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Best Things To Do This Weekend In Los Angeles And SoCal: May 5 - 7

A life-size Godzilla head rests on a balcony of a high-rise with a light coming out of its mouth at night.
The legacy of Godzilla, seen here on a balcony of the eighth floor of Hotel Gracery Shinjuku in Tokyo in 2015, will be discussed at NHM's First Fridays.
(KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images
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Participate in the city’s first Scent Week. Dance through the weekend at the Desert Hearts Festival. Celebrate Giant Monsters/Giant Robot at First Fridays. Catch a live taping of Go Fact Yourself.


Friday, May 5; 5 - 10 p.m.

First Fridays: Giant Monsters/Giant Robot
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM)
900 Exhibition Blvd., Exposition Park
This season, NHM’s signature series has explored how nature and science influence the creation of our favorite imagined worlds. The May event focuses on the global influence of Asian pop culture, the legacy of Giant Robot Magazine, and the Godzilla universe. Renee Tajima-Peña, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker and UCLA Asian American Studies Professor moderates a panel with Eric Nakamura, Martin Wong, James Jean and Dylan Robertson. Live music by Arushi Jain, Maral and DJ sets from ET IV.

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Through Sunday, May 14

Scent Week
Various locations
The Institute of Art and Olfaction presents the first city-wide celebration of all things aromatic through a series of events that explores perfumery practices in L.A. and beyond. On Thursday, May 4, the opening night rooftop party is at The Aster in Hollywood with Cinema SENTIR presenting a special multi-sensorial screening of Blade Runner (1982) in the screening room. On Friday, there’s a preview party for Scent Fair LA at Craft Contemporary, which runs through the weekend. Other events include a perfume marketplace and panel at Travertine Studio in Fullerton, a scent rave, a scent walk and the 9th Art and Olfaction Awards.
COST: Prices vary; MORE INFO

Friday, May 5; 9 p.m.

Emo Nite 
Avalon / Bardot
1735 Vine St., Hollywood
Listen and dance to emo and pop punk tunes from the ‘90s onward when Emo Nite returns to Hollywood. This month, the night dips into a Renaissance theme so don your best poetic attire (or channel your inner Stevie Nicks wear). Listen to live performances from KALA, People R Ugly, Sophie Powers and others, with DJs spinning singalong-worthy tunes all night. Tickets will be available at the door as capacity allows. 21+.

Friday, May 5 - Sunday, May 7

BeachLife Festival 
Seaside Lagoon
239 N. Harbor Blvd., Redondo Beach
The live music, art and culinary event returns with performances from an eclectic lineup that includes The Black Keys, Gwen Stefani, The Black Crowes, Pixies, Airborne Toxic Event, CAAMP, Mavis Staples and The Wailers. BeachLife also offers expansive food and drink options as well as dining experiences from acclaimed chefs and local breweries; art installations; and onsite activations highlighting eco-friendly and sustainable initiatives.
COST: Tickets start at $179; MORE INFO

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Saturday, May 6; 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Multicultural Arts Festival 
2400 Empire Ave., Burbank
The nonprofit Elevate Burbank, dedicated to promoting the understanding of cultural diversity in Burbank, holds its second Multicultural Arts Festival on Saturday. Watch local performers and musicians, including Alexis Rose R&B, Cleary Irish Dancers, Guitar Ninjas, NashBerry Family Band, Shotty and others. In addition to music, The festival also includes an art show, food trucks, a kids’ area and select local vendors and nonprofit organizations sharing information on community resources.

A concert stage lit up at night with spotlights streaming and a lit up cacus light, stage right.
Desert Hearts Festival returns to the Torch at the Coliseum this weekend.
(Brian Ngo
Courtesy of the Desert Hearts Festival)

Saturday, May 6 - Sunday, May 7

Desert Hearts Festival
The Torch at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 
3911 S. Figueroa St., Exposition Park
Desert Hearts Festival — the techno- and house-centric music and art festival, transforms the Coliseum’s grounds into a signature experience. Expect art-cars projection mapping, live painters and a lineup that features more than three dozen performers including Catz ‘N Dogz, DJ Holographic, Gene Farris, Mary Droppinz, Melé, Miss Monique, Partiboi69, Tini Gessler, VNSSA and special guests. Ages 21+.
COST: $75 - $119; MORE INFO

