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.

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Hollywood Black Film Festival | Event details
Intended as both a showcase and a springboard for black filmmakers and actors, this four-day festival has screened more than 700 independent films since its inception in 1999 and attracted such talents as Sidney Poitier, Forest Whitaker, John Singleton and Spike Lee. This year opens with the biopic "Winnie Mandela," starring Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, and closes with with the upcoming film "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete," also starring Hudson (along with Skylan Brooks and Ethan Dizon). Between those bookends, the festival will hold more screenings, workshops, panel discussions, networking events and parties.

10X the Party at Walt Disney Concert Hall | Event details
In the 10 years since its completion, the Frank Gehry-designed Disney Hall has become one of Los Angeles' iconic buildings, a gleaming, undulating stainless-steel castle on a hill. On Saturday the Music Center will celebrate the hall's first decade with a party featuring architectural tours (including auditorium access), Tex-Mex dancing lessons, music and dance performances by Los Texmaniacs and Pacifico Dance Company, art workshops, and food trucks. The festivities will also include an Improv Everywhere Mp3 Experiment, a "shared absurdity" in which a crowd full of headphone-wearing participants will follow the unpredictable instructions of a disembodied narrator, delighting themselves and confounding onlookers.

Angel City Jazz Festival | Event details
Los Angeles has a rich, if underappreciated jazz history, from the thriving scene of the African American community along Central Avenue in the 1920s to the cool jazz of Hermosa Beach's Lighthouse Cafe in the 1950s and beyond. This festival spanning two weekends and hopscotching between venues around town (including UCLA, LACMA and the Ford) both honors that tradition and looks forward, with a focus on West Coast jazz and performances by established and emerging artists. The fest will also screen the four-part documentary series "Icons Among Us: Jazz in the Present Tense."

La Feria de los Moles at Olvera Street Plaza | Event details
Derived from the Nahuatl word molli ("sauce"), mole is arguably Mexico's national dish and an apt metaphor for the country's diverse cuisine. Combining New World ingredients such as chilis and tomatoes with European imports including spices, fruit and nuts, moles come in a staggering variety of colors, flavors, consistencies and aromas. This sixth annual festival will pit moles from four states -- Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala and Guerrero -- against one another, while attendees sample more than a dozen versions. There will also be live music and dancing.

Ciclavia | Event details
After previous forays along Venice and Wilshire boulevards, Ciclavia returns to the streets on which it began for its eighth event, appropriately subtitled "Heart of L.A." With downtown at its center, the 7.5-mile car-free route stretches west to MacArthur Park, north to Chinatown, east to Boyle Heights and south to Exposition Park, leaving streets open to exploration by bike, foot, stroller, skates or other people-powered conveyance. Hubs stationed along the route will feature performances, community booths, shopping, food, activities and more.

For more options this week and every week, go to kcet.org/events.

About the Author

Oliver Gettell is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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