Top Cultural Events in Los Angeles: February 8-14

by Tom Nguyen

Pan African Film and Arts Festival, the largest Black History event in the nation, begins this week! Aratani World Series kicks off with 2 of LA’s most innovative & multicultural hip hop dance companies: Versa-Style and Culture Shock LA! Plus tons of great music this week: Low Leaf has her album release with 12 piece orchestra, Los Rakas Grammy party with Subsuelo, LA Retro Festival with Thee Midniters, Urban Badlands presents Noche de Corazones with La Chamba, The Altons, The Red Pears and The Steady 45s and more and De’Anza starts a monthly residency at Mal’s Bar.

Start celebrating Brazilian Carnival with funk, samba and drum groups at Live After 5 in Long Beach and Beats of All Nations in Pomona. TheLIFT ends its long-running underground dance parties with Nickodemus and Chulita Vinyl Club spins Thursday with DJ Degruvme and Sunday at La Cita.

Comedy and political satire like Comedy InvAsian and HisPanic Attack is very relevant in this difficult xenophobic climate right now and there are lots of community events to reaffirm our solidarity together and support one another like Black & Brown Love is Revolutionary at Avenue 50 Studio, LoveUP! at Crenshaw Yoga & Dance and community art walks & marketplaces at Self Help Graphics, East LA Art Walk, Keeping the Culture Alive in Montebello and many more. And congratulations LA Librería on their 2 year anniversary and Las Fotos Project open house of their new location in Lincoln Heights this Saturday!


Live After 5: Mardi Gras Carnival Edition
At The Top (Long Beach)
Thu. Feb. 9, 5pm-11pm, Free, All ages
Live After 5, the DLBA’s free music series returns on February 9th from 5pm – 11pm with a special Mardi Gras Carnival edition. Curated by Bobby Easton of Long Beach Funk Fest fame the event will take place at the brand-new At The Top on Broadway and Pine. Performing at Live After 5: Mardi Gras Carnival Edition will be: Delta Nove,
The White Blinds, Sea Funk Brass Band, Bate Batuque, Gisella Sambista and the Samba Soul Dancers, DJs Dennis Owens of The Good Foot, Glenn Red from La Junta and Afro Funke & more!

Low Leaf and the Ascension Orchestra: Palm Psalms Record Release 
Center for the Arts Eagle Rock
Fri. Feb. 10, 9pm, $12-$15, All ages
Center for the Arts Eagle Rock presents Low Leaf and the 12-piece Ascension Orchestra in a live performance, record release show of her first independent record Palm Psalms A Light to Resolve All Darkness. LA native Low Leaf combines an array of genres in contemporary music by exploring electric harp, piano, guitar, and beat making. Palm Psalms, released on double vinyl under her imprint, Creator DIY, features live instrumentation and freeform orchestration. (*Ticket Giveaway!)

De’Anza’s Residency Launch Party + Single Release with NK Riot
Mal’s Bar (Historic South Central)
Fri. Feb. 10, 9pm-2am, Free, 21+
Join us as we launch De’Anza’s new Friday residency with the release of her brand new single, “La Puerta.” (available 2/10). 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. Also joining the monthly party is DJ/visual artist Juxli (Subsuelo / Culture Remixed). He’ll be dropping some serious bangers and coloring the walls with tripped out visuals. Special guest performance by NK-Riot!!! If you missed his much talked about Coachella after-party performance, here’s your chance to see & hear why NK Riot is East LA’s ambassador of electronic music.

Subsuelo + Late Night Laggers present Los Rakas Grammy Party
Los Globos (Silver Lake)
Fri. Feb. 10, 9pm-3am, $7-$10, 21+
It has been a huge year for Los Rakas. Celebrating their 10 year anniversary, Los Rakas were invited to the White House, performed across Panama, Cuba, Mexico and the US, and ended the year with a Grammy Nomination for their self-titled album. Now they’re coming to LA for the Grammy Awards with a new record, Raka Love Pt 2, to be released on February 14th. Time for a #RakaParty with Subsuelo + Late Night Laggers! Other Grammy parties happening this night too like Lalah Hathaway & Friends at The Troubadour and Robert Glasper at The Mint. And if you want more Carribean vibe, check out One Love Cali Reggae Fest this weekend at Queen Mary in Long Beach.

