Martial artists from the ABADÁ-Capoeira Orange County demonstrate their craft at last year’s Afro-Latinx Festival. Image courtesy MOLAA.

Back for its second iteration after a successful first go-around, the Museum of Latin American Art is hosting the Afro-Latinx Festival Sunday, celebrating the African influence in Latin American culture through food, music and art.

Similar to last year, there will be a capoeira demonstration by ABADÁ-Capoeira Orange County along with a variety of musical performances including Los Angeles’ Afro-Tropical outfit Tropi Corillo, GLIFOS and the Awahyaya Punta Rockers, a group paying homage to the Garifuna-born music genre, Punta Rock, which merges the sounds of the Caribbean, reggae, merengue, salsa and hip-hop.

Zine workshops led by Colour Bloc Creativ will be set to the Latinx bops of Dj Zuri Adia in the Viva Events Center. Inside the MOLAA Screening Room will be two events, one for the kids, a bilingual Spanish storytime, and later, for adults, a panel discussion titled, Visioning the African American Cultural Center.

Artist-led workshops offer visitors the chance to create and take home a Venezuelan dancing devil mask, a personalized Cuban style license plate, a Dominican faceless lime doll and a Colombian Molas, a hand-made woven textile that forms part of the traditional women’s clothing of Panamá’s Kuna people.

This year, MOLAA has upped their food offerings with Peruvian and Brazilian cuisine from Mikhuna and Tender Grill, along with Puerto Rican street food from The Triple Threat, and even Vegan selections from Leti’s Vegan Pop-up. What’s more, over a dozen artisan vendors will be on-site selling handmade, specialty goods such as jewelry, clothing and homewares. (Cheantay Jensen)


On both Saturday and Sunday, the Aquarium of the Pacific hosts its 18th annual African American Festival, showcasing the culture of African American and African heritage through music, dance and native African wildlife.

The aquarium will allow guests to see, in-person, a live lemur, serval cat, crocodile, eagle owl, chameleon, and African bullfrog, where special guests, Conservation Ambassadors from Paso Robles, will share the animal’s native history and unique characteristics.

And because a festival isn’t truly a festival without music and dance, performing will be local African American groups, including Mardi Gras second line dancers, hip hop and break dancers from Homeland crew, jazz musicians and interactive drum circle musicians, and traditional West African dancers.

Giving us a moment’s pause: So many festivals, so little time.

The Afro-Latinx Festival is Sunday, Feb. 23 at MOLAA; 628 Alamitos Ave. from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, parking costs $10, unless you’re MOLAA members of Family level or above, then parking is also free. To see all of the scheduled events, or see the complete list of vendors, click here

The Aquarium of the Pacific’s African American Festival is Saturday, Feb. 22 and Sunday, Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m at the Aquarium of the Pacific; 100 Aquarium Way. Entry costs the price of a general admission ticket: $34.95 for adults, $31.95 for seniors 61 or older, and $24.95 for children between the ages of three to eleven years old. The event is free to children under the age of three and to Aquarium members. For more information, click here.





Courtesy Facebook/Long Beach Museum of Art.

In celebration of Black comic book artists and Black History Month, learn how to design your own comic panels based on heroes of the African American community at the Long Beach Museum of Art’s downtown extension. Long Beach-based participating writer and artist Brandon Easton, who recently announced he’ll be writing Marvel Action Spider-Man #1 for IDW Publishing, said it best in his tweet, “This is awesome and a long-needed addition to the downtown culture of Long Beach.” You can hear Easton speak during an Artist Talk from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. during the 5-hour event. Also on the docket are talks with Emmy Award-winning animation producer Chuck Patton at 1 p.m. and artist, filmmaker Don Walker at 3 p.m. alongside 15 or more writers and artists expected to be at the museum throughout the day. (Asia Morris)

Another great thing: Once the clock strikes 5 p.m., fear not, there will be an after-party at newly opened Atomic Basement Comics right across Elm Avenue. Party until 7 p.m. and hang around for a live podcast until 9 p.m. at 400 E. 3rd St.

Giving us a moment’s pause: We’d like to see more fantastic events like this organized not only for the month of February but throughout the year.

