Things to do in Los Angeles today

Today's best things to do in Los Angeles—including free and cheap activities, concerts, screenings, shows, parties and more. It's your social emergency savior.

Free things to do today

Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle

Forest Lawn Glendale revs up its engine in an ode to SoCal's death-defying, traffic-busting vehicle of choice: the motorcycle. For six months, the free museum will be showcasing vintage bikes, hand-painted helmets and motorcycle-inspired artwork. Expect to see everything from a solid orange 1910 Flying Merkel—literally a motorized bicycle—to Brando and Dean-era hogs. Plus, there's even a Transformers motorcycle on display.

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Forest Lawn Glendale, Glendale Until Monday January 5 2015 Free

Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Change

Critics' pick

This photography exhibition at the Annenberg Space centers around how architecture all over the world that responds to climate change, specifically, rising sea levels. See innovation in architecture from waterfront communities all over the world: sea walls in Japan, flood management archictecture in the Netherlands, delta communities, buildings that float, innovative private homes, and more. Curated by Frances Anderton, KCRW radio host and architecture writer, the exhibition will feature images from the archives of noted photographers Iwan Baan, Stephen Wilkes, Paula Bronstein, Jonas Bendiksen and Monica Nouwens, and new works commissioned for the show (a first for the Annenberg Space). There will also be a documentary film that features interviews with the photographers, architects and scientists.

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Annenberg Space for Photography, Century City Until Sunday May 3 2015 Free

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

Ah, the joys of Christmas in a Mediterranean climate, where boat owners can deck out their ships in holiday lights and set sail without the impediment of icy weather. For the 106th year, the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is doing just that as over 100 decorated vessels parade around a 14-mile circuit in the Newport Harbor. You can see the parade for free during each of the five nights, but there are also reserved seats and dining packages available for purchase.

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Various locations in L.A., Los Angeles Until Sunday December 21 2014 Free

BFD (Big Fat Dick)

It’s been called the best raunch-fest in the City of Angels and it’s held weekly at Fubar, West Hollywood’s most alternative outpost. Every Thursday, moustached alt-nightlife-maestro Mario Diaz brings out boystown’s sexiest players for a night that kicks off the weekend with a healthy dose of testerone, a scantily clad, tattooed brigade of go-go boys and a contest that dares patrons to have their “members” photographed and judged at the climax of the party. Add in vintage gay porn playing on screens around the bar and you’ve got yet another one of those nights that helps Fubar live up to its reputation as “not your father’s gay bar.”

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Thursday December 18 2014 Free

Villains Tavern's White Trash Christmas

Amid all of the gift wrapping, table setting and general holiday decorum, indulge in some belly warmin', finger lickin' fun at Villains Tavern's first annual White Trash Christmas. For one night only, the Arts District bar will be serving up $2 Keystone and Schlitz tall boys, $4 homemade Jameson Fireball shots and holiday cocktails including white chocolate peppermint martinis and trash can punch. On the food side, stuff your gullet with green bean casserole topped with Funyuns, pigs in a blanket, Velveeta Mac and cheese, fruitcake ice cream sandwiches and frosted cornflake-coated turkey legs. There's no cover, and you can RSVP for a table or sweet, sweet boozy Jell-O molds.

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Villains Tavern, Downtown Thursday December 18 2014 Free
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Tonight's best film screenings

The Noir Effect

Critics' pick

Accompanying the Skirball's "Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950" exhibit, "The Noir Effect" promises an insight into the impact of the film noir genre on American culture. Take a look at the femme fatales, private eyes and anti-heroes of early 20th century films such as Chinatown as well as graphic novels—think Spiderman Noir—photography and contemporary works and how they permeated the art, media and pop culture of American society. 

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Skirball Cultural Center, Westside Until Sunday March 1 2015

Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950

Critics' pick

The rise of Nazi Germany drove numerous artists to flee Europe and settle in America, where they helped create Hollywood's Golden Age. The Skirball Cultural Center celebrates these émigrés through an exhibition featuring the works of notables such as Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder and Marlene Dietrich. You'll have the opportunity to see clips of anti-Nazi, comedy and flim noir movies starring these "exiles and émigrés" as well as costumes, manuscripts and photos—with contributions from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences library—that'll give you a comprehensive look at early 20th century cinema.

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Skirball Cultural Center, Westside Until Sunday March 1 2015

The Contenders: Selma

Critics' pick

SELMA with director Ava DuVernay Organized by The Museum of Modern Art and presented by the Hammer Museum, The Contenders series presents ten influential, innovative films made in the past 12 months that MoMA's Department of Film believe are destined for big things (whether that means awards glory or cult classic status). In addition to screenings of all ten films, most will be accompanied by a director or actor from the project (think Jenny Slate from Obvious Child, Boyhood's Richard Linklater, etc.). Tickets are $15 general admission or $10 for Hammer Plus members. Impact level members and higher can reserve up to two free tickets. Call The Contenders reservation line at 310-443-7026 to book now, before this incredible opportunity is gone!

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Wednesday December 17 2014

Tonight's best shows and performances

Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin

"God Bless America," "There's No Business Like Show Business" and "White Christmas" are a glimpse into Irving Berlin's portfolio of over a thousand songs written during his 60-year career. The Russian-born composer, one of America's greatest songwriters, will come to back to life in LA courtesy of Hershey Felder, writer and star of the performance, to tell the story of a man who wasted no time in achieving the American Dream. This performance at the Geffen Playhouse will surely be a feel-good treat for the holiday season.

