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First Fridays: Previous Seasons

Over the past decade, First Fridays has introduced adult audiences to a new kind of museum experience.

Explore past First Fridays and see which of your favorite scientists and musicians were here at NHM!

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Big Screen, Bigger Science

Thanks for making our 2016 First Fridays season a success.

Miss a night? Check out highlights here!


Tour and Discussion (5:00 pm - 7:30 pm)

Tour (5 pm, 5:30 pm, 6 pm): "Tracking and Trapping L.A.'s Wildlife" with NHM Curator of Herpetology, Dr. Greg Pauly

On a typical day in L.A., Museum biologists engage in not-so-typical approaches to study the city’s incredible and ever-changing biodivesity. Camera traps in Griffith Park are photographing mountain lions and coyotes. Local residents are photo-documenting native and introduced reptiles, and volunteers are sifting through asphalt from the La Brea Tar Pits and discovering the diversity of our region's past. This season's First Fridays tours explore how Museum biologists are  "Tracking and Trapping L.A.'s Wildlife."

15 person capacity per tour. Tour tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Discussion (6:30 pm): "Killer Newts, Awesome Lizards, and Scaly Serpents: Why We Need Them Back in L.A." with Dr. Brad Shaffer

Southern California has historically been home to one of the most diverse reptile and amphibian faunas in North America. Some of these species continue to persist in and around urban LA, others are declining, and several have gone locally extinct.  In this discussion, we will talk briefly about three projects that members of the UCLA/La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science are conducting that explore what we have done to eliminate these amazing species, and what we are doing to try to bring them back. The stories of these animals are both fascinating and perplexing. Why is the California newt, a species loaded with the most toxic natural defensive chemical on earth, declining because of predation from invasive frogs and crayfish? How has the fishing bait industry led to the genetic destruction of our endangered California tiger salamander? And, is there any way that we can bring our only native turtle back to the LA region, where it previously had huge populations? We will discuss the reasons why we are losing these animals from our Southern California backyard, and what we can do to restore them in the region.


Hear all of the First Fridays discussions on Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County - First Fridays

Performances (8:00 pm - 10:00 pm)

Sets at 8 pm and 9:15 pm: Son Lux (8 pm) and San Fermin (9:15 pm) and special pop-up performance by wild Up

San Fermin

San Fermin is the work of Brooklyn composer and songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone. His self-titled debut album is strongly influenced by his unique background in classical music, which includes a job assisting composer/arranger Nico Muhly.
After finishing his musical studies at Yale, Ludwig-Leone wrote the album in six weeks while holed up in a studio on the mountainous border between Alberta and British Columbia. He focused on lifeʼs top-shelf issues – youth, nostalgia, anxiety, unrequited love – and tied these vast themes to different characters through vocal contributions from longtime friend Allen Tate, as well as Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius.  
The first track released from the album, “Sonsick,” tackles many of these larger themes head-on.  ”It’s like a panic attack disguised as a birthday party,” Ludwig-Leone says.  ”I realized that the most intense moments are the ones in which conflicting emotional worlds exist inside you, equally, at once.”
San Fermin is not an album of singles but rather a sweeping, full-bodied listen with multiple distinct peaks and ambitious thematic connections. Ludwig-Leone composed all of the album’s arrangements and lyrics in full prior to collaborating and recording, noting that “writing for a large group of unknown musicians infused the writing process with a kind of operatic scope.  
Since then, the band has coalesced into a core of eight members in addition to Ludwig-Leone: Allen Tate and Rae Cassidy, lead vocals; Rebekah Durham, vocals/violin; John Brandon, trumpet; Stephen Chen, saxophone; Tyler McDiarmid, guitar; and Mike Hanf, drums.
San Fermin will be available on CD, vinyl and digital outlets via Downtown Records this fall.

Son Lux
Son Lux is Ryan Lott. His debut recording, At War With Walls and Mazes (2008), earned him the title of “Best New Artist” by NPR’s All Songs Considered. In 2011 he followed up this release with We Are Rising which Consequence of Sound described as “the dark, operatic middle ground between Owen Pallett and In Rainbows-era Radiohead or Wild Beasts’ fantastic, operatic heights.”

Son Lux will be releasing his third full-length release via Joyful Noise Recordings (Kishi Bashi, Sebadoh, Talk Normal), which positions Son Lux at the helm of a diverse and impressive ensemble of instrumentalists and singers including Chris Thile (The Punch Brothers), Peter Silberman (The Antlers), Lily & Madeleine, Ieva Berberian (Gem Club), as well as other previous collaborators. Meditative and heaving with energy, the album weaves disparate elements into a singular vision of a world both strange and welcoming.

wild Up
wild Up is an experimental classical ensemble. A flexible band of Los Angeles musicians committed to creating visceral, thought-provoking happenings. The group, led by artistic director and conductor Christopher Rountree, unites around the belief that no music is off limits, and that a concert space should be as moving as the music heard in it: small, powerful and unlike anything else. Our projects are meant to bring people together, defy convention and address the need for heart-wrenching, mind-bending experiences.

DJs (5:30 pm - 10:00 pm)

DJ Lounge (5:30 pm-10 pm): Resident DJ Anthony Valadez featuring DJ Wiseacre

KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez and DJ Wiseacre join us in the lounge where you can get your groove on and enjoy the dioramas of the African Mammal Hall.

Anthony Valadez is a Los Angeles based DJ/Producer and visual artist with residencies at Little Temple, Zanzibar and previously at the legendary Temple Bar prior to its closer.   His latest musical projects include remixes for David Bowie and Ozomatli.   He has released two full length albums on indie label Recordbreakin.  He is a resident DJ at and has a regular program on 89.9 FM KCRW & where he mixes future beats, soulful keys and tomorrows’ samples and sounds.

DJ Wiseacre established a successful career as a commercial and fine art photographer before he decided to put that on hold and pick up some vinyl, a couple turntables, a mixer, two speakers, and a few friends in order to begin the labor of love, “throwin’ parties.” Since then, Wiseacre has co-created three successful L.A. parties, “Funky in the Middle,” “Custom Sundaze” and “theLift.” Wiseacre is currently designing and building a restaurant/club, LOUIE and CHAN in the lower eastside of NYC. Here he will continue his quest to bridge genres of music and people – creating a scene that is not exclusive or segmented, but rather one that simply appreciates “fine tunes.” 

LA Weekly Spaceland Productions KCRW Amoeba Music