Virtual Scandinavian Events for Fall 2020

One silver lining of the pandemic is that organizations are pivoting to online events allowing interested folk from all over to attend. I have certainly taken advantage of that in the past few months and look forward to continuing.

Here are some Scandinavian virtual events and entertainment (plus some Icelandic and Finnish) that have popped up on my radar for the fall. I will continue to add events as I learn of them.

If you are interested in Nordic literature or Scandinavian TV and film, scroll to the end for information on a Nordic Book Club now available online and Scandinavian shows recently added to Netflix.


Virtual Cinema: Out Stealing Horses (Norway)

Scandinavia House in New York, NY, is hosting a virtual cinema presentation of Out Stealing Horses, a film based on the award-winning novel by Norwegian author Per Petterson. Immediately following the film there will be a pre-recorded discussion between Stellan Skarsgård and filmmaker Hans Petter Moland. Half of proceeds will go to support American-Scandinavian Foundation and Scandinavia House. For more information and to purchase access, visit Scandinavia House’s Facebook event page. An end date has not yet been set for film screenings.

Virtual Cinema: A White, White Day (Iceland)

Scandinavia House in New York, NY, is also hosting a virtual cinema presentation of the hit Icelandic film A White, White Day with Film Movement. A White, White Day is an emotionally complex exploration of the ravages of loss set across the hypnotic landscape of Iceland. Half of proceeds will go to support American-Scandinavian Foundation and Scandinavia House. For more information and to purchase access, visit Scandinavia House’s Facebook event page. An end date has not yet been set for film screenings.

October Family Norwegian Language Adventure – Friluftsliv
(With Vesterheim Folk Art School, Decorah, Iowa)

Join this adventure anytime between September 12 and September 21. The adventure starts October 1 and will focus on friluftsliv, the Norwegian concept of embracing outdoor living. “Join us for this family-fun outdoor adventure and learn some Norwegian language along the way! Your “family” could be any combination of adult or adults and child or children, all who are ready to have fun and learn some norsk are welcome! Through hands-on activities, fun crafts, light hearted games and short videos, you and your family will learn and practice your new Norwegian skills both indoors and outside. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these language activities, a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning, a fun craft, and a yummy snack.” These activities are designed for families with children ages 5-15. Click here for more information and to sign up.

Baldishol: A Medieval Norwegian Tapestry Inspires Contemporary Textiles
(Virtual Exhibit at Norway House, Minneapolis, MN)

The medieval Baldishol tapestry from 1180 is the oldest known Norwegian tapestry and one of the oldest in Europe and is a national treasure familiar to most Norwegians. This exhibit features 26 works by local, national, and international fiber artists who draw inspiration from the Baldishol. Enjoy the Baldishol exhibit, along with accompanying artist statements and bios, in this virtual exhibit.

Virtual Book Talk: The Family Clause by Jonas Hassen Khemiri (September 9)

This online event is hosted by ASF (American-Scandinavian Foundation) and Scandinavia House in New York, NY. “Jonas Hassen Khemiri, the acclaimed author of Montecore, joins us for a Virtual Talk to discuss The Family Clause, a novel about a family on the verge of collapse, which will be released in English translation beginning on August 25.” For more information and to register, visit Scandinavia House’s event page.

Virtual Nordic Cooking with Morten Sohlberg: Zucchini & Squash (September 10)

This online event is hosted by ASF (American-Scandinavian Foundation) and Scandinavia House in New York, NY. “Join us for a special Nordic virtual cooking event! Morten Sohlberg, the chef and owner of Smörgås Chef restaurant at Scandinavia House, will present an online demo of making one of his favorite late summer dishes — roasted zucchini and squash coated with ricotta, parmesan, and various herbs and spices.” This event will take place as a YouTube Premiere on Thursday, September 10, at 6 p.m. ET at the link: https://bit.ly/2GeVGvv.

ABBA Salute Concert Online! (September 13, 2:00 p.m. PT)

“ABBA Salute is quite literally the most accurate tribute band on the planet. With painstaking attention to detail, they’ve recreated an ABBA experience that comes to life in a Las Vegas style show. Join the Swedish American Museum in Chicago and Vasa Park for a special online concert that is free but we do appreciate donations to help us through this time.” For more information and to get the link for the event, click here.

Dual Citizenship Webinar (September 15, 12:00 p.m. CT)

Join Norwegian Honorary Consulate General, Minneapolis for a free webinar to learn about Norway’s new dual citizenship law and how it may affect you. Topics include reinstatement of former Norwegian citizenship, how to apply for US citizenship, and more. The presentation will conclude with a Q & A session. Questions must be submitted in advance. For more information and to register, click here.

Online Event: Equity, Inclusion, and Immigration in the Nordic Countries (September 15, 3:00 p.m. ET)

This online event is hosted by ASF (American-Scandinavian Foundation) and Scandinavia House in New York, NY. “Nordic countries are often seen as models of equity, equality, and social justice. But what are the ways that the Nordic countries are approaching the inequalities that they still face? In this virtual panel, four distinguished guests — Swedish hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité, Swedish author Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Danish author Simon Pasternak, and Swedish-Ethiopian chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson — will join us for a discussion on recent cultural contributions and voices who continue to discuss inequality both in the Nordic countries and the U.S.” For more information and to register, visit Scandinavia House’s event page..

Vista Viking Festival Online (September 19 & 20)

This year, experience Vista Viking Festival Online. “We are living in a new age, and we are not able to gather this year. So we are expanding our virtual territories beyond the festival gates. Bringing our family closer to yours. Set sail with us online, September 19 & 20, 2020.”

