October is Halloween season…but it also seems to be prime time for events – of which there are several this weekend – about our historic and diverse L.A. neighborhoods.
First up, the Los Angeles Conservancy is holding its annual L.A. Historic Neighborhoods Conference, this year titled “Growing Up with Character,” starting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday at St. John’s Cathedral, 514 W. Adams Blvd. This day-long forum addresses issues of neighborhood conservation through panel discussions, interactive workshops and conversations with community stakeholders. The overall theme this year is community character – from tree-lined streets of historic homes to clusters of older duplexes and bungalow courts to “background buildings” in industrial neighborhoods. The event is open to anyone interested in neighborhood conservation issues such as teardowns, mansionization, infill development, HPOZs, Re:CodeLA, etc. It opens with a slide show with Charles Phoenix…and closes with a choice of several local neighborhood walking tours. Tickets are $25. For reservations and more information, see the link above.
If you’d prefer your neighborhoods with more walking and less talking, check out the L.A. Commons’ 6th annual Found LA tour event, “Soul of the City,” which is offering more than 10 free walking tours this weekend (some on Saturday; some on Sunday) exploring the “amazing diversity of religions and spirituality across Los Angeles and the cultural practices embedded within them.” Among the tours available so far (more may be added) are the Wat Thai Temple in North Hollywood, where Thai Buddhists gather to observe their faith and partake in the offerings at an incredible food marketplace…the First AME church in Los Angeles, which was founded by Los Angeles pioneer Biddy Mason and others and is now housed in a landmark building designed by Paul Williams…the Hollywood Temple where Hindu Swami, Paramahansa Yogananda, brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s and incorporated the Self Realization Fellowship in 1935…the Bhagavad Gita Museum/Hare Krishna Temple and Restaurant…the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) Temple…Zen Center of L.A….Wilshire Boulevard Temple…Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens…and many more. See the link above for details, the complete list of tours, and (required) reservations.
Also in the historic vein on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is the 11th Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar at USC’s Doheny Memorial Library on the USC Campus. A broad array of institutions and archives – from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Public Library to dozens of private collectors – will show off their collections and answer questions. There will also be a full-day slate of workshops and demonstrations on the archiving and preservation of photographs and scrapbooks, how to research historical information about Los Angeles, and more specific topics such as the worst ever man-made disaster in Southern California and, in consideration of Thomas More’s 500-year-old book Utopia, a discussion on how L.A. is often associated with the fictional land, despite such intractable problems as gridlock, drought, homelessness, and income inequality. The event is free and open to the public; no reservations required.
Just across the street from USC, at the California Science Center, Saturday also marks the opening of The Science Behind Pixar, which provides a unique, first-time look into the Pixar filmmaking process, and explores the science and technology behind its beloved animated films and and characters. The exhibit includes more than 40 interactive elements in eight sections, each of which focuses on a specific step in the filmmaking process. There will also be hands-on activities, firsthand accounts from members of the studios’ production teams, and face-to-face re-creations of your favorite Pixar film characters, including Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley, Edna Mode, and WALL•E. Tickets for timed admissions are $14.95 and advance reservations are strongly urged.
A bit closer to home, the Wilshire Branch library will be another great place for families on Saturday, with its autumn Book and Bake Sale, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in front of the library at 149 N St Andrews Place (entrance on Council). There will also be Halloween crafts for children and delicious baked treats.
More Halloween fun will be available at the Original Farmer’s Market, which hosts its annual county fair-themed fall festival on both Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The event will showcase farmers’ efforts to bring the wonders of farm to the heart of the big city…and will feature a petting zoo, world famous All-Alaskan racing pigs, a western heritage show, kid-sized pedal-powered tractor pull competitions, old-time artisans, pie-eating contests, and lots and lots of live music. Other highlights include Artisan Alley, a street full of artisan demonstrations including wool spinning, guitar making, leather carving and more. It’s fun – and free – for all ages.
To pick out the perfect orange orbs for this year’s jack o’ lanterns, try Mr. Jack O’ Lantern’s Pumpkin Patch, which will be open at 1841 N. Highland Ave. from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday. The family-friendly event includes bounce houses, pumpkin decorating, hay mazes, a photo station, candy corn hole, spooky slide, boo-loon pop, pumpkin knock, pumpkin bowling, face painting, a petting zoo and food trucks. Plus, you’re guaranteed to go home with your Halloween pumpkins. The event is free to enter, but activity tickets are $1 each.
The pumpkin patch is just a warmup, however, for the city’s granddaddy of all Halloween pumpkin displays – Rise of the Jack O’ Lanterns – which this year moves into the Los Angeles Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Halloween fans of all ages will see more than 5,000 hand-carved illuminated Jack O’lanterns creatively designed and arranged, many in multi-pumpkin structures that consist of dozens of illuminated Jack O’lanterns assembled into life-sized pieces of art, including dinosaurs, dragons, and safari animals, as well as a number of new structures featuring time-honored characters from favorite movies. You can also watch artists create different types of sculptures and displays at live carving stations. Tickets are $26 for adults, $22 for children 3 to 12, and free for children 2 and under.
On Sunday, you can catch up with any of the multi-day events you might have missed on Saturday…or join in the latest edition of CicLAvia, the nation’s largest open streets event, as it returns to its orignal Heart of LA route through Boyle Heights, Chinatown, DTLA, and Westlake. Streets will be closed to cars and open for cyclists, pedestrians, runners and skaters to use as a recreational space from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s not a race, there’s nothing to sign up for and there’s no starting point or finish line – just jump in wherever you like and enjoy the iconic streets of Los Angeles. (Here’s a handy interactive map of both the route and points of interest along it, to aid your exploration.)
Also on Sunday, you could choose to join the good folks at the LAPD’s Wilshire and West Traffic Division for their annual open house, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wilshire Community Police Station, 4861 W. Venice Blvd. Bring the whole family to enjoy free food and beverages, guided tours of the police station, kids’ activities, LAPD exhibits, neighborhood council booths, games, prizes and more.
Have a great weekend!