There’s so much going on in February – Mardi Gras, Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day and it’s Black History Month – it’s hard to know where to begin with this holiday mashup. So, I threw in a touch of almost everything this week, except for Valentine’s Day, but there’ll be plenty of last minute options for that next week. This week, how about you make time to support local and Black owned businesses, have a Cocktail in a Historic Place, get an Electric Soundbath (don’t worry, it’s only dangerously cool), kick off Mardi Gras at the OFM, or maybe even get yourself outside the box at an Alchemy and Tarot Card presentation. The week is your oyster!
Shopping, Soundbathing, and Mardi Gras
Hello there, beautiful people! Are you ready to shop?! Great, because Fifteen Percent Pledge (15PP) has invited y’all to shop your favorite Black Owned Businesses this Sat and Sun, Feb 3-4, in the famous Paramount Studios Backlot! It’ll be brimming with all of your fav, and new fav businesses, and it’s free to attend and everyone is welcome. All you need to do is RSVP by FRIDAY, FEB 2 – that’s today! Fun Fact: Did you know the fastest growing group of business owners are Black Americans? To support these businesses this Black History Month and beyond, Citi will match purchases made with a Citi credit card on the Fifteen Shop, dollar for dollar, in the form of a donation to the 15PP until Mar 31. You’ll be showing your support just by being there – but you should def buy a thing or two, as well. Hours: Sat 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sun until 4 p.m.
BOOK SALE!!! Is Your Bookcase Half Full or Half Empty? Now through Sun, Feb 4 (it started on Wed, btw) the Taschen Bi-Annual Warehouse Sale at the Original Farmers Market is on! All your favorite books will be discounted by 25-75%, with a Live DJ on Sat and Sun, Feb 3-4 to accompany your browsing and buying. TASCHEN expanded its LA presence to Hollywood in 2007 and it’s been in your beloved Farmer’s Market ever since – right underneath the Clocktower! Fun Fact: its interior was designed by French designer Philippe Starck. Bookstore is open Mon–Fri 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; and Sun 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Next up to bat is the wonderfully weird Philosophical Research Society which, on Sat, Feb 3, will be hosting one of its regular events, Electric Soundbath with Guy Blakeslee. Never met a guy named Guy I didn’t like, and with eyes closed, Guy’s warmly saturated soundscapes of sustained tones and harmonic frequencies will gently carry you toward an expanded state of consciousness. Each soundbath is “a unique, intuitively improvised interaction with the energy in the room, vibrating the attendees on a cellular level.” Just close your eyes and journey inward beyond time and space! Tickets for the earlier session are sold out, but still available for the later sesh at 8 p.m. Please arrive 20 minutes early; each session lasts for 1 hr 20 mins. Also, please note that the room is only accessible by stairs. Tickets are $23.
OMG – can you believe we’re already moving on to Mardi Gras festivities?! Fat Tuesday isn’t until the following week, but the Original Farmers Market will be kicking off its Mardi Gras 2024 Celebration starting this Fri, Feb 9 with live music from 7-9 p.m., and continuing on through Saturday & Sunday, Feb 10-11 and on Fat Tuesday, Feb 13, of course. Enjoy a little bit of New Orleans in LA with one of the Market’s most colorful celebrations – Mardi Gras at the Market! Back with authentic Zydeco and New Orleans bands, a signature Mutti Gras Pet Parade & Costume Contest, plus beignet pop-up tents, gumbo, jambalaya and more! Festivities take place on the Plaza and West Patio. All are welcome!
Next, if you’re looking for something a bit more specifically aimed at your younger family members, we’ve got a couple of great local options this weekend:
First, it’s the Get Ready For College: Paying For College Workshop, on Saturday, Feburary 3 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Memorial Branch Library, 4625 W. Olympic Blvd. If you’re “excited for college but unsure how to pay for it,” this free session, led by a trained facilitator from the Empowerly college admissions counseling firm, will review the wide range of college payment options, including financial aid and student loans – definitely recommended for both high school students and their families.
And second, especially for your youngest kiddos, you can celebrate the birthday of the trees at the J Los Angeles‘ annual and super family-friendly Tu B’Shevat Festival. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 4, at the JLA (5870 W. Olympic Blvd.) and includes carnival-style games and activities, a makers’ market featuring about 20 local vendors, educational resources on sustainability, and delicious food and beverages available for purchase.
