October 2019: Los Angeles Culture Challenge & a Few Scandinavian Events

Many special events are happening in the Los Angeles area this month – unique exhibits (two are closing, one is opening), cultural festivals, art workshops, and more! One of my favorite LA events, CicLAvia, also returns this month. Take a look below and mark your calendars, but please check suitability for family members and confirm dates and times before heading out.

For Scandinavian enthusiasts, October offers many events that may be of interest. On Friday, October 11, the 26th annual Nordic Cup Charity Gold Tournament takes place in Lakewood, California. This tournament is a fundraising event for The Norwegian Seamen’s Church in San Pedro and Nansen Field in Palos Verdes. If you’re a golfer, consider signing up. Bring your own foursome, bring a fellow golfer, or come by yourself (they will place you in a group). Enjoy a fun-filled day with golf, lunch, dinner and other activities. If you’re unable to attend, consider supporting the event by purchasing raffle tickets online.

On Saturday, October 19, the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation will host its annual Leif Erikson Day Celebration. The same weekend, on Sunday, October 20, Vasa Park Association will host their annual Scandinavian AutumnFest & Höstmarknad Celebration in Agoura Hills which includes a Swedish meatball contest. More details can be found in the listing below.

On Thursday, October 24, the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation‘s Scandinavian Book Club resumes its monthly meetings in Thousand Oaks after a long summer break. Please reach out if you’re interested in details.

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

* WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 5 & 6 *

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.

L.A. Greek Fest, Saint Sophia Cathedral, Los Angeles, Friday, 10/4 – Sunday, 10/6. The L.A. Greek Fest is the largest and most iconic Greek food and wine festival in Los Angeles bringing over 15,000 attendees together for a three-day weekend of all things Greek. Each day of festivities is a celebration of food, wine, dance, games, performances, and one-of-a-kind cultural experiences. Located at Pico and Normandie on the same grounds of one of LA’s most beautiful and well-known Greek Orthodox cathedrals, Saint Sophia Cathedral, the festival brings together the community of the Byzantine-Latino Quarter and people from all over downtown Los Angeles and Southern California. Visit website for schedule of events and $2 coupon.

W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine, Annenberg Space for Photography, Century City, October 5 – December 29, 2019. This exhibit examines the historical use and artistic treatment of walls over centuries. Across diverse civilizations, walls have been central to human history, from Hadrian’s Wall to the current debate over the U.S./Mexico border. The show also includes an exclusive new documentary featuring commissioned photographers on location, an experimental retail space, and Light the Barricades, an interactive public art installation.

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 10/5, 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. (Offered every first Saturday of the month).

Oxnard Multicultural Festival, Oxnard, Saturday, 10/5, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Visit Oxnard for a day of music, dance, and cultural booths from around the world. The festival features live music and performers, food and vendor booths, exhibitors, demonstrations, arts & crafts, and plenty of family friendly activities. Every year, hundreds of guests look forward to coming together to celebrate the many diverse nations, languages, and cultures of the world.

CicLAvia—Heart of LA | Celebrating UCLA100, Downtown LA, Sunday, 10/6, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. This is a special edition of CicLAvia’s beloved Heart of LA route, presented by Metro and celebrating UCLA’s centennial. Join the ride and explore Westlake, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Boyle Heights, and DTLA (where UCLA originally began as a teachers college), by bike, board, or foot.

Vietnam: Lotus Flower – Lacquerware (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 10/6, 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.

11th Annual Kokoro Craft Boutique, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, Sunday, 10/6, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Vendors will be on hand with unique jewelry, kimono fabric fashions, cultural t-shirts, handbags, ceramics, origami, bronze and glass art, pet accessories, and more! Performances by Yuujou Daiko and harpist Audrey Kato. Admission to the boutique is free. A $25 purchase gets you free museum admission (10/6/19 only) and a 10% discount at local participating Little Tokyo eateries during the month of October (some restrictions apply). Please note that “CicLAvia—Heart of LA” will be taking place on this day. The route passes directly in front of JANM. Street closures will be in place near the museum; traffic and parking in the area will be impacted. Please check ciclavia.org for details.

Indian Diwali Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 10/6, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Celebrate the festival of lights with live musical performances all day long. Don’t miss internationally acclaimed choreographer Ramya Harishankar’s Arpana Dance Company and Punam Kumar’s Kathak Company, accompanied by Sid Phillar. Watch as classical Indian rhythms converge with ’70s Bollywood to create psychedelic soundscapes, presented by The Sadhus of Bass. DJ/producer Ameet Mehta and tabla artist Robin Sukhadia will round out the day with visuals and sound inspired by Bollywood funk and Indian classical music.

Andell Family Sundays—Animals of the Land, Water, and Sky, Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 10/6, 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 exhibition Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art and see the myriad ways animals are depicted in Japanese art. In artist-led workshops, make your own creations, including an origami how-to.

Yoga for Little Travelers, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 10/6, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Little yogis and their families are invited to pack their bags and join Alex Reed on a whimsical journey to Guatemala during this year’s final yoga session. After a 45-minute imaginative yoga session featuring mindful play, breathing exercises, and relaxing stretches, join Fowler Educators at 2 o’clock 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. Visit website for RSVP information.

* WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 12 & 13 *

Irvine Global Village Festival, Orange County Great Park, Irvine, Saturday, 10/12, & Sunday, 10/13, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Recognized as one of the premier multicultural festivals in Orange County, the festival is a mosaic of food, dance, and musical performances representative of more than 50 cultures. The two-day festival includes three stages featuring live music performances representing cultures from around the world as well as your favorite Top 40 cover bands; an expanded Kids Village with crafts, activities, a petting zoo, and a treat scavenger hunt; cultural and historical exhibits; live demonstrations of dance, music, and more; global cuisine and favorite festival foods; and an Artisans Marketplace, art exhibit, and art demonstrations. For more information on festival activities, visit their Things to Do webpage.