L.A. Retro Festival
Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach)
Sun. Feb. 12, 11am-5pm, Free, All ages
Step back in time and enjoy the music, fashion, and art of Los Angeles at MOLAA’s L.A. Retro Festival! Bring family and friends and join us as we celebrate the public opening of Dreamland: A Frank Romero Retrospective with free art workshops, live performances, gallery tours, craft vendors, and face painting. Vintage attire is strongly encouraged – come dressed in clothes from your favorite era! Food and drink will be available for purchase. Music with Thee Midniters wtih vocalist Greg Esparza, Cutty Flam and more!

Noche de Corazones: La Chamba, The Red Pears, The Altons, & The Steady 45’s ft. Chulita Vinyl Club
Echoplex (Echo Park)
Mon. Feb. 13, 7pm-1am, $10, All ages
Heartbreakers and lovebirds wanted for Noche de Corazones at The Echoplex! [heart emojis] You’ll be dancing all night with the most Latinx line up the Echo has seen in a while. We got La Chamba, The Altons, The Steady 45s, and The Red Pears ready to make you love. Chulita Vinyl Club will be on the 1s & 2s between sets. Bring a date (or not) and buy your tickets!


Heartbeats & Disco Treats w/ Que Madre, Degruvme & DJ Phatrick
The Office Cocktails (Lincoln Heights)
Thu. Feb. 9, 9pm-2am, Free, 21+
Heartbeats & Disco Treats is your chance to bump & hustle to some classic disco, freak to the funk, get it on w/ some motown y dar vueltas a cumbias pesadas y mas!

Versa-Style + Culture Shock L.A.
Aratani Theatre (Little Tokyo)
Sat. Feb. 11, 6pm, $15-$35, All ages
Thrill to the artistry of two of LA’s most high powered and ethnically diverse hip hop dance squads. Presenting fully staged theatrical works Versa-Style Dance Company & Culture Shock Los Angeles expand our understanding and definition of HIP HOP. Superbly synchronized and driven they showcase hip-hop’s dazzling physicality, fierce formations and face-offs. With story telling and inspiring music they take us on a journey of hope. 7pm|Performance. 6pm|Free hiphop festival-50 youth dancers on the plaza. Food Trucks! Japanese Tea!

Beats of All-Nations Carnaval 2017
Dba256 Bar & Gallery (Pomona)
Sat. Feb. 11, 9pm-2am, Free, 21+
Our biggest annual party returns to Dba256 Bar & Gallery! Beats of All-Nations CARNAVAL with special guest DJs Sumo Hair (Dinamita), Yukicito (La Junta) & more!

TheLIFT – Seven Years, Farewell & Resist
Private location
Sun. Feb. 12, 2pm-10pm, $20, 21+
After 7 years in strange places between LA, SF, NYC, ATL, MIAMI and PORTUGAL we celebrate ONE LAST TIME WITH YOU. it’s been a wonderful journey, but as all things do, they come to an end. please join us in seven years of celebration with our VERY special guest who has ALWAYZ been there from the beginning and understands the meaning of community, intention and the cause and effect music contributes to change…. NICKODEMUS! This final edition is timely, just weeks after a new administration is sworn into office… a regime we do not support. for this reason, we have dedicated the night and 100% OF ALL PROCEEDS (NO ONE IS GETTING PAID, ALL INVOLVED ARE DONATING THEIR SERVICES/EQUIPMENT) WILL BE SPLIT EQUALLY BETWEEN THE ACLU, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, STANDING ROCK & PLANNED PARENTHOOD. our goal is to raise $10k+ to support the rights of ALL and keep this country rich in color, diversity and choice. we have come along way as a nation, yet we still have much work to do. let’s resist peacefully and intelligently in the music… shall we?

Chulita Vinyl Club La Presents: Love Hangover
La Cita Bar (Downtown)
Sun. Feb. 12, 9pm-2am, Free, 21+
Come down to La Cita Bar in Downtown for a Pre Valentines Day get down! We’ll be playing all your favorite romanticas, funk, soul, motown, hip-hop & rnb (and w/e else we want :P) ALL vinyl, ALL night!