History and Music
Moving back to more adult pursuits, it’s lucky for them (and us!) because the Art Deco Society of LA’s (ADSLA) Cocktails in Historic Places® was invited back to The Wolves DTLA this Sun, Feb 4. Last year’s gathering was so well attended, they will be opening an additional area just for this gathering! So, come join the ADSLA for no-host cocktails in the 1906 John Parkinson designed – Alexandria Hotel, once the most extravagant hotel in the city (it cost $2 million to build) and gathering spot for the famous, including President Teddy Roosevelt, King Edward VIII (yes, of England), and Charlie Chaplin! The style is Belle Époque with Parisian flair, with a French-American menu and specialty cocktails. You can dress in cocktail or vintage attire, but it’s up to you. We look forward to conversations about historic places and vintage stuff! Cocktail hour is from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. NO reservation required.
Opera, Classical, and Jazz, oh my! The Ebell of Los Angeles is bringing the music this week and it’s a lovely, aromatic mixed bag that includes an Opera Recital With Erica Petrocelli & Louis Lohraseb on Sun, Feb 4. Co-presented by the African Americans for LA Opera (AALO), it promises to be the high note of your weekend; an early Lunar New Year Celebration: Live in the Lounge on Mon, Feb 5 with the all-women Saltando Strings Ensemble delivering a mesmerizing showcase of beloved traditional Chinese folk tunes; James Conlon and the Music of Alexander Zemlinksy and William Grant Still on Tues, Feb 6.
Presented as part of the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices, highlighting music by composers whose careers and lives were disrupted or ended during the years of the Nazi regime; AND Jazz Legend Bennie Maupin Live on Fri, Feb 9 will be performing what is perhaps his most famous album The Jewel in the Lotus, a groundbreaking fusion recording made in collaboration with jazz legends like Herbie Hancock and Buster Williams. Tickets range from $15-$40. Click event links for times and tickets.
And the good times keep rolling with a unique event to get you and yours outside that box! – an Alchemy and Tarot Presentation by Ike Baker at PRS on Tues, Feb 6 from 7-8 p.m. Learn about the history, theory, and practice of Tarot cards, and alchemy, with a focus on the cards as symbolic catalysts for alchemical initiation and ritual evocation – um, you’ll have to let him explain – but it’s a system Baker has been developing since early 2023, and will be previewed for the first time here! Ike Baker is an author, researcher, instructor, and lecturer on western esoteric traditions. He is an initiate of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Martinism and Freemasonry, and several other initiatory orders and orgs. He hosts the Arcanvm YouTube channel and Podcast, and his latest book will be released this year. Ticket Price: $15 (in-person event; Zoom options available).
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the California African American Museum (CAAM) but that’s only because it’s still closed for repairs. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not doing a little collaborating on the side, and this week, they’ve partnered with Art + Practice for Dia de Iemanjá: a Drumming and Dance Workshop on Tues, Feb 6 from 7-8 p.m. Come one, come all to the Art + Practice exhibition space in Leimert Park! Immerse yourself in a little Brazilian culture, as you witness dance, music, and song in honor of Dia de Iemanjá, a popular celebration observed each February throughout Brazil (and especially in Salvador, Bahia) for one of the most beloved orixás, also known as Rainha do Mar (Queen of the Sea). Come experience a traditional performance, followed by dance, song, and rhythm lessons! All are welcome – RSVP here.
And in conclusion of this very enlightening section, I’m announcing that the Academy Museum will be Celebrating Black History Month with Black History Mini Docs all month long! Join museum educators on Friday afternoons from 1-3 p.m for a lesson on the contributions of iconic Black figures in American history. Each session includes quick and entertaining videos created by legendary producer-director Neema Barnette and filmmaker Reed R. McCants. The shorts will be screened in the Netflix Lounge where you can watch as many as you’d like. Highlights include iconic figures such as Josephine Baker, Diahann Carroll, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis Jr., Lena Horne, Curtis Mayfield, Coretta Scott King, and Frederick Douglass. All are welcome; FREE with museum admission. Happening on Fridays – Feb 9, 16 and 23.
Hi there, I’m writing to tell you about the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s upcoming schedule, so I hope you have a pen and paper handy. First up is a Resilience Committee meeting on Mon, Feb 5 at 6:30 p.m., and then the Sustainability Committee will meet on Tues, Feb 6 at 6:30 p.m. Check the GWNC website for agendas, meeting locations, supporting docs, and full calendar.
And up next and last, is the Mid City West Neighborhood Council with a virtual Film, Arts, and Recreation (FAR) Committee meeting on Tues, Feb 6 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Check Mid City’s website for Zoom links, in-person meeting locations, agendas, and full calendar.