Tough Mudder, Leimert Park Film Festival, and 28 More Best Things to Do in L.A. This Weekend

The Tough Mudder obstacle event, Newport Beach Film Festival, and more
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After a long pandemic shutdown, Los Angeles is open—and that means there’s fun stuff to do all across the city. Here’s a list of some of the coolest events happening in L.A. this weekend.


The Big Bald Art Show

Friday, October 22 through Sunday, October 31

If you’re a fan of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is returning on Oct. 24, then this may be the event for you. Bruce Lurie Gallery & Butts In the Seats Productions is teaming up to honor the show’s star, Larry David, with an independent, fine art pop up tribute and exhibit called “The Big Bald Art Show.” Featuring original artwork from a global collection of artists from the United States, Canada, Israel, Argentina, and more, the vaxxed-only show will run from Oct. 22-31. Although David isn’t expected to attend the big bash, other cast members including Chris Williams (Krazee-Eyez Killa), Anne Bedian (Palestinian Chicken) and Anita Barone (Denise) are confirmed special guests— although this is subject to change. Los Angeles based Dirty Sue and Mulholland Distilling will also be serving special themed cocktails on the opening night of the party. [More info]

Leimert Park Cultural Film Festival

Saturday, October 23

The heart of Los Angeles’ Africa Town is celebrating its inaugural Leimert Park Cultural Film Festival on Oct. 23. The community event, which is being held in decorative ‘The Alley’ next to Hot + Cool Cafe, will feature a red carpet event at 6 p.m., a showcase of avant-garde filmmakers of eight short films, food vendors, live musical performances, and an honoree awards ceremony. The festival is free, but VIP tickets are available for $30 and includes gourmet catering, photo ops with film cast members, and other perks. Get your looks ready as the attire is “Chic African-Inspired.” [More info]

Insecure Season Premiere Watch Party

Sunday, October 24

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the finale season of Issa Rae’s hit HBO drama Insecure than watching the series with a group of other equally obsessed enthusiasts? South Los Angeles’ social club, Kolor Society, is hosting a watch party on Oct. 24 from 6-9 p.m. to commemorate the highly anticipated fifth season of the show at La Create Space in Inglewood. PopUp Kitchen will be selling food, and popcorn and drinks will be available at the party. Tickets range from $15- $25. [More info and tickets]

The Black Family Archive

Friday, October 22 through Sunday, October 24

The Black Image Center—which offers free and low cost photography services to Black image makers—is inviting people to bring photos of their loved ones to learn how to preserve their family’s history. Professional archivists from The Gates Preserve will be onsite to offer free one on one consultations to Black families exclusively to digitize images; provide prints of photos already stored on a phone, digital camera, or external hard-drive/USB; and rehouse damaged or deteriorating photos.

The pop-up event, which is free and open to the public, will feature various activations throughout the weekend including live music from local performers and a children’s workshop in which kids ages five to 10 will be given a Polaroid camera to take portraits of their family members. Adee Roberson, an L.A.-based interdisciplinary artist, will also be debuting a mural she created in partnership with For Freedoms and Converse’s “Hear Her Here” initiative and hosting an art talk about how she uses her family’s archives in her artwork. [More info]

Photo courtesy of the Black Image Center

Dinner and a Spooky Film at Melrose Rooftop Theatre

Friday, October 22 through Sunday, October 31

For the rest of the month, the Melrose Rooftop Theatre will be showing some of your favorite spooky season films including American Psycho on Oct. 24, Halloweentown on Oct. 27, IT on Oct. 30 and finally the cult-classic HOCUS POCUS on Oct. 31. With a picturesque view of Hollywood Hills, attendees will be given wireless individual headsets provided to guests to maximize the cinema experience. Angelenos can choose between two viewing options: a general admission VIP seating for $28 per person or a complete dinner and a movie package for $49. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and showtime starts at 8:30 p.m. each night. [More info and tickets]

Tough Mudder Glen Helen

Saturday, October 23 through Sunday, October 24

The popular outdoor obstacle course Tough Mudder is returning to San Bernardino this weekend at the Glen Helen Raceway. From Oct. 23-24, participants will have to work together to make it through the notoriously challenging obstacles, which include scaling super high structures, escaping a mud mayhem, and electric shock therapy— yes, you read that correctly. There’s also a much more tame version for kids ages 5 to 12 years old called the Mini Mudder.

