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LA Cultural Calendar: 10 Unmissable Events in Summer 2014
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LA Cultural Calendar: 10 Unmissable Events in Summer 2014

Picture of Imogen Beecroft
Updated: 9 February 2017
Home such iconic symbols as the Hollywood sign, the Getty Centre and the Hollywood walk of fame, Los Angeles also plays host to a number of cultural events throughout the year. From alternative art exhibitions to food festivals and world-class concerts, here is our handpicked selection of LA’s best art and culture happenings this summer.

 

Music | Twilight Concerts

July-September

This year marks the 30th series of Twilight Concerts, the city’s best free music event. Every Thursday evening between 7 and 10 p.m. crowds collect on the pier and the beach to sing, dance, and enjoy an eclectic mix of music. While the line-up for this year is yet to be confirmed, last year featured performances from Xavier Rudd, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and Jimmy Cliff, so there’s sure to be something for everyone.

Twilight Concerts, 200 Santa Monica Pier, Suite A Santa Monica, CA, USA, +1 310 458 8901

 

 

Food and Film | Street Food Cinema

May-September

Street Food Cinema is a pretty self-explanatory concept: in Exposition Park, LA, crowds gather to watch a film and try some of the city’s finest street food vendors. Films are shown outdoors on a big screen, and range from old classics to recent blockbusters. There’s usually a wide variety of dining options including Good Greek Grub, Greenz on Wheelz, Hang 10 Tacos, and Longboards Ice Cream. However, vendors vary from show to show so if you’re particularly fussy it might be a good idea to check in advance. This summer’s selection of films includes Bridesmaids, The Goonies, and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Street Food Cinema, TIL Lifestyle Marketing + Events: Production Office, 1617 Colorado Blvd, LA, CA, USA, +1 323 254 5068

 

Street Food Cinema
© Sheldon Chau

 

Culture | LA Pride

8 June

The LA Pride celebrations are more than a parade: festivities last a whole weekend, and a music festival runs throughout the weekend. The parade itself will start at 11 a.m. on Sunday 8 June, and with an expected turnout of over 400,000 it’s sure to be an emotive and powerful display. Azealia Banks and Jennifer Hudson are just two of the big names performing at the festival, and this year will see a special series of transgender social performances on The Latino Carnival Stage. LA Pride is run by the Christopher Street West Association, an organisation dedicated to supporting LGBT rights which put on the first Pride Parade in 1970 celebrating the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion in New York.

LA Pride, Christopher Street West, 8235 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 302 West Hollywood, CA, USA, +1 323 969 8302

 

 

Music | Playboy Jazz Festival

14-15 June

It’s set to be a busy cultural summer at the Hollywood Bowl: it’s not only playing host to the Mariachi USA festival, but it’s also the home of the Playboy Jazz Festival on 14-15 June. This weekend-long music festival is one of the biggest jazz celebrations in the world and with George Lopez acting as Master of Ceremonies, and performances from Jamie Cullum, Dianne Reeves and Juan De Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All Stars, it looks set to be a special weekend. Founded by Hugh Hefner, this year will mark the 36th Playboy Jazz Festival, which was started to encourage interest in jazz with performances from established acts as well as helping artists just embarking on their careers.

Playboy Jazz Festival, 2301 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 850 2000

 

 

Music | MARIACHI USA

28 June

Mariachi is a type of Mexican folk music, originally played with string instruments, and has been an iconic part of Mexican heritage since the 18th century. The LA-based MARIACHI USA festival was founded by artist and producer Rodri J. Rodriguez in 1990 to celebrate this musical tradition, and is always a spectacle of costume, colour, and dance. This year the festival will be held at the Hollywood Bowl in LA on 28 June, and Rodriguez said: ‘I am jazzed to celebrate 25 years at the Hollywood Bowl to share the music and talent of the mariachi groups and dancers joining us this year.’

MARIACHI USA, 2301 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 848 7717

 

 

Photography | Awkward Family Photos

Until 27 July

Awkward Family Photos started as a blog by two friends who simply happened to notice that their family photos weren’t quite as casual as they might have hoped. They posted their own photos online, and invited others to do the same. The site now has millions of hits daily and 2 million Facebook fans, and the best of these awkward family photos are now on display in the California Heritage Museum. For an art exhibition that provides something slightly different this is the place to go.

Awkward Family Photos, 2612 Main St, Santa Monica, CA, USA, +1 310 392 8537

 

Culture | Nisei Week Japanese Festival

July-August

A week to celebrate Japanese American culture, Nisei Week attracts thousand of visitors from all over California. Some of its most popular attractions include its Grand Parade, martial arts displays and exhibitions designed to showcase the finest of Japanese culture. The first Nisei Week was in 1934, and while the festival has expanded significantly it remains true to its origins, and the ondo dance parade, which featured in the first Nisei Week 56 years ago, still draws huge crowds. No longer strictly a week, festivities are held throughout July and August in Little Tokyo.

Nisei Week Japanese Festival, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 213 687 7193

 

Music | HARDfest Summer

­2-3 August

HARDfest is an alternative music festival, featuring predominantly electronic music. The first festival was held in 2007, and the brand has since gone from strength to strength, now attracting fans from across the world for a weekend of music and partying. This year’s festival will be held on 2-3 August, and includes performances from Jack U, Disclosure, and Tiësto. The HARD brand also has a number of other ventures, including HARD Red Rocks and HARD Day of the Dead.

HARDfest Summer, 750 Santa Anita Ave, South El Monte, CA, USA, +1 626 575 5526

 

Culture | Festival of Chariots

3 August

The Festival of Chariots – or Ratha Yatra – is an Indian festival celebrating Lord Krishna’s return to Vrindaban. Participant’s celebrate in the streets of LA, rejoicing and chanting ‘Hare Krishna’. The streets are filled with colourful and impressive floats, beautifully decorated chariots, and tents line the streets offering varieties of food, yoga classes and dances. Put on by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, much of the food and entertainment is free and the festival never fails to draw a large crowd. Attendees invariably comment on the positive and loving atmosphere of the weekend, the excellent quality of the food, and the community spirit the festival fosters.

Festival of Chariots, ISKCON Ratha-yatra, 3764 Watseka Ave., LA, CA, USA, +1 310 836 2676

 

Music | Make Music Pasadena

7 June

This free 12-hour music festival in Pasadena is one of the highlights of LA’s summer schedule. Since the first festival in 2008, Make Music Pasadena has continued to attract the biggest bands and best food vendors, and is definitely not a day to be missed. There are a number of stages for different genres of music, including reggae, world and indie music. This year it runs on Saturday June 7 from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m,, so is great for either a full day out or just an afternoon out. The 2014 line-up is one of their best, including Surfer Blood, Tennis, and Finish Ticket.

Make Music Pasadena, Pasadena, CA, USA