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The Natural History Museum’s Latest Exhibition is a Scream

October 11, 2019 by Brian Champlin
Reproduction of the suit from Creature from the Black Lagoon at NHM’s Natural History of Horror. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

The latest exhibition at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles weaves together tales of classic Hollywood monsters and the science that inspired their creation. It’s called Natural History of Horror, and it just opened to the public yesterday.

Natural History of Horror creates a unique blend of the scientific and the cultural that few institutions can offer. As NHM Collections Manager Beth Werling told a gathering of press during a panel before the official exhibition opening, “The Natural History Museum is somewhat unusual in that we house both scientific collections, and historic and cultural collections here. We’re always looking for programs and projects that will merge the two.”

In this case, the merger of cinema and science works beautifully. The exhibition focuses on four films, all Universal properties: Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and Dracula. Each film dominates a corner of the gallery space, with displayed props, posters, interactive displays, and textual blurbs helping to fill in the scientific origin story of the titular antagonists. Among the displays, a reproduction of the silicone suit made for Creature is a real standout.

Dracula exhibit at Natural History of Horror. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

“It made sense that our classic monsters would be shown alongside the scientific artifacts from NHM’s collections, as they give background on the science that inspired their creation,” Universal Film Executive Holly Goline stated via a news release. “These iconic monsters have such an enduring legacy across generations of fans, so having them be part of this exhibition at a museum we all know and love gives guests the opportunity to see these stories come to life in a new way.”

At the center of the dimly lit space a two-sided screen plays clips from the featured movies as guests wander among the exhibits learning some of the scientific backstory to the classic tales. Guests find out how real-life experiments in animal electricity influenced Mary Shelley’s development of Frankenstein, how deadly 19th epidemics perpetuated the vampire mythos, and how designer Milicent Patrick created a cutting-edge suit for Creature based on a combination of still-living reptiles, amphibians and fish, as well as illustrations of water-loving, long-extinct finned organisms from the Devonian period (that’s 400 million years ago… but who’s counting?)

Of course, if you’re like me, you’ll head straight to the Frankenstein exhibit where a large metal switch begs to be pulled. Yank it back and a series of lights and sounds simulates a massive surge in electricity, not unlike the one that brought the monster to life in the movie. Yelling out “it’s alive!” after you hit the switch is totally optional.

Lightning strikes after you pull the switch at Natural History of Horror. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Natural History of Horror isn’t expansive by any means. But it is detailed and informative, and I think it’s a worthy visit for film nerds or horror buffs who appreciate cinema with a helping of scientific context and history.

If you need more entertainment to fill out your excursion to NHM’s newest exhibition, keep in mind each of the four films will be screened at after-hours “Fright Night” events between now and April. These events will feature special demos, performances, and film intros. Here is the upcoming schedule.

  • Friday, Oct. 11, 2019: Bite Into This with Dracula
  • Friday, February 14, 2020: Unrequited Love with Creature from the Black Lagoon
  • Thursday, March 26, 2020: Monster Fears with Frankenstein
  • Friday, April 10, 2020: All Wrapped Up with The Mummy

Natural History of Horror runs now through April 19, 2020, and is included with regular museum admission. Tickets for the Fright Night events are $15 for non-museum members.

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Sponsored, Travel

Exploring the Hidden Gems of SBC (Ontario, Fontana, Redlands, Rancho Cucamonga)

July 17, 2019 by Christina Champlin and Brian Champlin

The following is a sponsored collaboration between San Bernardino County and We Like L.A.

San Bernardino Mural / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Over the past several months we’ve visited San Bernardino County more than a half dozen times as part of an ongoing content partnership with the County’s visitors bureau. We’ve tackled the San Bernardino mountains, roamed the desert landscape of 29 Palms and Joshua Tree, and explored the communities of the greater Morongo Basin. In this final installment of our series we checked out some of the urban centers of SBC, including Ontario, Redlands, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, and Fontana.

During our adventures we went go karting for the first time, did 120 mph hot laps around a Nascar track, found an iconic Instagram alley, went down the annals of fast food history, stopped by the local Indian casino, and shopped and thrifted to our heart’s content.

Below is a rundown of some of our favorite experiences from the trip, a selection of great food options in the area, plus a few helpful reminders to wrap it up.

Getting There

A drive from Northeast Los Angeles to Ontario is a straight shot on the 10 freeway, and our drive clocked in at about 45 minutes during rush hour on a weekday morning. Going against traffic is a big help.

Ontario International Airport

One point on the quick trip: With the Ontario International Airport literally just down the street from where we stayed, it got us thinking about what actually is the closest airport to us based on drive time. For residents of the San Gabriel Valley or many other parts of eastern Los Angeles county, ONT is quicker to get to compared to LAX and fairly seamless in terms of getting in and out.

With that said, let’s get on to our trip!

Home Base

Just like L.A., the sprawl of SBC is real, and if you’re going to be checking out a number of different communities / areas (as we were) then it pays to stay in a location with good access to everything.

The Residence Inn by Marriott in Ontario Rancho Cucamonga is centrally located in the San Bernardino County giving explorers a convenient home base to unwind in. Designed as an extended-stay hotel there’s complimentary Wi-Fi, in-suite fully equipped kitchens, a gym and Smart TVs. A free breakfast buffet is provided every morning as well. → More information

Things to Do

Auto Club Speedway / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Auto Club Speedway (Fontana)

Until you actually visit the Auto Club Speedway you’ll probably underestimate the sheer scope and size of the grounds. There’s the 2-mile oval track, the 68,000 capacity grandstand, the massive infield, a 3/4 of a mile CalSpeed Karting track, an R/C racing track, a 1/4 mile drag racing strip, and even a Metro Link Station on site. It is, in a word, huge.

CalSpeed Karting.

The Speedway is probably best known for the annual NASCAR race (The Auto Club 400), but there are many other events held there throughout the year, including a racing school program that let’s you learn how to drive exotic cars plus Lefty’s Track Day where the public can bring their own cars on to the track.

CalSpeed Karting / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

As far as the karting goes, it was an absolute blast. Even us noobs (never been go karting before) picked it up very quickly. A $125 rental gets you 3 12-minute sessions on the track along with instruction. By the time you’re on your second go-around you’ll feel pretty comfortable behind the wheel. -> More information

San Bernardino Museum (Redlands)

If you want to learn about why the Inland Empire was once known as the ‘Orange Empire’ then this is the place to do it. The SBC Museum has just opened a ‘Pulp Culture’ exhibit detailing the storied past. Plus, you can check out the halls of earth science and biodiversity where you can spot a life-size mastodon replica.

