Summertime is here! There is no school nor school homework, and maybe weekend activity schedules are less demanding. You may have time to drive just a little farther than you normally would want to. Make time this summer to explore Los Angeles and discover the richness of where we live. Many regular cultural programs take a break this time of year, but there are also many programs that are unique to summer. Take a look and see if something appeals to your family, and let me know what catches your eye.
* WEEKEND OF JUNE 6 & 7 *
Children’s Workshop: Chinese Brush Painting, The Huntington, Pasadena, Saturday, 9:30am-12pm. In this workshop for kids ages 7 to 12, participants can learn the expressive art of Chinese brush painting in a workshop led by artist Peifang Liang, using the Chinese Garden as their creative muse. Register online.
The Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Chinatown, Saturday, 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. This walking tour takes place every first Saturday of the month.
Kids in the Courtyard: Craft a Comb, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Sunday, 1pm-4pm. African combs are often delicately carved with symbolic messages of love in the form of vines and hearts made from two joined hands. Get inspired by the beautiful combs on view in The Art of Hair in Africa and then create your own lovely hair adornments.
France: Robert Delaunay Geometric Painting (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Sunday, 10am-12pm. Participate in a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured.
International Mask Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, 10am-4pm. This festival includes face painting, art projects featuring masks in paper and foil, and food treat sampling (as supply lasts). There are also performances such as Bolivian Caporales Folk Dance; Mexican Danza de los Viejitos; Chinese Changing Faces; and Dafra, Drums of West Africa, and Caribbean Jems Dance Troupe. See website for performance schedule.
Pacific Islander Festival, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, Saturday & Sunday. Discover the rich and diverse cultures of the Pacific Islands through traditional craft demonstrations, ethnic cuisine, educational programs, storytelling, and an ocean of entertainment, including music and dance performances. The festival will feature various cultures, including Hawaiian, Fijian, Marshallese, Chamoru, Tahitian, Samoan, Tokelau, Tongan, and Maori. See website for festival programming and discount ticket information.
* WEEKEND OF JUNE 13 & 14 *
Celebrating Black Music Month, The California African American Museum, Exposition Park, Sunday, 11am-4pm. Come and enjoy performances and presentations celebrating Black Music Month. There’s even a bonus workshop activity: make your own drum!
Silk Road Story Time: Ramadan, USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Sunday. Join storyteller extraordinaire Sunny Stevenson in the Silk Road exhibition room for Silk Road Storytime. Each Free Second Sunday of the month, she reads stories from across the world, delighting children and parents alike. Storytime begins at 10:30am and 11:30am and is followed by a hands-on activity. Come early or stay afterwards to experience Journeys: The Silk Road, an interactive family-friendly exhibition where visitors can explore the legendary trade route that linked Europe and Asia for more than a thousand years. Also July 12: Cambodian Cultural Festival and August 9: Pacific Islands.
Kids in the Courtyard: Pop-Up Book Making, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Sunday, 1pm-4pm. Books have super powers! Many artists use messages in books to change the way we think about the world. Explore the exhibition The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989 and read the children’s book created by the Sahmat artists. Then, discover the joys of book binding and pop-up book techniques as you create your very own family book.
* WEEKEND OF JUNE 20 & 21 *
29th Annual Long Beach Bayou Festival, Rainbow Lagoon Park, Long Beach, Saturday & Sunday. Experience the Bayou with this two-day family festival featuring authentic Cajun and Creole food, cultural music, dance lessons, crawfish eating contests, a children’s corner with arts and crafts and other activities, and a Mardi Gras parade. There will also be live performances at the Zydeco Stage, Blues Stage, and Children’s Stage.
The Big Irish Fair & Musicfest, El Dorado Park, Long Beach, Saturday & Sunday. This festival features 16 areas of music, song, and dance; sports such as Irish football and hurling; a walk through the legends and lore of ancient Ireland at Tara Village; a Children’s Leprechaun Kingdom; Irish Art Show; a marketplace with Irish import and gift shop vendors; and special events such as a Grand Parade of the Irish, a sheep herding show, and an Irish dog show.
