NHM FIRST FRIDAYS 2023: April
First Fridays 2023 season is here!
Explore the Museum after hours with live music, DJs, topical discussions, signature cocktails, pop-up experiences, special NHM collections displays, and more.
2023 Theme: Fandoms & Fantasy
The Natural World vs. Fantasy Worlds: This season we focus on how nature and science influence the creation of our favorite imagined worlds. From dragons and witchcraft to superheroes and giant monsters, First Fridays 2023 is where the fans come out to celebrate the intersection of pop-culture fandom and the work and collections of NHM.
April 7: Space, Time, and Beyond
Live Music by:
DJ SET BY:
featuring OUR Host AND Moderator: Dr. Yewande Pearse
Dr. Yewande Pearse is a neuroscientist and science communicator with over 10 years of research into understanding rare genetic brain disorders at both King’s College London and The Lundquist Institute at Harbor-UCLA. Host of "Sound Science" on Dublab Radio and Inside Biotech, a podcast from Biotech Connection Los Angeles. She has also worked with Headspace, Seed, Deem Journal, NAVEL, Fathomers, Massive Science, TEDMED, and more.
Cosplay Welcome! COSPLAY CONTEST AT NATURE GARDENS MAIN STAGE AT 7:45PM
Cosplay as your favorite fantasy and fandom character and get a chance to win a prize for favorite costume! Extra points for representing this month's theme. Enter the Cosplay Contest at Nature Gardens Main Stage at 7:45pm!
*Rules and info below.
DISCUSSION: Space, Time, and Beyond: Speculative Fiction and the World We Live In
Level 2, north American Mammal Hall | 6:30 pm–7:30 pm
Creating worlds and realities full of implausibilities and wonder is at the heart of fantasy building, but how can speculating on the impossible bring us closer to seeing what can be possible. Whether it’s the distant future, unknown past, alternate reality, or galaxies far far away, how can speculative fiction help us better understand social injustice, philosophical quandaries, and environmental threats. How has popular culture and mainstream media depict the experience of people of color when telling these stories? How important is it to have creators tell their own stories and cultural curators to amplify these voices? Join our guest, professor, author, graphic novelist, curator, Harvard Fellow, New York Times Bestseller, and all-around champion of Black culture, John Jennings, along with our moderator Dr. Yewande Pearse.
SEATING IS LIMITED FOR THE DISCUSSION, available on a first-come, first-served basis.
John Jennings is a professor, author, graphic novelist, curator, Harvard Fellow, New York Times Bestseller, 2018 Eisner Winner, and 2021 winner of the Hugo Award for his work on the Parable of the Sower graphic novel adaptation with creative partner Damian Duffy. As Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California at Riverside (UCR), Jennings examines the visual culture of race in various media forms including film, illustrated fiction, and comics and graphic novels. He is also the director of Abrams ComicArts imprint Megascope, which publishes graphic novels focused on the experiences of people of color. His research interests include the visual culture of Hip Hop, Afrofuturism and politics, Visual Literacy, Horror, and the EthnoGothic, and Speculative Design and its applications to visual rhetoric. Jennings is co-editor of the 2016 Eisner Award-winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art (Rutgers) and co-founder/organizer of The Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He is co-founder and organizer of the MLK NorCal’s Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco and also CAAMCon at the California African American Museum.
LIVE MUSIC AND DJ SET IN THE NATURE GARDENS STAGE
LUNA LI | Nature Gardens | 9:00 pM
Luna Li is more than a musical project. It's a world unto itself, and a kingdom of its creator's making. For the Korean-Canadian, Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist songwriter, composer, and producer Hannah Bussiere Kim, the universe of Luna Li is hyperlush and inclusive by design. It's an evolving, musical transmission that takes its cues from nature's healing properties to explore vulnerability and identity. A blend of indie rock and psych; where experimental neoclassical morphs into pristine pop, Luna Li is the sound of an everyday symphony, crafted from the perspective of the female gaze. Luna Li's debut record Duality (featuring Jay Som, Dreamer Isioma, and beabadoobee) wrestles intimate, otherworldly questions to the ground in order to better understand the collective. "Each song on the album has some element of light and dark," Luna Li says. "Where there's happiness there's still uncertainty; where there's anxiety there's also beauty; and where there's tension there's freedom."
grace inspace | Nature Gardens | 8:00 pM
L.A.-born and London-bred, Grace Inspace Garner lives a nomadic existence and refers to herself as a "songwriter-on-assignment". Lyrically driven, her sound blends rock, pop, and journalistic observations to create a unique, colorful world. Her upcoming debut EP was written in an Airstream on the banks of the Smith River near the Jedediah Smith Redwoods. On it Grace tells characterful stories of fantasy and satire; composing both on guitar and drums.
