Mezcal or mint juleps? When the Kentucky Derby happens on Cinco de Mayo, you don't have to choose. From tacos and pies to hot pots and vegan desserts, this weekend is heavy on food and booze. There's also tons of other stuff to do in Los Angeles and Southern California. A street art exhibition... A "Saved By The Bell" pop-up... An anime convention... We've got you covered.
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
The first weekend of the festival kicks off with a screening of "Crazy Rich Asians," one of the first American-made films in years to feature an all-Asian cast. Be on the lookout for "Searching," a thriller starring John Cho as a desperate father trying to find his missing teenage daughter, and "Matangi / Maya / M.I.A.," a documentary about the Sri Lankan/British music star. Take your pick from tons of other features, docs and shorts.
WHEN: Saturday, May 5; 6 p.m. - midnight
WHERE: La Plaza de Cultura y Artes — 501 N. Main St., downtown L.A.
COST: FREE, 21+; MORE INFO
Celebrate the taco lifestyle in L.A. with micheladas, music, craft beer and a curated selection of tacos from top taqueros including Leo's Tacos, Mariscos Jalisco, Chichen Itza, Sonoratown, Guerrilla Tacos, Carnitas El Momo and more. Pro tip: Want to get in an hour before everyone else? Snag a $25 VIP pass.
Good Food Pie Contest
WHEN: Sunday, May 6; 12 p.m.
WHERE: Royce Quad at UCLA — 340 Royce Dr., Westwood
COST: FREE; MORE INFO
Home cooks and professionals will compete to see who makes the best pies in nine categories: apple, other fruit, custard, savory, creamy, nutty, Oaxacan, vegan and kids. Evan Kleiman, the host of KCRW's "Good Food," presides over the afternoon, which includes pie tasting, food trucks, kids' activities, a scavenger hunt, an artisan marketplace and a free Fowler Museum talk on the origins of Mesoamerican ball games.
Cinco de Derby
WHEN: Saturday, May 5
WHERE: Las Perlas — 107 E. 6th St., downtown L.A.; Seven Grand — 515 W. 7th St., downtown L.A.
COST: FREE; MORE INFO
Two major events — the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo — are happening on the same day. To celebrate, Las Perlas opens at 11 a.m. with a Cinco De Mayo menu featuring draft cocktails and live music by Spaghetti Cumbia. A few blocks away, whiskey bar Seven Grand opens at noon for a mint julep seminar, live music by the Po Boy Trio, betting lessons from an on-site handicapper and a costume contest, held immediately after the race. Wear your snazziest duds.
BONUS: Plenty of other bars around town are celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Mi Corazon in Silver Lake hosts a live mariachi band to go along with green, white and red tequila shots. Tonga Hut in NoHo throws a tiki-themed party. The El Segundo Brewing Company teams up with Bartz Barbecue to serve two-pound burritos, taco platters and pastrami beef ribs. Toca Madera in WeHo hosts an all-day celebration with $8 margaritas. Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks welcomes a live mariachi band and serves its special Pink Senorita cocktail for one day only. Wilshire and Bar Gramercy throw a joint indoor/outdoor party spanning both venues. Brack Shop Tavern in downtown L.A. has mezcal squirt guns, $2 tacos and an adult piñata raffle.
We shouldn't have to say this but we will: If you booze it up, DO NOT DRIVE! Call a Lyft or a friend or take public transit. Law enforcement will be looking extra hard for boneheads who are driving under the influence.
May the Fourth
WHEN: Friday, May 4; 8 p.m. - 2 a.m.
WHERE: The Short Stop - 1455 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
COST: $5 after 11 p.m. but FREE all night with a costume; MORE INFO
Inspired by the iconic line, "May the force be with you," May 4th has become a day to revel in "Star Wars" fandom. Festivities kick off with a "Star Wars" trivia happy hour at 8 p.m. followed by DJ sets that channel the cosmic sounds of 1977 to 1983. Themed drink specials make it more fun than a night at the Mos Eisley cantina. Costumes are encouraged but not required. RSVP to get priority entry at the door.
Free Comic Book Day
The first Saturday of May marks a charming global tradition as shops around the world give away free comic books to anyone who turns up. Nearly 6 million titles will be doled out at this year's event. Many shops also host signings, panels and other events. Participating Southern California locations include Secret Headquarters, Golden Apple, Hi De Ho, Comic Bug, Blastoff Comics, Emerald Knights, Perky Nerd, Comics Unlimited, Pop!, Pulp Fiction, Big Red Comics and dozens of others.
Stories Of: Jealousy
WHEN: Sunday, May 6; 6 - 120 p.m.
WHERE: Regent Theater — 448 S Main St., downtown L.A.
