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Your Ultimate Guide To May: 20 Cool Events Happening In Los Angeles

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Summer's just around the corner. We found a number of notable happenings in May to help plan your social calendar. Read on for all our event picks and details.

May 1

BACON (Food fest)
Oink oink! The fourth annual L.A. Bacon Festival is on Sunday from noon to 7 pm at LA Center Studios with dozens of restaurants and bakeries serving up all sorts of sweet and savory bacon treats. Tickets include food samples, unlimited beer from more than 20 breweries and more. Tickets: $64.29+ fees. 21+.

Through May 22

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The UCLA Film & Television Archive has showcased Iranian film in Southern California for the past two decades. The Celebration of Iranian Cinema series has tracked the ever-changing cinema landscape and modes of storytelling in Iran, and continues this month with new talents who have “fused social concerns and private fascinations with expert filmmaking.” Filmmakers expected to attend the screening of their works include: Soheila Golestani (4/30, 5/1); Alireza Raissian (5/2); Hamid Naficy (5/13); Zamani Esmati (5/20, schedule permitting); Roya Teimoorian (5/20); Behtash Sanaeeha (5/21, schedule permitting).

May 4

The Radiotopia podcast network presents Radiotopia Live on Wednesday at The Theater at Ace Hotel on May 4 at 8 pm. Listen to some of our favorite podcasts and hosts live on stage including 99% Invisible, Criminal, Song Exploder, The Memory Palace, Strangers, Mortified, Radio Diaries, The Kitchen Sisters, Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything and The Allusionist. The night features music, conversation and performances. Tickets: $25 ($200 for VIP tickets with premium seats, cocktail reception, and meet and greets).

May 5-29

SCI-FEST L.A. (One-act plays)
SCI-FEST L.A., the Los Angeles Science Fiction One-Act Play Festival, returns for its third installment to Hollywood’s Acme Theatre from May 5 - 29. The festival aims to produce compelling sci-fi plays that star well-known actors from sci-fi/fantasy franchises. There are two rotating evenings of new, 15-minute sci-fi plays as well as screenplay readings, short-story contests & awards, screenings and a casting workshop. Prices vary on the program, but the play programs begin at $26.

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May 6-7

RUPAUL’S DRAGCON (Drag convention)
After a successful inaugural edition last year, RuPaul’s Drag Con returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center on May 6-7. Organizers have tripled the floor space to accommodate the demand at this “glitter-filled weekend that celebrates the art of drag and self-expression for all.” The weekend features more than 100 vendors, panel discussions, Q&As and screenings. Guests include: RuPaul, Jeffree Star, Michelle Visage, Amber Rose and others. Only single-day passes ($30) and weekend passes ($50).

May 6

PRINCE TRIBUTE (Remembrance)
The city of Los Angeles holds a Memorial Tribute to Prince Rogers Nelson from 5-8 pm on May 6, featuring guests that will honor his legacy in music and philanthropy. The event is being hosted by the offices of Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Councilmember Jose Huizar in partnership with 102.3 KJLH Radio, Grand Park, Fusicology, SOULNIC and other partners. They’re still finalizing the details and attendees, so keep checking the Facebook page for updates. Free.

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May 6-8

AIX SCENT FAIR (Smell fest)
The Institute for Art and Olfaction and Luckyscent/Scent Bar present The AIX Scent Fair at the Hammer Museum on May 6-8 pm. The festival promises to “upend your preconceptions of perfume” at the indie, “experimental scent” fair. Sniff the unexpected, participate in panels and workshops and attend The Institute for Art and Olfaction’s Third Annual Art and Olfaction Awards with emcee Zackary Drucker. Saturday’s awards event includes a DJs and a cash bar.

May 6-7

The Pancakes & Booze Art Show is the country’s largest pop-up art show, and it returns to L.A. on May 6-7, taking over Lot 613 in DTLA. The event features the works of more than 150 artists, live painting, body painting, music and free pancakes. The show is a far cry from the stuffiness and politics usually associated with gallery shows. The show runs 8 pm-2 am on both days. Admission: $5 at the door. 21+.

May 7

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BUST Magazine's spring Craftacular takes over Superchief Gallery in DTLA. The indie craft fair features more than 100 makers selling handmade and vintage treasures, accessories, clothing, beauty products, original art and tasty eats. Many vendors will also offer lessons and tutorials at their booths. We hear that there’ll be a screen-printing bar where guests can create their own poster or t-shirt with HIT + RUN.The first 200 attendees will get a free swag bag.

May 7

The Music Center presents the fourth annual Grand Park Downtown Bookfest on May 7 from noon-5 pm in Grand Park. It’s the city’s only book festival that focuses exclusively on the local lit scene and creative community. The day’s being organized under the theme, “Literary LA: Places, Spaces and Faces” with activities that include storytelling, bookmaking, shopping (at a pop-up bookstore featuring more than 30 L.A.-based independent publishers), readings and more.

