2017 Affirmations and Top Cultural Events in LA: January 11-17

by Tom Nguyen

We’re starting 2017 by restating our intentions and reaffirming our efforts to give voice to a Los Angeles of color, immigrants and allies. It’s more important than ever to elevate and celebrate POC and diaspora voices and communities.

We celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this week, honor the Black community for their fight for civil rights and equality for all of us who are marginalized, and stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

We will stand together with diaspora communities across LA this weekend in defense of Standing Rock and learn how indigenous peoples and languages like the Zapotecs are struggling to resist still. We with stand together with our undocumented immigrant community to say We are Here to Stay and encourage young Latinas to tell their stories through multimedia.

We will celebrate soul and funk music with Orgone’s Adryon de Leon and NOLA’s Nth Power, Afro Latino music with Tropi Corillo and Very Be Careful, Afro Brazilian music with Thalma & Laércio de Freitas, Ethiopian music with Ethio Cali, Hamelmal Abate, Indian music with Anoushka Shankar, Mexican mariachi music with Mariachi Flor de Toloache and Hawaiian music at the Socal Slack Key Festival.

We will laugh, cry and bond over stories by monolingual & bilingual Chicano artists, queer Latina and transgender artists and Belarusian activists. We will celebrate life with our Muslim community, talk about common ground with our Japanese community, and dance with our West African, Brazilian, Ethiopian and Eritrean communities. We will wish our Ukrainian community a happy Malanka and look forward to the latest Scandinavian, Baltic and French films.

THIS is just a slice of one week in the Los Angeles that we love and we celebrate. As we enter an uncertain time with the next presidency, THIS is the Los Angeles that is the certain future of this country, that no regressive politics can ever stop.


Here Lies Man & Tropi Corillo
La Cita Bar (Downtown)
Wed. January 11, 9pm, $8, 21+

Ethio Cali
Sorting Room at The Wallis (Beverly Hills)
Thu. January 12, 8pm-11:30pm, $30, All ages
Led by trumpeter, arranger, and composer Todd Simon, the Los Angeles-based Ethio-jazz ensemble’s sublime sound is inspired by the golden age of Ethiopian music of the 1960s and ‘70s, filtered through a lens that is uniquely Los Angeles while simultaneously drawing inspiration from the rhythmic and melodic textures across Africa, Central/Latin America and the Caribbean. Ethio Cali continues their exploration of African Jazz in a special performance in The Sorting Room, while making connections with music across the globe, such as Colombia, Brazil and Java.

Metro Art Presents: Thalma & Laércio de Freitas
Union Station (Downtown)
Fri. January 13, 8:30pm-10:30pm, Free, All ages
Metro Art Los Angeles is pleased to present the musical stylings of Thalma & Laércio de Freitas performing together during a free nightime concert in Union Station’s Historic Ticketing Hall! This special performance will be the U.S. debut for the elder de Freitas. Acclaimed Brazilian arranger, composer, pianist, and conductor Laércio de Freitas studied piano from the age of five. Since 1966, he has enjoyed an international career giving concerts in Europe, Asia and Mexico. Living in Los Angeles since 2012, Thalma de Freitas, who carries the moniker “maestro’s daughter,” made her professional debut in a Brazilian production of Hair in 1992. In addition to serving as the vocalist in the carioca big band Orquestra Imperial, her songwriting and vision have led to a wide variety of collaborations with both contemporary and legendary musicians, such as João Donato, Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Céu, Quantic, Georgia Anne Muldrow, and Kamasi Washington.

Mehta & Shankar 
Walt Disney Concert Hall (Downtown)
Fri. January 13-Sun. January 15, $20-$190, All Ages
When the late Ravi Shankar released his Second Sitar Concerto in 1981, it was conducted by none other than Zubin Mehta. Hear this rarely performed work, now in the loving hands of Shankar’s gifted daughter, Anoushka Shankar, with its original conductor at the helm.

Adryon de Leon 
Perch and Mrs. Fish (Downtown)
Fri. January 13, 10:30pm, Free, 21+, Sat. January 14 & Sat. January 21, 7-10pm, Free, All ages
Orgone’s phenomenal lead singer, Adryon de Leon, will be bringing her soul, funk and R&B vocal dynamism to two of downtown’s most popular little spots.