Tough Mudder will also feature meet and greets with some of the world’s strongest athletes including Icelandic professional strongman and actor Thor Bjornsson and his wife Kelsey Henson, and Latvian-American professional strongman Martin Licis on Saturday. Guests can also win special giveaways during the event. Adult tickets for the 10-mile Tough Mudder course starts at $145 and $89 for the 3-mile challenge. Tickets for kids start at $25. But if you’re like me and you’re not ready to take on the adventure yet, you can also register to watch others participate in the event. [More info & tickets]

Photo by Tough Mudder

Newport Beach Film Festival

Friday, October 22 through Thursday, October 28

Another movie festival is slated to take place in Newport Beach this weekend. The 22nd annual event, which attracts 58,000 film and food fans, will feature more than 100 feature films, 30 short film programs, and a dozen public parties including more than 60 culinary vendors. A few of the movies that will be shown at the multi-day festival includes The Sound of Us, a feature-documentary about how music brings people together which won the Movie That Matters award during Cannes Film Festival and Belfast which follows the journey of a 9-year-old boy into adulthood in the 1960s in Northern Ireland. The festival will conclude with War on the Diamond, a documentary of former Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman who died after being hit in the head by a pitch in 1920.

“We feel the Newport Beach Film Festival, given its breath and it’s diverse offerings, really helps to shine the spotlight on unique storytellers and people that make up Southern California,” chief executive officer and executive director Gregg Schwenk told the Orange County Register. Single tickets start at $15 per screening. [More info & tickets]

Ram Dass Celebration at Wisdome

Sunday, October 24

Although Ram Dass, a spiritual leader and pioneer of the U.S. psychedelic movement died nearly two years ago, his organization, Love Serve Remember, is keeping his name alive. The organization will be celebrating Dass’ life and the 50th anniversary of his popular book Be Here Now on Oct. 24 at the Wisdome theatre in Los Angeles. The immersive event will feature films throughout the day including the debut of Journey, a Ram Dass “psychedelic 360 virtual reality trip projected on the dome.” The film will be followed by a concert series at night with headlining acts from Krishna Das, John Forté (formerly of the Fugees), East Forest, Justin Boreta of Glitch Mob, and Nina Rao. Tickets start at $50. [More info & tickets]

Sandy Ho Pop-Up Dinner at Employees Only

Sunday, October 24

The West Hollywood cocktail bar is reintroducing its Sunday Social Club pop-up series on Oct. 24 with a special dinner hosted by Sandita’s owner, Sandy Ho. The chef and food stylist, who has become known on Instagram for her colorful dumplings, will be working with Chef Josh Buckwald to make dishes like Chicken and Apricot Ragu Dumplings; Whole Fried Fish Plate, and Mum’s 12 hr Curry + Mushrooms. Dinner starts at 6 p.m. All you have to do is make a reservation. [More info]

Dianne Reeves, Chucho Valdés & Joe Lovano at the Broad Stage

Saturday, October 23

Grammy award winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves; Chucho Valdés, who has been called the most influential figure in modern Afro-Cuban jazz; and the celebrated saxophonist Joe Lovano will be sharing the stage on Oct. 23 for an evening of piano duets. The Broad Stages’ Duets show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Santa Monica venue. Tickets range from $60-$100. All attendees will be required to show proof of COVID vaccination and wear a mask at all times. [More info and tickets]

Faded Comedy Show

Fridays

Each Friday night, you can catch some of the best comedians from Los Angeles and elsewhere at the Lounge on Melrose. Tickets cost $15 for the weekly comedy showcase, but you’ll save money on drinks because the event is BYOB. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Guests will be required to provide a proof of vaccination in order to gain access to the event. [More info and tickets]

Haunted Little Tokyo

Saturday, October 30

During the month of October, expect Little Tokyo to look different than you’re used to seeing it. For the fifth year, the plaza will be transformed into Haunted Little Tokyo. Presented by the Little Tokyo Ghost Club, the plaza will host several events including a scavenger hunt from 2-5 p.m. on Oct. 30. To close out the festivities on Oct. 30, there will be a 21+ block party featuring DJs, drinks, food, and a costume contest from 7 p.m. to midnight. To enter the party—which is free with an RSVP—guests must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result within 72 hours before the event. [More info]

Photo courtesy of Haunted Little Tokyo

SkyPark’s Pumpkins in the Pines

Through Sunday, October 31

Looking for a quick weekend getaway with the fam? SkyPark at Santa’s Village, located in the San Bernardino Mountains, is getting geared up for fall. The alpine-themed family adventure park just announced its October activities calendar, which kicks off October 9 and runs every weekend through Halloween. Activities include the Coachworks Pumpkin Patch, where guests can find the perfect pumpkin to decorate in Santa’s Workshop. There’s also a Monster Mash Light Show and seasonal characters throughout the park, which is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Ticket prices vary. [More info and tickets]

skypark
Photo courtesy of SkyPark at Santa’s Village

Stone Street Spooky Screenings

Saturday, October 23

The all-day coffee cafe and bar on Melrose Avenue will be showing “Hatchet” on Oct. 23, which will be hosted by actors Adam Green and Joel David Moore. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the movie starts at 8 p.m. No reservations are necessary and seats will be first come, first serve. Stone Street LA will also be offering cocktail specials and movie snack packs, along with the full food and cocktail menu, during the screenings. [More info]

Lovett or Leave It: Live or Else

Thursdays through November 4

Comedian and podcast host Jon Lovett is bringing his popular weekly live show Lovett or Leave It back to the Cinelounge Outdoors stage in Hollywood on September 23. Each Thursday night through November 4, Lovett will be joined by a hilarious guest like Emily Heller to discuss what’s going on in the news and more. General Admission tickets are $25 and VIP tickets are $50. All guests must present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the show to enter. [More info and tickets]

The Nightmare Before Christmas at El Capitan

Saturday, October 22-24 and Friday, October 29-31

Starting Friday, the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood will be screening Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D several times daily to get you hyped for the spooky season. Showtime starts at 9:55 p.m. each night. The event will also feature a themed photo mural wall before and after the show. Tickets are $12 per person no matter the age. [More info and tickets]

Endless Summer Spritz Bar with Lo-Fi Aperitifs

Fridays through October 29

Lo-Fi Aperitifs is teaming up with Hotel June to launch a poolside happy hour series, which will take place every Friday from 5-7 p.m. through October 29. The poolside Spritz Bar will be open to the public and all attendees will receive a token at entrance to trade in for a complimentary Lo-Fi Spritz. The event will also feature live music from DJ Lady Sinclair at each event. Visitors can purchase a pool pass for day-use access to loungers and poolside cabanas. [More info and tickets]

Ascension at Atwater Village Theater

Through Thursday, November 18

Ascension, the audience-interactive, sci-fi mystery thriller written by D.G. Watson and directed by Echo associate artistic director Ahmed Best, opens October 6 at the Atwater Village Theater. According to the theater, the play “strikes at the heart of our assumptions about faith, memory, and reality” as lead character Rebel (played by Charrell Mack, who received her M.F.A. from USC this spring) is trapped inside a long, narrow pod. No one knows that she’s there, but the audience is her only hope to escape. Performances are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays through November 18 and tickets start at $34. [More info and tickets]

Our Man in Santiago

Through Sunday, October 24

Emmy nominee and Writers Guild Awards winner Mark Wilding will be premiering his latest production, Our Man in Santiago, at Theatre West on Friday. The show is a comic spy thriller inspired by the story of the United State’s failed attempt to overthrow Chile’s democratically elected leader in the 1970s. Performances are scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and at 2 p.m. on Sundays through October 24. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Proof of vaccination will be required of all patrons. [More info and tickets]

Our Man in Santiago

Asphalt Comedy 

Saturdays through October 30 

If you’re craving some laughter, but don’t feel comfortable sitting in a comedy club around strangers just yet, try visiting the new outdoor theater experience Asphalt Comedy. Tammy Jo Dearen and Nikole Larson’s L.A. pop-up series, which was born during the pandemic, is returning for seven weeks of comedy starting September 18 and continuing through October 30. The seated, outdoor event will feature a different lineup each show, with comics like Iliza, Chris Redd, and Atsuko Okatsuka. Showtime is at 7:15 p.m. with tickets starting at $30. Food will also be available for purchase and alcohol is complimentary (you read that right!) with purchase of ticket. [More info and tickets

WithOthers’ No More Sidelines

Through Friday, October 29

WithOthers, a new media platform built to support the next generation of activists through music events, is launching a nine-day event series that runs from September 24 through October 29. The series will feature intimate live music performances from emerging artists like Lee Rodriguez, Fiona Grey, and TRISHES. There will also be music-led events to help raise money for nonprofits like the ACLU, the Loveland Foundation, and RAINN. All of the events are open-air, and attendees are required to show proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours. Ticket prices vary per show. [More info and tickets]

