Before I bombard you with a month full of Halloween-related activities, I thought it best to present you with a more mellow week of activities to kick things off. However, not to disappoint, I did throw in one local seasonal treat to get your juices flowing – the annual highly anticipated Haunted Hayride in Griffith Park – which opens today (Friday, Sept 29). I’ve also included the for-a-good-cause Best in Drag Show at the Orpheum Theatre (not that you need a good cause for such good fun), an art exhibit opening with festivities at the Craft Contemporary, a discussion about homelessness in LA with the Mayor at The Ebell, and more.
Arts, Culture, Drag Queens, and Mouschi the Cat
Halloweenies, mount up, because the world-famous Los Angeles Haunted Hayride opens this weekend!! Whoop-whoop! Venture deep into the backwoods of Midnight Falls, where a long-rumored cannibalistic family roams and where witches cast their spells. Board this year’s all-new hay wagons – if you dare – and settle in for a frightful journey as the spirit of Halloween surrounds the helpless victims brave enough to ride (muah ha ha)! If you happen to survive the hayride, then best to make your way over to the town square, where you’ll find ghoulish fun and townsfolk roaming around and attending to their local business, trick-or-treating, axe throwing, the “ultimate theatrical macabre experience,” and much more. Tickets are $30-$35. Not suitable for kids 12 and under. HH is located in Griffith Park at 4730 Crystal Springs Dr. Open Friday, Sept 29 – Tuesday, October 31.
As we have now officially transitioned into fall and are make-in our way toward winter – my goodness where does the time go – Craft Contemporary is serving up its annual Fall-Winter Exhibition Opening Reception this Saturday, Sept 30 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Join the folksy folks at CC as they celebrate the opening of their newest exhibitions: Linda Sibio: Economics of Suffering, Part IV (I’m guessing you don’t have to see parts I-III to enjoy it); Carolyn Castaño: Cumanday: Beautiful Mountain, and Margaret Griffith: Chirk. This day of fun and festivities will also feature Flower Crown Making, Salsa Caleña dance lessons, DJ Eleanora, exclusive exhibition merch, tastebud pleasing bites by Vivi’s Gourmet Cuisine, an adult beverage bar, and of course, galleries to explore. The cost is regular museum admission ($7-$9); members and kids 12 and under are FREE.
Yaaasss, Queen! The Best in Drag Show 2023 will land on Sunday, October 1 at the historic, nearly 100-yr old, Orpheum Theatre in DTLA. Come witness six fabulous queens doing whatever it takes to win the crown in this “outrageous, hilarious and completely inappropriate” drag pageant. Best in Drag Show is the long-running, one-of-a-kind drag beauty pageant extravaganza in support of Alliance for Housing and Healing, and the housing services it provides to people living with HIV/AIDS. Started more than three decades ago, BDS features over-the-top characters, elaborate costumes, celebrity judges, and surprises galore as the queens stage a no-holds-barred fight for the title of Miss Best. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Showtime at 7 p.m. You don’t want to miss this one and it’s for a good cause! Tickets range from $50-$500.
Now for a complete 180 from the above, but sharing the same date of Sunday, October 1, the Holocaust Museum LA presents a family friendly event for your head and heart that I think you’ll enjoy. Join HMLA for a live reading of The Cat Who Lived With Anne Frank, “a gentle but effective introduction to the Holocaust” that tells the story of Anne and life in hiding from the point of view of Mouschi, the cat who really did live in hiding with the Frank family and others. Through Mouschi’s eyes, you see how Amsterdam was turned into an urban prison for the Jewish people, forcing many into hiding, and how the Dutch resistance fought back. There will also be a Q&A and book signing, and discussion about the Holocaust and the “state of hate” today. Suitable for children ages 7 and up. Kindly RSVP HERE. Event takes place from 3-4:40 p.m.
Next, the OG Farmers Market (at Third and Fairfax) will be having a pageant-like event of its own this Thursday, October 5, and it’s in honor of the 11th Annual Metropolitan Fashion Week, returning to the Market Plaza from 6-7 p.m. with another awe-inspiring show. This year’s event promises to be a showcase of creativity, talent, and innovation, featuring exclusive sustainable fashion masterpieces from 10 international fashion and costume designers. The Grove’s trolley tracks will transform into a fashion show runway, and you, the audience, will pick the winning design. You won’t be disappointed, so come for the fashion and stay for the shopping and food. This event is FREE and open to the public; all ages welcome.
Lastly, the creepy-crawly and very cool Spider Pavilion – the one-of-a-kind seasonal pavilion that gives you a rare glimpse into the secret life of spiders – is back at the Natural History Museum. As you stroll through this open air pavilion, you’ll find yourself surrounded by hundreds of orb weavers and their amazing webs, including those of the garden spider, which can range up to almost ten feet in diameter (what?!). You’ll also hear amazing stories along the way from NHM educators and learn about the natural pest control that spiders provide. And become a peeping tom of sorts, not the creepy kind (although the spiders may feel differently), as you peer into the enclosed habitats of fuzzy wuzzy tarantulas and other species. Bring the kiddos and enjoy the fresh air as you enter into the world of these incredible eight-legged creatures! The cost is $8 per person, plus general admission, and free for NHM members. Reservations are required; Open now through Nov 26.
Local Government, Homelessness, and the Tar Pits
This is exciting, people, and it’s been in the works for several years now, edging ever so close to becoming a reality…the reimagining of the LA Brea Tar Pits. A Public Open House for the Proposed La Brea Tar Pits Master Plan will take place on Saturday, Sept 30 from 9-11 a.m. so you, the public, can learn about both the plans to reimagine this scientific marvel and beloved institution, and the findings of the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report, released on September 11 (the DEIR summarizes of the project’s probable environmental effects pursuant to the State’s requirements under CEQA). The Tar Pits complex is considered Earth’s most important Ice Age fossil site and global hub for critical climate and biodiversity research – and the remodel plans encompass the entire 13-acre area, including the George C. Page Museum and little beyond. This pop-up event will take place outdoors at the Tar Pits between the Museum entrance and Lake Pit.
Your local NC and all around do-gooding group, the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council (GWNC), will have a Resilience Committee meeting on Monday, October 2 at 6:30 p.m. The Resilience Committee meets on the first Monday of each month at Coldwell Banker (251 N. Larchmont Blvd. and Beverly). Check the NC’s website for cancellations, agendas, and full schedule here.
Living in LA, it’s hard to miss how bad the homelessness situation has become, and on Wednesday, October 4 you’ll have a chance to weigh in at the historic Ebell of Los Angeles during its Homelessness In Los Angeles and The Pathway Forward event. This intimate fireside chat, led by Mayor Karen Bass, will cover the major components driving the homelessness crisis today and how city and county governments, nonprofits, and the private sector are collaborating on a strategic approach and viable path forward. Along with the Mayor, Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum, the new CEO of LAHSA; Sarah Dusseault, Co-Chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness and strategist with The Angeleno Project; policy and data expert Janey Rountree, ED of the California Policy Lab at UCLA; and Jill Bauman, CEO Emeritus of Imagine LA will also be in the house sharing their insight. The cost is $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Doors open at 8 a.m.; program at 8:30 a.m. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.