Best Free Downtown Performance Series (2013)

Tuesday Night Café

Little Tokyo's Tuesday Night Café performance series can be counted on to deliver eclectic entertainment — from spoken word to hip-hop dance, improv comedy to folk singing — and admission is free. But there is another reason that downtowners and L.A. art lovers of all stripes have been devoted to TNC for 15 years now: The café strives to represent and celebrate L.A.'s cultural diversity, especially by promoting artists of Asian and Pacific-Islander descent. Each first and third Tuesday during the summer, the brick courtyard outside the Union Center for the Arts (built as a church in 1922, and home to East West Players and L.A. Artcore Center) transforms into a stage where amateur and professional performers alike share their talents — sometimes personal stories and social messages, too — with audiences of up to 200 cheering guests. During TNC's off-season, director Traci Kato-Kiriyama runs workshops through her umbrella organization, Tuesday Night Project, continuing her mission to fuse arts with social activism, enriching L.A.'s underserved communities and the city as a whole. 120 Judge John Aiso, dwntwn., 90012. tuesdaynightproject.org. —Daina Beth Solomon

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