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Group) to Discuss The Nordic Theory of Everything (September 24, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Join on Thursday, September 24, at 7:00 p.m. CDT to discuss Finnish journalist Anu Partanen’s The Nordic Theory of Everything. Read more about the event and register here.

Virtual Panel — Danish Authors You Should Know (September 29, 2:00 p.m. ET)

On September 29, Scandinavia House in New York, NY, begins a special fall series of panels, Nordic Authors You Should Know, by focusing on Danish literature with Shadi Angelina Bazeghi, Jonas Eika, Maja Lee Langvad, Dorthe Nors, and Ursula Andkjær Olsen, moderated by author and translator Katrine Øgaard Jensen. The program will take place as a Zoom webinar. For more information, visit Scandinavia House’s Facebook event page.

Policing & Police Reform in the Nordic Countries: Virtual Panel (September 30, 1:00 p.m. ET)

This virtual panel is hosted by ASF + Scandinavia House. “In contrast to the United States, the Nordic countries have their own unique approaches to law enforcement that have evolved out of histories with different racial and economic politics. As calls for police reform continue to be debated at every level of government in the U.S., three panelists from the Nordic countries join us to discuss policing and police reform in those countries: Lars Holmberg (Professor of Law, JUR Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law, University of Copenhagen), Kimmo Himberg (Senior Researcher, the Police University College, Tampere, Finland), and Margrét Valdimarsdóttir (Assistant Professor of Police Science at the University of Akureyri).” Registration is required; sign up here: https://bit.ly/2ZKB71b.

P&P Live! Vigdis Hjorth | Long Live the Post Horn! with Sheila Heti (September 30, 4:00 p.m. ET)

Hosted by Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C., this event is presented in partnership with the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Vigdis Hjorth sits down with fellow author Sheila Heti to discuss her new novel, Long Live the Post Horn! For more information and to register for this free event, click here.

Virtual Book Talk: The Bell in the Lake with Lars Mytting (October 1, 6:00 p.m. ET)

This online event is hosted by ASF (American-Scandinavian Foundation) and Scandinavia House in New York, NY. “Norwegian author Lars Mytting joins us for a virtual book launch event on The Bell in the Lake, an engrossing epic novel and #1 bestseller in Norway about a young woman with a mystical fate, available in English translation from The Overlook Press beginning September 29.” For more information and to register, visit Scandinavia House’s event page.

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Fall Folk Festival (October 2-4)

Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses from around the globe together in one online location during the absence of in-person festivals. Friday, October 2, – Sunday, October 4, join Virtual Fall Folk Festival to discover unique Nordic products, take advantage of discounts, and win give-aways! For more information, visit Virtual Fall Folk Festival on Facebook.

Virtual Panel — Icelandic Authors You Should Know (October 6, 2:00 p.m. ET)

Nordic Authors You Should Know at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, continues with a focus on Icelandic literature with The Imposter Poets, a poetry collective made up of members Thórdís Helgadóttir, Thóra Hjörleifsdóttir, Fríða Ísberg, Ragnheiður Harpa Leifsdóttir, Sunna Dís Másdóttir, and Melkorka Ólafsdóttir, moderated by author and translator Larissa Kyzer. The event will begin with short readings of each of the authors’ work in both English and in Icelandic, followed by interviews with the authors and a conversation on Icelandic literature today. For more information and to register, visit Scandinavia House’s event page.

The Painter and the Thief at BFI London Film Festival (October 8)

Winner of the Creative Storytelling Prize at Sundance, Norwegian documentary filmmaker Benjamin Ree’s “expertly plotted, genre-blending documentary explores the personal repercussions of an extraordinary art heist… The sheer audacity of the theft of artist Barbora Kysilkova’s enormous paintings from the windows of an Oslo gallery immediately piqued documentarian Benjamin Ree’s interest. Neither he, Kysilkova nor the perpetrators could have predicted what happened next.” Available starting October 8 on BFI Player. Visit BFI London Film Festival’s film page for details.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (October 18)

Obviously, this is not a Scandinavian event, but it’s a favorite Los Angeles event happening virtually this year for everyone to enjoy. Beginning on Sunday, October 18, and continuing over the course of four weeks, The Times will celebrate storytelling with author panels, readings, and other events. The programming schedule will be announced in mid-September. For details, go to https://latimes.com/FestivalofBooks.

Virtual Panel — Norwegian Authors You Should Know (October 27, 2:00 p.m. ET)

Nordic Authors You Should Know at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, continues with a focus on Norwegian literature with Jan Grue, Roy Jacobsen, Kaja Kvernbakken, and Ruth Lillegraven, moderated by author and translator Karen Havelin. The event will begin with short readings of each of the authors’ work in both English and in Norwegian, followed by interviews with the authors and a conversation on Norwegian literature today. For more information and to register, visit Scandinavia House’s event page.


Online Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY

The Nordic Book Club at Scandinavia House in New York, NY, selects novels from some of the best Nordic literary voices. It now meets bi-weekly online. Here are their upcoming meetings. Click the dates for more information and to register.

  • September 8: The Summer House by Philip Teir (translated from the Swedish by Tiina Nunnally)
  • September 22: Miss Iceland by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon)
  • October 6: The Family Clause by Jonas Hassen Khemiri (translated from the Swedish by Alice Menzies)
  • October 20: The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting (translated from the Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin)
  • November 3: Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen (translated from the Finnish by David Hackston)
  • November 17: Companions by Christina Hesselholdt (translated from the Danish by Paul Russell Garrett)

Borderless Book Club 

In response to the Covid-19 crisis and the lockdown order, Peirene Press, in collaboration with several other small presses, created the Borderless Book Club. Meetings are held on Thursday evenings at 8:00 p.m. UK time via Zoom. Participation is free. They exclusively discuss translated literature. For more information and to view the current fall program and to access previous meetings (which includes books by Scandinavian authors), visit Borderless Book Club.


