Leslie's List: Comedy Nights, Fall Hits, and Cozy Blankets

The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
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The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
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Last week, I kicked off the first-ever Leslie's List, a to-do list culled directly from my own calendar and interests. Most everything on the list can be done no matter where you live, but because I live in my L.A., my "Do" each week will spotlight a unique L.A.-based event or activity. If you're inspired by any of these tips or have some of your own to add, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below! Enjoy!

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If you're game for some comedic relief (and who isn't?) there are plenty of opportunities in Los Angeles to get your belly laugh on—for next to nothing. On the first and third Monday of every month at 7:30 PM, Karl Hess and Nick Rutherford host a free comedy show at the Bootleg Theater near Koreatown called "That's Gold!" If Mondays aren't a good night for you, try Upright Citizens' Brigade's "Fresh Out" show every Thursday night at 8:30 PM for $5. Chances are I'll be there! If you aren't in L.A., check out this great This American Life episode, which covers a French comedian's (Gad Elmaleh) hilarious and confusing experience after testing out his renowned French stand-up routines in the States.

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When I made this recipe for Gjelina's Brussels sprouts with dates and bacon earlier this week, I ate my entire serving out of the pan before I could even get it onto my plate. The next night, I tried again but ended up doing the exact same thing—in my defense, the rice and roast chicken I made to eat alongside it took forty minutes, while this dish only takes about fifteen. I guess that officially makes it an appetizer. It's the perfect balance of sweet and salty, and even though I can't completely understand why anyone would ever dislike Brussels sprouts, I promise this will convince even the most vehement sprouts-haters otherwise.

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Last weekend, I was in Big Sur, which aside from being one of the most beautiful places in the world, is also one of the most relaxing. I took advantage of the rainy weather to finally read a book that had been recommended to me repeatedly, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It took me two tries to get into it, but once I got past page 100 I literally couldn't put it down (I stayed up one night until 5:30 AM reading it, then woke up at 7:00 AM to continue—it's that good). I don't want to reveal too much about the plot, since that's part of the joy of reading it, but it's a haunting tale about four friends, one of whom is struggling to live with his unimaginably terrible childhood.

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When Emily told me she wasn't a huge fan of the new HBO show, Westworld, we joked that every reason she listed for not liking it ("too much sci fi," "too many story lines at once") was one more thing convincing me I had to watch it. I love that it's a completely addictive, brand-new take on Artificial Intelligence and its potential for total disaster. While I'm on the topic, if you haven't already seen Ex Machina, I highly recommend you rent it—it provides a unique, chilling commentary on what creating robots with a consciousness can lead to.

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JoJo's new album, Mad Love is her first official release after ten years of being tied up in legal battles over a bad contact with her former label (mixtapes like her 2012 release, Agápē, fell into a loophole). The album as a whole isn't amazing, but I can not stop listening to "FAB." and "Good Thing." I give both of them a 10/10 for workout songs. If you aren't into circa 2006 pop, here's a playlist of all of my favorite releases this Fall.

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I'll be honest: I haven't touched a set of knitting needles since my mom signed me up for a class at a place called "Nettie's Needlepoint," which I promptly left in favor of playing soccer (which I was equally terrible at). This is all to say, that if I can make this irresistibly cozy blanket, so can you. My favorite part is that it allegedly takes four hours to make, which is almost exactly the amount of time it'll take me to catch up on Westworld this Sunday.