Art, food and film dominate this lovely summer weekend.
With long days and warm weather, weekends now almost always include enticing outdoor events on Friday nights. This week, one option is the Natural History Museum’s Summer Nights in the Garden. From 5-9 p.m. tonight, unwind in the NHM garden with music, nature-inspired cocktails, hands-on garden and science projects, botanical tours, food trucks and more. The event is free, but reservations are required. See the link above, or call 213-763-3499 for tickets or more information.
Tonight also brings the start of the L.A. Food Fest, which runs through the weekend on the massive south lawn of the NHM. The space will be “packed with food, beverages, more food, bars, games, music, more food, entertainment, and family fun for two full beautiful summer days.” It even includes a “Food Porn Cinema,” showing food-themed movies…and air-conditioned nap pods to snooze away your food comas. Ticket prices vary, with a number of options, at a wide variety of price points. Also, note that the organizers are helping to prevent unmanageable crowds by capping tickets sales at every level to ensure an optimal experience for all participants. For ticket, food, vendor, and more event info, see the link above.
On Saturday, if you’d like to do a bit of local shopping and support great businesses currently being stressed by the subway construction near Wilshire and La Brea, check out the annual summer sale at Miracle Mile Toys and Games, 5363 Wilshire Blvd. Starting at 9 a.m. and just in time for summer birthdays and pool parties, there will be special sale tables with items up to 80% off the original prices. In addition, there will be 20% off Melissa & Doug sand toys, 30% off Melissa & Doug costumes, 40% off Seedling craft kits and Oyo sports toys, 20-50% off dolls, clothing and accessories by Gotz, Petitcollin, Corolle and HABA, 20-80% off select Playmobil items…and much more. Note that the store will also be open late (until 8 p.m.) on Saturday for maximum shopping potential, but closed on Sunday due to the nearby Metro closures (see below).
A bit further east, from 12-9 p.m. on Saturday and 12-8 on Sunday, the 36th Annual Lotus Festival blooms at Echo Park, featuring music, dance, fashion and other demonstrations from a wide variety Asian and Asian-Pacific cultures, and celebrating Korean culture in particular this year. There will also be 20 food booths, Dragon Boat races, and – of course – Echo Park Lake’s legendary lotus blossoms.
On Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., check out an Art Talk on currently featured artist Bradford J. Salamon at the LaunchLA gallery, 170 S. La Brea. It’s free and open to the public. (There will also be an opening reception for Salamon’s show from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday. Reservations are required for that event. ) Contact [email protected] for more information.
For kids ages 11-17 on Saturday, also at 2 p.m., the Tween and Teen Book Club at the John C. Fremont Library, 6121 Melrose Ave., will hold a discussion of J. R. R. Tolkein’s classic, “The Hobbit.” Led by a library volunteer, the group will follow plucky Bilbo Baggins on his brave quest to reclaim treasure from the dragon Smaug. The event is free, copies of the book are available at the library reference desk, and no reservations are required.
Later, as if there’s not already enough going on in the Exposition Park/Natural History Museum area this weekend, Street Food Cinema will present a screening of Boyz n the Hood, at 8:30 p.m. at Exposition Park, with the film’s director, John Singleton, as a special guest. Doors open at 5:30, with food trucks and music before the movie. See the link above for ticket prices and other information.
For those who prefer late-night triple features, the American Cinematheque is screening all three Back to the Future films, back-to-back-to-back, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. The screenings celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first installment.
On Sunday, you can choose from even more food and art options.
At Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown, get ready to get spicy (or mild, if you prefer) at the second day of the Latin Salsa Festival. The event runs both Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with music, salsa dancing lessons, local food vendors, a salsa tasting tent, and a margarita and beer garden. The event is totally free and family friendly, though salsa tasting packages can be purchased ahead of time. Bring your dancing shoes and, of course, your appetite.
A bit further east, but still downtown, you could also explore the new weekly Smorgasburg event, open every Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the five-acre site of the weekday Alameda Produce Market (at Alemeda and Bay St.). The market includes dozens of food vendors, as well as “sophisticated shopping from the realms of design, craft, style, vintage, wellness, and more.” (It’s run by the organizers of the popular Brooklyn Flea event in New York.) There is also free 2-hour parking in the Produce Market’s new parking structure.
Closer to home, and back to art, you can drop into the Craft and Folk Art Museum from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday for a CraftLab Family Workshop – Crafting with Nature: Branch Weaving with Mimi Haddon. Participants will be bring new life to found tree branches in this inventive weaving workshop. Reclaim your very own natural treasure and adorn it with creative weaving techniques and vivid yarn colors. The cost is $7 for adults and $5 children; or free for CAFAM members.
Also on Sunday afternoon, check out the annual exhibit and sale at St. Elmo Village, a vital local community space that holds art workshops, cultural events, tours, and art exhibits for the public. Resident and workshop participants range from artists to healers, educators, activists and everything in between. This weekend’s event includes paintings, photography, ceramics, assemblage art and more by emerging and established artists from LA and beyond. Items for sale will include unique prints, jewelry, poetry books, cards and more. The opening reception will be held from 2-5 p.m. at 4830 St. Elmo Dr. Free and limited street parking is available.
And finally, we’ll leave you with the weekly update on Wilshire-La Brea subway construction. This week, the intersection of Wilshire and La Brea will be fully closed from 8 p.m. on Friday through 6 a.m. on Monday, for Phase 2 of the concrete decking installation that will facilitate future below-ground construction. See https://www.metro.net/projects/notices/notice_purpleline_2016-07-06/ for the full closure and detour details.
Have a great weekend!