August 2019: Los Angeles Culture Challenge & #WITMonth

Welcome to August! So many countries and cultures are represented this month in a variety of activities and events. Wish you could have traveled more this summer? Take the opportunity to visit somewhere new while staying close to home with this month’s events.

Also, August is Women in Translation Month (#WITMonth). This is a monthlong initiative to promote women writers from around the world who write in languages other than English. I always look forward to participating. Since I already read many Scandinavian female authors during the year through my Scandinavian Reading Challenge and book club, I try to focus on writers from other countries and continents during the month of August. I encourage you to pick a country of interest and find a book in translation written by a female author to enjoy this month!

How will you explore the diverse richness of Los Angeles this month? And do you think you might pick up a book in translation by a female author this month?

* SPECIAL EXHIBITS TO SEE THIS MONTH BEFORE THEY’RE GONE *

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.

Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World, The Getty Center, Los Angeles, on view until August 18. A kind of encyclopedia of animals, the bestiary was among the most popular illuminated texts in northern Europe during the Middle Ages (about 500–1500). Because medieval Christians understood every element of the world as a manifestation of God, the book largely focused on each animal’s religious meaning. The bestiary brought creatures both real and fantastic to life before the reader’s eyes, offering devotional inspiration as well as entertainment.

Dressed with Distinction: Garments from Ottoman Syria, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, on view until August 25. This exhibit explores the region’s textile production during the late-19th and early 20th centuries, when Syria was an international hub for the trade and production of handwoven cloth. With a focus on the social and seasonal contexts in which garments were worn by men, women, and children, the exhibition’s presentation of these distinguished textiles enables audiences to engage with Syrian culture and weaving techniques from a bygone era.

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.

The Liberator: Chronicling Black Los Angeles, 1900–1914, California African American Museum, Exposition Park, on view until September 8. The Liberator was an early 20th-century newspaper that documented the emerging African American population in Los Angeles. Founded in 1900 by Jefferson Lewis Edmonds, a former slave who advocated for improved social and economic conditions for black men and women, the publication reported on local, national, and international news and provided a source of racial upliftment for over a decade. The exhibition sheds light on the expansion of the city’s African American community, its challenges in a post-Reconstruction era, and its hopes and accomplishments, as captured in the newspaper’s pages. More than a century since The Liberator’s final issue, this exhibition includes rare ephemera, photographs, and artifacts that offer a unique study of the narrative of black Los Angeles.

* WEEKEND OF AUGUST 3 & 4 *

Big World Fun: The Get Down Boys, Ford Amphitheatre, Hollywood, Saturday, 8/3, 10:00 a.m. Get ready for some pickin’ and a grinnin’ with the energetic sounds of The Get Down Boys, whose five-string banjo, lonesome harmonies and history of Bluegrass music will leave you and your family with a smile on your face. Perfect for children ages 4 to 12 and their families. Kids are admitted free; adults pay $5. Open seating, advanced reservations recommended. Pre-show craft activities start at 9:00 a.m. Families can also explore Los Angeles’ native wild animals along the Ford’s entryway gardens.

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Throughout Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 8/3, 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 LA’s Chinatown.

Heritage Day at CAAM, California African American Museum, Exposition Park, Saturday, 8/3, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Celebrate your family’s rich history by learning how to capture and preserve great memories during this all-ages Heritage Day, presented in conjunction with The Liberator: Chronicling Black Los Angeles, 1900–1914. Bring the entire family to scan keepsakes, hear powerful stories of legacy, and learn about genealogy and how to preserve family treasures through archiving. Visit website for details on programming.

Barriletes Workshop: Giant Kites of Guatemala (Ages 18+), Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Saturday, 8/3, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Discover the colorful world of barriletes and their significance on Día de los Muertos in Guatemala during this exciting, two-hour, hands-on workshop. After learning about the Day of the Dead celebration in Guatemala, participants will create their own kite to fly on their own. Presented in collaboration with the UCLA Latin American Institute. Advance registration required (no walk-ins). $10 per person.

