Our Top Cultural Picks in Los Angeles: April 19-25


by Tom Nguyen

This week is a preview of what LA summer is like! Hot 90s weather and too many great events! Just the music alone: RARE chance to see Palestinian rapper Shadia Mansour, Lila Downs with Monsieur PerinéOrgone x Monophonics, Vieux Farka Touré, Balkan Beat Box, Mare Advertencia Lirika and Supaman, and local favorites like Quetzal, Quitapenas, Sin Color, Tropi Corillo. Long-running dance parties, The Root Down and JUJU, plus Ondatrópica DJ set are going to have the dance floors on fire.

As we approach the 25th anniversary of the LA Uprising, there are important discussions like Women in the Movement as part of Community Coalition’s Re-Imagine Justice exhibit, dialogue and commemoration between the African American and Korean American communities at Saigu: 25 Years Later Remix, and LA 92 photo exhibit at Casa 0101.

Don’t miss Garifuna Festival at MOLAA, LA Times Festival of Books and important films at CineArte Latinx Queer Film & Art Festival, Canada Now 2017, 21st Annual COLCOA French Film Festival and many more great cultural happenings below!

MUSIC

Freedom Dreams: A conversation with Shadia Mansour
Boyle Heights Arts Conservancy
Wed. Apr. 19, 6pm-9pm, $15 suggested donation, All ages
Please join us for a intimate conversation and performance with Shadia Mansour, “the first lady of Arabic hip-hop”, to learn and explore how a female Arab Hip-Hop MC is resisting against the Politics of fear. Shadia Mansour, “the first lady of Arabic hip-hop”, is a London-born Palestinian singer and MC. Mansour began singing at Palestinian protest rallies as a child and became known in London’s Palestinian community for performing classical Arab songs of protest at an early age. She has toured with Existence is Resistance, an organization supporting hip-hop shows in Palestine, recorded with artists M-1 of dead prez and Omar Offendum, and is part of the “Arab League” hip-hop collective. A minimun donation of $15 is suggested. All proceeds to support Af3irm, Translatin@ Coalition and the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory. Tickets at bit.ly/shadiainla

Orgone x Monophonics – “West Coast Soul Tour”
Troubadour (West Hollywod)
Fri. Apr. 21, 8pm $20-$22, All ages
Now and always, Orgone delivers dirty, organic, California soul with heart; music that grabs you by the collar, pulls you to your feel and shoves you wantingly onto the dance floor. It all started with two kids from the San Fernando Valley, whose shared affinity for gritty soul records of the 60s and 70s collided with the colorful music cultures brewing in Los Angeles during the late 90s. Raised amid the rich musical culture and history of the San Francisco Bay Area, Monophonics proudly carry the torch through the generations into today’s musical landscape. Holding on to tradition, but by no means purists of any kind, they play their own brand of music known as “Psychedelic Soul.”

2nd Annual Weaving Words and Rhymes
Frente Indigena de Organizaciones Binacionales L.A. (South LA)
Sat. Apr. 22, 4pm-12am, $10-$15, All ages
The Weaving Words and rhymes concert promotes and revitalizes Indigenous languages in Los Angeles through music. By having performers that integrate language such as Zapoteca and Mixteco in their music, they are giving new life to Indigenous languages. By incorporating the language into non-traditional spaces they are also pioneering new forms of identity formation for a new generation. This art form is an innovative way to revitalize language preservation for new generations. All proceeds will be used for the FIOB Los Angeles to continue organizing great events like this one. Featuring Supaman, Mare Advertencia Lirika, Dj Survive, Inner city dwellers, Una Isu, Reflejo Yalalteco, Banda Descendencia Yalalteca, Grupo Folklorico Huaxyacac, Zapoteca Roots. #IndigenousHipHop #WeavingWordsNRhymes #Oaxaca

Lila Downs with Monsieur Periné
Valley Performing Arts Center and Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Sat. Apr. 22 & Sun. Apr. 23, $29+, All ages [VPAC show is sold out so get your tickets at SCFTA in OC!]
Known for her soaring emotive voice and compelling stage presence, world renown Mexican American singer, Lila Downs’ music is highly innovative and distinctive. The multiple Grammy-Award winning artist blends traditional Mexican, Latin, and Mesoamerican music with a broad range of other musical influences to create a vibrant, dramatic, and culturally rich performance. Colombia’s Monsieur Periné opens, bringing the quirky blend of swing, alternative and pop that earned the band a 2015 Latin Grammy for Best New Artist.

