The key to success for just about anything lies in the kind of preparation that happens prior. Considering this, why should a successfully pleasant weekend be any different? Angelenos are spoiled with the amount of recreational options that are happening any given day, let alone on the weekend. That luxury of riches can make narrowing down your choices time-consuming. In an effort to make sure your weekend is locked and loaded, this here is a quick reference list of the best destinations in Southern California this weekend.

Friday, March 10

(Credit: The Broad Stage)

Vaud & The Villains
The Broad Stage, Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center
1310 11th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 434-3412

Somewhere between New Orleans Brass, P.T. Barnum, and ageless Vaudeville is the only way to describe how widely entertaining Vaud and the Villains are. The Los Angele-based 20-piece ensemble is the brainchild of husband and wife team Andy Comeau and Dawn Lewis. With ambitious instrumentation, sweeping arrangements, and the wardrobe that ties everything in together, the Villains package the kind of show that is equal part theatrics and live soundtrack. This whimsical production functions as almost a spiritual exercise as there is nothing left both from the stage and in the audience after a Vaud set. This is unlike anything you have seen and a show you will not soon forget.

Saturday, March 11

(Credit: Craig Schwartz)

“Zoot Suit” 50th Anniversary
Mark Taper Forum
135 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Marking the 50th Anniversary of the play, Luis Valdez’s “Zoot Suit” has the distinct honor of being Broadway’s first Chicano production. Well before it became a major motion picture or took Broadway by storm, the story chronicling the climate surrounding the Sleepy Lagoon Murders of 1942 functioned as a cultural benchmark for many Chicanos, especially for those in Los Angeles. With the play returning home to celebrate 50 years strong, the ensemble cast of 25 help reintroduce the Zoot Suit Riots, a tumultuous time during our history that is especially important within the context of Southern California. Currently finishing out its third and final extension, you will only have until the beginning of April to catch this important example of socially conscious art, particular to SoCal.

(Credit: Javier Guillen for the Music Center/Grand Park)

Downtown Bookfest
Grand Park
200 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Working with Big Read, the City of Los Angeles transforms Grand Park into bibliophile’s paradise with the spring installment of Bookfest. Celebrating the life and poetic works of Emily Dickinson, Grand Park will naturally have books of every kind in the thousands for guests to take home. In addition, Grand Park will feature a variety of interactive amenities, book themed of course, including a Victorian-esque photo booth, constructing your own book out of dried plants, and creating your own poem using PUBLISH! The collection of bookstore pop-up shops will also feature liver performances from Cut Chemist + Hymnal, David Prather and Mayda Del Valle. To sweeten the pot, Grand Park is allowing visitors to join the festivities for free.

Sunday, March 12

(Credit: Ramon Gonzales)

Grab A Beer At Phantom Carriage Brewery
18525 S Main St.
Gardena, CA 90248
(310) 538-5834

As more people veer from bars and opt to enjoy a brewery for a beer, its generally understood that you will probably be surrounded by tanks and hoses and barrels while nursing a beer. These smaller breweries are production facilities and because of that, sometimes the ambiance is a bit of an afterthought. This is not the case with Phantom Carriage. Showcasing an affinity for horror flicks and ghostly imagery, Phantom Carriage refers to their tasting room as haunted and features a theatre that has essential thrillers and horror films on constant loop. Dimly lit and outfitted with complimentary décor, Phantom Carriage indulges the details not just with the environment but nails their beer just the same. Utilizing alternative fermentation techniques and thinking outside the box, the brewers disregard the confines of traditional beer and make what they want. Fans know to come prepared for anything. Complete with a kitchen that cranks out handcrafted comfort food, this off the beaten path destination might instantly become your favorite place to have a beer.

Article by Ramon Gonzales.