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Whenever a natural disaster, a 400-foot-tall fire-breathing lizard, or a laser-beam-toting alien invasion force comes calling to unleash catastrophe and destruction, Los Angeles is usually one of the first cities to go. Yet, according to CalArts professor Thom Anderson, not only is it satisfying for audiences (and, in some cases, directors) to see the iconic Hollywood sign topple down the hillside, but it’s also symbolic of the industry’s love/hate relationship with its mother city. Los Angeles Plays Itself, Anderson’s epic documentary on Hollywood’s use and abuse of L.A., takes an in-depth look at the City of Angels in three parts (as background, character, and subject) through clips from films both well-known and obscure. For residents of D.C.—itself a city brimming with architecture, culture, and history, which often take a back seat to its more internationally recognized political significance—Anderson’s lamentations may strike a chord. The film screens at 3 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Matthew Borlik)