A rare outlet for commercially sanctioned laughter in downtown Los Angeles, Garrett Morris’ Downtown Blues and Comedy Club helps visitors escape the stresses of the workweek with a rotating stable of top-tier standup talent every Friday and Saturday. Comic legend Garrett Morris, now seen as Earl on CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, hosts showcases of comic talent with charming wit and tales of how he outlived the original cast of Saturday Night Live. The bill remains consistently loaded with fresh-faced and seasoned funny folk, with past luminaries including George Lopez, Margaret Cho, and Wayne Brady, along with aspiring stars in the twilight before their first mismatched-marriage sitcom.
Keeping true to its name and Morris’ roots in the New Orleans music scene, the venue often punctuates its comedy shows with performances from top blues artists—including Morris himself, who has lent his soulful pipes to the Harry Belafonte Singers—that add melody to the mirth. While weekend shows feature Garrett’s hosting and harmonies along with the headlining acts, the Thursday Night Experience allows youthful burgeoning comics and musicians to hog the spotlight.
Situated on the rooftop of a local parking garage, Electric Dusk Drive-In is a high-altitude destination for a classic cinematic experience. The soundtracks of time-tested favorites and current releases stream out of car radios tuned to the theater’s FM station. In front of the screen, a spacious patch of astroturf grows from the concrete, inviting on-foot viewers to lounge in camp chairs as they watch. Carhops weave from vehicle to vehicle to deliver orders of popcorn, burgers, and sodas, as well as eclectic treats such as oatmeal-cookie pies, cups of ramen, and honey-glazed film reels.
Thread regales discerning aesthetes with a sweeping spectacle assembled by up-to-the-minute fashion professionals and populated by more than 100 designers, including Grammatique, Crow Thief, and DonDeMarco. VIPs may enjoy a complimentary drink from the bar while perusing the wares of multitudinous trendsetting fashion fashioners, whose panache bridges the gap between mainstream style and couture as smoothly as a velour trucker hat.
This weekend, the second-annual Los Angeles Music Video Festival kicks off a two-night jubilee of cinematic orchestration, ending with an awards ceremony for the best representatives from each of five categories. Genres include tribute videos, narrative videos, comedy videos, student films, and non-narrative productions. Between screenings, attendees listen to DJ-spun tunes, sate cravings at food trucks, and sit in on a panel of industry insiders as they discuss topics such as The Business of Music Videos and The Comedy Music Video. A keynote presentation by Eric Wareheim, known for his television shows, Tom Goes to the Mayor and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, at 9:30 p.m. on Friday fans the flames of the crowd before heralding other workshops and live musical performances. The festival proper wraps up at 10:30 p.m. both days, followed by a free-wheeling after-party in the lobby to benefit OMG! Cameras Everywhere! a nonprofit arts program that encourages creativity in Los Angeles–area kids.
On the fourth Sunday of every month, Downtown Flea transforms four parking lots into a party, and turns the traditional flea market experience on its ear. Indie designers, crafts folks, vintage retailers, food trucks, and a DJ collide, then stand back up and welcome guests to an all-day event that eliminates the musty enclosed markets and drags shopping excursions in the open air. VIP passes let guests take a load off in the Chill Lounge, sip complimentary drinks, and use upgraded restrooms, but every visitor can browse the wares of the eclectic vendors or participate in a monthly scavenger hunt to earn Flea Bucks. Recent participants include Cigar Box Guitars, Blossom Vintage, and Combustion Glassworks.
Vancouver hometown heroes Theory of a Deadman return to their roost in an exertive panorama of stadium-sized riffs and hard-rocking party anthems. Like the letter E at an optometrist’s office, the band has grown accustomed to the top of the charts, with mainstream rock hits such as “Lowlife” and “Bad Girlfriend” and the life-affirming sing-along “Hate My Life.” Stuffing kevlar crunch, post-grunge, and rockabilly into its sonic calzone, Theory of a Deadman dethaws January fans with seasoned classics and newborn cuts from its latest smash The Truth Is…. Locally acclaimed indie rockers Louder Than Love whet aural appetites in their opening performance as they juggle genres without falling off their tandem unicycle.