Sunday, September 30, 2007

Grand Avenue Festival TODAY!

Going for Another Grand Slam

Annual Street Festival Features Food, Performances and Free Tours
by Anna Scott Downtown News

Be warned: This Sunday, you might see Martians on Grand Avenue.
More than 25,000 people are expected to attend the free Grand Avenue Festival on Sunday, Sept. 30.

The event is on Grand Avenue from Temple to Fifth streets.

That's not a reason to run for the hills. The Martians, along with singers, dancers, food purveyors and more, are part of the fourth annual Grand Avenue Festival. From 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sept. 30, Grand Avenue between Temple and Fifth streets will offer performances, workshops, tours, art, food and the Martians, or, rather, a display about the surface of Mars, which will be inside the Natural History Museum's simulated research lab. The festival is expected to draw at least 25,000 people.

"If it's a good day," said Leticia Rhi Buckley, director of marketing and communications for the Los Angeles Music Center, one of the festival's main sponsors, "it may even be more."

Launched in 2004, the Grand Avenue Festival grew out of the Creation Festival, a smaller event held the year before to celebrate the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall. "We said, 'Why don't we invite everybody?'" recalled Josephine Ramirez, vice president of programming and planning for the Music Center and the festival co-chair. "Why don't we make it a Downtown thing?"

Thus the Creation Festival was combined with the Taste of Downtown food fair and the rest, as they say, is history. Over the past few years, the Grand Avenue Festival has more than doubled in size, adding new participants and drawing attendees from all over the city."It's a real motley crew," Ramirez said jokingly of the festival-goers, who this year can expect to find more to enjoy than ever before.

New additions to the festival include discount tickets to 1 and 6:30 p.m. performances of the musical Avenue Q, available at the Ahmanson Theatre box office; a giant sidewalk mural between First and Third streets, which everyone is invited to work on, depicting the L.A. River; a drum procession by the CalArts African Music and Dance Ensemble followed by a noon performance at the REDCAT theater; and a performance on the Grand Avenue outdoor stage by the Oaxacan youth brass band Banda Solaga.

The festival also offers a unique opportunity to indulge your inner urban planning geek, as the city Planning Department is preparing an educational exhibit on a set of proposed, pedestrian-friendly new street standards for Downtown Los Angeles."It's kind of whimsical," said Ramirez of the exhibit, expected to include an installation demonstrating some suggestions for sprucing up Downtown's sidewalks.

Other festivities will include free performances by a children's choir and various Mariachi bands, along with a cookie decorating booth and an art exhibition throughout the day at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels; a free L.A. Philharmonic performance at Disney Hall; dance performances throughout the afternoon at the Colburn School; free guided tours at MOCA; and family-friendly concerts at the Los Angeles Public Library.

New participants this year in A Taste of Downtown, offering local food samples for $6 or less, include Hearts Challenger ice cream, Tiara Cafe, Warung Cafe and gourmet hot dogs from Weeneez. Restaurants returning from last year include California Pizza Kitchen, Ciudad, Kendall's Brasserie, Noe at the Omni Los Angeles, Pete's Cafe, Pinot Grill and Spring Street Smokehouse.

For first-timers hoping to take it all in, Ramirez has a few words of advice: "Go to the information booths. Chart your course and then pace yourself." And, perhaps most importantly, "Make sure you understand that Avenue Q is not a kids' show." The Grand Avenue Festival is Sunday, Sept. 30, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Grand Avenue between Temple and Fifth streets, (213) 972-7611 or

Sunday, Sept. 30, Grand Avenue Between Temple and Fifth Streets

11 a.m. Sister Cities International Student Welcome Event Music Center Plaza Chamber music with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Walt Disney Concert Hall auditorium (11:15 a.m.) A program of works by composers when they were young.

11:30 a.m. Korean Classical Music and Dance Ensemble Music Center Plaza Drum Downtown Grand Avenue at First Street (also at 2 and 4 p.m.)

