Beyond fireworks: Other fun ways to celebrate Fourth of July in L.A. and O.C.

Fireworks burst in the air above the Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl’s annual celebration of the Fourth returns Saturday and Sunday, but other options abound.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

But wait, there’s more!

Fireworks shows across Southern California will provide the usual Fourth of July pyrotechnics, but what if you want to celebrate another way? Skip the noise and smoke for a classic summer movie or a bubble festival for the kids, a salute to the Beatles or an immersive art installation.

Here’s our shortlist of cultural offerings and family-friendly outings this Independence Day weekend.

It’s Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw versus the biggest shark you ever did see in Steven Spielberg’s taut and terrifying 1975 thriller that basically invented the summer blockbuster. American Cinematheque, Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. $8, $13.


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“Portraits of Freedom: Building a Life in L.A.”
This monthlong outdoor art installation in DTLA explores the richness and diversity found in our fair city through photography and video exhibitions plus a nighttime projection installation. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Thursday through July 31. Free.

Bring the kids to an event that includes science demonstrations, a laser show, interactive exhibits, paddleboats and an inflatable obstacle course. Discovery Cube Orange County, 2500 N. Main St., Santa Ana. 11 a.m., 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m. Friday through July 18. $10, $12; advance timed-entry tickets required.

“The Plastic Bag Store”
Brooklyn-based artist Robin Frohardt tackles the topic of plastic waste in this satirical work that can be experienced two ways: as an art installation staged to look like your average grocery store, and as an immersive performance that includes a puppet film, live actors and handmade sets. Presented by UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance. 661 Imperial St., downtown L.A. Various dates and times through July 11 (closed July 4). Installation: $10 suggested donation. Immersive experience: $15, $35; advance timed-entry tickets required for each.

A James Baldwin-William F. Buckley Jr. debate is fodder for a REDCAT presentation, and CAP UCLA’s “Plastic Bag Store: The Film” mixes gravity with whimsy.

“Con Afecto y Armonía — Baroque Music of Latin America and Spain”
Early-music ensemble Tesserae Baroque performs works by composers from Aristondo to Zumaya in this outdoor concert. Villa del Sol d’Oro, 675 W Highland Ave., Sierra Madre. 5 p.m. Saturday. $20-$35.

“Independence Day”
It’s Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith versus the biggest alien spaceships you ever did see in this blockbuster 1996 sci-fi/action thriller. Part of OC Parks’ Sunset Cinema Series. Carbon Canyon Regional Park, 4442 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea. 8 p.m. Friday. Free.

“Legacies of Exchange: Chinese Contemporary Art From the Yuz Foundation”
Works by Ai Weiwei, Huang Yong Ping and others will be on display in this exhibition presented in partnership with the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Sunday through March 13. Closed Wednesdays. $10-$25; kids 12 and younger are free; discounts for L.A. County residents. (323) 857-6010.

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“Come Together”
Members of Ensemble Theatre Company sing songs by the Beatles in this musical revue that doubles as a fundraiser for the troupe’s education and outreach programs. Godric Grove, Elings Park, 1298 Las Positas Road, Santa Barbara. 3 p.m. Saturday. $25, $50.

“Top Gun”
Tom Cruise feels the need — the need for speed — as a cocky U.S. Navy fighter pilot in director Tony Scott’s 1986 action drama. Hollywood Legion Theater at Post 43, 2035 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. 3 p.m. Saturday. $14-$20; advance purchase required.

Hawaiian Music Festival
Feel the vibes with this family-friendly outdoor show featuring vocalist Aolani Kaeka-Preuss and Grammy-winning slack-key guitarist Jim “Kimo” West. Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave., Fullerton. 7:30 p.m. Thursday. $15-$30; advance purchase required.

“July 4th Fireworks Spectacular”
We couldn’t have a Fourth of July roundup without the Hollywood Bowl. The landmark will be swingin’ once again when R&B veterans Kool & the Gang share the stage with conductor Thomas Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra for two nights of classic dance hits and patriotic favorites. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N., Highland Ave., Hollywood. 7:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $26-$167.

“July 4 Spectacular: The Elton John Tribute”
Pacific Symphony, under the baton of principal pops conductor Richard Kaufman, is joined by an Elton John tribute band for an ample selection of the Rocket Man’s hits. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine. 8 p.m. Sunday. $25 and up.