Somebody (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.
Radar L.A. Festival | Event details
This weeklong festival of international contemporary theater may be centered downtown, but it's not confined to traditional theater settings. In addition to performances at REDCAT and the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Radar L.A. will feature interdisciplinary productions at historic movie palaces, outdoor sites and even an experimental puppet theater in Chinatown. The programming is equally eclectic, with commissioned works and premieres by local artists as well as visiting ensembles from Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand and Japan.
Frogtown Artwalk | Event details
In addition to hugging a relatively lush strech of the L.A. River (one of the few sections with an earthen bottom), the enclave of Frogtown, aka Elysian Valley, is also home to a burgeoning arts community. At this eighth annual art walk, attendees can stroll the newly paved bike/walking path along the river while touring studios, learning about ongoing river resotration efforts, listening to live music, grabbing a bite from food trucks and pop-ups, and checking out the new lit-centric Bookshow L.A. space.
West Hollywood Book Fair | Event details
West Hollywood will also get literary with its 12th annual book fair, an all-day event featuring a dozen outdoor stages and indoor venues. Authors like T.C. Boyle, Victoria Chang, Aaron Hartzler and Veronica Reyes will read and discuss new and recently published work, and the fair will also include panel discussions, workshops, a Culinary Pavilion, live music and children's theater. An alfresco screening of "Singin' in the Rain" (starring Debbie Reynolds, who will be in attendance with her new memoir) will close the fair.
Abbot Kinney Festival | Event details
Originally conceived and pitched as "Venice of America" by a tobacco magnate named Abbot Kinney, the seaside community we now know as Venice didn't quite live up to his original vision of a high-culture utopia crisscrossed by canals and cast in Italianate architecture. But Venice has evolved into one of L.A.'s darling neighborhoods, and nowhere is that more apparent than on the hip 1-mile stretch of Abbot Kinney Blvd., which will showcase its bohemian bona fides with live music, food trucks, shopping and general carousing.
Thai Food Festival | Event details
Home to the largest Thai population outside Thailand, Los Angeles has been called that country's "77th province," and it also shares the "City of Angels" nickname with the capital city of Bangkok. This inaugural festival -- to be held just south of L.A.'s Thai Town, at the Paramount lot -- will celebrate those cultural connections through the lens of Thai cuisine, beloved by Angelenos for its balancing of sweet, spicy, sour, salty and bitter flavors. The lineup of local and visiting chefs includes Jet Tila, Andy Ricker (Pok Pok), Sang Yoon (Lukshon) and Kris Yenbamroong (Night + Market). The festivities will also feature food and drink tastings, cooking demos, panel discussions, and live entertainment.
For more options this week and every week, go to kcet.org/events.