L.A. has changed immeasurably since 1921, when this event was first staged as an agricultural fair. However, the perennially popular event still has farm-friendly appeal (livestock beauty contests, local produce) alongside the more modern acrobats, wine tastings, exhibitions and concerts. RECOMMENDED: A guide to the L.A. County Fair
Head to the mountains for the annual Oktoberfest at Big Bear Lake, where you'll be able to clink steins every weekend from now until November 2. Beer will be flowing, knockwursts will be cooked up and dirndls will be worn. The schedule includes numerous bands—four flown straight from Germany—and other performances, and some lucky damsel will be named the Oktoberfest Queen when she wins the stein carrying contest.
This kindness-promoting pop-up (find it at 217 South La Brea Avenue) deviates from the “immersive room” mold with work from actual artists. That said, you can still expect some pretty photogenic experiences, including climbing a six-foot sphinx from Katie Stout and wandering through Saya Woolfalk’s psychedelic projections, as well as a VR family cookout from Jacolby Satterwhite.
Falling somewhere between the “museum of” Insta-ready experiences and an actual museum, the Weedmaps Museum of Weed is setting up a series of educational exhibits about cannabis in Hollywood this summer. Hosted by marijuana-focused tech company Weedmaps, the Museum of Weed’s goal is to demystify the substance through a chronological telling of its history and politics, starting with the early use of hemp and continuing into modern-day hysteria, hippie culture, the war on drugs and contemporary legalization efforts—all accompanied by what we expect will be fairly photogenic, shareable visual aids. The exhibition culminates in the Plant Lab, which looks toward the future of weed tech. Just a heads up: Though there’s a cafe and gift shop, no cannabis or CBD products will be sold on-site. The museum will set up at 720 North Cahuenga Boulevard, just a couple of blocks west of the Paramount Studios, from August 3 to September 29. Tickets (18+) cost $35, or an eye-popping $200 for an after-hours VIP experience.
Embark on a hike through Malibu’s canyon vineyards and stop for pop-up musical performances along the way. This Malibu Wine Hikes collaboration with Flight of Voices culminates in a wine tasting and concert event at Saddlerock Gardens.
Peruse gifts for sale from Barnsdall’s students and faculty at this free fair next to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House. Expect handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, cards, prints, paintings, drawings and photos alongside treats from local vendors. The event is free to enter, though you can purchase a $5 raffle ticket, which supports the Barnsdall Art Center.
Indulge your inner foodie and shopaholic at this weekly food-focused market. The Brooklyn export has landed in the Arts District and become a hotbed of fantastic food and retail vendors, with some that are testing out their dishes before launching a full-blown brick-and-mortar in the city. Bonus: there is plentiful (and free, for two hours!) parking in the nearby parking garage.
Don’t expect Insta-ready scenes in this food-inspired art exhibition. Instead, “Offal”—as in, yes, butchered entrails—tackles some of the most taboo topics related to food, with works from 44 L.A. artists that center around the themes of labor, discard and waste, transcultural idions, cultural retention and shame, and the abject.
Every Saturday and Sunday, the UCB franchise’s longest-running, most beloved showcase starts when a base cast of the theater’s current top-brass—including founding UCB members Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts—takes the stage. Then they introduce the surprise celebrity alumnae and friends who will be joining them (think Horatio Sanz, Ben Schwartz, Adam Pally). And finally, another special guest takes the stage, a non-improviser (think Flea, Cat Power, Rebel Wilson, Lena Dunham) who opens the show with a personal story, that’s deftly mined for laughs by the players. But you have to go to find out who’s there—that’s part of the fun. Looking for a cheap night out? Sunday shows are free, but seating is first-come, first-served, so be sure to arrive early.
Dive into the founding principles of the influential German art school at this Getty Research Institute exhibition, which includes over 250 rare prints, drawings, collages, notebooks and ephemera from the Bauhaus’s founding and early years.
The masters of alfresco rooftop movie viewing have returned for another season of screenings in Hollywood and Downtown L.A. Known for excellent film choices and a steady supply of snacks and booze, Rooftop Cinema Club is your snazzy, comfortable and less stressful alternative to other outdoor movie screenings. You don’t even need to bring your own blanket or camping chair—Rooftop Cinema Club provides you with your very own comfy lawn chair, as well as blankets on request for the ultimate cozy experience. And instead of listening to the movie over loudspeakers, you’ll get a set of wireless headphones so you never have to miss a word.
