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Downtown Culture: Blessing of the Animals, 60 Years of Photos and Broadway on Screen

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at 08:15PM
Reflection Ed Fuentes

Photographer Gary Leonard at a spry 56, when he opened his first Downtown gallery in 2007. Now he will celebrate his 60th birthday with a print sale at his current gallery, "Take My Picture."

The 81st Blessing of the Animals takes place at Olvera Street this weekend, and a Downtown photographer who has seen just about everything happen in Downtown since its punk days will blow out 60 candles in front of friends and fans. Who says traditions in Los Angeles don't matter much? Even Commissioner Bud Selig called the Dodgers one of "the most prestigious franchises in all of sports" — as he took over the team's operations.


Weekday Afternoon Deals with the Dodgers is not a nickname that comes from the news that Major League Baseball has seized financial control of the Dodgers from owner Frank McCourt, but a promotion touting half-price food and soft drinks on days with afternoon games. Of course, due to the tragic Opening Day, the Dodgers shelved plans to sell half-priced alcohol. Stay tuned to Dodger Baseball. It will be a most interesting season. Dodgers host the Braves. Thu Apr 21 / 12:10pm / Dodger Stadium

Aloud: “The Origins of Political Order: A Conversation” engages scholars Francis Fukuyama and Jared Diamond in a discussion on the origins of democratic societies and the nature of politics. Thu Apr 21 7pm / Central Library / 630 W. 5th

Bronfman plays Brahms: Yefim Bronfman plays Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1, "Winter Daydreams," with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Juraj Valcuha conducts. Thu Apr 21 8am (also Fri Apr 22 11am and Sat Apr 23 8pm) / Walt Disney Concert Hall / 111 S. Grand

Jazz with A Walter Smith II, John Beasley, Dave Robaire and The Kanner Quartet Thu Apr 21 / Blue Whale / 123 Astronaut E S Onizuka

Cash O’Riley & the Downright Daddies brings roots based rockabilly to the den of Downtown pirates. Thu Apr 21 9pm / Redwood Bar & Grill / 316 W. 2nd


The Grilled Cheese Invitational is your chance to sample melty comfort food over and over again in one afternoon. Amateur and professional chefs will compete for the title Grilled Cheese Champion. April 23 11am / Los Angeles Center Studios / 1201 W. 5th

"Selling Out at Sixty" is not just a print sale cleaning out the closets, garage and studio of Downtown's most prolific photographer, Gary Leonard: it is also his 60th birthday celebration. Fri Apr 22 / Take My Picture / 860 S. Broadway


81st Annual Blessing of the Animals at Olvera Street: With Cardinal Roger Mahony relinquishing duties as the active Archbishop of Los Angeles this past February, Reverend Archbishop of Los Angeles José H. Gomez will formerly introduce himself to the pets of Los Angeles and bless them for a job well done as companions to humans. Animal regulars may include Ventura, the bright yellow python from the Valley. Sat Apr 23 Noon / Olvera Street at El Pueblo Historical Monument / Main and Alameda

The quarterly Art Weekend LA will have its second outing this weekend, with shuttles taking gallery-goers to Downtown destinations on Saturday. LATC (727 S. Spring) is the official Art Weekend LA Information Center.

More from Art Weekend LA In the evening, Art Weekend LA will host the Lucie Foundation's first annual benefit to raise funds for SNAPSHOP, the foundation photo workshop program for Los Angeles at-risk youth. Sat Apr 23 7pm / The Factory Place / 1397 E. 6th

The Bantamweight Tournament Final / Winner Takes All: The Main card has Joseph Agbeko (28-2, 22 KO) defending his IBF bantamweight crown against undefeated Abner Mares (21-0-1, 13 KO), who defends his WBC Silver title. Sat Apr 23 5pm / Nokia Theatre / 777 Chick Hearn Court


L.A. Live’s Easter Celebration: Kids one through six can nab a free Easter Basket and join in an Easter Egg hunt before or after having their photo taken with the big bunny himself. Balloon artistry, face painting, plus arts and crafts fill the day. RSVP for your child at 213-493-4329 or (Parking available in the Olympic West Garage at $5 for 2 hours) Apr 24 Noon to 2:30pm / L.A. Live / 800 W. Olympic

Easter Fest Not to be outdone, the Third Annual Downtown Easter Fest brings out their own big Easter bunny (plus bouncy house) to Grand Hope Park from 12:30pm to 3pm. The picnic and party, sponsored by New City Church of LA and City Light Church, is free to the Downtown public. Sun Apr 24 12:30pm to 3pm / Grand Hope Memorial Park / 9th and Grand


FOLK MUSIC: Frank Fairfield is called the one-man American folk revival, and listening to him, you hear why the 23-year-old is an old soul with a banjo. Mon Apr 25 9pm / The Redwood Bar & Grill / 316 W. 2nd

JAZZ: A night of jazz with Bijon Watson and the WOW Factor. Mon Apr 25 10pm / Seven Grand / 515 W. 7th

The 16th Film Courage Interactive features ONCE & FOR ALL, an experimental musical film about a couple that “suffers from a break-up and searches to rediscover themselves as individuals. Written and Directed by Cory Reed Mon Apr 25 7pm / Downtown Independent / 251 S Main

Aloud with Jamaica Kincaid: 'See, Now, Then' author Jamaica Kincaid in conversation with Brighde Mullins, Director, Master in Professional Writing program, USC. Tue Apr 26 / Central Library / 630 W. 5th


Abe Vigoda with Cold Showers, Beaches, and Pope Anything Wed Apr 27 / The Smell / 247 S. Main

Encore screening of The Metropolitan Opera’s Le Comte Ory, replayed from a live April 9 performance. Wed April 27 / Regal Cinemas LA Live Stadium 14 / 1000 W. Olympic


Country Western fans have sold out "An Evening with Kenny Chesney" at The Grammy Museum. Apr 28 8pm / Grammy Museum / 800 W. Olympic

Fight Night Club returns with local jr welterweight favorite Frankie “The Pitbull” Gomez (8-0, 6 KOs) headlining the night. Apr 28 / Club Nokia at L.A. LIVE / 800 W. Olympic

The 2010 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical, Memphis, will be screened in movie theaters across the U.S., including L.A. Live’s Regal Theater 14 This screening is a first for a Broadway musical awarded a Tony and still running, giving theater goers a chance to see the original cast intact. "Memphis" will be presented on Thursday April 28, Saturday April 30, and Tuesday May 3 at 7:30pm. A special matinee will be held Sunday, May 1 at 12:30pm.


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