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23 Fabulous Things To Do In Southern California This Weekend

The artist Obvious Plant opens up a subversive toy store-art pop-up this weekend. (Image: Obvious Plant)
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Did you know that the National Day of Unplugging -- a 24-hour respite from technology -- starts sundown on Friday and lasts through sundown on Saturday? Get out there and enjoy these events the old-fashioned way. Check out the pop-ups including a museum of toys, a record shop and a Dungeons & Dragons art show. Also happening: First Fridays at NHM, an OC literary festival, Meredith Monk in concert and The Magic Flute set in a world of video games.

Obvious Plant's Museum of Toys!
Start Pop Up -- 2270 Venice Blvd., Harvard Heights
Subversive social media artist and bootleg toy maker Jeff Wysaski a.k.a. Obvious Plant creates an interactive exhibition that offers an alternative history of toys. "In this parallel universe, the toys we know and love have been recontextualized to create a dark, bizarre version of the past, where Hello Kitty Goes to Rehab, Casey: The Talking Tape Player delivers only bad news and Spiderman is, well, Covered in Spiders, Man!" In addition to toys and installations, there's also a gift shop selling limited edition toys and apparel by various artists.
COST: $10 admission; MORE INFO

FRIDAY, MARCH 1 - SUNDAY, MARCH 10; 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.
Cemetery of Tortured Souls
Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group -- 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood
The latest production from the horror theater troupe involves spirits from Hollywood's Golden Age, rising from their graves. These fallen stars relive their final moments before their eternal damnation. There are three shows a night for the next two weekends.

Outfest Fusion LGBTQ People of Color Film Festival
Several screening venues throughout L.A.
The festival of short films with a focus on diversity and rarely heard voices, presents 21 world premieres and 10 U.S. premieres in eight programs. These films were curated and unified not by gender or sexual orientation, but by theme.
COST: $9 - $12 for regular screenings; MORE INFO

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FRIDAY, MARCH 1; 5:30 p.m.
First Fridays
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County -- 900 Exhibition Blvd., Exposition Park
The live music and discussion series adopts the theme Forces of Nature for its 2019 season. This month, the speakers and presentations explore "Fire," including a discussion about how the fires of the future will change our daily lives and how humans have changed fire patterns. Music performances by Pinky Pinky at 8 p.m. and Shannon Shaw at 9:15 p.m.; DJ sets by Novena Carmel and Aaron Byrd.

FRIDAY, MARCH 1; 7 p.m.
The Assembly
A+D Museum -- 900 E. 4th St., downtown L.A.
The architecture and design museum holds an opening reception to celebrate the museum's new spring exhibitions. Openings include Translucent Vaults, an exploration of digital access to cultural institutions and art; Sarah Jones' Tangle; Preliminary Research Office's Notes on Techniques; the installation Shapes of Fences; and the latest rotation of artists in the Impermanent Collection. The party also includes beer (for those 21+), courtesy of Angel City Brewery, music and the museum's signature candy bar.
COST: $10 admission, free for students and members; MORE INFO

Celebrate Mardi Gras season with New Orleans jazz, traditional tunes and Zydeco from the Mudbug Brass Band. (Photo: Courtesy of the Mudbug Brass Band)

FRIDAY, MARCH 1; 8 p.m.
Mudbug Brass Band
The Edye at The Broad Stage -- 1310 11th St., Santa Monica
It's Mardi Gras/Carnival season and the Louisiana-rooted, Los Angeles-based octet serves up traditional New Orleans jazz, R&B, funk and Mardi Gras tunes, perfect for second lining and shaking yer booty.
COST: Tickets start at $30; MORE INFO

The Art of the Benshi
Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum --10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood
The UCLA Film & Television Archive presents a film and live presentation series that pairs rare prints of Japanese classics with restorations of American masterworks (The Cheat and Silence). Each program features a benshi (live narrator) performance on stage with English subtitles on screen as well as a live musical ensemble that draws on scores from Japan's silent film era.

