We found a number of notable happenings and events in Los Angeles and around SoCal this May to help plan your social calendar. Read on for all our picks and details.
LOS ANGELES TIMES FOOD BOWL
The LA Times’ Food Bowl returns this month to celebrate Southern California’s food landscape. The Food Bowl hopes to showcase the best in local dining while promoting social awareness about food waste and hunger. The festival’s highlights include the Night Market in Grand Park from May 8-12; a Taco Tribute on May 9; Dumplings, Noodles and Rice on May 11; and various talks and events, including a food film festival.
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
The 35th iteration of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival screens 200 films (shorts and features) from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists at several theaters in the Los Angeles area. The festival has bookended two world premieres–Yellow Rose (opening night) and Empty by Design (closing night)–from two Filipina American filmmakers, Diane Paragas and Andrea A. Walter. Tickets and passes run $13 – $400.
The Lucha VaVoom troupe presents three nights of Mexican masked wrestling, burlesque, and comedy to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Taking place at The Mayan in Downtown Los Angeles for “Cinco de Mayan,” the high-octane show features lucha libre-style wrestling from Mexico City, Tijuana, Guadalajara, and Juarez; Aztec dancers, aerialists, hula hoops, lowriders, comedy, folkloricos from Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet and mariachis music from Mariachi Alma y Corazon. The shows begin at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. This event is 21+. Tickets: $48.50.
UNION STATION 80TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
The iconic train station–the largest terminal in the West–celebrates its 80th anniversary with community activities and entertainment throughout the weekend. Come down to the station to hear music from a number of live bands, artists, and DJs. Shop a special vendor marketplace, explore the art and architecture of the station, participate in games and children’s activities, and enjoy specials from the station’s restaurants or food trucks. Free admission.
ACALOVE: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S A CAPPELLA FESTIVAL
Now, this concert sounds aca-awesome: UCI A Cappella and UCI Chamber Singers present the second annual AcaLove concert, bringing together award-winning vocal groups from throughout Southern California. The event takes place at the Irvine Barclay Theatre at the University of California Irvine at 8:00 p.m. Tickets: $7 – $20.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON CONCERTS IN THE DOME
Mt. Wilson Observatory presents a series of Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome, running once a month from May through October. Held inside the dome of the 100-inch telescope, the concerts commence on May 5 with a celebration of the gypsy jazz music of Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli, featuring Ben Powell, violin; Roch Lockyer, guitar; and Brian Netzley, bass. Performances at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Tickets: $50 and must be purchased in advance.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
The revival of the beloved Broadway musical comes to the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa from May 7-17. Watch as Tevye tries to marry off his oldest daughters, who want to buck tradition. The production is from Tony Award winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick; and is directed by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The King and I); musical direction by Ted Sperling; with choreography by acclaimed Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter, inspired by the original choreography of Jerome Robbins. .
May 14 – Aug. 18
BOOK OF BEASTS: THE BESTIARY IN THE MEDIEVAL WORLD
The exhibition at the Getty Museum uncovers the real and fictional animals that inhabit the pages of bestiaries — the medieval books of beasts. Images of unicorns, lions, griffins and other animals made bestiaries among the most popular illuminated texts in northern Europe during the Middle Ages. With more than 100 works on view, this marks the first major museum exhibition that examines the illustrated volumes’ widespread influence on medieval art and culture. Free admission.
JOSHUA TREE MUSIC FESTIVAL
This bi-annual festival is held every May and October at Joshua Tree Lake Campground, at the gateway to the national park. The family-friendly festival is a celebration of global music, with programming throughout the weekend that includes yoga, environmental talks, alternative healing therapies, kids activities and a world marketplace. Single day passes from $50, full festival passes from $200.
The AMGEN Tour of California attracts some of the top professional men’s and women’s cyclists from around the world. The seven-day men’s race and three-day women’s race hold their final stages in Southern California. On May 17, the tour races from Ontario to Mount Baldy, and on May 18, the races end with the Santa Clarita to Pasadena route. Hospitality/VIP passes start at $65 for the last two stages.
