Our Top Cultural Picks in Los Angeles: April 12-18

by Tom Nguyen

It’s Coachella weekend one and I actually enjoy a quieter week when all the scenesters empty out of LA. Kudos to Chicano Batman and Quitapenas getting major festival recognition; we’re rooting for them like we do all the many talented folks in our indie music community who’ve been plying their craft and putting in their dues, long before the cool kids noticed.

So come support these hard-working folks too: Sister Mantos, ¡Aparato!, The Mexican Standoff, De’Anza, Changui Majadero and catch some visiting Latin indie acts like Las Ligas Menores. Speaking of which, there’s a weekly series WOW combining music industry speakers giving advice paired with live performances, that I think hard-working independent musicians out there could gain a lot from. Iconic Cuban group Obsesión discusses hip hop & race at UCLA. Not sure if they’ll perform any music but still a rare opportunity to see them.

Get your groove on at the monthly Afro-Puerto Rican bomba night Noche Boricua, a special CHURCH sesssion by Mark de Clive-Lowe, and monthly The Floor Improv Night, and great cultural arts like DANCE India! Four Visions, the next Aratani World Series event. More eclectic music, art, film and community events below.


Sister Mantos, Miss Jupiter, Aparato! X-Ray Eyes
Continental Room (Fullerton)
Wed. Apr. 12, 9pm, Free, 21+
Huge fan of Sister Mantos, mixing punk, funk, cumbias, and have you followed their Twitter? I love bands who are outspoken about social justice. We love futuristic Aparato! too!

Obsesión: Screening + Q&A of the Cuban, Hip Hop documentary: Desde el principio [From the beginning] and Conversation on hip hop and race in Cuba
Wed. Apr. 12, 3pm-5pm & Thu. Apr. 13, 5pm-7pm, Free, All ages
This is a rare opportunity to hear from Obsesión, one of the most well-respected and longest-running hip hop groups in Cuba, who formed in 1996.

WOW Live Music and Music Industry Speaker Series: The Marias and Gemma Castro
Pitfire Pizza (Pasadena)
Thu. Apr. 13, 8pm, Free, All ages
The WOW Live Music and Music Industry Speaker Series takes place every Thursday with the purpose of bringing together the music community to share knowledge about topics like social media, booking shows, publicity, music licensing and more. Music industry experts will be presenting on the topics and followed by live band performances. The April 13th show will showcase music from Gemma Castro + The Marias. The April 2th show will showcase music from Brazilian artist Caro Pierotto. And the speakers for this night will be all women of color (moderated by Nancy Arteaga). The April 27th speaker event will be about lessons of touring artists and feature Ceci Bastida.

Reykjavík Festival: Sigur Rós & LA Phil
Walt Disney Concert Hall (Downtown)
Thu. Apr. 13-Sat. Apr. 15, 8pm, Sold out, All ages
These shows are sold out but there’s much more happening with LA Phil’s Reykjavik Festival running through June, that the LA Weekly calls “Coachella for Fans of Icelandic Music.”

Changui Majadero
El Floridita (Hollywood)
Fri. Apr. 14, 9pm, $15, 21+
There are so many salsa venues and salsa bands playing any given night in LA, we don’t focus on that scene but when a band as compelling and accomplished as Changüí plays, you should go…the only band I know of in LA who’s playing Changüí, which the band describes as “the granddaddy of salsa, the music of bucolic Caribbean-steeped Eastern Cuba…a raw intensity and grace that lovers of folk music, jazz, and blues listeners will appreciate..

De’Anza Monthly Residency
Mal’s Bar (Historic South Central)
Fri. Apr. 14, 9pm, Free, 21+
We’re super excited to have the band Bright Eyed Kids join us for another epic night at Mal’s. Monthly resident DJ/visual artist is Juxli (Subsuelo / Culture Remixed). He’ll be dropping some serious bangers and coloring the walls with tripped out visuals. Every 2nd friday of the month in 2017, catch De’Anza and her band as they rock the intimate 200 max capacity room at Mal’s Bar in Los Angleles.

