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Pasadena City Hall
Photograph: JimDonnellyPhoto/WikimediaPasadena City Hall.

April 2023 events calendar for Los Angeles

Plan your month with our April 2023 events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, festivals and our favorite concerts

Michael Juliano
Edited by
Michael Juliano
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It’s Coachella time, but Angelenos have plenty of other reasons to sing April’s praisesm, too: Beach weather is practically here, and—drought be damned—some wildflowers, too. From major museum exhibitions to concerts, there are plenty of fun things to do packed into our April events calendar.

RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2023

The best events in L.A. this April

  • Art
  • price 2 of 4
  • Downtown

William Kentridge’s works have rarely popped up in L.A. collections, so it’s understandable if you’re unfamiliar with him. In fact, we’d say that might be the ideal way to head into this nearly four-decade-spanning survey, which has surprises waiting in seemingly every gallery—including a showstopping, barely-illuminated immersive environment. Kentridge grew up in apartheid-era Johannesburg, and the early black-and-white charcoal drawings that open the exhibition—and really the majority of the works elsewhere in the show—chronicle the damages of the discriminatory political system. The artist would soon create animations out of those drawings, through a process in which he would methodically erase and then redraw on the same work. Sculptures begin to pop up, too, whether “singing” Singer sewing machines or a mirrored cylinder that corrects the perspective of an adjacent drawing. Eventually, the show wraps up in a room full of drafting tables and earth tone decor the mimics the look of Kentridge’s own studio. In some museum shows, you pop your head into video galleries for a minute, think alright and then move on, slightly puzzled. But that’s not the case here, where every darkened nook with a screen brings something unexpected. Follow the sound of classical music through a curtain where you’ll find a wooden box shimmering with the projections of Kentridge’s stage designs for an opera. Then round the corner into a narrow wooden hallway and you’ll find yourself in “The Refusal

  • Theater
  • Drama
  • price 2 of 4
  • Downtown

Anna Deavere Smith’s one-woman play, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, turned firsthand interviews about the still-fresh riots into an astounding documentary-theater piece. Three decades later, the play comes home for a run at the Mark Taper Forum (Mar 8–Apr 9), this time around as an ensemble piece—which during its Off Broadway run in 2021, our theater critic in New York awarded five stars and called “a work of brilliantly sustained deep focus.”

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  • Art
  • Film and video
  • price 2 of 4
  • Miracle Mile

Though you can linearly chart decades of Oscars winners, you can’t really do the same with the history of cinema: There are many stories that have pushed the medium forward, as the Academy Museum’s collection spells out. That’s particularly true for the L.A. film museum’s second-ever special exhibition, an essential and energetic display that spotlights an entire century of often-overlooked filmmaking and demonstrates that Black artists have been a vital part of cinema since its inception. A collaboration with Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, “Regeneration” uses posters, costumes and film clips to dive into the works of Black actors, directors and production companies from the birth of the motion picture industry through the Civil Rights era. The exhibition (which kicks off with a screening series of the same era) spans across seven galleries and is arranged roughly chronologically, starting with vaudeville and race films (movies made for Black audiences by Black actors) into a complex era of Hollywood musicals, through a political awakening in moviemaking and right up to the dawn of Blaxploitation films. Along the way you’ll see everything from Louis Armstrong’s trumpet to footage of Josephine Baker at the Folies Bergère to Sidney Poitier’s Oscar. But our absolute favorite thing on display is a 1939 Mills Panoram movie jukebox that screens a series of “soundies”—basically a colorful wooden cabinet with short-form musical films on a

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • price 0 of 4
  • Downtown Arts District

Every Sunday you can find dozens of food vendors at this market at ROW DTLA, with a mix of much-loved pop-ups and future foodie stars. Look out for this year’s new vendors, including The Golden Skewer, Shlap Muan and Thai Town's Rad Na Silom.

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  • Art
  • Painting
  • price 2 of 4
  • Miracle Mile

This traveling exhibition celebrates a loose group of artists who came together in 1938 in New Mexico, linked by an inclination toward spiritually heightened abstraction. If you’ve day tripped into the deserts near L.A., you’re probably already familiar with a certain mystical quality among the artwork there, and the canvases here conjure that vibe—but decades earlier. You’ll see colorful geometric paintings that mix bold, colorful lines with pastel backgrounds (the homages to Wassily Kandinsky are particularly obvious if you’ve just come from LACMA’s modern galleries). The exhibition is broken up by artist with a focus on painters Raymond Jonson, Emil Bisttram, Agnes Pelton and Lawren Harris. While you’re there, make sure to venture into the adjoining gallery—an unrelated exhibition, to be clear—to see some remarkable lacquer works from East Asia.

  • Things to do
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The term CicLAvia stems from a similar Spanish word for “bike way,” and in L.A. it’s become a shorthand for the temporary, festival-like closing of L.A.’s streets. The event (inspired by the first Ciclovías in Bogotá, Colombia) welcomes bikes, tricycles, skateboards, strollers and basically anything else without an engine to ride a rotating cast of car-free routes. You’ll inevitably always find a route each year around Downtown, but past events have taken it anywhere from the harbor to the San Gabriel Valley. For 2023, CicLAvia makes its return with a five-mile route along Sherman Way, though Canoga Park, Winnetka and Reseda, on February 26. The rest of the year’s lineup includes Mid-City Meets Pico Union (Apr 15), South L.A.: Vermont Avenue (June 18), Koreatown Meets Hollywood (Aug 20), Heart of L.A. (Oct 15) and South L.A.: Leimert Parks Meets Historic South Central (Dec 3). This year will also see the introduction of CicLAmini, a pair of one-to-two–mile pedestrian-focused events in Watts (May 21) and North Hollywood (Sept 17). Expect music, street performances and food trucks, as well as general whimsy and shenanigans along the way. Shop owners and restaurants along the CicLAvia route also tend to host specials. It goes without saying that you should bike or take the Metro to your desired spot along the route.

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  • Things to do
  • TV, radio and podcast recordings
  • price 2 of 4
  • Hollywood

Geek out with fellow TV nerds at PaleyFest, the annual weeklong festival of exclusive episodes, clips and panel discussions with the cast and creators of the hottest TV shows. Now in its 40th year, the Paley Center for Media-hosted festival is headed back to the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood from March 31 to April 4. For the 2023 lineup, the slate of shows includes The Mandalorian, Yellowjackets, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Yellowstone, Abbott Elementary, Grey’s Anatomy and The Late Late Show with James Corden. As you might expect, the talent lineup is staggering, with appearances from the likes of Abbott Elementary creator Quinta Brunson, Mandalorian producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, Yellowstone star Kevin Costner and—maybe most exciting—basically the entire core cast of Yellowjackets and Mrs. Maisel. Tickets are on sale now for Paley members and will become available to the general public on Friday, January 20 at 9am.

  • Art
  • Performance art
  • price 0 of 4
  • Downtown

Best known for her lo-fi sculpture-centric Dance Constructions, choreographer Simone Forti’s pieces explore movement and the dialogue between visual art and contemporary dance. Catch weekly stagings of those Dance Constructions, plus six decades of works on paper, videos and holograms, during this career-spanning exhibition at MOCA. 

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  • Art
  • Installation
  • price 0 of 4
  • Little Tokyo

Envisioned years before the pandemic but debuted in the throes of it, Detroit DJ Carl Craig’s Party/After-Party turned the basement of New York’s Dia Beacon into a cavernous, empty dance club with a sliver of flashing light sneaking through a doorway. The techno-heavy work makes the jump to the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, with a slate of live performances to accompany it.

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