COST: $12-20; MORE INFO
Shirley Manson, Aparna Nancherla, Nadya Okamoto and Kat Blaque are a few of the featured storytellers at this quarterly, female-identified evening of words, music and art. Tonight's theme is jealousy and features tales about a 16-year-old poet's resentment toward registered voters and a trans woman's struggle with tokenism. All proceeds benefit Peace Over Violence, which works to end violence against women and girls.
WHEN: Sunday, May 6; 10:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Woodley Park — 6100 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys
COST: FREE; MORE INFO
This vegan festival has an international food court, live music, kids' activities, animal adoptions, an eco-marketplace with more than 150 vendors and a slew of speakers on health, environmental, humanitarian and animal topics.
Vegan Dessert Summit
Teen baker Clara Polito of Clara Cakes is the star of a Q&A. She'll talk about how she started baking at age 12 and sold her goodies at DIY punk shows and dessert competitions, which led to a book of recipes. The afternoon includes a live taping of April Wolfe's "Switchblade Sisters" podcast, focusing on rare genre flicks — from a lady's perspective.
L.A. Food Bowl
WHEN: Tuesday, May 1 - Thursday, May 31
WHERE: various locations
COST: prices vary; MORE INFO
The month-long festival offers 31 days of tastings, dinners, discussions and screenings. This weekend, there's a Sichuan Summit ($18) with a cooking demo by legendary chef Yu Bo, a panel led by Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold and an evening with author Diana Kennedy ($15). She'll be joined by Carlos Salgado (Taco María), Gabriela Cámara (Contramar, Cala) and Bricia Lopez (Guelaguetza) to honor and discuss Mexican cuisine. Next week, look for a fried chicken party and a tribute to Jitlada chef Tui Sungkamee, who passed away last year.
CULTURE VULTURE PICK
Beyond The Streets
WHEN: Sunday, May 6 - Friday, July 6; Tuesday - Sunday, 12 - 7 p.m.
WHERE: Werkartz — 1667 N. Main St., downtown L.A.
COST: $25; MORE INFO
RISK, Revok, Kenny Scharf, Maripol, Patrick Martinez, Andrew Schoultz and Dabs Myla are the stars of a massive, immersive showcase of graffiti and street art. It was inspired by the groundbreaking 2011 exhibition "Art In The Streets." That show, curated by Roger Gastman, broke attendance records at MOCA. The graffiti historian and urban anthropologist is back and this show will also be major.
Saved By The Max
WHEN: Tuesday, May 1 - Dec. 31; Tuesday - Sunday
WHERE: 7100 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
COST: $40, entry ticket + cost of food; MORE INFO
This "Saved By The Bell" pop-up revives The Max, the diner from the tweentastic '90s sitcom. Chef Brian Fisher, whose Chicago restaurant Entente earned a Michelin star, oversaw the menu. It stars AC sliders, the Mac & Screech, Tori's fried chicken and the Kelly Kapowski Monte Cristo. Reservations are a must.
TRIPLE AXEL PICK
WHEN: Sunday, May 6; 7 p.m.
WHERE: Pasadena Ice Skating Center — 300 East Green St., Pasadena
COST: $50; MORE INFO
Athleticism, elegance and sparkly costumes. That's what ice skating is all about. But even pros rarely get to skate to live music — except for today. Jonathan Cassar, Michael Valdez and Karolina Calhoun will skate to sets performed by the Orchid String Quartet, Bryan Pezzone and other musicians.
WHEN: Saturday, May 5 - Sunday, May 6
WHERE: Orange County
COST: $45-$145; MORE INFO
On Saturday, lace up your sneakers for the 5K or Kids Run. Come back on Sunday to cheer for competitors in the full and half-marathon. The race starts near Fashion Island in Newport Beach and finishes by the OC Fair & Events Center in Costa Mesa.
World Naked Gardening Day
WHEN: Sunday, May 6
WHERE: all over
COST: FREE; MORE INFO
Is this a real holiday or an invented one? Either way, to participate all you have to do is strip down and start weeding, planting, harvesting and watering. It's billed as good, clean, fun and a way to get some sunshine where the sun don't shine.
JAZZ HANDS PICK
School of Rock
WHEN: Thursday, May 3 - Sunday, May 27
WHERE: Pantages Theatre — 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
COST: $25-$145; MORE INFO
The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical follows the same basic plot as the 2003 movie starring Jack Black. An out-of-work rock singer pretends to be a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school and puts together a group of fifth-graders in an attempt to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands.
WHEN: Saturday, May 5; 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
WHERE: Torrance Cultural Arts Center — 3330 Civic Center Dr., Torrance
COST: $15; MORE INFO
This new anime festival offers all the things you'd expect from a convention — panels, vendors, cosplay — but "with a matsuri twist."
How are you spending your weekend? Let us know on Twitter @LeoHasACat.