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26 Awesome Things To Do In Southern California This Weekend

The Marciano Art Foundation opens 'Life Cycle,' the first major institutional show in L.A. of works by Chinese artist-activist Ai Weiwei. (Photo courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio)
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Dust off those steins and pull out the lederhosen. Fall is officially here and that means it's time for Oktoberfest(s). You've also got plenty of street festivals including a massive CicLAvia stretching from DTLA to Hollywood. For the bookish, there's Lambda LitFest, a Black List Live! reading and the fall edition of Pop-up Magazine. If you like to get scared, the Haunted Hayride and Queen Mary's Dark Harbor return.

Ai Weiwei: Life Cycle
Marciano Art Foundation -- 4357 Wilshire Blvd., Windsor Square
The Chinese artist and activist has his first major institutional solo exhibition in Los Angeles. Taking over the MAF's Black Box and Theater spaces, the show is a sculptural response to the global refugee crisis. The exhibition also presents Weiwei's now-iconic installations, "Sunflower Seeds" (2010) and "Spouts" (2015).

FRIDAY, SEPT. 28; 10:30 p.m.
An Autumn Moon Rap Battle
UCBT Sunset -- 5419 W Sunset Blvd., East Hollywood
The Autumn Moon festival is an Asian/East Asian celebration of the harvest, so there's no better time for the Asian AF and Dopetown 3000 comedy troupes to come together for a rap battle. Hosted by Will Choi and Shaun Fisher, the night features beats, rhymes, rhythms and lights. Mooncakes not included. Music by DJ Phatrick.

We're not pulling your strings. Queen Mary's Dark Harbor returns this week. (Photo courtesy of The Queen Mary/Facebook)
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Queen Mary's Dark Harbor
The Queen Mary -- 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach
All aboard for six reimagined mazes, interactive alternate paths, live entertainment and four new secret bars. More than 200 monsters roam the grounds, so you never know who or what might lurk around the corner. You can even book a room (starting at $85/night) and stay overnight on the Queen Mary, which is supposedly haunted by real ghosts. Costumes or masks are not permitted and guests can't touch the monsters or crew members.
COST: Tickets start at $20; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29 - SUNDAY, SEPT. 30; 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
California Vegetarian Food Festival
Raleigh Studios -- 5300 Melrose Ave., Hollywood
Chefs from all over the world bring plant-based techniques and recipes to this fully vegan festival, which features numerous speakers discussing animal-free and healthy lifestyles. General admission tickets includes all speakers and demos as well as music, fitness and kids' activities. Many vendors will be giving out free samples and offering full-sized eats for purchase.
COST: $20 - $75, children 10 and younger get in free; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29; 3 - 11 p.m.
The Fields - 3939 South Figueroa St., Exposition Park
Newly opened food hall The Fields offers a taste of Germany with L.A. views. Held on the rooftop terrace, the all-ages fest includes a $5 German-influenced menu featuring dishes including beer-braised bratwurst, pork schnitzel, crispy potatoes with beer cheese and pretzels. Don't forget the beer! Bottoms up from Hofbräu, Bitburger, Boomtown, Weihenstephan, Veltins and Modern Times. Many other communities are also holding Oktoberfest celebrations. Huntington Beach's Old World Biergarten hosts Dachshund & small breed dog races every Sunday while Santa Anita Park celebrates this weekend and next.
COST: Prices vary; MORE INFO

Nope. Nothing scary about clowns at the Haunted Hayride. (Photo by Scott Feinblatt/Haunted Hayride)

