Los Angeles Free Friday

Sep 24, 2010 by Lisa Newton

Yesterday, while talking to a friend of mine she blurted out “Is it September 23rd already?” (suddenly realizing that another summer has come and gone so quickly).

Yes, and that’s how sometimes things move so fast–especially time. It’s hard to believe that September is almost over and then Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year will be right around the corner.

We all want to relax this weekend, but with all the fun free things happening, that might prove to be a bit difficult, as they’re so many places to go and things to do and choose from, we better get started:

If you haven’t visited the Watts Tower, this weekend would be the perfect time. On Saturday, the 34th Annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival, LA’s first Jazz festival will feature performances from both established and emerging musicians from the area. The festival pays tribute to the roots of Jazz in Gospel and Blues. This year features an impressive line-up with headliner, jazz great, Randy Weston, celebrating his 85th birthday and the publication of his autobiography.

The Annual Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival, is on Sunday, which will be a daylong celebration featuring international percussion: Latin, Japanese, African, Jazz, Native American, and other drummers. (How cool is that!). Tours of the Watts Tower, which is located at 1727 E. 107th St. will be available both days. On both days, the action starts at 11:00am and lasts until 6:00pm.

If you go to Watts on Saturday, you’ll still have plenty of time to head to Santa Monica for Glow 2010. Starting at 7:00pm, the Santa Monica Beach will be transformed into an “all-night cultural experience featuring original commissions by artists that re-imagine Santa Monica Beach as a playground for thoughtful and participatory temporary artworks.” At the first Glow in 2008, over 200,000 people enjoyed over 100 artists in 27 different performances. Glow 2010 commissioned 20 original artworks specifically for this one-night event.  This dusk to dawn event ends at 3:00am.

Do you want a chance to see some of the best Chinese cultural performers in the country, from Shaolin Warriors performing martial arts, to acrobatic contortionists to a troupe of roaming Lion Dancers? Head over to Chinatown’s Central and West Plaza on Saturday from 5:00pm until 12:00am. The 72nd Annual Chinatown Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, celebrated in China as a homage to the bright mid-autumn harvest moon and the end of the summer growing season, is a time for reflection and thanksgiving, but it’s also a time to celebrate—and no one does it better than Los Angeles’ own Chinatown. Plus, there will be plenty of shopping is in store with Chinatown’s unique merchants and LA Craft Experience, LA’s premiere arts, design and crafts market, features over 50 independent vendors throughout Los Angeles.

If you’re unable to attend the Santa Monica Glow celebration Saturday, why not head downtown for Autumn Lights LA.

“It is a multi-media showcase featuring the best of Los Angeles’ emerging and established local and international artists presenting various forms of performances, sculptures, installations, and projections utilizing the medium of light.”

Autumn Lights will be held on both Saturday and September from 7:00pm until 1:00am, at Pershing Square, which will be literally transformed for an incredible range of illuminations and projections which will light up the area’s park sculptures and surrounding buildings.

Don’t forget, from 9:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday is Coastal Clean-up Day, which I’ve already written about. But, what I didn’t mention is that Saturday is also National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. The event also encourages volunteers to explore and enjoy America’s natural wonders through outdoor recreation. To find a location near you, here’s the link. BTW, last year’s volunteers:

  • Removed an estimated 900,000 lbs of trash
  • Collected an estimated 20,000 lbs of invasive plants
  • Built and maintained an estimated 1,320 miles of trails
  • Planted an estimated 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants
  • Contributed an estimated $14 million to improve public lands across the country

Saturday, September 25th is Youth Arts & Media Festival, a one-day celebration of youth arts and media in Los Angeles. It will feature films, photos, music, poetry, workshops and more. The Youth Arts & Media is a partnership of community-based organizations that are committed to providing teens and young adults in Los Angeles County with have free access to high quality, technology-intensive media arts, visual and music education, and the Festival is one of the highlights of the year; especially so as the melding of the arts and technology is an important part of our knowledge and way we relate to the world.

Celebrating a diversity of work from youth throughout Los Angeles County, the event will include a juried exhibition featuring 100 photographs, a cinema festival showcasing short films, animations, and multimedia works by our youth, as well as music and dance performances throughout the afternoon. Taking place from 1:00-5:00pm, at Mercado La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Avenue, this year’s Festival will be bigger and better than ever. I can’t wait to attend!

Are you into science? Do you have kids at home that watch Sid the Science Kid? If you answered yes to either question, then Sid the Science Kid Day at the California Science Center is perfect for your family.

On Sunday, from 11:00am to 3:00pm, at interactive stations, little scientists can will have access to hands-on activity stations to observe, predict and explore some of the Earth’s most fascinating ecosystems, watch special screenings of Sid the Science Kid filmed at the Science Center, and more. Kids and parents will also be able to catch sneak-peek screenings of “Sid’s Super Kick,” a new episode of Sid the Science Kid in both English and Spanish, featuring live-action segments.

One of Southern California’s most popular community events—the annual Abbot Kinney Festival now in its 26th year—will be held in Venice on Sunday, September 26th, from 10:00am to 6:00pm. The Festival, which spans the trendy shopping district of Abbot Kinney Boulevard from Venice Boulevard to Main Street in Venice, will feature local artisans, live music, and family entertainment. In addition to two new areas, KidsQuad and The Food Rendezvous, this year’s festival includes up to 400 arts and craft exhibitors, live music stages, a Whole Foods Market Green Scene, bike valet stations, gourmet food trucks, and beer gardens. All complement the eclectic mix of over 100 boutiques, coffee houses, restaurants, salons, art galleries, and nightclubs located along this one-mile stretch of Abbot Kinney Blvd.

Are you a bibliophile (meaning do you like books? Then, the 9th Annual West Hollywood Book Fair is the place to be. On Sunday, at the West Hollywood Park, on 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard,, you’ll get to enjoy 3 live theater, poetry, storytelling, and comedy stages, a kids’ stage, a ghost story telling tent, a teen stage, a writing room, and over 130 exhibitors. The West Hollywood book fair will have everything from soup to nuts about books.The Book Fair starts at 10:00am and ends at 6:00pm. Plus, if you’d like to take a bike tour, The Bicycle Kitchen brings you the celebrated Library Ride. Starting at the Bicycle Kitchen home, located at Heliotrope and Melrose, they’ll take you on an easy tour of some of Los Angeles’s well known and not so well-known libraries. There will be 3 to 4 stops on this relaxed ride, some poetry, trivia, prizes, and limited-edition spoke cards until they run out of their goodies. The ride will end back at the West Hollywood Book Fair, where you can visit the Bicycle Kitchen Booth to learn more about bicycle maintenance, bicycle zines and anything else bike related! There will be bike mini workshops throughout the day.

Although the maxim that nothing in life is free, here in Los Angeles, every weekend we prove that to be a bit staid and tired. To use the popular phrase–go for it!

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