No fooling! Here are 20 notable events happening in Southern California in April to help you plan your social calendar. Read on for all our event picks and details.
Rooftop Cinema Club returns for its fourth season of outdoor film screenings on two rooftops: Hollywood’s Montalbán Theatre and LEVEL in Downtown Los Angeles. The season starts on April 4 at the Montalbán with a screening of I, Tonya. At LEVEL, the screenings begin on April 6 with a 20th anniversary celebration of The Big Lebowski. Screenings are for adults only, ages 18+. Tickets: $19+ booking fee for general seating; $28+ fee for special seating and bottomless popcorn.
LOVE NEVER DIES (Musical)
Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, runs at the Pantages from April 4-22. The touring production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical opens at 8 p.m. on April 4. Tickets start at $49. The show is recommended for those ages 12 and older.
LA DANCE PROJECT (Dance)
LA Dance Project (LADP), founded by dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, is the first Company-in-Residence at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. LADP’s Spring Program takes place from April 5 through 7 at 7:30 p.m. and features Duets by Martha Graham, Helix by Justin Peck, Sarabande by Millepied and Yag by Ohad Naharin. Tickets start at $45.
SLEEPLESS: THE MUSIC CENTER AFTER HOURS (Party)
Bust out the leisure suits and platform shoes. The Music Center’s popular late-night art party series Sleepless: The Music Center After Hours celebrates all things disco for two sessions: Friday, April 6, from 11:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. the next morning, and again on Saturday, April 7 at 11:30 p.m. to Sunday, 3 a.m. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion transforms into a disco inferno, featuring roller skaters, pop-up dance happenings, a larger-than-life mirror-ball installation by artists Kyle McDonald and Jonas Jongejan, and screenings of disco-inspired trailers and feature films. Saturday Night Fever screens on Friday night, and Daft Punk’s Electroma screens on Saturday night. Tickets: $20 in advance; $30 at the door.
April 7-May 20
THE ORIGINAL RENAISSANCE PLEASURE FAIRE (History festival)
The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire is the world’s oldest Renaissance fair. Hundreds of performers taking visitors back to the Elizabethan era. Guests enjoy 14 stages of entertainment from improv troupes to knife throwers and more. There are dozens and dozens of artisans selling their wares as well as food and drink vendors ready to feed the masses of the kingdom. The faire runs April 7 through May 20 at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale. Adult tickets: $28.95-$29.95; children ages 5-12 are $15; and children ages 4 and younger get in for free. Season passes are available.
BREWERY ART WALK (Art)
The Brewery Art Walk’s Spring Edition—an open studio weekend at the world’s largest art complex—takes place on April 7 and 8 in Downtown Los Angeles. Held on the site of the former Pabst Blue Ribbon plant, the art walk includes more than 100 participating resident artists who open their studio doors to the public. Check out new works, installations, and chat with the artists and makers themselves. Check out Barbara’s At The Brewery for beer and sustenance. Admission and parking are free, but the latter is a premium, so consider alternative transportation.
MUSE/IQUE’S UNCORKED SERIES (Music)
MUSE/IQUE, the Pasadena-based live music organization that brings music to unexpected places, continues its Uncorked Series with the program HUMAN/INSTRUMENT on April 8 at Huntington Hospital. The event is a “multi-faceted musical journey into health and wellness, that will showcase the artistic and creative reaches within the human body, and explore sound in its purest form.” Performers include the indie pop/electronic a capella group Arora and extreme body percussion ensemble Molodi. The artists create music using breath, voice, heartbeat and the body itself. While the performance begins at 7 p.m., get there early for a MUSE/IQUE Health Fair as well as food and drink available for purchase. Tickets: $50.
April 13-15 and April 20-22
Thousands of music fans will descend upon Indio and other desert communities for the two weekends of the Coachella festival, which features The Weeknd, Beyoncé and Eminem headlining Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, respectively. Other major acts performing are SZA, David Byrne, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Haim, Portugal. The Man and so many more artists. Of course, everything’s sold out, but where there’s a will—there’s a way.
TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH (Racing)
The 44th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach—America’s longest-running street race—runs April 13 to 15. Preliminary and practice runs begin on Friday the 13th, leading up to the big race on Sunday afternoon. The Grand Prix also features fun activities for the entire family, such as a Family Fun Zone, Lifestyle Expo, Mothers Exotic Car Paddock and live music. General admission tickets: $30-$70; three-day general admission: $95. Reserved ticket prices and passes vary by day and seating level.
NOIR CITY: HOLLYWOOD (Film festival)
Noir City: Hollywood, now in its 20th year, is LA’s longest running noir festival. The festival runs April 13-22 at the Egyptian Theatre, with the American Cinematheque and the Film Noir Foundation digging deep into their archives for dark, moody double features. Several of the films screened at the 10-day festival are not available on DVD or streaming. Opening the festival on April 13 is the 1946 film The Blue Dahlia, followed by I Love Trouble (1948). Admission: $15.
