Everyone’s favorite NPR affiliate has a hand in over a half-dozen summer concert slates at locations like Union Station and the Hammer Museum. But the party-till-midnight bashes at Chinatown Central Plaza have become a particular favorite. Familiar KCRW personalities like Garth Trinidad, Travis Holcombe, Anne Litt and Jason Bentley spin the tunes at these food truck-fueled block parties. Participate in cultural workshops before busting a move on the dance floor to DJ sets and live bands. A craft beer garden, cooking demonstrations and a vintage market round out the fun to be had at this music-centric event.
Indulge your inner foodie and shopaholic at this weekly food-focused market. The Brooklyn export has landed in the Arts District and become a hotbed of fantastic food and retail vendors, with some that are testing out their dishes before launching a full-blown brick-and-mortar in the city. Bonus: there is plentiful (and free, for two hours!) parking in the nearby parking garage.
Now one of L.A.’s most treasured summer traditions, Barnsdall Park’s wine tastings regularly attract sell-out crowds. Perched atop Olive Hill in the west lawn of historic Hollyhock House (which you can tour during the evening for an additional $15), the Barnsdall Friday fundraisers include fine selections of boutique wines provided by Silverlake Wine with a spectacular sunset and 360-degree views of the city. Bring along a blanket and a picnic basket, or just nosh on the variety of food trucks parked up there. Though there used to be lots of kids running around, the event lawn is now 21-and-up—perfect for a date night. Proceeds support the park’s art programs and historic renovations.
Eat|See|Hear travels to different locales throughout the city each Saturday during the summer, showing cult flicks on an inflatable HD screen taller than your average Malibu mansion. Bring your own bites or sample snacks from the impressive roster of resident food trucks and show up early for a set from local LA bands. Parking is free at most of the venues, and tickets for screenings at the Autry even include admission to the museum. What's more? If you want to skip the crowds and stroll in casually during the opening credits, spring for an exclusive "Fashionably Late" pass. All of the events dog-friendly, and a portion of ticket sales benefit Best Friends Animal Society in support of NKLA.
The Music Center offers a free, joyous mashup of music and dancing all summer long, with different themes (90s, line dancing, cumbia, etc.) and free dance lessons plus live bands. Dance Downtown switches off every week with DJ Nights, with a late night bar menu and DJs. Head to Grand Park and join in the fun—no dance experience required.
It isn’t summer in L.A. until the first cemetery screening brings hoards of movie-lovers to Hollywood Forever, toting folding chairs, picnic blankets, snack spreads and lots of booze. Each year, Cinespia brings classic cult favorites to the hallowed resting place of such Hollywood greats as Rudolph Valentino and Bugsy Siegel. This year’s first batch of screenings includes The Neverending Story, Drive, Almost Famous and Casablanca. Angelenos line up for hours to partake in the concept—and to enjoy DJ sets, dance parties, sleepovers and more magical mischief otherwise strictly forbidden behind the cemetery gates. It’s an L.A. rite of passage, a quintessential summer experience and one of the best film venues in the city. Just be sure to get your ticket early, arrive early (doors open at 6:45pm), pee early... it’s getting a bit overcrowded, to say the least.
The Original Farmers Market is host to a plethora of fun, family-friendly outdoor events, and its summer music series are some of its best. Take a load off at the end of the work week and stop by the West Patio from 7 to 9pm to hear live music during or after your shopping trip or dinner al fresco.
Summers in Los Angeles mean scores of live outdoor tunage, and beginning in June, Angelenos will have something to groove about through Labor Day. Memorial Park hosts Levitt Pavilion Pasadena’s summer concert series every Thursday through Sunday, providing more live music than you’ll know what to do with. Likewise, the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles in MacArthur Park will host its own free summer music series, inviting concertgoers to roll out the picnic blanket and vibe out to shows Thursday through Sunday. Basically, double the concert lineups—completely gratis. Expect a diverse roster of acts spanning all genres, in addition to kid-friendly performances every Sunday at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles and every Thursday at the Levitt Pavilion Pasadena. There will be more than 50 concerts by the time the season is through, and admission is always free. Just bring yourself, a foldout chair, some eats, good company and open ears.
Silver Lake's legit little music venue offers up some of the best local music in the city every Monday night... for free. Check out LA bands that are about to make it big (acts like Fitz & the Tantrums, Superhumanoids and even Local Natives have graced the residency stage) without spending a dime—well, except on maybe a beer, or a round for the folks onstage. Check the Satellite calendar to see who's on the bill each month. Acts often have a rotating cast of openers, so you can see different bands each week while watching the main act work on material, become more comfortable onstage and find their rhythm as the month goes on. Then a few years from now, you can say "I saw them when...."