FRIDAY, MARCH 1; 6:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m
10 Things I Hate About You Reunion
Wisdome LA -- 1147 Palmetto St., downtown L.A.
If you want to wax nostalgic for the '90s, this screening and dance party is for you. Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film with cast and crew (including Gabrielle Union and Andrew Keegan) who will do introductions and a panel discussion. The dance party commences afterward, plus a special acoustic performance by Kay and Michael from Letters To Cleo.
COST: $29 - $70; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, MARCH 2; noon - 10 p.m.
Boca de Oro Festival of Literary Arts & Culture
Various locations in downtown Santa Ana
Now in its third year, the "mouth of gold" festival offers workshops, panel discussions, author talks and performances. The keynote speaker is Puerto Rican author Justin Torres who discusses his book (and subsequent film adaptation) We the Animals at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art. The culminating event, at 8 p.m., is a performance by Banda Magda at the Copper Door.
COST: FREE registration; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, MARCH 2; 2 - 5 p.m.
Orange County Restaurant Week Launch Party
Marriott Irvine Spectrum -- 7905 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine California 92618
Dozens of restaurants are participating in OC's restaurant week from March 3 to 9, offering prix fixe lunches and dinners. The kick-off party features bites and samples from nearly 20 eateries and $11 cocktails featuring Maker's Mark, Ketel, Chambord and Hornitos. The party is for guests ages 21 and older, and cocktail attire is required.

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'The Old Man and The Old Moon' is a musical folktale opening at the Wallis in Beverly Hills. (Photo: Jenny Anderson)

The Old Man and the Old Moon
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Bram Goldsmith Theater -- 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills
PigPen Theatre Co. presents a new musical folktale set to an indie folk score directed by Stuart Carden. The experience follows a man charged with the task of keeping the moon shining bright. The all-ages show features colorful characters as well as PigPen's signature shadow puppetry.
COST: $25 - $85; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, MARCH 2; 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Family Arts Fest
Gregg G. Juarez Courtyard / Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine University -- 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
The annual community event features performances by children's musical group Jazzy Ash and the Leaping Lizards who play New Orleans' style tunes, magic shows, a dance party, arts activities for children and museum tours. Food trucks include Serendoggity, Made in Brooklyn, Dreamy Creations and the Original Grilled Cheese Truck in the main parking lot.
COST: $5 admission; MORE INFO

Rare Groove Record Pop-Up
The Good Liver -- 705 Mateo St., downtown L.A.
The two-week vinyl pop-up event in the Arts District opens on Saturday night with a party from 5 to 9 p.m. that features DJ sets by Norio Sato (owner of Osaka, Japan's Rare Groove record store). The Record Cart offers original Japanese funk, ambient and city-pop collectible albums from his collection. Other events during the pop-up's run include an album pairing and tea tasting program on March 10 and a closing party on March 17.

The Grand Central Art Center celebrates 20 years with cake, performances and exhibition openings. (Image: Jon Haddock, 'The Things (that do not spark joy)')

SATURDAY, MARCH 2; 7 - 10 p.m.
20th Anniversary Celebration
Grand Central Art Center -- 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana
The OC-based art center celebrates two decades with giveaways, interactive performances and cake. The night also features opening receptions for Jennifer Levonian's cutout animation single-channel video Lost Islands of Philadelphia and Jon Haddock's mural The Things (that do not spark joy).

6th Annual Los Angeles IPA Festival
Mohawk Bend -- 2141 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
If you still love hops as much as we do, this festival is for you. Starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, more than 60 California breweries compete for people's and judges' choice awards. Guests can sample a variety of IPAs, many of which are brewed exclusively for the festival. The event is open to the public, but you must be 21+ to purchase beer. No tickets or reservations are needed.
COST: 8-ounce pours are $5; commemorative festival glassware is $5; MORE INFO

