Interview: 18th Brazilian Carnaval features 2018 Rio Samba Champion, Kids Matinee and more!

by Tom Nguyen

The 18th Annual Brazilian Carnaval happens next Saturday, February 24, at Cafe Club Fais Do Do! This year features singer Neguinho da Beija-Flor, direct from Rio de Janeiro, and I was able to interview Brazilian Nites Productions founder, Patricia Leao, who has been putting on the faithful reproduction of Rio-style Carnaval for almost two decades in Los Angeles.


EnClave.LA: Congratulations on another successful year of Brazilian Carnaval! What do you have in store for us this year?

Brazilian Nites: Thank you! Exited to have yet one more traditional Brazilian Carnaval that will celebrate 18 years with the very special presence of the Samba Star of Carnaval – NEGUINHO DA BEIJA FLOR directly from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil…I would like to say directly from Marquez de Sapucai to be more precise…This is where all the samba schools of Rio parade for 2 full nights competing against each other, with over 3000 dancers per school, amazing floats and special themes. 

We have extended our event to a Kids Matinee Carnaval…after all Carnaval is for everyone in Brazil. This will be from 2pm-6pm and then 8pm to 2am is our Carnaval Party.

We also have a “Market place” that will have food, crafts, giveaways, etc.

So Fais Do Do has three areas that will all be turned into a Brazil for a day from 2pm to 2am! Continue Reading →

Interview: Brazilian Carnaval’s 17 Year History and Celebrating 100 Years of Samba this Friday!


by Tom Nguyen

When I got a second chance to go back to college in OC at age 32, I joined the Pan American Latino Society, and some members took me to my first Brazilian Carnaval in 2007. Never had I experienced such an exuberant cultural affair. I was totally immersed and swept away by the sights, sounds and open hearts of the Brazilian community, and I’ve been trying to document cultural events throughout Los Angeles ever since.

I got a chance to interview Patricia Leao, founder of Brazilian Nites Productions, which has faithfully put on an authentic Brazilian Carnaval in Los Angeles the past 17 years and reminisce some more on its history, leading up to the latest edition this Friday, Feb. 24, at Teragram Ballroom, celebrating another milestone: 100 years of Samba!

EnClave.LA: Congratulations on 17 years! I’ve been going to your Carnaval for a decade now! My college friends in OC took me to my first Carnaval in 2007 when you had it on the Queen Mary. It was really my first introduction to not only the Brazilian community but ultimately to sparking my passion for covering LA’s diverse and rich cultural scene.

Brazilian Nites: Wow! This is nice to know Tom! A lot of times (most of them), the reward is exactly this…people like you becoming a follower of the culture of Brazil, as part of what we planted. And I agree, LA has an amazing diverse and rich cultural scene that is very authentic.

EnClave.LA: I know it’s a big labor of love each year for you and your team.

Brazilian Nites: Yes, it is! I take great pride in making it as authentic as possible.

EnClave.LA: What have been the highlights for you these past 17 years and why is it important to you to keep this tradition going in LA? Continue Reading →

Our Picks for NYE 2017 in Los Angeles!


by Tom Nguyen

When I’m considering where to spend New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles, I look for 3 things:

  • Great live bands and dance music we typically cover on this site.
  • It won’t break the bank (Some free, most under $30).
  • Whether big or small events, I’m looking for good vibes, not pretentiousness.

If you’re looking for the same, here are my recommendations (in order of cost): Continue Reading →

Week’s Highlights: March 16-20

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by Tom Nguyen

IMG_5626Wednesday, March 16, sister trio A-WA from Israel enthralled the packed crowd at The Echo with their Yemeni folk music. Tair, Liron & Tagel Haim (originally known as The Haim Sisters and not to be confused with another sister trio Haim) grew up in a small village Shaharut in the southern Israeli Arava Valley. Since childhood, the girls have been singing traditional songs passed down from their Yemeni grandmother. The love and protest songs of women in the Yemeni-Arabic dialect have been passed on as an oral tradition. Continue Reading →

Top Picks for NYE 2016 in Los Angeles!

15 Film Picks (5)
by Tom Nguyen

When I’m considering where to spend New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles, I look for 3 things:

  • Great live bands or dance music we typically cover on this site.
  • It won’t break the bank (Some free, most under $40).
  • Whether big or small events, I’m looking for good vibes, not pretentiousness.

If you’re looking for the same, here are my recommendations (in order of cost) all across LA: Downtown, Silver Lake, Hollywood, Mid City, Santa Monica and Long Beach: Continue Reading →

Brazilian Day San Diego Sept. 7! Brazilian Day Los Angeles postponed until 2015!