Mariachi Flor de Toloache
Segerstrom Center for the Arts (Costa Mesa)
Sat. January 14, 8pm, $15-$25, All ages
Latin Grammy® nominated Flor de Toloache has graced international stages from Asia to Europe and the U.S. and continues to win the hearts of both mainstream and traditional mariachi fans alike through their distinct vision and enlightened interpretation of traditional mariachi instruments. The band’s diverse ethnicities and musical backgrounds transcend culture and gender by forging new paths for mariachi music. NYC’s first all-female Mariachi is led by co-directors Mireya I. Ramos, (founder) on violin and Shae Fiol (original member) on vihuela, the band also features Julie Acosta on trumpet and Eunice Aparicio on guitarron.

The Nth Power and Niki Crawford
The Mint (Pico-Robertson)
Sat. January 14, 9pm, $12-$16, 21+
Proving that soul music can be exponentially greater than the sum of its parts, The Nth Power will inspire you to dance, groove, make love or just stand there with goose bumps.

Hamelmal Abate direct from Ethiopia
Los Globos (Silverlake)
Sat. January 14, 10:30pm, $30, 21+


Orale! w/ Special Guest DJs: SOUL LIBRE & BIEN BUENA
Eastside Luv Bar (Boyle Heights)
Thu. January 12, 9pm-2am, Free, All ages
Join us for the first ORALE PARTI of 2017!!!! Happening every 2nd Thurs of the month Eastside Luv! Special Guest DJ’s: Soul Libre (Barrio Funky LA), Bien Buena (Chulita Vinyl Club LA), Resident DJ’s: Victor Ochoa & AIR Nandez

Los Globos (Silverlake)
Thu. January 12, 9pm-2am, Free-$10, 21+
Live sets by – DJ Rampage Global, DJ Enroute & from E. Africa DJ Mekonnen Garedew, Performance by Nate Selassie. FREE BEFORE 10:30PM WITH RSVP
Presented by HabeshaLA, Origins is a monthly event celebrating the Motherland. Follow @HabeshaLA and @OriginsLA for more info. HabeshaLA is a platform that connects creative Ethiopians & Eritreans in the diaspora. Visit HabeshaLA.com and follow @HabeshaLA for more info.

Modern Funk Fest DJ Summit
The Echo (Echo Park)
Fri. January 13, 10pm-2am $5, 21+
Modern Funk Fest DJ Summit, hosted by Zackey Force Funk. Featuring DJs from the following crews/labels: Austin Boogie Crew, Cookie Crew, Hobo Camp, Funkmosphere, MoFunk Records, Spectrum Records, Sweater Funk, Uptown Boogie, Voltaire Records…and merch from an assortment of Modern Funk Labels

Ousseynou Kouyate Teaching Dance Class
Lula Washington Dance Theater (Crenshaw)
Sat. January 16, 5pm-6:30pm, $15, All ages
Ousseynou Kouyate born and raised in Senegal, Africa, coming from a family line originating in Mali and Guinea. He’s come from a long line of griots — the poets, historians, storytellers, and keepers of West African song and dance traditions.
Ousseynou has been singing, dancing, and performing professionally since the age of 13 as a lead dancer and choreographer with Le Ballet National du Senegal and the Sinomew Ballet of Senegal. He’s danced professionally with both ballets for over 5 years, touring internationally throughout South and North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Now residing in the United States, he’s are committed to educating people about their culture and sharing the profound beauty of their art. As an artistic director and educator, Ousseynou instructs classes and master workshops in Africa, Europe, and the United States.

Brasil Baile Funk #9
Bronson Bar (Hollywood)
Sat. January 14, 10pm-2am, Free, 21+
Brasil Baile Funk, The party, featuring Rio de Janeiro’s sexiest most popular music genre. Will run every second Sartuday of the month at Bronson bar. Baile Funk, also called Funk Carioca, is a musical style originated in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, the city’s slums, in the early 1980’s – and it’s very different from the funk eternalized by James Brown. Despite the American impact, Baile Funk quickly became a genuine expression of Rio’s social issues that burdens the poor and the black people in Brazil, including controversial topics such as drugs, violence, and strong sex appeal. Brasil Baile Funk is a part of a series of events that Brasil Baile Funk crew, brings to the city in order to promote the uniqueness of Brazilian culture.

