Old Pasadena Summer Fest
Central Park, between Raymond and Fair Oaks aves., south of Green St.; May 26-28, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; (626) 797-6803; free.
San Gabriel Valley’s most anticipated attraction includes not one but five events going on simultaneously: Playboy Jazz in Central Park stages 20 jazz, blues, R&B, Afro-Cuban and salsa performances. The Family Fun Fest has everything from rides and games to dancers, mimes, magicians and more musicians, as well as hands-on projects and art displays courtesy of the California African American, Pacific Asia and Southwest museums. A Taste of Summer spreads the culinary wealth of a dozen restaurants and cafés. The Summer Art Fest displays clothing, jewelry, sculpture, ceramics, pottery and toys for both your viewing and your buying pleasure. And for the adventuresome athletes, the Sports Zone features a playing field, extreme-sports shows and autograph signing with pro players.
Summer Nights at the Ford
John Anson Ford Theater, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; May 26-Sept. 24, various times; (323) 461-3673; various prices.
Tucked into a serene setting of greenery, birds and a waterfall, the Ford provides art enthusiasts of all ages an intimate way to experience music, theater, film and dance. This year’s highlights include the 100th-birthday celebration of Kurt Weill (May 26), Brazilian Summer Festival 2001 with samba-reggae drummers and dancers Olodum (June 16), Outfest film screenings (July 18-22), I Palpiti orchestra’s tribute to Jascha Heifetz (Aug. 2), a live concert and documentary on Bob Dylan (Aug. 3), jazz courtesy of the Jazz Bakery (Aug. 10), and the internationally renowned Lula Washington Dance Theater (Sept. 1).
Valley Greek Festival
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 9501 Balboa Blvd., Northridge; May 26-28, 1-9 p.m.; (818) 886-4040; free.
Become an honorary Greek as St. Nicholas transports you to the Parthenon of Athens and the Mediterranean beaches of Mykonos, with bouzouki (mandolin) music, dancers clad in traditional costumes, cooking demonstrations, a children’s area and, at the belly of every Greek gathering, food: gyro, souvlakia (skewered lamb and beef kabobs), moussaka (eggplant dish), pastitsio (Greek casserole), saganaki (cheese on fire), and enough baklava (13 different kinds, to be exact) to make you scream yasou! (“to your health”).
UCLA JazzReggae Festival
UCLA Intramural Field, 308 Westwood Plaza, Wstwd.; May 27-28, noon-7 p.m.; (310) 205-2555; $4.
Whether you’re a goatee-stroking jazzbo or reefer-rollin’ reggae man, the lineup here is a must-see for all musical minds. Sunday is dedicated to jazz artists Dakah, the Kenny Garrett Quartet, the Nikolas Payton Quintet and Bobby Matos’ Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble, while Monday is set aside for reggae performers Buju Banton, Mad Cobra, Tony Rebel and Wayne Wonder. Remember, this is a festival, so plan on gaining a couple of extra pounds with international foods and spend a few dollars at the crafts marketplace.
Salute to Recreation
Northridge Park, 10058 Reseda Blvd.; June 1, 5-10:30 p.m.; June 2-3, 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; (818) 756-8060, 349-0535; free.
Fun under the sun for everyone, courtesy of the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. Arts and crafts boutiques for moms and dads, an entire village of strolling clowns, petting zoo and carnival rides for kids, with rock climbing for the older offspring. Of course, this wouldn’t be a legit partay without continuous live jazz, salsa, mariachi and disco music. And after gorging on international foods all day, the entire family can reunite for Saturday’s fireworks show.
Valley Jewish Festival, a Tapestry of Jewish Life
Cal State University, Northridge, Sierra Quad, 18111 Nordhoff St.; June 3, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; (818) 464-3215; free.
Ambassadors of this cultural exchange of Jewish arts include Israeli singer David Broza, Hollywood Klezmer and the Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble, among others. The Sunday Funday Children’s Park, boasting rides, arts and crafts, storytelling and educational activities, courtesy of the Zimmer Children’s Museum, Zany Brainy and TreePeople, is strictly for the young’uns. And for galloping gourmands, “foods from Budapest to Beijing and beyond.” Learn to go eco with exhibits by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, displays of electric and hybrid cars, and a rescued- wildlife show.
Beverly Hills Summer Arts Festival 2001
Various locations; June 2-Sept. 16; various times; (310) 285-1045; most are free.
A multitude of cultural events from concerts and art exhibits to literary gatherings and tours scattered along the entire 5.6-square-mile city. Highlights include the Public Art Walking and Art and Architecture Trolley tours, Shakespeare Roundtable, Roxbury Concert and Kidfest Koncert series, Los Angeles Doctors Symphony, Beverly Hills Municipal Gallery, Family Storytelling Festival, and much more.
