Top Cultural Events in Los Angeles: March 8-14

by Tom Nguyen

Sunny week in LA and the music calendar is hot! 3 amazing African acts back to back: rare opportunity to see legendary Salif Keita at Belly Up in San Diego, Mauritania’s Noura Mint Seymali at Cal Tech, and African Guitar Summit with master musicians from Madagascar, Guinea and Ghana at Aratani Theater. Great local artists too: Jungle Fire‘s album release at CFAER, Irene Diaz, Cuicani, The Altons, Twin Seas, Fer Uli, De’Anza, Rudy De Anda, Aztlan Underground, ViceVersa and rappers Bambu and Medusa.

This weekend’s Hindu Holi and Persian Nowruz spring festivals are tempered by the recent racially-motivated shootings and murders of Indian and Sikh men across the country, some mistaken as Iranians. With the murders of 7 transgender women already in 2017, representation and humanization of anyone regarded as different is not just important, it’s a matter of life and death. That’s why it’s crucial to support the 1st annual Lambda LitFest Los Angeles, Viva La Muxer benefiting Las Fotos Project and Eres Poderosa Vol. 2 at Espacio 1839, and Shoruq Children’s Debka & Hip-hop at Downey Theatre direct from Palestine, to elevate and celebrate marginalized voices.

Diné (Navajo) Grandmothers are paying a rare visit to raise awareness of the plight of their Arizona homeland, Native Voices and Los Angeles Theater Center premiere new plays, and Downtown Bookfest features Mayda Del Valle, Cut Chemist and Get Lit poets. Rapturous Afro-Brazilian dance company Balé Folclórico da Bahia are in town too. Enjoy the video from African Guitar Summit and use code AFRICA to get $10 discount on orchestra seats for their Saturday show at Aratani Theater!


The Altons, Cuicani, Gemma Castro
East Side Luv (Boyle Heights)
Wed. Mar. 8, 9pm, Free, 21+
We were honored with the opportunity to premiere Cuicani’s new video “New Day” last week and this week, you can see them live for free with another favorite, The Altons, and Gemma Castro!

Salif Keita
Belly Up (Solana Beach)
Thu. Mar. 9, 9pm, $35, 21+
One of the most prominent and respected musicians from Africa, Salif Keita is notable not only for of his reputation as the “Golden Voice of Africa” but because of his albinism in which he has overcome a lot of the stigma to reach massive success.

Cafe Tacvba
House of Blues (Anaheim)
Thu. Mar. 9-Fri. Mar. 10, 8pm, $175+, All ages
If you have that much money to drop, you can be one of the first to check out the newest OC venue, the re-opened House of Blues, which has a whole lineup of top acts for its opening week. Prices drop back down to a reasonable level for Julieta Venegas on March 16.

Protistas, Rudy De Anda
Hi Hat (Highland Park) and Brouwerij West (San Pedro)
Thu. Mar. 9 & Sat. Mar. 11, 8pm, $5-$8, 18+ (Hi Hat), Free, All Ages (Brouwerij West)

Noura Mint Seymali
Cal Tech (Pasadena)
Fri. Mar. 10, 8pm, $10-$25, All ages
Winner of the 2014 AFRIMA (All Africa Music Awards) for “Best Female Artist in North Africa,” Noura Mint Seymali is a nationally beloved star and one of Mauritania’s foremost musical emissaries, having begun her career,  aged 13, as a supporting vocalist with her legendary step-mother Dimi Mint Abba.  Reared in a culture of collision where sounds from across the Sahara, the Magreb and West Africa coalesce in the dynamic language of the Moorish griot, Noura’s success stems from her ability to combine a rare classical mastery and a griot’s cultural authority with musical idioms that speak to the emergent realities of youth culture in West Africa and beyond.

Jungle Fire Record Release Show “Jambu”
Center for the Arts Eagle Rock
Fri. Mar. 10, 8pm, $15-$20, All ages
Center for the Arts Eagle Rock presents Jungle Fire in a live performance of their new Nacional Records release, Jambu. Favorites of global tastemakers Craig Charles, Gilles Peterson, the Paris DJs, Rich Medina and Cut Chemist, Jungle Fire fuses Cumbia, Afrobeat and traditional funk to create a dazzling live show experience. Consisting of musicians who have played, recorded and/or toured with Stevie Wonder, Ozomatli, Del the Funky Homosapien, Syl Johnson, Celia Cruz, LCD Soundsystem, U2 and Kelis, to name a few, the Jungle Fire sound is a direct reflection of the musical and cultural landscape of Los Angeles, the city they call home; a highly explosive musical cocktail ready to ignite lovers of funk music worldwide! The evening will be kicked off by KCRW favorite, Raul Campos, with fresh remixes of Latin-Indie Rock, mixed Soul and funk favorites and Latin inspired tastes and drinks.