Review by Dave Calhoun The sort of high-wire, playfully enjoyable riff on movies that only Quentin Tarantino could get away with, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood is a massively fun shaggy-dog story that blends fact and fiction, inserting made-up characters at the heart of real, horrible events (Charles Manson horrible) and then daring history to do its worst. Sitting at the mature, Jackie Brown end of Tarantino’s work, the film is also a love letter to Los Angeles and the film industry, bringing his tongue-in-cheek storytelling together with exquisite craft and killer lead performances from Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. And yet, it’s still very much a Tarantino film, trading in genuine emotion one minute, unapolegetically silly the next. Tarantino starts with Hollywood in the era of the Manson murders—specifically, the slaying of starlet Sharon Tate and her friends in August 1969—and retells the story on his own terms, first over a few days in February 1969 and then, six months later, over the weekend of the killings. That means we’re spending nearly the whole movie wondering how this director is going to deal with the actual historical tragedy. For the answer to that, you’ll just have to sweat it out. Let’s just say this: Tarantino somehow manages to carve good taste out of bad. Nonfictional characters pop up throughout: the doomed Tate (Margot Robbie), Nixon-era celebrities Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis) and Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), the Manson gang (one of whom is played by
Shockingly modern and the most politically enlightened (and enlightening) comedy of the 1930s, Leo McCarey’s winning quasi-Western is a model of Hollywood broad strokes coalescing into a sophisticated whole. It starts with a bunch of ugly Americans hee-hawing their way through 1908 Paris—they’re yokels on a trip abroad. Across town, refined Ruggles (Laughton), a manservant, has just learned that he has been “lost” by his ashamed British employer in a game of poker. Now in the custody of ornery nouveau riche Egbert Floud (Charlie Ruggles, a gem) and his putting-on-airs wife, Effie (Boland), the butler is bound for America, a place he imagines as overrun by shirtless Indians surrounding the wagons. Going through the changes, Laughton is magnificently fluid: fey and fearful at first, then (via a drunken escapade) playful and quietly subversive as his new community mistakes him for a highborn English colonel while Effie fumes. The best is yet to come, though, as the warm town of Red Gap and its ingrained Lincolnite independence charm the foreigner, inspiring Ruggles to dream of opening—you simply can’t improve on this—a bar and grill. With the egalitarian warmth of Jean Renoir (himself a huge fan of the film), director McCarey spoofs stereotypes while investing them with knowing asides. The only characters singled out for scorn are those who would reinforce class divisions; delightfully, one of them literally gets his ass kicked. Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf
Film review by Joshua Rothkopf The most perfect movie that will ever be made about its subject, Apollo 11 takes the purest documentary idea imaginable—telling the story of the first journey to the moon and back using only the footage captured in the moment—and rides it all the way home. Conceptually, it’s a masterstroke: Other films have leaned into narration or interviews, while Damien Chazelle’s brooding First Man took a somewhat incidental leap into personal grief. But by mining a trove of archival NASA footage (much of it unseen since 1969, or ever), disciplined filmmaker Todd Douglas Miller places an unmistakable emphasis on the thousands of people who toiled in modest synchronicity, pulling off America’s greatest mission without a hitch. Apollo 11 will bring you to tears: It’s a reminder of national functionality, of making the big dream happen without ego or divisiveness. Miller’s exhilarating first act supplies an emotional catharsis that’s rare in nonfiction (or, frankly, movies in general). Quietly, the rocket is rolled out on a massive tractor platform. Crickets chirp on a hot July night. In the astronauts’ blindingly white dressing room, the three-man crew—Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin—suit up. Their personal backstories receive flurries of silent images: wedding photos, military service, children. These flashes play like insistent memories; it’s the kind of subliminal device a dramatic director might use to reveal a character’s psychology. A
Review by Joshua Rothkopf Unusually for a horror director, Ari Aster knows the real world is awful enough. Life doles out plenty of pain. Hereditary, his 2018 feature debut and probably the scariest movie in a decade, basically went: My grief over a family tragedy is so unbearable, it must be caused by witches. (When that turned out to be the case, you weren’t shocked so much as relieved.) Midsommar, Aster’s ruinous, near-psychedelic latest, goes something like this: My grief over a family tragedy is so unbearable, it’ll make me cling to a bad boyfriend. If that doesn’t sound like horror to you, allow me to introduce you to many toxic relationships. And if you’re still unconvinced, Aster will hit you over the head with a giant hammer wielded by Swedish pagan cultists. Horror is what happens to people who are already emptied out and vulnerable. It’s an insight that has already yielded Aster two world-class performances, first from Hereditary’s Toni Collette as a ragged, raging mother at sanity’s end, and now from Midsommar’s apple-cheeked Florence Pugh as Dani, an Ativan-popping grad student trembling with concern for her suicidal sister. Pugh is exquisitely neurotic in these early scenes—she’s such a handful that when the movie cuts away to the guy squad of her frustrated boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor, deft in a tricky part), all of them seething in unison at her constant imposition, you almost feel sorry for them. But then comes the wail from deep inside Christian’s p