April 2019 Los Angeles Culture Challenge: Scandinavian Festival & Festival of Books!

While others may be exploring foreign cultures and new places while traveling abroad during spring breaks, Angelenos can do much of the same while staying right here in Los Angeles. Visit Scandinavia and its Nordic neighbors at the 44th annual Scandinavian Festival the first weekend in April, Japan at a variety of festivals during the month (see below), and Ukraine at the Pysanka Festival also this month. Attend art workshops, concerts, and exhibits to explore even more cultures, and join walking tours in Chinatown and Little Tokyo to get to know our own city better.

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

* WEEKEND OF APRIL 6 & 7 *

Borderless: Scandinavia, Gabba Gallery, Los Angeles, on view through Saturday, 4/6. This is the second exhibition in Gabba Gallery’s international series, Borderless, which showcases outstanding artists from different parts of the globe. The exhibit features work by three Scandinavian artists: Ari Behn (Norway/Denmark), Espen Eiborg (Norway), and Mikael Persbrandt (Sweden). Normal gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. or by appointment.

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 4/6, 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Offered every first Saturday of the month). Visit a temple, an herbal shop, art galleries, antique stores, and more! The 2 1/2 hour walking tour will take visitors to a number of off-the-beaten-track points of interest and will guide those interested in shopping to some of Chinatown’s best bargains and its trendiest shops. 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.

Guatemalan Masks Opening Program, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Saturday, 4/6, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. At 6:00 p.m., exhibition curator Patrick A. Polk will introduce the masks on view in the context of Guatemalan masquerade traditions, offering insights into how these performances communicate regional identities, religious heritage, and popular history. At 7:00 p.m., preview the exhibition and enjoy cocktails in the Davis Courtyard and a musical performance by Marimba Chapincita and a traditional Guatemalan dance by Brinco del Chinelo Amigos por Siempre on the Fowler Terrace. RSVP here.

Scandinavian Festival, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, Saturday, 4/6, & Sunday, 4/7, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The Scandinavian Festival returns for the 44th year. Both days of the festival are filled with music, dancing, food, lectures, demonstrations, vendors, and activities for young and old alike. The Viking Encampment and Sami Village will once again be present. Family activities include making head wreaths with real flowers, raising the Maypole and dancing around it, learning the ancient Viking game Kubb, playing croquet, and a variety of arts and crafts representative of the Nordic countries.

Renaissance Pleasure Faire, Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area, Irwindale, Saturdays & Sundays only, April 6 to May 19. Travel back to the 16th century and experience the glory of life during the Renaissance era. The faire provides “a cornucopia of diversity where we are unified in inviting our guests to enjoy an environment we have created to escape from the stresses and demands of the modern day.” There will be artisans of all media, entertainment galore, food trucks and booths, games and rides (including pony and camel rides), a Kids Kingdom (with games, crafts, storytelling, song, shows, and characters), and a gnome quest!

Mali: Chiwara Sculpture (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 4/7, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Come for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. All materials are provided. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured.

Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 4/7, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Spring is in bloom and the Bowers is celebrating with traditional Japanese dance, music, and art. Enjoy face painting, fish printmaking, sumi-e (Japanese brush painting), and a special Japanese treat.

Ukrainian Pysanka Festival, Ukrainian Culture Center, Los Angeles, Sunday, 4/7, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Enjoy Ukrainian food, music, dance performances, and crafts. Learn how to make traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs. The Ukrainian Art Center will offer workshops to learn the traditions of Pysanka.

Wearable Pattern & Color (Andell Family Sundays), LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 4/7, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Make, look, and talk about art at Andell Family Sundays! Drop in anytime between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. 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 mesmerized by the vivid colors and patterns in the exhibition Power of Pattern: Central Asian Ikats from the David and Elizabeth Reisbord Collection. Learn about this textile tradition on a family-friendly tour, then make your own wearable creation, or a handmade book of colorful patterns in artist-led workshops.

* WEEKEND OF APRIL 13 & 14 *

Folkroots Festival, St. John’s Presbyterian Church, West Los Angeles, Saturday, 4/13, 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Festival features drumming, singing and jamming; dancing from African and Appalachia; folk film; workshops; concerts; food trucks; and more. Visit website for details.

Bunka-Sai Japanese Cultural Festival, Ken Miller Recreation Center, Torrance, Saturday, 4/13, & Sunday, 4/14, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Come enjoy Japanese culture at the 46th annual Bunka-Sai Japanese Cultural Festival sponsored by the Torrance Sister City Association. Enjoy children’s games and activities, tasty plate lunches, baked goods, craft items, and cultural performances. Visit website for performance schedule.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, USC Campus, Exposition Park, Saturday, 4/13, & Sunday, 4/14. Enjoy two days of not only books and authors, but also music, food, art, culture, and fun. The Festival of Books is Los Angeles Times’ annual celebration of ideas, creativity, and the written word. The Festival brings book lovers and fun seekers of all ages together with their favorite authors, artists, chefs, musicians, and entertainers.