Black Comic Creator Day is free and runs from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at LBMA Downtown; 356 E. 3rd St. For more info, click here.


This is a curated show with selections of the best animated short films created by students and professionals from around the world. That translates into 10 films from seven countries.

It’s funny how animation has so rapidly grown from Saturday morning fodder to an art form that is arguably the most imaginative  and thought-provoking in filmmaking today.

Here’s some brief descriptions of the featured films, courtesy of event organizers:

Personal relationships are at the heart of several of the films in this year’s program, including Daria Kashcheeva’s International Student Academy Award-winning puppet animation “Daughter,” a deeply moving exploration of the ties between a father and daughter.

“The Fox and the Bird” by Sam & Fred Guillaume, is a beautifully observed fable about an unlikely friendship between the two eponymous characters.

Filmmaker Michael Frei and game designer Mario von Rickenbach provide a more clinical view of human behavior in their mesmerizing “KIDS,” which explores the nature of group dynamics.

The question of individual identity informs both “Hounds” by Amit Cohen and Ido Shapira and “(Self-Narrative)” by Géraldine Charpentier. In the former, a highly domesticated dog undergoes a disturbing change when a pack of wild hounds gathers near his house, while the latter offers a clear-eyed and heartfelt look at a young girl’s journey to self-realization as a transgender person.

Joanna Lurie’s mysterious and transcendent “Flowing through Wonder” chronicles an extraordinary ritual and celebrates the transformative mystery that underlies life and death.

Natalia Mirzoyan’s Five Minutes to Sea in which a young girl waits impatiently to go back in the sea, takes a more lighthearted approach while playing with conundrums of time and perspective.

The program is rounded out by Gil Alkabetz’s “Rubicon,” a frenetic and very funny hand-drawn animation based on the classic riddle about how to ferry a wolf, a sheep, and a cabbage across a river without something getting eaten. (Steve Lowery)

Another great thing: “Daughter” was nominated for an Academy Award.

Giving us a moment’s pause: Who used to go to Spike and Mike Sick and Twisted animation festivals?

The 21st Annual Animation Show of Show runs Friday, Feb. 21 to Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Art Theatre, located at 2025 E Fourth St. Showtimes are 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

4. SEA CLEARLY (Friday)


The walls of the Ice House Art Complex’s fifth floor warehouse are presumably inches thick with paint by now, with muralists from Hello, Welcome art collective creating wall art many times over for a range of events, from their inaugural show over a year ago to this Friday’s event, Sea Clearly. In collaboration with the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, the two entities that provided the research, background and information on climate change to inform the upcoming show and the 18-plus new murals for this exhibit, Sea Clearly aims to raise awareness of how climate change is affecting the world and, most specifically, its oceans.

“We want to bring awareness to the causes and effects of climate change and what we can do about it in the future through a collaboration of art and science,” said Jerry Lin of Mind Fish Co., one of the show’s sponsors. Guests can expect live music from a yet-to-be-announced artist, artworks for sale, floor-to-ceiling murals and pop-up shops by 3 Women Co, The Sunday Cleaners and BYO. (AM)

Another great thing: If you miss Friday’s opening, or don’t feel like staying out so late, you can stop by Saturday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for Family Day.

Giving us a moment’s pause: Climate change. Yeah.

Sea Clearly will be open from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. at 625 W. Anaheim St. The mural exhibition is free to attend, but make sure to RSVP here.


Photo courtesy Aquarium of the Pacific.

The Aquarium of the Pacific’s eighteenth annual African-American Festival celebrates the rich diversity of African-American and African cultures. The weekend will feature live entertainment and arts and crafts. Festival performers include Mardi Gras second line dancers, hip hop and break dancers, jazz musicians, interactive drum circles, WestAfrican dancers, and storytellers. Meet, learn about, and even touch animals from Africa with special guests Conservation Ambassadors. The Heritage Award will be presented on Saturday, February 22 at 12:20 p.m. to H. Maxie-Viltz. The Heritage Award is presented each year in recognition of dedicated service to the African-American community.

For more information, visit the Aquarium’s website here.