The Exploration Station / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Additionally, there is an Exploration Station open at select times throughout the week where guests can meet and interact with live animals (rabbits, turtles, etc…) and ask questions to the expert staff. This is a great stop for kids and families. -> More information

Ontario Mills (Ontario)

Ontario Mills

Go on a shopping spree at the largest outlet and value-retail destination in the entire state of California. There are over 200 stores that range from luxury brands to household names, like Nike Factory, Old Navy Outlet, Tommy Hilfiger and Skechers Superstore. Fun fact, as a top shopping and tourist destination, Ontario Mills racks up 28 million annual visitors, which is more than Disneyland! The mall also includes multiple restaurants and a movie theatre. → More information

Umbrella Alley Redlands California / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Downtown Redlands

Redlands charming downtown area has gone through some major improvements over the past few years. We found it to be highly walkable with an array of shops and delicious eateries (more on that below). And of course you won’t want to miss the Insta-worthy umbrella installation that blankets Orange Street Alley.

On the Antiques front we suggest you take a walk through the Redlands Galleria, a vast multistory antique spot that carries mid century furniture, 1950’s hats, 70’s fashion, houseware, art and so much more. Service is friendly and all sections are well kept.

Redlands Galeria / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

If you happen to be in town on a Thursday you can check out the weekly night market and the keep in mind the Redlands Bowl offers free public concerts on select dates through the summer.

Kimberly Crest House Tour (Redlands)

Kimberly Crest House and Gardens is a historic French château-style Victorian mansion located in Redlands. The 1897 property is a registered California Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Public garden tours are offered Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. -> More information

The Pines Modern Steakhouse / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

San Manuel Casino

If you are looking for some exciting entertainment you’ll find it at San Manuel Casino, which boasts the biggest selection of slot machines on the west coast. Check out some craft beers at Rock & Brews, cut into a steak at The Pines Modern Steakhouse and live like a high roller at the newly open and exclusive The Vault Gaming & Provision. -> More information

Historic site of the Original McDonald’s Museum / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Historic site of the Original McDonald’s Museum (San Bernardino)

The very first McDonald’s restaurant was opened by Richard and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California in 1940. As related in the film The Founder Ray Croc eventually bought the franchise from the brothers and this original San Bernardino location was closed down. In the 1998 the long-vacant property was purchased by Albert Okura (aka ‘The Chicken Man’ and owner of the Juan Pollo restaurant chain). Okura spilt the interior into two parts: A small partitioned section would comprise the corporate offices for Juan Pollo and the rest of the space would be dedicated to McDonald’s history. As far as we can tell, it now has the biggest collection of McDonald’s memorabilia in the world.

Original McDonald’s Museum Items / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

If you pop in during the operating hours (it’s free to visit) you’ll likely find the curator Jack who will cheerfully fill you in on the details of the property’s history, how Okura came to own it, and how the collection grew over time (all donations!). Plus, the photo op with the signage outside is pretty sweet and there’s even a mural of the history of San Bernardino that’s painted on one side of the building. -> More information

Pacific Electric Trail

This 18-mile (eventually 21 miles when ongoing construction is complete), multi-use urban trail runs from Rialto all the way to Claremont, following the route of the once iconic Pacific Electric Railway. It’s a relatively flat, paved route, making it good for cruising on a bike, taking fido for an extended walk (it’s dog friendly), or checking out some of the wildflowers along the way. → More information

Places to Eat

Vince’s Spaghetti / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Vince’s for Spaghetti (Rancho Cucamonga)

Dine at an old school red sauce restaurant. Open since 1945 Vince’s serves lasagna, meatballs, French Dips and large plates of spaghetti. The restaurant is casual and family friendly. → More information

Logan’s Candies (Ontario)

Satisfy your sweet tooth with handmade gourmet candies from Logan’s. Open since 1933 they are known to attract crowds during their handmade ribbon candy demos. → More information

Market Broiler / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Market Broiler (Ontario)

Stop into Market Broiler for a meal after a day of shopping at Ontario Mills. The casual seafood restaurant offers sushi, oysters, fresh fish, chicken, aged steaks, salads and pastas. → More information 

Sycamore Inn (Rancho Cucamonga)

Housed inside a historic inn located right off Route 66 the restaurant serves Midwestern cornfed prime steaks, prime rib, rack of lamb and much more. Your fine dinner can be paired with their award winning wine list. –> More information

Martha Green’s The Eating Room (Redlands)

Dine like a local insider at Martha’s Green. Serving breakfast, brunch and lunch, folks can enjoy chicken fried steak, fluffy pancakes, burgers and sandwiches. All produce comes from local vendor Washington Produce and meat comes from Gibson & Son Provisions in Redlands. Make sure to save room for something sweet, Martha Green’s bakery offers pies, cakes and more. Their famous Swedish Almond cookie is a fan favorite. → More information

Caprice Cafe / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Caprice Cafe (Redlands)

Located in Historic Downtown Redlands Caprice is a great spot for casual fine dining. The Mediterranean menu includes fresh seafood, large format salads, pasta, handmade pizzas, organic steaks and more. → More information

Punch Bowl Social (Rancho Cucamonga)

Let loose and have some old fashion fun by heading to Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga for some cocktails, old school games like bowling, arcade and even karaoke in a private room. → More information

San Bernardino Museum / Photo Credit: Brian Champlin

Additional Notes

We wanted to wrap up with a few considerations if you’re planning a trip to SBC:

  • A day trip from L.A. makes a lot of sense, especially given the traffic considerations we mentioned at the top. Leave in the morning, return in the afternoon or early evening.
  • If you go the day trip route, we suggest you stagger your activities so you find yourself indoors during midday when temps are at their peak during warmer seasons. For example, opt for karting in the morning, hit up Ontario Mills for a few hours, then stop in Redlands for a meal and late afternoon / early evening walk before departing for home.
  • Just like during our mountain and desert trips, it pays to keep lots of water and sunscreen handy.
  • The most important consideration: Have fun!

If you’d like to learn more about We Like L.A. sponsored posts and how we work with our partners, you can go here.

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Happenings

This Colorful ‘Serpentine Pavilion’ Just Opened Near the La Brea Tar Pits

June 28, 2019 by Brian Champlin
Interior of the Second Home Serpentine Pavilion. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

SelgasCano designed and built their Serpentine Pavilion for the annual architectural commission by the Serpentine Gallery in London. The structure was installed at the Gallery’s site in London’s Hyde Park back in 2015.

Now, thanks to a partnership between creative workspace Second Home and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, it’s been rebuilt in the heart of Los Angeles, on the lawn space directly between the La Brea Tar Pits and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. They’re calling it The Second Home Serpentine Pavilion, and it’s 100% free for the public to visit starting on June 28 and running through November 24.

Entering the Second Home Serpentine Pavilion. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

With an 866-square-foot area, The Pavilion is not particularly massive or imposing, but the array of colors and the interior’s playful use of natural light are, in a word, dazzling.