Hilltop sunset views and rising bands—including Savoy Motel and former Kurt Vile guitarist Steve Gunn—combine to make this Getty tradition a worthy destination for Angelenos on both sides of the 405. Tip: Avoid the traffic and the crowds and arrive early. You'll get to visit the exhibits, watch the sunset and snag a seat at the restaurant before the dinner rush.
It's free music every Monday when sponsored, up-and-coming local bands call the Echo stage home for a one-month stint, honing their stage presence and giving various opening acts a chance at the spotlight as well. If you're worried a Monday night will fill up to capacity, you can RSVP on the Echo website for VIP entry. When a band is on its third or fourth Monday and killing it, this is a pretty convenient way to make sure you're in on the action.
The newest flea market on the block, the Venice outpost of this artisan/craft-focused flea market mini-empire is bringing records, vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and more to the Westminster Avenue Elementary School. A handful of small batch confectioners provide sweet treats to snack on or take home, while food trucks and nearby restaurants provide heartier bites. Though relatively small in size, owing perhaps to its prime location bookending the neighborhood’s famed Abbot Kinney stretch, vendors hawk a diverse range of hand-made and expertly curated wares that seems to simultaneously fit in and stand out in one of the nation’s most unusual neighborhoods.
Lace up your Muggle skates and roll around the not-Quidditch pitch at the annual Harry Potter Roller Skating Night. The fan group Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army takes over Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale for a night of Harry Potter-themed music, merch and games. Come dressed in costume and load up on candy and butterbeer—non-alcoholic, unfortunately—while you’re there.
For dinner and a movie, all in one, just follow the food trucks. During the summer and fall, Street Food Cinema throws together a series of mostly outdoor parties that include screenings of some of our favorite movies, paired with an assortment of gourmet food trucks and even a live music performance from a cool local band. The screenings are held in venues across L.A., and alternate from week to week, so make sure to check the schedule. Some of the outdoor venues are dog-friendly, allowing you to bring your four-legged cinema lover along. New this year are two overnight camping events that extend the movie screening into a fun summer camp experience for grown-ups.
Author and historian Roger Gastman put together MOCA’s popular 2011 street art retrospective, “Art in the Streets.” Now, the graffiti authority is back to curate another massive exhibition, set to take over a spacious warehouse on the northern edge of Chinatown. “Beyond the Streets” celebrates the evolution of the artform with works from over 100 artists. Site-specific installations include large-scale banners from feminist activists Guerrilla Girls, a playable handball court decorated by Lee Quiñones, a sprawling double-sided painting by Takashi Murakami that encircles visitors and FAILE’s Temple, an interactive construction of ceramic, steel, mosaics and prayer wheels. The show also features L.A.-inspired installations, including a recreation of griffiti and skate destination Venice Pavilion, in partnership with adidas Skateboarding, and an outdoor garden installation by Ron Finley, known for his “gangsta gardening” projects to bring food sources back to inner-city communities. The touring exhibition debuts in L.A. on May 6 at Werkartz (1667 N Main St) and runs through July 6. Timed tickets cost $25.
Celebrate the legacy of L.A.’s late Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold with a tribute event on the steps of City Hall. L.A. Times writer Carolina Miranda hosts Jonathan’s brother Mark, Good Food host Evan Kleiman, City of Gold director Laura Gabbert, councilmember José Huizar, Providence chef Michael Cimarusti, Guelaguetza co-proprietor Bricia Lopez, Lukshon chef Sang Yoon and composer Carl Stone. DCRW DJ Anthony Valadez will be spinning along with a selection of Gold’s favorite food trucks. The event kicks off at 5:30pm, with remarks at 6:30pm and a selection of clips and outtakes from City of Gold at 7:30pm.
Head to Echo Park on Mondays for free residencies at one of the best venues on the East side, the Bootleg. Theater shows happen in the Gallery, and music in the Theater (in back) and the Bar (in front). Residencies take place in the bar, with high tables and stools in the back, a bar with great craft brews and a high, open-beamed roof with great acoustics. Check the Bootleg's calendar to see who's on the bill month to month.
Every Saturday and Sunday, the UCB franchise's longest-running, most beloved showcase starts when a base cast of the theater's current top-brass—including founding UCB members Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts—takes the stage. Then they introduce the surprise celebrity alumnae and friends who will be joining them (think Horatio Sanz, Ben Schwartz, Adam Pally). And finally, another special guest takes the stage, a non-improviser (think Flea, Cat Power, Rebel Wilson, Lena Dunham) who opens the show with a personal story, that's deftly mined for laughs by the players. But you have to go to find out who's there—that's part of the fun. Looking for a cheap night out? Sunday shows are free, but seating is first-come, first-served, so be sure to arrive early.