San Fernando Valley Fair
Hansen Dam Recreational Park, 11400 Foothill Blvd., Lake View Terrace; June 7, 4-11 p.m.; June 8, 2 p.m.-mid.; June 9, 10 a.m.-mid.; June 10, noon-10 p.m.; (818) 557-1600; $6, $4 seniors & children 6-11, kids 6 & under free.
The Valley serves up a mighty tall order, guaranteed to keep you on your toes for the entire four days. Starship and country star Mark Chestnutt sing, while dancers, comedians, magicians and even a hypnotist provide the rest of the entertainment. Heart-stopping carnival rides, a smorgasbord of food, a display of student science projects, a petting zoo, a livestock auction, and gardening exhibits that’ll turn you green with envy. And make way for those pink porkers running for the Oreo-cookie prize in the pig race.
Great American Irish Fair and Music Festival
Woodley Park between Burbank Blvd. & Woodley Ave., Encino; June 16-17, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; (818) 503-2511; $16, $13 seniors & students, 12 & under free.
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.
Playboy Jazz Festival
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
Soka University of America, 26800 W. Mulholland Hwy., Calabasas; June 22-24, various times; (818) 817-7756; various prices (kids 12 & under free).
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, charro suits 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.
Ol’ Will would’ve surely enjoyed the crashing waves, sandy beaches, starry night and salty air. Perhaps the perfect backdrop for a double dosage of the Bard’s As You Like It and The Tempest, which begins at scenic Point Fermin Park in San Pedro and then travels to surrounding cities such as Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Long Beach.
Sing-a-Long Sound of Music
Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave.; June 30, 7 p.m.; (323) 850-2000; $50-$1.
Think of this as a support group for the devout Julie Andrews crowd, or simply a gathering of some very ardent fans of musicals shamelessly belting out “Doe, a deer, a female deer . . .” You know the rest. Come dressed as Maria, the Captain or your favorite von Trapp kid and take part in the costume competition (judging will be strict, so lederhosen is required). And in case you don’t know all the lyrics by heart (shyeah, right!), the screen will be subtitled to help you climb those hills of high octaves. ä
Queen Mary July 4th Extravaganza
1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach; carnival June 30 & July 1, 1-11 p.m.; July 3, 5-11 p.m.; July 4, noon-11 p.m.; fireworks June 30, July 1 & July 4, 9 p.m.; (562) 435-3511; carnival free, fireworks included in Queen Mary admission, $19, $17 seniors, $15 children 3-11.
Overlooking the harbor, this head honcho of holiday happenings celebrates Indie Day with a bang. Fireworks take place through the beginning of September, and the Big One on the Fourth is a pyro party of magnificent proportions: 20 minutes of musically choreographed sparks a-blazin’. Surely there’s more. The carnival, held at the adjacent Queen Mary Events Park, has more food than you can stomach and enough rides to dizzy yourself silly. We also insist on checking out the new Cold War submarine Scorpion, spirit-raising “Ghosts and Legends” attraction, and “World of Reggae” exhibit with a retrospective of, who else, Bob Marley.
July 4th Fireworks Spectacular
Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., July 2-4, 7:30 p.m.; (323) 850-2000; $90-$5.
Pack a picnic basket and blankey, and gaze at the nighttime sky as thousands of red-white-and-blue lights flicker in flights of fancy. Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conductor John Mauceri and vocalists Kristin Chenoweth and Jubilant Sykes perform patriotic ditties and Broadway favorites commemorate not only the Fourth, but also the 100th birthdays of both Walt Disney and Louis Armstrong.
Echo Park Lake, Park Ave. between Glendale Ave. & Echo Park Blvd.; July 14, noon-10 p.m.; July 15, noon-9 p.m.; (213) 485-1310; free.
What started as a gathering of 15,000 people in 1972 has grown into a summer highlight of more than 100,000 who convene at the largest bed of lotus flowers — a symbol of life and purity among Asians — outside of China, to honor Asian and Pacific Islander heritage. This year, the Indonesian-American community will be celebrated with an opening ceremony of traditional music and dance, followed by martial-arts shows, dragon-boat races, demonstrations on origami, calligraphy and plants, a health fair, a marketplace filled with Asian and Pacific Islander wares, and exotic delicacies aplenty; plus, a fireworks finale accompanied by taiko drumming on Saturday.
100-500 blocks of Brand Blvd. between Broadway & Doran St., Glendale; July 21, 5-10 p.m.; (818) 548-6464; free.
Over 400 pre-’72 custom cars and hot rods parked along six blocks, including ’32 Fords, ’57 Chevys and ’65 Mustangs that are bound to drive you chrome crazy. And as you admire these beauties longingly and chow down on some curbside grub, legendary surf rockers the Surfaris (“Wipe Out”) and the Champs (“Tequila”) will be rockin’ two stages with groovy oldies-but-goodies.