12 p.m. Moscow Nights Music Center Plaza Brasil Brazil Grand Avenue Street Stage (also at 12:45,)

1:30 p.m. Cal Arts African Music and Dance Ensemble Grand Avenue at Second Street

12:30 p.m.L.A. Philharmonic Family ConcertWalt Disney Concert Hall auditorium Northern Lights: Music of Sibelius Tickets required; details under Special Tickets. Sunday Mass Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Futa Toro West African Dance Ensemble Music Center Plaza

1 p.m. Colburn Ballet Colburn School (also at 3 p.m.)Avenue Q Ahmanson Theatre (also at 6:30 p.m.) $20 Hot Tix Tickets required; details under Special Tickets. Sakai Flamenco Music Center Plaza Get Your Chops Back - Summer Strum Grand Avenue at First Street

1:30 p.m. Jackie Ibarra with the Cathedral Choir, Sal Soria and Mario Alberto Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Colburn Jazz, Mime and Dance Colburn School The Tinkers Music Center Plaza

2 p.m. Upground Walt Disney Concert Hall auditorium, Band performs a blend of ska, jazz, reggae and cumbia. Tickets required; details under Special Tickets. Performing Books - Westward Ho, Carlotta! Central Library (ages 4-10, also at 3 p.m.) Colburn Conservatory of Music performance Colburn School (also at 3:30 p.m.) Jackie Ibarra with various Mariachi groups Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels plaza (2:15 p.m.) Jenufa Los Angeles Opera Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Tickets from $20.

3 p.m.Children's Choir Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels plaza. Sal Soria, organ demonstration Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels cathedral church Bitter: SweetWalt Disney Concert Hall auditorium

(3:15 p.m.)Shana Halligan and Kiran Shahani present trip hop. Tickets required; details under Special Tickets. Banda SolagaGrand Avenue Street Stage Mario Alberto, Jackie Ibarra and Mariachi Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels plaza (3:15 p.m.)Get Your Chops Back - Flute ChoirGrand Avenue at First Street (3:15 p.m.)

Ongoing Programs

A Taste of Downtown L.A. (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) Grand Avenue between First and Second streets

Children's Workshops (11 a.m.-2 p.m.)Artmaking including celebration hats, fantasy foam creatures and animal medallions (ages 5+).Music Center Plaza Children's workshops with Rosanne Kleineman (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) Decorate beads made from turned wood and string them to create your own colorful necklace. Walt Disney Concert Hall GardenHit + Run Customized T-Shirts and Dublab DJs (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) Walt Disney Concert Hall, Keck Amphitheatre and GardensFree live T-shirt screen printing with designs while Dublab Soundsystem spins.

Urban Design StudioRe-imagine Downtown, envisioned by the city of L.A.'s Urban Design Studio.Second Street at Grand AvenueCathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (1:30-5 p.m.) Sacred art exhibition, conference center; puppet show, children's garden; mural of expression; children's cookie decorating booth; Raul Rodriguez display; and Guadalupe Radio live broadcast, on the plaza.

Colburn School Tours of new campus (12-4:30 p.m.) Discover Colburn art workshops (1-4 p.m.)Museum of Contemporary ArtFree admission and hourly exhibition highlight tours (11 a.m.-5 p.m.)

Singing Dogs and Sliced Buildings Family Tours and Artmaking Workshop (12-4 p.m.).Urban Garden TourWalt Disney Concert Hall Gardens (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) Space is limited; tours run every 30 minutes. Plant Doctor Is InWalt Disney Concert Hall Gardens (adults, 12-4 p.m.) Free gardening event providing advice from the team that maintains the Walt Disney Concert Hall garden.

Los Angeles Public Library (1-5 p.m.) Central LibraryGallery spaces and library services

REDCATCaricature artists in the lobby and street painting Second Street (11 a.m.-5 p.m.)Viewing of Barry McGee: Advanced Mature Work in the gallery (12-6 p.m.) Wells Fargo Museum Wells Fargo Center (11 a.m.-5 p.m.)Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) The museum's Skymobile shows how rocks and minerals can unlock a planet's past. Also fossils from the museum's collections and dinosaur crafts. Grand Avenue at Second Street

L.A. River Mural making (11 a.m.-5 p.m.)Grand Avenue between First and Third streetsGroup painting of a huge street mural.

Special Tickets Free tickets at Walt Disney Concert Hall Tickets are free but limited and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis approximately one hour before each performance.

Go to the L.A. Phil ticket booth on Grand Avenue and First Street. Limit four per person.$20 HOT TIX at Center Theatre GroupFor performances of Avenue Q at 1 and 6:30 p.m. (Ages 16+). Limit two tickets per person at the time of sale.

Contact Anna Scott at

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