Balkan Beat Box w/ Afrolicious Soundsystem
Troubadour (West Hollywood)
Mon. Apr. 24, 8pm, $20-$25, All ages
BBB draw from their Eastern European heritage, the smash-your-idols traditions of punk rock and free jazz, the undeniably rugged beats and production of hip-hop, the intrepid textural approach of electro, along with international flairs of Mediterranean, reggae, cumbia, Morrocan, and Balkan music traditions. What comes out of this bold cross-cultural and pan-genre discourse is a soundtrack for riots in the streets and a rallying call for the dance floor

Vieux Farka Touré
Echoplex (Echo Park)
Tue. Apr. 25, 8:30pm, $11.50-$14.50, 18+
Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré , who died in 2006. 
Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father disapproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed. [Vieux Farka Touré returns to LA with a new album Samba.]

Wed. Apr. 19 City Beats with Tropi Corillo @ Wells Fargo Center
Wed. Apr. 19 El Mariachi Manchester @ La Cita Bar
Wed. Apr. 19 Quitapenas “Vinyl Release Party” with Las Ligas Menores @ The Concert Lounge
Wed. Apr. 19 Juan de Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All Stars @ Catalina Jazz
Thu. Apr. 20 Las Ligas Menores @ dba256
Thu. Apr. 20 The White Blinds @ Mambo’s Cafe
Thu. Apr. 20 Caro Pierotto + Susy Sun @ Pitfire Pizza Pasadena
Fri. Apr. 21 Cesar Saez with Sin Color @ Civic Center Studios
Sun. Apr. 23 Aditya Prakash Ensemble @ Blue Whale

DANCE

The Root Down
The Echo (Echo Park)
Fri. Apr. 21, 9pm, $8-$15, 21+
LA’s legendary True School Hip-Hop, Funk/Soul, Latin & Roots music dance party retunites for a special one-night only family affair! Join us as we take over the Echoplex in Echo Park, bringing you beats, rhymes & funky warm sounds to keep you moving & grooving!

JUJU. A Soul Children Experience
Cafe Club Fais Do-Do (Mid City)
Sat. Apr. 22, 10pm, $12-$15, 21+
JUJU is a distinctive soulful music event. Come elevate with us at our Earth Day 2017 Celebration with very special guest DJ “MONALISA”. Great people, Positive energy, and Good food & spirits.

Ondatrópica (DJ Set): Will Holland + Mario Galeano
The Echo (Echo Park)
Sun. Apr. 23, 10pm-1am, $11.50-$14.50, 18+

Thu. Apr. 20 Origins LA @ Union
Fri. Apr. 21 Latin Rhythms: Ballet Folklorico @ MOLAA
Fri. Apr. 21 April’s Forró party + MoForro @ Tropico de Nopal
Fri. Apr. 21 Afrolituation: LA’s Biggest African Experience Party @ Los Globos
Fri. Apr. 21 ¡Dinamita! XLVI @ The Office Cocktails
Sat. Apr. 22 LA’s finest: DESI BLOCK PARTY @ Los Globos
Sun. Apr. 23 38th Annual Fiesta Internacional @ San Gabriel Mission Playhouse
Sun. Apr. 23 Bailando con Las Chulitxs @ La Cita Bar
Mon. Apr. 24 MOM LA Pop-Up @ Footsie’s Bar

ARTS

Taj Express: Bollywood Musical Revue
Valley Performing Arts Center and Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Wed. Apr. 19 & Fri. Apr. 21-Sat. Apr. 22, $29+, All ages
Taj Express explodes with the sounds of India and Bollywood, capturing the vibrant, expressive spirit of the world of Bollywood movies that have been entertaining billions of people in India for generations. Through a fusion of film, dance, and music, this dazzling international sensation takes audiences on a live cinematic journey through modern Indian culture and society. The production is a high energy celebration of new India’s pop music, Bollywood culture, and deep traditions featuring colorful costumes, joyful dance, and thrilling live music.

