October 2018 Los Angeles Culture Challenge & Scandinavian Events

Los Angeles is one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the United States. Here are some special events happening in LA this month. Mark your calendars, but please check suitability for family members and confirm dates and times before heading out.

For Scandinavian enthusiasts, October continues to offer events that may be of interest. On Sunday, October 7, the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation will host its annual Leif Erikson Day Celebration. Judith Vinje, a world traveled journalist and expert in Viking history, will be the keynote speaker at a presentation which will be followed by a reception at the Scandinavian Center. Leif Erikson will be at the Center for pictures and conversation, so be sure to bring the kids! The event is free of charge.

The following weekend, on Sunday, October 14, 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 25, the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation‘s Scandinavian Book Club resumes its monthly meetings after a long summer break. Please reach out if you’re interested in details.

And finally, news for Scandinavian enthusiasts and film buffs beyond Los Angeles, Netflix is releasing the movie 22 July, a drama about the 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway that claimed the lives of 77 people and the aftermath, on October 10 both on its streaming platform and in select theaters around the world. The film is based on the book One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway by Åsne Seierstad, translated from the Norwegian by Sarah Death. The movie is written and directed by Paul Greengrass.

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

* WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 6 & 7 *

Los Angeles Korean Festival, Seoul International Park, Normandie & Olympic Blvds, Thursday, 10/4 – Sunday, 10/7. 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.

7th Annual San Pedro International Film Festival, various locations in San Pedro, Friday, 10/5 – Sunday, 10/7. The San Pedro International Film Festival (SPIFF) was founded to celebrate the diverse culture and community of San Pedro with a wide spectrum of independent film, documentaries, and shorts. SPIFF is committed to exhibiting films that embody inspiring entertainment for all, works that express fresh voices and differing global perspectives, with the intent that these films enlighten audiences while providing invaluable exposure for filmmakers, local and international.

L.A. Greek Fest, Saint Sophia Cathedral, Pico & Normandie Blvds, Friday, 10/5 – Sunday, 10/7. The L.A. Greek Fest is the largest and most iconic Greek food and wine festival in Los Angeles, California, 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.

Around the World in a Day Multicultural Festival, Oxnard, Saturday, 10/6, 10:00 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.

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 10/6, 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)

Sunday Funday: A Haunted Pedal, Meet at The Crafty Pedal, Downtown LA, Sunday, 10/7, 9:30 a.m. Explore Downtown LA in a unique way. The first stop on this haunted ride is the “Murder House” from season one the FX television series, American Horror Story. Then, the group will take a short ride over to Rosedale Cemetery, built in 1884, the first cemetery in Los Angeles open to all races and creeds. Many founding Angelenos rest in these beautiful garden grounds. Next, the ride goes toward the haunted and infamous Cecil Hotel in Downtown LA, past home of the Night Stalker, and the site of other mysterious happenings. Finally, the group rides to Pershing Square, where you’ll hear stories of the historical haunts of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Ride finishes back at The Crafty Pedal. Visit website for important details on the ride.

Korea: Theater Masks (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 10/7, 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.

COAST, Downtown Santa Monica, Sunday, 10/7, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. COAST, the city of Santa Monica’s third annual open streets event, brings the City’s commitment to art, sustainability and mobility to life by filling two miles of streets with large-scale art installations, interactive activities, music and dance performances, roaming musicians and more! All are welcome to explore Downtown Santa Monica by foot or any number of wheeled devices.

10th Annual Kokoro Craft Boutique, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, Sunday, 10/7, 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, Giant Robot products, and more. Enjoy a Taiko performance by Yuujou Daiko at 1:00 p.m. Admission to the boutique is free. A $20 purchase gets you free museum admission (10/7/18 only) and a 10% discount at local participating Little Tokyo eateries during the month of October (some restrictions apply).

Italian Renaissance Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 10/7, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Immerse yourself in a real Italian Renaissance Faire complete with special sword demonstrations, interactive gallery experiences, face painting, and musical performances. Experience the thrill of knights in armor demonstrating historical dueling techniques and walking throughout the galleries, Western Martial Arts interpreters, and fashion experts dressed in Renaissance garb appropriate to the region. Using an array of period instruments, live music will be provided by Courtly Noyse.