Los Angeles Tofu Festival
Little Tokyo, San Pedro St. between Second & Third sts.; Aug. 4, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Aug. 5, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; (213) 473-1620; $1.
Before you go screaming to the nearest In-N-Out, it wouldn’t kill ya to try some of this stuff. Apparently it’s healthy (made with nothing but soybean, water and calcium), and with such mouthwatering concoctions as tofu enchiladas, tofu pot stickers and some mmm mmm mmm tofu chocolate cheesecake, it’s great-tasting too. Local TV news anchors will also be on hand to try to convert you to the other side with music, taiko drumming and dance, as well as a Health and Fitness Expo providing screening booths and a Children’s Pavilion offering games, entertainment and a “teddy bear clinic” that’ll make your kid’s first visit to the doc painless.
Nisei Week Japanese Festival
Little Tokyo, Aug. 4-12, various times; (213) 687-7193, or www.niseiweek.org; most events free.
A SoCal tradition exploring Japanese and Japanese-American culture for over ä 60 years sounds off with an opening ceremony featuring taiko drumming, cultural exhibits, a marketplace, tea ceremony, carnival, car show, parade with floats, tofu festival, traditional ondo dancers dressed in kimonos, and a salute to Japanese-American military veterans.
Alpine Village, 833 W. Torrance Blvd.; Aug. 5, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; (818) 996-7685; $5, $3 seniors, $1 children.
Hungarian expats take you on a virtual trip through the picturesque capital of Budapest along the blue Danube as they celebrate one of Eastern Europe’s most beautiful countries. The Gypsy music and Karpatok, Eszter Lanc and Ug Hargita folk-dance ensembles offer a glimpse of the culture, and the authentic cuisine, consisting of chicken, sausages, stuffed cabbage and hearty goulash (beef stew), just might make you want to consult your travel agent.
Watts Summer Festival
Watts Labor Community Action Committee, 10950 S. Central Ave.; Aug. 10-12, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; (323) 789-7304; free.
“The oldest African-American Cultural Festival in the United States” has a legacy of showcasing everyone from Stevie Wonder to Richard Pryor. This marks its 35th season, with three generous days of concerts, a fashion show, film festival, art exhibit, kids’ area, food and a Social Service Pavilion, in addition to scheduled appearances by the Watts Prophets, Charles Wright and the 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Brenda Holloway, the Whispers, and singer and model Tyreece.
Taste in San Pedro
Point Fermin Park, 807 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro; Aug. 11-12, 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; (310) 832-7272; $6, $4 seniors, $3 children, kids 3 & under free.
A South Bay tradition for 13 years that’s known for its gathering of gourmet greats, artisans hawking goods, two stages of the best local bands (anyone for some blues by San Pedro Slim?), and a classic-car show for the auto maniacs. Plus, a Ferris wheel, moon bounce, jungle gym, and arts and crafts to keep the little ones occupied, all within a stone’s throw of the ocean.
Sunset Junction Street Fair
3600-4400 blocks of Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; Aug. 18, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Aug. 19, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; (323) 661-7771; $5 donation.
The locals always look forward to this time of year so they can personally show you why Silver Lake and Los Feliz are where it’s at. And it’s not hard, what with carnival rides, hundreds of food and arts-and-crafts booths, beer gardens, kid stuff, and three stages of tunes by Nona Hendryx, Dee Dee Sharp and Flogging Molly.
& Cultural Faire
Rancho Cienega Park, 5001 Rodeo Road; Aug. 18-19, 25-26 & Sept. 1-3, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; (323) 734-1164; $5, $3 seniors and children 10 & under.
For 16 years the fair has been spreading the cultural influence of Africans of the diaspora through its pan-African marketplace, offering more than 300 Afrocentric arts and crafts, and the Village Gourd Restaurant, serving the finest in pan-African fare. Performers from Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Europe, as well as jazz, blues, calypso and salsa, will be emanating from eight stages. The Brazilian Independence Day Festival, Reggae Festival, and soccer and tennis tournaments are also highlights.
City of Los Angeles Birthday Celebration and Walk To Remember
Starts at San Gabriel Mission, 428 S. Mission Drive, San Gabriel; ends at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, 125 Paseo de la Plaza; Sept. 4, walk 6 a.m., festival 9:30 a.m.; (213) 625-5045; free.
Wish Los Angeles a happy 220th birthday and participate in a nine-mile walk that retraces the journey the Los Pobladores (original settlers) took from the San Gabriel Mission to El Pueblo in 1781. You’ll be rewarded with a festivity of music, dancing, brunch, birthday cake, arts and crafts, speeches by the mayor, historical re-enactments, displays by the Los Angeles Police and Fire departments, piñata breaking and other fun kid stuff.