Firecrackers and Mardi Gras and books, oh my! I’ve got a nice little variety in store for you this week that brings together many a mind-expanding book talk, 100,000 firecrackers, Mrs. Roper’s style, a Mardi Gras (aptly named Mutti Gras) Pet Parade, and more Black history for you to sink your brain into. Ah, isn’t LA the best? Anyway, folks, that’s all for my two cents this time around, and until we meet again, good night and good luck!
Arts, Culture, Mardi Gras, and Firecrackers
Who doesn’t like a sale, especially when it’s of expertly-sourced new and vintage items – anyone? I for one am a sucker for all things vintage, and new Mid City boutique, MuMu Mansion (5669 W. Pico Blvd), by L.A. designer, stylist, author, and activist Melinda Alexander, is having its FIRST EVER OFFICIAL SALE! Come shop this objets d’art boutique, an homage to the owner’s namesake and 100 year-old grandmother (who just recently passed away, sadly), stocked with vintage and new decor, furniture, plants, clothing, jewelry, art, and accessories, all inspired by diverse eras, entertainers, and characters such as Eartha Kitt, Whitney Houston, Michelle Pfeiffer in “Scarface,” and Mrs. Roper from “Three’s Company” (if you’re old enough to get those references). The entire store is 20% off, with $1, $5, and $10 bins out on the sidewalk for you to browse this Sat and Sun, Feb 18-19, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Lent is coming, as are the pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, so why not revel in a little piece of Mardi Gras at the Original Farmers Market, this Saturday-Sunday, February 18-19 and Fat Tuesday, February 21, before that happens. This family friendly weekend will kick off with the Mutti Gras Pet Parade and Costume Contest on Saturday, February 18 from noon-1 p.m. The OFM and The Dog Bakery are giving your beloved poochie the opportunity to shine amongst the Mardi Gras canine set. Check out the Event Flyer for more info on how to enter. And for all the humans, Mardi Gras will be back in full swing with Zydeco and Blues bands, a beignet pop-up tent, gumbo and jambalaya as far as the eye can see, tambourine making, face painting, and New Orleans favorite brew, Abita Beer! The festivities are free and open to the public. Click on Flyer link for the full schedule of events.
I missed this one last week (like a fool!), but you still have the weekend to catch up on all the eye candy at “the most comprehensive contemporary art show in America.” In its 28th rendition, the LA Art Show is taking place at its usual host venue, the LA Convention Center, and even if you’re not an art lover or collector, expanding your mind is always a good idea, and maybe you’ll discover an appreciation you never knew you had. With more than 180,000 square feet of exhibition space, the show continues to lead the way with “innovative programming and one-of-a-kind experiences.” Offerings on display span a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, works on paper, installation, photography, design, video, and performance…from more than 120 galleries, museums, and non-profits from around the globe. All works presented by galleries are available for purchase. General Admission Tickets are $30. Bonus: a portion of all ticket sales will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Hours are Saturday, February 18 from 12-8 p.m. and Sunday, February 19 from 12-6 p.m.
The Lunar New Year officially ended on Feb 5, but that doesn’t mean the celebrations have to stop completely, and the annual Chinatown Firecracker Run and Festival will keep it going one more weekend, this weekend to be exact, Saturday and Sunday, February 18-19. Celebrating 45 years, the Firecracker Run is one of the largest and oldest running races in the U.S. In addition to all that racing, there’ll be a Lunar New Year Celebration in historic Chinatown Plaza with an opening ceremony filled with lion dancers and the lighting of 100,000 firecrackers!! The festival will also include vendors and booths, as well as a new Chalk Art Festival and Boba Garden. Registration is still open with a choice to participate in-person or virtually, the cost ranges from $28 – $60. Sign up for a 10K, 5K, 1K (for the kiddos), PAW’er Dog walk, or the 20/40-mile Bike race, or opt to just enjoy the festival, which is open to the public and free. Races will take place in the morning. Please check the website for full schedule. All proceeds will be reinvested into the community.
