This week, we’re exploring LA’s culinary scene, enjoying the summer nights in Chinatown, watching a wacky Sci-Fi Western at The Autry, catching the dragon boat races at the Lotus Festival in Echo Park and watching radio plays in Coldwater Canyon.


It’s DineLA time again. Twice a year, more than 400 restaurants in and around LA team up with LA’s tourism office to offer discounted meals, of at least 20%, to encourage people to try out eateries.

This session will run through July 26 and, like previous versions of DineLA, includes a pretty impressive line-up of restaurants, including Lawry’s, Patina, Pacific Dining Car and Yamashiro.

There are no tickets. Simply dine out at a participating restaurant, ask for the DineLA menu and try a new dish or enjoy an old favorite. Advance reservations are strongly recommended.

Lunches run from $15-$35 and three course dinners run from $29-$59.

Prices and meal periods vary by restaurant and exclude beverages, tax and tip.

For a list of participating restaurants, visit

Contact the restaurant directly before making your reservations to ensure the restaurant will be serving their DineLA menu.

Chinatown Summer Nights

The next edition of Chinatown Summer Nights will be held from 5 p.m. to midnight, July 13.

This is essentially a big block party — one of LA’s best. Most of the activities are centered around Chinatown’s Central Plaza, 951 N. Broadway. There will be food trucks, street performers, a craft beer garden, live music from LA area bands, DJs, outdoor video projections, cooking demonstrations and Chinese cultural activities. There will be demonstrations of calligraphy and sculpturing with different materials, including clay, candy and dough.

Weird West Film Series

What happens when you mix science fiction with Westerns? You get 1935’s “The Phantom Empire.”

As part of its Weird West Film Series, The Autry Museum of the American West, 4700 Western Heritage Way, is screening all 12 chapters of “The Phantom Empire” beginning at 10:30 a.m., July 13.

“The underground empire of Murania threatens the world with robots, ray-guns and Thunder Riders — and only Gene Autry, in his first starring role, can save the day,” says. “Watch for Griffith Observatory (the super-scientific, highly advanced kingdom of Murania 20,000 feet below Gene Autry’s Radio Ranch).”

Chapters are screened every half hour. Drop in or stay for the whole show.

Screenings are included in the museum’s admission, which is $14 for adults, $10 for youth  13 to 18, and $6 for children 3 to 12.

Lotus Festival

The 39th annual Lotus Festival will be held from noon to 9 p.m., July 13-14, at Echo Park Lake, 751 Echo Park Ave.

There will be dragon boat races, a children’s corner, boutique and food vendors, a beer garden and a tea house. There will be live music, including a blues band in addition to the cultural music performers, a slew of demonstrations, including Kung Fu, Korean folk dance and Japanese swordsmanship.



I don’t know how this performance series slipped under my radar for so long, but I’m glad I finally caught up to it.

TreePeople, a nonprofit environment group, hosts a summer performance series called “Once Upon a Canyon Night,” featuring some pretty solid talent.

At 8 p.m., July 12-13, TreePeople will present a radio play double feature — “The Maltese Falcon” and “The Lady Eve.” A word about the venue in just a moment.

“Two beloved classics from the Golden Age of Radio recreated on our stage, complete with the original commercials — wonderful, often very funny representations of over-the-top branding from another time,” says. “Murder and dames, greed and guns, betrayal and a black bird keep Sam Spade hopping from bad to worse in the 1940s radio play of The Maltese Falcon. And The Lady Eve is a hilarious, screwball comedy. She’s a card shark, a femme fatale, and falling for Hopsy. Can she con him out of money, into love, and even into a sham marriage?”

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at

At 7:30 p.m., July 14, TreePeople will host a performance by the stand-up comic and actor Sinbad.

“Sinbad never tells jokes but rather stalks the stage, telling real-life stories. He doesn’t write his material; he relives it as he remembers it,” says.

Tickets are $35.

The TreePeople series is held at Coldwater Canyon Park, 12601 Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills.

The park entrance is at the stoplight where Coldwater Canyon Avenue, Franklin Canyon Drive and Mulholland Drive (West) intersect. Note that this is not the same park run by the City of Beverly Hills a half mile north of Sunset Boulevard.

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