Family Amphitheater Performances: Zingarella (Free to Be Series), Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Saturday, 8/3, 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Janice & Melinda—founding members of LA-based bands Mostly Kosher and Sugar Rum Tantrum—return to the Skirball as Zingarella following their raucous performance at the Skirball’s Hanukkah Festival last winter. Their summer amphitheater show will be a troubadour-inspired journey of street fiddle and stompy accordion folk that is fueled by a mix of protest song, klezmer, and high-energy gypsy-blues. Filled with costume and instrument changes and plenty of turns in the road, their show tells the tale of two traveling vagabonds in a cross-country expedition from high art to low art.

Russia: Cat of Kazan Printmaking (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 8/4, 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.

Ecuador Independence Day Parade and Festival, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Downtown LA, Sunday, 8/4, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Celebrate Ecuador’s Independence Day with a parade and festival. The parade starts at Broadway & 7th St. and ends at the festival area (route information). At the festival, enjoy a full menu of Ecuadorian cuisine and other well-known food dishes as well as Ecuadorian crafts, musical groups, folklore customs, free gifts, and carnival games. Admission is free.

Family Amphitheater Performances: Victoria Burnett (Free to Be Series), Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Sunday, 8/4, 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. The Washington DC–born, SoCal-based storyteller and vocalist Victoria Burnett fuses stories and music to capture the imaginations of each audience member by way of folktales, tall tales, African American tales, multicultural stories from different countries, personal stories, and what she calls “WHOOPERS.” Burnett’s storytelling has taken her from her professional beginnings as a children’s librarian to becoming an internationally renowned artist. She has toured extensively in the US, Europe, Africa, South America, Central America, South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia.

Andell Family Sundays — The Art of Korean Writing, LACMA, Sunday, 8/4, 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 pm. 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, learn about calligraphy and how it has long been considered one of the highest art forms in Korea. Visit the exhibition Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing to learn about calligraphy’s fascinating history that includes work by kings, queens, painters, and monks, among others. In artist-led workshops, make handmade books for your writings and more!

Fowler Families: Giant Kites of Guatemala (Ages 8+), Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 8/4, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Explore the practice of making colorful giant kites (barriletes) and their significance during Día de los Muertos in Guatemala during this two-hour hands-on workshop. After learning about the Day of the Dead celebration in Guatemala and other Central American countries, participants will create large kites to fly on their own. This free family program is produced in collaboration with the UCLA Latin American Institute. Advance registration required.

* WEEKEND OF AUGUST 10 & 11 *

Natsumatsuri Family Festival, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, Saturday, 8/10, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Join JANM for their annual summer celebration featuring Japanese and Japanese American performances, crafts, and activities. See website for details about scheduled events and activities.

Family Amphitheater Performances: California Feetwarmers (Free to Be Series), Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Saturday, 8/10, 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Big Band meets Dixieland in the California Feetwarmers, a boisterous eight-piece ensemble who pay homage to New Orleans music of the ’20s. Known for their lively stage shows, the California Feetwarmers released their first, self-titled album in 2013. With guest appearances by Phil Alvin of the Blasters and Andy Bean of the Two Man Gentlemen Band, the album features a joyous blend of trad jazz, blues, and rags.

Global Dining: Northern India in Artesia with Fowler Museum, Saturday, 8/10, 12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Rajdhani restaurant in Artesia is famous for vegetarian thali—an Indian-style meal made of a selection of various dishes served on a large round platter. Typical dishes include rice, dal, vegetables, roti, papad, dahi (yogurt), small amounts of chutney or pickle, and a sweet dish to top it off. After the meal, explore the Indian grocery, jewelry, and sari shops along Little India’s Pioneer Blvd. Transportation departs from the Fowler at 12PM and returns at 4:30PM. $55 Fowler members, $60 general (includes roundtrip charter bus from the Fowler Museum). Advance tickets required. Deadline to register is August 5. Visit website for more information on the Global Dining series.

Undiscovered Chinatown Highlighted Walking Tour, Downtown LA, Saturday, 8/10, 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, 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!

Morocco: Henna Lantern (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 8/11, 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.

Art and Food at USC PAM (Free Second Sunday), USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Sunday, 8/11, 11:00 a.m. Discover how food inspires art and cultural identity. Create your own food-inspired artwork, listen to stories about food in Asian cultures, go on a docent-led tour, and participate in a special virtual reality experience that combines Asian cuisine and poetry. Enjoy free admission all day.

