Many of us are back to the grind with school and after-school and weekend activities, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to seek out opportunities to explore other cultures or visit new-to-us areas of Los Angeles to broaden our horizons.
September offers many such opportunities. Chinatown offers walking tours and a moon festival, Olvera Street celebrates Mexican Independence Day with a multi-day event, and Watts is hosting a multicultural Day of the Drum Festival.
I’m happy to report that Scandinavia is well represented this month with AutumnFest & Höstmarknad Celebration in Agoura, Vista Viking Festival in North San Diego County, the benefit concert Nordic Noir LA at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park, and a family art workshop featuring Norse gods at Barnsdall Art Park. See below for more details on those events.
Before moving on to this month’s events, I’d like to include a heads-up about a Norwegian music artist coming to town in October. Kygo, an up-and-coming electronic music artist, has two shows at Hollywood Bowl – Friday, October 14, and Saturday, October 15. I first learned about Kygo when he performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo in December 2015 and then I heard him again at Rio Olympics’ Closing Ceremony in August. His music is described as tropical house, “a slowed-down style heavy on piano melodies,” according to Rolling Stone.
How will you explore the diverse richness of Los Angeles this month?
* LABOR DAY WEEKEND, SEPTEMBER 3 & 4 & 5 *
The Undiscovered Chinatown Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday 9/3, 10:30am-1pm. Visit a temple, an herbal shop, art galleries, antique stores, and more when guided to the unique treasures–not to mention great bargains–to be found in Chinatown. Wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to wind your way through a myriad of alleyways, plaza stalls, and classical courtyards to discover the charm of L.A.’s Chinatown. Offered every first Saturday of the month.
Family Amphitheater Performances: On Ensemble, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Saturday 9/3, 12pm & 2pm. Be there as On Ensemble, one of the most respected ensembles in the taiko (Japanese drumming) world, performs at the Skirball. Led by childhood friends Shoji Kameda and Masato (Maz) Baba, On Ensemble fuses the powerful rhythms of taiko with a wide range of musical influences from jazz and rock to central Asian overtone singing.
Barnsdall Art Sundays—USA: Hawaiian Feather Art, Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday 9/4, 10am-12pm. Every Sunday art instructors present a free art project featuring a different culture and media. All materials are provided. This Sunday, explore Hawaiian Feather Art.
Festa Italiana, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday 9/4, 11am-3:30pm. Enjoy an afternoon of popular and classical Italian music featuring Tony Ciaramitaro singing along with the Sicilian Band and the Classical Singers of the Orange County School of the Arts. Franklin Haynes Marionettes will keep you laughing with their funny antics. There will be art projects, face painting, and food sampling for the entire family.
Family Amphitheater Performances: El Haru Kuroi, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Sunday 9/4, 12pm & 2pm. Wrap up this season of Family Amphitheater Performances with El Haru Kuroi. Natives of East Los Angeles, El Haru Kuroi perform music representative of their cultural upbringing, blending the styles of Mexican, South American, African, and American music.
Andell Family Sundays—A Family Collection: Chinese Paintings, LACMA, Miracle Mile, Sunday 9/4 (offered every Sunday in September), 12:30pm. This weekly family event features artist-led workshops and friendly gallery tours and activities thematically based on special exhibitions and LACMA’s permanent collection. This month, be inspired by the special exhibition Alternative Dreams: 17th-Century Chinese Paintings from the Tsao Family Collection to start your own collection of art by making your own paintings in the art workshop.
* WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 10 & 11 *
Barnsdall Art Sundays—China: Autumn Moon Festival, Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday 9/11, 10am-12pm. Every Sunday art instructors present a free art project featuring a different culture and media. All materials are provided. This Sunday, create moon and dragon lanterns for Autumn Moon Festival.
Kids in the Courtyard: Baskets of Fun, Fowler Museum Courtyard, UCLA, Sunday 9/11, 2pm-4pm. Watch Japanese fiber artist Hisako Sekijima as she works right before your eyes. Then visit the galleries to find her completed work in The Box Project: Uncommon Threads. With natural and synthetic materials, you’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at basket weaving and take home a mini-basket of your own creation.
* WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 17 & 18 *
Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival, Hollywood, Friday 9/16 – Tuesday 9/20. The Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival is recognized as the most prestigious Brazilian film festival outside Brazil. It showcases the best in new Brazilian cinema and provides the movie-loving public with access to some of the most critically acclaimed and important Brazilian filmmakers, film industry professionals, and emerging new talent by bringing them together in the heart of the entertainment capital of the world. All screenings, except opening and closing events, are free. See website for details and schedule.
Mexican Independence Day, Olvera Street, Downtown LA, Saturday 9/17 & Sunday 9/18. Celebrate Mexican Independence from Spain with popular and traditional entertainment, cultural activities, historic displays, food, artisan exhibits, and more. Special entertainment is also scheduled on September 16th.
78th Annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday 9/17, 5pm- 11pm. Join in the festivities of this harvest festival celebrated by the Chinese dating back over 3,000 years. There will be artisans and an artisan market, music performances, children’s craft workshops, a culinary stage, Capuchin Monkey and Trainer, moon viewing with telescopes, and food trucks.
