School’s out and the weather is warming up a bit – just in time for summer festival season, which kicks off in a big way this weekend.
The largest and most well known of this weekend’s celebrations is the 2019 LA Pride Festival in West Hollywood, running both Saturday and Sunday from noon to 1 a.m. near West Hollywood Park (along San Vicente Blvd., between Melrose and Santa Monica). It includes a huge performance lineup with headliners Meghan Trainor and British electronic pop trio Years & Years, along with Ashanti, Amara La Negra, Dej Loaf, Greyson Chance, MNEK, Pabllo Vittar, Ah-Mer-Ah-Su, and more. Also, for the first time, there will be a big “Pride on the Boulevard” a block party with free entertainment, vendors, exhibitors, non-profit organizations, rides and attractions, beer gardens, and more, along Santa Monica Boulevard between Robertson and Hancock. The party will run on both Saturday and Sunday, from 12-7 p.m. And finally, if that’s not enough, there’s also a new Friday night LA Pride Weekend kickoff program, featuring an official opening ceremony, presentations by leaders and advocates for LA’s LGBTQ+ community, and entertainment including a Weho Vogue Ball & Drag Show, dancing, music from local DJs, and special surprise guests…along with a 60-minute concert by Paula Abdul. And it, too, is free to the public. See the festival website for the full schedule and details of all the events (including street closures and detours).
Next, from 12-7 p.m. on Saturday, there’s the 3rd Annual Mid-City Arts & Music Festival, running on Washington Blvd. between Rimpau and Vineyard. This event was created by the Mid-City Neighborhood Council in 2017 to celebrate local youth, artists, musicians, leaders, and businesses in the Mid-City creative community. Last year the Festival drew more than 7,000 visitors to the four-block venue, with two music stages, live performances, food, art, music, community organizations, fashion, kids’ workshops, and more, all celebrating the community’s rich cultural diversity. See the link above for full details and performance schedules.
Then, for a totally different kind of festival, this is the first weekend of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, the huge “open access, community derived” theater extravaganza “celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community.” Every year during the month of June, hundreds of small theatrical productions take over theaters, parks, clubs, churches, restaurants “and other unexpected places,” with performances by local, national, and international arts companies and independent performers. It’s a “free-for-all approach” designed to provide an open, uncensored platform for artists “without the barrier of a curative body.” In other words, say the organizers, “by opening the gates to anyone with a vision, the festival is able to exhibit the most diverse and cutting-edge points-of-view the world has to offer. Additionally, by creating an environment where artists must self-produce their work, the Fringe motivates its participants to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurialism in the arts.” For the jam-packed list of performance schedules, venues and tickets for the hundreds of small productions running both this weekend and for the rest of the month, see the link above.
And finally on the local-ish festival list, Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., will be hosting the 13th Los Angeles Greek Film Festival , presenting films from Greece and Cyprus. The screenings started on Wednesday and run through Sunday. See the link above for tickets and the full list of films and showtimes.
Moving back to our more usual list of non-festival events, the first up this weekend, running today (Friday) from 12-4 p.m., and Saturday from 12-5 p.m., is the monthly book sale from the Friends of the John C. Fremont Library (at the library at 6121 Melrose Ave.). This month’s sale features special deals on plays, classics, cookbooks and media. You’ll find many great deals for $1 or less…and all proceeds help to fund the library’s many free programs.
Next, starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, LACMA will host a talk called “Material Is the Message: Exploring an Overlooked Aspect of Contemporary Chinese Art,” in connection with its current exhibit, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China. According to LACMA, “Since the 1980s, many Chinese artists undertook wide-ranging experiments with unconventional materials. These experiments were serious and enduring: it is not rare for an artist to have developed his or her repertoire around one or more specific “personal” materials, while in this process exploring the materials’ artistic potential and devising individualized visual languages. This lecture explores the historical development and major characteristics of this artistic trend” and “will introduce a body of exciting and less familiar works to the Western audience and interpret contemporary Chinese art from a fresh angle.” The event is free, but tickets are required – see the event link above for details and reservations.
Also, starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Temple Israel of Hollywood will host “Shavuot: A Night of Choice – Reproductive Justice Symposium.” At the event, “In honor of the biblical Ruth, whose book we read every Shavout, we will celebrate Shavout 5779 by shedding a light on every woman’s capacity for Choice. On the Night of Choice, we will learn about current struggles for reproductive justice through a series of short films, text study, a panel discussion and group engagement.” Speakers include Renee Bracey Sherman, Senior Public Affairs Manager, National Network of Abortion Funds, Sheri Bonner, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley, and Gretchen Sisson, research sociologist advancing new standards in reproductive health.
And finally, in our only event this weekend specific to Sunday, the Cat and Fiddle Restaurant and Pub, 742 N. Highland Ave., will present a Faces tribute band, starting at 6 p.m., as part of its “Proper English Sunday Sessions” series. In addition to the music, the event will feature a DJ, $6 Guinness, and no cover charge.
Have a great – and very festive – weekend!