Your Ultimate Guide To August: 20 Awesome Events in SoCal

Summer’s not over: We found a number of notable happenings in August, so we’re ready to help plan your social calendar. Read on for all our event picks and details.

Through Aug. 11

VENTURA COUNTY FAIR

The Ventura County Fair has been drawing crowds for family fun, food, and sea air since 1875. Rodeos and grandstand concerts are free with fair admission, and this year’s stellar live music lineup includes Martina McBride, Melissa Etheridge, The Ohio Players, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Banda Carnaval, Luis Coronel, Daughtry, and X Ambassadors, among others. Admission: $8-$42.

Aug. 1, 8 and 15

JAZZPOP

Calling all cool cats: JazzPOP, the Hammer Museum’s jazz festival, focuses on West Coast jazz and improvised music. Organized by San Francisco Bay Area bassist Lisa Mezzacappa, the lineup includes: Hitomi Oba Group (Aug. 1), Alex Cline’s Limitless Light Ensemble (Aug. 8) and Joshua White 6tet (Aug. 15). The concerts begin at 8:00 p.m. Free admission.

Aug. 3

THREE COURSES: CULINARY TRIP THROUGH THE AMERICAS

The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach presents a three-course dinner experience with ingredients found in the Americas, inspired by the museum’s current exhibition Gráfíca América. The dinner includes a presentation by ArtBites that discusses the ingredients and their context in Latin American history as well as an exclusive docent tour of Gráfica América. The Aug. 3 tour begins at 6:00 p.m. with dinner seating at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $65 – $70

Aug. 3-11

DINE LBC

Fork yeah! Dozens of eateries in Long Beach are offering prix fixe, three-course specials during the nine days of Dine LBC. Try a new cuisine or establishment every day of the week, from Buono’s Authentic Pizzeria (Ocean), Los Compadres, Crazy Fish, Michael’s Downtown and PigBurd. The special meals run $15 – $65 and do not include drinks or gratuities.

Aug. 10-18

NISEI WEEK

Your Ultimate Guide To August: 20 Awesome Events in SoCal
Nisei Week returns to Little Tokyo this month. Credit: Toyo Miyatake Studios

Los Angeles Nisei Week—Little Tokyo’s largest cultural festival—runs over two weekends (Aug. 10-11 and 17-18) and celebrates Japanese music, dance, art and food. Now in its 79th year, the festival includes: a Grand Parade, Aki’s Pup Up Party (for the doggies), the Sunset at the Plaza evening festival and market, and the Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship (with eating champ Joey Chestnut, among others). Admission to the festival is free.

Aug. 11

MARCONI MUSEUM OPEN HOUSE & MEET THE FOUNDER

The Marconi Automotive Museum & Foundation for Kids is a collection of rare, exotic, high-performance and street race cars located in Tustin. Its accompanying foundation is dedicated to raising $1 million a year for at-risk youth in Southern California through public and private events. On Aug. 11, the entire family is welcome to check out the museum on its 25th anniversary. The first 500 guests will receive special giveaways. Founder Dick Marconi will be in attendance and available to sign purchased posters. The day will also feature music, games for all ages, raffles and food trucks. This event is free with RSVP.

Aug. 15 – Sept. 29

OFFAL

LA’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) and the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation (BAPF) present the group art exhibition Offal, with a theme based on the culture of consuming innards. The exhibition is on view at LAMAG from Aug.15 – 29—with an opening reception on Aug 11 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Offal complements the city’s upcoming fall Public ArtTriennial, CURRENT: LA Food, a public art initiative that features temporary public art installations and events to generate discussions around food issues. The selected artists include Panteha Abareshi, Edmund Arevalo, Phoebe Barnum, Andrea Bogdan, Johanna Breiding, SoYun Cho, Heisue Chung-Matheu and others. This exhibition is free.

Aug. 15

EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE!

Your Ultimate Guide To August: 20 Awesome Events in SoCal
Photo Credit: Jim Newberry

Everything is Terrible! is a video and performance collective that’s best known for its grand collection of Jerry Maguire videos, building structure and temples out of the VHS tapes. EIT is on the road with a special screening and live show at 8:00 p.m. at the Regent on Aug. 15. The event features found footage, unseen schlock, industrial videos, and original materials—presented with puppets and costumes. Tickets: $20

Aug. 15

AMERICA IN SPACE

The Summer of Space continues … at The Hollywood Bowl on Aug. 15 at 8:00 p.m. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the LA Phil presents a concert inspired by American achievements in space travel, through music, film clips and archival footage. David Newman conducts the Philharmonic through a program that includes: Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, & Benjamin Wallfisch, Selection from Hidden Figures; Penka Kouneva, Women Astronauts; and Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. Tickets: $1 – $162

Aug. 17

CINESPIA SLEEPOVER (Film)

Ready for a slumber party in a graveyard? Cinespia’s 9th Annual Movies All Night Slumber Party takes place on Saturday, Aug. 17 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood. This year’s lineup focuses on “90s sweethearts, heartthrobs, and heartbreakers” and includes Never Been Kissed at 8:30 p.m., I Know What You Did Last Summer at midnight, and The Witches of Eastwick screening late night. DJs spin tunes throughout the night, so get ready to dance, too. Bring a blanket, pillows, low chairs, and a picnic. Tickets: $29. Parking extra.