As you enter through any of several colorful corridors you will immediately be struck by the mood and complexion of the space. Light pours through sheets of stretched ELFE (a fluorine-based plastic) at various angles that make it seem like you’re walking on a living color palette as you wind through the iridescent tunnels. It is sure to be an Instagram darling.

Close up of the Second Home Serpentine Pavilion. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

José Selgas and Lucía Cano comprise the architectural partnership behind SelgasCano. While speaking at a panel event to christen to the Pavilion’s L.A. home, Selgas described the challenges and urgency of the Serpentine Gallery project. When they first won the commission they had only five months to go from design to finished space. It was stressful, but it also forced the designers to come up with lots of ideas in a short time frame.

“When you think about this opportunity to create the pavilion what we don’t want is waste time to create something, like finished, nice, perfect, for nothing. We always saw that as an opportunity to experiment,” Selgas said.

Press preview for the Second Home Serpentine Pavilion. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Now the experiment continues as the Pavilion finds a new residence in Los Angeles. In many ways, it’s a perfect match. Second Home co-founder Sam Aldenton called Los Angeles “a place that’s really in a moment” from a design perspective. As Aldenton explained to the crowd at media day:

“It’s in a moment of hyper-creativity where there’s a horizontality and an openness that allows something like this to happen.”

In addition to its function as a unique public space and de facto Instagram magnet, Second Home Pavilion will also play host to numerous free events and public gatherings throughout the summer and fall.

Although an exact schedule is not yet available, the lineup of upcoming programming is teased on the Second Home website. It includes a presentation on meditation with​ filmmaker David Lynch, a talk with Mayor Eric Garcetti on the future of cities, and a performance by British rapper Octavian. ​According to a news release, there is also a planned weekend dedicated to supporting non-profits and social impact organizations. A full schedule of programming is to be announced in the coming months.

The Second Home Pavilion is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Fridays now through November 24. Walk-up visitors are welcome but you can also reserve a timed express entry at pavilion.secondhome.io. Parking is $15 at the Tar Pits Museum lot, and use of public transit is always encouraged. The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum is located at 5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA.

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Things To Do

The Big Cheat Sheet of Free & Fun Things to do in L.A. for Summer 2019

June 20, 2019 by Brian Champlin
Echo Park Lake June 2017
Echo Park Lake. Photo by Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

There are a lot of ways to spend a summer in Los Angeles. A lot of expensive, costly, bank-account-draining ideas to entertain oneself in this vast cultural stew of possibility. Alternatively, you could take advantage of the info in this post.

Below I’ve compiled a massive chronological listing of all the free things to do in L.A. on our radar as summer kicks into gear. Activities range from outdoor movies (plenty of those), live music (even more of these), free Shakespeare, free museum days, art walks, festivals, and dance parties. We start the list on the eve of summer solstice (the solstice is tomorrow, June 21) and wrap it at the end of September.

Obviously, it’s not humanly possible to catch every major free event going on in Los Angeles, but with 200+ summer ideas so far, it’s a pretty good place to start. Also, I consider this post a living document, meaning I’ll add to it as summer goes along and I either a) get word about event series I didn’t know about or b) official info becomes available about events scheduled for later in the season. If you want to send updates, corrections, or suggestions, there’s info at the bottom of this post on how to do that.

As a bonus, after the chronological rundown ends I’ve added a bulleted list of some ‘evergreen freebies’ you could check out. These are kind of bucket list items for people living in or visiting L.A. You may have done some of these already, but maybe you haven’t, in which case now might be the perfect time.

In any case, hope you find the list useful. Here’s wishing you an an awesome summer!

[NOTE: If you want more fun to-dos straight to you inbox be sure to sign up for our email newsletter]

Free & Fun Things to do in L.A. for Summer 2019

June 20 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens Happy Gilmore at Cherry Beach 

June 20 – Who What Wear’s Street Style Cinema screens Miss Congeniality at The Grove.

June 20 – Double Feature of  Indiana Jones – Raiders of the Lost Ark & Indiana Jones – Temple of Doom at the Queen Mary summer movie night series.

June 20The El Segundo Art Walk features more than 35 artists in 30+ venues in downtown El Segundo

June 20 – Mike Watt + The Missingmen, Bastidas!, and DJ Don Bolles perform as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

June 20 Shakespeare by the Sea performs Henry V at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.

June 21 – Bollywood at Grand Park/Performance Lawn as part of the free Dance DTLA dance party series.

June 21The Silver Lake Picture Show screens Selena at Sunset Triangle Plaza.

June 21 – The Slackers perform with Bubba Master as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

June 21 – Buscabulla and Reyna Tropical perform at FIGFest at FIGat7th in Downtown L.A.

June 21 Shakespeare by the Sea performs Henry V at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.

June 22 – L’Rain performs at the Getty Center Courtyard as part of the museum’s Off the 405 summer concert series.

June 22 – 36th annual Radiotron Music Festival as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

June 22The Mass Meditation Initiative is a free festival that features mindful yoga, live performances, sound domes, vegan products, art and more at Los Angeles State Historic Park.

June 22Shakespeare by the Sea performs Henry V at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.

June 23 – The 19th annual Summer SOULstice Festival returns Sunday to Santa Monica with an all ages party featuring music stages, satellite bars, performing artists, and much more.

June 23 – Qvole’ Collective spins tunes at Grand Park’s Sunday Sessions, a free outdoor dance party on the park’s Performance Lawn.

June 23 – 2nd Annual Sonidos Salvadoreños as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

June 25 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens The Goonies at Granada Beach 

June 26Level 8 Drive-In Summer Movie Series screens Grease at the top of The Grove’s parking structure.

June 27 – South Central Skankers, Roncovacoco & The Meddlers perform as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

June 27 – Who What Wear’s Street Style Cinema screens The Devil Wears Prada at The Grove.

June 27 Shakespeare by the Sea performs The Comedy of Errors at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.

June 28KCRW Summer Nights at California African American Museum with KCRW DJs Garth Trinidad + Aaron Byrd.

June 28 – Bachata (New for 2019) at Grand Park/Event Lawn as part of the free Dance DTLA dance party series.

June 28 – Lido Pimienta performs with Delsonido & Subsuelo as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

June 28 – STRFKR + De Lux perform at FIGFest at FIGat7th in Downtown L.A.

June 28Shakespeare by the Sea performs Henry V at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.

June 29 – Independence Day Fiesta with La Tumbadora and The Berendo Middle School Band as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

June 29 – Summer Film Series at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes screens The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982).

June 29 Shakespeare by the Sea performs The Comedy of Errors at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.

June 29 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

June 29-30A Stranger Things-themed Carnival Lands at Santa Monica Pier

June 30Manhattan Beach Concerts in the Park presents Salute to the Troops – The Satin Dollz at Polliwog Park.

