OK, nobody – and we mean nobody, of any age — gets to say they’re bored this weekend. Luckily, things start a bit slow on Saturday, so you can easily sleep in without missing too much. This is good, because later in the day, everything starts rolling…and doesn’t stop until late on Sunday.
One of the weekend’s biggest events, which runs from 3 p.m. to midnight along nine full blocks of downtown’s Broadway, from 1st St. to Olympic, is the huge annual Night on Broadway festival, “a free evening of arts, culture and entertainment celebrating Downtown and the Bringing Back Broadway initiative.” The truly enormous celebration, in its fourth year this year, includes multi-cultural entertainment at seven of Broadway’s historic theaters and outdoor on-street festival areas. Performers include everyone from emerging musical acts to national stars (the B-52s, WAR, and La Santa Cecilia), artists to acrobats, and fashion designers to food trucks (not free). Drawing more than 75,000 people last year, the organizers say it’s “the fastest-growing one-day arts & music festival in North America, and possibly the largest.” So, yes, it will be crowded…but it will also likely be THE place to be in L.A. on Saturday night. See the link above for the full schedule and list of entertainment.
For those who’d prefer something a bit quieter on Saturday evening, the Craft and Folk Art Museum will host an opening reception for its new Melting Point: Movements in Contemporary Clay exhibition, from 6 to 9 p.m. The show is a group exhibition of twenty-two artists whose “experimentation with clay expands the technical, aesthetic, and metaphoric potential of ceramics through sculpture, site-specific installation, time-based work, and performance.” The group includes both emerging and established artists “who push traditional processes of working with clay and question pre-conceived definitions of the ceramic object.” For more information, and the full list of artists, see the link above. Reception tickets are free for CAFAM members and $12 for the general public.
There’s also a great option for vintage film fans on Saturday night, when the American Cinematheque will screen the 1962 classic “To Kill a Mockingbird,” at 7:30 p.m. at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. The film, adapted from Harper Lee’s equally lauded novel, features Gregory Peck as small town Southern lawyer Atticus Finch, who defends a black man accused of rape, at the dawn of the civil rights era. There will also be a pre-screening reception in the theater lobby at 6:30 p.m., and a discussion after the film with actress Mary Badham (who plays Finch’s daughter, Scout, in the film) and director-writer Cecilia Peck.
Sunday morning kicks off with a bunch of great family events.
First is the Westside Jewish Community Center’s Tu B’Shevat Festival, celebrating the annual Birthday of the Trees holiday. The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (rain or shine) on Sunday, is hosted by the JCC’s Early Childhood preschool program, and is perfect for even your youngest family members. Activities include a silent auction, tree planting, tree giveaways (courtesy of LA’s Million Trees Initiative), food, games, crafts, a moon bounce, organic farmers’ market, photo booth, petting zoo (weather permitting)…and more. Admission is free; food items are available for purchase.
Also starting at 11 a.m., and also great for the youngest members of your family (“ages 0-6”), will be a performance of The Baila Baila Band: Learn Spanish through Music at the Miracle Mile Toy Hall, 5464 Wilshire Blvd. According to the organizers, “Baila Baila concerts are amazing energy-filled interactive shows featuring Rock and Roll, Reggae, and Latin music. Come dance a lot, learn a little and have fun at this family musical event!” Tickets are $10, through the first link above.
The REALLY big event on Sunday, though, is the 13th annual SoCalMuseums Museums Free-For-All Day. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, nearly 40 Los Angeles-area museums, of all types, will open their doors and welcome visitors free of charge (not including parking or special exhibit tickets). You can see the link above for the full list of museums, but they include almost all of the major institutions closest to us, including LACMA, CAFAM, the La Brea Tar Pits, the Zimmer Children’s Museum, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, and the Petersen Automotive Museum in Miracle Mile. Also, the natural History Museum, California African American Museum, and California Science Center in Exposition Park…the Grammy Museum, the Broad, the Japanese American Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown…and many, many more. See the link above for the full list of participating museums, as well as details of individual museum hours, exhibits, etc.
