This weekend: Grand performances by Phranc, gyoza chomping eating competitors, and Mr. Hedwig himself.
- Yeah, your friends who just don’t understand can roll your eyes at you all they want, but I’m 100% with you on this one: Hold Up Art presents “Art from a Galaxy Far, Far Away”, an exhibition dedicated to artwork inspired by the Star Wars universe. Professional artists Randy Martinez and Denise Vasquez will be on hand during the opening reception, and Vasquez will show off her own unique version of Darth Vader’s helmet. I think we found the droids we were looking for. Free. 7pm to 11pm, with the exhibit running until September 15 at Hold Up Gallery, 358 E. Second Street in Downtown.
- You can’t go a weekend this days without running into at least one craft beer event. This weekend, it’s Long Beach’s turn to drink up the suds, with the Taste of the Brews Fest bringing over 50 different breweries to the city for responsible sampling, and maybe some beer education too. Bottoms up. $40+, includes bottomless mug. General admission hours 1pm to 4pm at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach.
- Without Phranc, there would have been no Ani DiFranco: Phranc did for the lesbian folk music scene what Peter, Paul & Mary did for the straight one. That said, it would be a shame to just box her as simply a genderqueer musician; her stuff is good, no matter what colors are on your flag. She and Peter Case will share the stage at Grand Performances, permeating the downtown skyline with a bit of folksy rock. Free. 8pm at California Plaza in Downtown.
- “Is Keanu Reeves a Good Actor?” is part of the headline of a recent Los Angeles Times blog about whether, yes, Neo is a good actor or not, or whether it really doesn’t matter because he somehow does exactly what he needs to do. If you must pass judgment, it’s only fair to judge his best work. Which brings me to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the next installment of Devil’s Night Drive In’s bi-monthly movie night. This movie is the one that launched Reeves’ career, and set the stage for us to forever ponder whether Keanu Reeves’ halting diction indicates he is a terrible actor, or whether his method acting is so amazing that he truly did embody the spirit of a stoned teen. Does it really matter either way? $10. Gates at 6:30pm on the second floor roof parking lot of 240 W. 4th Street.
- This year’s World Gyoza Eating Championship has a formidable contestant: one Sonya Thomas, the so-called “Black Widow” who weighs something like 100 pounds and will eat something like a quarter of her weight in gyozas on Saturday. The contestants have 10 minutes to eat as many as they can; Joey Chestnut set the record a while back with 231 down the hatch. Aiya. Free. 1:30pm at JACC Plaza in Little Tokyo.
- They’re just boobies, people. Desensitize yourselves at the Fourth Annual Go Topless Day in Venice. Women will hide their nipples with latex nipple covers that look like nipples (that is, apparently, as topless as Venice laws will permit); men will cover their tops as women are required to do; both hopefully will wear enough sunblock. The event is supposed to highlight the double standard when it comes to who is permitted to be topless and who is not; it’s a cultural standard hiding under a corporate dress code. At least, give us casual Friday. Free. Meet at 2pm at Ocean Front Walk at Navy.
- Love cookbooks as much as I do? Then let’s agree to be civil to each other as we peruse the many, many boxes and milk crates full of used cookbooks at the Culinary Historians’ annual Used Cookbook Sale. As it has most years, the sale will take place at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market so you can pick up a sweet white nectarine and figure out how to use it in a clafloutis, all in the same morning. That’s way more productive than I am on a weekday morning. Free. 8am until the books are gone, or the market closes, whichever comes first, at the Hollywood Farmers Market in Hollywood.
- Wherever you live, trekking out to Boyle Heights is well worth it at least once: the food and history of the neighborhood goes back as far as the city itself. Explore the area through Grand Performances and LA Commons’ Trekking LA: Boyle Heights walking tour. You’ll learn all about the neighborhood’s strongly Jewish background and see how it transitioned to the predominantly Mexican community it is today. Stop in a Guisados or Antijitos Carmen when you get hungry. $25. 3pm starting at Breed Street Shul, 247 N. Breed St. in Boyle Heights.
- This is not my thing. If it were my thing, I’d be planning my outfit right now. John Cameron Mitchell, people, John Cameron Mitchell, PJ DeBoy, and Paul Dawson bring their famed New York Mattachine to LA. To say it will be a dance “party” is to understate it quite a bit. This is going to be a rock gala crossed with the best queer bash you ever went to. $3 at the door. 9pm at La Cita in Downtown.