Weekly Fun: Events to Guide Your Free Time

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This week, Los Angeles seems to have a lot to talk about. There are discussions, seminars, panels, plays and festivals surrounding the spoken word all throughout the city, with topics that are sure to please even the most hardened listener. Take a look at our constantly updated events page for a full listing of all the great food, art and culture events going down this week and beyond.

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First up is a discussion of food, and the growing voice it has in defining our lives. Neelam Sharma and Peter Capone-Newton of the Geffen School of Medicine lead a symposium on the realities of food-strapped families in Los Angeles. Titled Hungry & Heavy - Food Insecurity in Los Angeles, the pair will tackle tough concepts such as food deserts, economic disadvantages and cultural disparities within the food systems of our fair city. The free event takes place midday on the UCLA campus. Later, in Hollywood, you can spend An Evening with Anthony Bourdain and Roy Choi. The two food-centric chefs, scribes and avid eaters will sit down at the Pantages Theater to discuss their stardom, swap stories and offer a glance into the realities of working in a kitchen. And on Wednesday, noted Brazilian chef Alex Atala will take his TED-style talk called Primitive x Modern: Cultural Interpretations of Flavors to the Moore Hall at UCLA. The award-winning chef will discuss his passion for science and anthropology, and how the convergence of those elements inside his kitchen have made him one of the best chefs in the world.

For some of the stodgier folks looking to make a night of it, there are plenty of other talks happening around town. On Wednesday, Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten will be hosting his own Town Hall Los Angeles, an ongoing speaking series at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel downtown. The late morning ticket will set you back $75, but may prove invaluable to capitalists and business sharks, as Kasten will discuss his winning secrets to building successful businesses and capturing a client base. For those in search of brevity, the two-day Zero Film Festival will also commence on Wednesday night. The annual event celebrates the best in truly no-budget filmmaking, with screenings taking place at Space 15 Twenty in Hollywood and elsewhere. Or, hold out for the weekend to enjoy the talkiest two days this town has to offer: the L.A. Times Festival of Books. The Saturday and Sunday panels at USC cover a range of topics, and offer insights from some of the best literary minds still ticking. Margaret Atwood will be in attendance, as will Joyce Carol Oates and dozens more denizens of the written word. The festival is free, but a $30 pass gets you access to up to eight Conversation panels, which almost always fill up in advance. Plan accordingly!

Maybe you're not the talking type after all. For those of you who just want to get out there and do, there's still reason to celebrate this week. There's a beer-laced Chinatown Dim Sum Crawl going down on Thursday night, with local craft beers merging up with small plates institutions like Hop Woo for a night of culinary revelry. And if you haven't had enough to eat, you can fill up all over again at Saturday's Taco Madness Party at downtown's Grand Park. Put on by the folks at L.A. Taco, the event will feature some of the city's best taquerias all in one place, serving up their signature dishes in an easygoing pay-as-you-eat format. Not a bad way to spend your Saturday. Of course, you'll want to work off all those calories at Sunday's CicLAvia, the street closing bike festival that has expanded this year to create a route to the ocean. Now, ambitious riders can dash from downtown to the sea without fear of being run down from behind by enraged motorists or inept drivers. The all ages event also just makes for great city sightseeing, even if you don't have the legs to make it all the way to the beach and back.

For talkers and doers alike, there's something to enjoy this week in Los Angeles. As always, there are far more events happening around town than we've got space for here, so be sure to check out our updated events page for all of the latest in great events going down in Southern California.

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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