April 14, 21, 28
GREAT LA RIVER CLEANUP: LA GRAN LIMPIEZA (Community)
What better way to celebrate Earth Month then by participating in the Friends of the Los Angeles River’s annual event, the Great LA River Cleanup? Volunteer to collect detritus and refuse from the Los Angeles River to protect the oceans. Choose from nine different sites along the course of the entire river on April 14, 21 or 28. The cleanup begins on April 14 from 9 a.m. to noon, focusing on the Upper River. Choose from the Sepulveda Basin / Balboa Sports Complex or the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk. Advanced signup is required.
April 15-July 29
DAVID HOCKNEY: 82 PORTRAITS AND 1 STILL-LIFE (Art)
On April 15, LACMA presents the U.S. premiere of David Hockney: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life. The exhibition includes recent portraits, created between 2013 and 2016, in the artist’s Hollywood Hills studio. The works include images of John Baldessari, Stephanie Barron, Celia Birtwell, Dagny Corcoran, Edith Devaney, Larry Gagosian, Frank Gehry, Benedikt Taschen, among many others others. Adult general admission tickets: $20-$25.
SANTA CLARITA COWBOY FESTIVAL (Western fest)
The Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival in Newhall (just up the 5 near Magic Mountain) offers a weekend of family fun in an immersive, authentic Western experience. Browse apparel, gear and attractions while watching acts such as trick ropers, gun spinners, living history exhibits, musicians and more. General admission to the festival is free, but many activities and events cost extra.
RECORD STORE DAY (Music)
Record Store Day&mdasha day set aside to celebrate records, musicians and local record stores—takes place on April 21. Head to a participating Record Store Day shop and pick up any number of special limited releases, including an EP from Arcade Fire and music from David Bowie, Tim Buckley, Jeff Buckley and many others.
LA TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS (Books)
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books takes over the University of Southern California campus on April 21 and 22 for two days of readings, panels, music, comedy, film, art and food. Too many great authors and artists are reading and making appearances at the festival to count, including Resa Aslan, Ed Asner, John August, Cecil Castellucci, Diana Gabaldon, Dave Eggers, Edan Lepucki, Lucy Jones, Lucinda Williams and many others. Free admission, but festival passes (which allows access to ticketed events) are $35-$100; advance conversation tickets are available for $2 each or wait for free stand-by tickets on day of event.
Editor’s Note: PBS SoCal will have a booth at the LA Times Festival of Books. Please stop by if you make it down there!
CICLAVIA (Open streets)
CicLAvia—the open streets event that closes off roadways to cars and opens them to walkers, runners, bikers, skaters (any mode of transport sans motor)—heads for the “Heart of the Foothills” on April 22. A perfect family outing and way to celebrate Earth Day, CicLAvia has four hubs along its 6.5-mile route: San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona and Claremont. Participants can start anywhere and ride at their own pace through adjacent neighborhoods. Participants may enter and exit anywhere along the route from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
April 26-Sept. 2
LEONARD BERNSTEIN AT 100 (Music + history)
The Skirball Cultural Center presents Leonard Bernstein at 100, a comprehensive centennial exhibition on the great American composer and artist. The show, curated by the GRAMMY Museum, opens on April 26, running through Sept. 2. Leonard Bernstein at 100 includes more than 150 objects—from photographs and papers, to scores and interactive displays—that explore the work of the renowned American composer, conductor, pianist and humanitarian. Admission: $12; $9 seniors, full-time Students and children 12 and older; $7 children 2-12.
TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL (Classic films)
The 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival returns to Hollywood on April 26-29 with a great lineup of classic films and rare gems. This year, the festival focuses on the representation of the written word in a cinematic format. Films include: The Black Stallion (1979), Bullitt (1968), His Girl Friday (1940), Maurice (1987), Show People (1928), Sounder (1972), Spellbound (1945), Throne of Blood (1957) and many others. Individual tickets (which run $20) will not be sold for the Opening Night Red Carpet Gala screening, the poolside screenings or panels—as they’re passholder exclusive events. (Passes: $299-$2,149.)
STAGECOACH (Country music fest)
After Coachella, country music gets a turn to take over the Empire Polo Fields in Indio. Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival runs April 27-29 with a who’s who of country music stars, and up-and-comers on the bill. Headliners are Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks and Keith Urban, with undercard artists including Jake Owen, Kacey Musgraves, Gordon Lightfoot, Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Milsap, Dwight Yoakam and others. The three-day general admission pass is $349 with other packages available.
PUPPET FESTIVAL (Family fest)
The Skirball’s annual Puppet Festival takes place on Sunday, April 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and celebrates the art of puppetry. The family-friendly event focuses on art-making activities; live music performances; and new and classic tales told through marionettes, shadow and full-body puppets. The puppeteers come from all over the country and the day culminates in a grand procession of puppets. Tickets: $12 for general admission; $9 for seniors, full-time students and children over 12. Children between the ages of 2 and 12 get in for $7. The exhibition is free to Skirball Members and children younger than 2.
Christine N. Ziemba is a Los Angeles-based arts and culture writer who loves to tell people what to do (and where to go). Check out her events columns and other musings on PopRadarLA.com, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.