June 30 – Band Camp showcases the best of L.A.’s school and community youth bands and orchestras as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

June 30 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 2 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens Jaws at Granada Beach.

July 3 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 44th of July Community Festival & Fireworks Show at Exposition Park. 

July 4Grand Park + The Music Center’s 4th of July Block Party

July 4 – Black Nile with Benedek and Linafornia perform as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 5The Silver Lake Picture Show screens Boyz n the Hood at Sunset Triangle Plaza.

July 5 – Willie Chambers with Claudia Lennear and The New Ash Grove Players perform as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 5Shakespeare by the Sea performs The Comedy of Errors at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.

July 5 – Line Dance & Two Step at The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall/BP Hall as part of the free Dance DTLA dance party series.

July 5 – Metro Art presents Salsa Night at Union Station featuring dance lessons by instructor Kati Hernández and Super DJ Robby spinning tunes.

July 5 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 5All Space Considered at the Griffith Observatory.

July 5Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screens The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

July 6 – Cate Le Bon performs at the Getty Center Courtyard as part of the museum’s Off the 405 summer concert series.

July 6 – Trish Toledo with Thee Confidentials perform as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 6 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 6Shakespeare by the Sea performs Henry V at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.

July 6 Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screens Captain America: Civil War.

July 6Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screens Babe.

July 7Manhattan Beach Concerts in the Park presents The Petty Breakers at Polliwog Park.

July 7 – Gusto Guatemalteco performs as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 7 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 9 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens The Little Mermaid at Granada Beach.

July 9 – Hunterones perform at the Central Courtyard at Hollywood & Highland as part of the 16th annual Subaru Summer Jazz Nights.

July 9 – Free admission at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (also free for L.A. County residents with valid I.D. after 3 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays all the time)

July 10 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 11KCRW Summer Nights at Hammer Museum featuring Pavo Pavo with KCRW DJs Anne Litt & Dan Wilcox.

July 11Grease screens at the Queen Mary summer movie night series.

July 11 – L.A. County Arts Commission presents a free concert by Mariachi Divas at City Terrace Park.

July 11 – Jen Awad and Cutty Flam perform as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 11 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 12 – Hip-Hop (New for 2019) at Grand Park/Performance Lawn as part of the free Dance DTLA dance party series.

July 12: Summer of Salsa: La Verdad at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes.

July 12 – DRÆMINGS performs with Vaya Futuro, El Mañana, and Banana Leaf Boy + XOLO as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 12 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 12Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screens Clueless.

July 12Summer Nights at the Garden at Natural History Museum.

July 13KCRW Summer Nights in Chinatown with KCRW DJs Jason Bentley + Garth Trinidad.

July 13 – Pershing Square Downtown Stage presents RAIN – A Tribute to the Beatles.

July 13 Music: ¡Qué Calor! Dance Party at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes

July 13 – The Lions perform with Chris Murray Combo and Queline as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 13 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 13 Public Star Party at the Griffith Observatory.

July 13Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screens The Lego Movie.

July 13Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screens Monsters Inc.

July 13-14 – The 39th Lotus Festival returns to Echo Park Lake with two days of cultural festivities celebrating Thailand for 2019. There will be a food court, a Thai pavilion, handcrafted artwork, origami workshops, dragon boat races, and more.

July 14Manhattan Beach Concerts in the Park presents Queen Nation at Polliwog Park.

July 14 – 2nd Annual Tamal Festival with two-time GRAMMY-winning Mariachi Divas as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 14 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 16 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens The Nightmare Before Christmas at Granada Beach.

July 16 – Boogaloo Assassins perform at the Central Courtyard at Hollywood & Highland as part of the 16th annual Subaru Summer Jazz Nights.

July 16 – Free admission at Los Angeles County ArboretumSouth Coast Botanic Garden, and  Descanso Gardens

July 17 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 18 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens Coco at Cherry Beach 

July 18The El Segundo Art Walk features more than 35 artists in 30+ venues in downtown El Segundo

July 18KCRW Summer Nights at Hammer Museum featuring Wilde Belle with KCRW DJs Aaron Byrd & Scott Dallavo at Hammer Museum.

July 18 – Almalafa performs with Sonido Mundial  and Anesthesia as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 18Black Panther screens as part of Outdoor Movie Nights at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

July 18 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 19The Silver Lake Picture Show screens Coco at Sunset Triangle Plaza.

July 19 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 19 – Argentine Tango at Grand Park/Olive Court as part of the free Dance DTLA dance party series.

July 19Yappy Hour 2019, a pet adoption party for dog lovers and adoptable doggies at The Hammer.

July 19 – Los Master Plus performs along with Late Night Laggers as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 19Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screens Enchanted.

July 20 – Pershing Square Downtown Stage presents Sheila E. and Pimps of Joytime.

July 20 – KX Fest (day 1) featuring Dumbfoundead as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 20 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 20 Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screens Singles.

July 20 Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screens Coco.

July 21 – Forward Rhythm spins tunes at Grand Park’s Sunday Sessions, a free outdoor dance party on the park’s Performance Lawn.

July 21 Manhattan Beach Concerts in the Park presents The Lucky Ones at Polliwog Park.

July 21 – KX Fest (day 1) as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 21 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 23 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens Aquaman at Granada Beach 

July 23 – Bria Skonberg performs at the Central Courtyard at Hollywood & Highland as part of the 16th annual Subaru Summer Jazz Nights.

July 25KCRW Summer Nights at Hammer Museum featuring The Tracks with KCRW DJs Travis Holcombe & Jose Galvan.

July 25Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse screens as part of Outdoor Movie Nights at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

July 25 – San Cha performs with Jonny Kosmo and 5:4:1 by Pauline Lay as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 26 – Disco at Grand Park/Event Lawn as part of the free Dance DTLA dance party series.

July 26 – The Expanders perform with Junior Thomas and The Volcanos plus Terry Dactyl as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 26Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screens Ocean’s 8.

July 26Summer Nights at the Garden at Natural History Museum.

July 27KCRW Summer Nights at POW! WOW! Long Beach featuring KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez + Mathieu Schreyer.

July 27 – Pershing Square Downtown Stage presents Aterciopelados with Elefante.

July 27 – Lala Lala performs at the Getty Center Courtyard as part of the museum’s Off the 405 summer concert series

July 27 – La Diabla featuring L.A. Bollywood, Doctors and Engineers, Discostan, and La Junta as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 27 – Summer Film Series at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes screens Stand and Deliver (1988).

July 27 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 27Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screens Zootopia.

July 27 Old Pasadena Summer Cinema screens Nacho Libre.

July 27-2824th Annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival

July 28 Manhattan Beach Concerts in the Park presents Speedbuggy USA at Polliwog Park.

