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It is generally quite sunny in Los Angeles, thereby allowing the natives to read contracts by natural light. —Fran Lebowitz, “Lesson One”

MAY

Memorial Day Weekend Fair

Valley College, Coldwater Canyon & Burbank boulevards, Van Nuys; May 27, 5–11 p.m.; May 28, 5 p.m.–mid.; May 29, noon–mid.; May 30, noon–mid.; and May 31, 5–11 p.m.; (562) 495-5959; free.

Kick off summer in the Valley with this old-fashioned carnival, including rides, lots of food and live entertainment all day; proceeds from sales will benefit the American Heritage Foundation.

Art & Soul Festival

Westin Bonaventure Hotel, 404 S. Figueroa St., dwntwn.; May 28–June 2, 9 a.m.–10:30 p.m.; (310) 385-0297; free.

The Art & Soul Festival features hundreds of performing and visual artists with disabilities, from 38 states and 37 countries. Among the performers will be representatives of the fine arts, theater, dance, and music from classical to bluegrass to folk. Also included is ArtCareers 2000, a program at the L.A. Convention Center providing artists and visitors with information on understanding career options in the arts for disabled individuals.

Aloha Concert Jam

Rainbow Lagoon, Long Beach Convention Center, 300 Ocean Blvd.; May 29–30, noon–10:30 p.m.; (888) 386-8497; $8, $4 children 5–12, children 4 and under free.

Now in its eighth season, this popular music festival features a traditional Hawaiian celebration, plus fireworks, prime picnicking atmosphere, and music over two days from Cecilio & Kapono, Shaka, Island Breeze, Willie K., the Peter Moon Band and more.

UCLA JazzReggae Festival

Intramural Field, UCLA; May 30–31, noon–7 p.m.; (310) 205-2555; $3.

Thousands will descend upon the UCLA campus for this annual festival of fun in the sun and excellent music, featuring an international food market and plentiful arts and crafts in addition to the fantastic lineup. On the bill this year are Roy Hargrove, Roy Ayers, Tanya Stephens, Hepcat, "Mr. Bongo" Jack Costanzo and Latin Combustion, Mingus Amungus, Rocky Dawuni and more.

JUNE

Gilmore Heritage Auto Show

Farmers Market, Third Street & Fairfax Avenue; June 5, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; (323) 549-2140; free.

The history of the corner of Third and Fairfax includes auto races and the nation’s first self-serve gas station, so it’s only fitting that the Gilmore Auto Show is back for a fifth year of heralding Angelenos’ favorite mode of transport. This year’s show is a tribute to American â convertibles, featuring a display of pre-1964 vehicles, plus live entertainment.

Festival del Maiz

Arroyo Seco Park, 5568 Via Marisol, Highland Park; June 6, noon–5 p.m.; (323) 259-0861; free.

A celebration of the staple food of Native Americans, the Festival del Maiz (Corn Festival) has lined up an international slate of entertainers, including Latin-beat master Johnny Polanco, blues artist Greg Walnum, swing stars Los Chucos Suaves, the CalArts African Ensemble and Filipino artist Rondalla. Also on hand will be 12 free crafts workshops, including bread-dough sculpture, straw baskets and seed mosaics.

Gay & Lesbian Pride Celebration

West Hollywood Park, San Vicente Blvd.; June 11–13; (323) 969-8302; $12; $6 seniors, youth & disabled.

"More floats, more guests, more acts, more sponsors and more revelry" are promised at the 29th annual pride fiesta in the heart of WeHo; close to half a million are expected to attend the celebration. The always anticipated parade takes place Sunday, June 13, at 11 a.m.

21st Annual Playboy Jazz Festival

Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave.; June 12, 2:30–11 p.m.; June 13, 2–10:30 p.m.; (310) 449-4070; $85–$15.

The third decade of this steadfastly popular event kicks off with yet another fantastic two-day lineup, including Ray Charles, Etta James, Grover Washington Jr., Chick Corea, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, the L.A. Multi-School Jazz Band and the Afro-Cuban All-Stars. Bill Cosby returns as MC.

Mariachi USA Festival

Hollywood Bowl; June 19, 6–10:30 p.m.; June 20, 5–9:30 p.m.; (323) 848-7717 or (800) 627-4224; $127–$10.

