Summer Nights in the Garden | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

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Summer Nights in the Garden


FRIDAYS | June 29, July 13 & 27, August 10, 2018
5 - 9 pm
Get outside this summer and enjoy the evening breeze, late sunset, and starry skies. The Summer Nights in the Gardens series is a celebration of all things summer in the enchanting Nature Gardens at NHMLA.
Spend your Friday night sipping a garden-infused cocktail, stumbling upon a myriad of outdoor experiences while exploring the Museum's backyard, and brightening your life with nature-inspired take-home activities. Have a picnic or get a little lost in the gardens – all while the beats from live music performances set the mood.

In conjunction with the Summer Nights in the Garden, enjoy extended hours at the California African American Museum (CAAM) between 5-7 pm on August 10. Visit CAAM’s five galleries including Adler Guerrier: Conditions and Forms for blck Longevity which explores quiet, subjective observations of the landscapes of Los Angeles and Miami before getting your groove on in the Nature Gardens!


At Each Summer Nights Enjoy:

  • Flea Circus with NHMLA Performing Arts Staff
  • Artist Demonstrations with Sandy Rodriguez
  • Botanical Tours with NHMLA Garden Staff
  • Nature-inspired Activities
  • Food Trucks

RSVPs available two weeks prior to each program date.



Colors of Califas with Sandy Rodriguez

At each Summer Nights in the Garden Artist Sandy Rodriguez will be demonstrating processing Native plants, insects and pigments into watercolor at 6:00pm, 7:00pm, and 8:00pm nightly. She will also be leading an ongoing community art activity where you can contribute your mark to a collaborative bioregional map!


Friday, June 29

Highlighted Programming:



Afrorika: 5:00pm - 9:00pm

Afrorika, aka Lucas Rivera is multidisciplinary Afro- Puerto Rican artist. Born in Salinas Puerto Rico and raised in North Philadelphia via the South Bronx, Rivera spent most of his childhood observing his rich cultural roots. As a young adult he experimented with Puerto Rican folklore music by incorporating them into his Dj sets. In the late 90’s Rivera landed several residencies in the Philadelphia House music scene under the name DJ Lucas Rivera. His sets included live percussion, Latin house music and classic disco. In 2003 he became known for Philly’s hottest outdoor party called Mojito and had a 7 year run before deciding to move on. In 2012 Rivera moved to Los Angeles and created his new brand called AFRORIKA. Under this name he has put out several tracks in addition to playing in new venues.

Rivera has been booked alongside Artists such as King Britt, Louie Vega, Rich Medina, Robbie Tronco, and Roger Sanchez to name a few. He has played at venues in Puerto Rico, Miami, Los Angeles, Texas, New York and New Jersey.



Get Lit Players: 5:30pm & 7:30pm

The Get Lit Players (GLPs) are an award-winning youth poetry troupe and the most watched poets on the internet. They have collaborated with the United Nations, John Legend, the White House, and more, inspiring their peers to engage in their educations and their lives.



P-22 Chats: 6:00pm & 7:00pm

P-22: L.A.'s Famous Hollywood Puma and Unexpected Wildlife Hero- NHMLA's Community Science Manager, Miguel Ordeñana, will share the remarkable story of P-22 who is famous for his incredible journey to Griffith Park and his ability to survive in an urban park surrounded by people and urbanization, He will describe his many misadventures and ability to carry a local wildlife conservation movement.


Friday, July 13

Highlighted Programming:



Beach Cities - 8:00pm - 9:00pm

Based out of Los Angeles, CA Beach Cities was quickly influenced by many previous acts in which the members had experienced live performances. No strangers to the underground music industry. The members decided to begin a new project and have received support from the local audience. The band has released a handful of tracks and are soon to release a late 2018 EP. “We’ve been told by listeners that we give out a Soft-core, Pop rock and swings of Hip Hop” The band has successfully played gigs all over the Los Angeles areas with line ups from the Kroq 106.7 Locals Only events. Look forward for their EP release due in the Fall or catch them this summer on their list of shows lined up.



Girls Gone Vinyl: 5:00pm - 8:00pm

Girls Gone Vinyl is an all female DJ collective based in LA made up of DJ’s: Jazzabella, Muezette, Xica Soul, and Rose Knows. Formed in 2015, Girls Gone Vinyl LA focus on the vinyl culture, music and sisterhood within the DJ community. With an active residency every third Thursday, at Monty Bar in LA, they feature special guest female DJ’s every month, spinning all likes of music ranging from: funk, soul, hip hop, house, disco, and more.