Scandinavian AutumnFest & Höstmarknad Celebration, Vasa Park, Agoura, Sunday 9/18, 9am-6pm. AutumnFest offers a wide range of activities for the whole family. In addition to enjoying traditional foods of Sweden, you can be a judge in the 8th Annual Swedish Meatball Contest. You can buy beautifully crafted gifts and souvenirs and enjoy Scandinavian musicians and folk dancers, demonstrations, and a Viking reenactment group that shares stories about Viking times. New for 2016 is an art show. There will be many activities for kids including a huge waterslide, an alpine tube slide, swimming, a rock climbing wall, and field games.
Barnsdall Art Sundays—Thailand: Thai Puppets, Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday 9/18, 10am-12pm. Every Sunday art instructors present a free art project featuring a different culture and media. All materials are provided. This particular Art Sunday is planned in conjunction with Thai Cultural Day.
Thai Cultural Day, Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Loz Feliz, Sunday 9/18, 11am-5pm. This year the festival celebrates the culture of Northeastern Thailand. It will be a day of traditional dance, music, and art.
* WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 24 & 25 *
Los Angeles Korean Festival, Seoul International Park, Normandie & Olympic Blvds, Thursday 9/22 – Sunday 9/25. This is a free four-day festival whose mission it is to provide the community with the best possible outlet to learn about the roots and traditions of Korea. Entertaining performances will lighten up the festival’s main stage. Thoughtful cultural exhibitions will educate visitors about Korea’s history and traditions. Local restaurants as well as vendors from South Korea will present a wide variety of food in one space. The shopping space will consist of booths selling Korean products such as cosmetics, appliances, apparel, and accessories.
Pasadena Greek Fest, Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church, Pasadena, Friday 9/23 (evening) – Sunday 9/25. Enjoy performances of Greek dancing and music; talks on cuisine, history, and travel; and tastes of Greek foods such as gyros, souvlaki, moussaka, and baklava. A special Kid’s Zone entertains kids with bouncy inflatables, games and a climbing wall.
Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival, The Watts Towers Arts Center Campus, Saturday 9/24. Start the day with a Yoruba ground blessing uniting all cultures based on common themes and principles. Then continue the celebration with traditional Korean drum and dance; North African Berber music; Afro-Venezuelan music, song, and dance; and much more. Guided tours of “Nuestro Pueblo”, the Watts Towers of Simon Rodia, and supervised children’s activities will also be offered, along with food, arts, and craft vendors. Festivities continue the following day with the 40th Annual Simon Rodia Watts Tower Jazz Festival.
Vista Viking Festival, Vista (North San Diego County), Saturday 9/24 & Sunday 9/25. Make your way to Vista to see, share, and sample all things Viking and Scandinavian. Spectators can enjoy a variety of entertainment all day long on two stages. In addition to fine musical performances and acts, there are also arts and crafts and games for children, delicious Nordic food throughout the grounds, fine spirits, Viking competitions (Fish Fling, Log Toss, Horn Blowing, and Battle Cry!), ax throwing, spear throwing, archery, and Viking villages and encampments. There will also be plenty of opportunities to peruse and purchase beautiful Nordic merchandise and arts and crafts, both handmade and imported.
Baja Splash Cultural Festival, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, Saturday 9/24 & Sunday 9/25. In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month and Mexican Independence Day, the Aquarium of the Pacific will host its fifteenth annual Baja Splash Cultural Festival featuring live entertainment, crafts, educational programs, ethnic cuisine, and much more. Enjoy Mariachi music, Mexican folkloric and Aztec dance troupes, interactive mural painting, Salvadoran dance, Guatemalan performances, and more.
Barnsdall Art Sundays—Scandinavia: Norse Gods, Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday 9/25, 10am-12pm. Every Sunday art instructors present a free art project featuring a different culture and media. All materials are provided. This Sunday, use paint while exploring Norse gods.
Explore Indonesia: Wear Batik, Drink Coffee, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Sunday 9/25, 12:30pm-5pm. Presented in collaboration with the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Los Angeles, Indonesian Trade Promotion Center, and Indonesian Women Alliance, this afternoon showcase will allow visitors to experience Indonesian batik and coffee. Go for a free Indonesian specialty-coffee tasting while enjoying live performances of Javanese dance, interactive seminars followed by talks about the rich history of batik textiles and coffee traditions in Indonesia in the Amphitheater. The day includes live demonstrations of the traditional batik technique. Free and open to the public.
Nordic Noir LA, Greek Theatre in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, Sunday 9/25, doors open at 6pm, concert begins at 8pm. Nordic Noir LA is a one-of-a-kind benefit concert for Friends of Griffith Park, a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable group, hosted by internationally recognized Danish film composer Jacob Groth and the Danish Film Harmonics. Groth composed the scores of the three original Millennium films based on the worldwide bestselling crime novels by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, and The Girl Who Played with Fire. Experience the acclaimed soundtrack for the film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo while taking part in the effort to conserve Los Angeles’ beloved environment and urban wildlife. Use discount code Nordic50 for half off tickets.
Have you decided how you’ll explore the diverse richness of Los Angeles this month?