More Musica March
Los Globos (Silver Lake)
Fri. Mar. 10, 9pm, $10, 21+
Sunset Eclectico and La Escalera Productions Presents; More Musica March with MONOPLASMA / FERNANDA ULIBARI/ DERIANS/ LINDA OWLEN/ CALICO GHOST TOWN/ ANE UNO/ THAT GIRL AGAIN and a surprise guest band directly from Argentina!

The Altons Tour Benefit Show
Redwood Bar (Maywood)
Fri. Mar. 10, 8pm, Free, 21+
We’re starting everything off back home in Maywood before we hit the road. Proceeds will help us not break down in the desert! Bands: The Altons, Twin Seas, Espresso w/ DJ Grabass

De’Anza Residency #2
Mal’s Bar (Historic South Central)
Fri. Mar. 10, 9pm, Free, 21+
Every 2nd Friday of the month in 2017, catch De’Anza and her band as they rock the intimate Mal’s Bar. Also joining the monthly party is DJ/Visual Artist Juxli (Subsuelo / Culture Remixed).

African Guitar Summit
Aratani Theater (Little Tokyo)
Sat. Mar. 11, 7pm, $15-$35 ($10 discount with code AFRICA), All ages
From soukous to malagasy blues to highlife- this star studded group will have you dancing in the aisles! From Guinea – Alpha YaYa Diallo; from Madagascar, the quicksilver guitars and harmonies of Donne Roberts and Madagascar Slim; drummer Kofi Ackah from Ghana; and Naby Camara from Guinea on electric bass and balafon.

Skanking Reggae Fest. 2017: Panteon Rococo, Tokyo Ska Paradise & more
Shrine Expo Hall (USC)
Sat. Mar. 11, 4pm-12am, $40, All ages
El Mayor festival de ska & reggae regresa al Shrine Expo Hall
12 bandas componen la alineacion de este año! PANTEON ROCOCO (Mexico), TOKYO SKA PARADISE ORCHESTRA (Japon), DREAD MAR I (Argentina), ANTIDOPING (Mexico), LOS CALIGARIS (Argentina), THE SLACKERS (Usa), LA BANDA SKALAVERA (Usa), JACKIE MENDEZ (Usa), Blanco y Negro, los P2, Cafe Con Tequila, Casa de Calacas

Bambu x DJ Phatrick
Bootleg Theater (Westlake)
Sat. Mar. 11, 8:30pm, $12-$18, 18+
Bambu is a father, MC and community organizer. Raised in Los Angeles, as a young boy he experienced a life that other rappers have glorified, but rarely experienced. As he navigated through a turbulent youth, Bambu turned around the destructive energy that surrounded him and poured it into making music. Bambu has been lauded by his fans and contemporaries for his lyrical storytelling abilities. Whether fictional or autobiographical, his vividly-detailed narratives are characterized by an honesty that is equal parts brutal, thought-provoking and liberating.

Diego’s Rock-n-Roll Bar & Eats (Santa Ana)
Sun. Mar. 12, 12pm-6pm, Free with canned good, All ages
BEAT SWAP MEET features dozens of Invited Record Collectors, Shops, Indie Labels & Private Dealers from all Southern California, buying, selling and trading records of all genres. LIVE PERFORMANCES: Dominator, L.Scatter, Kid Frost, Moniquea, Saucy Horn, and World Class Wreckin’ Cru, SCRATCH Q&A by Open Format & Hosted by Jawa, LOWRIDER CAR SHOWCASE by Curious Entertainment, B-BOY BATTLE & more.


Funkmosphere: Mndsgn
The Virgil (Silver Lake)
Thu. Mar. 9, 9pm, Free-$5, 21+

Balé Folclórico da Bahia
Carpenter Center (Long Beach)
Sat. Mar. 11, 8pm, $50, All ages
Direct from Bahia in northern Brazil—a place where otherwise long forgotten gods are still remembered—comes this irresistible troupe famous for its explosive drumming, feverish dancing and uncontainable energy. Its display of Bahian folkloric dances of African origin was described as a “non-stop extravaganza” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Balé Folclórico da Bahia brings thrilling choreography, joyous rhythms, and a feisty, flirtatious exuberance to every performance.