West African Dance Workshop
Global Dance Arts (Marina del Rey)
Mon. January 16, 4:30pm-5:30pm, Donation based, All ages
This MLK day, join Camellia D. Lee at #GlobalDanceArts for a donation-based West African dance workshop honoring freedom fighters past and present. Despite centuries of anti-Black racism, people of African descent and their allies have preserved Black cultural traditions and overcome great obstacles to self-determination. The institution of slavery and subsequent forms of white supremacist oppression work by violently policing and exploiting Black bodies, but Afro-diasporic dance forms liberate the body. As we face the new year, let’s come together to heal and empower ourselves from the inside out. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Ace Hotel Rooftop (Downtown)
Mon. January 16, 2pm-10pm, Free, All ages
On Monday Jan 16th [MLK Day], the Motown On Mondays LA crew returns with another edition of CALIFORNIA SOL @ Ace Hotel’s “Upstairs” Rooftop Bar & Lounge!


Downtown LA Art Walk: We The People
Downtown Art Walk Lounge
Thu. January 12, 6pm-10pm, Free, All ages
Including a range of mediums such as photography, oil paintings, and digital illustrations, “We The People” will touch on topics of immigration, gender, race, violence, sexuality, religion, and more. The purpose of this show is to create a feeling of solidarity and to offer hope and inspiration for all those in the arts. Lobby Gallery will be featuring live music by David Garza.

Off Center Festival 2017
Segerstrom Center for the Arts (Costa Mesa)
Thu. January 12-Sat. January 28, $15-$25, All ages (Some shows mature content)
Segerstrom Center’s Off Center Festival returns January 12 – January 28, 2017 with an all-new line-up of creative, contemporary and sometimes controversial artists and shows. The festival will present Keith A. Wallace’s The Bitter Game, Mariachi Flor de Tolache, Marga Gomez’ Latin Standards, Belarus Free Theatre’s Time of Women, Justin Vivian Bond and Choir! Choir! Choir!

Disney’s Aladdin
Casa 0101 (Boyle Heights)
Fri. January 13-Sun. February 19, $19.99-$29.99, All ages
CASA 0101 Theater and TNH Productions in association with LA Councilmember Gil Cedillo are proud to present Disney’s Aladdin: Dual Language Edition! Centuries ago, the royalty in the palace of Agrabah speak one language: Spanish; and its people in the streets another: English. When the rebellious princess and a delinquent street rat meet in the market place, they find something special in one another, rise above the barriers between them, and with a little magic help create a better future. This production is performed in English and Spanish and is fully understandable in both languages.

NELA Art Gallery Night
Various galleries and businesses throughout Northeast Los Angeles
Sat. January 14, 7pm-10pm, Free, All ages
Second Saturday Gallery Night is a self-guided tour of the galleries, non-profits and artist run project spaces located in Northeast Los Angeles (NELA).

Downtown Pomona Art Walk & Farmers Market
Various galleries and businesses throughout downtown Pomona Arts Colony
Sat. January 14, 6pm-10pm, Free, All ages
Every month on the 2nd Saturday, the Art Walk brings big crowds to Downtown Pomona during what are traditionally the opening show receptions for over three dozen galleries, most of which are open from 6-9pm. The streets are filled with art lovers and foodies, who, in addition to experiencing what the galleries have to offer, can peruse a selection of street artists and vendors.


Common Ground Conversations
Japanese American National Museum (Little Tokyo)
Thu. January 12-Thu. February 2, 7pm, Free, All ages
JANM presents a four-week series of public conversations taking place within our core exhibition, Common Ground: The Heart of Community. Each conversation, which will be facilitated by a member of our education staff and follow a guiding theme, is intended to generate meaningful dialogue among guests, utilizing Japanese American history to delve into contemporary issues and concerns. Portions of the exhibition will serve as jumping-off points for each conversation. All are welcome to attend and no tickets or RSVPs are required. Common Ground Conversations are free and coincide with JANM’s free admission on Thursdays starting at 5 p.m.

