Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica Beach; May 27, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.; (310) 305-9645; free.
For do-gooders who missed Earth Day, here’s yet another opportunity to redeem yourself. Help the Santa Monica BayKeeper protect local bays and celebrate all things kelp. Participants will be greeted by hosts dressed as mermaids and pirates. The dazzling array of entertainment features Chumash Indian Dolphin dancers, Tahitian and Hawaiian drummers and dancers, and Samoan Fire Knife performers. Pamper your body with kelp massages and facials, and learn how to go eco at the environmental-organization booths. Cuisine consists of, what else, kelp, including cheesy slices of — mmm-mmm-mmm! — kelp pizza!
Old Pasadena Summer Fest
Central Park, Fair Oaks Blvd.; May 27–29, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; (626) 797-6803; free.
Five simultaneous events in the City of Roses‘ Old Pasadena district: Playboy Jazz in Central Park offers 21 hours of live jazz, blues and salsa, and more than 100 artists display their handmade scarves, jewelry, ceramics, toys and fine art. Athletes of all levels can have fun in the Sports Zone playing hockey, baseball or shooting hoops, or just watching the bike races and skateboarding-ramp shows. Satisfy your appetite with savory treats from the area’s best restaurants and cafes. After the sugar rush, your kids can wind down at the children‘s entertainment stage, showcasing magicians, puppeteers, mimes and storytellers. The California African American Museum, the Pacific Asia Museum and the Southwest Museum are also on hand for special crafts projects.
Brentwood 24th Annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival
San Vicente Blvd.; May 28, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.; (310) 442-9784; free.
When was the last time you rode a camel? For more than 20 years, the city has hosted a day of down-home family fun that begins with an 8 a.m. endurance-challenging 5K10K run, followed by a festival of bands, pony rides, face painting, antique cars and, of course, food. There’s also an 11 a.m. parade with Honorary Mayor Paul Moyer of Channel 4 News as grand marshal. Plus, you can mingle with such TV celebrities as Concetta Tomei of Providence and Dwayne Hickman of Dobie Gillis.
Shoe Frenzy 2000
National Guard Armory, 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City; June 3, 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m.; (310) 836-4111; free.
And you thought the mall the day after Christmas was crazy. This is a foot frenzy, so you‘ll need to push, shove, claw and scratch to get to the goods. More than 2,000 pairs of women’s shoes — from ultrachichi designers Yves St. Laurent and Ferragamo to less costly names like Steve Madden and Sam & Libby — are marked 50 percent to 80 percent off, ranging in size from 5 to 11. All proceeds benefit the Women‘s Clinic and Family Counseling Center, which provides low-cost or free health care to low-income and uninsured patients throughout L.A. County.
Summer Nights at the Ford
John Anson Ford Theater, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; June 3–September 17; (323) 461-3673; various prices.
Tucked in the Hollywood Hills, the Ford offers a varied and intimate look at all aspects of the arts. This year’s lineup runs the gamut from music, theater, film and dance to family entertainment. Noteworthy performances include East L.A. Classic Theater‘s Cyrano de Bergerac (June 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24), a jazz-tap tribute to the legendary Nicholas Brothers (July 8), klezmer from world-renowned The Klezmatics (July 9), the documentary On the Road With Duke Ellington (August 6), lessons on Bluegrass for kids (August 19) and spirit-raisin’ sounds from the Gospel Train (September 9).
Rio Hondo College, 3600 Workman Mill Road, Whittier; June 3, 11:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m.; June 4, 11:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; (626) 588-4907; $10 adults, $5 kids 3–12, 3 and under free.
This is a celebration of not just the Middle East, but the entire Mediterranean. Take in some culture at an authentic Bedouin bazaar of jewelry, musical instruments, native dresses and those finger cymbals that come in handy for belly dancing. Mendhi artists will decorate your hands, or other parts of the body, with elaborate henna designs. The entertainment features more than 250 performers, including flamenco and belly dancers, and other dancers performing with snakes. Of course, there‘s plenty of live Arabic, Persian, Greek, Turkish and Yemenite music to keep your hips and shoulders swingin’ till Monday morning. The menu has the staple Middle Eastern foods: falafel, shawerma, kebabs, hummus and tabbouleh. A unique attraction is the zaghareet contest, in which women perform hollerlike wedding calls by rolling the tongue.
Valley Fair 2000
Hansen Dam Equestrian Center, 11127 Orcas Ave., Lake View Terrace; June 8, 4–10:30 p.m.; June 9–10, 10 a.m.–mid.; June 11, 10 a.m.–8:30 p.m.; (818) 557-1600; $6 adults, $3 kids 6–11, 6 and under free.
You‘d be hard-pressed to find a bigger or better event in all of the San Fernando Valley. The carnival has a ton of thrilling rides, gardening exhibits for green thumbs, a showcase of student science projects, live bands, comedy acts, magicians and an international food court. There’s even something on the animal front, including a petting zoo, and a bunch of little oinkers making a mad dash to the finish line in the pig race.