Yreina D. Cervantez and A Decolonial Atlas
Vincent Price Art Museum (Monterey Park)
Sat. Apr. 22, 5pm-7pm, Free, All ages
The Vincent Price Art Museum will be hosting an opening reception for the following exhibitions: Yreina D. Cervántez: Movements & Ofrendas and A Decolonial Atlas: Strategies In Contemporary Art Of The Americas.

13th Annual Art Auction
Center for the Arts Eagle Rock
Sun. Apr. 23, 1pm-5pm, Free, All ages
Auction items include paintings, drawings, photography, and mixed media from artists such as Carla Jay Harris, Joan Scheibel, Joe Forte, Jonah Olson, Karen Fiorito, Linda Lyke, Mary Sherwood Brock, and Shepard Fairey to name a few. With a hundred participating artists, there’s something for every budget and artistic preference! Nibble sweet and savory bites from your favorite local eateries, enjoy local wines and sample a specialty cocktail made just for auction. Buy art and support free arts enrichment programs for children, families and individuals throughout Northeast Los Angeles.

Hari Kondabolu
Cal Poly Pomona
Tue. Apr. 24, 12pm-1:30pm, Free, All ages
Hari Kondabolu is a Brooklyn-based, Queens-raised comic that the New York Times has called “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today.” Hari has been featured on the Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Totally Biased with W. Kau Bell.

Fri. Apr. 21 L.A. 92 @ Casa 0101
Sat. Apr. 22 Rhythms & Colors @ MCAU

CULTURE & COMMUNITY

Women in the Movement
Community Coalition (South LA)
Thu. Apr. 20, 6pm-8pm, Free, All ages
On April 20th, the women who have served as mothers, sisters and activists in their communities will discuss the role of women of color in the social justice movement. As caretakers of the community in times of state and community violence, the panel will also explore how women in poverty are the bedrock that sustain the community through the day-to-day while pushing the movement forward. 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.

Los Angeles State Historic Park Grand Opening
Los Angeles State Historic Park (Chinatown)
Sat. Apr. 22, 10am-6pm, Free, All ages
Please join us for the long-awaited Grand Opening of Los Angeles State Historic Park. We are planning a day-long celebration of music, performance, family-friendly activities and food trucks. Musical Performances by Grammy Award-winning QUETZAL, MILCK (Connie Lim of Washington DC Women’s March), Subsuelo, Shaolin Monks and more.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books 2017
USC (Exposition Park)
Sat. Apr. 22-Sun. Apr. 23, Free, All ages
It’s time again for the nation’s largest literary festival, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books! The 22nd annual event, taking place April 22-23 at theUniversity of Southern California, will feature more than 500 authors, celebrities, musicians, artists and chefs.

Saigu (4-29-1992): 25 Years Later Remix
Holman United Methodist Church (Jefferson Park)
Sun. Apr. 23, 8:30am-2pm, Free, All ages
Join us in a multiracial, cross-cultural commemoration of April 29, 1992, aka Saigu, LA Riots, Uprising, Rebellion, etc. Hear different perspectives on what happened on that fateful day as well how communities of color have been working together for a better, collective future. Dialogue with us on how we can continue to build coalitions across racial lines for a more inclusive Los Angeles. FREE Admission, includes breakfast and lunch catered by LocoL of Roy Choi / Kogi BBQ fame!

