All day: Festival
Sample food from outstanding chefs, dance to live music under the stars and enjoy a preview by the L.A. Opera at this weekend’s Best of L.A. Festival. Participating chefs include Peter Roelant (Four Oaks), Larry Nicola (Nic’s), Suzanne Tracht (Jozu), Gina De Cew and Wolfgang Puck (Spago) and others. Music from Lisa Haley & the Zydecats, the Wild Colonials, the Polyester Players, the Groove Daddies and the Venice Youth Pops Orchestra will be offered, along with the L.A. Waiter’s Relay Race, wine tasting and cooking demonstrations. The festival is presented by Los Angeles Magazine, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Public Education Programs.
* Best of L.A. Festival, 5-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1685 Main St., Santa Monica. $10; seniors, $5; children under 12, $2. (888) BEST-OF-LA.
7:30 & 10:30 pm: Pop Music
After years of woodshedding in the shadows, Sean Lennon--the son of Yoko Ono and the late John Lennon--has finally stepped out with a disarmingly charming debut album, “Into the Sun.” The Troubadour shows mark his first formal appearance here since the album’s release in May.
* Sean Lennon at the Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. $12. (310) 276-6168.
10 pm: Latin Pop
The international hit “La Gota Fria,” now a classic in Latin pop, turned Colombia’s Carlos Vives into a major star and introduced his country’s bouncy vallenato style to the world. His pop-flavored updating of the traditional form will be on display for three nights at the House of Blues.
* Carlos Vives at the House of Blues, 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. $50. Also Saturday at 10 p.m., Sunday at 8 p.m. (323) 848-5100.
All day: Movies
On D-Day, U.S. Army Capt. John Miller (Tom Hanks) is ordered to take his squad behind enemy lines to rescue a paratrooper named James Ryan (Matt Damon) in Steven Spielberg’s tense World War II drama “Saving Private Ryan.” The film, which also stars Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore and Jeremy Davies, is rated R for intense, prolonged, realistically graphic sequences of war violence, and for language.
* “Saving Private Ryan” opens Friday in general release.
Freebie: Music from Velas, Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Westwood, 6:30 p.m. (310) 824-6365.
8 pm: Dance
As part of the Cal State Long Beach Summer Arts series, the eight-member Bebe Miller Dance Company previews “Going to the Wall,” its modern dance exploration of race, class and identity, in the Carpenter Center. Featuring text and choreography by Miller, as well as an original score by Don Byron, the work will receive its official premiere in New York City this fall. The Miller company is best known for extremely hard-driving contemporary innovation, qualities to be further displayed when Miller showcases her dance workshop during the “Student Culmination” programs Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Knobel Dance Theater, adjacent to the center.
* “Going to the Wall,” Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach. $8, students; $9, seniors, CSU faculty and staff; $12, general admission. (562) 985-7000.
10 am: Art
Hand-painted movie posters from the silent era display a dramatic flair for advertising in “Batiste Madalena--Original Movie Poster Paintings From the Silent Era,” opening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Working from press stills sent to the George Eastman Theater in Rochester, N.Y., Madalena painted more than 1,300 original movie posters for the theater, including portraits of silent greats Greta Garbo, Rudolph Valentino, Lionel Barrymore and Mary Pickford. The exhibition features 70 works, as well as poster-related sketches and reference stills.
* “Batiste Madalena--Original Movie Poster Paintings From the Silent Era,” Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Ends Oct. 4. Gallery hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m. Free. (310) 247-3600.