Leif Erikson Day Celebration, Scandinavian Center at Cal Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, Sunday, 10/7, 2:00 p.m. Judith Vinje, a world traveled journalist and expert in Viking history, will be the featured speaker at the Leif Erikson Day presentation. The presentation will be followed by a reception at the Scandinavian Center. This will be a fun opportunity to see the Scandinavian museum, library, resource center, and programs offered to members. Leif Erikson will be at the Center for pictures and conversation, so be sure to bring the kids! The event is free of charge.

* WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 13 & 14 *

Scandinavian AutumnFest & Höstmarknad Celebration, Vasa Park, Agoura Hills, Sunday, 10/14, 9:30 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 10th 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.

Peru: Incan Sun God with Foil and Beads (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 10/14, 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.

Weaving & Film, USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Sunday, 11:00 a.m. Watch Artist Yan Zhang demonstrate the unique Li Brocade weaving style and then try decorative weaving yourself! At 3:00 p.m., join filmmaker Xiaowen Zhu and documentary subject Kenneth Wong for a screening of Oriental Silk, Zhu’s short film on the history of the first silk importing company in Los Angeles. Explore themes of cultural value and traditional craftsmanship, estrangement and homesickness, and the colors of memory.

* WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 20 & 21 *

Ancient Egypt: Tomb Paintings (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 10/21, 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.

Fowler Families: Celebrating Día de los Muertos, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 10/21, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Prepare for Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the Fowler Museum. Celebrate the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring departed loved ones through music, dance, regalia, and storytelling by the LA-based group Xipe Totec Danzantes Aztecas. Originating in Mexico City, this ensemble has developed with the blessings and recognition of traditional elders in Mexico. Xipe Totec Danzantes Aztecas will present “Journey to Mictlan,” a dance piece conveying the Aztec view of death as a transition in life’s journey. Begin the afternoon by creating your very own tissue paper marigolds or contributing to a collaborative papel picado banner that will be displayed in the Davis Courtyard. Xipe Totec Danzantes Aztecas will begin their performance at 2:00 p.m. with a blessing in the exhibition Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives before progressing into the Fowler Amphitheater.

* WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 27 & 28 *

Asian World Film Festival, Culver City, Wednesday, 10/24 – Thursday, 11/1. 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. This year’s theme will focus on female empowerment.

Día de los Muertos Festival, El Pueblo Historical Monument, Downtown LA, Thursday, 10/25 – Friday, 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.

Little Tokyo Walking Tour, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, Saturday, 10/27, 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. Weather permitting. $12 members, $15 non-members. Museum admission included. Limited to 20 participants. (Offered every last Saturday of the month.)

Día de Los Muertos 2018: Coatlicue “Mother of Gods”, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, Saturday, 10/27, 12:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Spend an eventful day watching as the cemetery comes to life with joyful celebrations. Highlights include a vibrant traditional procession with traditional Aztec blessings and regional musical dance group dedications, 100+ altars created by members of the community to their ancestors and loved ones, four stages featuring music and theatrical performances, an art exhibition in the Cathedral Mausoleum, and a wide variety of Day of the Dead arts and crafts available for purchase. See website for complete schedule and ticket information.

JAM Session: Mexican Folk Dance, Burton Chace Park, Marina del Rey, Saturday, 10/27, 3:00 p.m. (Part of Marina Spooktacular) Delight in the vibrant music and dance of Veracruz! Step up on the tarima (wooden dance platform) with Ballet Folklorico Ollin who will walk you through this rhythmic dance style. The JAM will end with a fandango celebrating the entire community. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. JAM Sessions are participatory while also centered on movement and music. All JAMs are free. All ages and skill levels are welcome.

Kenya: Animal Masks with Fur (Barnsdall Art Sundays), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 10/28, 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

JAM Session: Aztec Dance, Burton Chace Park, Marina del Rey, Sunday, 10/28, 12:00 p.m. (Part of Marina Spooktacular) Experience the splendor of the Aztec people with Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc. Create rhythms and beats with fellow drummers and explore the music, choreography and poetry of this ancient Mesoamerican culture. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. JAM Sessions are participatory while also centered on movement and music. All JAMs are free. All ages and skill levels are welcome.

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 here with details. Thank you!

✨GIVEAWAY!✨ Tickets to Wardruna with Eivør in Los Angeles, Sept 14

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience a one-of-a-kind evening of Nordic music in Los Angeles. On Friday, September 14, Wardruna will be joined by Eivør for an evening like no other. They will be performing at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown LA. Enter my giveaway for a chance to win a pair of tickets to their concert! Keep reading for giveaway details.

