Indigenous wisdom at Tía Chucha’s, a festival celebrating filmmakers of color and more to do this weekend

Events Happening this week in Los Angeles. Crenshaw dairy mart.
(Photo illustration by Diana Ramirez / De Los; Photos by Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times.)

You survived the commercial holiday celebrating love, either with your boo, à la galentine’s or by treating yourself to a limpia or massage. The upcoming three-day weekend gives you a whole extra day to recover from a red and pink hangover and from this eclectic lineup of weekend events. For a dose of art and music, check out Karla Diaz’s insomnia-inspired art, get your shoes painted alongside artist Zapatos at the Watts Culture Fest or catch the Crenshaw Dairy Mart Film Festival, centering local filmmakers of color. If you’re looking for culture and conversation, Tia Chucha’s has a series of ancestral knowledge workshops and La Plaza hosts a discussion about colorism and racism in the Latinx community.


Karla Diaz: Wait ‘til Your Mother Gets Home: As a child, Diaz got in trouble for drawing on walls. “Wait ’til your mother gets home!” her aunt would yell. That rebellious spirit stayed with the writer, teacher and multidisciplinary artist who dedicates her craft to uplifting the voices of marginalized people. This solo exhibit is the result of a year-long battle with insomnia stemming from a stroke. Repetitive memory exercises and drawing help her retain information. Painting a piece every night is her therapy. On Saturday, the artist debuts a glimpse into her healing journey with a solo collection of portraits and landscapes sparked from dreams and memories of growing up in Los Angeles and México. Unfiltered and spontaneous, these vivid images of the juxtaposition of city life and cultural domesticity speak to the Latinx experience in the U.S. Catch a guided walk-through by Diaz and curator Irene Georgia Tsatsos at 5:30 p.m.

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: 18th Street Arts Center, 3026 Airport Ave., Santa Monica
Admission: Free

Better known by her radio persona Old School Becky Lu, Rebecca Luna has been at the helm of ‘The Art Laboe Connection’ since her mentor’s passing.

Feb. 15, 2024

Donde Pasó Antes & Buscando Futuro Closing Shows: Check out the closing of Michoacan-born mixed-media artist Hector Dionicio Mendoza, whose “Buscando Futuro/Searching for a Future” evokes mystical images of his fifth-generation curandero grandfather and uses everything from handmade tortillas and naan to cardboard and drywall screws to tell his queer migration story. Meanwhile, Griselda Rosas’ “Donde pasó antes (Where it happened before),” also closing Saturday, features an array of collages made with fabric, acrylic, watercolor, natural pigments and vivid embroidery alongside sculptures of toys and ancient Aztec weapons. A single mother and educator, Rosas is inspired by the fairy tales she read to her son, make-believe and being in a constant migratory flux living and working between San Diego and Tijuana.


When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
Where: Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, 1110 Mateo St., Los Angeles
Admission: Free

Crenshaw Dairy Mart Film Festival: Founded in 2020 by noé olivas, alexandre ali reza dorriz and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, the Crenshaw Dairy Mart is an abolitionist artist collective in Inglewood dedicated to shifting the trauma-induced conditions of poverty and economic injustice. Check out its first ever film fest centered on uplifting the voices of Black and underrepresented L.A.-based filmmakers of color. The theme is “For the Love Of” and categories include Spirit, Love and Practice, Ancestry and the Diaspora, Rest and the Political, Growing as our Birthright and Freedom and Imagining New Systems. Films include Alvaro Parra’s “Sonidero Metropolis,” a documentary about how cumbia connects Mexican immigrants to their homeland, Beni Marquez’s “Salsa un Tumbao’ Caribeño” and Kimberly Bautista’s “Punk Is Punk.”

When: 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Miracle Theater, 226 S. Market St., Inglewood
Admission: Tickets start at $7 for South Central and Inglewood residents

A 1960s-style mini mart has a red sign that reads "Crenshaw Dairy Mart"
Crenshaw Dairy Mart is an arts space in South Los Angeles housed in a former mini-market founded by artists Patrisse Cullors, noé olivas and alexandre ali reza dorriz.
(Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times )

Conduit: Award-winning migrant farm worker-raised photographer Noé Montes, Indigenous culture preserver Lorene Sisquoc and science illustrator Samantha Morales-Johnson are among the artists in this group exhibit that sheds light on how deviated our current water practices are from the Native way. Inspired by the museum’s recently opened permanent exhibit “Built on Water” and guest curated by climate-focused teaching artist Debra Scacco, this exhibit critically examines systems like the Santa Ana River, which is corseted in concrete and stripped of its natural flow in order to accommodate the growing human population. Through stunning photos of current water channels, ethnobotanist-centered drawings and Indigenous reclamations, artists explore the ways that Indigenous-created water systems have undergone dramatic transformations.

When: Opens Thursday; reception 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Ontario Museum of History & Art, 225 Euclid Ave., Ontario
Admission: Free


Decolonizing Emotions for Mental Clarity: Tia Chucha’s latest workshop series, “The Indigenous in Us,” is a knowledge share facilitated by local Native Mexica healers that use ancestral teachings in their work. Through art, Mexica Danza, drumming, Nahuatl language, ancestral oral traditions and the origins of cultural celebrations, these free workshops provide the community access to Native teachings. On Thursday, spiritual energy healer Olivia Perez Biera guides participants in how to pinpoint the root cause of various emotions and techniques to free your mind, body and spirit. On Saturday, Victor E. Mendoza presents an interactive poetry, spoken word and hip-hop rhyme workshop that invites folks to interpret lyrics and share thoughts in a community-building circle.