Metro Art Presents: Tangótico, Carlos Barrionuevo & Mayte Valdes
Union Station (Downtown)
Tue. Feb. 14, 8pm-10:30pm, Free, All ages
Metro Art Los Angeles presents a special evening of tango for Valentine’s Day in Union Station’s Historic Ticketing Hall! A free tango lesson will be followed by a milonga (tango social dancing), accompanied by live orchestra Tangótico, led by Matias Piegari and dance performances by Carlos Barrionuevo and Mayte Valdes.


Dahlak Brathwaite: Spiritrials
REDCAT (Downtown)
Thu. Feb. 9-Sat. Feb. 11, $10-$20, All ages
A young African American man is stopped by the police without clear cause. Again and again and again. The 10th stop leads to entanglements with the courts, jail, and attorneys with potentially life-changing results. Dahlak Brathwaite’s incisive humor and poetic wisdom transforms this chilling personal story into a vivid theatrical event in collaboration with celebrated DJ Dion Decibels and gifted director Marc Bamuthi Joseph. A virtuosic and timely exploration of the criminal justice system, Spiritrials chronicles the journey of Dahlak’s own criminalization along with his struggle to be vindicated and decriminalized in the eyes of the law and society. The piece works through the personal shame of criminal stigmatization to examine the factors — both internal and external — that have misplaced him in what appears to be a cultural rite of passage. 

Comedy InvAsian
Japanese American National Museum (Little Tokyo)
Fri. Feb. 10-Sun. Feb. 26, 7:30pm, $10-$80, All ages
JANM is pleased to host Comedy InvAsian, a new series of one-hour standup comedy performances that will be filmed in front of live audiences in our Tateuchi Democracy Forum. Come be a part of the audience as six of the nation’s most exciting Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) comedians take the stage.

HisPanic Attack
Studio Theatre (Hollywood)
Fri. Feb. 10-Feb. Apr. 28, $12, All ages
“Partially inspired by President Donald Trump’s anti-Latino and -immigrant rhetoric, Second City combats all the hate with what it does best: comedy. Directed by Martin Garcia, the theater’s latest sketch show, HisPanic Attack, mocks ethnic misconceptions about Hispanics, including the myth of foreigners stealing Americans’ jobs, and blasts stereotypical film and TV roles, such as the nanny, janitor or fiery Latina. The cast, featuring Roxana Altamirano, Mario Barra, Jorge Berrios, David Luna, Jay Pichardo, Jennifer Polania Garcia and Xochitl Romero, even sings a parody of “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid to spoof Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.” ~ LA Weekly 

Black & Brown Love is Revolutionary
Avenue 50 Studio (Highland Park)
Sat. Feb. 11, 7pm-10pm, Free, All ages
Avenue 50 Studio presents an exhibition of Black and Brown solidarity, a show that gives praise to art that is unapologetically Black, Brown, Resilient, and Powerful. It is important to bring awareness of the next generation of artists of color whose voices will become the new powerful agents of change and drive. The artwork provided not only portrays resistance against all forms of oppression but honors the diverse cultures that make up communities of Color.

Dreamland: A Frank Romero Retrospective
Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach)
Sat. Feb. 11, 7pm-9pm, $15, All ages
Celebrate the opening of Dreamland, a comprehensive retrospective exhibition of work by legendary Los Angeles artist Frank Romero. Dreamland recounts Romero’s life’s journey from his early years as an aspiring Boyle Heights artist, to becoming a founding member of the Chicano art collective Los Four, to establishing himself as one of the most celebrated L.A artists of our time. Featuring more than 200 works of art, the exhibition includes early works, paintings from the Los Four period, large scale paintings and murals, political art from the 80’s and 90’s and recent works in neon and ceramics. Dance all night with DJ sets by Chulita Vinyl Club and enjoy complimentary cupcakes and coffee by Viva Los Cupcakes and Primera Taza Coffee House. Indulge in delicious food provided by Shady Grove Catering, Cesar’s Bistro, and Enjoyr. A cash bar will also be available. Don’t forget to check out the classic cars presented by Bombs Magazine • Los Angeles Classic Car Show.


26th Annual Alhambra Lunar New Year Celebration
Valley Blvd. from Almansor to Vega (Alhambra)
Sat. Feb. 11, 10am-5pm, Free, All ages

Mercadito de Amor
Self Help Graphics & Art (Boyle Heights)
Sat. Feb. 11, 12pm-5pm, Free, All ages
Self Help Graphics & Art invites you to the Mercadito de Amor (12pm to 5pm). Find high-quality crafts, food, and fine art for that special someone (including yourself) in your life. Featuring many of the eastside’s favorite artists and artisans. ♥

Las Fotos Project Youth Gallery Open House, part of MOPLA
Las Fotos Project (Lincoln Heights)
Sat. Feb. 11, 12pm-6pm, Free, All ages
*Part of Month of Photography LA (MOPLA)* Our open house will be an opportunity for guests to preview our new youth gallery and community darkroom. The space, an 1,100 square foot work studio and gallery, will become the new home of Las Fotos Project, a photography mentoring organization for teenage girls, and a space for the girls and their mentors to hangout, work on photo projects, learn, and collaborate. Our Self-Portraits exhibit will be on display too! Self-Portraits is a photography exhibit featuring 150 teenage girls who created captivating self-portraits and personal narratives. Las Fotos Project student photographers, girls and young ladies ages 11 to 18, photographed themselves using different photography techniques while learning about self-confidence and self-expression. And mark your calendars for Viva La Muxer annual all women art & music festival on March 11!

Love UP!
Crenshaw Yoga & Dance
Sat. Feb. 11, 2pm-7:30pm, Free, All ages
A Market + Workshop and Healing Fundraiser for Black Lives & Hearts. Proceeds will go to Justice Warriors for Black Lives. L O V E U P! is a artisan market, workshop and Black-centered community space geared towards bringing ALL folks together to support and uplift the Black community. February will find us in the midst of a newly-inaugurated Trump America and Valentine’s Day. While both of these events bring up dread and loathing, L O V E U P! will reimagine this time as a moment for self and community love & empowerment. L O V E U P! is an opportunity to connect with yourself and community in a loving environment that will feature Black makers and healers selling items to help you on your love-filled journey. Let’s recommit to economically empowering the Black community! Concluding the market will be a workshop led by Allison Simon, a manifestation & mindfulness healer and magic maker.

LA Librería’s 2nd Anniversary featuring 123 Andrés kids concert
LA Librería (Mid-City)
Sat. Feb. 11, 6pm-7pm, $10 suggested donation per family, All ages
Come celebrate LA librería’s second anniversary with a very special bilingual concert by Latin Grammy Winner 123 Andrés! Andrés is a gifted artist that celebrates Latin culture with music in two languages for all the family! His latest album ‘Arriba, Abajo’ won the Grammy for Best Children’s Album of 2016.

Also support the monthly community art walks in Downtown Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, Montebello and Pomona this weekend!


25th Annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival
Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (Crenshaw)
Thu. Feb. 9-Sun. Feb. 20, $10-$14/film and festival passes available, All ages
It is PAFF’s goal to present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help destroy negative stereotypes. We believe film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while at the same time serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times. Since 1992, every year PAFF-LA showcases over one hundred fifty (150) quality new films and over one hundred (100) fine artists and unique craft persons from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, South America, Europe, the South Pacific and Canada, all showcasing the diversity and complexity of people of African descent.

USC School of Cinematic Arts
Sun. Feb. 12, 2:30pm, Free w rsvp, All ages
25 years after Paris Is Burning introduced the art of voguing to the world, Kiki revisits New York City’s thriving underground ballroom scene. It’s a larger-than-life world in which LGBTQ youths of color are empowered by staging elaborate dance competitions that showcase their dynamic choreography, fabulous costumes, and fierce attitude. It’s also a safe haven for struggling, at-risk teens who find acceptance, support, and friendship within the Kiki community. Granted intimate access to the scene, filmmaker Sara Jordenö introduces viewers to some of Kiki culture’s most prominent personalities, going beyond the glamour of the balls to highlight the serious challenges facing queer black and Latino young people. Bringing together heartrending personal stories with incredible displays of creative expression, Kiki is “exhilarating…an indelible, must-see ode to gay New York” (Manohla Dargis, The New York Times).

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