New to Netflix: Scandinavian Movies & TV Shows

Borgen (Seasons 1-3) – A Danish political thriller, available in your preferred audio language. Netflix description: As Denmark prepares for parliamentary elections, Moderate Party leader Birgitte Nyborg makes a shocking move with surprising results.

Rita (2020, Season 5 Available) – A Danish comedy in Danish with English subtitles. Netflix description: Independent, outspoken and adored by her students, schoolteacher Rita fares less well with adults in this comedy-drama from Denmark.

Young Wallander (New, Season 1) – A Netflix original series in English based on the Swedish and British series Wallander. Netflix description: An incendiary hate crime stirs civil unrest, fast-tracking rookie cop Kurt Wallander to detective in this origin story for the popular character.

For more Scandinavian films and TV shows:


I hope you found something of interest for the months ahead. Feel free to reach out to me if you have events to share.

March 2020: Los Angeles Culture Challenge

3/14/2020 Update:  Rekefest i hagen, or Shrimp Party in the Garden, at the Norwegian Church has been canceled. The Scandinavian Festival is canceled for this year as well and returns next year April 10 & 11, 2021.


For Scandinavians and Scandinavian enthusiasts, this is the month when the Norwegian Church hosts its annual Rekefest i hagen, or Shrimp Party in the Garden. It will take place on Saturday, March 21, at 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Come enjoy shrimp the Norwegian way! Peel-your-own Arctic shrimp with freshly baked “loff” (white bread), mayonnaise, and dill along with potato salad are served family style along community tables set up outside. Price is $25/adult, $5/child, or $50/family. Register to attend by emailing iwa@sjomannskirken.no.

And while you’re at it, mark your calendars with the dates for this year’s Scandinavian Festival in Thousand Oaks. On the weekend of April 4 & 5, celebrate the festival’s 45th anniversary with live entertainment, children’s activities, food demonstrations, a Kubb tournament, lectures, a Nordic food court, Nordic craft vendors, and more! They are always looking for volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering, email scanfestvolunteer@gmail.com.

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

* SUNDAY, MARCH 1 *

Red Envelope Show, Chinese American Museum, Downtown LA, ongoing until March 29. Exchanging red envelopes is a beloved tradition in many Asian and Asian American communities. The color red symbolizes good luck and prosperity. During Lunar New Year, these envelopes are often handed out to provide good luck. From whimsical to elegant, red envelopes often bear designs that represent auspice and special occasions. Red Envelope Show takes a fresh look at this ephemeral art, which features hundreds of red envelopes decorated with original artwork by over 250 contemporary artists from across the country.

Japan: Sakura – Cherry Blossom Lanterns (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 3/1, 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.

Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 3/1, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Enjoy a full day of fun for the entire family while celebrating Japanese culture and the arrival of spring! Scheduled events include Kishin Daiko Taiko; Shan, candy sculptor extraordinaire; Fujima Seiyumi Kai Japanese Classical Dance; Ikebana flower arranging demonstration by Ikebana Teachers Association, and L.A. Taiko Drums. Ongoing activities include free mochi treats, face painting, art projects (tissue paper and pastel chalk cherry blossom and Zen tangle art), origami demonstration, and Bonsai exhibit and demonstration.

Andell Family Sundays—Aire, Agua, Mundo, Fuego, LACMA, Miracle Mile, Sunday, 3/1, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Offered every Sunday in March except 3/29). 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. Create memories together and have fun! This month, be inspired by the remarkable breadth of Venezuelan born Luchita Hurtado’s eight-decade career on display in the exhibit Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn. Then make your own paintings and drawings inspired by Hurtado’s unique perspective.

* WEEKEND OF MARCH 7 & 8 *

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 3/7, 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. Be prepared to wind your way through a myriad of alleyways, plaza stalls, and classical courtyards to discover the charm of LA’s Chinatown.

Art and Religion in the City of Angeles: A Walking Tour with Patrick Polk and Amy Landau, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Saturday, 3/7, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Tour important Los Angeles sacred sites along the Vermont Avenue corridor with Patrick A. Polk, Curator of Latin American and Caribbean Popular Arts, and Amy Landau, Director of Education and Interpretation. Vermont Avenue traverses the El Salvador Community Corridor, Historic Filipino Town, Korea Town, Little Armenia, Little Bangladesh, and Thai Town, offering rich opportunities to discover the city’s layered religious and cultural histories. Visit website for more details and registration details. Advance reservations are required and capacity is limited.

Japanese Girls’ Day (Free Second Sunday), USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Sunday, 3/8, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Celebrate Japanese Girls’ Day, or Hinamatsuri! Come see a traditional tiered doll display (hinadan) and learn to create your own dolls and hanging decorations inspired by the festival. The day will include Japanese tea ceremony demonstrations, Student Educator led tours and storytime for kids. Enjoy free admission all day.

Celebrating Nowruz: Iranian New Year, UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 3/8, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Join Farhang Foundation for the 12th Annual Celebration of Nowruz at UCLA’s Royce Hall and Dickson Courts. The event includes musical performances, children’s activities, dancers, a Haft Sîn display and the annual Persian Costume “Spring Walk.” Open to children and adults of all ages. Please see website for program information.

Andell Family Sundays—Aire, Agua, Mundo, Fuego, LACMA, Miracle Mile, Sunday, 3/8, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Offered every Sunday in March except 3/29). 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. Create memories together and have fun! This month, be inspired by the remarkable breadth of Venezuelan born Luchita Hurtado’s eight-decade career on display in the exhibit Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn. Then make your own paintings and drawings inspired by Hurtado’s unique perspective.