CumbiArte: Selebrando Selena
Mal’s Bar (Downtown)
Sat. Mar. 11, 9pm, $7, 21+
CumbiArte : a Night of Cumbias, Arte, Baile & Great Memories featuring Outdoor Patio Selena Art Show, Selena Movies & Visuals on the JumboTron, Dj’s, Baile & Drinks, Free Parking. Live on Stage: LILLY FLOR Y LOS COMPAS ( Special Selena Tribute Set )

Barrio Funky Presents Saucy Horn plus The Altons
Grand Star Jazz (Chinatown)
Sat. Mar. 11, 9:30pm, $5-$10, 21+
March at the Barrio brings us Saucy Horn, Aka JQ, Aka Joseph Quinonez. We get to together to celebrate the release of BArrio Joyride, a labor of love years in the making, all recorded at the easygroove steadyrock factory in uptown Whittier. Joe played all of the instruments on this 7 Song EP, with the exception of Distant Brother where Roger Rivas lent a hand and Arturo Ramirz on Chicano U-turn. A collection of future classic Chicano Funk. Helping us celebrate is The Altons, busting their jammin tunes to make you groove.

BoomYard Rum Punch Brunch Day Party
Delicious Pizza (Mid City)
Sun. Mar. 12, 12pm-7pm, $10, All ages
Every second Sunday, an afternoon of great Reggae, Dancehall, Soca and Tropical musical vibes with delicious pizza, Sangria, dancing and more! Free rum punch at entry and brunch discount with ticket purchase

International Women’s Day: Shoruq Debka & Hip-Hop Performance
Downey Theater
Sun. Mar. 12, 4pm-7pm, $15-$39, All ages
The Palestinian-American Women’s Association invites you to celebrate International Women’s day presenting Shoruq Organization along with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA). The Shoruq Organization, coming striaght from the Dheishe Refugee camp in Palestine will entertain and delight with stunning debka and hip-hop performances celebrating Palestine — using original music and dance, these teenagers share the history and daily life of Palestinian refugees. “Shoruq” is Arabic for “Sunrise,” and this event is part of Shoruq’s first US tour. A family-friendly event!

Flamenco Pop-Up
Center for the Arts Eagle Rock
Sun. Mar. 12, 7pm-11pm, $20-$25, All ages
On Sunday March 12, 2017 Center for the Arts Eagle Rock invites you to experience Flamenco Pop-Up with nationally recognized flamenco dancers Fanny Ara and Vanessa Albalos with musicians Gerardo Morales, Antonio de Jerez, Gabriel Osuna, Mateo Amper and special guest, latin soul artist LEYO.

MOMLA: LARGE PRO • Stax Vs Motown
Short Stop (Echo Park)
Mon. Mar. 13, 9pm, Free, 21+
Legendary NY Producer/DJ Large Professor will be making his return to Motown On Mondays LA on Monday March 13th for a STAX vs MOTOWN special.


Lambda LitFest Los Angeles
Various locations across LA
Mon. Mar. 6-Sun. Mar. 12, Free, All ages
The first annual Lambda LitFest Los Angeles is a celebration of contemporary voices honoring and expanding on the rich, diverse tradition of LGBTQ writers and readers in the Southland, with many events across Los Angeles like these:
We Are Chicanx: A Brown-Queer Revolution @ Avenue 50 (Highland Park)
Celebrating The Asian American LGBTQ+ Experience @ Chinese American Museum (Downtown)
Femmes on Literary Art Activism: Femmes vs Heteropatriarchy @ Book Show (Highland Park)

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop!
Calfornia African American Museum (Exposition Park)
Wed. Mar. 8, 7pm-9pm, Free, All ages
Come one come all to our spring opening celebration! Good art, people, music & food trucks (Postcards Central American Soul, CJs Wings, Harold & Belle’s and Soulistic Food! DJ sets by Ms. Jck Dvy and DJ PFUNK. Featuring a performance of Derrick Adams’ On. Celebrating the openings of: No Justice, No Peace: Los Angeles 1992, Derrick Adams: Network, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle: The Evanesced, Paperworks: Selections from the Permanent Collection

¡A Tres Caídas! Tribute to Lucha Libre
Consulate General of Mexico (MacArthur Park)
Fri. Mar. 10, 6pm-9pm, Free, All ages
A tribute to Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling) this art exhibit presents a graphic intervention created by Demián Flores & is accompanied by Oscar Zagal Image Maker photographs of hombres enmascarados (masked men). Flores is one of Mexico’s best known contemporary artists, he frequently appropriates images from pop culture, lucha libre. Zagal will participate with a largescale collage of photos of the wrestling scene from LA and Mexico. Special enterteinment provided by a secret cumbia group!