Garifuna Festival
MOLAA (Long Beach)
Sun. Apr. 23, 11am-5pm, Free, All ages
Experience Garifuna culture at MOLAA’s FREE Garifuna Festival! Bring the family and celebrate the arts, music and language of the Black-Carib Garifuna people of Central America! Enjoy art workshops, face painting, live performances, gallery tours, and more. We encourage you to wear typical Garifuna colors, black, white and yellow! Food and drinks available for purchase. This event is organized in collaboration with the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United.

Fri. Apr. 21 5th Annual Retomemos la Noche with Justice for My Sister @ Mariachi Plaza
Sat. Apr. 22 Record Store Day at record stores throughout LA, featuring Gaby Moreno (dj set), California Feetwarmers, and too many of LA’s best DJs.
Sat. Apr. 22 One Year Anniversary Party @ Kaleidoscope Kollective, featuring Sheila Govindarajan
Mon. Apr. 24 Food, Identity and Media: A conversation @ Pico House

FILM

Canada Now 2017
Aero Theatre (Santa Monica)
Thu. Apr. 20-Sun. Apr. 23, $8-$12, All ages
With works from new talents as well as from Canada’s accomplished veteran directors, this series will transport you from the Arctic Circle to western Asia, from downtown Montreal to small town Nova Scotia. See what’s now and what’s next in those cinematic lights in the northern North American skies with four nights of the best new Canadian films – almost all of them Los Angeles premieres.

Finding Oscar
Opening Fri. Apr. 21 and Sat. Apr 22 at various Laemmle theaters
In a forgotten massacre during Guatemala’s decades-long civil war, a young boy was spared, only to be raised by one of the very soldiers who killed his family. Nearly 30 years after the tragedy, it will take a dedicated team – from a forensic scientist to a young Guatemalan prosecutor – to uncover the truth and bring justice to those responsible…by finding the missing boy named Oscar.

CineArte Latinx Queer Film & Art Festival
Los Angeles LGBT Center (Hollywood)
Fri. Apr. 21-Sun. Apr. 23, $10-$30, All ages
Don’t miss the 4th annual arts festival dedicated to showcasing the stories of LGBTQ, two-spirited, Latinx, Chicanx, and indigenous identities through film and visual art in a space that builds on their rich and diverse cultural history. The program includes feature and short films, art installations, musical performances, red carpet events, receptions, music, and Q&A sessions with filmmakers and cast members.

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City
USC School of Cinematic Arts
Mon. Apr. 24, 7pm, Free w RSVP, All ages
Jane Jacobs fought against gentrification of New York City in the 60s by greedy developers and influenced generations of urban planners. This documentary is as timely as ever amidst rapid gentrification in Los Angeles and other urban cities, and there is controversy today whether her ideas actually contribute to the very thing she fought against.

COLCOA French Film Festival
Directors Guild of America Theater (West Hollywood)
Mon. Apr. 24-Tue. May 2, Free-$14, All ages
This year we’re featuring a record 82 films, television series, and — for the first time — web series and VR! On Monday April 24th, we’ll begin opening night with the North American premiere of Oscar-winning Writer/Director Claude Lelouch’s “Everyone’s Life”. The 9-day festival will feature new work by leading filmmakers such as Marco Bellocchio, Nicolas Boukhrief, Stéphane Brizé, Bruno Dumont, Lisa Azuelos, Philippe Lioret, Hugo Gélin, Philippe Lacheau, Dany Boon, and more! We’ll close the festival Tuesday May 2nd with the North American premiere of Éric Lavaine’s new romantic comedy, “You Choose”, starring Alexandra Lamy. Other exciting programs include the After 10 Series, COLCOA Classics, COLCOA.doc, World Cinema Produced by France, Focus on a Filmmaker (Stéphane Brizé), Film Noir Series, French NeWave 2.0, Happy Hour Talks, Jean-Claude Petit

Thu. Apr. 20-Sun. Apr. 30 Dance Camera West: 16th Annual Dance Media Film Festival @ Fowler Museum
Thu. Apr. 20-Thu. Apr. 27 Newport Beach Film Festival @ Various theaters in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa

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