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride
Old Zoo at Griffith Park -- 4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Griffith Park
The hayride celebrates its 10th anniversary with scary yet instagrammable adventures. There's the heart-pounding House of Shadows Dark Maze, a Trick Or Treat neighborhood (emphasis on trick) and the haunted village of Purgatory. During the hayride, various demons and apparitions come out to scare the beejeebies out of you. The hayride runs Wednesdays through Sundays. Individual tickets and season/VIP tickets are available. Ages 8+.
COST: Starts at $30.99 (for hayride only); MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29; 5 - 10 p.m.
Reseda Rising Artwalk & Nightmarket
Sherman Way -- between Lindley Ave. & Reseda Blvd., Reseda
The all-ages, family-friendly event celebrates the Valley's creative community, and organizers encourage guest participation -- from busking and flash mobs to impromptu parades and roller skating. The artwalk includes a zine fest, live art, interactive installations, a beer garden, food trucks, a classic car show and workshops. There's live music on two stages, with headliners Fartbarf, Healing Gems, Cruel Reflections and Others.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 28; 6 - 10 p.m.
2018 Van Nuys Arts Festival
Van Nuys Civic Center -- 14410 Sylvan St., Van Nuys
The Civic Center's space is being turned into an outdoor virtual forest where attendees can lose themselves in an immersive mist or watch competing graffiti artists in live art battles. Music performances by Los Cambalache start at 6 p.m., followed by sets by Novala, Maya Jupiter, Lesser Pieces and Cutty Flam. Food and craft beer will be available for purchase.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29; 8 - 11 p.m.
Jason Moran and The Bandwagon: Finding A Line
Ford Theatres -- 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood
Pianist and composer Moran and his band improvise while local skaters shred on stage, responding to the musical cues. The CAP UCLA program explores the intersection of skateboarding and jazz. Participating skateboarders include Ron Allen, Jaime Reyes, Sky and Ocean (AWSM KIDS) and members of the OC Ramps Team.
COST: $30 - $45; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29; 11 a.m.
Lambda LitFest Los Angeles Launch
Japanese American Cultural & Community Center -- 244 San Pedro St, downtown L.A.
The festival for LGBTQ writers, readers and allies features panels, talks and readings. New this year: Low-cost workshops and community exhibitor tables. Attend sessions including "Geekdom in the Fiefdom," "Everything You Wanted to Know about Being a Queer TV Writer but Were Afraid to Ask" and "Getting Started In New Media." Special literary events continue through the week with a closing event on Oct. 6 in Plummer Park in West Hollywood.
COST: FREE - $15 per workshop; MORE INFO

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Sandwiches & Carvers
Philippe The Original -- 1001 N. Alameda St., downtown L.A.
This art exhibition features 70 oil-on-panel paintings of French Dip sandwiches, sides and pies as well as portraits of "carver" employees. The works are by artist Gregg Gibbs and they're on view upstairs at Philippe's for a week. The show coincides with the restaurant's 110th anniversary celebration on Oct. 1 from 4 to 8 p.m. It includes live entertainment and $1.10 beef, turkey, ham and pork dips.