Saturdays and Sundays, May 6 - June 11

THNK1994 Museum: Milfs 
Junior High Los Angeles
603 S, Brand Blvd., Glendale 
The organizers behind the THNK1994 Museum, whose previous exhibits include The Olsen Twins Hiding From the Paparazzi, David’s Dead: a Celebration of Tiffany Pollard and installations at BravoCon 2022, present a new show on … Milfs. Artist Molly Wurwand (they/them) invites guests into an abstracted suburban backyard to explore “the patron saint of Los Angeles.” Balancing uneasiness and irreverence, the show features original paintings, film, and found artifacts. The opening night party takes place on Friday, May 5 from 7 to 10 p.m.
COST: $5 suggested donation; MORE INFO

A teal promotional graphic with icons of a lightbulb, a brain, a whistle, and a question mark surrounding the words "Go Fact Yourself". In a circle to the left it a live shot of the white man host, J. Keith van Straaten and of a white female musician, Lisa Loeb. On the right of the symbols is a circle live image of black comedian and musician, Reggie Watts and an Asian woman host, Helen Hong.
Go Fact Yourself Live comes to the Crawford Family Forum on Saturday night.
(LAist Design)

Saturday, May 6; 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Go Fact Yourself LIVE with Reggie Watts and Lisa Loeb 
Crawford Family Forum
474 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
LAist hosts another live-in-person recording of Go Fact Yourself — “the podcast where we quiz the smartest celebrities we know, and find out why they love what they love.” Hear (and see) the show before the rest of the world as hosts J. Keith van Straaten and Helen Hong welcome guests Reggie Watts and Lisa Loeb and super-secret experts to try to stump them in their self-proclaimed areas of expertise.

Saturday, May 6; 6 - 10 p.m.

Star Wars: A New Hope
Neiman & Company (Formerly Industrial Light & Magic)
6842 Valjean Ave., Van Nuys
Screen the first Star Wars film released in a galaxy far away: inside the San Fernando warehouse where the film’s visual effects originated. Watch the first screening of the film at the former home of Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic in Van Nuys (founded by Star Wars director George Lucas), now occupied by architectural sign fabricator Neiman & Company.

Two folklorico women, one in a red dress and the other in black dance on an outdoor stage.
Enjoy vibrant Folklórico dance performances, among other activities, at Rancho Days Fiesta
(Courtesy of Rancho Days Fiesta
Courtesy of Rancho Days Fiesta )

Saturday, May 6; 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Rancho Days Fiesta 
Heritage Hill Historical Park
25151 Serrano Rd., Lake Forest 
The event illuminates the history of the rancho and Native American cultures through hands-on activities, music, dancing and other activities in a family-friendly atmosphere. Watch demonstrations of folklórico and Native American dancing, along with Charro horse riding and roping demonstrations. The historic buildings at Heritage Hill Historical Park will be open for tours, courtesy of the Amigos de la Colina docents. Pets are welcome outdoors only on leashes no longer than six feet.  

Saturday, May 6; 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Spring Bazaar Fair Trade Market
Gasolina Cafe
21150 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills
The cafe, market and wine bar holds its Spring Bazaar featuring vendors including Beautyologie, Wuitusu, Claylicious by Eshkar. Kids can make something fun at the craft station, while shoppers can listen to a flamenco guitarist while they shop.

Inside the dome of the Mt. Wilson Observatory with the giant telescope in the center of the space.
Sarah Rosalena's 'Standard Candle' opens at the Museum of Photon Technology at Mt. Wilson.
Courtesy of Mount Wilson Institute)

Saturdays and Sundays, May 6 - June 4

Sarah Rosalena: Standard Candle
Museum of Photon Technology, Mt. Wilson
100 Mt. Wilson Circle Rd, Mount Wilson
Mount Wilson Observatory, Carnegie Observatories and LACMA’S Art + Technology Lab present a new exhibit by Sarah Rosalena an L.A.-based interdisciplinary artist with roots in the Wixárika tribe. Featuring a series of woven and beaded textiles made using computer code, based on archival glass plates captured by Mount Wilson’s 100-inch Hooker telescope in the early days of the Observatory, the exhibition is staged on the ground floor of the 100-inch telescope dome.

Sunday, May 7; 3 p.m.

West Los Angeles Symphony: A Return to Music 
Royce Hall at UCLA 
10745 Dickson Ct., Westwood
The West Los Angeles Symphony, an all-professional orchestra, returns for its first post-COVID performance with a classical music program that includes Academic Festival Overture (Brahms), Clarinet Concerto (Mozart) and Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” (Dvorak). Guest conductor Christopher Allen leads the orchestra, along with L.A. Philharmonic clarinetist Burt Hara taking on Mozart’s concerto.

Sunday, May 7; 3 p.m.

