The year is winding down and art, revelry and holiday shopping seem high on everyone’s list. Make the most of the last weeks of 2023 by getting a dose of cultura at a Virgen de Guadalupe photography exhibit that reimagines the sacred icon. A Chicano adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” premieres in La Puente. And if you’re still in the throes of holiday shopping (or haven’t even started), hit up marketplaces like Querer Querer in Montebello, Holidaze in Chinatown and the Homegirls Holiday Pop-Up in Pasadena, or check out our gift guide to inspire you to shop local. The homebody struggle is real, but this weekend’s lineup is enough to entice even the biggest introvert.
MUSIC, THEATER & FILM
Mosaico: Mixture and heterogeneity is the spirit behind this monthly dance night taking you on a trip through the diverse soundscape of Latin America and the Caribbean. Salsa and cumbia are on deck with Latin music aficionados and resident DJs Del Caribe and El Marchante handling the ones and twos at their one-year anniversary get-down. Channeling Dominican musician Billo Frómeta, who used the term “mosaico” to describe a sound experiment combining different rhythms and styles to create a single song without losing the beat, the soundtrack of the night is carefully curated. Special guests include Chulita Vinyl Club DJ and De Los contributing artist Karina Ramirez a.k.a. Trankis a.k.a. La Infinita Tristeza, GFunkTrece and Ritmo Santanero of Fuego Latino. Innovation Records will be selling cumbia records if you need a gift for that music lover in your life. Wear your comfiest dance shoes because it’s about to go down.
When: 9 p.m. Thursday
Where: The Goldfish, 5043 York Blvd., Highland Park
With four stages representing the past and present of Latin music, here are some of our favorite sets from the one-day festival at Dodger Stadium.
Romeo & Juliet Rolling Through East L.A.: This Chicano take on William Shakespeare’s classic is adapted by acclaimed Guatemalan American actor, writer and director Alex Alpharaoh and produced by Chola Vision. Set in East L.A. and evoking ’90s cholo culture, the production is centered on provoking conversation about Latinx identity, family dynamics and urban class hierarchies. Alpharaoh’s writing resonates with lines like “these enamorados forfeit their lives paying their jefe’s debts with mourning floods of tragedy till true love, lifeless lies.” Director Blanca “Moon Chola” Espinoza, who moonlights as an astrologer and tarot reader, sets the tone for this stylish play with a rotating cast of local talent paying homage to L.A. culture and one of the most tragic stories of all time.
When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 17
Where: La Puente Community Center, 501 N. Glendora Ave., La Puente
Admission: Tickets $30
Too Many Tamales: Gary Soto’s classic short story about a ring gone missing in a batch of tamales is reimagined onstage by playwright Lina Montalvo and produced by Bilingual Foundation of the Arts (BFA) in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Montalvo brings the enchanting story to life as cousins desperately attempt to eat their way out of trouble and a family pulls together to save Christmas. BFA first premiered the play in 1996, setting the stage for culturally relevant theater in Spanish and English. Round up the familia and enjoy an iconic tale that still hits home on so many levels.
When: 8 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday (check for English and Spanish showings)
Where: Margo Albert Theater at Plaza de la Raza, 3540 N. Mission Road, Los Angeles
Admission: Tickets start at $25
For modern-day chefs who are descendants of Latin American cuisine, room exists for traditional recipes to bend and crack, opening up possibilities for something new and reflective of today’s culture.
South Central Film Festival: Esperanza Community Housing and L.A. Grit Media present this showcase amplifying the voices of Indigenous, Black, brown, LGBTQ+, immigrant and people of all abilities. Recognizing that storytelling is medicine and a tool for cultural preservation, the South Central Film Festival is dedicated to promoting narratives that inspire healing and radical change. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the films alongside special programming like an intro to 8mm filmmaking. A screening of “Cultural Treasures of South L.A.,” a community-focused asset-mapping project spotlighting local gems that participants deemed significant, is followed by a panel discussion about the activation.
When: 5:30 p.m. Friday, 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Mercado La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles
Guadalupe: Reclaiming Connection to the Divine: You don’t have to be religious to hold a special place in your heart for La Virgen de Guadalupe, who according to the Catholic teaching first appeared to Mexican indigenous visionary Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin in December 1531. Mexican American photographer Amanda López pays homage to la virgen with a series of photos curated by De Los contributing photographer Nalani Hernandez-Melo that reflect on the societal norms placed on women. Modern-day shots of real women flaunting long nails, spandex and gold jewelry are captured as a way to reconnect to her imagery outside of religion. Lopez will unveil her photos at this Lincoln Heights art gallery and studio with music by artist Eduardo Gómez and DJ Diego Guerrero. Pozole and champurrado is provided by Las Nachas, so get it while it’s hot.
