This week, we’re celebrating our feline friends, catching Shakespeare in the park, admiring Hello Kitty-themed artwork, cycling through Mid City, eating watermelon over by Hansen Dam and saluting our nation’s Independence Day in Grand Park.
Feline fanciers will be out in force, June 29-30 for the annual CatCon — Where Cat Culture Meets Pop Culture — at the Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St.
CatCon is described as the biggest event in the world dedicated to cat and pop culture.
It features seminars and workshops, a “furrocious fashion face off,” a video fest and more than 200 vendors in a 5,000-square-foot space dubbed “catstravaganza.” There will be “celebricats” like The Dark Lord, Pudge and Sukiicat (meet-and-greets cost extra).
The convention runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., June 29 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 30. Tickets are $38 per day or $70 for a two-day pass. Tickets for youth 5 to 12 are $10 per day or $15 for a two-day pass.
Sorry, you can’t bring your own cat.
See eventbrite.com for tickets.
in the Park
The Independent Shakespeare Company will begin its annual Griffith Park festival, June 29-30, with a performance of “Twelfth Night” at 7 p.m. at the Old Zoo grounds, 4730 Crystal Springs Drive.
“A cloud hangs over the country of Illyria as Countess Olivia mourns and Duke Orsino pines,” the company’s website, iscla.org, says. “But when Viola (a young woman with a big secret) washes onshore, it soon becomes clear that you can’t keep the human spirit down for long. Music, dance and lovable misfits abound in one of the most beloved romantic comedies of all time, all set against the backdrop of the jazz era.”
“Twelfth Night” will be performed select nights through Sept. 1. Starting July 27, the company will also perform “Pericles,” described by the company as an epic tale spanning continents and decades, complete with knights errant, Greek gods, pirates and more than a little magic.
“Pericles” will be performed on select nights through Aug. 30.
Some will have either dance performances or special themes, such as Silly Sock Night (July 7), Drag Queen Story Hour (July 14) and Roman and Greek Gods Night (Aug. 9).
Performances are free, but giving a donation would be good form. See iscla.org for the complete schedule and tips.
The Corey Helford Gallery, 571 S. Anderson St., will host the Hello Kitty 45th Anniversary Group Show, in partnership with Sanrio, parent company of Hello Kitty), beginning June 29.
This group exhibition, featuring 100 artists from all over the globe, examines the world of Hello Kitty and her influence on popular culture. The artists have re-interpreted the iconic image of Hello Kitty and her friends in their own aesthetic through a wide variety of mediums including painting, sculpture and animation.
The opening reception will be from 7-11 p.m., June 29. The show runs through Aug. 3. Gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday.
CicLAvia Mid City
CicLAVia, the call for carless modes of transportation, will hit Mid City from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 30.
CicLAvia will transform Venice Boulevard, 7th Avenue and Washington Boulevard, into public parks for the day. The streets will be open for people of all ages to ride, walk, stroll, roll and run.
All hubs will have restrooms, bike repair, free water, food trucks, first aid and bike parking. New to the event, will be pedi-cabs, sponsored by AARP Los Angeles.
The Mid City hub, 4915 W. Washington Blvd., will have an AARP play zone featuring vintage board games, a booth to sign up for a Los Angeles Public Library card (they have great e-resources) and a Los Angeles County Museum of Art booth offering family-friendly art projects and information on the museum’s summer activities. The Arlington Heights hubs, 3306 Venice Blvd., will have an LA County Registrar’s booth so you can register to vote, a mobile visitor center for the Santa Monica Mountains and a kids bike safety course.
The Pico Union hub, 1450 Venice Blvd., will have an obstacle course, safety checkpoint for you and your bike and a booth featuring giveaways, games and prizes.
California Watermelon Festival
The California Watermelon Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., June 29-30, at the soccer fields of Hansen Dam,11480 Foothill Blvd.
Organizers say this will be their largest event yet, with over 60,000 pounds of fresh-off-the-farm California watermelons.
There will be live music, headlined by the ’80s tribute band Flux Capacitors on Saturday and a Selena tribute band on Sunday. Other activities and features include watermelon carving, cooking demonstrations and tastings, a petting zoo, a children’s theater, magic shows, bubble parties, crazy arena games, wildlife encounters and a BMX bike stunt show.
There will be food booths, including vegan options and plenty of watermelon desserts and drinks to try.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youth 3-11. Parking is $10. See watermelonfest.org for more information and a ticket link.
The 7th annual Grand Park and Music Center’s 4th of July Block Party falls outside of the weekend because the holiday is on a Thursday this year, but this major freebie should be on your entertainment radar.
This event runs from 3-9:30 p.m. and features a rooftop fireworks show, musical performances headlined by the Boogaloo Assassins and, new this year, a 75-foot Ferris wheel. The Ferris wheel will be located at Broadway Street between Temple and First Street. Tickets are $3 for a single rider or $5 for two riders. The minimum height requirement to ride is 36 inches.
This family-friendly event will cover more than six city blocks, from Los Angeles Street to Grand Avenue and from Temple to Third Street. There will be four entrances into Grand Park for the event: Hill Street and Temple Street, 2nd Street and Hill Street, 1st Street and Grand Avenue and 1st Street and Los Angeles Street.
“We’re excited to have one of L.A.’s mainstay bands Boogaloo Assassins as our headliner; their blend of Afro-Latin rhythms, horn-accented arrangements and soulful vocals are going to delight our guests with their homage to the past, yet wrapped in a modern sound that connects the many musical origins of Angeleno communities,” Marty Preciado, program manager for Grand Park said.
Attendees will enjoy picnicking, live music, DJs and dancing. There will be food trucks on hand. Festivities will be capped off with what is being called DTLA’s largest fireworks show, launched from the rooftop of The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
I went to this event last year. I parked the car at the Universal City Metro station ($3) and took the Red Line ($3.50 roundtrip) to the Civic Center station, which is near the event entrance at 1st Street and Grand Avenue. Easy in, easy out.
Visit https://july4.grandparkla.org/ for more details.