Are you taking advantage of summer to explore the diverse richness of Los Angeles? There are special one-time events and exhibitions, unique programs that happen just during the summer, and ongoing year-round events that continue through the summer. Seize the opportunity to either venture out by yourself or with family and friends. Make a pact to visit a new area of Los Angeles or participate in a new activity—a cultural art project, a walking tour in a new area, a concert in a special outdoor setting, or a festival celebrating a different culture, just to mention a few options. The experience will open your eyes to the richness of where we live.
How will you explore the diverse richness of Los Angeles this month?
* WEEKEND OF JULY 6 & 7 *
The Jeweled Isle: Art from Sri Lanka, LACMA, Los Angeles, closing July 7. The first comprehensive survey of Sri Lankan art organized by an American museum, The Jeweled Isle: Art from Sri Lanka presents some 240 works addressing nearly two millennia of Sri Lankan history. The exhibit includes precious decorative objects fashioned from gold, silver, and ivory, and 19th-century photographs documenting Sri Lanka’s extraordinary monuments, scenery, and flora. Featuring LACMA’s rarely displayed collection of Sri Lankan art—one of the finest and most extensive in the U.S—the exhibition presents a timely exploration and celebration of a geographically complex, ethnically diverse, and multicultural South Asian hub.
Skirball Family Amphitheater Performances: CONTRA-TIEMPO, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Sunday, 7/7, 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Expand your imagination with this bold, multilingual Los Angeles-based dance company creating physically intense and politically astute performance work. Founded by Artistic Director Ana Maria Alvarez, CONTRA-TIEMPO creates a new physical, visual, and sonic vocabulary that collages salsa, Afro-Cuban, hip-hop, and contemporary dance with theater, compelling text, and original music to bring dynamic multimodal experiences to the concert stage.
* WEEKEND OF JULY 13 & 14 *
Big World Fun: Viver Brasil Dance Company, Ford Amphitheatre, Hollywood, Saturday, 7/13, 10:00 a.m. Explore the joyful dance and music of Brazil’s samba, Cuba’s rumba and Puerto Rico’s bomba with Viver Brasil and special guests, Laroye Aña and Jhan L. Aponte. Dressed in vivid costumes, vocalists will become part of the action as musicians take polyrhythms to new heights. Musical direction by Alberto Lopez. This hour-long music and dance performance is perfect for children ages 4 to 12 and their families. Kids are admitted free; adults pay $5. Gates open at 9:00 a.m. for pre-show kid-friendly nature and craft activities.
Skirball Family Amphitheater Performances: Hip Hop Fundamentals, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Saturday, 7/13, 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Get down with Hip Hop Fundamentals, an award-winning team of diverse professional breakdancers dedicated to hip-hop education and driven to inspire audiences and participants of all ages. They will present their The Principles of Hip Hop show, which explores hip-hop’s rich cultural history and how underserved inner-city youth have changed the world. The performance focuses on the themes of youth empowerment, diversity, creativity, and working together, embodied by hip-hop’s four principles: peace, love, unity, and having fun!
39th Lotus Festival, Echo Park Lake, Los Angeles, Saturday, 7/13, & Sunday, 7/14, 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Celebrate the annual blooming of Echo Park Lake’s lotus flowers at the 39th annual Lotus Festival. The host country this year is the Kingdom of Thailand. Enjoy a food court, Thai Pavilion, silent auction, children’s area, handcrafted artwork, gift bazaar, Japanese teahouse ceremonies, origami workshop, and dragon boat races. Visit website for parking information.
Undiscovered Chinatown Highlighted Walking Tour, Downtown LA, Saturday, 7/13, 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. Visit website to RSVP.
Chinatown Summer Nights, Downtown LA, Saturday, 7/13 (also 8/10), 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. 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; sip on craft brews and dance in Central Plaza with 89.9 KCRW’s DJs!
Australia: Aboriginal Dot Painting (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 7/14, 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. See website for more details.
Concert: A Maya Q’Anjob’al Fiesta, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 7/14, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Enjoy a special performance in the Art Council Amphitheatre by folkloric dance group Maya Xumak and musical group Eb’ Aj’son. These groups perform the dance traditions of Jolom Konob, the traditional name for the community of Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango, Guatemala—one of only six towns where the Mayan language Q’anjob’al is spoken. Eb’ Aj’son will accompany the dancers on the marimba and perform their own b’i,t, or musical heartbeat. The program includes dance-dramas such as the celebrated Bailé de la Conquista (Dance of the Conquest) and Bailé del Torito (Dance of the Little Bull) and a participatory dance known as Saca la Tuya. While there, visit the related exhibition Guatemalan Masks: Selections from the Jeanne and Jim Pieper Collection.
* WEEKEND OF JULY 20 & 21 *
Sunset Concerts: Gaby Moreno with a DJ Set by Mamabear, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Thursday, 7/18, 8:00 p.m. (Doors and DJ set at 6:30 p.m.) Playing what she calls “Spanglish folk soul,” Gaby Moreno kicks off this season of Sunset Concerts at the Skirball with Spanish and English songs that blend blues, jazz, soul, R&B, pop, and Latin folk. Moreno, born in Guatemala and currently residing in LA, is the winner of a Latin Grammy Award among numerous other accolades. As hailed by NBC News, she sings about “love, the immigrant experience and the pain of gender violence … with a beautifully emotive voice both sweet and supple across genres.”
Assyria: Clay Bas Relief Lion and Cuneiform Signature (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 7/21, 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. See website for more details.
Skirball Family Amphitheater Performances: Las Colibrí, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Sunday, 7/21, 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. With their warm vocal harmonies and unique musical arrangements, this all-female string ensemble brings a contemporary twist to traditional mariachi music. After years of performing individually as instrumentalists and vocalists in various professional arenas, the women of Las Colibrí, or “The Hummingbirds,” have come together to celebrate the all-string instrumentation of the early twentieth-century mariachi tradition. Dressed in the colorful, feminine costumes worn by Mexican cinematic divas of the 1940s and 1950s, the ensemble delivers an inspired, modern-day take on traditional sones, huapangos, and rancheras.
Fowler Families: Yoga for Little Travelers, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 7/21, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Join families of all skill levels as Alex Reed leads participants in a 45-minute imaginative yoga session featuring mindful play, breathing exercises, and relaxing stretches. Little yogis (ages 4+) are invited to pack their bags and join Alex on a whimsical journey to Guatemala during this monthly yoga series. At 2pm, join Fowler Educators for a family-friendly guided tour highlighting artwork from the session’s destination in the special exhibition Guatemalan Masks. Yoga mats will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. Space is limited. The first ten participants to RSVP will receive a guaranteed spot.
* WEEKEND OF JULY 27 & 28 *
Sunset Concerts: Río Mira with a DJ Set by REYES, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Thursday, 7/25, 8:00 p.m. (Doors and DJ set at 6:30 p.m.) Travel to the border of Colombia and Ecuador with Río Mira, a marimba supergroup named for the river that separates the two South American countries. Led by marimba masters Esteban Copete and Larry Preciado and Ecuadoran singer Karla Kanora, this ensemble of Afro-Latino musicians draws from the traditions of escaped slaves to create joyous, socially conscious music that celebrates self-realized liberation.
Little Tokyo Walking Tour, Japanese American National Museum, Downtown LA, Saturday, 7/27, 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.
Global Dining: Nigeria in Van Nuys with Fowler Museum, Saturday, 7/27, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Toto’s African Cuisine specializes in Nigerian and African dishes such as jollof rice, fufu (pounded yam), and gari (cassava grain) served alongside soups and stews like egusi, ogbono and peppered goat. A prix fixe lunch menu will be served at Toto’s. No substitutions. Meet at the restaurant by 1:00 p.m. $30 Fowler members, $35 general. Advance tickets required. Visit website for more information on the Global Dining series.
2019 Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival, Marine Stadium, Long Beach, Saturday, 7/27, & Sunday, 7/28. In addition to hosting one of the largest dragon boat competitions in California, there will be Chinese traditional art demonstrations, Chinese acrobats, traditional dance, hip hop, music, and martial arts performances. Come for fun, food, and excitement!
Tonga: Turtle Raft Painting (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 7/28, 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. See website for more details.
Skirball Family Amphitheater Performances: STC Foundation, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Sunday, 7/28, 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. This performance will feature dancers of all ages—some as young as five!—and will take the audience on a journey through the stunning and beautiful history of Chinese culture, all while encouraging self-confidence and positivity among the viewers. STC Foundation was established to promote the appreciation of Asian arts and culture and enrich the community.
Fowler Families: Exploring Australian Bark Painting, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 7/28, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Discover the dynamic colors and lines featured on Australian bark paintings in our permanent exhibition Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives before creating your own design using materials reminiscent of these special pieces.
* ONGOING THIS SUMMER *
CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop, Annenberg Space for Photography, Century City, on view until August 18. Celebrating the photographers who have played a critical role in bringing hip-hop’s visual culture to the global stage, CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop is an inside look at the work of hip-hop photographers, as told through their most intimate diaries: their unedited contact sheets. Bringing the family? Download their Family Activity Guide or ask for one at the front desk.
Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, on view until September 1. See the iconic images that amplified one of the most influential cultural movements of the 1960s: “Black Is Beautiful.” Featuring over forty photographs of black women and men with natural hair and clothes that reclaimed their African roots, Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, organized by Aperture Foundation, New York, is the first-ever major exhibition dedicated to this key figure of the second Harlem Renaissance.
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 with details. Thank you!