Chevalier’s Books is hot, hot, hot this week, with 4 events filling the calendar — and not surprisingly, all four will be book talks. The whole lot sounds rather interesting, so I’ll just make this easy on myself and list them in order with links for you to click; Mon, Feb 20: In-Store! The Diaries of Franz Kafka by Ross Benjamin, “An essential new translation of the author’s complete, uncensored diaries—a revelation of the idiosyncrasies and rough edges of one of the twentieth century’s most influential writers.” Tues, Feb 21: Virtual! PALO ALTO by Malcolm Harris. “The first comprehensive, global history of Silicon Valley, from railroad capitalists to microchip assemblers, showing how Northern California created the world as we know it.” Thurs, Feb 23: In-store! BIG SWISS by Jen Beagin. “A brilliantly original and funny novel about a sex therapist’s transcriptionist who falls in love with a client while listening to her sessions. When they accidentally meet in real life, an explosive affair ensues.” Fri, Feb 24: In-Store! by Joanna Schwartz. “An urgent and definitive examination of how the legal system prevents accountability for police misconduct, from one of the country’s leading scholars on policing.” See, I told you: all good, and they’re all free to boot; kindly RSVP through the links above.
Two more gifts (the kind you buy yourself) are coming to the historic Ebell of Los Angeles, starting on Sunday, February 19, with the African Americans For La Opera: Black History Opera Recital at 12 p.m. sharp! Get lost in the sounds of Soprano Alaysha Fox, an emerging LA-based artist and current member of LA Opera’s, Domingo Colburn Stein Young Artist Program, as she performs alongside pianist Lenny Hayes. African Americans for LA Opera or AALAO, is a chapter of the Opera League, dedicated to “increasing the awareness of opera throughout the LA area and to providing a center for African American opera lovers in LA”. A light reception will follow at 1 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, and $35 at the door via the Opera League website. And that second gift I mentioned will be offered up on Tuesday, February 21 at 4 p.m., and it’s an afternoon delight of hidden history in the form of a Virtual Book Talk: Invisible Queen With Dr. Stephanie Myers. Invisible Queen tells the story of Charlotte Sophia, a smart mixed-race German girl who was recruited to marry George III, King of England, who reigned as Queen of England and Ireland for 57 years. She was an educated woman in the 1700s, with Moorish/Black Heritage who actively opposed the Atlantic Slave Trade; birthed 15 children (*gulp); entertained John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; was a dedicated aide to orphaned girls, and much more. A life worthy of its own book indeed! Order a copy here. Dr. Myers is the VP of R.J. Myers Publishing Company and National Co-Chair of Black Women for Positive Change. She served as a Presidential Appointee for 12 years and authorized the first U.S. commercial space launch of a privately owned rocket. Virtual programs are free, but donations are welcome.
As Black History Month continues on, so does the learning, and the LA Conservancy will close out this week’s roundup with an enlightening Zoom event on Wednesday, February 22 at 6 p.m. called Building Community: Pioneering Black Architects in LA. This one-hour virtual history tour, where you’ll learn the stories of Norma Merrick Sklarek, Paul Revere Williams, Robert Kennard, and many more, will hopefully help you gain an understanding of – “why it’s important for architects to understand and represent the communities for which they design buildings.” The tour travels through five different Los Angeles neighborhoods and cities, beginning in Beverly Hills and ending in the City of Compton, giving you knowledge and a greater appreciation of how “Black architects shaped Los Angeles and influenced communities through advocacy and architecture.” The cost is $12 general public and $8 for Conservancy members.
Mid City West Neighborhood Council returns with just 2 meetings this week, starting on Tuesday, February 21 with the Public Safety and Well-Being Committee, followed by a virtual gathering of the Executive Council on Thursday, February 23. Click here to check MCW’s calendar for details.
And the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council will match MCW tit for tat, with an Outreach Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 21, and a Quality of Life Committee meeting on Wednesday, February 22. Check the calendar for details. P.S. Meetings may go back to IRL starting next month, so stay tuned for more info.