Weekly Fun: Events to Guide Your Free Time

Photo: kevharb/Flickr/Creative Commons License

When you live in Los Angeles, there's never any shortage of things to take in. It just so happens that this week may offer more opportunities to swallow up the tastes and culture of the city than any other in recent memory. There are free-wheeling discussions about climate change, art openings, and gratis museum tours. Oh, and if you hadn't heard, it's also Dine L.A. Restaurant Week.

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First things first, we need to talk about Restaurant Week. Dine L.A. Restaurant Week occurs a few times a year, and generally succeeds in stuffing the reservation books of most of the city's best eateries. The idea is simple: curate prix fixe menus for discerning diners at many of the city's finest restaurants, and keep the costs low so that legions of formerly priced-out patrons can expand their horizons. The event has proven so popular over the years that there's hardly a notable restaurant that isn't on the list, and this go-round is no exception. From Abigaile in Hermosa Beach to Waterloo & City, there are dining opportunities for everyone, and with dinner menu prices topping out at $45, most folks should be able to swing a night or two.

Not to be outdone, Long Beach has put together their own Dining Out in Long Beach week, focused mainly on their lively downtown scene. As an added bonus, many of the city's hotspots are going crazy for fromage, creating special menus and cheese flights from January 21st - 27th. Everyone is getting in on the action, including Greek cafes, pizzerias and award-winning Beachwood BBQ & Brewing. All in all, it should make for a seriously savory week.

If you'd rather spend your lunch break taking in art instead of cheeses, head over to the Hammer Museum on Wednesday for their recurring Lunchtime Art Talk series. There, curators and art historians will tackle one topic in depth, to provide an understanding of particular artists or periods of work in ways that may not be possible with a simple guided tour. This Wednesday, the Hammer will be discussing Francisco Goya, the Spanish painter long considered to be the first modern artist.

There are other ways to snack on art this weekend, as well. The 18th annual L.A. Art Show takes over downtown's Convention Center, with thousands of square feet dedicated to some of the world's best artists. There will be an array of curators and galleries on hand, each showcasing their works to form a larger West Coast art narrative. The show will feature an opening reception on Wednesday night, before running through the weekend. $20 single-day general admission passes are available, while $40 will get you the full weekend. But if that's too much coin, don't worry, the rest of L.A.'s got you covered. Museums and galleries from the Getty to the Museum of Tolerance will be opening their doors to anyone who wishes to enter, free of charge. Dubbed the Museum Free-For-All, the two-day only event hopes to promote the existence and expansion of the arts throughout Los Angeles county. There certainly are plenty of opportunities to experience the best in art and history, and when there's no charge, there's also no excuse not to.

Finally, you can make your way down to USC's Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism on Thursday night for a frank discussion on climate change. Playfully dubbed ClimatePalooza, the mega-discussion will feature a series of panels hosted by notables from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the greater scientific community. Topics revolving around (and impacted by) climate change that are expected to be discussed include morality, public policy and science as a whole. So if you can't find something to do this week, from food to science to art, you simply aren't trying hard enough.

For more weekly events visit kcet.org/events.

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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