THE LITTLE MERMAID: AN IMMERSIVE LIVE-TO-FILM CONCERT EXPERIENCE
The venue will become the Hollywood (Fish)Bowl for two nights as The Little Mermaid celebrates its 30th anniversary. The live concert and film screening features the songs performed by an all-star cast including Lea Michele (as Ariel), Harvey Fierstein (as Ursula), Cheech Marin (as Chef Louis), Peter Gallagher (as King Triton), Leo Gallo (as Prince Eric), Ken Page (as Sebastian) and special guest Alan Menken. The film will be accompanied by a full orchestra. Show at 8:00 p.m. both nights, and tickets start at $42.50.
CALIFORNIA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL
Strawberries get their time in the sun — literally — this month at the California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard on May 18 and 19. The festival features art, live music, entertainment, kid-friendly activities and, of course, food. Dozens of vendors are serving up delights including strawberry funnel cake, strawberry chimichangas, chocolate dipped strawberries, deep-fried strawberries, berry kabobs and other items. General admission for adults is $12; seniors 62+, active military and dependents with ID card: $8; youths (5-12): $5. Free for kids 4 and younger. The festival runs from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on both days.
EXPLORE JPL 2019
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s annual open house takes place on its Pasadena campus on May 18-19. Ticketed guests can visit JPL for a closeup look at where the space magic happens — from mission control to the machine shop where spacecraft parts are built. Learn about current and future Mars missions, too. Tickets for the open house are free, but limited. There is currently a waitlist for ticket cancellations.
DOHENY BLUES FESTIVAL
The Doheny Blues Festival, held on May 18-19, welcomes 15,000 music lovers to Sea Terrace Community Park in Dana Point. Listen to both up-and-coming and nationally known blues, soul and rock artists on several stages throughout the weekend, including Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Jonny Lang, Taj Mahal Quartet, John Mayall and Robert Cray Band. Single-day tickets start at $80, GA weekend passes start at $140.
COMIC CON REVOLUTION
Now in its third year, this comic convention is held at the Ontario Convention Center and features 300 vendors in the exhibit hall including comic creators and artists, new comic dealers, vintage comic dealers, publishers, toy and collectibles sellers, crafts, clothing, and cosplayers and costumes. Tickets/passes run between $20-$119.
EEEEEATSCON (Food + music)
The Infatuation’s food festival EEEEEATSCON returns to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. This year, the fest expands (much like attendees’ waistlines) to two days. Enjoy bites from 20+ restaurants including Ma’am Sir, Salt & Straw and Freedmans. Cameron Diaz, Awkwafina and Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy are slated to speak at the event, along with leaders in the food world. Food and drinks will be sold a la carte. Tickets: $30-$35 (includes admission, access to musical performances, keynotes and panel discussions). The event runs 12:00-6:00 p.m. on both days.
LONG BEACH PRIDE
The two-day LGBTQ+ and allies event features a festival on both days with live music, community programming, and food and drinks from local eateries. Headlining performers include Big Freedia and Ada Vox. The pre-parade activities kick off at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday with the parade starting at 10:30 a.m. Festival tickets start at $20.
626 GOLDEN STREETS
626 Golden Streets is an open streets event that temporarily closes streets to cars and opens them for people to walk, jog, skate, bike and experience neighborhoods sans motors. On May 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the five-mile Mission-to-Mission route stretches from South Pasadena to Alhambra to San Gabriel. There are three hubs along the way that feature activities and entertainment. This event is free.
The Irish band, fronted by Gary Lightbody, wraps its 21-show headlining tour of North America at the Wiltern on May 21. The band performs in support of its latest release Wildness. Tickets start at $35.
May 31-June 8
HOLA MEXICO FILM FESTIVAL
The Hola Mexico Film Festival is the largest Mexican film festival outside of Mexico. The festival highlights the best and brightest talents in Mexican cinematography. The screening slate includes comedies, dramas, horror films and documentaries. The festival opens with the Los Angeles premiere of The Good Girls (Las Niñas Bien), directed by Alejandra Márquez Abella, a satirical critique of Mexico’s bourgeoisie class. Filmed by Dariela Ludlow, the screening takes place at the Montalbán Theatre in Hollywood. Tickets/passes for the festival run between $10 and $250.
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.