The 13th Asian Festival celebrates the past and present of the Chinese, Japanese and Filipino communities that originated in Salinas Chinatown around 1872, at a time when people of Asian descent were not widely accepted on the Monterey Peninsula. At the same time, the agricultural industry in the Salinas Valley needed labor, and Chinatown is where their cultures met and thrived. Thanks to the non-profit association Asian Cultural Experience, which is in charge of the Chinatown revitalization project, the center of this world – the historic Republic Café on Soledad Street – will be open to the public during the festival. The hope is that it will become a future cultural center. Get ready for many dishes from all over Asia; each community venue will have its own exhibits and demonstrations. Guided walking tours highlight the Buddhist Temple, Japan Town, Confucius Church, and other key sites. [AP]
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday April 30. Salinas Chinatown: California, Calle Cebu, Lake and Soledad Streets. Free. 408-968-9081, salinasace.org/asian-festival.
Art all around
What you need to know is that there will be miniature goats. Or at least the miniature goats are promised on Saturday, so see you on Saturday. Or go on Sunday and attend a talk by artist Will Bulas on humor and art… the choice is yours. What are we talking about? Oh that’s right. The Carmel Valley Art Association holds an arts and crafts fair in the spring at its location in the village. There will be food and wine; there will be art for sale; there will be a mosaic demonstration; there will be a gift basket raffle. But perhaps most importantly, as mentioned above, there will be miniature goats. [TCL]
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday April 30 and Sunday May 1. Carmel Valley Art Association, 9 Del Fino Place, Carmel Valley. cvartassoc.org.
The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, arguably launching the modern environmental movement (Rachel Carson, however, would like a word). At the time, the level of industrial pollution in the country was unimaginable by today’s standards, and at various events across the country, there were reportedly around 20 million people in attendance, or around 10% of the US population. Much has changed since then, but one fundamental element has remained the same: due to ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the planet continues on its path towards environmental catastrophe. Luckily, there are some serious solutions in the works, too, and to that end, Sustainable Seaside is hosting its 11th annual Earth Day celebration, where attendees will have the chance to test-drive electric cars and get answers from experts on the nuances of owning one. There will be performances by a youth ensemble from the local Palenke Arts association, as well as a “trashion” show and various educational stalls. Did we mention there will also be tomato debuts? [DS]
1-4 p.m. Saturday, April 30. City Hall Lawn, 440 Harcourt Avenue, Seaside. Free. sustainablemontereycounty.org.
Urban Lounge did some pretty cool stuff. They planned musical performances and other events. But this time, they just fly away. Well, technically they aren’t, but Monterey Comedy Improv is. The troupe carries no script. They don’t have a routine. They simply take a suggestion from the audience and run with it, dragging certain members of the crowd with them (voluntarily). From a few simple words, they create sketches and comic vignettes on the spot. Yell “street corner” and “pizza” and they’ll… uh… improvisation is hard. So leave it to the team of Rich Westbrook, Carrie Gerdes, Nick Villareal, Kimberly Rousseau, Laura Be, Julie Steelman, Paul Smith, Ann Larson, Ben Forest and Lee Garland to find something. Fast. And if you want to try to improve yourself, opt for the VIP package, which includes dinner and a lesson in quick thinking. [DF]
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30. Urban Lounge, 1425 Munras Ave., Monterey. $22; Package $55/VIP. 649-4771, urbankitchenmonterey.com.
Seaside’s Palenke Arts has earned a reputation in the county for showcasing multicultural artists and art forms, and hosting events that are accessible to the wider community. The last example, Noche Cubana, comes with a little spice. Cuban-born, Bay Area-raised percussionist and singer Jesús Díaz brings his band, Jesús Díaz y su QBA, to CSUMB’s World Theater for an evening of upbeat and infectious Cuban music. Joining Díaz will be another well-known percussionist, Kevin Ricard, a member of Jay Leno’s former band Tonight’s show bandaged. His studio credits summary is a list of who’s who in the music industry: BB King, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Loggins, Jill Scott and Enrique Iglesias, to name a few. [CN]
8-10 p.m. Saturday April 30. CSUMB World Theatre, 100 Campus Circle, Seaside. $25. bit.ly/NocheCubana2022.
The Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation is once again hosting its annual garden party – the first after a two-year Covid-induced hiatus. “We are very happy to welcome people back,” says Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts, president of the foundation. “Come climb the tower and listen to music. It will be absolutely wonderful. Guests will be able to stroll through Tor House, which remains as it was when Robinson and Una Jeffers and their twin sons lived there; stroll through the gardens; stand by Thuban, the rock that is the cornerstone of the house, and gaze upon the vast Pacific; take photos of the interiors and exteriors of Tor House and Hawk Tower; shop in the bookstore; learn about the poet Robinson Jeffers and Tor House from knowledgeable guides; sample treats from Sweet Elena’s Bakery; watch plein-air artists at work and a master weaver spin on the “walking wheel” brought to this country in 1847; and enjoy special musical programs – a bagpiper from the top of Hawk Tower, pianists playing Una’s fully restored 1904 Steinway Model O grand piano, and a violinist accompanied by his sons playing Celtic music. A special treat is a book signing celebrating the publication of the Robinson Jeffers Family Travel Diaries: Vol. 1by editor Deborah Whittlesey Sharp and Robinson’s grandson, Lindsay Jeffers. [AP]