUSULTRA, Hellomellow, Generosity Water, Garden of Life, Forks over Knives, GT's Kombucha, Whole Foods Downtown LA, Thrive Market and others. Guests can indulge in complimentary eco makeovers and organic skincare, learn from panels and discussion and take home a goodie bag. Registration: $99.

The Bitch Seat is a show that combines comedy, show-and-tell and therapy talk (think Judy Blume meets Dr. Phil). Hosted by Lyssa Mandel and Phil Casale as a live talk show, guests present poignant/painful creations from their adolescence on stage. The next edition takes place at NerdMelt on Saturday night at 7 p.m. with guests Sofiya Alexandra (Amazon's Danger & Eggs, Splitsider), Matt Oberg (Veep, The Comedians), and Brent Sullivan (Conan, The Pete Holmes Show). Tickets: $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

Coagula Curatorial in Chinatown presents Two Heads on Fire, a collaborative exhibit of 12 new paintings by Wyatt Mills and Charles Swenson., with an opening reception on Saturday from 7-11 p.m. The works will be on view through Nov. 21. Also happening on Saturday night at the gallery are two separate art performances. Suzy Hernandez performs "Black Lives Sparkle" on Chung King Road, and Kayla Tange presents "Confession Room" in the gallery back room at various intervals between 7 and 11 p.m.

Another weekend roadtrip idea: The Ridgecrest Petroglyph Festival, a Native American festival that celebrates the thousands of petroglyphs, takes place on Saturday and Sunday in the area around Ridgecrest, Calif., (a little more than an hour north of Lancaster and east of Bakersfield). The area features more than 100,000 Native American petroglyphs (rock art)—making it the largest collection in the western hemisphere. The festival features Native American music and performances, petroglyph tours, film screenings, an art fair, a beer garden and a Maturango Museum and Wine Walk. The art festival is free, but tours are ticketed events.

Stones Throw records celebrates its 20 years with a Superfest on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Sycamore Grove Park in Highland Park. The free festival is part of Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in L.A. and will be headlined by Common. The awesome lineup also includes Peanut Butter Wolf, Dam-Funk, J Rocc, Karriem Riggins, Mndsgn, Homeboy Sandman, Gabriel Garzon-Montano, Mild High Club, Iman Omari, Koreatown Oddity, Chrome Canyon, Sudan Archives and a special guest.


Cosmic Surgery, an exhibition of photographic works by Alma Haser, opens Sunday, at De Soto Gallery in Venice. In her first show with the gallery, Haser exhibit features three components: 2D portraits, 3D portraits and free standing paper sculptures. Several works have been crafted especially for Cosmic Surgery. The gallery is open by appointment only. Please call or text 323-253-2255 or email to view the works. To RSVP to the private reception, please email Cosmic Surgery will remain on view through Dec. 31.

Brian Wallace’s play Trump’s Island gets a staged reading on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Open Space Cafe Theater on Fairfax. The live election parody imagines what happens when Donald Trump washes up on Gilligan’s Island. And believe him, he'll offer the fellow castaways the deal of their lives. Tickets: $10.

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

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