Weekly Fun: Events to Guide Your Free Time

Photo: John_Boylan/Flickr/Creative Commons License

The summer blockbuster films are pouring into theaters now, but that doesn't mean you can't still catch a classic for cheap. Around Los Angeles, there are countless opportunities to see films for just a few bucks, including some of the best cinema that's ever been made. This week, there are lots of screenings, lectures and festivals to keep you busy, no matter what sort of stuff you're into.

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On Wednesday, the New Beverly Cinema will run a Terrence Malick double feature, with his popular To The Wonder film and 2011's Tree of Life. Just don't expect Malick to make an appearance himself. If you'd rather, you can snatch a $20 ticket for a rare screening of 1925's Ben-Hur at downtown's Orpheum Theatre. The old-timey screening is part of the L.A. Conservancy's plans to pare classic films with historic movie houses from days gone by. Then on Thursday, get to Silver Lake for a free outdoor screening of the cult classic comedy Wet Hot American Summer. It's part of the summertime Silver Lake Picture Show, which takes over the turf at the Sunset Triangle Plaza. And if you'd rather get a little misty-eyed, spend Thursday evening with a Cinefamily tribute to Roger Ebert.

If you'd rather experience some talking, you can listen to noted author Neil Gaiman wax poetic in Glendale about his body of work on Thursday evening. The man behind Coraline, American Gods and the Sandman comic book series will sit down with Entertainment Weekly writer Geoff Boucher to, among other things, touch on Gaiman's new novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Up in the Ojai Valley, you can spend an entire day listening to people talk about flowers at the annual Lavender Festival. The decade old event looks to educate outsiders to the popular plant and expound on the Mediterranean climate that has long served Southern California well. Or spend your Saturday in the Palisades with the TEDx Pacific Palisades conference. The lecture series will focus on connections between different entities, and will use a variety of speakers -- from a former UFC fighter to a young adult author -- to hammer home their point.

On the food and drink front, you can start with Taste at The Grove. The weekend-long event will focus on prix fixe menus for many of the restaurants at The Grove, from Umami Burger to Sprinkles Cupcakes. There will also be a main stage full of cooking demonstrations from noted chefs throughout Los Angeles. Over at the Rose Bowl, the field will be full of food trucks, stalls and stands for the annual L.A. Street Food Fest. It's going to be hot and crowded for all the hungry folks, so plan accordingly, especially if you'd like a rib from the Bigmista BBQ folks or some shrimp tacos from the Mariscos Jaliscos truck. And up north, the Santa Barbara Wine Festival promises an afternoon escape to the true tastes of summer. Central Coast wines and vino from around the world will come together at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, so grab a ticket if you still can.

Of course, there are lots more events happening around Los Angeles this week than we could ever hope to list here, so be sure to check out KCET's constantly updated Events listings and stay informed.

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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