Summer Concerts on the Green: Duende Flamenco, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Sunday, 3pm. Summer Concerts on the Green kicks off with a spectacular summer solstice performance by Duende Flamenco. The sounds of guitar music and pounding flamenco dance steps in the amphitheater will transport you to sunny Spain as you take in images of fantastical art environments in the exhibition Singular Spaces. Much like the varied inspiration of the Spanish art sites, flamenco developed from Romani, Moorish, and Andalusian artistic traditions. Duende Flamenco will surely bring the fire of guitar, the excitement of percussion, and the beauty and passion of dance. Grab a picnic and your friends and family for this sizzling concert.
* WEEKEND OF JUNE 27 & 28 *
The Highlighted Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Chinatown, Saturday, 3pm-4:30pm. 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. This tour has been added in conjunction with Chinatown Summer Nights series (see below for details).
* ONGOING SUMMER PROGRAMS *
Chinatown Summer Nights, Chinatown, 4th Saturdays in June (27th), July (25th), and August (22nd), 5pm-12am. Part food event, part summer party, Chinatown Summer Nights presents an exciting hot spot for Angelenos this summer. Taste the many culinary offerings of Chinatown and LA’s gourmet food trucks; sample the neighborhood’s wares; watch Chinese chefs perform cooking demonstrations; experience large-scale, outdoor video projections; take part in hands-on, Chinese cultural activities presented by local organizations and museums; sip on craft brews and dance in Central Plaza with 89.9 KCRW’s DJs!
Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition, California Science Museum, Exposition Park, ongoing until September 7. Come discover the most significant archaeological find of the last century—the Dead Sea Scrolls. This special exhibition explores the science and significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, manuscripts written and hidden in caves 2000 years ago and not discovered until 1947. Additional highlights include a three-ton stone from Jerusalem’s Western Wall, limestone capitals from the first temple period (1000-586 BCE), ossuaries from the early Roman period, and an ancient signature preserved for millennia on the Archer Seal. Enhance your experience with a viewing of Jerusalem 3D at the IMAX theater.
Family Art Workshops, Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Every Sunday, 10am-12pm. Participate in a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Every Sunday a different culture and media are featured. This summer your family can explore art and culture from France, Mexico, Russia, USA, Mongolia, Italy, Thailand, Austria, and Brazil. We’ve attended one of these art workshops and can attest to the value and fun of them. You can read about our experience here.
SummerSounds: World Music for Kids, Hollywood Bowl, weekday mornings, July 13 – August 7. SummerSounds is a four-week series of lively concerts combined with art workshops that takes place on weekday mornings. Dynamic hosts lead you on a journey to discover music, dance, and art from cultures around the world. This summer’s program includes music from New Orleans, Polynesia and Hawaii, Middle East, and Brazil. See website for schedule and ticket information.
Grand Performances, California Plaza, Downtown LA, June – August. Grand Performances’ summer series of free outdoor concerts celebrates our City’s rich diversity through performing arts. Reflecting the best of global culture through an eclectic line-up of world music, dance, and theater at a stunning outdoor venue in Downtown LA, Grand Performances is where Angelenos make summer GRAND. See website for schedule of performances.
Family Amphitheater Performances: A Musical Road Trip Through America, Skirball Cultural Center, Saturdays and Sundays, June 27 – September 6. Buckle your seatbelts! This summer’s Family Amphitheater Performances at the Skirball takes family visitors on a ramblin’ musical “road trip,” inspired by the exhibition Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution. Rev up the engine and head down to the bayou, a jazz club in the Windy City, a juke joint in St. Louis, a Latin hip-hop club in L.A., a honky-tonk in the Appalachian hills, the Fillmore in San Francisco, and the Grand Ole Opry. It’s a musical road trip through America, and the whole family is invited along for the ride! Performances run every Saturday and Sunday from June 27 through September 6. See website for full schedule.