Standing Rock is Everywhere! Benefit Weekend
Youth Justice Coalition (Inglewood), Self Help Graphics (Boyle Heights), Full Circle Venice
Fri. January 13-Sun. January 15, $20-$50 but no one turned away for lack of funds, All ages
Join the diverse community of LA in supporting Standing Rock’s elderly and youth camps! Featuring Indigenous Elders, Standing Rock update, activist speakers, traditional dance, music, spoken word artists, raffle, food and more! Celebrate sacred activism through collaboration, unity, empowerment, healing and the ethic of love. Performers include Spirit Lake Drum, S.H.I.N.E. Muwasi, Arohi Ensemble, East LA Taiko, Semillas del Pueblo, Bedouin X, Sima Galanti, John Villalobos Christo Pellani Alex Perez Heather Powers Jason Michael Powers Sheila Govindarajan Nancy Sanchez Roth Herrlinger Cabeza de Vaca Viver Brasil and more!

We Are Here to Stay – Fearless & United Rally, Art Performance
LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (Downtown)
Sat. January 14, 11am-1pm, Free, All ages
Join us to stand up for the values of love, compassion and family as we begin a campaign of righteous resistance. We will join hands and stand together to oppose criminalization, mass deportations, and hate crimes. We are #HereToStay and we shall not be moved. Speakers include: Angelica Salas, CHIRLA; Rusty Hicks, LAC Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Laphonza Butler, SEIU; Maria Elena Durazo, Unite-Here; Arlene Inouye, UTLA; and Tom Steyer, Next Gen Climate. Performances by the band Very Be Careful and others.

When Life Happens, a youth multimedia screening
Little Casa (Boyle Heights)
Sat. January 14, 1pm-4pm, Free w RSVP, All ages
When Life Happens is a collection of multimedia projects created by Las Fotos Project Digital Promotoras, a group of teenage girls who use photography to highlight community health by documenting the stories of those most impacted by the problem. Our Digital Promotoras program demonstrates how youth can use photojournalism and social media to raise awareness of health disparities facing underserved communities. They take their work one step further by researching and promoting potential solutions to help solve the problem.

29th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace & Unity Parade and Celebration
Martin Luther King Jr. Park (Long Beach)
Sat. January 14, 10:30am-3pm, Free, All ages
Councilman Dee Andrews, the Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation & Marine, and the residents of Long Beach are pleased to announce the  29th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace & Unity Parade and Celebration, on Saturday, January 14, 2017. This year’s theme is “Love & Forgiveness”. Parade starts at 10:30am at MLK/Atlantic to Martin Luther King Jr. Park, located at 1950 Lemon Avenue

Malanka 2017 – Ukrainian New Years Eve Gala
Ukrainian Cultural Center (East Hollywood)
Sat. January 14, 8pm-1am, $5-$40, All ages
Join us to ring in the 2017 New Year, Ukrainian style, at UCC’s annual Malanka – Ukrainian New Year’s Celebration!!! Live Band Performance by Zaxid of Los Angeles! Dance your socks off!

Zapotecs: Histories and Languages
Los Angeles Central Library (Downtown)
Sun. January 15, 1pm-4pm, Free, All ages
Do you want to know the spiritual practices of the Zapotecs before the invasion? How we resist to this day? How did they resist in the 19th century? Do you want to know how old is Zapoteco? Do you want to know how many variants of Zapotec are there? Do you want to know what is being done to revitalize zapoteco at a binational level?

SoCal Slack Key Festival
Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
Sun. January 15, 2pm, $20-$125, All ages
One of the most acclaimed Hawaiian concerts to ever leave the islands, the Southern California Slack Key Festival takes fans on a Hawaiian musical journey that showcases Grammy-winning slack key guitarists, the best hula dancers in the world, special guest performers and an Island Marketplace.h

Celebration of Life 2017
CBS Studio Center (Studio City)
Sun. January 15, 4pm-6:30pm, $65+, All ages
In a colorful program of personal tributes, poetry readings, and live music, we will laud the tireless efforts of activists and their families who have fought against human rights abuses in the world and sought to affirm the equal worth of all human beings. By celebrating and honoring these heroic defenders of truth and humanity, Muslims for Progressive Values affirms that we can inspire others to do the same.