DJ Radha | NATURE GARDENS | 5:00 pm–8:00 pm
Radha Vishnubhotla is a multi-disciplinary artist based in L.A. Her creative inspiration stems from her cultural roots, spiritual background, love for nature, and deep passion for music. She currently works as a Senior Graphic Designer at XX Artists, leads her own independent design studio & hosts a monthly residency on NTS Radio.
NHM'S RESEARCH AND COLLECTIONS | OTIS BOOTH PAVILION - GROUND LEVEL
Explore the work and collections of NHM with special displays from our Zoology and Anthropology collections. We'll be looking at natural world inspiration for sci-fi critters, cultural inspirations for costumes and props, and much more examples from our collection.
Alf Museum’s Cosplay for Science Initiative | OTIS BOOTH PAVILION - GROUND LEVEL
The Alf Museum’s Cosplay for Science Initiative assembles scientists, educators, and cosplayers to bridge the connection between science and pop culture. Brought to you by the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. Visit the Alf Museum's Cosplay for Science Initiative at the Otis Booth Pavilion on the Ground Level for a special Pop-Up Experience and join in the science and fantasy fun.
Golden Apple Comic and Art Foundation | LEVEL 1 FOYER - DUELING DINOS
The Golden Apple Comic and Art Foundation was started by Kendra and Ryan Liebowitz, owners of the world-famous Golden Apple Comics on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The foundation's purpose is to preserve, safeguard and showcase private collections and ensure that comics, books, art, and collectibles are secured for future generations to enjoy. Visit the Golden Apple Comic and Art Foundation's table next to the Dueling Dinos for more information, special display, and on-theme items for sale.
THE WELCOME PARTY | LEVEL 1 FOYER - NEXT TO DINO HALL
The Welcome Party is a subsidiary of Perception Studio, and is a weekly live stream & podcast billed as "Your Exclusive Invitation to Pop Culture!" The show focuses on the introduction to pop culture staples and recent releases, and is themed where the audience is attending a party representing the media they'll be learning about/enjoying! Visit and chat with The Welcome Party Podcast at the foyer on Level 1 next to the Dino Hall and talk about all the wonders and enjoyment found at the intersection of fandoms, fantasy, and science.
MUSEUM EDUCATOR POP-UPS
M.E. Pop-Ups | East Entrance—Welcome table | 5:30 PM & 7:30 PM
Join one of our knowledgeable Museum Educators in a series of 30-minute pop-up presentations throughout the Museum to get some first-hand insights about our illuminating exhibits and vast collections. Meet the M.E.s at the top of the steps near the Welcome Table located at East Entrance.
Emily Baker has been a Museum Educator for NHMLA since 2016. Emily’s passion is helping people consider how tied we are to the earth and to each other through food, whether that's by looking at fossilized Ice Age animal teeth, comparing vintage menus from classic Los Angeles restaurants, or harvesting from our Edible Garden.
5:30pm: Set Phasers to "Yum": The importance of food culture while exploring the final frontier
Becca Prater (she/her) is a Museum Educator at NHMLA and the La Brea Tar Pits. She studied wildlife ecology in Oklahoma and then moved to Los Angeles in 2017 to explore all of California’s beautiful ecosystems. She loves hiking, camping, and marveling at little mushrooms.
7:30pm: May the Quartz Be With You: How scientific properties of crystals help us reflect on space, time, & beyond
This Month's Featured Food Trucks
FIRST FRIDAYS PARKING IS ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE BLUE STRUCTURE PARKING LOT
The entrance to the Blue Structure is on Figueroa Boulevard at 39th Street. From there, it is just a short walk to NHM.
YOUR SAFETY IS OUR TOP PRIORITY. PLEASE READ THE FULL COVID-19 SAFETY GUIDELINES
accepting all credit cards, Apple Pay, Cash App, and CASH.
First Fridays welcomes and celebrates the creativity of cosplayers. Please follow these basic guidelines for a safe, inclusive, and family-friendly experience for everyone. Guests who do not follow these guidelines are not allowed entry or will be removed from the event.
All Museum rules still apply.
- No functional props or weapons are allowed.
- No masks that cover the entire head and face.
- No costumes may be realistic depictions of American law enforcement, current American military uniforms, first responders, emergency medical personnel, or any official government agent.
- Costumes must not obstruct or impede the flow of traffic or entryways.
- First Fridays is an All Ages/Family Friendly event and all costumes must be respectful of all guests.