Happy New Year! Have you vowed to take advantage of the many diverse cultural opportunities that Los Angeles has to offer? There’s lots to choose from this month. One of my favorite Scandinavian events returns this month, the Scandinavian Film Festival. I always look forward to seeing what’s being offered and hope there’s a movie that will transport me back to Norway through language and setting or bring alive a part of Norwegian history for me. I also don’t mind being an armchair traveler to other countries in the region. For a look at what’s being offered this year, check out Scandinavian Film Festival 2017: A Preview.
How will you explore the diverse richness of Los Angeles this month?
* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 31 & JANUARY 1 *
It’s Kwanzaa Time, Leimert Park Village, Saturday, 12/31, 10am-7pm. Join the community Kwanzaa Heritage Festival and Block Parade. The parade begins at 10am and is followed by a candle lighting ceremony at 12pm. There will be live music, traditional dancing, drum circle, fashion show, authentic crafts, international food court and exotic foods, a special children’s village, and a health pavilion.
Oshogatsu Festival in Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, Sunday, 1/1, 11am-4pm. The 19th annual “Oshogatsu in Little Tokyo” celebrates the traditions of the New Year Celebration in Japan. Attendees can enjoy Taiko drumming, martial arts performances, lion dances, folk music and dancing, sake breaking ceremony, calligraphy, Mochi making, crafts and games for children, and more. Festivities occur at three locations in Little Tokyo.
* WEEKEND OF JANUARY 7 & 8 *
Epiphany of the Three Kings, Olvera Street, Downtown LA, Friday, 1/6, 6:30pm. Learn about and experience the celebration of the Epiphany of the Magi (Visit of the Three Kings). In Mexico and other Latin countries, many children receive their Christmas gift on this day. Olvera Street celebrates this tradition with prizes, free champurrado (Mexican traditional chocolate drink), and pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread) as well as a piñata filled with candies for the children to break and enjoy. There will be music and a procession on Olvera Street followed by a colorful theatrical production in the Plaza.
The Undiscovered Chinatown Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 1/7, 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 LA’s Chinatown. RSVP is required as group size is limited. This tour is offered every first Saturday of the month.
Australia: Aboriginal Art – Painting (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 1/8, 10am-12pm. Join instructors for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. All materials are provided.
Oshogatsu Family Festival – Year of the Rooster, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Sunday 1/8, 11am-5pm. Ring in the New Year and the Year of the Rooster with fun arts ‘n crafts, delicious food, and exciting cultural activities and performances. This year, don’t miss the opportunity to see several varieties of chickens at the Chicken Petting Zoo and rooster candy sculptures formed as the ancient folk art of candy sculpting is demonstrated.
International Drum Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 1/8, 11am-3:30pm. Join us for a drumming circle led by Martin Espino. Bring your own drum, if you wish. Enjoy the excitement of South Pacific drumming and dances by Manea and the drum beats of Taiko Center of Los Angeles, led by Rev. Tom Kurai. Art projects include Chinese and African drums.
* WEEKEND OF JANUARY 14 & 15 & 16 *
Scandinavian Film Festival, Writers Guild Theater, Beverly Hills, Saturday, 1/14, & Sunday, 1/15 (also weekend of 1/21 & 1/22). This is a yearly showcase of films from northern Europe and its Baltic neighbors. During the course of two weekends, the festival screens not only films submitted by Nordic countries to the Academy for consideration in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category, but also other Nordic feature films, short movies, and documentaries.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, California African American Museum, Exposition Park, Monday, 1/16, 11am-4pm. CAAM invites the entire LA community to join them for their annual recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and his life’s work as a charismatic and dedicated leader of the modern civil rights movement. Enjoy an array of vibrant programs and activities for all ages. Bring the kids for art-making activities, enjoy music and food on the patio, visit exhibitions, hear a marathon reading of King’s lesser-known speeches and sermons, and much more — free for everyone.
* WEEKEND OF JANUARY 21 & 22 *
Scandinavian Film Festival, Writers Guild Theater, Beverly Hills, Saturday, 1/21, & Sunday, 1/22. This is the second weekend of this yearly showcase of films from northern Europe and its Baltic neighbors. The festival screens not only films submitted by Nordic countries to the Academy for consideration in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category, but also other Nordic feature films, short movies, and documentaries.
Kids in the Courtyard: Artist Demonstration: Woodblock Printing, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 1/22, 1pm-4pm. Watch wood-block printing demonstrations by printmakers Derek Yee and Laura Stickney, and then try your hand at making your own prints using foam printing plates and ink! Make sure you also see the monumental prints on view in the exhibit Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón.
* WEEKEND OF JANUARY 28 & 29 *
Little Tokyo Walking Tour, Japanese American National Museum, Downtown LA, Saturday, 1/28, 10:15am-12:15pm. Relive history and learn about present-day Little Tokyo with JANM docents. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Weather permitting. Buy tickets in advance. $12 members, $15 non-members. Museum admission is included. Limited to 20 participants.
East Side Sushi: Film Screening and Discussion, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, Saturday, 1/28, 2pm. East Side Sushi follows Juana, a single, working-class Latina mother, as she discovers a passion for making sushi. Single mom Juana can slice and dice anything with great speed and precision. After working at a fruit-vending cart for years, she decides to take a job at a local Japanese restaurant. Intrigued by the food, she learns to make a multitude of sushi on her own. Eventually she attempts to become a sushi chef, but is unable to because she is the ‘wrong’ race and gender. Against all odds, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery, determined to not let anyone stop her from achieving her dream. Members of the cast and crew will be present for a Q&A after the screening.
Kids in the Courtyard: Kids Today, Leaders Tomorrow, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 1/29, 1pm-4pm. What does it mean to be a good leader? Explore Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives and discover what it means to be a good leader among the Asante peoples of Ghana. Then make your own symbol of leadership to take home.