Mariachi USA celebrates its 10th anniversary with a superb lineup of performers from Mexico, Texas, California and even Japan. Mariachi Campanas de America (San Antonio), Mariachi Imperial de Mexico (Los Angeles) and Mariachi Femenil Tecalitlan (Guadalajara) are slated to appear, along with the Ballet Folklorico Tonantzin and the Bowl’s trademark fireworks show.

Common Ground Festival

MacGowan Hall, UCLA; June 23–27; (310) 478-9ASK; free.

Celebrate the diversity of theater at this fest of innovative works in progress. Sponsored by ASK Theater Projects, the series features an intensive three-day workshop guided by performance artist Karen Finley, which is open by application to theater professionals, and a two-day open-air theater fair. Stagings include workshop productions of Julie Jensen’s Two-Headed and Quincy Long’s The Lively Lad, plus performances by Diavolo Dance Theater, Fabulous Monsters, House of Dames and more.

Hollywood Bowl Opening Night Gala With Sir George Martin

Hollywood Bowl; June 25, 7:30 p.m.; (323) 850-2000; $75–$7.

 

Last year featured the L.A. bow of Sir Paul’s Standing Stone, and this season the Summer Festival at the Bowl opens with another Fab Four–tinged affair: legendary producer (and fellow knight) George Martin making his Los Angeles orchestral debut conducting an eight-piece rock band and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in "a celebration of the music of the Beatles."

JULY

100 Years of Broadway Featuring South Pacific

Hollywood Bowl; July 9–10, 8:30 p.m.; (323) 850-2000; $30–$3.

Renowned mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, Broadway beauty (as in ". . . and the Beast") Susan Egan, and Lloyd Webber leading man Davis Gaines are among the headliners in this celebration of all things show-tuney, including the cream of the crop from a century of Broadway favorites, plus a 50th-anniversary tribute to Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic wartime ro-mance, South Pacific. A fireworks display will accompany the show.

Fiesta of Gems Rock and Mineral Show

Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, Culver City, 9770 Culver Blvd.; July 10, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; July 11, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; (310) 472-6490; free.

The Culver City Rock and Mineral Club returns with its annual summer celebration of all things gemological. Attractions include a mix of exhibits, dealers and demonstrations of lapidary, beading, carving, minerals and jewelry design. A special display of fluorescent minerals — including amber, calcite and zircon — under ultraviolet light will be featured this year, and kids can get in on a variety of educational games.

Lotus Festival

Echo Park Lake, Glendale Blvd. & Echo Park Ave.; July 10, noon–9 p.m.; July 11, noon–8 p.m.; (213) 485-1310; free. â

Come one, come all to see the largest lotus bed outside of China at this festival of Eastern culture, and while you’re there, stick around for delectable Asian cuisine, flower shows, dragon-boat races and tons of children’s activities.

Vive La France!

Hollywood Bowl; July 16–17, 8:30 p.m.; (323) 850-2000; $30–$3.

Celebrate Bastille Day at the Bowl in a Gallic-themed evening, with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and a special appearance by a true legend, world-renowned mime Marcel Marceau. The program’s rousing fireworks spectacle will be set to Ravel’s Bolero.

Rose Bowl Youth Fair

The Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Dr., Pasadena; July 29, 5–10 p.m.; July 30, 5–11 p.m.; July 31, noon–11 p.m.; Aug. 1, noon–11 p.m.; (562) 495-5959; free.

This four-day event features a full carnival with rides, games, food vendors, and arts and crafts, plus live entertainment. All-day wristbands are available; proceeds from sales will benefit the DayOne Youth Organization and various other programs for youth.

Central Avenue Jazz Festival

Central Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets; July 31–Aug. 1, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; (213) 485-2437; free.

Just outside the Dunbar Hotel on historic Central Avenue, the best jazz and blues in the Southland is the centerpiece of this 4-year-old street scene. Food booths, arts & crafts, lots of children’s activities, and of course plenty of live jazz entertainment will be featured.

AUGUST

Marcus Garvey Day Parade & Festival

The Elegant Manor, 3115 W. Adams Blvd.; Aug. 14–16, 10 a.m.–dusk; (323) 735-9642; free.

The life and philosophy of Jamaican icon Marcus Moziah Garvey are the touchstones for this grand festival, which will include an African marketplace, a black-business expo and a holistic health fair on top of a parade, traditional dance perform-ances and live music.