The Amazing Maize Maze
Las Posas and Hueneme roads, Camarillo; June 8 thru December, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; (805) 495-5678; $10 adults, $7 seniors and kids 4–12, 4 and under free.
Get lost! In a corn-field labyrinth, that is. Dizzy yourself silly among the bewildering twists and turns of several maize (from the Spanish for “corn”) mazes designed with specific themes, including a 2-mile-long field depicting the Aztec calendar. Once you‘ve navigated your way out, stop by the fiddle fest, the fresh-produce stand or the corn-chowder cook-off.
West Hollywood Gay and Lesbian Pride Festival
West Hollywood Park, San Vicente Boulevard; June 10–11; (323) 969-8302; $12.
It’s a concert. It‘s a food feast. It’s a jewelry, leather-goods and ceramics bazaar. It‘s a Latin dance-fever fiesta. It’s a country-dance jamboree. It‘s a parade with floats, and dykes on bikes. It’s comic relief. It‘s Martha. “It’s Rainin‘ Men Hallelujah.” It’s an Austin Powers impersonator. It‘s an excruciatingly energetic extravaganza WEHOpe you don’t miss.
Mariachi USA Festival
Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave.; June 10, 6–10:30 p.m.; June 11, 5–9:30 p.m.; (800) 627-4224; $127–$10.
With all the dancing in the aisles, you might not even think of taking a cigarette or bathroom break at this concert. The nation‘s most talented ensembles from California, Florida, Arizona and Mexico are scheduled to appear. Some equally stellar female groups, including our very own Mariachi Mujer 2000, led by “Mariachi Queen” Laura Sobrino, also perform. Returning favorites Ballet Folklorico Tonantzin and the Bowl’s spectacular fireworks round out the finale.
Vogue Theater, 6675 Hollywood Blvd.; June 10, July 15, August 12, 8 p.m.; (323) 644-8866; $45, reservations required.
Those guys at the International Society for Paranormal Research aren‘t waiting till Halloween, are they? Learn about paranormal phenomena and get spooked at this ghostly gathering. Investigator Daena Smoller combs through this “activity-haunted” property to uncover . . . you wouldn’t want us to scare you just yet, would you?
The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony Season Finale
Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Fred Kavli Theater, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd.; June 11, 7 p.m.; (213) 480-3232; $125–$25.
Comedienne Marilyn Michaels stars in the Jewish-American tale Grossinger‘s: The Last Resort, a story of how young immigrant Jennie Grossinger turned her parents’ farm into the famous Catskills resort (once the venue for celebs and comic legends like Sid Caesar, Mel Brooks, Red Buttons and Milton Berle). The Improv‘s Budd Friedman hosts “Borscht Belt,” a comedy revue featuring the likes of Estelle Getty, Renee Taylor, Joe Bologna, Norm Crosby and many more. Proceeds benefit the Jewish FederationValley Alliance.
Ghosts and Legends
Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach; starting June 16, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; (562) 435-3511; $17 adults, $15 seniors, $13 kids 4–11, 4 and under free.
The perfect backdrop for a ghostly scavenger hunt of sorts, an interactive walk-through dramatization where you’ll get to hear tales of onboard sightings from the Queen Mary‘s past 60 years, and uncover what eerie spirits lurk in those lower decks, lounges and boiler rooms. As they say, “Some passengers never depart.”
22nd Annual Playboy Jazz Festival
Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave.; June 17, 2:30–11 p.m.; June 18, 2–10:30 p.m.; (310) 449-4070; $90–$15.
Undoubtedly the best jazz pick in SoCal this summer. The impressive, not-to-be-missed lineup includes Dianne Reeves, Lou Rawls, Ozomatli, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, the L.A. County High School for the Arts Jazz Ensemble, salsa queen Celia Cruz, and those neo-swingers Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Favorite MC Bill Cosby returns.
Common Ground Festival 2000
MacGowan Hall, UCLA; June 20–25, various times; (310) 478-9ASK; free, reservations required.
A.S.K. Theater Projects introduces fresh and exciting theater to L.A. from such companies and solo performers as the L.A.-based Banter, Bottom’s Dream, Rosanna GamsonWorldwide, Ruben Martinez, Dan Froot and John Fleck, and New York ensemble Mabou Mines. Stagings include The Love of Three Oranges and Speed Seduction, as well as a workshop production of Naomi Iizuka‘s play 36 Views. Artist Ruth Malaczech conducts a six-day workshop, open by application to theater professionals. And finally, Sunday’s open-air Theater Fair and Playwrights Slam features reps from local theaters and playwrights reading their new works.
Second Annual California Puerto Rican Parade
Montebello City Park, Whittier Blvd.; June 22, 3–10 p.m.; June 23, 4–11 p.m.; June 24, 9 a.m.– noon; June 25, 9 a.m.–8:30 p.m.; (323) 721-9795; $3 (Thurs.–Fri.), $5 (Sat.–Sun.).