Multi-instrumentalist and composer Dustin Lovelis. Photo by Will Bater (@willybeats).

If you’ve had an ear to the ground of the Long Beach music scene there’s a strong chance you’ve caught wind of the name Dustin Lovelis. Some might remember the multi-instrumentalist as the primary vocalist and songwriter for indie pop-rock outfit, The Fling, which produced five studio albums and toured internationally before going on hiatus in 2014.

In more recent years, you’ve likely seen the artist’s name on the roster of shows all over the city’s live music offerings, including the inaugural Music Tastes Good Festival in 2016, where then Lovelis was just a year into his solo career.

Now emerging from the creative depths of undertaking a new album, his third solo endeavor, the musician and composer is taking stage at Retro Row’s Art Theatre this Friday to celebrate the release of his record “In Your Chamber,” a 10-track LP Long Beach record label, Park the Van, calls “painfully beautiful.”

“This is by far the most vulnerable I have ever been on an album. It almost served as a form of therapy for me,” Lovelis explains. “It’s a love letter to my son who, due to health complications, was never born. It’s also a commentary on the wild world he would have entered—fears of AI, nuclear war and the political climate in general.”

Supporting Lovelis is the genre-blending rock group The Blank Tapes, fronted by another multi-instrumentalist, Matt Adams, who has produced over a dozen albums of 1960’s inspired folk, rock, surf, psych, soul and pop with labels Volcom, Burger Records, Antenna Farm and others. (CJ)

Another great thing: Psychedelic visuals by artist Bill Gazer, because why not make a show as visually unique as it is sonically?

Giving us a moment’s pause: Here’s hoping Dustin Lovelis isn’t forced to move his show, last second, to Alex’s Bar.

Dustin Lovelis “In Your Chamber” release show is Friday, Feb. 21 at The Art Theatre; 2025 E. 4th St. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10, and may be purchased here.


Image courtesy Stan DeWitt/Facebook.

What started as a “bucket-list project” by music producer and engineer Derek O’Brien (Social Distortion’s original drummer) and Stan DeWitt, an accomplished Long Beach composer, conductor, guitarist and singer, has culminated in perhaps the most unique musical undertaking the two artists have ever created: a rock opera.

It’s not anything like a traditional opera, although the predicated word “rock” might have tipped you off to that. “Silver Bullet: A Rock Opera” is a story of love and redemption, centered around a war veteran coping with post-traumatic stress disorder. Audiences follow the vet’s struggles, as he attempts to acclimate back into a world that doesn’t seem to have a place for him.

The premiere of this musical performance will be staged at The Gaslamp, Sunday, with an intimate live orchestra, including both DeWitt on guitar and O’Brien on the drums along with a cast of 15 actors and singers. “Silver Bullet: A Rock Opera” artfully illuminates the very real and still very relevant hardships that many of the homeless veterans in the US endure today. (CJ)

Another great thing: 


Giving us a moment’s pause: Humanizing a complex and misunderstood issue such as war-veteran homelessness.

“Silver Bullet: A Rock Opera” premiers Sunday Feb. 23 at the Gaslamp; 6251 E. Pacific Coast Highway. The show is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 if you buy online, or $15 at the door. Ticket does not include food and drink, which guests will be required to purchase at the show.


This is another of those one day, Fathom Event, events. This one is celebrating the 35th anniversary of “The Color Purple,” Steven Spielberg’s 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning novel.

The key phrase here is adaptation, since Spielberg’s version, while generally lauded—the film earned 11 Oscar nominations—was called by some over-sentimental. Walker’s novel is a frank sometimes explicit and violent book that is among the most challenged book at American public libraries.

Still, sentiment or not, anyone who has the seen the film can attest to its emotional power; Steven Spielberg knows how to do that. He also knows how to weave that story on his own clock, so just be aware that this movie is about two and a half hours long. (SL)

Another great thing: The movie marks the film debuts of Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, both of whom were nominated for Academy Awards.

Giving us a moment’s pause: Though nominated for 11 Academy Awards, “The Color Purple” did not win in a single category.

“The Color Purple” is playing at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Cinemark at the Pike Outlets and Regal Long Beach Stadium 26. To buy tickets, click here.