The weather’s getting warmer and the poppies are popping, which means it’s springtime in Southern California. We found a number of notable events happening in April to help plan your social calendar. Read on for all our event picks and details.
ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
The renowned American dance company celebrates its 60th anniversary with several performances at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The Ailey company has crafted four different programs of mixed repertory, featuring classic Ailey works and contemporary masterworks. Each program will feature Ailey’s masterpiece, Revelations. Tickets start at $38.
BREWERY ART WALK
The Brewery Art Walk’s Spring Edition returns on Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Brewery Art Complex in DTLA. The twice-annual open studio weekend, held at the site of a former Pabst beer plant, includes more than 100 participating resident artists opening their studio doors to the public. Check out new works, installations and get a chance to meet and talk to the artists and makers themselves. Admission and parking are free. (Though we recommend public transportation or rideshares because parking is at a premium.)
April 6-May 19
RENAISSANCE PLEASURE FAIRE
What began in 1963 in Agoura to create “living history” for kids and families, has morphed into an interactive world for participants and guests every spring. Open on weekends from April 6 through May 19, the family-friendly faire features 20 acres of fun at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale. There are 13 stages offering a variety of entertainment, as well as a fully armored joust, the queen and her court, arts and crafts, food, spirits, music, dance, parades, rides and games. Single-day adult tickets: $29.95; single-day child tickets (ages 5-12): $15; and children 4 and younger are free.
The 44th edition of the Scandinavian Festival returns to California Lutheran University on April 6 and 7, from 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. It’s the largest celebration of Nordic cultures in Southern California and features a Viking Village, music, dancing, puppet shows, cooking and craft demos, vendors, and family-friendly activities. Sample Nordic treats, including lefse, Viking Dogs, Scandinavian pastries and delicious Æbleskivers (which are kind of like A+ donut holes). Admission: $5-$10; free for those 12 and younger.
FOODIE CON 2019
Foodie Con returns to the Magic Box at The Reef in Downtown L.A. on April 6 and 7 (starting at 11:00 a.m. each day), offering cooking classes, demonstrations, food exhibitors, book signings, food court vendors and drink samples. While this isn’t a tasting event, there will be many food vendors offering product samples. Ticket prices: $15-$60 (cooking classes cost extra).
INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL OF LOS ANGELES
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) runs April 11-14 at Regal L.A. LIVE, screening features and short films from the Indian and South Asian filmmaking community around the world. The festival bridges the gap between Hollywood’s and India’s industries, and includes an opening night tribute to legendary Indian film actress Tabu, paired with a screening of her latest film, Andhadhun, a black comedy. The IFFLA closes with Megha Ramaswamy’s coming of age tale, The Odds. (The opening and closing gala presentations will take place at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills with dinner receptions hosted by Indian restaurant Spice Affair.) Festival passes: $60-$1,200. Individual tickets: $13-$15. Gala screenings/receptions: $25-$75.
TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL
The 10th TCM Classic Film Festival runs in Hollywood from April 11-14 with a great lineup of both favorite films and rare gems. It opens with the 30th-anniversary gala screening of When Harry Met Sally… preceded by a discussion with stars Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal and director Rob Reiner, and closes with a screening of Gone with the Wind. Individual tickets (which run $20-$30) 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)
MONTH OF PHOTOGRAPHY LOS ANGELES
The Lucie Foundation presents the 11th annual Month of Photography Los Angeles (MOPLA), a collaborative initiative that celebrates the art of photography at various locations throughout LA during the month of April. This year’s official opening weekend, April 11-14, features a submission-based competition/exhibition featuring works on film, not digital cameras; the juried MOPLA Photo Book Exhibition; and the Month of Photography Los Angeles annual Group Show. Most events are free to attend.
LA ART BOOK FAIR
Serving as the perfect precursor to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is Printed Matter’s 2019 LA Art Book Fair, taking place April 12-14 at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. The fair hosts 390 exhibitors from 31 countries, presenting artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals and zines. In addition, more than 100 conversations, workshops, performances and other artist-led programs run throughout the weekend. Admission is free to the fair, but the opening night preview on April 11 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. is a ticketed event ($20).
LONG BEACH GRAND PRIX
Join a couple hundred thousand of your best friends for a weekend of cars racing down Long Beach’s city streets. At the Long Beach Arena, there’s also an Exotic Car Paddock and a Lifestyle Zone featuring vendors offering automotive, home, recreation, travel, and entertainment products and services. The Family Fun Zone features rock climbing walls, games, video games and racing simulators. And to wrap things up each night are concerts outside the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. A variety of tickets and passes are available, with adult, single-day general admission starting at $70.