May 13-15

If you’ve been avoiding the white zin because it brings you bad memories from high school or something, it’s time to rethink the rosé. La Nuit en Rosé Los Angeles returns to the Mondrian from May 13-15. It’s the first festival dedicated exclusively to rosé, bringing together wine producers, chefs and drinkers to celebrate rosé. Things kick off on Friday night at Ivory on Sunset with a four-course pairing meal ($250) crafted by ABC’s The Taste and Top Chef alum Brian Malarkey. Other events include a poolside Rosé Sunset Soirée on Saturday night, and a Rosé Pool Party at SkyBar on Sunday featuring more than 50 rosé wines and champagnes. ($65-$135). 21+

May 14

Queen Bey brings her Formation Tour to the Rose Bowl for one night on May 14. Doors at 5:30 pm, show at 7:30 pm. The show is technically sold out, so find an alternate way to score tickets. Prices: $45-$305. [FWIW, her show on May 12 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego still has tickets available.]

May 14-15

Multi-instrumentalist (and world-class whistler) Andrew Bird plays The Theatre at Ace Hotel for two nights this month (May 14-15) to support his last album, Are You Serious. John Grant opens the show. 9 pm. Tickets: $37.50-$52.50.

May 14

South Pasadena’s Eclectic Music Festival and Art Walk returns on May 14 with performances by Toad The Wet Sprocket frontman Glen Phillips, guitarist Albert Lee, jazz singer Barbara Morrison, Elliot Caine, Doug Macleod, The Party Animals and more than two dozen other music acts playing six stages and more intimate venues around the city. The daylong event will also feature open houses at art galleries and studios.

May 15

CicLAvia (Bike + walk)
For the first time, CicLAvia heads to Southeast L.A. connecting the cities of Huntington Park, Walnut Park, South Gate, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood and Watts. The country’s largest open streets event will run from 9 am to 4 pm with streets closed to cars and open for cyclists, pedestrians, runners and skaters to use as a recreational space.

May 15-22

The first ever Venice Art Week takes place from May 15-22, anchored by several events including the Venice ARTBLOCK Open Studios (Oakwood neighborhood and Abbott Kinney Boulevard) on May 15, from 11-6 pm; the Venice Art Crawl on May 19 from 6-10 pm and the Venice Art Walk on May 22 from 12-6 pm at Google Los Angeles to benefit the Venice Family Clinic.

May 21-22

Now in its 33rd year, the California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard celebrates the berry with food, art, live music and entertainment. The fest—which expects that 1.5 million strawberries will be consumed—features more than 50 food vendors, delights such strawberry pizza, strawberry beer, strawberry nachos, strawberry funnel cake, strawberry crepes, chocolate dipped strawberries, fried strawberries and more. General admission: $12, seniors 62+ are $8, and children ages 5-12 are $5. Kids 4 and younger are free. Active military and dependents with ID are $8. The festival runs from 10 am to 6:30 pm.

May 25-30

Lightning in a Bottle 2016 returns to the San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley for five days over the Memorial Day weekend. Camp out, listen to music and guest speakers, do yoga and other workshops or check out the art and installations. This year’s headliners include Chet Faker, Grimes, Jamie xx, Moderat, Apparat, Four Tet, Cashmere Cat, The Polish Ambassador and Big Gigantic. Camping is included with the two- and four-day passes, which range from $235 to $285.

May 29-Aug. 21

ABOVE THE FOLD (Origami art)
Origami is so much more than the paper cranes your bff gave you in high school. The Japanese tradition of folding paper into objects dates back at least 1,000 years. Later this month, the Japanese American National Museum presents the exhibition, Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami, which showcases nine artists working in six different countries. On view are the works of Erik Demaine and Martin Demaine (Canada/USA), Vincent Floderer (France), Miri Golan (Israel), Paul Jackson (UK/Israel), Robert J. Lang (USA), Yuko Nishimura (Japan), Richard Sweeney (UK) and Jiangmei Wu (China/USA) who have elevated the art form. Admission: $5-$9, and free general admission every Thursday night from 5-8 pm, and all day every third Thursday of the month.

May 29-Sept. 4

The Craft & Folk Art Museum presents the interactive exhibition Gronk’s Theater of Paint from May 29-Sept. 4. The show explores the set design work of the legendary LA painter, printmaker and performance artist, Gronk. The show explores his career as part of the collective ASCO to his recent opera productions with director Peter Sellars. “Gronk’s theater installation merges his love of the improvised and low budget aesthetic of B-movies with the operatic.” The installation also serves as a setting for performances and public programs throughout the course of the exhibition.

Want the 411 on additional events and happenings in L.A.? Follow @LAist or me (@christineziemba) on Twitter.