When: Series launches Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m.; various in February
Where: Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, 12677 Glenoaks Blvd., Sylmar
Admission: Free with registration

The Indigenous Peoples Day East Los Angeles Music and Arts Festival featured a drum circle, Indigenous singers and dancers and an artisan market.

Oct. 9, 2023


Watts Culture Fest: Since 1965, the Watts Labor Community Action Committee has been providing the community with visual and media arts and economic development opportunities. This inaugural festival transforms the group’s 7-acre space into a marketplace for the Watts and South Central community to create a sustainable ecosystem that enhances economic opportunities and promotes cultural pride. Bring a pair of new or used shoes and join Watts native Jose Tapia, a.k.a. Zapatos, for a free sneaker art workshop and check out the food, music and art created by folks that call this historic neighborhood home.

When: Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Watts Labor Community Action Committee, 10950 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles
Admission: Free

Lunar New Year in L.A.: Lunar New Year marks the first new moon of the lunar calendar. This year, the 15-day spring festival started on Feb. 10 and is represented by the Dragon. Much like Latinos during lent, Asians follow many traditions on different days of the holiday, including hanging red banners on the door, cleaning house and eating certain foods. There are still many ways to celebrate in this city, including Chinatown’s 125th Golden Dragon Parade, which draws tens of thousands of visitors for marching bands, kung fu performances, lion dancers and a newly crowned Miss Chinatown Los Angeles. The San Gabriel Lunar Lantern Festival is also being celebrated Saturday and includes a kids zone, traditional performers, a historical walk and street food. On Sunday, the Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival kicks off at 9 a.m. on Main Street in the gateway of the San Gabriel Valley with live art, cooking demonstrations, augmented reality and more.

A young boy places a New Year's envelope into the mouth of a dancer at the Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Racism & Colorism in Latinidad: Sparked by the racist comments made by L.A. City Council members in October 2022, this LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes plática is part of a series of conversations taking place across the country called “Contextualizing Absolutamente Negro/a/x.” In collaboration with Creative Justice Initiative founder Marta Moreno Vega and AfroLatin@ Forum executive director Guesnerth Josué Perea, the discussion will center on racism and colorism in L.A.’s Latinx community. Guest speakers include author, novelist and journalist Héctor Tobar, clinical social worker and therapist Davis Rodríguez Meléndez, Afro-Latino Education & Arts Collective founder Shay Cruz and documentarian Ebony Bailey.

When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: LA Cocina de Gloria Molina, 555 N. Spring St., Los Angeles
Admission: Free



Tornillo & Dharius Montecarlo Tour USA 2024: Mexican rapper and social media star Tornillo Vasquez stepped to the scene in 2009, putting out two full-length albums on Bandcamp and numerous tracks on Soundcloud. The San Luis Potosí-based artist received mad love for his original sound, catchy melodies and authentic lyrics. In 2022, he dropped his debut album, “Cactus,” and collaborated with Peso Pluma and Polo González on “Sentosa,” an ode to their mutual love for the online battle royale game Free Fire. Thursday night, he plays with Cartel de Santa rapper Dharius at the Observatory OC in Santa Ana.

When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: The Observatory, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana
Admission: Tickets start at $53

Boyle Heights native Corissa Hernandez is a first-gen Chicana entrepreneur and co-owner of cocktail bar/restaurant Nativo in Highland Park.

Feb. 12, 2024

Gracie Laboy at the Moroccan Lounge: With two bachelor’s degrees from Stanford University and a master’s from Berklee College of Music under her belt, Latina R&B and pop singer-songwriter Gracie Laboy moved to L.A. from Washington, D.C., in 2019 to pursue music full time. Inspired by Rosalía, Ariana Grande and Amy Winehouse, Laboy grew up listening to disco and Latin music and sang in choirs and musicals from a young age. She’s performed around the world, including at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Vatican and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Her debut EP, “Valencia,” dropped in 2019, followed by the bilingual Puerto Rican pride single “Boricua.” NPR Music’s Felix Contreras called the track “a sultry, R&B-tinged ode to her Puerto Rican roots with enough of a reggaeton sheen to make us appreciate the cross-cultural magic while we groove on the dance floor.” Catch her at Arts District indie music venue the Moroccan Lounge for an evening made with love.

When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Moroccan Lounge, 901 1st St., Los Angeles
Admission: Tickets $20

Los Blenders & Tropa Magica at El Rey Theatre: Formed in 2007, the Mexico City rock band Los Blenders mixes punk, garage, surf and psychedelic to create catchy mesmerizing melodies. After appearing in a Corona ad with and performing at Coachella in 2017, the band gained a following. Its new single, “Unos Besos,” a cute song about meeting up with a lover, dropped last week, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Catch the group with psychedelic cumbia punk garage band Tropa Magica, 19-year-old Coachella-born Israel Pinedo’s act Israel’s Arcade and La Puente’s Chola Orange.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: El Rey Theatre, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
Admission: Tickets $27

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.


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.