Weekly Fun: Events to Guide Your Free Time

Photo: Sterling Davis Photo/Flickr/Creative Commons License

You know, a lot of other weeks, you'll find people telling you that "summer is here". They'll point to a thermometer or wave their hand towards the sunny skies, as if the these alone are truths of a turned season. And while Los Angeles especially may find the warm, beachy days that signify summer well before the solstice actually arrives, only this week can we scientifically tell ourselves that summer has arrived. Friday, June 21st is officially the welcoming of summer, and -- frankly -- it's not a moment too soon. For all of you who have been pent up and anxious, waiting nervously for the arrival of the longest days of the year, this is your week. Celebrate appropriately.

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For starters, you can catch some laughs at The Paley Center in Beverly Hills on Tuesday night, thanks to stand up comedian Marc Maron. Of course, like any longstanding, hard-working comic, Maron has managed to get himself a television show, aptly titled Maron, which is now in its first season with IFC. To celebrate the accomplishment and break down its nuances like he does with the popular WTF podcast, Maron has brought along members of the cast and creative team to discuss and dissect the work, all in front of the media-hungry Paley Center audience. If you'd rather hear from less established writer-performers, get to The Last Bookstore downtown on Wednesday night for Writers' Row, the occasional reading series that features some of the city's best authors. Some are young, all are hungry, and the group always manages to bring inventive tales and interesting angles to their written work.

If you feel like keeping it old school, there's an organ concert happening in Death Valley on Friday. Sure, that's the true pinnacle of summer -- and thus, hot as all get out in Death Valley -- but there's something soothing about organ music, even in the desert. Or, stay a little closer to home with the Oscars Outdoors, the summertime screening series that goes down on the Academy's lush Hollywood lawn. They almost always screen the classics, and this Friday's showing of L.A. Story certainly fits that mold. Buy tickets in advance if you'd like to attend; they almost always sell out. And on Saturday, you can even drive down to Rancho Los Alamitos in Long Beach for an ancient discussion of time and place in nature. The Conversations in Place lectures will feature Claudia Jurman and KCET's own D.J. Waldie, and will focus on the way people use the everyday spaces around them, often in interesting and meaningful ways.

Of course, what sort of summer kickoff would you be having without a little wine, booze and food? Start the celebration early on Tuesday night with a rare Meet the Sake Brewer night at downtown's Izakaya Fu-Ga. Rather than hosting another craft beer brewer event, head Tedorigawa sake brewer Yasuyuki Yoshida will be on hand to discuss the ancient tradition of rice beer making. Guests will be able to sample from four different types of sake while they nibble on bites from the kitchen. Or you can travel halfway around the world for the German version of a summer drinking party, at Wirtshaus' Summer Celebration. The sausage and stein house will be grilling meat in the back, donning their best lederhosen and pouring copious amounts of Hefeweizens and pilsners to celebrate seasonal change.

On Sunday, there's a double-dose of awesome that will likely leave you ready to hibernate. The first is Tacolandia, the taco-fueled parking lot party put on by LA Weekly. The whole thing is going down in the parking lot of the Hollywood Palladium, and will feature dozens of the best taquerias around Los Angeles and beyond. All of the tacos themselves have been curated by noted taco lover Bill Esparza, and will include local favorites like Mariscos Jalisco and Tacos Leo, as well as SoHo Tacos from Orange County and a number of edibles straight from Mexico. Or you could try your taste buds across town at the DrinkEatPlay Wine Festival, going down at the Santa Monica Pier. What a great way to spend your first summer weekend, overlooking the Pacific with a taster glass filled with one of more than fifty different available wines. The evening event will also see the sun setting before the party lets out, ensuring you one seriously special summer kickoff.

About the Author

Farley Elliott is a freelance food writer and comedian. He currently writes for KCET.org, SeriousEats.com, LAist.com, and L.A. Weekly. You can catch Farley doing comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Hollywood.
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