January 2014 Culture Challenge

handsEvery month on behalf of our school’s Diversity Committee, I compile a list of diverse cultural events (I focus on international cultures and diverse ethnicities) that might be of interest to our school community. It’s really amazing all the unique activities and events that happen every weekend in the Los Angeles area. I challenge you and your family to attend one of the many events listed below!


Silk Road Story TimeSilk Road Story Time: New Year, USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Saturday, 10:30am.  Gather in the travelers’ tent for fabulous tales from along the Silk Road, plus a fun hands-on craft, Asian snack, and balloon.


Oshogatsu Family Festival, Japanese American National Museum, Sunday, 11am – 5pm. Ring in the New Year and the Year of the Horse with exciting cultural performances, special foods, and fun crafts. Performances and featured activities include Onigiri (rice balls) Design Contest, Horse Candy Sculptures (candy horses will be raffled off at the start of every hour), and Mochitsuki (a traditional rice cake pounding ceremony with Mochi samples to be passed out at the end of the performance). There will also be a horse jumper and live ponies and the chance to make a stick horse, a horse wall hanging, and prancing horse origami. See website for schedule of activities and performances.


PekingAcrobatsThe Peking Acrobats, Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University, Long Beach, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm. Experience the spell-binding feats of The Peking Acrobats. Rooted in more than 2,000 years of history and tradition, acrobatics is a rich and esteemed art form in China—delicate and masterful as well as athletic and entertaining—influenced by myth and religion.

Kids in the CourtyardKids in the Courtyard: Weave a Giant Spider Web, Fowler Museum, UCLA, Sunday, 1pm-4pm. After you admire the woven textiles in The Peruvian Four-Selvaged Cloth: Ancient Threads/New Directions and twined works in Māori Cloaks, Māori Voices, you can add to a giant web of string and tape. Then sit among the strings and learn creation stories about weavers around the world and explore weaving yourself by building your own take-home cardboard loom.


Year of HorseLunar New Year Festival, USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Saturday, 11am-5pm.  Come to Pacific Asia Museum’s fourth annual Lunar New Year Festival celebrating the Year of the Horse. Enjoy song, dance, drumming, and martial arts performances. Participate in craft projects, learn about flower arranging, and tour the museum.

Black ViolinWorld City Series: Black Violin, W.M. Keck Children’s Amphitheatre at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Saturday, 11am and 12:30pm. The musicians behind Black Violin “set out to merge their classical music training with their love of hip-hop, bringing the two genres together with a backbeat and four strings apiece.” Along with the musical performance, a visual art workshop is offered to give children the opportunity to explore the featured culture through unique art-making projects. See website for ticket information.

Scandinavian Film FestivalScandinavian Film Festival, Writers Guild Theater, Beverly Hills, Saturday & Sunday (also next weekend). This yearly showcase of Nordic films and filmmakers screens the year’s Scandinavian films submitted to the Academy as nominees for Best Foreign-Language Film as well as other current feature, documentary, and short films. I go every year to see a Norwegian film. Last year I attended the opening gala and saw Kon-Tiki. Read about that here.

King & MandelaDr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Nelson Mandela: Celebrating Pillars of Peace, from Jail to Justice; California African American Museum, Exposition Park, Sunday, 1pm-5pm. Celebrate the legacies of Dr. King and Nelson Mandela. View film screenings of Dr. King’s speeches and the speech Nelson Mandela made during his appearance at the LA Coliseum in 1990. Experience music, theatre, and dance performances that represent our diverse communities.

Travel Show16th Annual Los Angeles Times Travel Show, L.A. Convention Center, Saturday & Sunday, 10am-5pm. Explore ideas, inspiration, and insights on where to travel next. Discover tips, tricks, and techniques every traveler should know. Go there with special saving and sales you’ll only find here.


Chinese Cultural ArtsChinese Cultural Arts Celebration, The Huntington, Pasadena, Saturday & Sunday, 10:30am – 4:30pm. Artisans and performers from China’s Zhejiang Province will highlight the cultural arts of China during a weekend of special activities including traditional music, dance, and folk crafts. Experience cup-rolling acrobatics, a tea-gatherers’ dance, and songs of dragon boats. Watch folk artists demonstrate dragon lantern making, bamboo root carving, stone and clay sculpting, and embroidery. Sample authentic Chinese cuisine and enjoy special exhibits of stunning photography and beautiful penjing.

Family Jam TaikoFamily Jam: Drum Up the Sun—Taiko, Fowler Museum, UCLA, Sunday, 2pm-4pm. According to a story written in Nihon Shoki, one of Japan’s oldest books, Taiko drumming was created to lure the goddess of sunlight from her cave hiding place. Visit the Japanese textiles and samurai armor in Fowler in Focus: Fiftieth Anniversary Gifts, then welcome the winter sun and experience Taiko drumming by UCLA’s Kyodo Taiko. Make your own drum out of recycled materials!

What I find most fascinating is that every month that I’ve compiled this list, just about every continent is represented. This month I was unable to find an event for the continent of Australia. Did any of the events catch your attention? Or do you know of others that I didn’t include? I’d love to hear your feedback if you attend any. Thanks for reading!

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