Fowler Families: Collaged Connections, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 3/8, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Create colorful collages using various patterns and materials inspired by the special exhibition Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World. This retrospective includes large-scale sculptures and installations made from materials sourced from around the world as well as a selection of works on paper that create a multi-sensory space for reflecting on the splintered experience of identity, tradition, and culture within diasporic communities. Free and open to all.

All remaining events for the month of March have been canceled.

* WEEKEND OF MARCH 14 & 15 *

Ireland: Celtic Dragons (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 3/15, 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.

Andell Family Sundays—Aire, Agua, Mundo, Fuego, LACMA, Miracle Mile, Sunday, 3/15, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Offered every Sunday in March except 3/29). 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. Create memories together and have fun! This month, be inspired by the remarkable breadth of Venezuelan born Luchita Hurtado’s eight-decade career on display in the exhibit Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn. Then make your own paintings and drawings inspired by Hurtado’s unique perspective.

* WEEKEND OF MARCH 21 & 22 *

Shrimp Party in the Garden, Sjømannskirken Los Angeles, San Pedro, Saturday, 3/21, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend Sjømannskirken’s annual Shrimp Party in the Garden. Long community tables will be set up outside and shrimp will be served Norwegian style. Lasagna will be available for those who don’t eat shrimp. Price is $25/adult, $5/child, or $50/family. Register to attend by emailing iwa@sjomannskirken.no.

Persia: Persian Tiles for New Year (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 3/22, 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.

Andell Family Sundays—Aire, Agua, Mundo, Fuego, LACMA, Miracle Mile, Sunday, 3/22, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Offered every Sunday in March except 3/29). 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. Create memories together and have fun! This month, be inspired by the remarkable breadth of Venezuelan born Luchita Hurtado’s eight-decade career on display in the exhibit Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn. Then make your own paintings and drawings inspired by Hurtado’s unique perspective.

* WEEKEND OF MARCH 28 & 29 *

Red Envelope Show, Chinese American Museum, Downtown LA, closes March 29. Exchanging red envelopes is a beloved tradition in many Asian and Asian American communities. The color red symbolizes good luck and prosperity. During Lunar New Year, these envelopes are often handed out to provide good luck. From whimsical to elegant, red envelopes often bear designs that represent auspice and special occasions. Red Envelope Show takes a fresh look at this ephemeral art, which features hundreds of red envelopes decorated with original artwork by over 250 contemporary artists from across the country.

International Children’s Festival, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, Saturday, 3/28, & Sunday, 3/29. The annual International Children’s Festival celebrates the amazing talents of children of many cultures. West African, Mexican, Pacific Islander, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Persian, Irish, Slovak, and Czech dance are among the children’s performances, along with martial arts demonstrations and an international children’s choir. Kids of all ages can partake in a percussion circle, Japanese origami, Native American crafts, and Pacific Islander traditional children’s games.

India: Henna Hand Patterns (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 3/29, 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.

Ukrainian Pysanka Festival, Ukrainian Culture Center, Los Angeles, Sunday, 3/29, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Enjoy the talent and tradition of learning how to make beautiful Ukrainian Easter Eggs and enjoy other Ukrainian cultural activities and delicious food. Attendees can sample authentic Ukrainian food, participate in several workshops, watch lively Ukrainian dancing, enjoy other crafts and learn how to make a real Pysanka (traditional Ukrainian Easter egg). Great fun for the entire family!

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!

February 2020: Los Angeles Culture Challenge

February offers many opportunities to discover and explore the richness of Los Angeles. Especially plentiful this month are Lunar New Year celebrations and events celebrating and honoring African American history.

For Scandinavian enthusiasts, this month features the annual Nordic Spirit Symposium, a unique lecture and performance program presented by the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation and California Lutheran University. The symposium will take place Friday, February 7, and Saturday, February 8, in Thousand Oaks. This year’s topic is Magic, Creatures and Legends: A Journey into Nordic Folklore. For more details on the program and to check registration availability, visit their website.

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

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 1 & 2 *

Undiscovered Chinatown Highlighted Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/1, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. This walking tour is offered in conjunction with the Chinese New Year Festival (12:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.) and Golden Dragon Parade (1:00 p.m.). Visit a temple, an herbal shop, art galleries, antique stores, and more! The 1 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.

Chinese New Year Festival, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/1, 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. There will be artisan booths featuring calligraphy, clay sculpture, dough sculpture, face painting, and magic; arts and craft workshops; main stage entertainment (see schedule); a craft and vintage market; gourmet food trucks; a culinary corner; photo booth with vintage cutouts circa 1940; and a free screening of the movie Ratatouille (6:00 p.m.).

121st Annual Golden Dragon Parade, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/1, 1:00 p.m. The Golden Dragon Parade is the oldest celebration of its kind in America. With over thousands of individuals lining the parade route and thousands viewing the telecast each year, this colorful celebration along North Broadway in Chinatown has become the premiere cultural event in the Southern California Asian-American Community. The parade includes almost two dozen floats, multiple marching bands, government officials, various dignitaries, entertainers, local business leaders, and cultural groups.

African Mask Workshop (Kids, Teens & Families Programs), California African American Museum (CAAM), Exposition Park, Saturday, 2/1, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Sculptor Beulah Woodard had a lifelong interest in African culture and in 1935 was inspired to produce the sculpture Mask, on view in LA Blacksmith. Make your own small mask in soft copper. Ages 6 and up. Visit website to RSVP.