21st Annual Chumash Day Powwow and Inter-Tribal Celebration, Malibu Bluffs Park, Malibu, Saturday, 4/13, & Sunday, 4/14, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. This year’s 21st annual Chumash Day Powwow will celebrate Native Americans from all over the country. Hundreds of tribes will gather at Malibu Bluffs Park. Native American food, craft vendors, tribal ceremonies, and dances will be a part of the event on both days. Rain or shine.

Japan Family Day 2019, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, Sunday, 4/14, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Japan Family Day at Santa Anita Park was started as a way to introduce Japanese traditional culture and to interact with the people of Southern California. Through the years, it has become one of the most popular spring festivals in southern California. Featuring cultural events and demonstrations, Japan Family Day has something for everyone. Visit website for schedule of events and coupon for free general admission.

Southeast Asian New Year (Free Second Sunday), USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Sunday, 4/14, 11:00 a.m. Come celebrate Southeast Asian New Year with fun activities for the whole family! Create your own ceremonial banner, build a sand stuppa, paint with water balloons, and more. Enjoy free admission all day, gallery tours, and storytime for kids.

Wearable Pattern & Color (Andell Family Sundays), LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 4/14, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Make, look, and talk about art at Andell Family Sundays! Drop in anytime between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. 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 mesmerized by the vivid colors and patterns in the exhibition Power of Pattern: Central Asian Ikats from the David and Elizabeth Reisbord Collection. Learn about this textile tradition on a family-friendly tour, then make your own wearable creation, or a handmade book of colorful patterns in artist-led workshops.

* WEEKEND OF APRIL 20 & 21 *

Edible Adventures: Graze Little Tokyo, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, Saturday, 4/20, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. On this culinary walking tour, explore the hidden corners of Little Tokyo and hear stories of the neighborhood’s past while sampling tasty dishes from its restaurants. Food stops will include renowned mochi makers Fugetsu-Do, mochi ice cream inventors Mikawaya, and popular imagawayaki (red bean cake) seller Mitsuru Café, while neighborhood stops will include Union Church of Los Angeles/East West Players, Koyasan Beikoku Betsuin of Los Angeles, JACCC Plaza and James Irvine Japanese Garden, and Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple, among others. $28 members; $35 non-members. Museum admission and five food samplings included. Limited to 15 participants.

Blessing of the Animals, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Downtown LA, Saturday, 4/20, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. This centuries-old tradition of blessing the animals, for all the benefits they provide mankind, is celebrated with a colorful procession on Olvera Street led by the Archbishop of Los Angeles. All pets are welcome to join!

* WEEKEND OF APRIL 27 & 28 *

Little Tokyo Walking Tour, Japanese American National Museum, Downtown LA, Saturday, 4/27, 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Learn about past and present-day Little Tokyo on a walking tour led by an in-the-know JANM docent. From murals to monuments, explore both the popular and lesser-known gems of this bustling neighborhood. $12 members, $15 non-members. Museum admission included. Comfortable walking shoes recommended. Weather permitting. Limited to 20 participants.

Family Day – Storytime, Chinese American Museum, Downtown LA, Saturday, 4/27, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Listening and sharing our stories is a great way to learn about each other. Come for scheduled book readings at the museum. Hands-on activities will accompany the storytime readings throughout the day including a Spring tea meditation and art-making. This family program is free and open to the public; however, RSVPs are kindly requested.

Bali: Shadow Puppets (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 4/28, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Come for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. All materials are provided. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured.

Wearable Pattern & Color (Andell Family Sundays), LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 4/28, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Make, look, and talk about art at Andell Family Sundays! Drop in anytime between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. 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 mesmerized by the vivid colors and patterns in the exhibition Power of Pattern: Central Asian Ikats from the David and Elizabeth Reisbord Collection. Learn about this textile tradition on a family-friendly tour, then make your own wearable creation, or a handmade book of colorful patterns in artist-led workshops.

Concert: UCLA Near East Ensemble, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 4/28, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. The Near East Ensemble presents music and instruments from the Arab world, including a performance by master percussionist Souhail Kaspar. Its repertoire includes old court music genres from the Ottoman era, mystical works related to the Sufi Islamic sect, modal and drum improvisations, nightclub pieces, and songs from rural folk celebrations. Related Exhibition: Dressed with Distinction: Garments from Ottoman Syria

Feel free to add events for the current month in the comments below. If you have suggestions about future events and celebrations to include in upcoming months, please email the details. Thank you!

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