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September 2018 Los Angeles Culture Challenge: Much to offer for Scandinavian enthusiasts!

Just because the lazy days of summer are over doesn’t mean you can’t seize the opportunity to do something new! September offers many opportunities to enjoy some special multicultural events or explore new-to-you areas. And Scandinavian enthusiasts in particular are in for a treat.

One particular favorite LA event, CicLAvia, returns at the end of this month on Sunday, September 30. But this is not a regular CicLAvia event; it’s a special eight-mile street party to celebrate the LA Phil’s centennial season. The route goes between Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA and the Hollywood Bowl, and it will showcase LA’s creative spirit with 1800 musicians, artists, and dancers coming together to perform at the six hubs and along the route. It even includes a free concert at the Hollywood Bowl in the evening (concert details and ticket information here). Celebrate LA!: LA Phil 100 x CicLAvia looks to be an event not to be missed.

For Scandinavian enthusiasts, September has much to offer!

Not only are there two special Scandinavian festivals going on this month, but also Norwegian film, music, and an author are making their way to Los Angeles.

        

Neither of the two festivals are in the local Los Angeles area, but both could make for interesting excursions out of town. During the weekend of September 14 to 16, Solvang in Santa Barbara County celebrates its Danish heritage with the 82nd annual Solvang Danish Days festival. The following weekend, September 22 and 23, you can experience all things Viking and Scandinavian at the Vista Viking Festival in San Diego County.

      

Norwegian thriller “Revenge” by writer-director Kjersti Steinsbø opens August 31 and runs through September 6 at Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills. Using a false identity, Rebekka sets out to confront the man with whom she shares a dark secret about the death of her sister. She must face the consequences of her actions and decide how far she will to go to seek revenge. It is in Norwegian with English subtitles. The LA Times says, “Come for the chills, stay for the view…

Wardruna, a Norwegian music group, is coming to The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown LA on Friday, September 14. Their music has been featured in the History Channel series “Vikings.” Although Wardruna’s music shares characteristics with music typically labeled as folk, world, and/or ambient, none of these genres really describes their unique style. It truly must be experienced. And now’s your chance! Buy tickets here OR enter my giveaway for a pair of tickets!

Finally, Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård will be in town to discuss My Struggle: Book 6the long awaited final book in the My Struggle series. He will make two appearances. The first one is Saturday, September 22, at Skylight Books in Los Feliz. The second one on Sunday, September 23, at Aratani Theatre of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in Downtown LA.

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

August 2018 Los Angeles Culture Challenge: Don’t Miss an #OwnVoices Immigrant Film from Norway

Have you had a chance to try something new or explore a new-to-you area of Los Angeles this summer? Summertime offers some special multicultural events for Angelenos. There’s still time to take advantage!

Some exciting Norwegian film news! What Will People Say by Norwegian-Pakistani filmmaker Iram Haq opens today in Los Angeles. I saw this movie at AFI Fest this past fall and loved it. It’s a very powerful film about a first generation Norwegian teenager born of Pakistani immigrants in Oslo. The movie is about family, culture clash, honor, and shame. There were many gasp-out-loud moments in this film. It’s a thought-provoking and heart-breaking movie. I highly recommend it. It opened my eyes to a world very foreign to me, a world that could theoretically be right next to me without me knowing it. Read my full review here. It is playing at Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills and Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena. Visit Laemmle’s website to see showtimes. Don’t miss it!

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

Los Angeles Culture Challenge: July 2018

It’s summertime. Seize the opportunity to do something new! Is there a new event or excursion that you could add to your calendar to make this month a little different from the others? Explore another part of town, take in a cultural festival, watch a performance, or do an arts activity. How will you explore the richness of Los Angeles this month? Continue reading

18th Annual Los Angeles River Ride (2018): Finally My Chance

This year I was finally able to do the Los Angeles River Ride myself. Six years ago our family went to our first LA River Ride, but I wasn’t able to ride it since Doobie was too young for the Family Ride. I stayed with him in the parking lot for the younger riders’ mini-course and bike wash. Only Daddy and Sonny were able to ride along the river. Ever since that year I’ve wanted to ride along the river myself, ideally with the family, but other commitments always interfered. This year was finally my chance.