Melrose Poetry Bureau: 5:30pm & 7:30pm

Melrose Poetry Bureau (MPB) is a Los Angeles-based arts collective that creates interactive poetry experiences on typewriters. MPB blurs the boundaries between poetry, theater, and improvisation to create connection through ink in a wired-in world. The company’s poetic activations have run the gamut from voter registration to nightlife, kids events to corporate parties, and have been featured in LA Weekly and LA Magazine, ABC7, Telemundo, and more.



Black Rock Observatory: 5:00pm - 9:00pm

Showing the universe as art is an admission that the truth is sufficiently beautiful and that it deserves our attention. We want to show participants the incredibly glorious vista of the planets through a telescope. There’s a beautiful moment when the viewer’s world view expands to include the planets they learned about in school. They’re not just fairy tales or abstract concepts any more. It’s real. Sometimes this can be terrifying. It’s always awesome. Lines often form. There’s also a calming sense of scale that comes along with observing the sky, making the observer feel small, even humble.



Friday, July 27

Highlighted Programming:



Todd Simon (Ethio Cali/HodgePodgeLA) DJ/Trumpet Set: 5:00pm - 9:00pm

Todd is a Trumpeter/Arranger/Producer/DJ who’s worked with the likes of Kelis, Lauryn Hill, TV On The Radio, Ziggy Marley, Solange, Macklemore, Portugal. the Man, Amber Coffman, Dirty Projectors, Madlib, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Lukas Graham, Santigold, Quantic, Breakestra, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Quadron, RHYE, Quantic, Antibalas + many more. After co-founding Dakah, Connie Price & The Keystones, The Lions, The Decoders and The Angel City All-Star Brass Band, his personal project, the African – Jazz ensemble Ethio Cali (, has taken LA by storm with their interpretations of Ethio-Jazz and Afrobeat! You can find Todd currently DJing and playing trumpet at the same time around town at his #HodgePodgeLA party that fuses live instruments with DJs. Todd’s recent mixtape project, Jazz On 45, is currently featured on OkayPlayer and Wax Poetics.



Masanga Marimba: 5:30pm & 7:30pm

Masanga Marimba plays traditional and popular music from Africa and Latin America. The instruments used in this ensemble consist of 7 Zimbabwean marimbas of various sizes along with vocals, drums, percussion, saxophone and trumpet. The word “Masanga” comes from an African word that means the coming together of rivers or roads representing the meeting of African, Latin and American traditions in this group. Masanga is the only marimba ensemble in Southern California that combines Latin and African traditions. The sight and sound of Masanga's giant marimbas is unlike anything you've ever seen or heard before.


Friday, August 10

Highlighted Programming:



Novena Carmel: 5:30pm - 7:00pm & 7:30 - 9:00pm

If you find yourself in a room with Novena Carmel, it’s most likely illuminated by Novena’s smile and filled with some of Los Angeles’ most interesting creatives. Her energy attracts the city’s bohemian best; when her name is on an event – whether she’s DJing, singing, hosting, or curating – the people show up. But how did she get here? Music. It’s the thread that weaves her story together.


Her father is the iconic singer Sly Stone and her late-uncle is bossa nova pioneer Oscar Castro-Neves, so it’s not surprising to learn that the legendary Gilberto Gil showed up to her first birthday party. At the age of seven, Novena’s grandfather bought her a piano and commissioned lessons—and so it began. Carmel’s mother, raised in Brazil, soundtracked family dance parties with a diverse record collection: Guns N Roses, INXS, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and, of course, the music of Brazil. These influences, combined with a newfound musical literacy, gave her the tools she needed to begin creating.


But the public wouldn’t hear an original Novena Carmel composition until she was 21 and studying abroad in Tokyo, Japan; that’s when Novena says she caught the bug. After returning from Japan, she soon found herself singing and playing keys in her own band, the aptly named BabyStone. During the BabyStone era, Papa Stone gave Novena a huge push both on wax and at their live shows. Novena then moved on to singing solo; on “Canto Nantoka”, she sings (in English and Portuguese) with the energy of springtime over bossa nova drums, Brazilian guitar, and a vibrant horn section. Her voice excels in the space where Gina Figueroa and Kevin Michael meet. These days, you can catch Novena hosting an event or radio show (Dublab, TuneIn) or DJing a diverse selection of music at clubs, museums and rooftop pool parties from Los Angeles to New York City and beyond.


Wherever you find her, just know you’re in the right place.



Dirty Gourmet: 5:30pm & 7:30pm

We are three women who came together after a bike tour across Canada and years of camp life to rethink food in the outdoors. We believe that food should be as much a part of the experience as the activities, location, and five-star views. We provide camp chef services for outdoor events, teach outdoor cooking workshops, and have recently released our first cookbook, Dirty Gourmet: Food for Your Outdoor Adventures!


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