The Mexican Standoff at La Bulla Live Art
Civic Center Studios (Downtown)
Sat. Apr. 15, 7pm-2am, Free, 21+
Here it is guys! Join us Sat the 15th 7pm for a night of live art, music, raffles and more! Brought to you by Antonio Pelayo of La Bulla & Sunset Eclectico. Hosted by Calipso Aranda & Mauricio Ahued. Featuring a music performance by The Mexican Standoff (Fer Uli)  at 9pm. Dance to Polka, Cumbia, electrocumbia, top 40s and be ready to sing some Vicente songs too! Live painting and there will be La Bulla tix at a discounted price. When you purchase a ticket, you’ll be entered into our raffle where prizes like a Santo print, printed by Moby Arts valued at $800 will be given away!

Las Ligas Menores, Tall Juan, Los Blenders, Sheer
Resident (Downtown)
Mon. Apr. 17, 8pm, $8-10, 21+
Catch these Latin indie artists in Los Angeles in between their Coachella appearances.

Other eclectic music events this week:
Wed. Apr. 12 Los 440’s Balkan Gypsy & Afro Cuban Music @ Corazon Performing Arts
Thu. Apr. 13 Sounds of Armenian Culture @ Semel Institute Auditorium
Sat. Apr. 15 Alex Cuba @ The Mint
Sat. Apr. 15 Plotz! Balkan Dance Party w/ Special Guest Miroslav Tadić @ Movement Art Space
Tue. Apr. 18 Inside Latin Jazz – featuring Cuba L.A. @ Shannon Center


Noche Boricua
El Floridita (Hollywood)
Thu. Apr. 13, 8pm-2am, $10, 21+
El Floridita invites you to join us for Noche Boricua, held the 2nd Thursday of every month! Come and experience the most anticipated night of the month. Join us for a Bomba dance lesson featuring live Afro-Puerto Rican bomba music by Cunya and DJ sets – this is a cultural event you won’t want to miss! Be sure to arrive early to try the most authentic Mofongo in all of L.A.!

Church: Easter Special w Mark de Clive-Lowe, Linafornia + more
Resident (Downtown)
Fri. Apr. 14, 8pm-2am, $10-$15, 21+
Mark de Clive-Lowe’s jazz club-meets-the-dancefloor party CHURCH returns Easter weekend celebrating spring with a Good Friday throwdown! We takeover Resident DTLA 8pm til late with full crew dropping live + DJ sets…Mark de Clive-Lowe + band featuring Nia Andrews LIVE, Linafornia LIVE, DJs Seano + Mathieu Schreyer, VJ Travis Flournoy

The Floor Improv Night #108
Los Globos (Silver Lake)
Mon. Apr. 17, 9pm-2am, $5-$10, 21+
THE FLOOR Improv Night is a one-of-a-kind experience where dancers and musicians of all backgrounds come together for a live, improvised collaboration, creating undeniable energy and unforgettable experiences!


Rolos & Icons ll an Exhibit by Tony Peralta
Consulate General of Mexico (MacArthur Park)
Wed. Apr. 12, 7pm-9pm, Free w RSVP, All ages
“Rolos & Icons” is the new exhibit by New York based artist M.Tony Peralta. Rolos & Icons is a collection of screen-printed paintings of powerful and iconic Latin women through history – donning the hair rollers, or rolos for Span-ish-speakers.

Revolution in a Catsuit Play
Bootleg Theater (Westlake)
Thu. Apr. 13-Sun. Apr. 30, $15, All ages
A painfully funny British satire that takes timely aim at the global cry for more diversity on stage and screen; REVOLUTION IN A CATSUIT tells the story of Nina, a ‘militant’ East Indian actress turned activist who while campaigning for better roles for actors of color, discovers a darker side of herself when her dream role is about to go to her lighter-skinned sister-in-arms, Tuhli. Ambition, Race, Gender and Jealousy – all play their roles in this boisterous behind the scenes reveal of those barred from the world of the mannered British corset dramas.

DANCE India! Four Visions
Aratani Theater (Little Tokyo)
Sat. Apr. 15, 7pm, $15-$35
From the subtlest movements to the most sweeping gestures, A sublime evening of 4 dance expressions of India. Join us for a lavish program that illumines extraordinary artists–Vijayalakshmi- Mohiniyattam. Rahul Acharya- Odissi. California Gharana | Leela Dance Collective – Kathak and Shakti Dance Company- Bharata Natyam with Choreography by Mythili Prakash.

