As we often see on big holiday weekends, formal events are slightly less numerous this week than in non-holiday weekends…but there’s still plenty to do.
For anime fans, this is a really big weekend…with the huge Anime Expo running June 30-July 4 at the L.A. Convention Center. The event includes panel discussions, celebrity guests, parties and dances, anime-related vendors, autograph signings, and plenty of workshops on everything from cosplay makeup to armor. See the link above for full schedule and ticket information.
At noon on Saturday, you can start celebrating the Fourth a bit early, with a Red, White and BBQ bash at the new Start Los Angeles Gallery, 2270 Venice Blvd. The event will include classic cook-out fare from Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, the Carving Board, Cheezus and Lucille’s BBQ, a beer garden by Golden Road Brewing, an interactive social booth from Francis Coppola Diamond Collection wines, great music from a live DJ and fun games to play. Charity partner Inspiring Artisic Minds will also be on hand, providing both bartenders and information about its services.
While some kinds of special events step aside for big holidays, movies are always an option. And our local vintage film organizations will all be in full swing this weekend. On Saturday (or Sunday) at 2 p.m., you can head over to the New Beverly, 7165 Beverly Blvd., for its weekly kiddie matinee. This week it’s “The Last Starfighter,” in which a young video game whiz is whisked away from his humdrum life to fight a horde of very real alien invaders.
Later, at 5 p.m., you can enjoy some fresh air and music in Hancock Park (adjacent to LACMA), with the group Conjunto Costazul. Founded by brothers Freddie and Johnny Crespo, the group is known for its energetic New York swing sound performed by some of salsa’s finest musicians. With its successful track record and popularity over the years, Costazul has extended its appearances to clubs, museums, and festivals in San Diego, Santa Barbara, Northern California, and Las Vegas. The concert is free and open to the public.
If you’re interested in more vintage movies, though, you could just stay in the dark all night long. First up, back at the New Beverly, there’s more sci fi goodness with a double feature of “2010: The Year We Make Contact” (a sequel to the classic “2001”), in which a group of American and Soviet astronauts head off on a journey to solve the mysteries of the original expedition nine years earlier), at 6:00 p.m. Then, at 8:25, there’s “Interstellar,” in which Matthew McConaughey stars as the potential savior of planet Earth when he’s enlisted by NASA to search for a group of astronauts who may be lost in space.
Also, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theater, you could take in a 30th anniversary screening of another Stanley Kubrick classic, “Full Metal Jacket,” a brilliant saga about the Vietnam war and the dehumanizing process that turns people into trained killers.
On Sunday, July 2, LACMA gets into a high tech groove as it opens a new “conceptual virtual reality installation,” Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible), which explores the human condition of immigrants and refugees. Based on true accounts, the museum’s description of the work says “the superficial lines between subject and bystander are blurred and bound together, allowing individuals to walk in a vast space and thoroughly live a fragment of the refugees’ personal journeys.” The vehicle is a 6 ½-minute virtual reality sequence employing state-of-the-art immersive technology to create a multi-narrative light space with human characters.
Later on Sunday, you could go back to the movies – and back to the beach – as Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax, hosts a classic beach party double feature of “Where the Boys Are” and “Beach Blanket Bingo” at 5 p.m. “Boys” was the earliest (1960) entry in the kitchy beach movie genre, featuring Connie Francis, Yvette Mimieux, Dolores Hart and Paula Prentiss as “college co-ed cuties.” “Beach Blanket Bingo,” from 1965, shows the genre in full flower, and featuring its biggest stars, Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, with cameos by Paul Lynde, Don Rickes and, yes, even Buster Keaton. Tickets are free for Cinefamily members; $12 for non-members.
If you’re in a more serious mood, though, you could head back to LACMA on Sunday evening, for a 6 p.m. concert by the Encore Saxophone Quartet in the Bing Theater. The quartet, which will perform music by Bevan Manson, Lance Trevino, Joseph Trapanese, Peter Golub, Scott Joplin, Bob Mintzer, and Grammy-award winner Bill Cunliffe, consists of Douglas Masek (recognized as one of today’s foremost exponents of contemporary saxophone music), Ken Foerch, David Brennan, and Damon Zick. The performance is free and open to the public.
And finally on Sunday, for those who’d like to keep swinging well into the evening, as well as start heating up for the Fourth a bit early, Clifton’s Downtown will host The Clifton’s Canteen, a tribute to classic 1940s USO Shows. Brush off your ’40s fashion, punch up your dance card, and fill up on food and drinks with your ration card while flashing back to an era gone by…when the Andrew Sisters and the stars of the ’40s entertain the troops with standards that you know and love, all played by a jazzy hot band. Pre-show activities start at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7. General admission is $10 per person, but please note that very limited seating is available and entry is on a first come, first serve basis only.
Have a great weekend…and a great holiday!