When: 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday
Where: Altura L.A., 1908 Griffin Ave., Los Angeles
Transformation at CaminArte: If Frida and Diego had kids, weren’t so tumultuous and lived in L.A., we’re pretty sure they’d be like the Kalli Arte Collective who exhibit their magical works of art at this annual Espacio 1839-hosted family show. Partners and artists Adriana Carranza and Alfonso Aceves, along with their creative offspring Sara Aceves, Ione Aceves, and Methodpack’s Diego and Emilio Aceves are all sharing art offerings. Expect prints, collages and tons of inspiration at this showcase in conjunction with Boyle Heights’ monthly sidewalk art crawl CaminArte.
When: 6 to 10 p.m. Friday
Where: Espacio 1839, 1839 1st St., Los Angeles
Whether you’re looking for self-care essentials, indoor plants or records for the collectors in your life, we’ve got ideas to help you shop small across L.A. County.
Homegirls Holiday Pop-Up: Designer Patty Delgado founded Hija de Tu Madre in 2016 to create fashionable pieces for mujeres who are unapologetically Latina. T-shirts, jackets, totes and chonies are emblazoned with statements like “Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana,” “I Speak English, But I Love in Spanish” and “Nalgona.” Together with singer LaLa Romero, who co-founded Chicana streetwear line Bella Doña with her best friend Natalia Durazo, this holiday pop-up has you covered with all the essentials needed to live your flyest life. Paisa Santa portraits, sweets and treats, giveaways and more are on the itinerary.
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: 180 N. Daisy Ave., Pasadena
Querer Querer Holiday Edition: Montebello’s Cuarto Central was established in 2021 by Cafe Santo co-founder Pilar Castañeda and El Creativo floral designer Juan Renteria to provide space for artists of various mediums to exhibit, perform and gather. From musicians and food creatives to clothing designers and visual artists, this studio is host to an epic holiday marketplace featuring a stellar lineup of creators. Fabric repurposer Asaka Fushimi, Baja-bred art and jewelry maker Sacred Scraps, handmade leather goods maker Dunrite Leatherworks, East L.A. ceramic artist Perro y Arena and many more will be selling their goods. Ivan Trejo’s elevated food pop-up Mastica is serving up the comida (Thai-style carnitas, sweet potato tacos and roasted corn bread with whipped jalapeno butter, anyone?). Latin and African rhythm DJs Rani de Leon and El Marchante provide the sounds.
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Cuarto Central, 514 W. Whittier Blvd., Montebello
Holidaze Holiday Pop-Up: In conjunction with Eastern Projects’ Blossom art exhibit, this all-female holiday pop-up features jewelry and apparel line Xipiteca, T-shirt and accessories brand Sweet Sukar, art by Emilia Cruz, CBD-infused candles by I Got Chula and dog accessories by Umie Los Angeles. Live music, lowriders and ’90s-style mall glamour shots are all on tap, so come correct.
When: 12 noon Saturday
Where: Eastern Projects, 900 N. Broadway #1090, Los Angeles
From Mexico to Argentina, each Latin American country brings its flair to Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The beauty of L.A. is getting to celebrate the holidays outdoors. Get festive at the Pasadena Complete Street Coalition’s Holiday Lights Ride, which takes you from Pasadena Memorial Park to Christmas Tree Lane’s 103rd annual Lighting Ceremony and Winter Festival, South Gate’s 78th Children’s Christmas Lane Parade, Bell Garden’s Winter Wonderland and Holiday Parade and Pacoima’s 56th Holiday Parade. Or take the kids to select locations of Vallarta Supermarkets for the annual toy giveaway from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Prospering Backyards: Soil Time! This family-friendly, holiday-themed workshop in honor of World Soil Day is led by Queer Indigenous Central American artist Dalila Paola Méndez, who will guide folks on creating a watercolor nopal Christmas tree. Organized by legendary arts incubator Self Help Graphics and Prospering Backyards, a community-based initiative working to heal the lead-contaminated land surrounding the now-defunct Exide Technologies toxic battery recycling plant in Vernon, this event raises awareness about environmental racism while immersed in art. All ages welcome and materials provided.
When: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: East L.A. Library, 4837 E. 3rd St., Los Angeles
Intro to Camping: If you’ve always been curious about camping, but didn’t grow up pitching a tent at a campground, this free workshop is for you. Join Steven Ochoa of Nature for All, an organization working to create equitable access to nature in communities of color, as he walks you through the basics of camping. From finding a nearby campground to equipment essentials, this mock camping experience will prepare you for your first venture sleeping beneath the stars. Gather with other outdoor enthusiasts at Hollydale Regional Park in South Gate and learn tips and tricks to make your first camping trip a successful one. Comfortable clothes, a portable chair, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, water, snacks and lots of questions are encouraged.
When: 10 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday
Where: Hollydale Regional Park, 5400 Monroe Ave., South Gate
L.A. is too big for us to know about all the events happening this weekend. If we missed something you think we should know about, let us know.
Kamren Curiel is a fourth-generation Xicana born in East L.A. and raised in Monterey Park and South San Gabriel. She’s written for L.A. Taco, Latina magazine, LAist, KCET, Alta and the Huffington Post, and was the senior editor at Remezcla and Sí TV.