Eres Poderosa Vol.2
Espacio 1839 (Boyle Heights)
Fri. Mar. 10, 7pm-10pm, Free, All ages
Eres Poderosa is an art exhibit highlighting womxn /womxn identified artist and their works of art. We are dedicating the exhibit to the inspiration, resilience, encouragement, and celebration of womxn around the world. Please join us Friday, March 10, 2017 in this very special art exhibit honoring International Womxn’s Day.

Fairly Traceable (World Premiere)
The Autry (Griffith Park)
Fri. Mar. 10-Fri. Mar. 24, $10-$15, All ages
The only Equity theatre company dedicated exclusively to developing and producing new work by Native American artists, Native Voices presents the world premiere of Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Fairly Traceable. Set during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Fairly Traceable follows the journeys of a young Ponca man and Chitimacha woman as they balance personal and career ambitions with advocacy for the environment and the people they love. In this romantic dramedy, Nagle reveals the culpability of big oil, corporate polluters, and climate change deniers in environmental disasters.

The Cruise (World Premiere)
Los Angeles Theater Center (Downtown)
Fri. Mar. 10-Sun. Apr. 9, $22-$32, All ages
In his Latino themed, father-son comic drama, THE CRUISE, Jonathan Ceniceroz explores the consequence of colonial histories and dark politics within the decadence of Caribbean cruise culture. The play reveals the fractured nature of race and identity that is caused by social imbalance and imposed hierarchy, while exploring the story of a man who merely wants and demands that his most authentic human qualities survive, despite it all. Previews: March 10, March 12, March 14, March 15. Opening Night: Thursday, March 16

Las Fotos Project presents Viva La Muxer
Plaza de la Raza (Lincoln Heights)
Sat. Mar. 11, 5pm-11pm, $10-$25, All ages
Viva La Muxer is an all women art and musical festival, a celebration of International Women’s Day, and a benefit event for Las Fotos Project, a photography space for teenage girls. Viva La Muxer features an all women line-up of visual artists, musicians, and spoken word performers with resource booths, food vendors, art workshops, and more. Live performances by Irene Diaz, Tona, Cat Mendez, Taleen Kali, Bombón and cultural performances by Hawaii Hula Dance by Na Kapaku Hula Halau Kula Nui ‘O Kaleponi, Armenian Folk Dance by Aya Ensemble, Aztec Dance by Danza Mixcoatl, African Rhythms Dance by AfroVibe, Folklorico Dance by Plaza de La Raza Youth, Indian Dance by Aspara Preyanka

Diné Grandmothers Benefit & Art Show
Art Share LA (Downtown)
Sat. Mar. 11, 3pm-7pm, Free, All ages
For the first time in over a decade, a delegation of Diné (Navajo) Grandmothers are traveling from Black Mesa / Big Mountain, Arizona to Los Angeles to gain support and build solidarity with our community. On the front line of the resistance to coal and uranium mining, these grandmothers have resisted cultural genocide and the destruction of their ancestral homeland for over four decades now. This free, all-ages benefit is a rare opportunity for the LA community to directly connect with traditional Diné elders and learn more about their current struggle. Actively join the resistance to stop unsustainable energy extraction and protect their sacred land and ancient culture for future generations! Performances by Aztlan Underground, ViceVersa, more.

Las Chingonas
Avenue 50 Studio (Highland Park)
Sat. Mar. 11, 7pm-10pm, Free, All ages
Women, predominantly separated from the mechanisms of representation, are identified by often pernicious images created by others. In celebration of Women’s History Month, Avenue 50, a female led space, presents a group show representing women by women. Curated by Marissa Magdalena, Las Chingonas explores universal themes of femininity through visual art and personal narrative. Also catch another Chingona, rapper Medusa, performing at an art exhibit at Align Gallery on York Blvd in Highland Park.


Downtown Bookfest
Grand Park (Downtown)
Sat. Mar. 11, 12pm-5pm, Free, All ages
In collaboration with the City of Los Angeles’ Big Read honoring the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Grand Park’s Downtown Bookfest turns Dickinson’s poetry inside out with performances by Cut Chemist + Hymnal, Dan Prathers and Mayda Del Valle. Free hands-on activities include creating your own pieces of poetic genius with PUBLISH! by Writ Large Press, constructing handmade books using dried plant specimens, a photo booth with Victorian-era props and prose, free writing advice, 826LA’s never-ending story, and pop-up bookshops for literary lovers big and small.