This year’s Los Angeles River Ride took place Sunday, June 3. Both kids had obligations, but I was able to get away to Griffith Park for the event. There were several rides to choose from: 2-mile Kids’ Ride, 15-mile Family Ride, 36-mile Ride, 68-mile Metric Century Plus, and Century Ride from Griffith Park to Long Beach and back, each ride starting at a different time in the morning. I chose the 15-mile ride since the next longer ride of 36 miles seemed a little daunting as my first experience (even though we’ve done that and more as a family on cycle tours in Europe previously).

There weren’t as many riders at the start line as I had expected, but then again this was the last of the rides to get started. Organizers started us in stages so we wouldn’t overwhelm the road or each other when we started. Due to construction, we had to ride about 3 miles on road through the park to get to the bike path. I had no issue with that, especially since my husband’s one complaint from our last experience was the interference with cars while riding over the freeway to get to the bike path. This year’s route was a little awkward just as we were getting to the bike path. We had to dismount, cross an intersection two ways, walk down a grassy slope, and then wind our way around tennis courts before joining the bike path. But it was not a big issue in the grand scheme of things.

Riding along the river was a wonderful experience. It’s really becoming a much more green space with lots of birdlife and opportunities for recreational use. Even though concrete still played a dominant role and at one point, but for a very short distance, the freeway buzzed by on the other side of the path, you could easily forget you were riding in the middle of big city metropolis.

The ride went from The Autry Museum in Griffith Park to Elysian Park and back. The turn-around point was not clear. Luckily, a volunteer had noticed that riders were continuing on and stationed himself so that he could tell us to turn around.

One of my favorite moments of the ride was coming upon Spoke Bicycle Café. It was a pit stop along the route. I thought the pit stop was going to be just a table with refreshments along the route so I hadn’t paid much attention to the details of it. It was indeed “just a table with refreshments” but the table was inside this very cool, laid-back, bicycle themed café. Spoke Café was its own little special world. I wished I wasn’t there alone so I could have hung out for a while and enjoyed the atmosphere, live music and all.

Another local discovery I made was La Colombe Frogtown, another café right along the bike path. This had a totally different vibe than Spoke Bicycle Café, much more modern and chic. I wasn’t in the mood for coffee, but the cold pressed juice by Liquiteria was perfect.

Eventually, it was time to pedal my way back to the start of the ride. I’ve decided that next time I do this event I’ll sign up for the longer ride. This 15-mile ride only took 1 ½ hours (excluding café stops). I would have loved to spend more time along the river. Who’d like to join me next time?

The yearly Los Angeles River Ride is organized by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) which is a membership-based nonprofit organization that works to make all communities in LA County healthy, safe, and fun places to ride a bike through advocacy, education, and outreach. You can help by becoming a member, donating, or joining a bike ride (see below for one coming up soon in Santa Monica!), plus more.

Coming up soon… Sunday Funday: Tour of Santa Monica on Sunday, July 1, 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Join LACBC and local chapter Santa Monica Spoke for the first Sunday Funday of the summer season! They’ll be taking in the cool coastal air as they explore the Michigan Ave greenway and get a preview of the 17th St corridor. They’ll be starting out at the 26th Street / Bergamot Station on the Expo Line meeting at 9:30 a.m., rolling at 10:00 a.m. There will be stops and water breaks along the way and is a perfect way to meet people and discover new neighborhoods. RSVP here. This ride is a no-drop ride (no rider left behind) with LACBC Ride Marshals. Riders should be able to keep a 10-12 MPH pace, and cover 12-15 miles.

Los Angeles Culture Challenge: June 2018

Los Angeles is one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the United States, and summer is the perfect time to explore and take advantage of all that Los Angeles has to offer. Make a pact to visit a new area of Los Angeles or participate in a new activity—a cultural art project, a concert in a special outdoor setting, a festival celebrating a unique culture, or a bike ride exploring a new part of Los Angeles, just to mention a few options. The experience will open your eyes to the richness of where we live.

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

Proud to Be Norwegian at LA Galaxy’s Norwegian Heritage Night

I have many interests and I love it when there’s an overlap. In the latest case, it was Norway and soccer, in particular LA’s Major League Soccer team LA Galaxy. Earlier this year LA Galaxy signed two Norwegian players, Jørgen Skjelvik and Ola Kamara, and in honor of Norway’s Constitution Day (which was May 17) and the signing of these two Norwegian players, LA Galaxy showed its Norwegian pride with a special Norwegian Heritage Night at the StubHub Center in Carson.