China: Year of the Rat – Print-Making (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 2/2, 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.

Asian Lunar New Year Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 2/2, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Celebrate the Year of the Rat with dance, music and art from China, Vietnam and Korea. Dragon and lion dances by JC Culture will welcome in the new year. Enjoy a sample egg roll while creating paper lanterns and art scroll projects as you contemplate the diligence and positivity of those born in the Year of the Rat.

The Art of Julie Mehretu (Andell Family Sundays), Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 2/2, 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, be inspired by Ethiopian-born Julie Mehretu’s large works of art and her artistic process of layering maps, architecture, historical imagery, and drawing. Make art inspired by the exhibition in artist-led workshops.

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 8 & 9 *

21st Annual Nordic Spirit Symposium: Magic, Creatures and Legends: A Journey into Nordic Folklore, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, Friday, 2/7, & Saturday, 2/8. The Nordic Spirit Symposium will host prominent scholars in the topic’s field who will bring the latest insights into Magic, Creatures and Legends through story, analysis, painting, and song. For details on the program and to register, visit website.

Red Envelope Show, Chinese American Museum, Downtown LA, February 5 – March 29. Exchanging red envelopes is a beloved tradition in many Asian and Asian American communities. The color red symbolizes good luck and prosperity. During Lunar New Year, these envelopes are often handed out to provide good luck. From whimsical to elegant, red envelopes often bear designs that represent auspice and special occasions. Red Envelope Show takes a fresh look at this ephemeral art, which features hundreds of red envelopes decorated with original artwork by over 250 contemporary artists from across the country.

USA: Valentine’s Day – Nikki de Saint Phalle Inspired Sculpture (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 2/9, 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.

The Art of Julie Mehretu (Andell Family Sundays), Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 2/9, 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, be inspired by Ethiopian-born Julie Mehretu’s large works of art and her artistic process of layering maps, architecture, historical imagery, and drawing. Make art inspired by the exhibition in artist-led workshops.

Fowler Families: Stories and Self-Portraits, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 2/9, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. What would you like to tell the world? During this imaginative, hands-on art workshop, children of all ages are invited to answer this question while making self-portraits infused with their own creative writing. This program is inspired by the special exhibition Through Positive Eyes that features photography, video, sculpture, and live storytelling aimed at conveying the personal experiences of participants living with HIV and AIDS around the world.

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 15 & 16 *

Pan African Film + Arts Festival, Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, Thursday, 2/11, through Monday, 2/23. Experience the largest Black film festival in America. From a $100 million blockbuster premiere to newly emerging Hollywood talent, the Pan African Film + Arts Festival (PAFF) showcases a broad spectrum of Black creative works from all over the globe, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes. Special programs include StudentFest, Saturday Children’s Festival, SpokenWord Fest, LOL Comedy, PAFF Fashion Show, and more.

Undiscovered Chinatown Highlighted Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/15, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. This walking tour is offered in conjunction with the Firecracker Festival. Visit a temple, an herbal shop, art galleries, antique stores, and more! The 1 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.

Firecracker Festival, Main Stage in Central Plaza, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/15 & Sunday, 2/16. The Firecracker Festiva is a free festival that celebrates the cultural diversity and talent of Los Angeles over the course of two days. The festival also includes a 5/10K Run/Walk as well as a Bike Ride, Kiddie Run, and PAW’er Dog Walk. All net proceeds are reinvested locally.

India: Gonda Art – Painting (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 2/16, 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.

The Art of Julie Mehretu (Andell Family Sundays), Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 2/16, 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, be inspired by Ethiopian-born Julie Mehretu’s large works of art and her artistic process of layering maps, architecture, historical imagery, and drawing. Make art inspired by the exhibition in artist-led workshops.

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 22 & 23 *

31st Annual Mardi Gras Celebration, The Original Farmers Market, 3rd & Fairfax, Los Angeles, Saturday, 2/22, & Sunday, 2/23. L.A.’s favorite Mardi Gras celebration features Cajun and Zydeco bands galore, down home Southern cookin’, the Mutti Gras Pet Parade, bead throwing and much more.

African-American Festival, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, Saturday, 2/22, & Sunday, 2/23. Join the Aquarium of the Pacific as it hosts its 18th annual African-American Festival, celebrating the rich diversity of African-American and African cultures. The festival will feature live entertainment and arts and crafts. Festival performers include Mardi Gras second line dancers, hip hop and break dancers, jazz musicians, interactive drum circles, West African dancers, and storytellers.

CicLAvia – South LA, Sunday, 2/23, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Join CicLAvia as they open up the streets in South LA for a 6-mile route connecting South Central, Florence-Firestone and Watts. Bike, skate, run, walk, skateboard, and enjoy the route however you want. People of all ages and abilities are welcome!

Nigeria: Clay Masks (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 2/23, 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.

The Art of Julie Mehretu (Andell Family Sundays), Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza at LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 2/23, 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, be inspired by Ethiopian-born Julie Mehretu’s large works of art and her artistic process of layering maps, architecture, historical imagery, and drawing. Make art inspired by the exhibition in artist-led workshops.

* WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 29 & MARCH 1 *

Hinamatsuri Workshop: Kokeshi Doll Art with Mari Inukai, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, Saturday, 2/29, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. In celebration of Hinamatsuri (Girls’ Day), paint your own prince and princess kokeshi doll set with artist Mari Inukai. Bring pictures of your favorite flowers and textile samples as reference material to paint your doll’s kimono. All generations welcome! Visit website for details and to RSVP.

Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 3/1, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Enjoy a full day of fun for the entire family while celebrating Japanese culture and the arrival of spring! Scheduled events include Kishin Daiko Taiko; Shan, candy sculptor extraordinaire; Fujima Seiyumi Kai Japanese Classical Dance; Ikebana flower arranging demonstration by Ikebana Teachers Association, and L.A. Taiko Drums. Ongoing activities include free mochi treats, face painting, art projects (tissue paper and pastel chalk cherry blossom and Zen tangle art), origami demonstration, and Bonsai exhibit and demonstration.

Andell Family Sundays—Aire, Agua, Mundo, Fuego, LACMA, Miracle Mile, Sunday, 3/1, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Offered every Sunday in March except 3/29). 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. Create memories together and have fun! This month, be inspired by the remarkable breadth of Venezuelan born Luchita Hurtado’s eight-decade career on display in the exhibit Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn. Then make your own paintings and drawings inspired by Hurtado’s unique perspective.

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!

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!

December 2019: Los Angeles Culture Challenge (Bonus: Norwegian Christmas Series on Netflix!)

December offers many special seasonal events which highlight the diverse richness of Los Angeles! Which will you put on your calendar?

The season of Scandinavian Christmas fairs wraps up this weekend with SWEA Los Angeles’ 41st Annual Swedish Christmas Fair on Sunday, December 8, in Torrance. It’s a big one that welcomes about 3,000 visitors during the one-day event. Highlights of the fair include a multitude of vendors selling Scandinavian gifts, books, music, handmade crafts, traditional holiday foods, and baked goods as well as traditional entertainment with folk dancing and Lucia pageants.

While on the topic of Scandinavian Christmas, I’d like to give you a heads-up about a Norwegian Christmas series just added to Netflix. Home for Christmas (Hjem til jul) is a 6-episode romantic comedy series about Johanne, a 30-year-old woman who is tired of the constant reminders of her single status and suddenly finds herself on a quest to find a boyfriend in time to bring home for Christmas. It takes place in a quaint little Norwegian town (filmed in Røros, Norway) and can be watched in Norwegian with English sub-titles or dubbed in English. Two episodes in I’m really enjoying it, especially the Norwegian winter setting and the diverse characters.

And finally, so you can plan ahead, one of my favorite Scandinavian events returns next month. The Scandinavian Film Festival LA opens the weekend of January 4 & 5 in Beverly Hills and continues the weekend of January 11 & 12. The schedule will be posted soon.

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

* SPECIAL REPEATING EVENTS IN DECEMBER *

Las Posadas at Olvera Street, El Pueblo Historical Monument, Downtown LA, Monday, 12/16 – Tuesday, 12/24, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Las Posadas has been a part of Olvera Street since its founding in 1930. Every evening beginning December 16 and continuing through Christmas Eve, the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem is reenacted with traditional songs, colorful costumes, and vibrant music. Festivities begin with a children’s piñata breaking. Free sweet bread and champurrado are given to all in attendance afterwards. While the event is rooted in Christian and Catholic traditions, it is attended by people from all religious backgrounds, and all are welcome to participate.

DTLA Holiday Lights Walking Tour, Meeting Point: Union Station, Downtown LA, Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. until December 26. Explore the richness of Downtown LA with the annual DTLA Holiday Lights Tour offered by DTLA Walking Tours. It is a two-hour evening tour of the festive holiday decorations and traditions in Downtown LA. The tour begins at Union Station and highlights include Las Posadas at Olvera Street, Grand Park with its illuminated fountain and Winter Glow (a month-long immersive nighttime art experience), Walt Disney Concert Hall, Broad Museum, and Pershing Square festivities. Adults $20, children ages 5-12 $5, and children 4 and under free. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit website.

Ice Breakers, Ice at Santa Monica, Downtown Santa Monica, Sundays, until January 19. This holiday season take advantage of Ice Breakers, a family-friendly live music series every Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 7 & 8 *

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 12/7, 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. 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).

CicLAvia: The Valley, Sunday, 12/8, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Discover Sherman Way from Canoga Park through Winnetka and into Reseda as CicLAvia offers an entirely new, 5-mile stretch of open streets. You will find a Volta Cirque du Soleil photo booth, LA Kings hockey clinics, music performances, family-friendly games, food trucks and dozens of other activities along the route. Bike, skate, run, walk, skateboard, and enjoy the route however you want.

Ancient Cycladic Civilization: Clay Figurines (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 12/8, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Experience inspiring, innovative workshops that enrich lives and teach basic visual art skills with highly qualified artist-educators. Each workshop focuses on a global culture, and different media are explored weekly including painting, textile art, printmaking, clay, sculpture, collage, and 3D constructions. Many of the projects celebrate holidays of the diverse community in LA. The program is open to all ages, including children, families, and adults.

41st Annual Swedish Christmas Fair, Torrance Cultural Arts Center, Torrance, Sunday, 12/8, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The fair features artisans and stands presenting the best of Swedish fine art, handicraft, books, jewelry, toys, decorations, and much more. Enjoy a traditional Swedish lunch or “fika” (coffee break) with delicious home baked sweets. You can even enjoy an invigorating glass of hot glögg (mulled wine). The radiant Lucia Pageant is performed twice during the day, at noon and at 3pm. There’s also a children’s corner with crafts, games, and a possible visit with Santa.

* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 14 & 15 *

England: Toy Theater (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 12/15, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Experience inspiring, innovative workshops that enrich lives and teach basic visual art skills with highly qualified artist-educators. Each workshop focuses on a global culture, and different media are explored weekly including painting, textile art, printmaking, clay, sculpture, collage, and 3D constructions. Many of the projects celebrate holidays of the diverse community in LA.

