LA LIFE Insider’s Guide: Books, Tours, Style Stories, Earth Month, Art Night

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Breathtaking native Monkey Flowers are covering our hillsides. And I’m not monkeying around. Tomatoes can celebrate the world’s best storytellers with the “Los Angeles Times Festival of Books”. The LA Conservancy has a wonderful tour of Union Station. “LA Style Stories” inspire. It’s all about trees at the “Festival of Trees” and the LA Zoo is hosting “Wild for the Planet”.  The Chatsworth Nature Preserve is hosting “Earth Day Open House”. 1 night + 15 museums = “Art Night”. And don’t just picnic in the park… “Picnic for the Park”, Tomatoes.

April 23 & 24. Festival of Books

Since 1996, the “LA Times Festival of Books” gathers writers, poets, artists, filmmakers, musicians, and emerging storytellers at what is now considered the largest event of its kind in the US. So, it is inevitable that inspiration soars at The Festival of Books.  Each spring book lovers flock to this annual 2-day event and I suggest you do too, Tomatoes.

Yep, books are the name of the game with USC hosting more than 550 writers, musicians, artists and chefs, and hundreds of exhibitors including Amanda Gorman, Billy Porter, Josh Peck, Ziggy Marley, Kelly Rowland, and MANY more. Holy Cow! The variety and quality of talent present is legendary. And we can’t forget the 250 events of lectures, signings and performances as well as art installations and culinary demos. It’s all about celebrating literary culture and the Los Angeles Times’ passion for story. Even the kiddos and grand kiddos will love it, Tomatoes.


Union Station Walking Tour

Each and every Saturday You can now participate in the “Union Station Walking Tour,” hosted and guided by the LA Conservancy, each and every Saturday. Yay! Union Station is not only the gateway to Los Angeles and a cultural hub, it is truly an architectural masterpiece with an incredible history, Tomatoes.

Opening in 1939, this beloved landmark, with its Art-Deco and Spanish Colonial Revival Style, was the last great railway station built in America and today is loaded with railroad, Los Angeles and even Hollywood Tinsel Town history. I’ve taken this tour and I loved getting up close and personal with Union Stations beautiful architecture and the significance behind it and learning how Union Station evolved over time.  The LA Conservancy Walking Tour Program always does a top-notch job, but I feel the Union Station tour is extra special, Tomatoes.


LA Style Stories

Want to be an expert at wearing a Saree? Hey, what about a Kimono for cocktail hour? You might just find that you love wearing elegant Saree’s and Kimono’s once you’ve read Felicia Arlin’s insightful stories and tips. READ ON.

April 29. Festival of Trees

In honor of Earth Month and in collaboration with UCLA Health and the Office of Sustainability, the UCLA Mildred E. Botanical Garden is hosting the “Festival of Trees” and it is free for everyone, Tomatoes. Yes, indeedy.

Visit the Garden any time from 12pm – 2pm and participate in an interactive stamp rally where you’ll learn more about some of the most iconic trees in the Garden. Collect all eight stamps and you’ll have the chance to take home a special plant prize! Trees are vital to this planet so celebrating all things trees with the “Festival of Trees” in honor of Earth Month makes perfect sense, Tomatoes.

The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden seeks to promote botanical knowledge and appreciation of nature to the UCLA community and public at large. Its diverse plant collections are designed to assist the teaching and research missions at UCLA while creating a tranquil environment within the urban surroundings. The Garden acts as a community gathering place for a wide variety of groups and through its own events promotes plant conservation, botanical research and horticulture.

Through May 1. Wild for the Planet

Our wonderful LA Zoo is once again hosting “Wild for the Planet,” an Earth Day celebration for our precious planet and its rich biodiversity, featuring inspiring and informative activities, education stations and presentations on keeping our planet and all that live here safe for us and future generations. Neato!

Each weekend there’ll be something new with a fun focus on conservation, sustainability, and the renewal that spring brings. The zoo has come up with all kinds of creative ways for everyone to learn how to make a positive impact on the environment.  Plenty for you and the kiddos in your life to enjoy, Tomatoes.

April 23.  Earth Day Open House

The 1,300-acre Chatsworth Nature Preserve is the largest piece of undeveloped land in our city and contains a wealth of wildlife with a number of species not seen elsewhere in the San Fernando Valley, an ecology pond, woodlands, savanna, grassland, and earthen berms. There is truly no other place like it in the City of LA and it only opens to the public one time a year…yep, only one time a year…and tomorrow is that day. So, take advantage of this super-duper opportunity and attend the “Chatsworth Nature Preserve Earth Day Open House”, Tomatoes.

It’s a great way to celebrate Earth Month and the Chatsworth Nature Preserve is especially gorgeous this time of year. Event highlights include: an Opening Ceremony with Native American Blessing, Guided Nature Hikes, Community Resource Fair and more! Come prepared with hats, refillable water bottles, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes. Mr. LA Tomato will be there working, and I’ll be attending so we hope to see you there, Ladies.

April 30. Picnic for The Park

At “Picnic for the Park,” Tomatoes can enjoy a picnic with live music under the oaks of King Gillette Ranch all while celebrating and supporting the important work of the Santa Mountains National Recreation Area, the largest urban park in the US.  It might just feel like a vacay for the day, Tomatoes.

You can indulge in some wine-tasting or delight in the delicious fajita bar and other beverages.  You can educate yourself about wildlife research, trails, the native plant nursery and education programs in the mountains as undertaken by National Park Service and SAMO Fund working together. Your support is particularly vital at this time of year as you celebrate Earth Day because it helps the SAMO Fund grow 50,000+ native plants for restoration in the park. It will help mountain lions cross the 101 freeway and it helps the restoration crew plant oak trees in the park and the SAMO Fund trail crew make sure the places you want to hike are well maintained. That’s a lot of reasons to go and have fun at “Picnic for the Park”.

April 29. ArtNight

ArtNight” in Pasadena is a big…WOW! Why? It’s a FREE evening of art, music, food trucks and entertainment as Pasadena’s 15 most prominent and popular arts and cultural institutions swing open their doors for in-person and virtual activities. Did I say it’s free?  Now you gotta admit Tomatoes…that is impressive!

ArtNight is Pasadena’s signature cultural event. You can begin the amazing journey at one of the in-person cultural institutions, where free shuttles will be waiting to transport you to your next destination. What fun! ArtNight is an ongoing partnership among many cultural institutions and the Cultural Affairs Division of the City of Pasadena. The event is sponsored by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission with support from the following: Pasadena Department of Transportation Transit Division; Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority; and Pasadena Center Operating Company



  • Debbie Zipp

    The Three Tomatoes LA Life editor, Debbie Zipp is your friendly guide to the best of everything in LA with a tomato style perspective. Debbie is an actor, producer, and writer. She is best known for her recurring role as Donna on the CBS series "Murder She Wrote" starring Angela Lansbury. She has had many other TV and stage roles and has starred in over 300 national TV commercials. As head of In The Trenches Productions, Debbie produced, directed, acted in many short films for her company. Her book, The Aspiring Actor's Handbook: What Seasoned Actors Wish They Had Known was recently published. Buy her book: The Aspiring Actor's Handbook: What Seasoned Actors Wish They Had Known

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