32nd Annual Kingdom Day Parade
Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. (South Los Angeles)
Mon. January 16, 10am-5pm, Free, All ages
Celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a annual Parade on his birthday in south Los Angeles on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and ending at the Leimert Park Kingdom Day Culturefest.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
California African American Museum (Exposition Park)
Mon. January 16, 10am-5pm, Free, All ages
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by surrounding yourself with art, culture, and community. Enjoy an array of vibrant programs and activities for all ages. Bring the kids for art-making activities, enjoy great fare from award-winning food trucks, visit our exhibitions, hear a marathon reading of King’s lesser-known speeches and sermons, and much more—free for everyone!

Inglewood KingFest
The Forum (Inglewood)
Mon. January 16, 9am-5pm, Free, All ages


The Red Turtle
USC School of Cinematic Arts
Wed. January 11, 7:00pm, Free w RSVP, All ages
Through the story of a man shipwrecked on a tropical island inhabited by turtles, crabs and birds, The Red Turtle recounts the milestones in the life of a human being.

Hammer Museum
Wed. January 11, 7:30pm, Free, All ages
Ava DuVernay’s stirring documentary takes its title from the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery yet included a clause that laid the foundation for the long history of racial inequality in America’s prison industrial complex. Picking up the mantle of Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, the film traces these staggering prison statistics in what Manohla Dargis calls a “powerful cinematic call to conscience.”

Latin American Institute Film Screenings: CAMPO GRANDE
UCLA James Bridges Theater
Wed. January 11, 7:30pm-9:30pm, Free, All ages
Eight-year-old Ygor and six-year-old Rayane are left by their mother on Regina’s doorstep in the upscale Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Ipanema. The sudden and unexpected arrival of these lower class kids in Regina’s world and the search for their mother in a city rendered almost unrecognizable by massive modernization will change their lives forever.

New Faces of French Animation – Shorts Programs
Egyptian Theater (Hollywood)
Sat. January 14, 7:30pm, $8-$12, All ages
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the Annecy International Animated Film Festival present this look at new faces of French animation, featuring some of the best short animated films that were screened at the 2015 Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France: “Alison,” “Yul and the Snake,” “Tigers Tied Up In One Rope,” “Sunday Lunch,” “A Slice of the Country,” “Rhizome,” “My Home” and “In Deep Waters.”

ARRAY at The Broad: Cooley High
REDCAT (Downtown)
Sat. January 14, 8:30pm, $20, All ages
Friendship, first loves, and fatality are navigated by four young men in Cooley High directed by Michael Schultz and written by Eric Monte. Set in 1960s Chicago, this coming of age story provides a slice of life look at both the light and grit of black teen spirit. The film’s 1975 release provided a shift away from blaxploitation cinema common during that time. The screening of this classic is curated by filmmaker Ava DuVernay (13th, Selma) and will serve as the springboard for a dynamic post-screening discussion with Cooley High actor Glynn Turman and rapper, actor, and film producer Common and about male identity and black images, and the representation of both in cinema and mainstream media.

Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) Part I & II
Billy Wilder Theater (Westwood)
Sat. January 14, 7:30pm-Sun. January 15, 7pm, Free, All ages
In the year before the 2003 U.S.-lead invasion of Iraq, Paris-based documentary filmmaker Abbas Fahdel began filming his family and friends in the country as the cloud of war loomed over their increasingly anxious daily lives.  After the U.S. bombing began, Fahdel returned, capturing the wearing, surreal and devastating realities of the growing post-invasion chaos on ordinary Iraqis.  A selection at the 2016 New York Film Festival, Fahdel’s two-part, vérité portrait of a people under occupation speaks powerfully to the human reality often masked by headlines.  With the war and its aftermath continuing to exert a dire influence over the region and the world.

18th Annual Scandinavian Film Festival L.A.
Writer’s Guild Theater (Beverly Hills)
Sat. January 14-Sun. January 22, $12/film, All ages
Turn your eye toward the opening of the 18th Annual Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. (SFFLA)– Jan 14, 15, 21, 22 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.  Don’t miss a great program of films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden and Baltic neighbors Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Offerings include Oscar submissions in the context of other current feature films and a sampling of shorts and documentaries.

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