A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

There are plenty of great places to enjoy music and a picnic this summer. Here are a few hot spots.

Music in the LA Zoo

Enjoy Music in the LA Zoo on July 24/photo courtesy of the LA Zoo

Enjoy Music in the LA Zoo on July 24.

On Friday, July 24, from 6-9 p.m., the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens will be filled with the sounds of classic rock for an event called Music in the LA Zoo. Cover bands scattered throughout the grounds will perform songs by some of the best groups of the ’60s and ’70s: Hotel California (Eagles), The Rubber Souls (Beatles), Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan), Cubensis (Grateful Dead), The Heist (The Who, The Doors, and Led Zeppelin), and Up Stream (reggae).

Of course, the main attraction will be the animals – and we don’t mean the band that did “The House of the Rising Sun.”  Zoo docents and volunteers from the Glendale Chapter of the National Charity League, Inc. (a mother-daughter philanthropic organization) will provide information about the zoo residents at various stations throughout the zoo, with a focus on species native to California. Animals can be seen until 8 p.m.

When it’s feeding time (for you, not the animals), take your pick from various options including cheese and fruit, sliders, entrees with salmon, beef and barbecue, and complement them with wine or a martini. Picnics are permitted too.

Admission to Music in the LA Zoo for GLAZA members is $12.50 for adults and $7.50 for children ages 6 to 15. Admission for non-members is $16.50 for adults and $10.50 for children ages 6 to 15. Children 5 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased at the zoo or in advance by phone at (323) 644-6042 or online at www.LAZoo.org. Discount tickets for KCET members are available at www.LAZoo.org. The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.

Latin Jazz at Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens Summer Twilight Thursdays concert series brings local Latin jazz acts to the Under the Oaks Theatre from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring blankets and picnics (which are normally not allowed in the gardens).

July 23: The Robert Kyle Brazilian Trio performs instrumental bossa novas and Brazilian jazz classics.
July 30: The Louie Cruz Beltran Ensemble blends salsa with jazz, R&B and pop.
Aug. 6: The Mitchell Long Group features Afro-Brazilian arrangements with Mitchell singing in Portuguese.

The summer concert series is free with admission to the garden: $8 adults, $6 seniors/students and $3 children 5-12. Descanso Gardens members and children 4 and younger are free. For more information, call (818) 949-4200 or visit www.descansogardens.org.

Starlight Bowl

Colin Hay of Men at Work fame performs at the Starlight Bowl on

Colin Hay of Men at Work fame performs at the Starlight Bowl on July 26.

Burbank’s own Starlight Bowl brings national acts — without the high ticket price — to the Verdugo Mountains for Sunday concerts throughout the summer. Lawn tickets are $8 (discounts for children and seniors) and the most expensive seats are $20.

The amphitheater is like a miniature Hollywood Bowl that packs in as many as 4,500 people. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. for picnickers, and the concerts run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

July 26: Colin Hay (Men at Work) with Cecilia Noel and the Wild Clams
Aug. 2: The Fab Four
Aug. 9: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Aug. 16: Gin Blossoms with This Will Sting

The Starlight Bowl is located at 1249 Lockheed Drive, Burbank.

Call (818) 238-5300 or visit www.starlightbowl.com.

Festival on the Green

The CalPhil, led by Victor Vener, performs its summer concerts in the Arboretum in Arcadia on Saturdays (and then takes the program to the air-conditioned Disney Hall the next day). Bring a picnic or pick up a meal at the show; and choose from table, chair or lawn seating. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.; concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.

July 25: Swords and Chivalry features excerpts from “The Mask of Zorro” and “Braveheart” by Academy Award-winning composer James Horner as well as medleys from such Broadway and Hollywood blockbusters as “Kiss Me Kate” by Cole Porter, “Camelot” by Lerner and Loewe and “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” by Michael Kamen. The orchestra also performs highlights from Richard Wagner’s operas “Tristan und Isolde” and “Lohengrin.” Pianist Robert Thies performs Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini. The Cabar Feidh Highland drum and pipe band will also perform.

Aug. 8: Movie Magic brings excerpts from the soundtracks of Hollywood films such as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Gone with the Wind,” and “Casablanca.” Armen Anassian performs Korngold’s Violin Concert with the orchestra.

Aug. 22: Broadway’s Best includes songs from “Wicked,” “The Merry Widow,” “Die Fledermaus,” “Hairspray,” “Gypsy,” and “Mama Mia!” Singers Khori Dastoor and Danny Gurwin join the orchestra.

The Arboretum is located at 301 N. Baldwin Ave. in Arcadia. Tickets start at $20. Call (626) 300-8200 or visit www.calphil.org.