Holi Festivals throughout LA/OC
Various locations
Sat. Mar. 11-Sun. Mar. 12, Ticket prices vary, All ages
Holi is a Hindu holiday celebrating the arrival of Spring in India and Nepal. Also known as the festival of colors, with people joyfully throwing bright colored powder on each other, the celebrations have become very popular throughout the diaspora and with non-Hindus. There are many places to celebrate it this weekend:
Holi on the Beach 2017 – Grand 10th year @ Redondo Beach
Holi Festival of Colors Los Angeles 5th Annual @ South El Monte
CRY Holi – Orange County @ Bolsa Chica State Beach

Farhang’s 9th Annual Celebration of Nowruz
Royce Hall and Dickson Courts (UCLA)
Sun. Mar. 12, 12pm-5pm, Festival Free, Concert $25-$150, All ages
Join Farhang Foundation’s 9th Annual Celebration of Nowruz at our new home at UCLA’s Royce Hall and Dickson Courts. Event includes musical performances, children’s activities, Iranian dancers, a grand Haft Sîn display and our annual Iranian Costume Parade open to children and adults of all ages. Centerpiece program by world rewnowend Iranian artist, Mohsen Namjoo with special guests. Interactive musical Nowruz performance by Ziba Shirazi, Iranian dances by the Djanbazian Dance Company and Anna Djanbazian, musical performances by Mehrdad Arabi مهرداد اعرابی and DAFBANG, and Parisa Daneshvar and her Children’s Ensemble, and children’s activites including an Iranian puppet show by Negar Estakhr, storytelling, calligrahy, face painting and much more! Event is FREE and open to all with the exception of the Mohsen Namjoo’s performance at Royce Hall which requires tickets.

Women’s “Herstory” Month Mercadito
Self Help Graphics & Art (Boyle Heights)
Sun. Mar. 12, 12pm-5pm, Free, All ages
ARTrepreneurs is a project by Self Help Graphics & Arts presenting a series of workshops designed for artists and artisans to learn the basics of starting and running a business. Specifically created for independent artists and small businesses this workshop series will also include mercadito/marketplaces that will be held throughout the year. The workshops and mercadito/marketplaces will give entrepreneurs practical experience and space to implement new tactics during the course of the program. Our goal is to build artist capacity and provide opportunities for our local creative economy to thrive.


“The Great Transmission”
Fowler Museum (UCLA)
Wed. Mar. 8, 7pm, Free, All ages
“The Great Transmission” explores the remarkable journeys of Tibetan Buddhist knowledge over the 2,500 years of its existence. It considers the fragility of knowledge in the face of global events, as well as the future of this ancient wisdom. Film producer Barry Schieber will introduce the screening and participate in a Q+A afterwards.

Betting On Zero
USC School of Cinematic Arts
Wed. Mar. 8, 7pm, Free w RSVP, All ages
From Darfur Now writer/director Ted Braun comes a riveting docu-thriller following controversial hedge fund titan Bill Ackman as he puts a billion dollars on the line in his crusade to expose Herbalife as the largest pyramid scheme in history. Herbalife claims Ackman is simply a market manipulator out to make a fortune from short-selling their stock, but Ackman insists Herbalife deliberately targets low-income and immigrant communities and robs them of their life savings. Herbalife is joined on the counterattack by longtime Ackman nemesis (and fellow Wall Street billionaire) Carl Icahn, while Ackman finds an unlikely ally in Chicago activist Julie Contreras, who rallies the Latino community to get the Federal government to intervene. Blending tales of high-stakes corporate intrigue with working-class people caught in the crossfire, Braun paints a stirring picture of the American Dream gone wrong.

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (Downtown) and UCLA 
Thu. Mar. 9, 7pm-Fri. Mar. 10, 12pm, Free, All ages
“Sunú” tells the story of the Tarahumara people in Northern Mexico and their struggle to continue cultivating native heirloom maize, while Monsanto, an agribusiness giant, attempts to contaminate native crops with genetically modified corn. Guest Speakers: Teresa Camou Guerrero, Director; Dr. Sarah Portnoy, author of “Food, Health, and Culture in Latino Los Angeles;” Chef Carlos Salgado, Taco Maria; and Chef Ray Garcia, Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria.

Goethe Institut (Miracle Mile)
Thu. Mar. 9, 7pm, Free w RSVP, All ages
Kosovo in the 1990s, before the Serbian attack and the war that followed: Ten-year-old Nori and his father Gezim make a living by illegally selling smuggled cigarettes. Gezim is determined to go to Germany, even if this means leaving his son behind with relatives. For a long time, Nori tries to stay with his father, but it’s all in vain. In the end, the boy embarks on a long and dangerous journey to find Gezim in Germany. They had both imagined their reunion rather differently.

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