The art of Naoki Urasawa

This week, we’re walking in LA, checking out old books, visiting museums for free, attending a Night of Ideas, visiting a massive photo exhibition and admiring the work of a manga master.


Walking tours

One of the great ways to see and learn about LA is through walking tours provided by the LA Conservancy. For February only, they have added a new tour — Present Meets Past, held at 10 a.m., every Saturday.

This tour will take you through LA’s former financial district, the “Wall Street of the West,” now a National Register Historic District. The conservancy’s docents will show you how architectural treasures of the past became a unique location for nightlife and a growing urban population. You’ll learn how a former bank became the world-famous Last Bookstore (one of my favorite LA stops), an abandoned streetcar terminal was transformed into a luxury apartment complex and other pre-1930s office buildings became popular bars, clubs and restaurants. You’ll also see the Alexandria Hotel, which, before becoming an apartment building, was one of the city’s grandest hotels with a guest list that included President Theodore Roosevelt, King Edward VIII of England, boxer Jack Dempsey, opera star Enrico Caruso and movie stars Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through You’ll get the details on where to meet up with the group once you’ve signed up.

The conservancy has a number of other walking tours and I can, from personal experience, recommend the Union Station, Art Deco, Biltmore Hotel (another personal favorite place) and the Angelino Heights tours.

Rare Books LA

The Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., will host Rare Books LA from 2 to 8 p.m., Feb. 1, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Feb. 2.

The event will feature over 100 of the finest specialists in antiquarian books, fine prints, photography and ephemera from throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

Tickets are $20 for the opening Friday and Saturday, or $10 for just admission for Saturday. They are available through More information can be found at

Museums annual

free-for-all day

On Feb. 2-3, dozens of museums presenting art, cultural heritage, natural history and science will open their doors free of charge. Among the participating museums include the Autry Museum of the American West, Japanese American National Museum, Kidspace Children’s Museum, La Brea Tar Pits and Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Visit for a list of participating museums.

This offer is for general museum admission only and does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Consult individual museum websites for hours, directions and other visitor information.

Night of Ideas

I offer this next one with the following caution: online tickets are already gone and there will be a limited number of tickets available at the door. If you’re willing to take the risk of not getting in, read on.

From 6 p.m. to midnight, Feb. 1, the Natural History Museum, 900 W. Exposition Blvd, will host “A Night of Ideas.”

The theme, “Facing Our Time,” explores global challenges around ecological and climate change through the lenses of science, nature and art. This event, a collaboration of the museum and the Consulate General of France, “celebrates the stream of ideas between countries, cultures and generations. Each year, people around the globe come together to learn about and discuss the latest discoveries and issues facing the world today.”

This free event will include a vegan fashion show, panel discussions and mini-talks on the environment and future cities with U.S. and French thought leaders, live DJs and musical performances, French film screenings and something called “science speed dating.”

Photo LA

From Feb. 1-3, Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Ave., will host the 27th annual Photo LA exhibition.

The exhibition covers 35,000 square feet and features 75 local and international galleries and dealers, collectives, leading nonprofits, museums, art schools and global booksellers. In addition to the displays, there will be panel discussions and talks by notable photographers.

The exhibition will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday; from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday; and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday.

A day pass is $20 and a weekend pass is $30. See for more information and tickets.

‘This is Manga -

The Art of

Naoki Urasawa’

Through March 28, Japan House, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., will host “This is Manga - The Art of Naoki Urasawa.”

The retrospective exhibition will feature more than 400 original drawings and storyboards and selected stories from seven of his major works. Urasawa’s works have sold more than 127 million copies in Japan, alone and are published in more than 20 countries.

“Urasawa is considered a modern master, combining dynamic storytelling and transcendent artistic skill in his development of rich and sophisticated characters,” the venue website says. “His stories touch upon the hopes, dreams and at times underlying fears of humanity.”

The exhibition also serves as an introduction to manga, a Japanese comic style, which is a fusion of story and artwork, evolving from picture book styles developed in the late 19th century — directly through  Urasawa’s manga, including his original hand-drawn storyboards from inception through development.

Admission is free. Japan House is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday.

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