Hanukkah Festival, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Sunday, 12/15, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Celebrate the Jewish festival of lights, while enjoying music, dance, storytelling, art making, and tasty treats. Get in the holiday spirit with musical performances by Klezmer Juice, hear classic Hanukkah tunes and folk music by fiddler and accordionist duo Zingarella, and be dazzled by capoeira performed by Dana Maman and Friends. Take a little bit of the festival home with you by creating a one-of-a-kind art project or making a delicious treat with Maite Gomez-Rejón (ArtBites). Be inspired as Noah’s Ark storytellers recount the age-old tale of Hanukkah in both English and Spanish, and join a special Hanukkah sing-along. Then listen to author Alan Silberberg read his book Meet the Latkes.

CAAM Makers Fest – Winter 2019, California African American Museum, Exposition Park, Sunday, 12/15, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Let your creativity flow at this all-ages affair featuring maker stations led by local artists. Learn from the pros of our community, including Nneka Gigi, who will lead a workshop embellishing clothing with retro cartoons; J. Mack, who teaches how to create music shakers from recycled materials; and Wayne Perry, who will demonstrate how to create relief portraits. Take home several creative treasures! No prior art experience necessary; art materials provided.

Las Posadas Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 12/15, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Experience a traditional Mexican Christmas re-enactment of the story of Mary and Joseph as they seek shelter for the birth of the Baby Jesus at an inn (posada). There will be face painting, art projects and Mexican hot chocolate and pan dulce. Enjoy performances by Rhythmo Mariachi Kids, Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center, and Folklorico RaÍces de Mexico.

* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 21 & 22 *

Las Posadas at Olvera Street, El Pueblo Historical Monument, Downtown LA, Monday, 12/16 – Tuesday, 12/24, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Las Posadas has been a part of Olvera Street since its founding in 1930. Every evening beginning December 16 and continuing through Christmas Eve, the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem is reenacted with traditional songs, colorful costumes, and vibrant music. Festivities begin with a children’s piñata breaking. Free sweet bread and champurrado are given to all in attendance afterwards. While the event is rooted in Christian and Catholic traditions, it is attended by people from all religious backgrounds, and all are welcome to participate.

Holiday Cards: Print-Making (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 12/22, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Experience inspiring, innovative workshops that enrich lives and teach basic visual art skills with highly qualified artist-educators. Each workshop focuses on a global culture, and different media are explored weekly including painting, textile art, printmaking, clay, sculpture, collage, and 3D constructions. Many of the projects celebrate holidays of the diverse community in LA.

60th Annual LA County Holiday Celebration, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center, Downtown LA, Tuesday, 12/24, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Community and professional choirs, music ensembles, and dance companies representing the diverse cultures and holiday traditions of the region celebrate the season during this free three-hour holiday show. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. First come, first seated. People begin lining up early. The show is also broadcast live in Southern California on PBS SoCal (KOCE) and live streamed on pbssocal.org.

* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 28 & 29 *

W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine, Annenberg Space for Photography, Century City, on view until December 29. This is the closing weekend for this exhibit that 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.

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!

November 2019: Los Angeles Culture Challenge Including Scandinavian Films and Christmas Fairs

Cultures from all over the world are represented at special events happening in and around Los Angeles in November. And if Scandinavian films and Christmas fairs are of interest, this is the time for that as well.

For Scandinavian film enthusiasts, both the Arpa International Film Festival and AFI Fest offer opportunities:

  • The Dead Soldier, a Danish documentary directed by Jesper Ærø, will have its Los Angeles premier at the Arpa International Film Festival in Hollywood on November 9 (more details).
  • The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, a Norwegian/Canadian film featuring Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, Blackfoot from the Kainai First Nation and Sámi from northern Norway, as lead, co-director and writer in a story based on an actual incident from her life will be shown at AFI Fest in Hollywood on November 19 and 20 (more details).
  • And Then We Danced, a Swedish/French/Georgian film written and directed by Swedish Levan Akin, is Sweden’s official international feature film Oscar submission and will be shown at AFI Fest on November 20 and 21 (more details).
  • Something to Remember (Något att minnas), a Swedish short written and directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr will be shown as part of Shorts Program 5 at AFI Fest on November 18 & 19 (more details).

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

* SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS FAIRS *

Friday, 11/22 – Sunday, 11/24: Julebasar – Norwegian Christmas Bazar, Norwegian Seamen’s Church, San Pedro. Christmas decorations, music, candles, and the smell of freshly baked goods set the mood as guests wander the booths filled with Scandinavian goods of all kinds. There are raffle drawings with wonderful prizes, traditional foods served in the church’s cafe, baked goods for sale in the church’s bakery, and Norwegian Christmas food available in the church’s store. There will also be a children’s Christmas workshop from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Entry is free and all are welcome! (See hours.)

Sunday, 11/24: SWEA Orange County Swedish Christmas Fair, Old World Village, Huntington Beach. Come for Swedish handicrafts, traditional Swedish foods and home-baked goods, a gløgg bar, dancing around the Christmas tree, and Lucia pageants (at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.). There will also be a fish pond, jultomte, and much more! Entry fees are $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 5 to 15. (Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)

Saturday, 11/30: Julemarked – Scandinavian Christmas Fair, Danish Church & Cultural Center, Yorba Linda. Artisans and crafters offer high quality, unique and one-of-a-kind glass, ceramics, paper art, paintings, jewelry, and fabric art. Guests can also enjoy traditional Danish foods such as smørrebrød (elegant, elaborate open-face sandwiches) and æbleskiver (Danish pancake balls) with powdered sugar and raspberry jam as well as strong Danish coffee and gløgg, the hot Scandinavian yuletide drink (mulled red wine with cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, raisins and slivered almonds). Danish pastries and select meat products are also available for purchase. (Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.)