April 12-14 and April 19-21
Coachella takes over the desert in Indio for two weekends this month (April 12-14 and April 19-21) with Childish Gambino, Ariana Grande and Tame Impala headlining the festival. Other stellar acts include Solange, Janelle Monaé, the 1975, Kid Cudi, Weezer, Aphex Twin, Kacey Musgraves, Rosalía, Anderson .Paak, CHVRCHES and Maggie Rogers. There’s currently a waiting list for both weekends, and passes run $429-$999.
L.A. TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS (Lit festival)
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books returns to the USC campus on April 13 (10:00 a.m.-6 p.m.) and 14 (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) for two days of readings, panels, music, comedy and food. Among the authors and luminaries scheduled are: Hanif Abdurraqib, Leigh Bardugo, Dave Barry, Justine Bateman, Father Gregory Boyle, T.C. Boyle, Karamo Brown, Eva Chen, Chelsea Clinton, Nonny de la Peña, DJ Z-Trip, Bret Easton Ellis, Roxane Gay, Sean Hayes, Terrance Hayes, Tayari Jones, Erica Jong, Laila Lalami, Kiese Laymon, Karina Longworth, Rebecca Makkai, Craig Mazin, Janet Napolitano, Lawrence O’Donnell, Susan Orlean, Emily X.R. Pan, David Shannon, Karin Slaughter, Amber Tamblyn and Ngugi wa Thiong’o. The festival is free to the public, but indoor conversations and other special events require a ticket.
April 13, 20, 27
GREAT LA RIVER CLEANUP: LA GRAN LIMPIEZA
Celebrate spring and Earth month by taking part in the Friends of the Los Angeles River’s annual event, the Great LA River Cleanup. Volunteers are needed to collect trash and refuse from the LA River to protect the environment and oceans. Choose from several different sites along the course of the entire river. The cleanup begins on April 13 from 9:00 a.m. to noon, focusing on the Upper River; it moves to the Middle and Lower parts of the river on April 20 and 27, respectively. Advanced signup is required.
25TH ANNUAL ORANGE PLAZA ROTARY CAR SHOW
One of Southern California’s more popular car shows returns to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Nearly 400 pre-1976 street rods, custom, and classic vehicles will be on display from 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. in Old Towne Orange’s Plaza Square. The car show is free to attend, and if the weather’s good, organizers are expecting 15,000+ spectators.
April 25-May 2
NEWPORT BEACH FILM FESTIVAL (Music)
The annual festival takes place in several venues in Newport Beach, Corona del Mar and other locations in the OC. This year’s festival features more than 100 narrative and documentary features, 200 shorts and music videos and 65 culinary partners showcasing their talents at a dozen festival parties. Passes: $180-$600; individual tickets to general screenings: $16.
Naturally, after Coachella, it’s time for country music at the Empire Polo Fields in Indio. The festival runs April 26-28 with headliners Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean with hot acts like Old Dominion, Luke Combs and Lauren Alaina. Other names that caught our attention include: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Scotty McCreery (American Idol), Welsh pop star Tom Jones, Bret Michaels of Poison and Rita Wilson. Passes start at $369.
CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
The 2019 Cherry Blossom Festival at Barnes Park in Monterey Park on April 27 (11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.) and 28 (11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) is a family-friendly festival that celebrates spring as well as Japanese and Japanese-American culture. Watch performances of traditional Japanese dancing, taiko drums and martial arts; take part games, activities or even a tea ceremony; buy hand-made crafts and food; and browse cultural displays. Free admission.
This “mindful triathlon” festival features running, yoga and meditation activities on April 27 and 28 from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Santa Monica Pier. Following the triathlon, participate in bonus activities, including dancing at the main stage, shopping at the Kula Market of local artisans, and enjoying a bite at Wanderlust’s True North Cafe. Ticket prices start at $31.08.
CALIFORNIA POPPY FESTIVAL
Celebrate California’s state flower at this festival in Lancaster. The city holds its annual festival on April 27 and 28, from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. at Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park. Get ready to traverse 55 acres of activities, including music performances, animals and a petting zoo, arts and crafts, a farmer’s market, and of course, festival foods. Admission: $5-$10; children 5 and younger are free.
PRINT AND FAIR FESTIVAL
The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach presents its first Print Fair & Festival on April 28 from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. The festival aims to highlight the works of artists who create printed works and publications. Guests can interact directly with local artists and independent vendors. The day-long event is held in conjunction with the museum’s current exhibition, Gráfica América, and will also feature live performances, demonstrations, panel discussions, vendors and workshops. Admission to the museum and festival is free.
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.