A Night at Pop-Up Magazine from Pop-Up Magazine on Vimeo.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29; 7:30 p.m.
Pop-Up Magazine: Fall Issue
The Theatre at Ace Hotel -- 929 S. Broadway, downtown L.A.
The "live magazine" returns to L.A. for a mix of true stories, film, photography, art, radio and music on stage. The lineup includes: local L.A. contributors Ann Friedman (co-host of the "Call Your Girlfriend" podcast) and Hrishikesh Hirway (host of the "Song Exploder" podcast) as well as Jason Parham of WIRED, Rowan Jacobsen (author of "A Geography of Oysters"), spoken-word artist and dancer Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Jenée Desmond-Harris of the NY Times. The presentations aren't filmed or recorded, so you just have to be there.
COST: $39-$49; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29; 8 p.m.
Black List Live!
The Montalbán -- 1615 Vine St., Hollywood
A great cast is lined up for the live reading of "Charming," an unproduced script from the online writing community. Written by Elliott Owen, who also directs the stage presentation, actors/readers include Rachel McAdams, Adam Scott, Thomas Middleditch, Taissa Farmiga and Aldis Hodge. Chris Geere narrates. "In this reimagined fairy tale, a thrice-married, middle-aged alcoholic king who was once known throughout the realm as Prince Charming sets out on one last quest to slay a dragon and stumbles into redemption along the way."
COST: $20 - $25; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29; 6 p.m.
Le Dîner en Blanc Los Angeles
Undisclosed location
The Parisian-inspired "secret" dinner party returns for its fifth edition somewhere in the greater L.A. area. Last year, more than 2,000 guests dined under the stars in the courtyard of Pasadena City Hall. Guests must wear an elegant white ensemble -- this means no ivory, off-white or beige attire -- and bring specific picnic items. There's currently a waitlist to dine.
COST: $43 - $58+ fees; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29 - SUNDAY, SEPT. 30; begins at noon each day
Music Tastes Good
Marina Green -- 386 E Shoreline Dr., Long Beach
This festival celebrates both music and food. Headliners are New Order and Joey Bada$$ (on Saturday) and James Blake and Janelle Monáe (on Sunday). The Taste Tent's theme, "Port Cities of the West Coast," offers attendees access to dishes made by chefs from Baja California up to Vancouver, BC.
COST: $85 - $175 (daily passes); $150 - $300 for weekend passes; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29, 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
A Night in Focus: India
Norton Simon Museum -- 411 West Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
Explore the museum's Indian art collection, take a meditation tour of select works in the collection or learn tips on meditation in the Asian Sculpture Garden. You can also listen to musicians play the tabla, tanpura and flute and watch as dancers re-create poses seen in sculptures from India.
COST: $12 - $15, free for Museum members, students with I.D., and everyone age 18 and under; MORE INFO

Something Revealed; California Women Artists Emerge, 1860-1960,
Pasadena Museum of History -- 470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena
The exhibition presents more than 250 works by artists who defied traditional gender and expectations in an era of inequality. Sadly, times haven't changed that much, so this show's theme still resonates. Artists include Belle Baranceanu, Mary Blair, Nelbert Chouinard, Eva Scott Fenyes, Jason Herron, Elise Seeds, Thelma Johnson Streat, Vivian Stringfield and Beulah Woodard.
COST: $8 - $9, free for children 12 and younger; MORE INFO

The Broad's 2018 Summer Happenings series comes to a close on Saturday. (Photo by Gnawme/Flickr Creative Commons)

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29; 8 p.m.
Summer Happenings: A Journey That Wasn't, Part 2
The Broad -- 221 S Grand Ave., downtown L.A.
The museum ends its summer series with a stellar lineup of artists, dancers and musicians who explore the manipulation of time through "memory, appropriation and repetition." Kim Gordon and YoshimiO collaborate on an instrumental improvisational set. The Banjee Ball is a Vogue Opera inspired by the exhibition, "A Journey That Wasn't," and features a curated group of L.A. ballroom dancers, with Philadelphia ballroom dance icon Ranika (formerly Kevin) JZ Prodigy making her L.A. debut. Other sets/performances/installations by Michael "5000" Watts, Arto Lindsay, Laraaji + Arji OceAnanda, Dedekind Cut and Josiah Steinbrick. This event is 21+.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29; 12 - 5 p.m.
Tastes & Sounds on South Lake
Various locations -- along Lake Ave., South Pasadena
Buy tasty treats from more than 20 South Lake Ave. restaurants while listening to live music from bands Arms Akimbo and The Regrettes. Watch cooking demos on stage from chef Luisa Fabbri (Contessa Foods), vegan, raw food chef Ronald Russell, Jose Acevedo from Mercado Pasadena and RG Enriquez, chef and host of the "Astig Vegan" cooking show, who specializes in healthy Filipino cuisine.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 29 - SUNDAY, SEPT. 30; 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Watts Towers Festivals
Watts Towers --1727 E. 107th St., Watts
Saturday marks the Day of the Drum Festival at the Towers, with performances that include Aztec drumming and dance, Japanese taiko and West African beats. Sunday's Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival features musical tributes to American jazz, gospel and R&B traditions. The festivals include kids activities; food and craft vendors will also be onsite.