July 28 – Ethiopia Day (an Ethiopian-themed festival) as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

July 28 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 30Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens Ready Player One at Granada Beach 

July 30 – Jose Rizo’s Mongorama perform at the Central Courtyard at Hollywood & Highland as part of the 16th annual Subaru Summer Jazz Nights.

July 31 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

July 31Level 8 Drive-In Summer Movie Series screens The Great Gatsby at the top of The Grove’s parking structure.

August 1 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens E.T. at Cherry Beach

August 1Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle screens as part of Outdoor Movie Nights at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

August 1 – Docs@LA Plaza presents Marcos Does Not Live Here (2018).

August 1 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 2The Silver Lake Picture Show screens The Big Lebowski at Sunset Triangle Plaza.

August 2 – K-pop at Grand Park/Performance Lawn as part of the free Dance DTLA dance party series.

August 2 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 2All Space Considered at the Griffith Observatory.

August 3 – Pershing Square Downtown Stage presents The Record Company with ZZ Ward.

August 3SoulfulofNoise Music Festival at Leimert Park.

August 3 – Live performance at KCRW HQ (talent TBA) as part of KCRW Summer Nights.

August 3 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 4 Manhattan Beach Concerts in the Park presents Jungle Fire at Polliwog Park.

August 4 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 6 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse at Granada Beach

August 6 – Marquis Hill Blacktet performs at the Central Courtyard at Hollywood & Highland as part of the 16th annual Subaru Summer Jazz Nights.

August 7 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 8 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens Incredibles 2 at Nautilus Shell Shoreline Village (Between P.F. Chang’s and Gladstones in Rainbow Harbor. 

August 8 – Vel the Wonder as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 8 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 9 – Salsa at The Music Center Plaza as part of the free Dance DTLA dance party series.

August 9Summer of Salsa: Fausto Cuevas y La Moderna at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes.

August 9 – Genitallica performs with Forajidos as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 9 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 10KCRW Summer Nights in Chinatown with KCRW DJs Raul Campos + Mathieu Schreyer.

August 10Public Star Party at the Griffith Observatory

August 10 – Pershing Square Downtown Stage presents REO Speedwagon and Sir, Please.

August 10 – Flor De Toloache performs as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 10 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 10 – Live performance at KCRW HQ (talent TBA) as part of KCRW Summer Nights.

August 10-11Los Angeles Tanabata Festival in Little Tokyo.

August 11 – Family Flicks at The Hammer screens The Secrets of NIMH.

August 11 Manhattan Beach Concerts in the Park presents Tomorrows Bad Seeds at Polliwog Park.

August 11 – 2nd Annual Mundo Maya Celebration as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 11Makers Fest 2019 at the California African American Museum (designed for kids, teens, and families).

August 11 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 13 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens Beetlejuice at Granada Beach.

August 13 – Free admission at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (also free for L.A. County residents with valid I.D. after 3 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays all the time).

August 14 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 15 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens The Wizard of Oz at Nautilus Shell Shoreline Village 

August 15 – Fartbarf performs with Numb.Er as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 15 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 15-18Echo Park Rising, now in its 9th year, is a free community music festival spread over multiple blocks of Echo Park featuring multiple stages of performances.

August 16 – Motown/Funk at The Music Center Plaza as part of the free Dance DTLA dance party series.

August 16 – Tomasa Del Real performs with El Licenciado and Subsuelo as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 16 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 16Shakespeare by the Sea performs Henry V at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.

August 17 – Pershing Square Downtown Stage presents Blues Traveler and special guest Los Colognes.

August 17 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 17 – Live performance at KCRW HQ (talent TBA) as part of KCRW Summer Nights.

August 17 –  Boogaloo Assassins perform along with Clifton AKA DJ Soft Touch as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 17Shakespeare by the Sea performs The Comedy of Errors at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.

August 18 – 6AM spins tunes at Grand Park’s Sunday Sessions, a free outdoor dance party on the park’s Performance Lawn.

August 18826LA@Hammer: Little Chicken Explorers: A Picture Book Workshop. The program is recommended for ages 7 to 14.

August 18Manhattan Beach Concerts in the Park presents Platinum Rockstars at Polliwog Park.

August 18 – Natives in the Now festival as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 18 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 20 – Moonlight Movies on the Beach screens Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at Granada Beach.

August 20 – Free admission at Los Angeles County ArboretumSouth Coast Botanic Garden, and  Descanso Gardens.

August 21 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 21 – Twilight on the Pier concert (talent TBA) as part of KCRW Summer Nights.

August 22 – Double Feature of Beetlejuice & Edward Scissorhands at the Queen Mary summer movie night series.

August 22 – No Parents perform with Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries and The Witching Hours as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 22 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 23 – Western Standard Time Ska Orchestra performs with Nina Cole as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 24 – San Cha performs at the Getty Center Courtyard as part of the museum’s Off the 405 summer concert series.

August 24Leimert Park Village Book Fair

August 24ALL THAT 90’s Art Exhibition at Phylm Studios (free RVSP until the day of the event, according to the Eventbrite listing).

August 24 – Pato Machete performs with C-Minus as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 24 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 25Manhattan Beach Concerts in the Park presents Hot August Night at Polliwog Park.

August 25 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 25 – LA’s Got Talent (a youth-focused showcase) as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 28 – Twilight on the Pier concert (talent TBA) as part of KCRW Summer Nights.

August 28 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 28Level 8 Drive-In Summer Movie Series screens Back to the Future at the top of The Grove’s parking structure.

August 29 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 29 – La Resistencia performs as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 30 – A performance of Pericles as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 30 – Cumbia at The Music Center Plaza as part of the free Dance DTLA dance party series (in conjunction with the Plaza Grand Opening Weekend Celebration)

August 30 – Zongo Sound System spings tunes along with DJ Rampage Global and Shacia Payne as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

August 31 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

August 31 – La Sonora Dinamita performs along with Gazoo as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

September 1Manhattan Beach Concerts in the Park presents Blue Breeze Band at Polliwog Park.

September 1 – Wonder-Full in the Park: A Stevie Wonder tribute party featuring DJ Spinna and Mona Lisa as part of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series.

September 1 – A performance of Twelfth Night as part of the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival.

September 3 – Free admission at Natural History Museum (also note that L.A. County residents receive free Museum admission Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 pm. Bring a valid ID or utility bill the day of your visit)

September 4 – Twilight on the Pier concert (talent TBA) as part of KCRW Summer Nights.

September 7KCRW Summer Nights at the Downtown Long Beach Buskerfest.