My oldest son and I were thrilled to attend. There were limited tickets available for the event, and fans who scored tickets received a commemorative LA Galaxy/Norwegian flag scarf as well as a chance to attend a post-game session with the Norwegian players.

After the match, Kamara and Skjelvik joined fans for an intimate meet and greet. Fans were able to ask some questions, which mostly centered on being Norwegian in LA — such as how they celebrated the 17th of May (they were at the Seamen’s Church in San Pedro) and their favorite Norwegian food in LA (none yet!) — before the line began to move for autographs.

When we approached, Kamara admired Sonny’s Norwegian national team jersey. We had bought the jersey specifically for this occasion. Both Kamara and Skjelvik have played on Norway’s national team in the past and worn this jersey (and we’ll be cheering on Kamara when he plays with the Norwegian national team again on June 2 in Iceland and June 6 in Norway vs. Panama). Unfortunately, Sonny hadn’t had a chance to show the jersey during the game since it was too cold and he had to keep his sweatshirt on, so we were glad the opportunity presented now and it was noticed!

Skjelvik and Kamara were very gracious and friendly with everyone. They were happy to accommodate various photo shoots and items for signing. We were grateful for the commemorative scarves because they were the perfect item for signing.

And thank you, Miguel Magana at LA Galaxy, for the tickets and opportunity to attend Norwegian Heritage Night. It was a very well planned and executed event. We will gladly attend another.

Los Angeles Culture Challenge: May 2018 (17th of May Celebrations & LA Galaxy Norwegian Heritage Night!)

May is a big month for Norwegians worldwide. We celebrate our national day, Constitution Day, on May 17. Here in Los Angeles, Norwegians can commemorate the day with a traditional celebration on the actual date of May 17 at the Norwegian Church in San Pedro. Or, if making it to San Pedro midweek is tough, there’s the annual Sunday celebration at Nansen Field in Rolling Hills Estates on May 20. But that’s not all for Norwegians in Los Angeles this May…

In honor of Norway’s Constitution Day and the signing of two Norwegian players, LA Galaxy will be showing its Norwegian pride with a special Norwegian Heritage Night at Stubhub Center in Carson on Friday, May 25. Come cheer on the LA Galaxy against the San Jose Earthquakes while waving a specially themed scarf and then stay for a post-game session to hear Jørgen Skjelvik and Ola Kamara talk about their Norwegian roots and how they’ve come to where they are now. Fans will also have a chance to get their autographs. These experiences and scarves are on a first come first served basis while supplies last. To buy tickets, click here. Feel free to reach out to Miguel Magana at mmagana@lagalaxy.com or call 310.630.4646 before your purchase to check availability.

But there’s more to May than Norway’s national day. Angelenos can take advantage of many special events and activities featuring a variety of countries and cultures. How will you explore the richness of Los Angeles this month? Continue reading

Los Angeles Culture Challenge: April 2018 (Scandinavian Festival & Festival of Books)

April is overflowing with special events and exhibitions featuring countries, cultures, and parts of town near and far. Three of my favorite Los Angeles events return this month: Scandinavian Festival at California Lutheran University, LA Times Festival of Books at USC, and CicLAvia in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. I highly recommend them all, but unfortunately, they all fall on the same weekend. Some difficult choices will have to be made.

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

* Weekend of April 7 & 8 *

Bunka-Sai Japanese Cultural Festival, Ken Miller Recreation Center, Torrance, Saturday, 4/7, & Sunday, 4/8. Come enjoy Japanese culture at the Bunka-Sai Festival sponsored by the Torrance Sister City Association. Enjoy children’s games and activities, tasty plate lunches, baked goods, craft items, and cultural performances. To see performance schedule, click here.

Renaissance Pleasure Faire, Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area, Irwindale, Saturdays & Sundays only, April 7 to May 20. This is the opening weekend of the annual Renaissance Pleasure Faire. Travel back to the 16th century and experience the glory of life during the Renaissance era. Take in 13 stages offering a variety of entertainment all day long, a fully armored joust, the Queen and her glittering Court, arts and crafts, food and fine spirits, music, dance, parades, rides and games. There are also interactive adventure quests for all ages and opportunities to learn historic arts and crafts. Visit website for information on special events and themed weekends and a schedule of performances as well as a coupon to save on admission.