Sunday, 12/8: SWEA Los Angeles Swedish Christmas Fair, Torrance Cultural Center, Torrance. The SWEA Los Angeles Swedish Christmas Fair has something to offer everyone. A great selection of genuine Swedish handicrafts – jewelry, fine art, toys, and Christmas collectibles – will take care of all your holiday shopping. You can enjoy vibrant folk dancing (and try it out for yourself), and the radiant Lucia pageant and her choir performs twice during the day (12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m). When you get hungry, there are plenty of traditional holiday foods and baked goods to choose from, including our very own mulled, spiced glögg. Children have their own fun corner where they can say hello to Santa and create crafts to take home. As usual, there will be a raffle with a special grand prize.

* WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 9 & 10 *

W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine, Annenberg Space for Photography, Century City, on view until 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.

Asian World Film Festival, Culver City, Wednesday, 11/6 – Thursday, 11/14. The Asian World Film Festival brings the best of a broad selection of Asian World cinema to Los Angeles in order to draw greater recognition to the region’s wealth of filmmakers. The festival screens films from 50 countries across Asia spanning from Turkey to Japan and Russia to India.

22nd Annual Arpa International Film Festival, American Legion Theater Hollywood Post 43, Hollywood, Friday, 11/8 – Sunday, 11/10. Arpa International Film Festival (Arpa IFF) is dedicated to cultivating cultural understanding and global empathy by creating a dynamic forum for international cinema. Over the past 22 years, the festival has bridged cultural divides by fostering dialogue among people of diverse backgrounds. By showcasing local and international films that explore critical issues such as war, genocide, diaspora, dual identities, exile and multiculturalism, Arpa IFF has solidified its role in safeguarding films that continue to make a social impact.

Africa: Congo Masks – Shells and Raffia (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 11/10, 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.

Musical Traditions (Free Second Sunday @PAM), USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Sunday, 11/10, 11:00 a.m. Experience traditional Indian music with special guests from the Raga Essence Ensemble and learn to create your own musical instrument! In addition, enjoy family friendly Student Educator led tours and storytime for kids. Visit website for schedule of activities.

Animals of the Supernatural (Andell Family Sundays), LACMA, Miracle Mile, Los Angeles, Sunday, 11/10, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Make, look, and talk about art at Andell Family Sundays, a weekly family event that features artist-led workshops and friendly gallery tours and activities thematically based on special exhibitions and LACMA’s permanent collection. This month, learn about mythical animals such as dragons, enchanted house cats, and tengu (hint—they are part crow and excellent at martial arts!). 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 mythical and supernatural animal-inspired creations!

* WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 16 & 17 *

33rd Annual Israel Film Festival, Various Venues (Beverly Hills and Encino), Tuesday, 11/12 – Tuesday, 11/26. The mission of the Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles is to spotlight Israel’s thriving film and television industry, enrich the American vision of Israeli life and culture, and provide an intercultural exchange through the powerful medium of film.

AFI Fest, Various Venues, Hollywood, Thursday, 11/14 – Thursday, 11/21. This is American Film Institute’s annual celebration of international cinema from modern masters and emerging filmmakers. It features nightly red-carpet galas, special screenings, conversations, and tributes.

Philippines: Sarimanok Puppets (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 11/17, 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.

Animals of the Supernatural (Andell Family Sundays), LACMA, Miracle Mile, Los Angeles, Sunday, 11/17, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Make, look, and talk about art at Andell Family Sundays, a weekly family event that features artist-led workshops and friendly gallery tours and activities thematically based on special exhibitions and LACMA’s permanent collection. This month, learn about mythical animals such as dragons, enchanted house cats, and tengu (hint—they are part crow and excellent at martial arts!). 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 mythical and supernatural animal-inspired creations!

* WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 23 & 24 *

The Great Los Angeles Walk, Meet at War Memorial Fountain at Arcadia County Park, Saturday, 11/23, 9:00 a.m. Get to know the city by walking across it. Every year, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, hundreds of walkers start the free urban hike on one side of the city and hours later, end up at the other. It is a low-key event, and you can hop on or off the walk whenever you’d like. This year the event starts in Arcadia and then passes through Pasadena on Colorado Blvd. and heads down Figueroa St. through Highland Park on the way to downtown Los Angeles and City Hall.

USA: Native American Sand Painting – Navajo Rug Motifs (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 11/24, 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.

Animals of the Supernatural (Andell Family Sundays), LACMA, Miracle Mile, Los Angeles, Sunday, 11/24, 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Make, look, and talk about art at Andell Family Sundays, a weekly family event that features artist-led workshops and friendly gallery tours and activities thematically based on special exhibitions and LACMA’s permanent collection. This month, learn about mythical animals such as dragons, enchanted house cats, and tengu (hint—they are part crow and excellent at martial arts!). 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 mythical and supernatural animal-inspired creations!

* WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 30 & DECEMBER 1 *

Amazon Basin : Kayupo Feathered Headdresses (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 12/1, 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.

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!

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!

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 *

Los Angeles Korean Festival, Seoul International Park, Los Angeles, Thursday, 9/26 – Sunday, 9/29. This is a free four-day festival whose mission is to provide the community with the best possible outlet to learn about the roots and traditions of Korea. Entertaining performances will lighten up the festival’s main stage. Thoughtful cultural exhibitions will educate visitors about South Korea’s history and culture. Local restaurants as well as vendors from South Korea will present a wide variety of food in one space. The shopping space will consist of booths selling Korean products such as cosmetics, appliances, apparel, and accessories.

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!

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!

July 2019 Los Angeles Culture Challenge: Summer Fun Continues!

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!