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by Tom Nguyen

(Update 9/2/14Brazilian Independence Day Celebration in Hermosa Beach has been moved to Saturday, September 6, 2014.)

While the traditional end of summer for many is Labor Day weekend, for me the beautiful summer wasn’t over until the joyous celebrations of Brazilian Independence! I would look forward to a double dose of celebrations with both Brazilian communities in LA and San Diego. Alas, this year’s Brazilian Day Los Angeles festival has been postponed until 2015, due to a cut in funding and a rise in the cost of having it at the La Brea Tar Pits. However, the new leadership for the festival, which has taken place since 2006, has high hopes for finding a new location in 2015.

The much larger Brazilian Day San Diego on Sunday, September 7, touted as the biggest Brazilian Festival on the West Coast, attracts over 50,000 people each year and is always worth the drive down from LA! Blocks of Pacific Beach are closed on Garnett Avenue for the free, all-ages festivities and parade, and the friendly, energetic Brazilian community embraces everyone in the fun!

Continue Reading →

Viver Brasil Celebrates 15th Anniversary with new show Intersections/Ajê July 27


Viver Brasil, the venerable LA Afro-Brazilian dance theater company, celebrates its 15th anniversary with a world premiere of its latest production, Intersections/Ajê, at the beautiful outdoor Ford Amphitheater on Saturday, July 27. I am a huge fan of Brazilian culture and a personal friend to many of the dedicated dancers, singers and musicians in this troupe. I can tell you they’ve been rehearsing their tails off for what promises to be a jubilant, thrilling celebration of the music and dance traditions of Salvador, Bahia! So don’t miss it…come be transported to Brazil and join the celebration under the stars! Tickets and Group Discounts are still available but will sell out! Here’s a sneak peak:

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Brazilian Summer Party benefiting AfroLatinos: The Untaught Story Thu June 27


My friends, entertainer Daniela Brazil and DJ Chris Brazil, are hosting Party Like a Brazilian, this Thursday, June 27, at Level 3 nightclub at the Hollywood and Highland Center. If you’ve never been to Brazil nor any of the many great events in the large Brazilian community here in LA, you’re in for a treat. Both Chris and Daniela organize fun events featuring the best music, dance and entertainment that Brazilian culture has to offer and all the fun and festivities are for a special cause. The night is a fundraiser for AfroLatinos: La Historia Que Nunca Nos Contaron (AfroLatinos: The Untaught Story) documentary series. The series by Alicia Anabel Santos, an Afro-Dominican screenwriter, and Renzo Devia, a Colombian filmmaker, sheds light on Afro-Latinos, the descendants of the enslaved Africans who were forcibly taken from their land and dispersed throughout Latin America. Known as the “Third Root” after indigenous and European roots of Latino populations, the histories, stories and contributions of African descendents to Latino culture and society are often lost or unacknowledged, and their communities today are still the most marginalized, impoverished and invisible in their societies.

Continue Reading →

The Brazilian Nites Summer Series: Ana Carolina, Maria Gadu, Jorge Aragão and more!


(UPDATE: The Maria Gadu concert on Sunday, July 28, has been CANCELLED.)
I am a HUGE fan of Brazilian culture & music and I’m looking forward to The Brazilian Nites Summer Series, organized by Brazilian Nites Productions, presenters of the top Brazilian musical talent since 1989. Patricia Leao and team put on great Brazilian events throughout the year, like Carnaval and Brazil Day LA. These summer concerts, featuring some of the most celebrated Brazilian artists of the decade, including Latin Grammy Nominees, a classically trained Jazz master, a world renowned Sambista and scintillating Samba Dancers, are can’t miss events! Here are the upcoming dates: Continue Reading →

Carnival’s not over yet! More hot Brazilian events this weekend and all month!

tumbe1(Update 3/12/13: Tonight is Quetzal Guerrero‘s birthday celebration at The Virgil…no cover! Samba Society plays The Virgil on Sunday, March 17. Come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Brazilian style! Don’t forget DJ Potira is now spinning at 3 weekly spots on Mondays in Toluca Lake, Saturdays in Culver City and Sundays in Long Beach! Not exactly Brazilian but just as fun, she’s spinning a Throwback 80s night on Thu, 3/14.  Details below.)

I know Fat Tuesday came and went and Lent started on Ash Wednesday, but it got hot this week in LA! And when we’re blessed with bright, summery weather like this, there’s no better way to party than with the sun-worshiping, samba-shaking Brazilians! I have such a love affair with anything Brazilian so I have to share all these wonderful events this March, starting this weekend! Continue Reading →