Opening Day: hapa.me – 15 years of the hapa project, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, April 7 – October 28. In this new exhibition, artist Kip Fulbeck continues his project, begun in 2001, of photographing persons who identify as “Hapa”—of mixed Asian/Pacific Islander descent—as a means of promoting awareness and positive acceptance of multiracial identity. hapa.me pairs the photographs and statements from the groundbreaking 2006 exhibition, kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa, with contemporary portraits of the same individuals and newly written statements, showing not only their physical changes in the ensuing years, but also changes in their perspectives and outlooks on the world. Click here to see a schedule of special activities to mark Opening Day.

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking Tour, Chinatown, Downtown LA, Saturday, 4/7, 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 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.

Greece: Gods and Goddess Tile Mosaic (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 4/8, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Come for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. All materials are provided. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured.

Tokyo City Cup & Japan Family Day 2018, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, Sunday, 4/8, 10:30 a.m. Each year the Tokyo City Cup Race is run to acknowledge and celebrate the partnership between two of the premier horse racing tracks in their respective countries. Japan Family Day at Santa Anita Park was started as a way to introduce Japanese traditional culture and to interact with the people of Southern California. Through the years, it has become one of the most popular spring festivals in the area. Featuring cultural events and demonstrations, Japanese/Asian/Fusion food booths, live entertainment, and special fun areas for kids and families, Japan Family Day has something for everyone. Visit website for schedule of events and coupon for free general admission.

Explore the Art of Printmaking (Free Second Sunday), USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Sunday, 4/8, 11:00 a.m. Explore the art of printmaking with special guests from Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG). Artist from their Bario Mobile Art Studio will guide you through the process of making your own silkscreen printed poster. While you’re there, don’t miss your chance to go on a guided tour of Winds from Fusang: Mexico and China in the Twentieth Century and listen to story time in the Silk Road Gallery. Free admission all day.

Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, Sunday, 4/8, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. April’s festival features Taiko Center of Los Angeles and visiting artist Fuden Daiko from Fudenji Zen Monastery in Salsomaggiore Terme, Italy. Enjoy beautiful folk and classical dances, as well as koto and lute music of Japan. Feast your eyes on the work of world renown candy sculptor Shan Ichiyanagi. Round out the day with art projects and face painting for the entire family.

Panamanian Cosmos (Andell Family Sundays), LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 4/8, 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 p.m. 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 animals (real and mythical) of ancient Panama in Creatures of the Earth, Sea, and Sky: Painting the Panamanian Cosmos. Painted on ceramics, these playful depictions of serpents, armadillos, fish, and other creatures will inspire your own clay pinch-pots and animal drawings in artist-led workshops.

Family Jam: Making Art and Music with Masanga Marimba, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 4/8, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Join us for an afternoon of art making and live music celebrating our Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA exhibition, Axé Bahia: The Power of Art in an Afro-Brazilian Metropolis. Find inspiration in the galleries, use watercolors to recreate the colorful textiles worn by women in Bahia, and listen as the LA-based Masanga Marimba Ensemble plays traditional and popular music from Africa and Latin America. Drop-in art making from 1-4pm. Concert starts at 2pm.

* Weekend of April 14 & 15 *

20th Annual Chumash Day Powwow and Inter-Tribal Celebration, Malibu Bluffs Park, Malibu, Saturday, 4/14, & Sunday, 4/15. This year’s 20th annual Chumash Day Powwow will celebrate Native Americans from all over the country. Hundreds of tribes will gather at Malibu Bluffs Park. Native American food, craft vendors, tribal ceremonies, and dances will be a part of the event on both days.

Thailand: Thai New Year Puppets (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 4/15, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Come for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. All materials are provided. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured.

Panamanian Cosmos (Andell Family Sundays), LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 4/15, 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 p.m. 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 animals (real and mythical) of ancient Panama in Creatures of the Earth, Sea, and Sky: Painting the Panamanian Cosmos. Painted on ceramics, these playful depictions of serpents, armadillos, fish, and other creatures will inspire your own clay pinch-pots and animal drawings in artist-led workshops.

* Weekend of April 21 & 22 *

Scandinavian Festival, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, Saturday, 4/21, & Sunday, 4/22. The Scandinavian Festival returns for the 43rd year. Both days of the festival are filled with music, dancing, food, lectures, demonstrations, vendors, and activities for young and old alike. The Viking Encampment and Sami Village will once again be present. Family activities include head wreath making with real flowers, raising the Maypole and dancing around it, learning the ancient Viking game Kubb, playing croquet, and a variety of arts and crafts representative of the Nordic countries.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, USC Campus, Exposition Park, Saturday, 4/21, and Sunday, 4/22. Enjoy two days of not only books and authors, but also music, food, art, culture, and fun. The Festival of Books is Los Angeles Times’ annual celebration of ideas, creativity, and the written word. The Festival brings book lovers and fun seekers of all ages together with their favorite authors, artists, chefs, musicians, and entertainers.