Residents from all corners of the Southland converge for a rousing celebration of Puerto Rico. Latin-music aficionados and neo-converts can listen and boogie down to salsa bands from New York and the mother country. After the lower-body workout, sate your appetite with a cornucopia of Puerto Rican and Mexican food. Plus, you can keep the kids entertained with clowns, rides, and a Sunday-morning parade with welterweight champ Felix Trinidad as grand marshal.
Long Beach Bayou Festival
Queen Mary Events Park, 1126 Queens Highway Blvd., Long Beach; June 24–25, 11 a.m.–7:30 p.m.; (562) 427-3713; $24 adults, $17 seniors and students, $5 kids 6–17, 5 and under free.
Thousands of Louisiana expats are intending to show us Angelenos what real Cajun and zydeco music is all about. Listen to the nonstop entertainment or, better yet, take a dance lesson. Fire up those taste buds with spicy and hot Cajun and creole chow. And keep the kids busy with games, face painting, jewelry making and costume decorating for the Children‘s Mardi Gras Parade.
Jewish Murals of Los Angeles
Workman’s Circle, 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., West L.A.; June 25, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; (818) 487-0416; $25 adults, $20 seniors and students, reservations required.
Get artsy with some of the city‘s best-known muralists. The bus tour, led by Eric Gordon, takes you through Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, West L.A., Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys and the Hollywood Hills. Experience the public works of artists Hugo Ballin, Daryl Wells, Eliseo Silva and Terry Schoonhoven, among others. The sites visited include the Valley Cities Jewish Community Center, Cedars-Sinai Hospital and Canter’s Deli.
Westwood Jazz at the Hammer
UCLA Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd.; Friday evenings in July, 6:30–8 p.m.; (310) 443-7000; free.
The museum‘s garden courtyard sets the appropriate ambiance for jazz on Friday nights. Performers Teddy Edwards, Barbara Morrison, Mayuto & Samba Pack, and the Peter Erskine, Alan Pasqua and Dave Carpenter Trio entertain jazz aficionados and newcomers alike.
Nisei Week Japanese Festival
Little Tokyo; July 9–August 6, various times; (213) 687-7193; most events free.
Since the 1930s, this second-generation Japanese festival packs in a multitude of events: the opening ceremony at the Japanese American National Museum, a baby show, exhibits, a street-arts festival, a carnival, a 5K run, a parade and ondo (traditional Japanese folk dance). For a complete schedule, visit http:members.aol.comnisei week.htm.
Cruise Night 2000
100–500 blocks of Brand Boulevard (between Milford Street and Broadway), Glendale; July 22, 6–10 p.m.; (818) 548-6464; free.
Leave your dinky four-wheeler in the garage and stroll down an entire boulevard of classic cars. Admire some 400 restored cars, hot rods and trucks from 1973 and earlier. Remember, this is a street party, so don’t forget to catch the blues, jazz and ‘50s and ’60s tunes on two stages.
20th Annual Sunset Junction Street Fair
3600–4400 blocks in Silver Lake; August 26, 10 a.m.–11 p.m.; August 27, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; (323) 661-7771; $3 donation.
The perpetually hip-‘n’-happening Silver Lake community opens its arms to us common suburbanites to enjoy its wonders: carnival rides, beer gardens, more than 200 food, service and arts-and-crafts booths, and children‘s entertainment to keep the little tykes quiet and happy. Plus, three stages of nonstop music from Nona Hendrix, Mike Watt, Flogging Molly, Supremes legend Mary Wilson and many more. And somewhere in all this, there’s disco, too.
African Marketplace and Cultural Faire
Rancho Cienega Park, 5001 Rodeo Road; August 19, 20, 26, 27, September 2–4, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; (213) 847-1540; $3 adults, seniors and kids, 10 and under free.
This quintessential summer celebration of the African Diaspora returns with this year‘s theme of Africa’s influence on Spanish culture. The pan-African marketplace features more than 200 vendors of Afrocentric arts, crafts, clothing and jewelry, and the Village Gourd Restaurant has the best in pan-African dining. Entertainment at the 5,000-seat Amphitheater includes performers from Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and Puerto Rico, as well as four stages offering jazz, blues, calypso and salsa. Plus the Brazilian Independence Day Festival, the Reggae Festival, and a soccer tournament.
The Latino Book & Family Festival
Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St.; August 26, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; August 27, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; (213) 741-1151; free.
This is a learning and networking opportunity for literary minds of all backgrounds, young and old. Hundreds of booths among the various “village” areas — English- and Spanish-language books, health, career, travel — host exhibitors from publishing companies, book stores, universities, HMOs, banks, insurance companies and many others. The schedule of events also includes author readings and book signings, workshops, raffles and food courts.
A Midsummer Night‘s Dream
The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; September 4, 8 p.m.; (310) 455-3723; $20 adults, $13 seniors and students; $7 kids 6–12; 6 and under free.
There’s no better way to experience Shakespeare‘s romantic comedy than on breezy summer nights surrounded by the Theatricum’s rustic hillsides. The setting seems as if ordered by the Bard himself. This year‘s multigenerational cast includes actors ages 7 to 81. Attendees are also encouraged to picnic on the Botanicum’s lush and serene grounds before, or after, the evening performances.