Rainn Wilson in conversation with Valarie Kaur  
Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
at New Roads School
3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica
Actor, producer, writer, and New York Times bestselling author Rainn Wilson — probably best known as Dwight Schrute from The Office — explores the benefits of spirituality (as opposed to organized religion) as a means to creating solutions for a challenging world. He talks about his new book, Soul Boom: Why We Need A Spiritual Revolution, and his personal struggles with loss, addiction and mental health. Interviewing Wilson is Valarie Kaur, a civil rights leader, lawyer, filmmaker, educator and author (See No Stranger). If you can’t make it in person, the virtual discussion will be streamed on Monday, May 15, at 6 p.m.
COST: $46-$66, includes signed book and virtual viewing; MORE INFO

Sunday, May 7; 7 p.m.

Party On! A Sober Comedy Show
The Crow at Bergamot Station Arts Center
2525 Michigan Ave., Unit F4, Santa Monica 
This monthly comedy show features sober performers from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and late-night TV while celebrating recovery and offering a welcoming space for sober guests. People are free to laugh and be entertained in a substance-free room. Taking place the first Sunday of the month beginning this month, the May 7th performers include Laura House, Kim Clevenger, Fielding Edlow, Rachel Scanlon, Percy Rustomji and Mark Brazil.

A lone pine sits atop Caheunga peak with rocks surrounding it. Haze can be seen in the distance against a blue sky.
The wisdom tree hike in Griffith Park is a challenging three-mile out-and-back hike.
licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

Outdoor Pick

Wisdom Tree Hike
The Wisdom Tree is a lone pine tree that sits atop Cahuenga Peak. The only survivor of the 2007 Barham/Hollywood Hills fire, it’s an approximately three-mile, out-and-back hike. With challenging, steep terrain, the hike rewards those who take it on with great views at the top (on clear days). Park along Lake Hollywood Drive for free, and walk along Wonder View Drive until you reach the Burbank Peak trailhead. Like many other hikes in and around Griffith Park, this is a popular one, so get there early to avoid the crowds.

Viewing Pick

Albert Pyun Remembered: The King of Cult Video
The American Cinematheque salutes the life and career of Hawaiian filmmaker Albert Pyun with a tribute series that includes one-of-a-kind cult classics from his long film career. The series begins on Sunday, May 7 at 10 p.m. with Cyborg (1989) starring Jean-Claude van Damme. Other films in the series, which runs through May 25, are Nemesis, The Sword And The Sorcerer, Vicious Lips, Mean Guns and Crazy Six. Screenings take place at The Los Feliz Theatre.

A plate of 11 tacos al pastor using double corn tortillas with onions and cilatro sprinked on top.
L.A. TACO's live Taco Madness celebration is back for its 14th year on May 6 in downtown L.A.
(Ari Helminen
licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

Dine and Drink Deals

  • L.A. TACO's Taco Madness 2023 takes place from 5 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown L.A. on Saturday, May 6. Now in its 14th year, the event features 10 of L.A.’s most celebrated taco chefs making their own signature tacos for a chance to be crowned winner. In addition to tacos, find dozens of other food vendors, live artwork, music, tattoo booths and music. The event is 21+. Tickets: $10 - $70.
  • Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of the Mexican victory in the Battle of Puebla in 1862, and it’s not really celebrated outside of the region. But Americans have taken May 5th as a day to dine on Mexican food and drink a ton. While you can take advantage of Cinco de Mayo specials almost anywhere on Friday, Guerrilla Tacos in Downtown L.A. is holding a Cinco de Mayo Drag Loteria from 7 to 11 p.m. to support the ACLU’s Drag Defense Fund. There will be performances, loteria, and taco and drink specials.
  • On Friday, May 5, The Abbey Food & Bar welcomes Mariachi Arcoiris — the world’s first and only LGBTQ mariachi band — for live music and entertainment beginning at 5 p.m.  
  • The Cat & Fiddle in Hollywood holds a coronation watch party for King Charles III on Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, from noon onward each day. While the full menu will be available, indulge in an afternoon tea, the official Coronation Quiche, cake and Champagne. All items will be sold a la carte. 
  • Impastiamo, a cooking and mixology platform, turns 3. To celebrate, chef Natalia Luna from Mexico City teaches a class on Saturday, May 6 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in Culver City. Learn how to make traditional salsas and tacos as you sip on a refreshing spicy margarita. The class includes a margarita cocktail and charcuterie board to snack on. Tickets: $115. 
  • Be Bright Coffee features a special menu in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May. The menu features beverages inspired by Vietnam (Cà Phê Trứng - Vietnamese Egg Coffee); Japan (Cold Brew Yuzu Lemonade), Korea (Misugaru Latte)\ and the Philippines (Pandan Ube Latte, Ube Cream Cold Brew). The drinks are available now through the end of May at the Be Bright shop on Melrose as well as Smorgusburg on Sundays. 
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