September 7Public Star Party at the Griffith Observatory

September 10 – Free admission at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (also free for L.A. County residents with valid I.D. after 3 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays all the time)

September 10 – Free admission at Natural History Museum (also note that L.A. County residents receive free Museum admission Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 pm. Bring a valid ID or utility bill the day of your visit)

September 11 – Twilight on the Pier concert (talent TBA) as part of KCRW Summer Nights.

September 14 – Ex Hex performs at the Getty Center Courtyard as part of the museum’s Off the 405 summer concert series.

September 17 – Free admission at Natural History Museum (also note that L.A. County residents receive free Museum admission Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 pm. Bring a valid ID or utility bill the day of your visit).

September 17 – Free admission at Los Angeles County ArboretumSouth Coast Botanic Garden, and  Descanso Gardens.

September 18 – Twilight on the Pier concert (talent TBA) as part of KCRW Summer Nights.

September 22 – dublab spins tunes at Grand Park’s Sunday Sessions, a free outdoor dance party on the park’s Performance Lawn.

September 24 – Free admission at Natural History Museum (also note that L.A. County residents receive free Museum admission Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 pm. Bring a valid ID or utility bill the day of your visit).

September 25 – Twilight on the Pier concert (talent TBA) as part of KCRW Summer Nights.

September 25Level 8 Drive-In Summer Movie Series screens Iron Man at the top of The Grove’s parking structure.

More Free & Fun Things to do in L.A.

Here are a few ideas that aren’t necessarily date-dependent if you’re looking for free ways to fill up your summer days:


If you’d like to suggest additions to the above list, or find any information in error, please drop us a line at tips@welikela.com. Be sure to use the subject line “FREE THINGS TO DO” so we’ll know it’s about this post.

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Happenings

Here’s the Summer Lineup for the Silver Lake Picture Show

June 17, 2019 by Brian Champlin
Image via the Silver Lake Picture Show

Longtime readers of We Like L.A. undoubtedly know of The Silver Lake Picture Show, a free summer movie-screening series that takes place at Sunset Triangle Plaza and is now in its 8th season.

The Silver Lake Picture routinely draws around 500-2000 guests per screening, with attendees encouraged to bring picnics and lawn chairs to enjoy the warm summer evenings and a free community flick in the heart of one of L.A.’s hippest neighborhoods.

The 2019 SLPS schedule has been paired down compared to past years (four movie screenings instead of seven) and the events take place on Fridays instead of Thursdays.

Films screenings begin around sundown, but in general things will get going around 7:30 p.m. and wrap up by 11 p.m. Below is the 2019 movie schedule:

  • June 21 – Selena (PG)
  • July 5 – Boyz n the Hood (R)
  • July 19 – Coco (PG)
  • August 2 – The Big Lebowski (R)

If you have more questions regarding attending a Silver Lake Picture Show screening, we suggest you check out their FAQ page for dos and don’ts. And if you’re curious we’ll save you a click and tell you now: dogs are allowed!

Sunset Triangle Plaza is located at 1523 Griffith Park Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90026.

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Happenings, Uncategorized

Street Style Cinema Brings Free Movie Screenings to The Grove This June

June 6, 2019 by Brian Champlin
The Grove in Los Angeles
The Grove. Credit: Brian Champlin

Fashion website Who What Wear is once again hosting a series of free outdoor movie screenings at The Grove every Thursday during the month of June. Street Style Cinema, as it’s called, kicks on June 6 (that’s tonight) with a screening of Ocean’s 8 and continues each Thursday evening through June 27.

All screenings take place at The Park at The Grove, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and movies starting at 8 p.m. Here’s the schedule for the next four weeks:

Remember that the free admission is first-come, first-serve and that they may turn you away if capacity is reached. There are Eventbrite links for each screening, but it’s not clear if RSVP via Eventbrite guarantees you a spot or is just a way for organizers to gauge expected attendance.

Parking at The Grove is free for the first hour, $4 from 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, a $1 increase every 30 minutes to 3 hours, and then $1 each 15 minutes thereafter. More parking and visitor info can be found on The Grove’s website.

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Happenings

Free Shakespeare in Griffith Park Returns Starting in June

May 28, 2019 by Brian Champlin
Titus Andronicus at the Griffith Park Shakespeare Festival 2018. Photo by Grettel Cortes

The spirit of The Bard is alive and well in the city of angels as the Independent Shakespeare Co. (ISC) brings back another edition of the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival to the Old Zoo in Griffith Park starting on June 29. This will be the 16th season of ISC performances in the park, continuing a longstanding tradition of (in our opinion) one of the best free things happening in L.A. each summer.

“ISC has always been about erasing the barriers between the audience and the artists on stage,” Managing Director David Melville explained via a release. “With last year’s expanded slate of participatory events celebrating our 15th Anniversary Season, there was such a sense of delight generated by audience members coming in costume or sharing in a picnic potluck, that we all experienced the Festival in a more joyous, inclusive, cooperative way.”

For 2019 there will be two productions performed in repertory (meaning they run concurrently on rotating dates): Twelfth Night directed by Melville and Pericles directed by Melissa Chalsma. Performances are held Wednesday through Sunday starting at 7 p.m. each night.

Twelfth Night begins its run on Saturday, June 29, and ends on Sunday, September 1. Pericles starts up on Saturday, July 27 and wraps on Friday, August 30. There will be no performances held on July 4, 24, 25 or 26.

In addition to the performances, ISC will again present an expansive offering of events and specially themed-nights attached to this year’s lineup. This includes family education workshops presented by Players in the Park, a pirate night, performances by the Invertigo Dance Theatre, and an audience pot luck.

Be sure to visit the festival page on the ISC website to see which performance plays when, along with the complete schedule of additional pre-performance events and themes.

As always, we remind that our readers that while attendance for all shows is free, the productions do cost money, and donations are welcome, whether online or while attending a performance.

For 2019 the ISC has a campaign goal of $100,000. To date they have already raised over $40,000, but each donation helps. To learn more about donating to the ISC check out this this link or watch the video embed below.

The festival takes place at The Old Zoo at Griffith Park near 4730 Crystal Spring Dr. We suggest arriving early to secure a spot, and of course keep in mind that even during the summer the park gets quite chilly at night, so blankets and layers are always a good idea. Picnics and snacks are welcome, but please remember that alcohol is prohibited in Los Angeles City parks.

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Happenings

Here’s the Complete Schedule for KCRW Summer Nights 2019

May 24, 2019 by Brian Champlin
Chinatown Summer Nights
Chinatown Summer Nights. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Now in its 10th season, KCRW Summer Nights brings free, all-ages shows to some of the most iconic venues and cultural centers in Los Angeles, including dates for 2019 at Hammer Museum, the California African American Museum, the Santa Monica Pier, and in Chinatown. This year’s edition of Summer Nights kicks off on June 1 with a performance by Harriet Brown and KCRW DJ Garth Trinidad, then continues with performances (at least one per week) at various locations throughout SoCal through September 25.

