AFI Festival The American Film Institute Festival kicks off Thursday with a week's worth of cutting-edge screenings in Hollywood at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the Egyptian, Mann's Chinese 6 and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. With David Lynch serving as guest artistic director, the festival will showcase anticipated films such as "Blue Valentine," with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams; and "The King's Speech," with Colin Firth. Locations, times and ticket prices vary. Friday through Nov. 11. http://www.afi.com.
Los Angeles Comedy Festival Now in its eighth season, the Los Angeles Comedy Festival is a showcase of all things funny — including stand-up performances, sketch, improv, short films and features — and a medley of live performances and screenings of comedic films from across the country. Highlights include alternative stand-up from melon-smashing Gallagher, improv from the Younger Statesmen and much more. ACME Comedy Theatre, 135 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. 7:30 p.m. Friday through Nov. 21. Check website for additional times. $10 online, $15 at the door. http://www.lacomedyfest.com.
Los Angeles Taste of the World Festival In a city well known for its international dining options, the inaugural Los Angeles Taste of the World Festival showcases the food and culture of Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and the Americas. Restaurants, vendors and food trucks will serve small plates ranging from $1 to $7 apiece. Los Angeles Center Studios, 1201 W. 5th St., L.A. 5-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. $10 for one day, $24 for three-day pass. (877) 458-2783. http://www.tasteoftheworldfestival.com.
Mavis Staples and Billy Bragg Social issues and soulful music will share the stage when Billy Bragg and Mavis Staples co-headline a show at UCLA's flagship performance venue, Royce Hall. Staples, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee from the Windy City, and Bragg, a folkie and political activist from across the pond, have long histories of speaking out for causes dear to their hearts, but don't expect a political rally: Bragg's and Staples' invigorating music speaks for itself. Royce Hall, UCLA Campus, 340 Royce Drive, L.A. 8 p.m. Fri. $33-$58. http://www.uclalive.org.
Massive Attack and Thievery Corporation The Trip-hop progenitors are back in action with a new album, "Heligoland," featuring collaborations with Damon Albarn, Hope Sandoval and Guy Garvey of Elbow, just to name a few. For this leg of its world tour, they will be joined by electronica masters (and political activists) Thievery Corporation. Catch them at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Friday, and the Gibson Amphitheatre on Sunday, as part of LA Weekly's "LA 101" music fest. Santa Barbara Bowl, 1122 N. Milpas, Santa Barbara. 6:30 p.m. Friday $50-$73. (805) 962-7411. http://www.sbbowl.com. Gibson Amphitheatre, 100 Universal City Plaza. 3 p.m. Sun. $52-$98. (818) 777-3931. http://www.citywalkhollywood.com.