Summer's not over yet, and there are still plenty of wacky-fun things going on in the city. Like a giant rubber duck in the Port of Los Angeles, and the chance to wiggle around in the mud – historic adobe mud, that is – at Rancho Los Cerritos. Then there's our No. 1 favorite thing about summer: free outdoor music festivals. Echo Park Rising is looking to be a good one, with an awesome line-up of musicians and cool events happening all weekend. For more low-key fun, look to Levi's bike-friendly pop-up in downtown, and a brother-to-brother art show in Culver City.
5. Catch a (Free!) Music Festival
Echo Park Rising is first and foremost a free, three-day music festival — but, like the neighborhood that hosts it, a little spirit of adventure reveals much more to it. The main stage, on Friday and Saturday only, is at Taix, but all three days include multiple stages, salons, exhibitions, food havens, indie merchants and random activities along Sunset, Glendale, Alvarado and Echo Park boulevards, as well as on the colorful side streets. The musical attractions are reason enough to invest in sunscreen and take the walk — there’s a diversity of styles and profiles, from local heroes like The Allah-Las, Crystal Skulls, Cinderella Motel and Dante Vs Zombies to the U.S. debut of Mexico City/Puerto Vallarta art-house rockers Ampersan. For the visual- or literary-minded, iam8bit opens its gallery space and the Hub Gallery, Stories Books & Cafe and the 826LA/Time Travel Mart all welcome visitors. Want to sneak in some vintage or vinyl shopping? Origami, Lolipop and Rewind and a bunch of other stylish entrepreneurs want your business. From the noisy to the intimate, raucous to romantic, this fourth edition of the festival is set to be the rising-est and shiniest yet. Taix Main Stage, 1911 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Fri., Aug. 15, 4-10 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 16-Sun., Aug. 17, noon-10 p.m.; free, VIP packages available. epr.la. —Shana Nys Dambrot
See also: 5 Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week.
4. Get on Your Bike
If your daily commute doesn’t already include free coffee and Wi-Fi, tailoring services and a DJ soundtrack, Levi’s wants to change that. Its Commuter Workspace in downtown L.A. launched last week and provides cyclist-friendly workshops, parties and discussions all month long. This Saturday, the space joins forces with Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition for a Group Architecture Ride through downtown, ending with a fiesta at Jarritos’ Chinatown headquarters, where there will be plenty of complimentary Mexican soda, live music and “bicycle dancing.” What exactly is bicycle dancing? “It’s what happens when you put on your music and you go riding to your favorite tunes and you’re riding and moving it and shaking it,” says the coalition’s Erik Alcaraz, who’ll be leading the ride as El Pedal, his luchadora cyclist alter ego. Not quite ready for a group ride but still want to learn the tricks of the trade? Swing by the space at 1 p.m. Sunday, when Just Ride L.A. bike shop gives a talk on urban biking techniques, safety and legal tips for cyclists, and practical skills including how to fix a flat. Levi’s Commuter Workspace, 157 W. Fifth St., dwntwn.; Sat., Aug. 16, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (preregistration required). Workspace open Mon.-Thu., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; through Aug. 29; free. (213) 745-6783 (Just Ride L.A.), levis-commuter.tumblr.com/events. —Jennifer Swann
3. See an Art Show
In the Clayton Brothers’ first solo exhibition since their wildly popular 2011 survey at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Rob and Christian Clayton (is it still a solo show if there are two of them?) are set to mix things up a bit. OK, a lot. Their M.O. in recent years has been to combine their very different yet equally volatile styles of painting, drawing and collage into a blended, sweetly cacophonous aesthetic. In these works, people and creatures inhabit psychedelic and abstract environments, which are nevertheless quite refined, with no color or variety of mark making left behind. For “Clayton Brothers: Open to the Public,” the boys are trying something new, or at least some new things. While employing the same frenetic energy and striking palette, these expressive portraits follow a single narrative: the story of a rather famous thrift store near their shared studio. (Hear more about it in a short film produced by the gallery: vimeo.com/101379203.) The portraits are less polished, more urgently rendered and pared down by comparison, and the show includes forays into the related mediums of assemblage, photography, video and installation work — setting the scene and evoking the personalities of the Sun Thrift denizens and the allure of random crap they covet. In the end, it’s a story about America. Mark Moore Gallery, 5790 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Sat., Aug. 16, 6-8 p.m.; exhibition continues Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., through Sept. 27; free. (310) 453-3031, markmoore?gallery.com. —Shana Nys-Dambrot
Keep reading for two more great events, including a party in the mud and a giant rubber duck appearance.
2. Get Dirty
Pigs roll in mud because they have so few sweat glands. It’s cooling. Humans, however, have plenty of ways to sweat, so what excuse do we have to roll around in the mud? Why, our own entertainment, of course. Long Beach’s Rancho Los Cerritos, a historic home–turned-museum, has found evidence of inhabitants on its property dating back to 3000 B.C.E. But what’s important here is that the first established adobe structures were built on site in 1844. To celebrate this ingenious form of native construction, the museum is hosting Mud Mania: A Celebration of Adobe, with mud relay races, adobe-building workshops and clay sculpting. Get ready to sling some mud. (Shoes required.) Rancho Los Cerritos, 4600 Virginia Road, Long Beach; Sun., Aug. 17, 12:30-4:30 p.m.; $7 adults, $5 children. (562) 206-2040, rancholoscerritos.com. —Sean J. O’Connell
1. Sail Away
Ahoy, mateys! Get thee to ye olde Port of Los Angeles for Tall Ships Festival L.A., a five-day boating festival that pays tribute to a time when ports such as ours welcomed not just shipping containers and the occasional cruise ship but also majestic vessels called “tall ships” — classic boats with traditional, complicated rigs. From battleships and schooners to the World’s Largest Rubber Duck (yes, really), this year’s lineup promises something for everyone. The kid-friendly event includes a Friday-night screening of The Little Mermaid, projected on the sails of the Freda B. Live bands and cannon demonstrations will provide daily entertainment, while those willing to shell out some extra cash can actually ride on one of the museum-quality ships. And because every good captain knows a fed crew is a happy crew, plenty of food trucks, including the Lobsta Truck and Luckdish, will be in attendance. Los Angeles Waterfront, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro; Wed., Aug. 20, noon-8 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., Aug. 21-21, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 23-Sun., Aug. 24, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; $7-$85, free viewing for kids under 4. (877) 4FLYTIX, tallshipsfestivalla.com. —Sascha Bos
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