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SoCal’s best Memorial Day weekend events and culture

Two young girls in tutus try out their tap-dancing moves on the plaza at the Music Center in downtown L.A.
Kids of all ages are welcome to the pop-up Super Villainz Tap Dance Park at the Music Center in downtown L.A.
(Will Tee Yang / The Music Center)

As Southern California continues the slow and steady process of reopening, we present this curated selection of events and exhibitions you can get out and see this Memorial Day weekend, including a free and family-friendly “dance playground” in downtown L.A.

If you’d rather skip holiday traffic and just stay home, we’ve got you covered too with streaming options like the “National Memorial Day Concert,” a filmed stage production of “Alice in Wonderland” and a virtual Pride Parade. All times Pacific.

SoCal in-person events

The Super Villainz Tap Dance Park
Tap into your inner tap dancer with this family-friendly outdoor offering from Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center and the Super Villainz tap dance trio. Socially-distanced participants can enter this dance playground featuring five kinds of tap boards, from old-school wooden sandboxes to high-tech prototypes that amplify every click and clack. Clips from new and classic dance films, curated by the Super Villainz, will be shown on the newly renovated Jerry Moss Plaza’s two huge LED screens. Instructors will be on hand at select times to help participants perfect their moves.

The 30-minute experience is free, and parking is complimentary with validation. Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily through Sunday. Advance timed entry tickets are required through musiccenter.org.

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What will the first shows at the Music Center look like? Imagine family pods, outdoors, with masks. Lineup includes ABT, Paul Taylor and Alonzo King.

“Dunkirk”
The Hollywood Legion Theater marks Memorial Day with a screening — in glorious 70mm — of Christopher Nolan’s epic 2017 World War II drama about Allied forces stranded on a beach in France awaiting rescue by a rag-tag flotilla. With Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Fionn Whitehead and Harry Styles. Hollywood Legion Theater at Post 43, 2035 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. 7 p.m. Sunday. $14-$20; advance purchase required. hollywoodlegiontheater.com

“Dances in the Open”
Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project returns to outdoor performances with “Night Bloom,” a new work from dancer-choreographer Janie Taylor. Also on the program: a reprise of the Bobbi Jene Smith-Or Schraiber collaboration “Solo at Dusk.” L.A. Dance Project Studios Open Air Stage, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., L.A. 8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday; other dates through June 25. $25, $50; bench seating for four or five people, $100, $175. ladanceproject.org

Discovery Cube
The kid-friendly science museum’s L.A. and O.C. locations reopen to the public Friday. Discovery Cube Los Angeles, 11800 Foothill Blvd., Sylmar, and Discovery Cube Orange County, 2500 N. Main St., Santa Ana. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday (regular days of operation are Thursdays-Sundays). $13.95-$19.95; advance timed entry tickets required. discoverycube.org

The Getty Center and the Broad museum are open! Here is our May guide to the most promising exhibitions across Southern California.

“Urban Death: Trail of Torment”
Leave the kids at home for this one: The twisted minds at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group present a pandemic-themed edition of this recurring walk-through horror theater experience. 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. 7:20 to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; other dates through June 12. $35 for up to two people; advance timed entry tickets required. zombiejoes.com

“Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits: Vol. 1"
Classic show tunes are spoofed in this long-running Off-Broadway musical revue. Stage Door Repertory Theatre, 1045 N. Armando St., Suite B, Anaheim. 8 p.m. Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday; other dates through June 13. $22, $27; advance purchase required. stagedoorrep.org

“First Annual Run for the Rite” and “A Night of Southern Rock”
This daylong salute to the members of the U.S. armed forces includes live music, celebrity appearances and food trucks. It concludes with a concert featuring Six Gun Sal. Scottish Rite Event Center, 855 Elm Ave., Long Beach. Festival: 11:30 a.m. Saturday; concert: 7 p.m. Saturday. $20 (includes festival and the concert, with proceeds supporting disabled veterans and veterans experiencing homelessness). eventbrite.com

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Echo Park Swan Boats
Cruise around Echo Park Lake using pedal power as the newly renovated park reopens to the public. Daily, 9 a.m. to 9:48 p.m.; illuminated night rides begin at 7:24 p.m. $11 per hour for ages 18 and older; $6 for ages 17 years and younger. wheelfunrentals.com

War
The local heroes behind such cruising favorites as “Lowrider” and “Cisco Kid” take the stage for a drive-in concert. Ventura County Fairgrounds, 10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura. 8:30 p.m. Saturday. $99-$299; four people per car maximum; advance purchase required. concertsinyourcar.com

Have you noticed? Every weekend, caravans of lowriders and custom cars are cruising and hopping in a resurgent ritual. Van Nuys Boulevard is one of the city’s oldest sites of this resilient SoCal obsession.

Streaming

National Memorial Day Concert 2021
Gladys Knight, the Four Tops and Alan Jackson are among the performers slated for this annual salute to the U.S. armed forces, live-streamed from Washington, D.C. Rising country star Mickey Guyton sings the national anthem, and Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise return as cohosts. 5 p.m. Sunday. pbs.org, youtube.com, facebook.com; available on demand through June 13. Free. The concert will also air at 8 and 9:30 p.m. Sunday on local PBS station KOCE.

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“Alice in Wonderland”
A Noise Within’s Erika Soto portrays Lewis Carroll’s perpetually perplexed protagonist in a filmed version of the Pasadena company’s 2020 production of the classic fantasy tale, a run cut short by the pandemic. 7 p.m. Friday, 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; other dates through June 20. $25, $40. anoisewithin.org

The Lavender Effect’s 2nd Live Virtual Pride Parade
Kathryn Hahn, Lily Tomlin, Betty Buckley and Bruce Vilanch are among the famous faces taking part in this online LGBTQ celebration. “Ugly Betty” alum Alec Mapa hosts. Noon to 2 p.m. Sunday; on demand afterward. Free. youtube.com

The versatile actress loved every minute of her battle scenes hanging from wires and launching energy balls. “I never wanted to come down.”

Memorial Day Weekend Concert Live Stream
Members of the Santa Monica Symphony perform chamber music by Bach, Brahms and others in a virtual version of the orchestra’s annual Memorial Day concert. KUSC-FM’s Rich Capparela will host a Q&A session with the musicians following the performance. 2 p.m. Sunday. Free; advance registration required (registration ends at 10 a.m. Sunday). smsymphony.org

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Memorial Day 2021 Remembrance
A livestream edition of this annual ceremony at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale includes remarks by members of the U.S. military plus patriotic favorites performed by the Los Angeles Police Concert Band, Tonality choir and others. 9:45 a.m. Monday. Free. facebook.com

“American Voices”
The San Fernando Valley Master Chorale performs classic American gospel, folk and bluegrass songs plus contemporary works by composers including Shawn Kirchner and Reena Esmail. 3 p.m. Sunday; available on demand afterward. Free. sfvmc.com, youtube.com, facebook.com

Our recurring coronavirus-era arts and culture recommendations are posted every Thursday.

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