Family Amphitheater Performances: Aaron Nigel Smith (Free to Be Series), Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Sunday, 8/11, 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Don’t miss this collection of lively, original reggae tunes, along with Jamaican and African folk songs performed by Aaron Nigel Smith. Smith is delighted to return to his former hometown of LA for a performance of some of his best-known children’s songs. His reggae rhythms encourage families to sing, dance, and play together. At the Skirball Smith’s show will also feature student performers from the Center St. School Choir under the direction of Rebecca Wright.

Andell Family Sundays — The Art of Korean Writing, LACMA, Sunday, 8/11, 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 pm. 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, learn about calligraphy and how it has long been considered one of the highest art forms in Korea. Visit the exhibition Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing to learn about calligraphy’s fascinating history that includes work by kings, queens, painters, and monks, among others. In artist-led workshops, make handmade books for your writings and more!

Fowler Families: Sculpting Monkeys and Tigers and Deer, Oh, My!, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 8/11, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Animal characters take center stage in many Guatemalan masquerades, with masks representing bulls, deer, dogs, jaguars, monkeys, tigers, and more. Explore these creatures in the exhibition Guatemalan Masks before using clay to sculpt your own animal inspired by the artworks on view. Too young to sculpt? A selection of children’s books related to Guatemala will be available in a special story time corner for families.

* WEEKEND OF AUGUST 17 & 18 *

Family Amphitheater Performances: Nathalia and Friends (Free to Be Series), Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Saturday, 8/17, 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Nathalia and Friends invite families to move and groove to an eclectic mix of bilingual sing-alongs, ranging in style from rock and cumbia to jazz and reggaeton. A native of Barranquilla, Colombia, Palis studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston and then relocated to Los Angeles to begin her career as a music therapist, educator, and performer.

CicLAvia—Meet the Hollywoods, Sunday, 8/18, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Join CicLAvia for Meet the Hollywoods as they transform streets in West Hollywood, Hollywood, and East Hollywood into public recreational space for the day (see map). Walk, bike, roll, and stroll through some of LA’s most iconic streets from the Hollywood Walk of Fame to West Hollywood’s rainbow crosswalk.

Persia: Tiles (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 8/18, 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.

Family Amphitheater Performances: Syncopated Ladies (Free to Be Series), Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Sunday, 8/18, 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Close out the Free to Be season with the all-female tap dance band Syncopated Ladies. Founded by Emmy Award–nominated tap dancer and choreographer Chloe Arnold, the group has been praised by megastar Beyoncé for their tap dance tribute to her hit song “Formation.” The Syncopated Ladies won the first dance crew battle on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance. Last year, they collaborated with hip-hop band N*E*R*D* (which includes the internationally renowned artist Pharrell Williams) for a performance on The Ellen Show. Their viral videos have amassed over fifty million views.

Andell Family Sundays — The Art of Korean Writing, LACMA, Sunday, 8/18, 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 pm. 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, learn about calligraphy and how it has long been considered one of the highest art forms in Korea. Visit the exhibition Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing to learn about calligraphy’s fascinating history that includes work by kings, queens, painters, and monks, among others. In artist-led workshops, make handmade books for your writings and more!

Fowler Families: Yoga for Little Travelers, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 8/18, 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 journey to India’s stepwells during this new monthly yoga series. At 2:00 p.m., join Fowler Educators for a family-friendly guided tour highlighting artwork from the special exhibition India’s Subterranean Stepwells. 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 AUGUST 24 & 25 *

Los Angeles City Birthday, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Downtown LA, Saturday, 8/24, 6:00 a.m – 1:00 p.m. Celebrate the 238th anniversary of the founding of Los Angeles with Los Pobladores historic reenactments, a civic ceremony, artisan demonstrations, entertainment and free birthday cake! Begin the day by walking to El Pueblo from Mission San Gabriel following the historic route of the first settlers (more information on Walk to Los Angeles).

India: Madhubani Painting (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 8/25, 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.

Andell Family Sundays — The Art of Korean Writing, LACMA, Sunday, 8/25, 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 pm. 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, learn about calligraphy and how it has long been considered one of the highest art forms in Korea. Visit the exhibition Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing to learn about calligraphy’s fascinating history that includes work by kings, queens, painters, and monks, among others. In artist-led workshops, make handmade books for your writings and more!

