Top 5 Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Toro y Moi will perform at the Wiltern this weekend. Photo by Patrick Jeffords

Think of this week's top events as a showcase for those who like to mix it up -- whether by combining cuisines, melding musical genres, or blurring the lines between science and storytelling. Read on for details about the latest from chef Roy Choi, musician Toro y Moi, Radiolab hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, and more.

L.A. Aqueduct Cascades Open to the Public Through Saturday

Close up of the L.A. Aqueduct Cascades. | Photo: Courtesy Elson Trinidad/KCET

On November 5, 1913, the Los Angeles Aqueduct began bringing water to the city. 100 years later, KCET is looking at what has happened, what it means, and more across its website.

This story has been corrected. See note below.

The waterway where Sierra Nevada snowmelt flows into Los Angeles by way of the Los Angeles Aqueduct will be open to the public Thursday, Friday and Saturday in celebration of the waterway's 100th anniversary.

The Aqueduct Cascades in Sylmar at 17001 Foothill Blvd. will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday. The area will not be open on Sunday.

The system of flumes, power plants and pumps brings water 233 miles from the Owens Valley to Los Angeles, where it flows down a studded, concrete flume to aerate it.

On Tuesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Department of Water and Power officials marked the centennial of the aqueduct's 1913 opening.

Reader question via Twitter: Will they will be letting water flow down the open channels?
Answer from LADWP: Water will periodically be running down the cascade, but there is no schedule.

For the Record: Because information was transmitted incorrectly from City News Service, an earlier version of this story stated that the cascades would be open Sunday and that the centennial took place Wednesday. We regret the errors.

Top 5 Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Ice at Santa Monica opens this week

In Los Angeles, it all comes back to water. This week marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the L.A. Aqueduct, a controversial but undeniably successful engineering feat that shaped the Southland forever. The moment when DWP chief William Mulholland first heralded its activation in some ways marked the beginning of Los Angeles as we know it, a city of infinite possibilities. These days, this week, L.A. is a place where one can ice skate blocks from the beach, a place where the dream factory that is the movie business was born and still reigns, a place where art and culture -- homegrown and imported -- thrive in so many corners.

Top 5 Things to Do in L.A. This Week

An arbol de vida (tree of life) altar at Hollywood Forever's Day of the Dead celebration

Even without autumnal signifiers like changing leaves and truly cold weather (or perhaps because of their absence), Halloween is a big deal in Los Angeles. West Hollywood's annual Halloween Carnaval, for example, ranks as the second largest event by attendance in the L.A. area, behind only the Rose Parade. Dia de Los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday, is no afterthought either, inspiring traditional celebrations such as those at Hollywood Forever and even a hip dance-music festival downtown. Also this week are a 40th anniversary discussion of Erica Jong's novel "Fear of Flying" and a screening of a new restoration of the James Dean film "Rebel Without a Cause."

Top 5 Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Photo of Masquerade costume ball and dance party by Gary Leonard

With All Hallow's Eve just around the corner, it's no surprise that costume balls and haunted attractions are springing up across the Southland. Angelenos seeking Halloween fun this week can get their fix with a dose of culture at LACMA, with a thumping soundtrack at the Park Plaza Hotel, or with a plunge into the paranormal at the Queen Mary. In addition to the seasonal festivities, this week also features two first-time events: a lively literary crawl and a spice-filled sriracha celebration.

Top 5 Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Craig Thornton of Wolvesmouth. Photo by Christie Hemm Klok

Many of this week's top events are about transforming spaces in interesting and unusual ways. A new exhibition at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, for example, will raise a darkly wooded den in the main gallery to house the underground dining series Wolvesmouth for a two-week residency. Union Station meanwhile will serve as the site for a "headphone opera," and Griffith Park's Old Zoo has been recast as a nightmare-inducing horrorscape. Also this week are a performance from a famously reclusive stand-up comic and a city-spanning "festival of neighborhoods."

10 Gallery Shows to See at the October 2013 Downtown L.A. Art Walk

Blind Justice I Philip Stein

The Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk has a new boss -- and she's already looking to bring some positive changes for the art community. Executive Director Joe Moller stepped down last month, leaving Qathryn Brehm as the interim leader. "As an artist, I'm looking forward to increasing content-rich programming," she said.

That's a big step for the event that has become very much about downtown as a whole, leaving galleries to dwindle in the background. It's something to think about while wandering around, hopefully checking out our recommendations in this guide below.

Top 5 Things to Do in L.A. This Week

A scene from the Culture Collide Festival

When it comes to Los Angeles' top events this week, everything old is new again. Local history buffs can dig deep at USC's Archives Bazaar, modern-farmer types and art-and-craft aficionados can explore the locally sourced wonderland of Artisanal L.A., and policy wonks can join Zocalo Public Square to explore how our fair city can survive yet another looming water crisis. (Time to rewatch "Chinatown"?) Also on the agenda are a multi-venue music fest in Echo Park and a two-day art walk at one of the world's largest live-work artists' compounds.

Top 5 Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Ciclavia photo by Gary Leonard

In recent years, few public events have captured Angelenos' attention like Ciclavia, the citywide block party that proved we're more than happy to disconnect from our cars for a while. Similarly, few buildings have captivated Angelenos like Walt Disney Concert Hall, which helped kick off downtown's renaissance and quickly entered the local architectural pantheon. As symbols of Los Angeles' potential, Ciclavia and Disney Hall are both worth celebrating. Conveniently, the former returns for its eighth installment this week, while the latter marks its 10th anniversary. Also on the agenda are a trio of festivals devoted to black cinema, regional Mexican cuisine and West Coast jazz.

Top 5 Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Lola Arias' "El Ano en Que Naci (The Year I Was Born)" will be performed at REDCAT's Radar L.A. Festival. Photo by David AlarconSomebody (though probably not Dorothy Parker) once quipped that "Los Angeles is 72 suburbs in search of a city." East Coast cattiness notwithstanding, there is perhaps a sliver of truth in the remark. Los Angeles does contain multitudes, and this week many of its neighborhoods -- from Venice to West Hollywood to Thai Town to Frogtown to downtown -- are hosting festivals that showcase their own distinct character and culture.