Behold: Five great things you should do in Southern California this week, from art to food to music to an adventure we'll call "the Wild Card," from the makers of the 5 Every Day app. You can also get this as a new podcast in iTunes. If you want five hand-picked things to do in Los Angeles every day, download the free 5 Every Day from the App Store.
Hey ladies! Can we talk about that chasmic Hollywood Gender Gap?
Well how ‘bout this then: the 11th annual Focus on Female Directors mini-festival, taking place this Wednesday at the Egyptian. It’s an eight-woman deep program of outstanding recent shorts from the international festival circuit and all across the aesthetic spectrum, which will be followed by a discussion with featured filmmakers Lulu Wang, Catherine Hollander, Anna Musso, and Lisze Bechtold.
CITY: 50 First Jokes LA
This weekend we’re going to go see 50 comedians tell their first jokes of 2016. The show’s called 50 First Jokes and it happens, well, once a year.
The whole event moves fast -- breakneck, really -- and the long lineup includes some heavy hitters, like Alice Wetterlund, Brody Stevens, Brooks Wheelan, The Lucas Brothers, and Emily Heller.
This year it’s at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, so you know we’ll be gripping elegant cocktails while all these wiseacres try out their new material on us.
There are certain things in this world that seem so natural it’s difficult to remember there was ever a time before they existed.
Like running water, for example. Or Drake.
Or, of course, the humble cheeseburger.
Contrary to popular belief, the cheeseburger did not evolve alongside us hominid apes. Somebody needed to invent the cheeseburger -- and they did more recently than you might think, and much closer to home.
According to fast food legend, the cheeseburger was invented in the 20s, right here in Southern California. In Pasadena, in fact, at a sandwich place called the Rite Spot.
That’s where a young fry cook -- sixteen year-old Lionel Sternberger -- first dropped a slice of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger. It was an experiment, born from the folly of youth, and the world has never been the same since.
Pasadena continues to march proudly into burger history with Pasadena Cheeseburger Week, which kicks off Sunday and runs all next week.
In Sternberger’s honor, 40 Pasadena eateries will offer their best cheeseburgers, both classic and new, and diners are encouraged to cheeseburger-crawl and vote for their favorites.
Movies have always played a big role in musician Alex Zhang Hungtai’s life.
As the leader of spooked-out, experimental pop band Dirty Beaches, Hungtai built up a following with nostalgic AM radio oddities that sounded custom made for early Lynch films. And he’s always name-checking arthouse directors like Jim Jarmusch, Terrence Malick, and Wong Kar Wai.
So it makes sense that this Taiwan-born Canadian -- who recently relocated to LA and dropped the Dirty Beaches moniker to settle on a new alias, Last Lizard -- would make his LA debut at a movie theater.
This Thursday, Last Lizard plays Cinefamily’s AudioSonics series. It matches cinephile music makers with obscure art films for what they call “Audio/Visual remixes” -- fresh takes on the live scoring phenomenon.
Last Lizard will play orchestra to Chantal Akerman’s News From Home, the late European director’s hypnotic meditation on New York City.
WILDCARD: It’s the Pits!
The fact that there are bubbling tar pits in the center of this city -- it really knocks us out. Like, two blocks from the Grove, they’re digging up saber-toothed tigers and dire wolves?
It’s just so cool that something so forbiddingly ancient can persist in our modern city -- a sticky, pungent reminder of the darkness from which we come.
And to which we shall eventually return...
At the very least next Friday, because we’re having a party at the Tar Pits. Are you ready for what our party is called? We’re really proud of it.
Our party is called: IT’S THE PITS!
How great is that? IT’S THE PITS!
We’re taking over the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum for three glorious hours, turning the whole place into a kind of Ice Age pop-up salon for performances, film screenings, and music.
We’ve got dancer Jasmine Albuquerque performing a site-specific piece in the plant-filled central atrium of the museum. We’ve got composer Jherek Bischoff, accompanied by a string quartet, scoring the fossil halls.
Our pals at Cinefamily’s Lost and Found Film Club, who specialize in digging up wonderful 16mm rarities, will screen a selection of vintage science films; and Ghosting, a collective of experimental animators, is taking over the museum’s 3D cinema.
Tom Carroll, host of the webseries Tom Explores LA, will guide offbeat historical tours of the grounds, and the good people of dublab will be DJing all night.
Plus food trucks, wiggly animated GIF photo booths, and a bar. The RSVP filled up fast, but we’ll have tickets for walk-ups at the door. So get there early.
Be there, or be a fossil.