May is both Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Jewish-American Heritage Month, so that means there are lots of opportunities to learn about other cultures and their traditions all month long. Kenny Endo will kick start the week with taiko music at the JACCC and the Sierra Madre Playhouse will end the week with the opening night of The King of Yees.
Arts, Culture, and Entertainment
The Kenny Endo 45th Anniversary Tour is coming to the Aratani Theatre at JACCC (Japanese American Cultural & Community Center) on Saturday, May 14! Celebrating 45 years, “Kenny Endo is at the vanguard of the taiko genre, continually paving new paths for this Japanese style of drumming.” Endo is an award-winning performer, composer, and teacher of taiko with a unique, versatile and vibrant style. His ensemble cast features prominent musicians of contemporary Japanese music who play with “a jazz sensibility,” on taiko, flute, vibes, shamisen, and koto. Tickets are $35 orchestra / $25 balcony ($30/$20 for JACCC members). Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; Showtime is at 7 p.m. Located on San Pedro St. in DTLA’s Little Tokyo neighborhood.
There are also lots of cool happenings at LACMA this week, starting with Alexander McQueen on Saturday, May 14, with art classes and film screenings going on mid-week, and ending on a high note with Jazz at LACMA on Friday, May 20. This week, MFUO with Jacques Lesure & Marvin “Smitty” Smith will be performing mixed genres ranging from jazz to Latin fusion to rock and roll. Led by guitarist Jacques Lesure and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith, MFUO (which means “groove” in Swahili) is a unique, all-star jazz quartet that also includes an organist and percussionist. RSVP for a reminder email. Seating is limited and first come, first served. Click here to view LACMA’s event calendar.
Horror fans unite! American Cinematheque, in collaboration with the LA Phil and Cinematic Void, presents Sunshine and Noir: 1980s L.A. Horror Marathon playing at the Aero Theatre all-day on Saturday, May 14 starting at noon. Take a deep dive into L.A.-based horror films that terrorized a generation and played out 1980s L.A.’s preoccupation with ambition, health, and wealth. With a guest artist panel highlighting the voices of women and issues of representation, Sunshine and Noir promises a both thoughtful and chilling descent into the City of Angels’ dark side. Line-up: They Live (pic shown), Society, Slumber Party Massacre, Chopping Mall, Blood Diner, and Angel. Chopping Mall is by far my favorite title, btw. The theater is located on Montana Ave. in Santa Monica It’s a bit of a journey, I know, but it seems worthy. Tickets are $20/member; $25/non-mems.
More in-store events at Chevalier’s Books this week starting on Monday, May 16 with a debut poetry reading of As She Appears by Shelley Wong. Next day, Tuesday, May 17, long-time Chevalier’s favorite Abbi Waxman will talk about Adult Assembly Required, about a young woman who arrives in Los Angeles to start over and discovers she doesn’t need to leave everything behind after all. And to round things out, Jonathan Martin & Alexander Burns will be discussing This Will Not Pass on Friday, May 20. It’s a shocking, definitive account of the 2020 election and the first year of the Biden presidency by two New York Times reporters. All events are in-person and free!
The Holocaust Museum LA presents another edition of Survivor Talk: Mike Wolff, this coming Thursday, May 19 at 11 a.m. Listen to Holocaust survivors share their personal experiences and stories of courage, resilience, and hope, “allowing all of us to preserve their memories and steward their messages.” Mike Wolff was born in Breslau in Nazi Germany in 1936. In 1939, he was one of the youngest children to go on a Kindertransport to Great Britain, saving his life. Click here to register
And also taking place on Thursday, May 19 is Building Bridges: AAPI and Jewish American Heritage Month. In conjunction with Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Asian Pacific and Jewish leaders will discuss their histories of working together and how to best chart a path forward toward a better future. Featured panelists will include representatives from LAAUNCH, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, East West Bank and CAUSE. Click here to register. Building Bridges is a monthly cross-cultural discussion series that brings together leaders from diverse communities for conversations about working toward common social justice goals. Webinar begins at 5 p.m.
In advance of the opening of the special exhibition Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow, The Broad presents The Un-Private Collection: Takashi Murakami + Benoit Pagotto + Ed Schad on Thursday, May 19 at the JACCC’s Aratani Theatre. This conversation will explore Murakami’s interest in “the possibilities of the metaverse and the potential for transcendent, spiritual, or healing experiences through it.” The thought exchange begins at 7:30 p.m.
And get even more Murakami on Friday, May 20 at Chasing the Eccentrics: Takashi Murakami in conversation with avid Endo-period art collector Etsuko Price at the JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles. Listen in, as Etsuko and Takashi discuss Edo-period painting, creativity, and collecting while exploring how traditional Japanese painting has influenced and inspired Murakami’s creative practice. The conversation will be in both English and Japanese, with Q&A and reception to follow. The talk will take place in the Salon, Level 5 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.
If you didn’t already know, May is AAPI Heritage Month and a great time to experience the award-winning play, King of the Yees by Lauren Yee. When Larry Yee disappears in Chinatown on his 60th birthday, his daughter goes on a magical journey to find him before it’s too late. Opening night is on Saturday, May 21 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre. It’s a bit of a drive but I was assured it was worth it! Previews Friday, May 20 at 8:00 p.m. and runs through Sunday, June 12. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25-$45; preview night tickets are $20. Group discounts are available.
Community do-gooders, Hang Out Do Good (H.O.D.G.) is offering up another free event this weekend on Saturday, May 14. From 3-5 p.m., DA George Gascon and Lindsey Horvath (candidate for LA County Supervisor) will have a conversation on criminal justice reform in local resident Jennifer Levin’s backyard. This is an opportunity to hear from the DA and Horvath about “what is really happening in LA in regards to public safety, what is going on in the DA’s office and what changes need to made to keep everyone safer”. The residence is located at 153 S. Norton Ave, Los Angeles. RSVP to [email protected]. All are welcome. HODG’s “Looking Local” candidate conversation is still running, too, and this week – on Sunday, May 15 at 4:00 p.m. will feature a Zoom-based talk with City Attorney candidate Faisal Gill. Click here to register if you’d like to attend.
The Park LaBrea Residents Association will be hosting a City Council Candidate Forum for CD5 with all four hopefuls on Sunday, May 15 from 2 – 3:30 p.m. There will be introductions, a panel discussion, and a chance for residents to ask questions. Come learn more about the candidates before you vote in the primary election on Tuesday, June 7. Candidates: Katy Young Yaroslavsky, Sam Yebri, Scott Epstein, and Jimmy Biblarz. Please note that all attendees will be required to sign a COVID waiver upon entering the theater. PLBRA is also hoping to record the forum for residents who cannot attend. The event will take place in the Activities Center at the Park LaBrea theater.
Your local NC, the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council has just one virtual get together this week for the Resilience Committee on Wednesday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. Click here to view the calendar for details.
And the Mid City West Neighborhood Council will wrap up this week’s events with a Public Safety and Well-Being Committee meeting on Tuesday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m., followed by a virtual meet-up for the Transportation and Sustainability Committee, along with MCW’s weekly in-person Wednesday Walks on Wednesday, May 18. Ending the week of meetings with the Outreach and Civic Engagement Committee on Thursday, May 19. Click here to check Mid City’s calendar for details.