Los Angeles Culture Challenge: June 2018

Los Angeles is one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the United States, and summer is the perfect time to explore and take advantage of all that Los Angeles has to offer. Make a pact to visit a new area of Los Angeles or participate in a new activity—a cultural art project, a concert in a special outdoor setting, a festival celebrating a unique culture, or a bike ride exploring a new part of Los Angeles, just to mention a few options. The experience will open your eyes to the richness of where we live.

How will you explore the richness of Los Angeles this month?

* WEEKEND OF JUNE 2 & 3 *

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Downtown LA, Saturday, 6/2, 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 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 takes place every first Saturday of the month.

Family Festival: Ancient Egypt and India, Getty Center, Saturday, 6/2. Explore the ancient and contemporary art and culture of Egypt and India at this interactive festival inspired by the exhibitions Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India and Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World. Enjoy classical Indian dance, make crafts inspired by the Nile and the Pharaohs, or get up and dance Bollywood style. Free, no ticket required.

Spain: Spanish Tile (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 6/3, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Every Sunday art instructors present a free art project featuring a different culture and media. All materials are provided.

18th Annual LA River Ride, Autry Center in Griffith Park, Sunday, 6/3. What better way to explore the city we live in than by bike. Join over 2,000 other riders, and enjoy a great day of bicycling along the LA River and through DTLA to Long Beach. With five rides to choose from, ranging from 2 to 100 miles, there’s an experience for everyone at the LA River Ride. Bring out the little ones for a free 2-mile Kids’ Ride, or pedal with the whole family at our 15-mile Family Ride (one registration covers a family of 5!). Want a bigger challenge? Train up with our 36-mile Ride or dig into the Metric Century Plus, covering 68 miles. For those wanting to push it to the limit, the Century Ride will go from Griffith Park to Long Beach – and back – and is a great, flat route for first-time Century riders!

Kids in the Courtyard: Sculpting, Molding, Forging, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 6/3, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Discover the history of invention and technical sophistication that led African blacksmiths to transform iron into objects of life-changing utility and empowerment. Find inspiration in the Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths exhibition and learn how to mold clay using the same techniques in African iron forging.

* WEEKEND OF JUNE 9 & 10 *

The Big Irish Fair & Music Festival, Orange County Great Park, Irvine, Saturday, 6/9, & Sunday, 6/10. This family fun festival features 16 entertainment areas with over 1000 performers providing the fair visitor with hundreds of musicians, dancers, and bagpipes, plus sports, dogs, sheep, performers, and plenty of booths featuring imported Irish goods and displays. For the young folk, there will be a Children’s Leprechaun Kingdom with games, rides, Irish storytelling, and contests such as Freckle Face Kid, Red Haired Kid, and an Irish Baby contest. And not to leave out the old guys, there’ll be a Knobby Knees contest. And of course, there will be plenty of Irish food and beverages.

India: Ganesha Painting (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 6/10, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Every Sunday art instructors present a free art project featuring a different culture and media. All materials are provided.

Makers Fest, California African American Museum, Exposition Park, Sunday, 6/10, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Let your creativity flow at this all-ages affair featuring maker stations led by local artists. Learn from the pros of the community, including Yrneh Gabon, who uses raw clay vessels and sculpture to discuss water issues; Silas Munro, whose lettering design exercises will map and image our city; and Cole M. James, who will present a collage workshop centered on the narrative of preparing to breathe. Take home several creative treasures of your own! No prior art experience necessary; art materials provided.

* WEEKEND OF JUNE 16 & 17 *

Film Screening and Discussion—The Ito Sisters: An American Story, Japanese American National Museum, Downtown LA, Saturday, 6/16, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Watch the 2017 documentary from director Antonia Grace Glenn which focuses on the experiences of Issei and Nisei women whose voices have largely been excluded from American history. At the heart of the film are three Nisei sisters who were born on a farm in the Sacramento River Delta and whose lives were directly impacted by significant historical events such as the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, the Great Depression, and World War II. The screening will be followed by a discussion. For more information, click here.

Father’s Day: Matisse Inspired Printmaking (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 6/17, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Every Sunday art instructors present a free art project featuring a different culture and media. All materials are provided.

* WEEKEND OF JUNE 23 & 24 *

32nd Annual Long Beach Bayou Festival, Rainbow Lagoon Park, Long Beach, Saturday, 6/23, & Sunday, 6/24. 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.

Canada: Totem Poles (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 6/24, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Every Sunday art instructors present a free art project featuring a different culture and media. All materials are provided.

CicLAvia – The Valley, Sunday, 6/24. For its June 2018 edition, CicLAvia is returning to the northeast San Fernando Valley to revisit the communities of Panorama City, Arleta, and Pacoima. CicLAvia – The Valley is a 4-mile route that travels along Van Nuys Blvd where public art, murals, vibrant local commercial corridors, and cultural venues invite you to experience the city’s northeast San Fernando Valley. Whether by bike, by foot, or by skateboard, you’ll get to know Pacoima, Arleta, and Panorama City in a new way.

* WEEKEND OF JUNE 30 & JULY 1 *

Big World Fun: Le Ballet Dembaya, Ford Amphitheatre, Hollywood, Saturday, June 30, 10:00 a.m. Le Ballet Dembaya will take you on a journey to the country of Guinea on the western coast of Africa through their uplifting and energetic percussion and dance. At pre-show activities starting at 9:00 a.m., kids can explore Los Angeles’ native wild animals such as birds of prey, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Children 12 and younger are free; adults pay $5. Open seating, advanced reservations recommended.

Little Tokyo Walking Tour, Japanese American National Museum, Downtown LA, Saturday, 6/30, 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Relive history and learn about present-day Little Tokyo with JANM docents. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Weather permitting. $12 members, $15 non-members. Museum admission is included. Limited to 20 participants. Buy tickets here. This tour takes place every last Saturday of the month.

Undiscovered Chinatown Highlighted Walking Tour, Downtown LA, Saturday, 6/30, 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. This highlighted walking tour is held in conjunction with the Chinatown Summer Nights event starting at 5 o’clock.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. For those interested, please rsvp online here.

Chinatown Summer Nights, Central Plaza, Downtown LA, Saturday, 6/30, 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Part food event, part summer party, Chinatown Summer Nights presents an exciting hot spot for Angelenos during the 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! Chinatown Summer Nights will also take place July 28 and August 25.

First Nations Now: Rhymes and Storytelling for Families, California Plaza, Downtown LA, Sunday, 7/1, 3:00 p.m. & 4:30 p.m. In conjunction with the First Peoples, New Voices series, MC RedCloud, Jessa Calderon, and Saginaw Grant (hereditary chief of the Sac and Fox Nation) will draw upon Indigenous elder and parental wisdom and traditions to share rhymes, words of wisdom, animal tales and origin stories from across Turtle Island.

Feel free to add events for this month in the comments below. I also welcome feedback on any events you have attended. If you have tips on future events and celebrations to include in upcoming months, please email me here with details. Thank you!

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