One new aspect for 2019 is that KCRW Summer Nights has expanded its geographic reach with two new partnerships in Long Beach: A KCRW-hosted closing party for POW! WOW! Long Beach on July 27 and a collaboration with the Long Beach Buskerfest on September 7.

Another noteworthy change for the 2019 schedule is that the Twilight on the Pier series has been moved up in start date to August 21, several weeks earlier than in 2018.

The 2018 edition of the pier concerts had pushed back its schedule, in part due to community concerns about congestion and safety that threatened cancellation of the series, according to LA Magazine. A headlining performance by Khalid in 2017 drew an estimated 25,000 attendees to the Santa Monica Pier, which was roughly triple the average attendance from previous Twilight on the Pier events.

Ultimately the series returned for 2018 with some tweaks to the programming and changes to the schedule, but it looks like with the pier concerts getting moved back into late summer for this year, they’ve leveled off some of the previous concerns.

We’ve listed the complete schedule of KCRW Summer Nights dates for 2019 below, although you’ll note there’s an abundance of ‘Talent TBA’ placeholders. Be sure to check back to this post as we get into June (we’ll update it after more talent is announced), and in the mean time you can start blocking out a few dates for venues you might be interested in.

KCRW Summer Nights 2019 Schedule

(schedule updated as of July 1, 2019)

  • Saturday, June 1, 7:30 p.m. at One Colorado – Harriet Brown + KCRW DJ Garth Trinidad
  • Saturday, June 8, 8:00 p.m. in Chinatown – KCRW DJs Travis Holcombe + Novena Carmel
  • Saturday, June 15, 7:30 p.m. at One Colorado – Girlpool + KCRW DJ Chris Douridas
  • Friday, June 28, 7:00 p.m. at CAAM – KCRW DJs Garth Trinidad + Aaron Byrd
  • Thursday, July 11, 6:30 p.m. (happy hour), 7:30 p.m. (concert) at Hammer – Pavo Pavo will grace the stage at 8:45pm, book-ended by KCRW DJs Anne Litt and Dan Wilcox
  • Saturday, July 13, 8:00 p.m. in Chinatown – KCRW DJs Jason Bentley + Garth Trinidad
  • Thursday, July 18, 6:30 p.m. (happy hour), 7:30 p.m. (concert ) at Hammer – Wild Belle will take the stage at 8:45pm, book-ended by KCRW DJs Scott Dallavo and Aaron Byrd at 7:30pm and 9:45pm
  • Thursday, July 25, 6:30 p.m. (happy hour), 7:30 p.m. (concert) at Hammer – The Tracks hit the stage at 8:45pm, book-ended by KCRW DJs José Galván and Travis Holcombe at 7:30pm and 9:45pm
  • Saturday, July 27, 7:00 p.m. at POW! WOW! Long Beach – KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez + Mathieu Schreyer  
  • Thursday, August 1, 7:00 p.m. at Santa Barbara Museum of Contemporary Art (MCASB) – KCRW DJ Dan Wilcox
  • Saturday, August 3, 7:00 p.m. at KCRW HQ – Black Pumas with KCRW DJs Anne Litt and Raul
  • Saturday, August 10, 7:00 p.m. at KCRW HQ – Y La Bamba with KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Valida
  • Saturday, August 10, 8:00 p.m. in Chinatown – KCRW DJs Raul Campos + Mathieu Schreyer
  • Saturday, August 17, 7:00 p.m. at KCRW HQ – Andrew Bird with KCRW DJs Chris Douridas and Novena Carmel
  • Wednesday, August 21 at Santa Monica Pier – Rostam, Dijon & Jen Awad
  • Wednesday, August 28 at Santa Monica Pier – Helado Negro, San Cha & Banda Las Angelinas
  • Wednesday, September 4 at Santa Monica Pier – A-Wa, Disco Shrine & Los Angeles Arabs Orchestra
  • Thursday, September 5, 7:00 p.m. at Santa Barbara Museum of Contemporary Art (MCASB) – KCRW DJ José Galván
  • Saturday, September 7, 5:00 p.m. in Downtown Long Beach Buskerfest – KCRW’s Raul Campos, host
  • Wednesday, September 11 at Santa Monica Pier – Hollie Cook, West Standard Time Ska Orchestra & Upstream
  • Wednesday, September 18 at Santa Monica Pier – Methyl Ethel & TBD
  • Wednesday, September 25 at Santa Monica Pier – Cornelius, StarRo & Taiko Project

For more information on this schedule and attending Summer Nights events, please visit summernights.kcrw.com.

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Happenings

Free Summer Dance Parties at the Music Center are Back Starting on June 21

May 22, 2019 by Brian Champlin
Bollywood” at Dance DTLA 2018. Photo courtesy of Javier Guillen for Grand Park/The Music Center

One of downtown’s best free events series is returning on June 21 for its 15th season of boogying down under the stars.

For the uninitiated, The Music Center’s Dance DTLA is a free night of dancing featuring live music and/or DJs paired with expert dance instructors providing beginner group dance lessons for attendees. Each night has a different dance theme, and all events are free and open to the public.

Dance DTLA events take place every Friday from June 21 through August 30, with hours from 7 to 11 p.m. for each night. The August 30 event will feature extended hours through midnight. Additionally, The Music Center will also provide voter registration booths at select events in partnership with the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office.

The 2019 season of Dance DTLA features three new dances styles added this season, plus the events will be spread throughout three venues over the course of the season: at Grand Park, at Walt Disney Concert Hall and at the soon-to-be-reopened Music Center Plaza. Food and beverage will be available for sale at each event, and no outside alcohol is permitted.

You can check out the complete schedule of events / themes for 2019 below:

  • 6/21/19 – Bollywood at Grand Park/Performance Lawn
  • 6/28/19 – Bachata (New for 2019) at Grand Park/Event Lawn
  • 7/5/19 – Line Dance & Two Step at The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall/BP Hall
  • 7/12/19 – Hip-Hop (New for 2019) at Grand Park/Performance Lawn
  • 7/19/19 – Argentine Tango at Grand Park/Olive Court
  • 7/26/19 – Disco at Grand Park/Event Lawn
  • 8/2/19 – K-pop at Grand Park/Performance Lawn
  • 8/9/19 – Salsa at The Music Center Plaza
  • 8/16/19 – Motown/Funk (New for 2019) at The Music Center Plaza
  • 8/30/19 – Cumbia at The Music Center Plaza, part of the Plaza Grand Opening Weekend Celebration

For more information visit The Music Center’s official website.

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Free Museums, Happenings

Admission to MOCA Will Be Free Thanks to a $10 Million Donation

May 21, 2019 by Brian Champlin
Photograph courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Photo by Elon Schoenholz

If you’re a free museum hound (like yours truly) then we’ve got some exciting news for you: Admission to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is about to become free, at least for the foreseeable future.