CicLAvia: Heart of the Foothills, Foothills of San Gabriel Mountains, Sunday, 4/22, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. CicLAvia kicks off 2018 with a brand new route, Heart of the Foothills. The country’s largest open streets event will connect the cities of San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, and Claremont. Streets will be closed to cars and open for cyclists, pedestrians, runners, and skaters to use as a recreational space.

Panamanian Cosmos (Andell Family Sundays), LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 4/22, 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 p.m. 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 animals (real and mythical) of ancient Panama in Creatures of the Earth, Sea, and Sky: Painting the Panamanian Cosmos. Painted on ceramics, these playful depictions of serpents, armadillos, fish, and other creatures will inspire your own clay pinch-pots and animal drawings in artist-led workshops.

Kids in the Courtyard: Sail Away in Moche-Style, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Westwood, Sunday, 4/22, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Explore the magnificent tule reed boats illustrated on a Peruvian Moche-style vessel in the exhibition Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives. Surrounded by sea creatures, the boats are shown transporting people, most of whom are elaborately dressed. Design your own boat and watch it float in the Fowler’s fountain, your bathtub, the pool, or even the sea!

* Weekend of April 28 & 29 *

Little Tokyo Walking Tour, Japanese American National Museum, Downtown LA, Saturday, 4/28, 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Relive history and learn about present-day Little Tokyo with JANM docents. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Weather permitting. Buy tickets in advance. Cost is $12 members, $15 non-members. Museum admission is included. Limited to 20 participants.

Ancient Sumer: Deer in a Thicket Sculpture (Family Art Workshop), Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood/Los Feliz, Sunday, 4/29, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Come for a free family art workshop in a real art studio. All materials are provided. Each Sunday a different culture and media are featured.

Panamanian Cosmos (Andell Family Sundays), LACMA, Los Angeles, Sunday, 4/29, 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 p.m. 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 animals (real and mythical) of ancient Panama in Creatures of the Earth, Sea, and Sky: Painting the Panamanian Cosmos. Painted on ceramics, these playful depictions of serpents, armadillos, fish, and other creatures will inspire your own clay pinch-pots and animal drawings in artist-led workshops.

* Ongoing Exhibits and Events *

KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, California Science Center, Exposition Park, opened March 24 and is open for a limited time. Celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb at the California Science Center with the largest King Tut exhibit ever to tour. Discover over 150 authentic artifacts from King Tut’s celebrated tomb – 60 of which have never traveled outside of Egypt, until now. In a dramatic new presentation, dazzling multimedia complements rare artifacts to take guests on an immersive journey of the pharaoh’s quest for immortality. Enhance your experience with the IMAX movie Mysteries of Egypt. It is strongly suggested to purchase tickets online in advance to avoid lines and possible sell-outs.

For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights, Getty Gallery at Central Library, Downtown LA, February 1 – May 25. In celebration of African American Heritage Month, Central Library is hosting the traveling exhibit For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights, which examines the major role imagery played in the fight for racial and social equality from the 1940s through the 1970s. The exhibit shows how popular images—sometimes disturbing, sometimes entertaining, and sometimes overtly militant—played a crucial part in promoting important ideas about fairness and social equality and advancing civil rights during a key period in America’s history. The exhibit also focuses on the role of entertainment media, especially television, as an influential force in highlighting key civil rights events.

Visualizing Language: Oaxaca in L.A., Central Library, Downtown LA, extended until August 31. The exhibition celebrates the rich social fabric of Los Angeles through the lens of the city’s vibrant Oaxacan community — specifically, the Zapotec communities which make up one of the largest Indigenous groups in Mexico and Los Angeles. The Oaxacan artist collective Tlacolulokos has created a series of new murals for the Central Library’s historic rotunda that explore language and culture as a key lifeline sustaining the shared experience between Mexico, Los Angeles, and beyond, with a look at how migration and the socio-political environment shape identity and cultural traditions.

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 suggestions about future events and celebrations to include in upcoming months, please email me here with details. Thank you!