Your Ultimate Guide To May: 20 Cool Events Happening Around SoCal

Welcome to May! We found a number of interesting and fun happenings this month to help plan your social calendar. Read on for all our event picks and details.

All month

The Los Angeles Times’ Food Bowl—a month-long festival celebrating Los Angeles’ food scene—takes place at restaurants and venues throughout the city. The Food Bowl will showcase the best in local dining while promoting social awareness about food waste, hunger, food insecurity and sustainability. Power of Food, the opening event, takes place at the Wiltern on May 1 at 7 p.m. Chef José Andrés will Jonathan Gold and guests Zooey Deschanel, Ron Finley, Susan Feniger, Nyesha Arrington and Tim Kilcoyne for a conversation on the power of food. Tickets: $15-$50.

May 2

Levar Burton, the actor best known for his work on Star Trek: The Next GenerationRoots and PBS’ Reading Rainbow, reads a handpicked piece of short fiction for a live audience. Burton stops at The Regent Theater on Wednesday, May 2, at 8 p.m. Tickets: $30-$100. All ages.

May 3-Sept. 16

This summer, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ has 32 teams competing for soccer’s top prize. To celebrate the international sport, the Forest Lawn Museum presents GOOOOL! The World Cup’s Greatest Moments, an original art exhibition—featuring images, jerseys, soccer balls and ephemera—supported by the FIFA World Football Museum in Zürich, Switzerland. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

May 5

TACO MADNESS (Taco fest)
Taco Madness ’18 returns to LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes on Cinco de Mayo (Saturday, May 5) from 6 p.m. to midnight. The fest celebrates LA’s taco scene and features the best tacos from carts, stands, trucks, and award-winning chefs and restaurants. In addition, there will be craft beers and cocktails available for purchase. Ages 21+. Free entry. VIP tickets for early entry at 5 p.m. are $25.

May 6

STORIES OF (Female-identified storytelling)
Stories Of is a female-identified storytelling event and benefit for Peace Over Violence that takes place on May 6 at The Regent Theater. Hosted by Shan Boodram, the evening features more than a dozen speakers who explore the theme of “Jealousy.” Speakers include Shirley Manson (lead singer of Garbage), comedian Aparna Nancherla, musician Madame Gandhi, Nadya Okamoto (founder of Period Org / Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21), Teen Vogue writer Ashlee Marie Preston and others. Doors at 6 p.m., show at 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $12 advance, $20 day of show. All ages.

May 12

Pop-Up Magazine returns to The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Saturday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. The program—a live magazine—features a mix of true stories, film, photography, art, radio and music live on stage by the Magik*Magik Orchestra. Contributors for this Pop-Up Magazine “Spring Issue” performance in Los Angeles include: Actor Joy Bryant (Parenthood); writers Bess Kalb (Jimmy Kimmel Live), John Jeremiah Sullivan (The New York Times bestselling author, Pulphead), Helen Rosner (The New Yorker), Davy Rothbart (creator, Found Magazine), Gustavo Arellano (Los Angeles Times); photographer Andres Gonzalez (The New York Times Style Magazine); filmmakers Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles, Thin) and Marcus Ubungen (Beyond the Fields); and others. Tickets: $39-$49.

May 12

BIRD LA DAY (Birding)
Bird LA Day, a project of Audubon California, presents a series of bird- and nature-themed events across the LA area. Events range from a bird walk at Fern Dell/Griffith Park to a Children and Family Guided Bird Walk at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve, to an International Bird Rescue Open House at International Bird Rescue LA Wildlife Center in San Pedro. Most events are family friendly and free of charge.

May 12 and 14

ITZHAK PERLMAN (Classical music)
Renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman is in recital at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Saturday, May 12 at 3 p.m. and Monday, May 14 at 8 p.m. Perlman performs with his longtime accompanist Rohan de Silva, and features works by Schubert (Sonatina No. 1 in D major, Op. 137), Beethoven (Violin Sonata No. 9, Op. 47, “Kreutzer”) and Dvorak (Sonatina, Op. 100), among others. Tickets start at $53.

May 13-15

Celebrate: Identity is A+D Museum’s Annual Gala Fundraiser. The museum is dedicated to architecture and design and its prominence in everyday life. The gala is “a salute to every face of the city, of the street and all that look inwards for inspiration. Celebrate: Identity encourages the expression of the individual.” The event, held at the museum in LA’s Arts District, features a runway show by designer MarcoMarco, who’s designed a special collection inspired by the architecture and design of the city of Los Angeles. Tickets: $50-$125.

May 15-16

U2 (Music)
U2’s eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour 2018 stops at The Forum in Inglewood on May 15 and 16. The Irish quartet is touring in support of the band’s Songs of Experience release, a companion piece to 2014’s Songs of Innocence. Tickets: $26-$330+. 8 p.m.

