Southern California

Weekend: LA Times Festival of Books

Big authors, big Q&As, and big deals for bibliophiles, all at USC.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: Calling this two-day authors 'n readers extravaganza the biggest bookly bash on the Southern California calendar isn't at all akin to revealing a favorite novel's main plot point; heck, everyone knows it is huge. It has been around for two decades, had a few locations — USC Campus is again the spot — and writers like Meghan Daum, Sarah Dessen, Malcolm Gladwell, and Ransom Riggs will all be in attendance. Panels are plentiful, booksellers are as numerous as the pages in a fat tome, and bibliophiles'll be toting tote bags in impressive numbers on Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19.

Star Wars Celebration: Four days full of Force and things to do with The Force, like star sightings, big reveals, small reveals, J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, group photos, and merch? Much merch? The cosmic magic is overflowing at the Anaheim Convention Center. Cosplaying, autograph obtaining, pin trading, and all of the quintessential -ings you find at a large pop culture convention will happen yes. Dates? Say it with us in your best Yodaese: Be there April 16 through 19, you will.

National Picnic Day: You can spread a blanket out anywhere, pretty much, on Saturday, April 18, to mark the holiday that celebrates outdoor, on-the-ground, easy-breezy bite-enjoying. But if you make for Grand Park, you'll find a park-big picnic, full of hundreds of SoCalers. Live tunes and food trucks — in case you forget your grub — shall be nearby, but the focus of the day is just enjoying friends and noshing. You supply the supping materials for your crew, blanket, sammies, and so forth, but that's it: It's free, apart from the food trucks. Oh: Recipes shall be shared, too, in case you want to improve upon future picnics.

Earth Day: National Park Week is juuuust kicking off and with it? Two free days at parks that normally charge get-in-the-gate fees. So go Yosemite, go Joshua Tree, just go go go on April 18 and 19. The LA Zoo is throwing a Party for the Planet on both of those days — regular admission gets you in — and Santa Barbara, one of the cities most associated with the start of the 45-year-old eco-nice holiday, throws its big weekend-long Alameda Park festival. Show on your bike, is you can.

Brokechella: Even if something starts as an alternative-style event, other alts will pop up in its ever-growing wake, if it continues to grow. Look to the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, which inspired several other -chellas including Brokechella, the downtown LA, cheapo — or more cheap, at least — music party. It's all day long on Saturday, April 18, it costs twenty bucks, and there's a side thing called Puppychella. Oh, and yes; Coachella continues into its second weekend from April 17-19.

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