But Sunday’s family fun doesn’t end there. Starting at noon, and running until 5 p.m., you can celebrate the Year of the Dog at the Original Farmer’s Market and the Grove shopping center. The event will include demonstrations of dumpling-making, traditional music, dance and martial arts, as well as arts and crafts…and, yes, of course, dog adoptions. There will also be special red envelope giveaways, social media contests, lots of special décor installations, and activities just for dogs – including a special life-sized “Year of the Dog” dog cake from the Dog Bakery (all pooches are welcome to enjoy a slice, while supplies last). For more information, and the full list of celebratory activities, see the link above.
Also on Sunday, CAFAM continues its pottery theme with Wayne Perry, one of the artists featured in the Melting Point exhibit mentioned above, who will be on site with his pottery wheel, throwing clay and sharing his unique approach to ceramics, community art making workshops and public art. Stop in any time from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet him.
Later, starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, back at the Egyptian Theater, the Los Angeles Art Deco Society and the American Cinematheque will co-host an event that is sure to appeal to local architecture, history and vintage film (and fashion) fans. It’s an illustrated presentation about the history of the Bullock’s Wilshire department store (“Glittering Art Deco Emporium of Dreams”) by award-winning author Margaret Leslie Davis. Davis will recount the history of the magnificent retailer, which clothed Mae West (who had merchandise brought out to her car for her approval), Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, just to name a few of Hollywood’s famous clients. Davis will also sign copies of her book, “Bullock’s Wilshire.” And then, after the talk, the Cinematheque will screen 1939’s “The Women,” directed by George Cukor and starring Deco-era divas Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell and Joan Fontaine. Finally, for an added special touch, Cornerstone Brick Designs will display its one-of-a-kind LEGO replica of Bullocks Wilshire — normally displayed in the Central Hall of Southwestern Law School — as well as an exclusive LEGO miniature of Bullocks Wilshire available for purchase.
Also in the history groove on Sunday, the Los Angeles Visionaries Association (LAVA), returns to the lower level of downtown’s Grand Central Market for a free salon and walking tour event, starting at 2 p.m. This month, the salon speaker is architectural historian and past LAVA Visionary of the Year Nathan Marsak, a.k.a. The Cranky Preservationist, who will discuss “downtown’s most beguiling and misunderstood lost neighborhood,” Bunker Hill. The illustrated talk will trace how “shifting aesthetic dicta from the chieftains of Good Taste morphed the way in which the lost Victorian neighborhood of Bunker Hill appeared and functioned,” from its construction through its fabled descent into “decrepitude and demolition.” The talk will explore the architectural styles of the lost neighborhood…and will be followed by a walking tour of the area, looking at both existing buildings and the locations of lost structures featured in the presentation. Tickets are available at http://www.lavatransforms.org/event/salon118/ , but please note only one ticket is allowed per person (no plus ones)…so if you want to bring a friend or two, each person must make his or her own reservation.
Closer to home, and a bit later on Sunday, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., you could join the folks at the Ebell of Los Angeles for an evening of Bingo…and a chili dinner prepared by Chef Dan. (No alcohol will be provided, but you can BYOB.) Tickets are $25 for Ebell members, and $30 for non-members, available at the event link above.
And last, but not least, on this busy Sunday, if you’re in the mood for more great old movies, head back to the Egyptian, where the American Cinematheque (yes, they’re working hard this weekend!) will screen two great female-empowerment films – “9 to 5” and “Thelma and Louise.” In the first film, office workers Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda plot revenge against their sexist, hypocritical boss (Dabney Coleman)…and in the second, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon flee both domestic despair and the police on a road trip across the American southwest. There will also be a discussion between the films with screenwriters Patricia Resnick and Callie Khouri. See the link above for tickets.
Finally, yes, there will be another full closure of Wilshire Blvd., between Western Ave. and Manhattan Pl., this weekend, from 9 p.m. tonight (Friday) through 6 a.m. Monday, as preparation for Purple Line Subway Extension construction continues in that area. See https://www.metro.net/projects/notices/notice_purpleline1_102517/ for full details and detour information.