* WEEKEND OF AUGUST 31 & SEPTEMBER 1 *

Orange International Street Festival, Old Town Orange Plaza, Orange, Friday, 8/30, to Sunday, 9/1. Every Labor Day Weekend, the Orange International Street Fair (OISF) in downtown Orange has been the place where friends, families and neighbors get together to experience a wide variety of food, music and dance from cultures and ethnicities throughout the world. Visit website for event hours and parking information.

E Hula Mau: Hula and Chant Competition, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Long Beach, Friday, 8/30, to Monday, 9/2. E Hula Mau welcomes you to attend this year’s competition and festivities. There will be an Island food court (Kalua pig plate, Hulihuli chicken, Spam musubi, Manapua, shave ice, Macadamia nut cookies, poi mochi, kulolo, dried aku and poi, etc.), Polynesian Arts & Craft Fair, cultural workshops, and entertainment (see event schedule).

Long Beach Greek Festival by the Sea, Assumption of Blessed Virgin, Long Beach, Saturday, 8/31, to Monday, 9/2. Eat, drink, and dance all things Greek during this three-day event. Enjoy delicious Greek food (rotisserie chicken, gyros, Greek salads, roasted lamb, homemade Greek sweets, and more!), Greek beer and wine, live Greek music and dancing (lessons, too!), cooking demonstrations, specialty vendors, and carnival rides.

Little Tokyo Walking Tour, Japanese American National Museum, Downtown LA, Saturday, 8/31, 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (Offered every last Saturday of the month). 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 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.

Autumn Moon Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 9/1, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Join a 2,000 year-old celebration held to usher in the fall season! Bowers’ Autumn Moon Festival will feature performances by JC Culture Foundation’s lion dancers, Sino US Arts Performing Organization, and straight from Taiwan, a very special performance by Freedom Beat, presenting a creative fusion of percussion and electronic music. Enjoy free mooncakes and art projects including lantern making and moon watercolor paintings.

Broad Fest 2019, The Broad Stage, Santa Monica, Sunday, 9/1, 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Enjoy a relaxing and engaging afternoon in the sun at this annual community festival. This free outdoor event features music performances, a live DJ, dance lessons and other activities for the whole family. Performers include Boogaloo Assassins, a Los Angeles-based 12-piece Latin band; Viver Brasil which honors Brazil’s African legacy through bold contemporary dance theater; She Sings She Swings, a young sing band; and DJ Anthony Valadez. See Broad Fest 2019 Lineup for more information.

* SPECIAL EXHIBITS ENDING THIS FALL *

Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing, LACMA, Los Angeles, on view until September 29. Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing will be the first exhibition held outside of Asia to focus on the history of writing and calligraphy in Korea. Believed to mirror one’s qualities as a human being in ways unmatched by any other art, calligraphy has long been considered one of the highest art forms in Korea. This exhibition, organized both conceptually and chronologically, explores the role of calligraphy in different strata of Korean society over nearly two millennia, and includes works both in hanja (Chinese ideographic characters) and hangeul (the unique Korean phonetic script). The lives and legacies of writers and calligraphers will be examined through works by kings and queens, officials and scholars, painters and monks, and even slaves. The exhibition also explores Korea’s innovations in woodblock printing during the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) and in movable metal type during the Joseon dynasty (1392–1897). Due to the rarity of several of the international loans, Beyond Line will only be on view at LACMA—making this a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Guatemalan Masks: Selections from the Jim and Jeanne Pieper Collection, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, on view until October 6. Traditional Guatemalan dance-dramas come to life in a vivid installation of 80 wood masks depicting animals, folk personae, and historical figures that are deeply rooted in Guatemalan religiosity and popular culture. With some examples dating back a century or more, the masks offer insights into how the dances articulate community identities.

India’s Subterranean Stepwells: Photographs by Victoria Lautman, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, on view until October 20. Since the 600 CE, stepwells have served as water-harvesting systems that descend into the earth and enable communities to access the water table or rainwater gathered below. A selection of 48 photographs by journalist Victoria Lautman captures the diversity and sublime beauty of these architectural marvels.

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!

Leave a Comment