Sometimes weekends just go BIG…and this is one of them. So much to do and so little time…
First up, for those following the current housing crisis and proposals to deal with it, the monthly PlanCheckLA meeting, on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Hollenbeck Police Station, 2111 E. 1st St., will focus on city planning ordinance updates, citywide design guidelines, the emergency homeless shelter crisis…and SB50, the statewide housing measure sponsored by State Senator Scott Wiener, which would do away with most local zoning (including local historic districts) statewide, and allow taller, denser buildings almost anywhere within a half mile of a major transit route. PlanCheckNC is a group of, by, and for local Neighborhood Council members and stakeholders, which meets monthly to address important local planning issues. Everyone is welcome to attend, and it’s a great way to learn more about these increasingly important topics.
This is also peak gardening season, and the West Adams Heritage Association is offering plenty of inspiration with its second annual West Adams Native Garden Tour, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday (ticket sales will close at 1:30 p.m.). It’s a self-guided driving or biking tour (a special bike map will be included with your tickets), showcasing 10 beautiful drought-tolerant gardens at historic homes in one of the city’s most historic areas. Come and learn how landscapes created in harmony with Southern California’s climate, soil, natural vegetation, and native wildlife are perfect pairings for our historic houses. Check-in and ticket sales will be at 1651 Virginia Rd., 90019 (in the Lafayette Square neighborhood)…and remember to give yourself plenty of time to travel among and tour all 10 gardens.
Perhaps the biggest event this weekend is also just south of us – the 24th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which takes over the USC campus all day Saturday and Sunday. It’s billed as “the nation’s largest literary and cultural festival,” celebrating books, literature, and “alternative forms of creative storytelling including virtual reality experiences, podcasting, film screenings and more.” They’re expecting 150,000 attendees during the two-day event, which will feature more than 500 participating writers, musicians, artists, and chefs, with discussions, cooking demonstrations, multimedia presentations, and more. The full schedule of events and literary luminaries can be found at https://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/schedule/ Note that festival admission is free, but indoor conversations and events do require tickets. See the links above for all the details.
And books aren’t the only entertainment medium being highlighted this weekend. Saturday is also the 12th annual Record Store Day, which celebrates and spreads the word about these unique and important small businesses. The annual event provides an opportunity for record store staff, customers and musical artists around the world to “celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities.” Festivities will include special vinyl and CD releases, promotional products made exclusively for the day, performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, DJs spinning records, and more. Participating stores in our area include Amoeba Music, the Record Parlor, and others (full list at https://recordstoreday.com/Venues?state=CA). See individual store sites for their specific schedules.
And the visual arts are active this weekend, too, with three separate events at the Craft Contemporary. First up is a book launch and signing for “A Colorful Life: Gere Kavanaugh,” starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Designer and academic Louis Sandhaus, and graphic designer Kat Catmur, will join legendary designer Gere Kavanaugh to discuss her work and its lasting impact on the California design scene. The event is free, but space is limited, so please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, at the John C. Fremont Library, 6121 Melrose Ave., you can brush up on your French at the twice-monthly French conversation class, starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Paris native Samba Magassa teaches the language in a gentle, supportive setting that coaxes students to retrieve and improve their high school or college French. It’s free and everyone is welcome.
A bit later on Saturday, starting at 3 p.m. at the William Grant Still Arts Center, 2520 S. West View St., 90016, you can learn about the center’s namesake, Dr. William Grant Still, the first African-American symphonic composer in the U.S., and the first of his race to conduct a major orchestra. Still’s biography will be presented via a staged reading of “Little David Had No Fear,” by Still’s daughter, Judith Anne Still. Performers will include Sloan Robinson and Beebe Smith-Johnson, with a musical underscore by Still himself. “Little David” tells the story of the composer’s boyhood years and adult achievements. His lineage was Irish, Native American, and Hispanic, but he was defined by his country as being solely a Negro – and his ethnic perspectives are reflected in many of his works. Admission to the event is free.
Moving into Sunday, the Craft Contemporary gets busy again with “Spacecraft! A Craftlab Family Workshop,” starting at 1:30 p.m. Participants will let their creativity soar by using recycled materials, metallic threads, and space blankets to create their very own spacecraft. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for children, and free for CC members. Also, space is limited, so reservations are required at email@example.com
Jjust a bit later, families with children under the age of 7 in the Brookside neighborhood will gather for their annual Easter egg hunt, starting at 3 p.m. Sunday at 949 S. Longwood Ave. (Rumor has it the Easter Bunny himself will also make an appearance.). Please note that participants must bring their own baskets for egg gathering, all children must be accompanied by an adult, the event begins promptly at 3, and the event will be cancelled if it rains.
For a more traditional celebration of the upcoming Easter holiday, the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, 540 S. Commonwealth Ave., 90020, will host a performance of Musica Angelica: St. Matthew Passion, starting at 3 p.m. on Sunday. According to the organizers, “the St. Matthew Passion (German: Matthäus-Passion), BWV 244, is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of Baroque music. Written in 1727 by Bach for performances in his Leipzig St. Thomas Church, it is uniquely scored for two groups of vocalists and double orchestra. It sets parts of the Gospel of Matthew to music, told by the Evangelist (Tenor) in dialogue with Jesus (Baritone) and with interspersed chorales and arias.” The St. Matthew Passion is performed in major cathedrals and concert halls worldwide, and for this much rarer U.S. performance, Martin Haselböck’s Vienna orchestra, Wiener Akademie, will join the talented musicians of Musica Angelica and both American and European vocal soloists. Tickets are $35 at the event link above.
And finally on Sunday, starting at 5 p.m., it’s back to the Craft Contemporary for the premier of the documentary short film, “A Life’s Work: Peter Korn.” Korn is a craftsman, educator and the author of “Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman.” The screening will be followed by a conversation with Korn, with audience participation, on the challenges and rewards of creative practices. The event is free with paid museum admission, but space is limited, so RSVPs are required at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend!