My picks for 19th Annual Polish Film Festival (Oct. 17-25, 2018)


by Tom Nguyen

October is always teeming with great film festivals in Los Angeles! It’s as if all the cinephiles, like myself, suddenly needed a break from an overstimulating summer of competing activities, and cocoon ourselves inside a myriad of film screenings this month as a Fall transition. Next up: 19th Annual Polish Film Festival, which opened Wednesday, October 17, 2018, at Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, with a gala screening of Squadron 303, based on the true history of Polish pilots who shot down three times more Luftwaffe planes during the Battle of Britain than other Allied pilots.

The film festival continues through Thursday, October 25, at two primary venues: Laemmle Noho 7 Theatre in North Hollywood and Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica. There will also be free screenings at CSU Northridge and USC campuses and Hellada Gallery in Long Beach. Here are my picks (in order of appearance at the festival): Continue Reading →

Guide to Dia de los Muertos 2018 in Los Angeles & Surrounding Areas

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by Tom Nguyen

Here’s my roundup of Dia de los Muertos in and around Los Angeles. As I repeat every year like my first guide, please learn about and honor this respectful celebration of departed loved ones, an important tradition that goes back to indigenous roots, and not turn it into another culturally appropriated Cinco de Mayo.

By no means is this list complete — there are so many great Dia de los Muertos events all over Southern California, I couldn’t possibly list them all. Events below are ALL AGES and FREE, unless otherwise noted. Continue Reading →

My Picks for German Currents 2018


by Tom Nguyen

The 12th Annual German Currents Film Festival in Los Angeles, happens October 19-22, 2018 at the Egyptian Theatre. The annual festival features the latest German and Swiss cinema and is a co-production between of the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles and the American Cinematheque. This year’s festival kicks-off with a red carpet opening night LA premiere of director Arne Feldhusen’s tragicomedy MAGICAL MYSTERY OR THE RETURN OF KARL SCHMIDT, and will conclude with the US premiere of KREATUR by the renowned dance company Sasha Waltz & Guests, followed by an after-party at The Theater at Ace Hotel, co-presented with UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance.

Here are the films I’m looking forward to seeing, all of which are making their Los Angeles premieres: Continue Reading →

Viet Film Fest 2018: My Top Picks


by Tom Nguyen

After a hiatus in 2017, Viet Film Festival presented by the Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association (VAALA) is back this year! The 10th edition from October 12-14, 2018, at AMC Orange 30, will screen 30 films (13 features and 17 short films) from Vietnam, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Czech Republic, Germany, and Malaysia. In this era of #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite, the film festival is proud that more than 50% of the films were either directed or produced by women.

The festival opens with Cao Thuy Nhi’s Summer in Closed Eyes (Nhắm Mắt Thấy Mùa Hè), a cross-cultural love story set in Hokkaido, Japan, that faced many challenges while being made, but has gone onto to become a critical and commercial success in Asia. The young Vietnamese and Japanese cast & crew will be in attendance to kick off the festival!

Continue Reading →

Ten Films to watch at LA Film Festival 2018!


by Tom Nguyen

The LA Film Festival (LAFF), kicked off its 24th year last night and will continue through September 28, 2018. Produced by the nonprofit arts organization Film Independent, the festival aims to elevate the conversation about the lack of diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the cameras. For this year’s nearly 200 films, 42 percent of the directors are women and 39 percent are people of color, and there is a series of “We The People” panels, to discuss everything from #OscarsSoWhite to the #MeToo movement to improving inclusion in Hollywood. There really is something for everyone and I gravitate towards foreign cinema and documentaries, so here are 10 films I look forward to seeing at this year’s LAFF! Continue Reading →

Interview: GNL Zamba, Godfather of Ugandan Hip Hop, his Black Panther inspired Freestyle and forming duo NSIMBI with his partner

by Tom Nguyen

I met GNL Zamba and his partner, Miriam Tamar, outside a show in 2016, where they introduced themselves as being new to L.A. and thanking me for cluing them into the global music scene with my site. Little did I know that GNL Zamba is Uganda’s most well-known hip hop artist, and having never mentioned his background to me, my mind was blown 2 years later when he dropped this hot freestyle this past April!

So you know what they say…the real geniuses are the ones who don’t have to say much, but when they do, y’all better listen! And trust me, I’m listening now! Here’s an interview with GNL Zamba on what exactly Lugaflow is, how love led him to Los Angeles, and forming NSIMBI, a new duo, with his wife, Miriam Tamar.

EnClave: For folks outside Uganda and in LA who don’t know, can you tell us about Lugaflow and the hip hop scene in Uganda. How long have you been rapping and what got you started?

GNL Zamba: Uganda’s music scene is very vibrant and has been for a while but that wasn’t the case for hip hop. It wasn’t mainstream, with little respect and coverage. It wasn’t considered a favorite until 2008. That is when the game totally changed. I released an album called Koyi Koyi (Riddles of Life), which became the most colossal hip hop album in Uganda’s industry. The album was under the theme of indigenous pride (Lugafow), the album used traditional chants and which made the rhymes fun and relatable. I told stories of growing poor in Kampala. The genre got its new life from the Koyi Koyi album. I became a household name with fans of all ages and the sponsorships from corporate partners helped me cement Lugaflow (indigenous language flow) into an urban movement. My first concert that year had over 12,000 people at Kyadondo rugby grounds. Something that was unprecedented for a hip hop MC before. I was overjoyed.

EnClave LA: What brought you out here to Los Angeles?

GNL Zamba: Music, Film and a girl! I often reply haha! I met my partner in Uganda almost 6 years ago; she had been working to rebuild the post war community in northern Uganda. She had just ended her work and was transitioning into music when we met. We both loved culture and were both looking for a new voice to express ourselves and the community. We worked on edutainment songs for organizations under the ministry of health to sensitize the youth about safe sex and began performing on stages together.

We were in the middle of making a super band when a personal tragedy forced her to she move back to the states. I was hesitant to join her because I loved my Ugandan life and didn’t want to trade it. I visited often and saw her whenever I had a chance to perform in the U.S.A. Until I decided to get an 01 Visa and give L.A. a try. Now we are releasing our first project together as a hip hop world fusion duo in a few weeks. It will be called NSIMBI. Continue Reading →

EnClave’s Guide to Los Angeles 2018 Summer Events & beyond

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by Tom Nguyen

[Last updated: July 24, 2018] So Facebook broke my events calendar on this site. Long story short, I used to painstakingly and manually populate the calendar one event at a time, until there was a way for me to automatically import Facebook events directly to the calendar. If folks don’t know, there’s just one person behind this whole site (me!), and it was such a time saver. Well, in response to its recent data privacy scandal, Facebook closed up its system and I can no longer do that. So, no more calendar!

But calendar or no calendar, I’ve always loved putting out an annual list of summer events. What I noticed about other sites is they always put out a list of free summer concerts, or an “ultimate” list of summer events, that always excluded so many events in communities of color and immigrant diaspora — immigrant communities are still invisible in this global city.

So this is my list, and it doesn’t just focus on the free…there’s many nonprofits and other great performing arts venues putting out great cultural programming that shouldn’t be ignored just because you have to pay. Plus, not all worthy artists get selected for a very limited set of free summer concert series, so please support our hard-working local artists, visiting artists, grassroots producers and community organizations putting on events, on their own dime!

So if you only care about free concerts, read no further, and don’t even bother with those other lists…just go to socalsummerconcerts.com. I don’t know who puts that calendar together but it’s very convenient. Now if you do care about a wider range of summer events in LA, and you do care about supporting both local bands and venues who work hard to put on culturally relevant and important shows, then enjoy. I spent a good day initially putting this list together and I will never call it a complete or ultimate list…This list will be updated on a weekly basis, as I find out more events throughout the summer. I’ll also go back and add highlight videos from my Instagram so you can see what you missed out on! (If you’re not following me on Instagram, you should…many events and last minute announcements are only posted on Instagram these days…the millennials don’t use Facebook anymore!). And if you want a reminder of more awesome upcoming events as well as ticket giveaways to many of these shows, subscribe to our newsletter!

Thank you to organizations and event producers like Hollywood Bowl, Ford Theatres, Grand Performances, Pasadena Playhouse, Brazilian Nites, Nance Arte Productions, Go As If Productions who pay me and my street team CultureGap.LA to promote their shows and get featured here on my site — thank you for helping to keep the lights on and this labor of love going! If you have a worthy event that you would like featured on this list, my site, newsletter and social media, contact me. I hope to see you at a stage this Summer into Fall (aka L.A.’s late summer!).

[JUN]    [JUL]    [AUG]    [SEP]    [OCT]

Interview: Juli Kim of The Artist’s Platform on The Friendship Concert this Sat. April 28!


by Tom Nguyen

This Saturday, April 28, 7:30pm, is The Friendship Concert, a performance of music, dance and culture, at Aratani Theater in Little Tokyo, to commemorate the LA Riots. The concert will showcase an eclectic array of artistic talents from diverse communities. Here’s the lineup:

  • Houman Pourmehdi on Daf Frame Drum.
  • Aerial Piece by Nick Loui.
  • Reach Sister’s contemporary dance piece.
  • Celeste Lanuza’s Mexican/Fusion choreography with live music.
  • James Mahkween’s African/Fusion work.
  • USC Instrumental duo from Doctorate department playing an Original composition by Michael Kim-Sheng, an emerging composer.
  • Juli Kim’s Korean Classical/Fusion dance piece.
  • Tashara and Queala from Lula Washington Dance Company.
  • Los Angeles Children’s Community Youth Choir led by Sun Joo Yeo.
  • The Flintridge Singers directed by Steve Hill.
  • Artist Entrance Dance Company premiering “Trajectory”.
  • Paco & Yolanda flamenco piece juxtaposed with Korean Five drum dance then continued on to Taiko Drum’s finale.

I had a chance to speak to Juli Kim of The Artists’ Platform (TAP), who is organizing this huge ensemble performance.

EnClave.LA: Tell us about The Artists’ Platform (TAP) and why you think it’s so important to bring so many different performers from different communities as well as school children to perform?

Juli: Thank you so much for giving me a chance to introduce our nonprofit organization, The Artists’ Platform. Our nonprofit organization was founded last year to recognize the need to support the efforts of emerging artists. On November 6th, we hosted our Inaugural Concert, which highlighted an eclectic array of artistic talents, showcasing diverse genres from diverse communities. As Founder and President of this organization, I can proudly say that our first concert was a great success.  Continue Reading →

2018 Spring Films Guide


by Tom Nguyen

Spring time is here in Los Angeles, and April into May are jam packed with film festivals and special screenings from Los Angeles to Long Beach to Orange County. Even for a film fanatic like me, it’s dizzying trying to keep track of so many! Foreign film festivals are particularly meaningful to me because they were always my way of exploring the world, when I had no money to travel abroad, and subtitled films are the only films I get to enjoy on the big screen with my friend and movie buddy, Morris, who is deaf. Special thanks to Wilki of WilkiIMAGE, the professional photographer who’s been covering LA’s film festival circuit for decades and always keeps me in the loop! Want to see Grace Jones in person introducing the new documentary on her life? Or go oapril 25n a romantic movie date, sipping chocolate margaritas while watching the classic Like Water For Chocolate? Then look at my guide to some of my favorite film festivals and special screenings happening, in order of opening dates:

HOLA Mexico Film Festival’s 10th Anniversary

April 5-May 24, 2018 at Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles and June 1-9, 2018 at locations TBA.
In celebration of HOLA Mexico Film Festival’s 10th Anniversary, the Festival will host free film screenings every Thursday – April 5 through May 24 – at the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles. As a look back at the Festival’s milestone 10 year history, each of the eight films featured in this series has been a notable Festival Opening Night selection. In addition, in the lobby of the cinema of the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles, there will be an installation showcasing the posters from the past nine years of HOLA Mexico Film Festival. These free screenings lead up to the 10th Annual HOLA Mexico Film Festival June 1-9!

Memories Of Underdevelopment (Memorias Del Subdesarrollo) – 50th Anniversary Screening

April 11, 2018 at Frida Cinema
The Frida Cinema is proud to partner with University of California, Irvine and the Bowers Museum – with the support of the the Humanities for All Grant made possible by California Humanities, UC-Mexus, and UCI Illuminations – on Latin American Studies in Motion, a series of cultural events, including four films presented at The Frida, which reflect Latin American history, culture, and recent social and environmental change. On Wednesday, April 11, join us for a very special 50th Anniversary Screening of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s 1968 classic Memories of Underdevelopment (Memorias del subdesarrollo) – easily the most celebrated and well-known film from the Cuban Revolution. Screening will be followed by a presentation and Q&A with Raul Fernandez, Professor Emiritus of Chicano & Latino Studies, University of California – Irvine. Frida Cinema is Orange County’s only non-profit film theater and if you’re a Selena fan, come to their free screenings of SELENA on April 16, 1:30pm & 7pm, in recognition of what would have marked the 47th Birthday of the singer and icon.

16th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA)

April 11-15, 2018 at Regal L.A. LIVE
16th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles is the premiere platform for the latest in cutting-edge global Indian cinema and bridges the gap between the two largest entertainment industries in the world – Hollywood and India. The festival will showcase more than 25 films from the Indian filmmaking community across the globe, host the highly anticipated Opening and Closing red carpet Galas, and the Closing Awards ceremony. Opening the festival on April 11 is IN THE SHADOWS, starring Manoj Bajpayee in a tour de force performance as a reclusive shopkeeper who vows to rescue his young neighbor from abuse at the hands of his father directed by Dipesh Jain. Festival will close with the Los Angeles premiere of VILLAGE ROCKSTARS, one of the most lauded Indian films on the festival circuit in the past year. The film is directed by emerging Indian filmmaker Rima Das. The film, written, shot, edited and directed by Das, is a touching coming of age story of a ten-year-old girl in a remote Assamese village who dreams of buying a guitar and starting her own rock band.

Journey From The Fall and VIET STORIES: Recollections & Regenerations

Continue Reading →

Buyepongo says Misogyny will not be tolerated after women fans groped at their show

by Tom Nguyen

[Buyepongo is about breaking down borders one dance floor at a time. Its about getting to know one another.. and yes it’s about shaking yo booty, How ever you want to get down!! We want to make it clear to all these foos that think they are gods gift to woman and think they can come and straight up disrespect a woman at our show.. fuck that!! We see you and we will approach you!! Last night we had a situation where 2 #buyeseras were touched and groped and without consent simply for the fact they allow him to dance with them. We want to say it loud and clear THAT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED AT A BUYE SHOW!! Even if its a friend , brother or even a Buye member they will get checked appropriately. And If you see this happening you gotta step up and protect our people!!! We love all woman and men!! And we want yall to come to our shows and feel free to do your thing but all ways be respectful and NO MEANS NO!!!! This conversation must happen so we can create a better future for our seeds. This has been a Buye service .. announcement. Con todo respeto y amor !!!! #fuckpatriarchy #buyangu]

Thank you Edgar Meshlee Modesto of Buyepongo for calling out the man who groped 2 of their women fans at their show this past weekend, and saying any behavior that disrespects and violates folks, will not be tolerated. He also importantly says, as men, we need to challenge and confront other men when we see this happening, instead of looking the other way and being bystanders. It’s an important issue many of us recently discussed at Art Making Party: Gear Up for Denim Day! led by Sumaq Alvarado-del Aguila of Peace Over Violence.

This kind of behavior happens so much at shows, that we’ve become so conditioned to ignore it….women learn to accept it as a reality of going out anywhere, men learn they can get away with it, because no other men are saying or doing anything about it. When is this going to change? When are each of us going to take a stand like Edgar? For my partner who is a survivor of sexual assault, for my niece who is growing up, I want to the the kind of man who doesn’t hesitate to call out misogyny and patriarchy. Shit like this is not harmless. It’s not boys being boys. You touch somebody without their consent, that’s assault…that’s violence. And it doesn’t matter who it is — we can’t give folks a pass just because they’re popular or well-connected. There has to be consequences for bad behavior. Edgar says he will check his own band members.

And that’s why you’ll never see Tropa Magica / Thee Commons events here…I’ve seen the 2 brothers harass and manhandle women many times and I won’t cover any misogynist bands, or give them a pass just because people expect rockers to be bad boys. No, just because you play in a band, manage a band, think you’re with the cool kids, doesn’t mean you get to violate and take advantage of folks. Support artists like Buyepongo, Earth Arrow and Weapons of Mass Creation who call out the bullshit that patriarchy is, and who absolutely demand that all folks are respected and safe at their shows.

And demand safe spaces where you spend your money! One venue where I see bad behavior tolerated all the time is Resident, where security is only outside checking IDs, but none anywhere inside. So, there are men who feel they can get as drunk as they want and act with impunity. And you feel like you have to act on your own with no backup…the one time I confronted a man who was groping women on the dance floor there, their security threw me and my partner Vanna Mae Art (people of color) out, and let the perpetrator (white male) stay. These spaces that profit from us absolutely bear a responsibility to ensure a safe space…hold them to it!

And we wouldn’t be having this conversation openly if the 2 brave women didn’t tell Edgar after the show what happened. Let’s talk about these issues openly instead of remaining silent. Have you had bad experiences or witnessed them? What can we do to protect one another better and respect folks’ space and safety at shows? On a bright note, a man I got into a physical confrontation with at La Cita Bar last year over his groping of women, approached me and apologized to me recently for his bad behavior. So, people can atone and change, but it starts with telling them their bad behavior is not to be tolerated.