The best of what to do in and around Los Angeles this month
A ticket to the tastiest festival in town buys you unlimited tacos and beers from some of Southern California’s best chefs and brewers. Plus, celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with a free concert featuring a killer all-Asian lineup, and discover a new way to hear La La Land.
AFAR Local is our monthly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
May 1 | Activism
Your Voice, Your Vote
Women’s March L.A. and Rock the Vote are teaming up to host Your Voice, Your Vote, a voter registration kick-off event in the heart of downtown L.A. Aside from offering voter registration help, volunteers at the event will also give out educational information about the legislative process and help you find the best ways you can get involved in the causes that directly affect you or your community. The event is being held on May 1, International Worker’s Day, and will complement the day’s general strike called for by security officers, hospital staff workers, stadium workers, janitors, and many more.
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM | 532 S Olive St., Los Angeles | Free | website
May 1 - June 15 | Last chance: Art exhibit
“David Bowie: Among the Mexican Masters”
This is the final full month of the six-month exhibit by Mexico City–based rock photographer Fernando Aceves. David Bowie: Among the Mexican Masters showcases the images of Bowie’s first and only visit to Mexico 20 years ago. Taken by Aceves during Bowie’s Earthling Tour, the 27 color photos show Bowie with numerous cultural landmarks, including Diego Rivera murals and Mesoamerican pyramids. This is the first time the photos have made their way to Los Angeles, and once they’re gone there’s a good chance they’ll never be back—Bowie fans and aficionados, take note.
Forest Lawn Museum, 1712 s. Glendale Ave., Los Angeles | Free | website
May 6 | Food & drink
L.A. Taco and Beer Festival
In L.A., tacos are a way of life—or at least the way of lunch. So it’s no surprise that the annual L.A. Taco and Beer Festival always sells out. It helps that the fest offers quite the deal: Your general admission ticket buys you unlimited taco and beer tastings from some of Southern California’s most tantalizing food trucks and breweries. Expect to snack on Caribbean-inspired tacos from the Tropic Truck and grilled blackened ahi tacos (paired with a side of chips and guacamole) from Woody’s Grill Truck. Finish each bite with a sip of craft beer from places including downtown favorite Angel City Brewery and the fruit-forward Common Cider Company. If you want something harder, spring for VIP, where the tequila and mezcal will be flowing.
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM | Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles | From $50 | website
May 6 | Music
Identity L.A.: A Concert and Celebration for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
L.A. is celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and its vibrant Asian community with a free public concert featuring a stacked lineup of Asian performers. South Korean R&B artist Dean is headlining, plus you can catch Asian American husband-and-wife power couple and folk pop band Us the Duo, Japanese laidback beats producer StarRo, Bay Area–born Taiwanese experimental producer Giraffage, and many other special guests. These internationally acclaimed performers will bring out the crowds, so get there early, grab a snack from one of the on-site food trucks, and settle in for an evening of quality tunes.
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM | 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles | Free | website
May 13 | Performing arts
With a focus on showcasing the diverse stories of L.A.’s residents, Unheard L.A. is a night for local storytellers to practice their performance chops while sharing personal pieces. Think everything from a teenager’s view of parent-imposed screen time limits to the search for a Zumba class in Koreatown to a thoughtful look at the TSA and personal identity. Actor and writer Bruce A. Lemon Jr. hosts the show, which leads with the stories of more than half a dozen performers and ends with a mixer for performers and attendees.
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM | The Assistance League of Los Angeles Playhouse, 1367 North St. Andrews Pl., Hollywood | Free with RSVP | website
May 13 | Architecture & urban planning
Architecture, design, and urban planning are three major concerns for every city, especially the ever-growing city of Los Angeles. The Association for Women in Architecture and Design (AWA+D) has been tackling these tough challenges for 95 years, and they’re celebrating with a luncheon and panel discussion of the vital role women have played in building L.A. Speakers include women currently making waves in urban planning, housing, education, transportation, and policy in the metropolis, and topics will range from reflections on the city’s history to hopes and plans for its future.
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM | Women’s Club of Hollywood, 1749 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles | From $80 | website
May 20 | Lecture
TED’s motto is “ideas worth spreading,” and the conference’s prolific—and often viral—talks do just that. With its TEDx program, TED takes its motto even further, allowing independent organizations to create a TED-like experience, utilizing TED guidelines, in a more intimate setting. At this 6th annual TEDxUCLA lecture, UCLA is bringing in speakers including graphic designer and creative director Lawrence Azerrad, Ozma Records co-founder David Pescovitz, former football player Thaddeus Bullard, and UCLA undergrad and Creative Labs co-founder Mihir Mathur. The theme of this year’s talks is gravity, which each of the speakers will address with a unique perspective, from the literal to the metaphorical.
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM | UCLA Royce Hall, 340 Royce Dr., Los Angeles | $77 ($37 with student ID) | website
May 20 | Film
“Use Your Imagination”
At Spectrum Laboratory, the goal has always been to show that autism isn’t something to be sad about; it’s just a different perspective. The artist collective is showing their virtual reality music video “Use Your Imagination,” which was written and produced by and stars artists on the autism spectrum (including a few famous faces in Atticus Baldwin, nephew of the actor Alec Baldwin, and Dominique Brown, grandnephew of the singer Marvin Gaye). At the beginning of the performance, you’ll be introduced to Spectrum Laboratory as a few students sing and play music together. The sound picks up, as do the visuals, as the students sing about overcoming the difficulties of their autism through art. The video gained national recognition when it debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was most recently shown at SXSW.
3:00 PM - 6:00 PM | Huffington Center, 1324 S. Normandie Ave., Los Angeles | Free | website
May 26 - 27 | Film & music
“La La Land in Concert: A Live-to-Film Celebration”
Best picture nominee La La Land is getting the true Hollywood treatment with La La Land in Concert: A Live-to-Film Celebration. The film will be shown on a larger-than-life big screen at L.A.’s famous Hollywood Bowl, accompanied by a live 100-piece symphony orchestra, choir, and jazz ensemble conducted by Oscar-winning composer Justin Hurwitz. While the audience won’t get the live vocals of John Legend, Emma Stone, and Ryan Gosling—those will be pre-recorded—hearing the instrumentals and backup vocals of this beloved film’s soundtrack will surely give it life in a way even the best movie theater never could.
8:00 PM | Hollywood Bowl, 2301 Highland Ave., Los Angeles | From $35 | website
July 21 - 23 | Book ahead: Music festival
L.A. may still be buzzing from last month’s Coachella, but now’s the time to look ahead to summer’s next big music festival. Since its first weekend in 2004, the beloved local FYF Fest has grown into a legitimate rival to its older sister. This year’s lineup is one of the best yet, with top names including Missy Elliot, Björk, Frank Ocean, and Nine Inch Nails—which means tickets will sell out well before the event. You can still grab your general admission or VIP passes online, so plan ahead and get them while they are still available.
Exposition Park, 700 Exposition Park Dr., Los Angeles | From $125 | website
Sarah Purkrabek is a writer and editor based in the heart of Los Angeles.