January 2020: Los Angeles Culture Challenge & Scandinavian Film Festival #SFFLA

Happy New Year! Start the year off strong by taking advantage of the many opportunities to explore the diverse cultural richness of Los Angeles.

January brings one of my favorite Scandinavian events back to town, the annual Scandinavian Film Festival LA (SFFLA). The festival opens this weekend, January 4 & 5, in Beverly Hills and continues the weekend of January 11 & 12. For a look at what’s being offered this year, check out Scandinavian Film Festival LA #SFFLA 2020 Coming Soon to a Theater Near You!. I’ll be at the festival a lot as a volunteer and hope to see you there!

Another event that might be of interest if you wish to support Norwegians abroad is WinterFest, an annual festival that includes performances, workshops and special events that celebrate the art of narrative improvisation in Los Angeles and around the world. This year one of the special guests is Det Andre Teatret from Oslo, Norway. They will perform on January 8 and 10 in Los Feliz. For more information, visit WinterFest.

Finally, Scandinavian and Nordic enthusiasts, mark your calendars with the dates for the 21st annual Nordic Spirit Symposium in Thousand Oaks: Friday, February 7, and Saturday, February 8. The symposium is a unique lecture/performance program presented by the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation and California Lutheran University. This year’s topic is Magic, Creatures and Legends: A Journey into Nordic Folklore. For more information on the program and registration details, visit Nordic Spirit Symposium. Reservation deadline for Saturday’s lunch and dinner is January 29.

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

* WEEKEND OF JANUARY 4 & 5 *

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 1/4, 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 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. Be prepared to wind your way through a myriad of alleyways, plaza stalls, and classical courtyards to discover the charm of LA’s Chinatown. Offered every first Saturday of the month.

Scandinavian Film Festival LA (SFFLA), Writers Guild Theater, Beverly Hills, Saturday, 1/4, & Sunday, 1/5 (also next weekend, 1/11 & 1/12). Don’t miss this yearly showcase of films from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland and their Baltic neighbors Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The festival not only screens the films submitted by these Nordic and Baltic countries to the Academy for consideration in the “Best International Feature Film” category, but also other national feature films, short movies, and documentaries.

China, Vietnam, Laos Hmong Tribal Art – Textile (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 1/5, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Join instructors for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. All materials are provided.

Festival of Chocolate, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 1/5, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Chocolate started out as the drink of Aztec nobles and is now enjoyed and cultivated around the world. Sample chocolate of all kinds while enjoying a drum circle accompanied by the Mexican indigenous music of Martin Espino. Dafra African Drums and Dance will honor one of the most important crops of the African Continent. Hear directly from world renowned “Chocolate Guru,” Lee Theisen in a special lecture on the history and politics of Chocolate. *Please note that there will be a fee for the lecture and chocolate tasting. Space is limited and advanced reservations are required.

2020 Oshogatsu Family Festival – Year of the Rat, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, Sunday, 1/5, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Welcome the Year of the Rat with crafts, food, cultural activities, and performances! Festival activities include origami, face painting, photo booth, museum scavenger hunt and raffle, fukububuro (lucky grab bags) sale, noodle tasting, candy sculptures, storytelling, TAIKOPROJECT performance, mochitsuki demonstration and tasting, and more. Visit the festival website for schedule.

* WEEKEND OF JANUARY 11 & 12 *

Scandinavian Film Festival LA (SFFLA), Writers Guild Theater, Beverly Hills, Saturday, 1/11, & Sunday, 1/12. This is the second weekend of SFFLA, a yearly showcase of films from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland and their Baltic neighbors Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The festival not only screens the films submitted by these Nordic and Baltic countries to the Academy for consideration in the “Best International Feature Film” category, but also other national feature films, short movies, and documentaries.

MLK: I Have a Dream – Multi-Media (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 1/12, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Join instructors for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. All materials are provided.

Fowler Families: Picture This! Create Your Own Postcard, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 1/12, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Postcards are a quick way to share adventures in one’s hometown or around the world, often featuring a photograph or illustration on one side and a handwritten note on the other. Explore the postcards on view in our special exhibition On Display in the Walled City: Nigeria at the British Empire Exhibition, 1924–1925 before designing your own postcard using a variety of art materials.

* MLK, JR. WEEKEND OF JANUARY 18 & 19 & 20 *

France – Castles 3D (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 1/19, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Join instructors for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. All materials are provided.

2020 MLK Day Celebration, California African American Museum, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, Monday, 1/20, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day immersed in art, culture, and community, and commemorate the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Enjoy an array of vibrant programs and activities for all ages. Bring children for art workshops and food, visit the exhibitions, and hear recitations of King’s speeches about keeping the spirit of democracy alive. Free for everyone! Visit website for schedule of events and activities.

* WEEKEND OF JANUARY 25 & 26 *

Museums Annual Free-for-All Day, Saturday, 1/25. Over 40 museums—presenting art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science—will open their doors and invite visitors to attend free of charge. This offer is for general museum admission only and does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Regular parking fees apply at each museum. Consult individual museum websites for hours, directions, and other visitor information. For a list of participating museum, visit website.

Lunar New Year Festival, USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Saturday, 1/25, 11:00 a.m.  Join USC PAM for their annual Lunar New Year festival celebrating the Year of the Rat! Enjoy free admission to the galleries, live performances, artmaking workshops, food trucks, and more.

Ancient Minoan Civilization Amphorae – Marine Motifs (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 1/26, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Join instructors for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured. All materials are provided.

Fowler Families: Ready, Set, Sculpt!, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 1/26, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Discover the dynamic colors, surprising materials, and personal memories shared by artist Rina Banerjee in the special exhibition Make Me a Summary of the World before creating a sculpture that expresses your own unique story.

* CURRENTLY ONGOING *

Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific, LACMA, Los Angeles, ongoing until July 29. The first substantial project on the art of Fiji to be mounted in the United States, Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific features over 280 artworks drawn from major international collections, including the Fiji Museum, British Museum, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Cambridge), the Smithsonian, and distinguished private collections. While viewing the exhibit, listen to a unique mix of traditional music and contemporary tracks that creates a sonic experience reflecting the Fijian Islands.

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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