Nature lovers rejoice! Spend a day at the NHM’s Butterfly Pavilion, which will open for the season with more than 30 butterfly and moth species and an assortment of California plants. The seasonal outdoor exhibit allows for adults and children alike to witness nature up close—we’re talking having bufferlies take flight and land on your arms or shoulders. Prime time for these unique butterfly flight experiences are between 10-11am each morning.
In a 2001 interview with Time Out New York, David Byrne said that his decision to break up the Talking Heads came out of a desire to “change creatively so I could keep people off balance.” In the ensuing decades, he’s remained true to his word, founding an eclectic record label, writing a book about his relationship to music and collaborating with musicians like Brian Eno and St. Vincent. Touring behind American Utopia, his first solo record in more than a decade, Byrne continues to chase his muse throughout a collection of endearingly optimistic songs. The tracks provide the centerpiece of his “most ambitious” live show since Stop Making Sense, incorporating a cast of marching musicians that synchronize their movements to Byrne’s challenging catalog.
Life imitates art, literally: Classic paintings, statues and murals take on a new dimension as real people dress and pose to recreate original masterpieces—a trick popularized by vaudeville artiste Lolita Perine at the first festival in 1932. A professional orchestra, a narrator, intricate sets and theatrical lighting help bring the works to life at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach (650 Laguna Canyon Rd). This year’s theme, “Under the Sun,” is inspired by Laguna’s own artistic pioneers.
The masters of alfresco rooftop movie viewing have returned for their fourth season of screenings in Hollywood—and its second in Downtown L.A. Known for excellent film choices and a steady supply of snacks and booze, Rooftop Cinema Club is your snazzy, comfortable and less stressful alternative to other outdoor movie screenings. Taking full advantage of beautiful city views, RCC promises to offer some of the most unique and incredible movie-going opportunities for film lovers throughout 2018. You don’t even need to bring your own blanket or camping chair—Rooftop Cinema Club provides you with your very own comfy lawn chair, as well as blankets on request for the ultimate cozy experience. And instead of listening to the movie over loudspeakers, you’ll get a set of wireless headphones so you never have to miss a word. Crossed out screenings are sold out. [Full disclosure: Time Out is the exclusive ticketing partner for Rooftop Cinema Club.] Aug 17 at NeueHouse: Dirty Dancing Aug 17 at LEVEL: La La Land Aug 18 at LEVEL: True Romance Aug 19 at NeueHouse: Point Break Aug 21 at LEVEL: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind Aug 22 at NeueHouse: The Big Lebowski Aug 22 at LEVEL: Mean Girls Aug 23 at LEVEL: 10 Things I Hate About You Aug 24 at NeueHouse: Risky Business Aug 24 at LEVEL: The Greatest Showman Aug 25 at LEVEL: Coco Aug 26 at NeueHouse: Top Gun Aug 28 at NeueHouse: Coming To America Aug 28 at LEVEL: Pretty Woman Aug 29 at NeueHouse: School Daze Aug 29 at
Eliasson began planning his first major L.A. exhibition in a decade about two years ago, when he first set foot in the then-under-construction. He started with a large-scale model of the installation and began removing elements until he was left with the finished work: a series of projectors and color gels that turns the massive space into a sort of illumianted X-ray. The space may look like an oddly aligned movie screen at first, but step forward and look behind you to see the magical mechanisms at work. Reality Projector positions slowly moving lights in the buildings rafters, and as they slide along they cast colorful shadows through a series of strategically placed filters. As a result, the guts and bones of the building become part of the artwork—as does the viewer, as part of that larger space. Eliasson tapped fellow Icelandic artist and Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi to create a clattering ambient score that accompanies the slowly shifting installation. He also designed two hanging spheres in the museum’s lobby: one lit by LEDs with silver coated glass, the other a more colorful cluster of handblown glass illuminated by an incandescent lamp. You can visit the installation for free at the Maricano Art Foundation from March 1 to August 25, though advance reservations are required.
Spend a Saturday night among the arts at LACMA’s annual late-night party, Muse ’til Midnight. The evening kicks off outside in the L.A. Times Central Court and works its way across the museum campus. This year, the DUBLAB-curated, 3-D–themed event includes performances by Visible Cloaks, Jacques Greene, Asmara and more. There’ll also be a cash bar (tickets include one complimentary one signature beverage) and small bites on-hand to fuel you through the night.