Meredith Monk
UCLA's Royce Hall -- 10745 Dickson Ct., Westwood
The legendary composer has spent more than five decades exploring and expanding the capacity of the human voice. She performs the program Cellular Songs -- the latest in a series of Monk's music theater pieces that explore humanity's interdependence with nature.
COST: $29 - $59; MORE INFO

AA|LA gallery opens the exhibition Tyler Healy: PST this weekend. (Image: Tyler Healy)

SATURDAY, MARCH 2; 6 - 9 p.m.
Tyler Healy: PST
AA|LA Gallery -- 7313 Melrose Ave., Fairfax
Inspired by the artist's recent crosscountry journey to 24 states, this exhibition explores the often tenuous relationships between society and the natural world. Healy uses 3D printing, stock imagery and readymade objects, but also focuses on how elements of the nature are often used as national and state symbols. The works include large 3D-printed quarters from the four states that employ Pacific Standard Time. The exhibition will remain on view through April 13.

WALKOUT: Past, Present, Repeat
Van Nuys High School Auditorium -- 6535 Cedros Ave., Van Nuys
The Los Angeles Master Chorale's Voices Within Oratorio Project presents the world premiere of an oratorio written by Van Nuys High School students. Through 10 movements, the 45-minute piece, performed by students and members of the chorale, retells the story of the East Los Angeles High School Walkouts of 1968, when more than 20,000 students walked out of their classrooms to protest discriminatory educational practices. These walkouts spurred student activism and are credited with ushering in the Chicano civil rights movement in Los Angeles.

SATURDAY, MARCH 2; 7 - 11 p.m.
The Auction of Many Things
Titmouse Studio Warehouse -- 1121 Seward St., Hollywood
The cartoon studio presents a Dungeons & Dragons art event to benefit the surviving creators of the games. The night includes snacks, beverages, games and a silent art auction. Participating artists include Todd James, Ben Jones, Shannon Eric Denton, Alex Pardee and Ben Marra, just to name a few. You do not have to be a nerd to attend this event.

The Magic Flute
The El Portal Theatre -- 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood
The Pacific Opera Project (POP), an organization that presents innovative and accessible opera, opens its 2019 season with the Mozart classic -- but with a twist. The opera is set in 1980s video games, transporting Papageno, Tamino and other characters to a land that resemble the places found in Mario Bros. and Zelda. Edward Benyas conducts.
COST: $20 - $60; MORE INFO

SUNDAY, MARCH 3; 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Culver City, Mar Vista and Palms
The 2019 open streets season kicks off with a 6.5-mile route that travels along Washington, Venice, Motor and Centinela, which will be open for biking, jogging, skating and walking. All major hubs will offer restrooms, free water, free basic bike repair, bike parking and first aid, plus various family-friendly activities. Explore the various neighborhoods by stepping out from the bubble of your car.

SUNDAY, MARCH 3; 6 - 7:30 p.m.
A Garden Can Be Anywhere
Now Serving -- 727 N. Broadway, #133, downtown L.A.
The Chinatown cookbook and culinary shop hosts author Lauri Kranz, owner and founder of Edible Gardens LA, with Dean Kuipers to discuss their new book with KCRW's Anne Litt. Kranz shares her secrets on how to create and maintain edible gardens, no matter the space or size of the plot. A book signing follows.

SUNDAY, MARCH 3; 3 - 8 p.m.
Stouts N Staches Brew Fest and Pigroast
Clutch Venice -- 427 Lincoln Blvd, Venice
March is the new Movember as the event raises funds for men's health issues. It's a day that offers beers from Venice Duck, New Holland and Lagunitas Brewery, Clutch Kolsch and whiskey tastings. Oscar Hermosillo, owner of Clutch and Venice Beach Wines, prepares a roasted pig dinner with sides while other bites are available from the Gastro Garage. Throughout the day, there will be giveaways, free mustache and beard trims, leather treatments and live music from Bob Dylan Tribute band Jack of Hearts.
COST: $20 admission, $50 VIP; MORE INFO

How are you spending your weekend? Let us know on Twitter @christineziemba and @LeoHasACat.

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