May 18-20

WHEDONCON (Comics + pop culture)
Fandom Charities presents the second annual WhedonCon this weekend (May 18-20) at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills. The three-day con—run by fans, for fans— celebrates the works of Joss Whedon and those in his Whedonverse (Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Marvel’s Avengers and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , Dollhouse, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog … among others). Attendees can take part in cosplay contests, panel discussions, meet and greets, workshops, games and more. Single-day admissions: $20-$45; three-day passes: $40-$70. Proceeds to benefit the Lupus Foundation of America and the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center.

May 19

BEASTLY BALL (Fundraiser)
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens presents its annual Beastly Ball on Saturday, May 19 at 5:30 p.m. An all-star band with Nancy Wilson, Liv Warfield, Slash, Robert Randolph and others headlines the night’s Concert for Conservation, too. The event commemorates Endangered Species Day and honors Animal Expert/Conservationist Jack Hanna; a Conservation Mural by Artist/Beautify Earth Co-Founder Ruben Rojas will also be unveiled. Sample foods from some of the best restaurants in LA and participate in a silent auction in between activities. Attire: safari casual. Tickets start at $1,500 per person.

Your Ultimate Guide To May: 20 Cool Events Happening Around SoCal
Animal expert Jack Hanna receives the prestigious Tom Mankiewicz Leadership Award at the 2018 Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association Beastly Ball on May 19. (PHOTO CREDIT: courtesy of Jack Hanna

LITFEST PASADENA 2018 (Literary)
LitFest Pasadena is a hybrid book festival and literary crawl that takes over Pasadena’s Playhouse District on May 19 and 20, from 1 to 10 p.m. both days. The LitFest features two days of panels, discussions, readings, workshops, performances and literary activities. More than 150 authors and special guests will participate during the course of the weekend. Topics include: BiGlrz, Vonneguys, Writer Types, & Disco: Podcasting for Literary L.A., Writing Fictional Mysteries in the Era of Alt-Facts, The Revolution of Marina M.: Janet Fitch & Chris Daley Discuss Love, Loss, and Heroism in Extraordinary Times. Free.

May 19-20

Now in its 35th year, the California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard celebrates the berry through food, art, live music and entertainment. The fest, which takes place at the Strawberry Meadows of College Park, features more than 50 food vendors, and includes sweet and savory dishes like strawberry nachos, strawberry pizza, strawberry funnel cake, strawberry chimichangas, chocolate dipped strawberries, deep-fried strawberries, berry kabobs, strawberry tamales and so many more. Walk off the food and browse the more than 200 craft vendors on site. General admission for adults is $12; seniors 62+, active military and dependents with ID card: $8; youths (5-12): $5. Free entry for kids 4 and younger. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days.

May 20

DIE, MOMMIE, DIE! (Theater)
Celebration Theatre presents the campy noir production of Die, Mommie, Die! at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, from May 10-20. Written by Charles Busch and directed by Ryan Bergmann, the production is part of Center Theatre Group’s Block Party 2018.
The production follows the adventures of an aging Hollywood star who’s trapped in an unhappy marriage and plots to kill her husband. Previews begin on May 10 and the show opens on May 12. Tickets: $25-$70.

Your Ultimate Guide To May: 20 Cool Events Happening Around SoCal
L-R: Drew Droege and Tom DeTrinis in the original production of Celebration Theatre’s “Die, Mommie, Die!” Center Theatre Group’s second annual Block Party will remount “Die, Mommie, Die!” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre from May 10 through 20, 2018. For tickets and information, please visit or call (213) 628-2772.

May 22, 23 & 28

Paul Simon plays the Hollywood Bowl for three nights: May 22, 23 and 28 at 8 p.m. The legendary songwriter and musician is on his Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour, which showcases his decades-long career and timeless hits. Tickets start at $39.50.

Film Independent at LACMA teams up with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for the next installment of its Bring the Noise program on Thursday, May 24 at 7:30 pm at the museum’s Bing Theatre. Bring the Noise is a series that invites musicians to create a new score for a classic film, then perform it live at a screening. This month’s selection is George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead with new psych-punk music by The Paranoyds. Each attendee will receive a limited-edition poster by Matt Owen and can attend a post-screening reception hosted by the HFPA. Tickets: $15-$25.

May 25 & 26

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Live concert screening)
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast hits the Hollywood Bowl on May 25 & 26 for a live concert-to-film event. The all-star cast includes Zooey Deschanel, Kelsey Grammer, Taye Diggs, Rebel Wilson and Jane Krakowski among others. The performers sing the beloved songs from the film as Beauty and the Beast plays on the Bowl’s movie screen—all accompanied by a full live orchestra. 8:15 p.m. both nights. Tickets start at $42.50.

May 26-28

Now in its 45th year, Topanga Days is an annual festival that is expected to draw more than 10,000 people for music, crafts, clothing and food over Memorial Day Weekend. The festival’s highlights include the home-grown Memorial Day Parade along Route 27 (Topanga Canyon Blvd.) and bands including Milo Greene, X, Afrolicious and Breakestra. Single-day tickets: $15-$25

May 27

LA Zine Fest takes place on Sunday, May 27, at the Pasadena Convention Center from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Zine Fest brings together hundreds of exhibitors and hands-on zine-centric workshops. The event is free and open to the public.