By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Great American Irish Fair and Music Festival
Why only dream of the mother country when you can find many things Irish right here? Sixteen entertainment pavilions with over 2,000 performers, including “King of Blarney” comedian Hal Roach, step and clog dancers, bagpipers, and Celtic rock bands. Peruse the import shops for souvenirs, brush up on your Gaelic with a language demonstration, or simply learn more about the Emerald Isle at the Irish Cultural Pavilion. There’s even an Antique Irish Fair Automobile Show displaying a nifty 1952 “Shamrockmobile” (only one of five in the world, mind you!). Plus, sheepherding shows and the Scottish Cabor Tossers hurling telephonelike poles faster than you can say Guinness.
Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave.; June 16, 2:30-11 p.m.; June 17, 2-10:30 p.m.; (310) 449-4070; $95-$15.
Emceed once again by Bill Cosby, this annual convergence of jazz, blues, big-band and salsa music titans brings in Grammy winner Nancy Wilson, percussionist Max Roach, pianist David Benoit, saxophonist David Sanborn, bluesman Keb’ Mo’, and East L.A.’s own Latin-meets-hip-hop-meets-funk collective Ozomatli, as well as Medeski Martin and Wood, Juan de Marcos’ Afro-Cuban All-Stars, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. Plus, for the first time in the festival’s 23-year history, Isaac “Shaft” Hayes.
31st Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration “2001 Pride Odyssey”
Along San Vicente Blvd., West Hlywd.; June 16, 11 a.m.-mid., June 17, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; (323) 969-8302, or www.lapride.org; $12.
What’s campier than a Joan Crawford movie marathon and fiercer than a Madonna look-a-like contest? Why, it’s WEHO’s annual gay-pride celebration, silly! And girlfriend, you’d be crazier than a raver on Ecstasy to miss disco divas Thelma Houston and Evelyn “Champagne” King, not to mention four venues of enough house, rock, salsa and country to get those glow sticks twirlin’ in overdrive. We also hear something about a “Tush Push” contest, and the always anticipated parade of kings and queens, biker boys, and leather daddies in backside-exposing undies. Miss this, and we’ll send ’em over to give you a spanking. Like that, wouldn’t you?
Summer Solstice Folk Music, Dance and Storytelling Festival
From Appalachian to Celtic, folk music from over 100 artists is the touchstone of this festival. And there are other draws here, organized by the California Traditional Music Society to get you in the folksy mood. Music sessions in various instruments for pros and amateurs; children’s dance, storytelling and singing workshops; and a virtual bazaar of pottery, jewelry, woodwork and, of course, handmade instruments. The Bulgarian, Greek, Balkan ä and hip-swinging belly dancers will come together for the International Folk Dance party on Sunday.
Long Beach Bayou Festival
Queen Mary Events Park, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach; June 23-24, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; (562) 427-3713; $24, $17 seniors & students, $5 children, kids 5 & under free.
Our very own Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street — without the flashing-breasts-for-beads tradition, thank you — generated by nonstop Cajun and zydeco music. Hankering for some gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish or beignets? The hot and spicy Cajun and Creole cooking here’s only for the bravest of taste buds. And, if you really wanna impress the Nawlins natives, take dance lessons. Even the kids can get in on the parade after making jewelry and costumes and having their faces painted.
Swedish Midsummer Festival
Vasa Park, 2854 Triunfo Canyon Road, Agoura Hills; June 24, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; (310) 838-6915, (818) 368-5040; $4, kids 12 & under free.
Our Nordic friends mark Sweden’s summer solstice with traditional Scandinavian dishes, as well as burgers and dogs. Take part in age-old ring dancing around a decorated maypole to the tunes of Swedish accordionists, and then visit the boutiques for fine imports (wooden clogs, anyone?). There’s a parade of costumed revelers, kid’s races and games, and even the park’s swimming pool — open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Mariachi USA Festival
Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave.; June 23, 6 p.m.; June 24, 5 p.m.; (800) 627-4224; $127-$10.
Lazy horns, violin strings, charrosuits and sombreros — perhaps nothing is more definitive of Mexican culture than mariachi music, and every year the Bowl invites the nation’s most talented mariachi ensembles to perform. There’s Texas’ Campanas de America and L.A.’s own Imperial de Mexico, and all-female Mariachi Mujer 2000, fronted by “Mariachi Queen” Laura Sobrino. It all culminates in a dazzling fireworks finale.
West Hollywood Summer Sounds Concert Series
Various locations; June 24, 5 p.m.; July 8, 5 p.m.; July 22, 3 p.m.; Aug. 5, 5 p.m.; Aug. 12, 1 p.m.; (323) 848-6401; free.
International music of all sorts by the West Hollywood Orchestra, the Susie Hansen Band, the Brandeis-Barden International Klezmer Ensemble, and gospel singers (complemented with ice cream sundaes, natch) on Gospel Sundae provides a cool balm for both the ears and the soul during the heat. And, for the wee ones, a puppet production of the classic Peter and the Wolf.
Shakespeare by the Sea
Various locations in the South Bay; June 28-Aug. 26, various times; (310) 217-7596, or www.shakespearebythesea.org; free.