Taste in San Pedro

Point Fermin Park, 807 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro; Aug. 14–15, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; (310) 832-1357; $6, $4 seniors & military, $3 children 18–11, $1 children under 11.

The culinary craftspeople of the Harbor area’s many diverse restaurants will converge at scenic Point Fermin for a day of noshin’ of the highest order. Kids can whet their appetites by taking part in such activities as face painting.

Nisei Week Japanese Festival

Little Tokyo; Aug. 14–22, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; (213) 687-7193; http://members. aol.com/niseiweek//niseiweek.htm for detailed program info; most events free.

The heritage of Japanese-Americans is the focus of this nine-day extravaganza. Events planned include a 5K run, parade, carnival, fashion show, tofu festival, street arts fair, and demonstrations in martial arts and taiko drumming.

Sunset Junction Street Faire

3600–4600 blocks of Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; Aug. 21, 10 a.m.–11 p.m.; Aug. 22, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; (323) 661-7771; $3.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a cooler lineup of acts this summer than at this summit of the unspeakably hip Silver Lake/Los Feliz scenes. On top of the carnival rides, arts, crafts and cornucopia of ethnic foods, confirmed acts for this year include Mary Wilson, Sam Moore, Blues Experiment, Bobby Matos, Mickey Champion and others.

African Marketplace and Cultural Faire

Rancho Cienega Park, 5001 Rodeo Blvd.; Aug. 21–22, 28–29 and Sept. 4–6, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; (323) 734-1164 or (213) 237-1540; $3.50, seniors and children under 10 free.

 

An eminently popular summer fest, this affair celebrates the African diaspora; a soccer tournament, Celebrity Village Games, Village Gourd Festival and the African Business Expo are among the headline attractions. Live entertainment, pan-African food, and a variety of arts and crafts are featured.

SEPTEMBER

Long Beach Blues Festival

Cal State Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd.; Sept. 4–6, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; (562) 985-5566; $27.50 in advance, $30 at the entrance.

KLON 88.1 FM is once again the sponsor of this, billed as "the biggest blues festival west of Chicago." Numerous record merchants and food vendors will be on hand, and then of course there is the stellar lineup: John Lee Hooker, Bobby Rush, Little Milton, Ruth Brown,â Coco Taylor, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Charlie Musselwhite and more to be announced.

THROUGHOUT SUMMER

LACMA Family Days & Summer Art Classes

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Family Days all summer long, (323) 857-6512; free with museum admission. Summer Art session through July and August; (323) 857-6139; various enrollment fees.

Kids rule at LACMA this year, with instructional programs toward cultivating the artists of the future. Family Days offer fun and learning geared toward children ages 5 to 12, including "Paint the Park" (July 25) and the architecture-driven "Make Your Mark" (Aug. 29). A number of one-week class sessions for 6- to 12-year-olds will offer topics ranging from mixed media to Modernism, and there is a teen series featuring courses in sketching and figure drawing.

Moonlight & Matinees

The Watercourt at California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; May 28–Oct. 30, performances at noon and 8 p.m.; (213) 687-2159, or e-mail events@grandperformances.org for detailed program info; free.

Kicking off with the opening ceremonies of the Art & Soul Festival (see above), this series of daytime and evening concerts in the heart of downtown is in its 12th year, with no signs of wear ’n’ tear. Among this summer’s fine lineup, which continues well past the season and into autumn, are Latino comedy trio Culture Clash; Franco-Celtic musicians Beausoleil with Michael Doucet and Hirio; American troubadour extraordinaire Loudon Wainwright III; Mexican-American chanteuse Perla Batalla; and "Opera Under the Stars," featuring the winners of the city’s Cultural Affairs Department’s annual Artists of the Future Competition.

Summer Nights at the Ford

John Anson Ford Theater, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hlywd.; June 13–Sept. 5; (323) 461-3673; various prices.

Located just north of the Bowl, the Ford is back with its own impressive slate of entertainment from all corners of the arts. Highlights this year include the L.A. premiere of Groove, performed by the Jazz Tap Ensemble and choreographed by Greg-ory Hines (June 27); popular children’s music artists J.P. Nightingale and "The Teddy Bear Picnic Parade" (July 10th); "Jazz Goes to the Movies," a tribute performance to famed film and television composer Lalo Schifrin (Aug. 13); and Mozart’s fairy-tale opera The Magic Flute, conducted by Lucinda Carver with the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra (Aug. 14).


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