More great performing arts:
Fri. Apr. 14-Sun. Apr 16 Chicanas, Cholas y Chisme’s Su Frida Caló @ Casa 0101 (Closing)
Sat. Apr. 15 Butterfly, the Fragrant Flower Path: An Enchanted Evening with Women Dancers of Korea & Oaxaca @ Barnsdall Art Park


Movements, Then and Now
Chinese American Museum (Downtown)
Wed. Apr. 12, 6:30pm, Free w RSVP, All ages
The exhibition Roots: Asian American Movements in Los Angeles, 1968 – 1980s argues that the history of Asian America is bound to activism, and that the past helps us make sense of the present and future of our movements. The struggles of Asian communities today – for immigrant rights, intersectionality, neighborhood control, economic justice, and artistic expresion – are both unique and resonate with earlier movements. In this urgent time, how do we stand for LGBT, Muslim, immigrants, and working class communities? This cross-generational, cross-movement discussion offers a place to recognize these resonances with the past, and to develop strategies moving forward.

Kosher/Soul: Black and Jewish Foodways
Skirball Cultural Center
Thu. Apr. 13, 2pm & 8pm, Free-$20, All ages
In these two programs, Michael W. Twitty, the acclaimed African American Jewish food writer, culinary historian, and TED Fellow, explores race, culture, food, faith, and history through what he calls “Kosher/Soul.”

L.A. Uprising: Then And Now
Community Coalition (South LA)
Thu. Apr. 13, 6pm-8pm, Free, All ages
Elected officials and community members will reflect on the conditions that led to the 1992 LA Uprising, the movement that grew from the ashes, and the importance of organized people power to resist current political conditions. Throughout the month of April, Community Coalition will transform into a living art and education exhibit called Re-Imagine Justice, exploring the root causes of and progress made since the LA Uprising. Learn more at CoCoSouthLA.org/LAUprising.

Wellness Mercadito
Self Help Graphics & Art (Boyle Heights)
Sat. Apr. 15, 2pm-7pm, Free, All ages
An afternoon with vendors and artisans focused on providing the community with products focused on personal and communal wellness.  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.

More worthy cultural and community events to support:
Thu. Apr. 13 Platicas y Pruebas: Xicana Edible Memories and Landscapes with Cocina Manakurhini @ LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
Sat. Apr. 15 6th Annual Earth Day Jazz Fest @ Inglewood City Hall
Sat. Apr. 15-16 CSU Dominguez Hills 7th Annual Pow Wow


Dos Caminos – LA Premiere
Egyptian Theatre (Hollywood)
Wed. Apr. 12, 7:30pm, Free w RSVP, All ages
Shot in Puerto Rico, this moving drama follows twin brothers Dani and Mickie (played by Luis Sebastián Borges), whose lives were scarred from childhood by the death of both parents. Spanish for “two paths,” DOS CAMINOS inspires faith that no matter the situation, hope will always lead in the right direction. Program begins with the short “Dear Dad” (2016, 6 min. Dir. Carlos Hurtado). Discussion after the feature with director Luis Enrique Rodríguez and stars Maritzxell Carrero, Luis Sebastian Borges, and Modesto Lacen. Reception follows in the courtyard for all attendees.

Independent Visions: Queer Vietnameseness
Cal State Los Angeles
Thu. Apr. 13, 6:15pm, Free, All ages
This documentary follows the lines of three queer second-generation Vietnamese American women, navigating language, politics, familial relationships, and living in Little Saigon neighborhood of Orange County. Directed by Quyen Nguyen-Le. (2015). 42 minutes.

Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992
USC School of Cinematic Arts
Mon. Apr. 17, 7pm, Free w RSVP, All ages
Let It Fall takes an unflinching look at the 1992 L.A. uprising tracing its roots back a decade, unfolding its history as a series of very personal decisions and very public failures. The film weaves heartbreaking first hand accounts from black, white, Asian, and Hispanic Angelinos of all classes, caught up in a cascade of rising tension culminating in an explosion of anger and fear after the Rodney King verdict.

Other film events happening this week:
Tu. Apr. 11-Sat. Apr. 15 5th Los Angeles Turkish Film Festival @ USC
Sat. Apr. 15 NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Film Festival @ South Park Center

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