This past Saturday MOCA held their annual benefit inside MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary location. The gathering doubled as a 40th birthday celebration for the museum, and it even came with a special birthday gift. It was during the gathering that MOCA board of trustees president Carolyn Clark Powers announced a pledge of $10 million to fund free museum admission.

“I’m committed to MOCA’s continued success being at the forefront of diversity, inclusiveness and openness of spirit,” Powers told attendees, according to the L.A. Times, “So it gives me great joy to announce my birthday gift to MOCA with a gift of $10 million. And with this gift I challenge the museum to open its doors to free general admission for all.”

The Museum told the Times that the $10 million should cover admission costs for the next five years, but the intent behind the move is to make admission permanently free. There is currently no timeline to institute the free admission policy.

Both the Grand Ave location and Little Tokyo location of MOCA charge $15 per adult visitor. Guests can get already get free admission at MOCA on Grand Ave. every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.

We’ll be sure to update the status of MOCA’s admission on our next free museum day round-up.

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Happenings

The Aquarium of the Pacific Opens a New Wing This Week and It’s a Stunner

May 20, 2019 by Brian Champlin
The new Pacific Visions wing at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA
© 2019 Tom Bonner

This Friday, May 24, the Aquarium of the Pacific opens Pacific Visions, a two-story, 29,000 square-foot expansion featuring a state-of-the-art immersive theater, an art gallery, interactive consoles, touchable wall screens, and new live animal exhibits. It’s a stunning new addition to what is already the fourth most attended aquarium in the nation.

“After more than a decade of planning and building, we are excited to open Pacific Visions to the public,” Dr. Jerry R. Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific president and CEO, stated in a release. “Pacific Visions is unlike any other aquarium expansion project. We are taking a unique, unconventional approach in creating a space where the focus is on the one species that is affecting all others on Earth: humans. Pacific Visions is a place where scientists, policymakers, and the public can come together to explore solutions to create a better future for all.”

Pacific Visions art gallery at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA
© 2019 Tom Bonner

Guests enter Pacific Visions from the existing aquarium great hall into a 2,800-square-foot art gallery layered with video projections and soundscapes, a touchable coral sculpture wall, glass sculptures inspired by plankton, and a collection of mirrored exhibits called Infinity Coral.

From there visitors continue to a 2,600-square-foot orientation gallery highlighted by an 18-foot-wide virtual waterfall and a 26-foot-wide by 8-foot-tall LED screen. The screen plays a pre-show film that primes you for what comes next, and is the true jewel of the new expansion: The Honda Pacific Visions Theater.

Honda Pacific Visions Theater at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA
© 2019 Tom Bonner

The 300-seat theater features a 130-foot-wide by 32-foot-tall curved screen that wraps around a 36-foot-wide tilting floor projection disc. To see it in action is, no exaggeration, like witnessing something out of Star Trek. Among the technological innovations utilized in the theater are ‘Virtual touch’ devices that add to the experience for visitors who are deaf or blind. The devices control ultrasound waves to create tactile sensations in mid-air that mimic the flow of the film in real time, whether it’s ocean waves or bubbling air.

Initially the theater will offer an 8-minute experience called Designing Our Future, but there are plans in place to expand the experiential content offered by the theater and use the space as a live music venue in the future.

To finish up a tour of Pacific Visions, guests exit at the top of the theater to the culmination gallery, which helps contextualize the overall visitor experience.

Culmination Gallery inside Pacific Visions at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA
© 2019 Tom Bonner

The culmination gallery features a 50-foot wide motion sensitive media wall, several interactive game tables, and live animals on display including the delta smelt, an endangered species of fish native to the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta in California. The smelt have been critically affected by modifications to the local ecology, non-native species introductions, and water diversion programs. In some ways, the inclusion of the smelt echo highlight the true mission of Pacific Visions.

Although the overall tone of the exhibits and experiences offer notes of optimism about humanity’s future, there is an underlying theme of environmental urgency that binds together the visitor experience of the new wing.

“This is really serious. It isn’t just about feeling good,” Dr. Schubel told a gathering of press at a preview event on May 16. “This is about the ecosystems that make it possible for human beings to thrive on this earth,”

Indeed, with the effects climate change accelerating and the need for awareness and action at an all-time high, the opening of Pacific Visions couldn’t come at a more important moment in our species’ evolution. With the new wing expected to boost annual aquarium attendance by 200,000 visitors, this expansion presents a unique opportunity to not only entertain, but spread a vital educational message.

The planning and construction of Pacific Visions was supported through a $15 million matching grant by the City of Long Beach in addition to a $5 million matching grant from John, Michelle, Mario, and Therese Molina, and $5 million from American Honda Motor Co., Inc. The expansion was designed by Designed by the San Francisco-based architecture and design firm EHD, the same firm that built the original Aquarium of the Pacific structure.

The Pacific Visions wing opens to the public this Friday, May 24. Check the Aquarium of the Pacific’s official website for visitor and ticketing information.

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Food, Happenings

Get 73-Cent Burgers at Original Tommy’s This Wednesday for Their 73rd Anniversary

May 13, 2019 by Brian Champlin
Original Tommy's Burger
Original Tommy’s Hamburgers. Credit: Mr. Littlehand via flickr cc

Attention deal-seekers and chili burger-lovers: This Wednesday, May 15 locations of the Original Tommy’s will offer 73-cent hamburgers to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the Southern California hamburger chain.

For the uninitiated, The Tommy Burger is a greasy, melty collection of condiments (including their signature chili) with a thin patty of meat casually slid into the middle. You may love it, you may hate it, but the iconic standing of Tommy’s is undeniable. If your thinking you want to get in on the anniversary special, then here are the details you need to know:

  • Burgers will be offered for $0.73 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (or until supplies run out) at all Tommy’s locations, per this post on Tommy’s Facebook page.
  • There’s a limit of 5 burgers per order if you walk up, or 5 per car on drive-thru.
  • Make sure to mention the social media post embedded below to take advantage of the deal.

If previous years offer any clue, the ultra-cheap burgers are sure to draw larger-than-usual lines. That said, in past years the celebration focused on the flagship location on the corner of Beverly and Rampart, including a full-on Mariachi performance and the USC Marching Band for the 70th anniversary back in 2016. Perhaps spreading the wealth to all of the locations will also spread the crowds, but we’ll see.

In any case, if you want to try your luck for the free burgers here’s a list of Original Tommy’s locations for your Wednesday burger fix. I’d recommend keeping an eye on their social media feeds before you head out just so you can get an idea on lines or if they unexpectedly run out at any specific location.

Best of luck bargain burger hunters!

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