Weekly Fun: Events to Guide Your Free Time

It's the first week of October and the temperatures are still soaring. It's almost enough to make someone want to stay inside forever. Almost. Then, you remember that this is Los Angeles, and there's always something really great to do. We certainly couldn't list them all here, but we've found a few that we're excited to share.

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First up is Drago Centro's newest fall cocktail list. The downtown Italian hotspot is already known for their innovative libations and friendly bar staff, but on Wednesday they're completely revamping their drinks menu to usher in the fall season (not that it feels like fall out there). Bar manager Jaymee Mandeville has been busy at work putting new twists on contemporary favorites, like her new Autumn's Deluge, a bright, fruity drink made with Karlsson's Vodka. Instead of the usual $12 fee for such a taste, the Wednesday's unveiling will see the prices drop to $8 for the evening. For a different way to ring in October, consider Shriekfest 2012, the long-running indie horror film screening and scriptwriting competition. The weekend event kicks off on Thursday night with an opening gala before shifting over to Raleigh Studios on Melrose for the screenings. Beyond a good scare, the fest also includes fantasy, sci-fi and all things macabre.

With all that cinematic bloodshed, you might in need of a weekend refresher. In that case, lighten your load with the uplifting sounds of jazz, courtesy of the Angel City Jazz Festival. Running through the first two weekends in October, the expansive event covers venues from downtown's REDCAT to Miracle Mile's LACMA and out to Royce Hall at UCLA. Or, grab a free Friday night seat out at the Santa Monica Pier for the second week of their fall outdoor cinema series. Dubbed Front Porch Cinema, the public event will be screening the popular Hunger Games once the sun goes down. There will also be plenty of food vendors on hand, plus the slow and gentle crashing of the waves. Not a bad way to start your weekend.

If it's festivals you want, the weekend's got you covered. BAM Fest 2012 enters its third year as Santa Monica's premiere beer festival, with a little art and music thrown in for good measure. The Saturday session costs $40 presale or $45 at the door, but features plenty of craft beer and local artists, all hawking their wares and generally having a good time. Or, save your energy for Sunday, when downtown's Olvera Street kicks their mole game into high gear. More than a dozen different versions will be in large supply at the Feria de Los Moles, with a bit of friendly competition coming from those representing either the Puebla-style or Oaxaca-style version. Either way you win, with an all day event featuring various cultural celebrations and plenty to eat. And to think, you can ride your bike there, courtesy of CicLAvia, the Sunday street celebration that offers riders and walkers the opportunity to take back downtown. And now, with expanded access into East L.A. and South L.A., there's no excuse not to get out and enjoy yourself on the open asphalt this weekend. But really, with this many great events happening all across Los Angeles, it would be hard not to enjoy yourself at least a little bit.

About the Author

Farley Elliott is a freelance food writer and comedian. He currently writes for KCET.org, SeriousEats.com, LAist.com, and L.A. Weekly. You can catch Farley doing comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Hollywood.
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