The Los Angeles Chocolate Salon returns to Pasadena, showcasing, selling and sampling -- chocolate. (Photo courtesy of the Chocolate Salon/Facebook)

SUNDAY, SEPT. 30; 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
L.A. Chocolate Salon
Pasadena Conference Center -- 300 E. Green St., Pasadena
Indulge in samples offered by artisanal chocolatiers and confectioners including Amano Artisan Chocolate, Marti Chocolatt, Truffles n Toffee, Marco Paolo Chocolates, Mignon Chocolate and Amella Caramels. In addition to tastings, there are chef and author talks, wine tastings (for those 21+) and cooking demos.
COST: $20 - $25; MORE INFO

SUNDAY, SEPT. 30; 7:15 - 9 p.m.
Golden Hour Comedy
START LA -- 2266 Venice Blvd., Harvard Heights
End your weekend on a funny note with a comedy night that features the standup talents of Ester Steinberg, Mekki Leeper, Todd Masterson, Janae Burris, Regan & Watkins, Brian Simpson and Joe Zimmerman. If that's not enough to entice you, then maybe free drinks, snacks and hot dogs will. BYOB.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 30; 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance
Zamperini Field Airport -- 2901 Airport Dr., Torrance
The 2018 show features 200 classic automobiles and a number of vintage aircraft as well. With the theme, "California Style," the event also puts the focus on vehicles that contributed to California car culture.
COST: $20 - $150; MORE INFO

For its centennial, the LA Phil teams up with CicLAvia for an eight-mile street party. (Graphic courtesy of Celebrate LA!)

SUNDAY, SEPT. 30; 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Celebrate LA
Various locations throughout L.A.
The L.A. Phil celebrates its centennial by teaming up with CicLAvia and throwing a massive street party. Several streets connecting Walt Disney Concert Hall to the Hollywood Bowl will be closed to motorized traffic. You'll be able to bicycle, sing, dance and stroll -- feel free to recreate "LA LA Land" (or not) -- between CicLAvia hubs hosting live entertainment. Scheduled performers include Poncho Sanchez, Phoebe Bridgers, Calder Quartet, Pink Martini, Convite Oaxaqueño, Ozomatli and Jeff Goldblum. There are also pop-up performances, workshops and activities along the route. The day wraps with a free concert at the Hollywood Bowl, where Gustavo Dudamel leads the L.A. Phil and special guests including Katy Perry, Herbie Hancock and Kali Uchis. Most streets will begin reopening at 4 p.m. but the party continues at the Grand Avenue Hub until 8:30 p.m. The Hollywood Bowl concert, a ticketed event (via sweepstakes raffle), is separate from the L.A. Phil 100 x CicLAvia festivities and starts at 7 p.m.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 30; 12 - 4 p.m.
Pasadena Origami Festival
The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden -- 270 Arlington Dr., Pasadena
Learn to fold paper cranes, flowers and other objects from the professionals at Pacific Ocean Paperfolders (POP) and Origami Club teacher Nick Cavallo. Japanese tea and snacks will be served. Origami books, paper and other fun Japanese items will be available for sale. Picnics welcome.
COST: $9.50 - $12 at the gate; MORE INFO

SUNDAY, SEPT. 30; 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Annual Abbot Kinney Festival
Annual Abbot Kinney Blvd. -- between Venice Blvd and Main St., Venice
The "coolest street in America" holds its 34th annual block party with four live music stages, three beer/spirits gardens, more than 300 artisanal, crafty vendors and dozens of food booths and trucks. The mile-long festival also features the Kidsquad, a mini-festival with games and rides. Unlimited rides and activities passes are $90 to $100. Admission to the cash-only beer garden is $5 (must be 21+). Fast-pass beer garden wristbands are also available for $35 and include one drink.

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

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