Poland: Wycinanki Floral Cut Outs (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 10/13, 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 Harvest Festival: A Sukkot Celebration, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Sunday, 10/13, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Bring in the fall harvest season and celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot at this daylong festival, featuring live music, dancing, and maker stations. Enjoy performances by Mostly Kosher and DJ sets by Daddy Differently on stage, Israeli folk dancing led by Bruce Bierman and Gilberto Melendez, and spoken word in the Skirball sukkah. Learn more about the holiday and the theme of harvest on a tour of Visions and Values. Then stop by a variety of maker stations curated by Creative Ways. Create your own tea blends, salves, and dream pillows using recently harvested herbs; make an amulet to welcome the season; savor tea from the magical samovar; and engage in conversation. Visit website for performance schedule and ticket information.

Andell Family Sundays—Animals of the Land, Water, and Sky, Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 10/13, 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 exhibition Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art and see the myriad ways animals are depicted in Japanese art. In artist-led workshops, make your own creations, including an origami how-to.

* WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 19 & 20 *

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.

Día de los Muertos Community Celebration, Ford Theatres, Los Angeles, Saturday, 10/19, & Sunday, 10/20, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. followed by evening event at 8:00 p.m. This free two-day extravaganza honors the traditions of Mexican and native Mesoamerican cultures with daytime activities for the whole family. The free Dia de los Muertos festivities will take place from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. all over the Ford’s entryway gardens and plaza spaces. Activities will include face painting, live music, food, craft activities, live mural painting by father and son graffiti artists Such and Champs, and more. Come back in the evening for Lila Downs’ Día de Muertos: Al Chile featuring Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company and Mariachi Femenil Flores Mexicanas. The entire Ford Theatres will be transformed by larger-than-life Mesoamerican-inspired sugar skulls, an altar installation, and an original Oaxacan Día de los Muertos mural by Lucretia Torva. Go here to learn more and buy tickets for the evening event.

Leif Erikson Day Celebration, Overton Hall & Scandinavian Center, Cal Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, Saturday, 10/19, 2:00 p.m. Join the annual celebration of Leif Erikson’s voyages to North America more than a thousand years ago. The program begins in Overton Hall with the documentary Vikings in North America, narrated by Leonard Nimoy, and concludes with a reception at the Scandinavian Center.

Scandinavian AutumnFest & Höstmarknad Celebration, Vasa Park, Agoura Hills, Sunday, 10/20, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. AutumnFest offers a wide range of activities for the whole family. In addition to enjoying traditional foods of Sweden, you can be a judge in the 11th Annual Swedish Meatball Contest. You can buy beautifully crafted gifts and souvenirs and enjoy Scandinavian musicians and folk dancers, demonstrations, and a Viking reenactment group that shares stories about Viking times. There will be many activities for kids including a waterslide, an alpine tube slide, swimming, a rock climbing wall, and field games.

Thailand: Banyan Tree – Watercolor Resist (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 10/20, 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—Animals of the Land, Water, and Sky, Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 10/20, 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 exhibition Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art and see the myriad ways animals are depicted in Japanese art. In artist-led workshops, make your own creations, including an origami how-to.

Fowler Families: Dive into Design, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 10/20, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Explore how stepwells from as early as the fifth century have been used to store monsoonal rains for communities across India before imagining a new water-storage system for your neighborhood. One giant pool? Dozens of underground wells? Personal rain catchers? It’s up to you! Children ages 6+ are invited to bring their designs to life using a variety of art materials.

Performance and Workshop with Desert Fire, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 10/20, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Through their unique choreographies and workshops, Aakansha Maheshwari and Malini Taneja strive to preserve an Indian folk dance style from Rajasthan called Kalbelia. Since 2010 Kalbelia has been on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, which draws attention to the importance of safeguarding such traditions. In this afternoon program, Taneja and Maheshwari will perform a 20-minute, high-energy dance performance followed by a participatory workshop where audience members can learn popular moves of the Kalbelia tribe. Families can enjoy Fowler Families: Dive into Design from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

* WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 26 & 27 *

Dia de los Muertos Festival, El Pueblo Historical Monument, Downtown LA, Friday, 10/25 – Saturday, 11/2. Olvera Street is home to a colorful celebration that takes place over nine days. Merging ancient traditions with modern-day interpretations, you are invited to join in honoring deceased loved ones. Each evening, colorful and vibrant novenario processions take place at 7:00 p.m. The traditional pre-Columbian procession evokes special memories of deceased loved ones with colorful pageantry and indigenous blessings. Pan de muerto (sweet bread) and champurrado (a Mexican hot beverage) are provided after processions. During the festival days on the weekend, there is entertainment and face painting throughout the day. Community altars, or “Las Ofrendas,” are on display in the plaza.

Mexico: Ofrenda – Day of the Dead (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 10/27, 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—Animals of the Land, Water, and Sky, Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 10/27, 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 exhibition Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art and see the myriad ways animals are depicted in Japanese art. In artist-led workshops, make your own creations, including an origami how-to.

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!

One thought on “October 2019: Los Angeles Culture Challenge & a Few Scandinavian Events

  1. Appreciate your promoting the Leif Erikson event in Thousand Oaks put on by the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation (SACHF).

    Anita Londgren, SACHF President

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