September 2019: Los Angeles Culture Challenge & Scandinavian Events

Happy last long weekend of summer! If you haven’t already filled up your Labor Day Weekend with plans, it’s not too late to take advantage of some festive events still happening around the area this weekend. And the rest of the month offers many opportunities to explore the diverse richness of Los Angeles as well.

This is also the month for two special Scandinavian festivals, Solvang Danish Days in Santa Barbara County and Vista Viking Festival in San Diego County. Unfortunately, both take place the same weekend (September 21 & 22), but either one would make for an interesting excursion out of town.

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

* LABOR DAY WEEKEND OF AUGUST 31 & SEPTEMBER 1 & 2 *

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.

Orange International Street Fair, 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.

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.

Andell Family Sundays — Chinese Art Now, Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 9/1, 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, check out the current exhibition of contemporary Chinese art, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China. Be inspired by the innovative and playful use of unconventional art materials (like Coca-Cola or silk cocoons!) by artists such as Ai Weiwei and Xu Bing. Make your own art exploring different materials in artist-led workshops.

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.

* WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 7 & 8 *

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.

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Throughout Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 9/7, 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. RSVP here.

Mexico: Tree of Life – Sculpture (Barnsdall Arts Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 9/8, 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.

Philippines Cultural Day (Free Second Sunday), USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Sunday, 9/8, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Celebrate the cultures of the Philippines with performances, artmaking activities, a chef conversation, and storytime for kids. This event will present a collaboration of performing artists from Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts, Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble, and Rocksteady Rondalla. Visit website for a schedule of events. Free admission all day.

Andell Family Sundays — Chinese Art Now, Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 9/8, 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, check out the current exhibition of contemporary Chinese art, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China. Be inspired by the innovative and playful use of unconventional art materials (like Coca-Cola or silk cocoons!) by artists such as Ai Weiwei and Xu Bing. Make your own art exploring different materials in artist-led workshops.

* WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 14 & 15 *

Mexican Independence Day, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Downtown LA, Saturday, 9/14 & Sunday, 9/15. Celebrate Mexico’s independence from Spain with popular and traditional entertainment, cultural activities, historic displays, food, artisan exhibits and more. ¡Viva México!

 Two-Day Jewelry Workshop: The Wonderful World of Washi, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Saturday & Sunday, 9/14 & 9/15, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Washi is a traditional Japanese handmade decorative paper that dates back to the seventh century. In this workshop led by Reiko Nakano, create a washi collage necklace in which the designs of two different washi patterns will be integrated onto one set of differently shaped wooden beads. These beads will then be enhanced with commercial components to form a truly unique neck ornament. The second project will be a coordinated washi wood bracelet. Please visit website for more details and to RSVP.

Undiscovered Chinatown Highlighted Walking Tour, Downtown LA, Saturday, 9/14, 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. This highlighted walking tour is held in conjunction with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival 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.

81st Annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, Central and Blossom Plazas, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 9/14, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival celebrates the full harvest moon and is a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and to celebrate and share the generous bounty with family. Celebrate with your Los Angeles family in Chinatown style! Traditional Chinese cultural demonstrations alongside hot local bands mark a celebration uniquely Angeleno and uniquely Chinatown. Come by for the annual Dessert Eating Competition, or to taste Mooncake samples from Chinatown’s popular bakeries, or to take a peek at the full moon in her glory through scientific telescopes!

Egypt: Clay Tablets with Cartouche (Barnsdall Arts Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 9/15, 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 — Chinese Art Now, Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 9/15, 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, check out the current exhibition of contemporary Chinese art, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China. Be inspired by the innovative and playful use of unconventional art materials (like Coca-Cola or silk cocoons!) by artists such as Ai Weiwei and Xu Bing. Make your own art exploring different materials in artist-led workshops.

* WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 21 & 22 *

Solvang Danish Days, Solvang (Santa Barbara County), Friday, 9/20, to Sunday, 9/22. Solvang has been celebrating its Danish heritage at this annual festival since 1936. Events and activities take place all over town and include live music, comedy shows, Hans Christian Andersen storytellings, a parade each day, a Viking encampment with historical reenactments bringing Viking times to life, and a Living History Festival with artisans, craftspeople, storytellers, and interactive activities for all ages. There’s even a special kids area with snacks, beverages, games, and fun (including LEGOS!). Don’t miss the æbleskiver breakfasts and eating contests as well as the Old World Artisans Marketplace with demonstrations and artisanal hand-crafted items including Scandinavian arts & crafts, woodworking, papercutting, rosemaling, fabric art, jewelry, and pottery.

Pasadena Greek Fest, Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church, Pasadena, Friday, 9/20, to Sunday, 9/22. Enjoy performances of Greek dancing and music; talks on cuisine, history, and travel; and tastes of Greek foods such as gyros, souvlaki, moussaka, and baklava. A special Kid’s Zone entertains kids with bouncy inflatables, games and a climbing wall.

Vista Viking Festival, Vista (North San Diego County), Saturday, 9/21, & Sunday, 9/22. Make your way to Vista to see, share, and sample all things Viking and Scandinavian. Learn about Viking life in the living history encampments of the Viking Village and watch exciting Viking battles on the field. At the Viking Marketplace, peruse and purchase beautiful Nordic merchandise and arts and crafts, both handmade and imported. At the Weapons Range, expert instructors will train you in the skills of axe throwing, spear throwing, and archery. In addition to these events and activities, enjoy a variety of live entertainment all day long on two stages. There are also arts and crafts and games for children, delicious Nordic food throughout the grounds, beer gardens, and unique Viking competitions.

Global Dining: Guatemala in Sherman Oaks, Saturday, 9/21, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. The final global dining experience will conclude with a prix fixe lunch by Puchica Guatemalan Bar and Grill in Sherman Oaks. Enjoy kak`ik, a traditional Maya turkey soup spiced with coriander, achiote, and chili peppers, and served with corn tortillas and tamales. $30 Fowler members, $35 general. This event has a limited capacity and requires advance tickets (no walk-ins). To register, visit website.

China: Autumn Festival Lantern – Zodiac Signs (Barnsdall Arts Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 9/22, 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 — Chinese Art Now, Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 9/22, 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, check out the current exhibition of contemporary Chinese art, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China. Be inspired by the innovative and playful use of unconventional art materials (like Coca-Cola or silk cocoons!) by artists such as Ai Weiwei and Xu Bing. Make your own art exploring different materials in artist-led workshops.

* WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 28 & 29 *

Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing, LACMA, Los Angeles, on view until September 29. Beyond Line: The Art of Korean Writing is 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. 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.

38th Annual Watts Tower Day of the Drum Festival & 43rd Annual Simon Rodia Watts Tower Jazz Festival, The Watts Towers Arts Center Campus, Saturday, 9/28, & Sunday, 9/29. Save the dates. Details coming soon!

Baja Splash Cultural Festival, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, Saturday, 9/28, & Sunday, 9/29. In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month and Mexican Independence Day, the Aquarium of the Pacific will host its eighteenth annual Baja Splash Cultural Festival featuring live entertainment, crafts, educational programs, ethnic cuisine, and much more. Mariachi music, Mexican folkloric and Aztec dance troupes, interactive mural painting, Salvadoran dance, Guatemalan performances, and other special programs are featured.

Israel: Hamsa – Embossed Metal (Barnsdall Arts Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 9/29, 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 — Chinese Art Now, Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 9/29, 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, check out the current exhibition of contemporary Chinese art, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China. Be inspired by the innovative and playful use of unconventional art materials (like Coca-Cola or silk cocoons!) by artists such as Ai Weiwei and Xu Bing. Make your own art exploring different materials in artist-led workshops.

* SPECIAL EXHIBITS TO SEE THIS FALL *

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.

Do you know of other events happening this month that might be of interest to this community? Feel free to add them 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!

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