The Last Cruze at California African American Museum

Through March 20, 2022 

Stopping by a local museum to view artwork by diverse artists is always a good idea—and it’s free! LaToya Ruby Frazier, an acclaimed artist from Chicago, is bringing her traveling exhibition The Last Cruze to the California African American Museum beginning this week through March 20, 2022. The exhibit, which includes 66 photographs, video, and an architectural installation, chronicles the lives of workers at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, that shut down in 2019 due to the global outsourcing of labor, the growing demand of electric cars, and other circumstances. [More info]

Jazz at LACMA Limited Edition

Fridays through October 29

There are few things more pleasant than kicking off a little early and taking in a jazz concert in front of Urban Light at LACMA. The series is back for its 30th season, but with a new limited-capacity and ticketed (but still totally free) format for safety purposes. Tickets are already sold out for this Friday’s performance, but you can RSVP for future Fridays to see acts including Phil Ranelin and Leslie Bee. The shows are free and start at 6 p.m. [More info and RSVP]

immersive van gogh
Photo courtesy Immersive Van Gogh Los Angeles

Immersive Van Gogh

Through January 2022

The old Amoeba in Hollywood is looking mighty different these days. After a long build out, the space’s hallowed confines reopen this weekend as the home of Immersive Van Gogh, a walk-through experience that lets you hang out in Van Gogh’s most famous paintings (and even correspond with a AI version of the long-dead Dutchman). Opening weekend is sold out, but the show is open through the beginning of January 2022. [More info and tickets]

Nothing But Blk Flea Market

Ongoing

Many Black-owned businesses saw an influx of business following the global civil rights protests last summer. But that support shouldn’t stop a year later—or ever for that matter. Melanin Market L.A. makes it easy to support Black-owned businesses and vendors at their Nothing But Blk Market, which features an array of products ranging from jewelry, organic food and beverage, and beauty products. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Outdoor Promenade. [More info]

Smorgasburg L.A.

Sundays

Like most other things that are good, Smorgasburg L.A. had to pack it in and endure a long hiatus thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Sunday, July 4, the Brooklyn-transplanted outdoor food market returned to ROW DTLA with a bunch of new vendors, including some you’ve probably seen on Instagram and have been dying to try, like fried fish sandwich pop-up Little Fish and Caribbean street food pop-up Bridgetown Roti. According to organizers 75 percent of the markets former vendors will be returning too. The market runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and entry is free. [More info]

Pop-Up Drive-Ins and Outdoor Movies

Ongoing

Theaters are opening up again, but there’s still plenty of fun stuff to see at pop-up drive-ins and outdoor pop-ups throughout the region. This weekend’s offerings include Coming to America, Gone with the Wind, and more. [More info]

Chocolate Sundaes Comedy at The Laugh Factory Hollywood

Ongoing

This one of a kind comedy show, which features a mix of seasoned veterans and up-and-coming comics, takes place every Sunday at the infamous Laugh Factory on the Sunset Strip. Recent performers include the likes of Kevin Hart, Katt Williams and Tracy Morgan. It’s also not uncommon to catch a celebrity in the crowd as folks like Beyonce and husband Jay Z, Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner have showed up. [More info and tickets]

Chocolate Sundaes
Photo courtesy of chocolatesundaes.com/hollywood

Rights and Rituals: The Making of African American Debutante Culture

Through February 27, 2022

Debutante balls have existed since the 18th century, but there’s nuance to how they evolved in America. This exhibit at the California African American Museum takes a closer look at the role debutante balls have played in Black life, particularly in L.A., through photographs from the 1950s and ’60s culled from libraries and collections, in addition to gowns, souvenirs, oral interviews, and other objects. [More info]

Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK

Through 2023

Composer and sound artist Ellen Reid has created a soundtrack for your next walk in Griffith Park. Download the SOUNDWALK app to experience a public work of audio art that’s determined by which way you decide to walk (using GPS). “We miss our communities, and we miss the very thing that makes our cities special: the people,” Reid says. “I hope SOUNDWALK will inspire us and make us feel connected to something larger than ourselves.” [More info]

Vineland, Paramount, and Mission Tiki Drive-Ins

Ongoing

Pop-up screenings sell out fast, but the L.A. area’s stationary drive-ins don’t require advance tickets and have plenty of great movies to check out—and double features galore. It’s a throwback that’s become very welcome in the era of social distancing.

Stream away…

Ongoing

Check out what we have in this week’s roundup of streaming recommendations because sometimes the best things to do are the most low-effort of all.

Looking for even more things to watch, eat, and do during the COVID-19 outbreak? Check out our Inside Guide.


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