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Geffen Playhouse, Westwood Until Sunday December 21 2014

A Christmas Carol

We all know that Ebanezer Scrooge is your favorite Christmas character. Beneath the façade of cheesy reindeer sweaters and Santa Claus hats is a grumpy old man yelling “bah humbug.” Get in touch with that inner grump with a holiday classic the whole family can enjoy. Presented by classical repertory theatre company A Noise Within, this version of the classic play will have original music yet will use only Dickens' original words. It's a rendition that's sure to leave you in a "God bless us, every one!" kind of mood. Warning: there is no intermission so you will have to hold it for 90 whole minutes. Go ahead, say it. Bah humbug.  

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A Noise Within Until Tuesday December 23 2014

Today's best food and drink event

Unlimited Caviar Bar at Mari Vanna

Critics' pick

The best way to feel like a baller? Unlimited caviar. Every Wednesday, Mari Vanna LA is offering bottomless servings of red caviar for $34. That's right—Bottomless.Caviar. Pair with an assortment of stuffed or plain blinis and salads, as well as a complimentary glass of champagne.

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Mari Vanna - LA Until Wednesday December 30 2015

$1 Oyster Night

You get an oyster, and you get an oyster, and YOU get an...Ok, so Oprah isn't in the house, but it might feel like she is with The Churchill's $1 oyster nights. Yup, you read that right. Every Wednesday from 6pm until close, The Churchill will offer a selection of fresh market oysters for $1 each. It's perfect for a cheap date boasting aphrodisiac properties. We're just sayin'.

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The Churchill, Los Angeles Until Wednesday December 30 2015

Tonight's best comedy show

Comedy for the Holidays

Critics' pick

Doug Benson, Eric Andre, Kyle Kinane, the Birthday Boys, Jon Daly, Brent Weinbach, Kathryn Burns + Dance Team and Joe Sib perform at this holiday comedy show. Proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Mission homeless shelter.

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Troubadour, West Hollywood Wednesday December 17 2014

The Crazy Uncle Joe Show

Critics' pick

Get on the Groundlings' email list: Each week this improv show sells out the day its cast is announced. Current regulars include the hilarious Jordan Black, Stephanie Courtney (aka Flo, the Progressive girl), and Oscar-winner Jim Rash. Jonathan Kite (Two Broke Girls) and Steve Little (Eastbound and Down) are semi-regular favorites. And Will Ferrell, Hillary Swank and Kristen Wiig have all dropped in before. Even if it is sold out, Groundlings has a no-late-entry policy, so wait-listers frequently get to fill the seats of those suckers stuck in traffic.

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Groundlings Theatre, Los Angeles Until Wednesday December 23 2015

Cookin' With Gas

Critics' pick

LA's longest-running improv show is also its best short-form show. "Short-form" means that instead of a nonstop 25-minute one-act, the show is a dozen or more short, disconnected scenes, each of which involves input from the audience and a director. Frequently that director is the incredible Mindy Sterling (Frau Farbissina in Austin Powers). And every week the cast is a collection of alumni and members of the storied theater's current companies, along with special guests (including Ana Gasteyer and Mo Collins). You'll get the opportunity to watch them all blow off steam in playful scenes and songs.

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Groundlings Theatre, Los Angeles Until Thursday December 17 2015

Today's best arts and culture

Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Change

Critics' pick

This photography exhibition at the Annenberg Space centers around how architecture all over the world that responds to climate change, specifically, rising sea levels. See innovation in architecture from waterfront communities all over the world: sea walls in Japan, flood management archictecture in the Netherlands, delta communities, buildings that float, innovative private homes, and more. Curated by Frances Anderton, KCRW radio host and architecture writer, the exhibition will feature images from the archives of noted photographers Iwan Baan, Stephen Wilkes, Paula Bronstein, Jonas Bendiksen and Monica Nouwens, and new works commissioned for the show (a first for the Annenberg Space). There will also be a documentary film that features interviews with the photographers, architects and scientists.

Read more
Annenberg Space for Photography, Century City Until Sunday May 3 2015 Free

The Noir Effect

Critics' pick

Accompanying the Skirball's "Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950" exhibit, "The Noir Effect" promises an insight into the impact of the film noir genre on American culture. Take a look at the femme fatales, private eyes and anti-heroes of early 20th century films such as Chinatown as well as graphic novels—think Spiderman Noir—photography and contemporary works and how they permeated the art, media and pop culture of American society. 

Read more
Skirball Cultural Center, Westside Until Sunday March 1 2015

Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950

Critics' pick

The rise of Nazi Germany drove numerous artists to flee Europe and settle in America, where they helped create Hollywood's Golden Age. The Skirball Cultural Center celebrates these émigrés through an exhibition featuring the works of notables such as Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder and Marlene Dietrich. You'll have the opportunity to see clips of anti-Nazi, comedy and flim noir movies starring these "exiles and émigrés" as well as costumes, manuscripts and photos—with contributions from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences library—that'll give you a comprehensive look at early 20th century cinema.

Read more
Skirball Cultural Center, Westside Until Sunday March 1 2015

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