Aug. 18

CICLAVIA

LA’s famed open streets event returns with a “Meet the Hollywoods” route on Sunday, Aug. 18 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Bike, walk, jog, stroll, skate or opt for any non-motorized transportation as the streets are closed off to cars. Enjoy the sights—including the Walk of Fame, and Barnsdall Park—and shops over the 6.5-mile route that connects East Hollywood to West Hollywood via some of LA’s usually most trafficked roads: Hollywood Boulevard, Highland Avenue and Santa Monica Blvd. This event is free.

Aug. 21-Sept. 25

TWILIGHT ON THE PIER

Twilight on the Pier is a free weekly music festival that takes place on Wednesday nights from 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. in Santa Monica. Now in it’s 35th consecutive year, the concert series champions both emerging and established artists and sounds from around the world. Each event night also includes art, a new comedy stage, food, a wine and beer garden (for those 21+), games, and interactive activations. The opening concert on Aug. 21 at 7:00 p.m. features headliners Rostam with Dijon with Jen Awad playing in support. Concerts are free.

Aug. 22

THE ROLLING STONES

The band rolls on even after more than five decades together. The North American leg of the No Filter Tour had to be postponed in the spring because of Mick Jagger’s heart surgery. With Mick now on the mend, the band plays The Rose Bowl on Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Expect both classic hits, covers and newer material. The fan fest begins at 3:30 p.m., and the doors to the stadium open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets start at: $240.

Aug. 23-25

D23

Your Ultimate Guide To August: 20 Awesome Events in SoCal
Walt Disney Archives Presents Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume, courtesy of Walt Disney Archives / D23

D23 Expo—the Ultimate Disney Fan Event—will attract tens of thousands of people to the Anaheim Convention Center from Aug. 23-35. The convention brings all the worlds of Disney (Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, etc.) under one roof for presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, archival materials, celebrity appearances and more. On Friday, Aug. 23, 11 new “Disney Legends”—Robert Downey Jr., Bette Midler, Wing Chao, Jon Favreau, James Earl Jones, Kenny Ortega, Barnette Ricci, Robin Roberts, Diane Sawyer, Ming-Na Wen and Hans Zimmer—will be honored for their contributions to the Disney legacy. Single-day tickets: $59 – $89

Aug. 24-25

19TH ANNUAL RMV RODEO

The Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo not only celebrates the traditions of the old west, but also serves as a competition in which contestants compete for a prize purse that totals more than $180,000—and a chance for entry into the Nationals Final Rodeo in Las Vegas. Watch contests in bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bull riding and more. Tickets: $30 for adults, $10 for children 4-12, children 3 and younger get in for free.

Aug. 24-25

BRICK FEST LIVE

A million Lego bricks will be on display and ready for play at the Brick Fest Live® LEGO® Fan Experience, which takes over the Pasadena Convention Center on Aug. 24 and 25. Create and race your own custom-built Lego derby car on a 35-foot-long timed track; play Lego video games with family and friends; create mosaic tiles with 1×1 bricks; and shop for new, rare, custom sets and other merchandise from vendors at the Brick Fest. Tickets run $17.50-$39.99.

Aug. 28 – Sept. 1

THE MUSIC CENTER PLAZA REOPENING

Your Ultimate Guide To August: 20 Awesome Events in SoCal
Photo: Music Center Plaza rendering, courtesy of Rios Hale Clementi Studios

After a 20-month, $41 million renovation, The Music Center Plaza reopens with a civic ceremony on Aug. 28 and free public festivities throughout Labor Day weekend. The 53-year-old plaza has been updated into an accessible, welcoming outdoor urban space—the city of LA’s public square. There’s Dance DTLA on Friday night, Los Angeles Master Chorale’s Big Sing 2019 on Saturday and a Splish Splash Plaza Bash on Sunday, Sept. 1. These festivities are free.

Aug. 29-Sept. 2

CINECON 55

The 55th edition of Cinecon Classic Film Festival and memorabilia show returns to Hollywood over the Labor Day holiday weekend. The festival focuses on older and unusual short and feature films that are rarely given public screenings. Films are screened (mostly in 35mm) at the Egyptian Theatre with the memorabilia show taking place at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. This year’s festival opens with a gala screening of the silent flapper comedy Bare Knees (1928) with live musical accompaniment by Scott Lasky and the Famous Players Orchestra. Cinecon does not sell tickets to individual films, day passes are available ($50-$60) at the door. Memorabilia Room entrance is $15. Full festival passes: $249

Aug. 30-Sept. 22

L.A. COUNTY FAIR (Fair)

The LA County Fair returns to the Fairplex in Pomona this month (from Aug.30 – Sept. 22). In addition to the rides, carnival games, demonstrations, contests, and fair animals, the varied concert lineup features The O’Jays and the Spinners, Pitbull, George Lopez, Juanes, and Old Dominion. Except for Labor Day, the fair is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission: $8-$20, parking extra. Children ages 5 and younger get in for free.

Aug. 31

PASADENA DAYDREAM

The Cure, led by Robert Smith’s unmistakable vocals, both headlines and curates the all-ages Pasadena Daydream Festival. Taking place at Brookside at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, Aug. 31, the intergenerational lineup includes The Pixies, Deftones, Mogwai, Throwing Muses, The Joy Formidable, Chelsea Wolfe, The Twilight Sad, Emma Ruth Rundle, and Kælan Mikla. Tickets: $149 – $299

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.