This appeared in The South Asian Times on October 3rd.
If you have been thinking of celebrating Diwali with a twist this year, hop on to one of those hundreds of flights that fly daily into Los Angeles this festive season and experience the fun first hand. And don't forget to bring your family and a nice camera along. We've got something for everyone. And do it the Indian way - celebrate for a two week stretch.
We kick it off with some laughs and chuckles. First up is the 'Indian Stand Up Comedy' in Hollywood on October 3rd at 8 pm. Five talented Indian comedians blowing aside political correctness and masterfully breaking down every imaginable stereotype. With no topic off-limits, the result will be pure comedy: raw, revealing, and wildly entertaining. So brace yourself for two hours of non-stop, side-spitting entertainment. Details at http://www.indianinvasioncomedy.com
Who wouldn't want to shake a leg and dance to some pulsating beats? Tell you what. When you're maxed out on laughter, take a cab to from Hollywood to Tantra on Sunset for 'Club Bollywood'. The party starts at 10 on October 3rd and they've got a trio of DJs: DJ EsQue for spinning bollywood, DJ Desc for mixing bhangra with R&B and DJ Blaze for mixing bhangra with hip hop. And you can't beat this. They've got a live Dholi! What’s more, ladies are free till 11. Just get yourself on the guest list. It's easier than you think. Details at http://www.tantrasunset.com
Up next is the authentic diwali stuff. Keep yourself free and in the valley on October 9th 7 pm onwards. At the beautiful Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, Chilli Beats pulls off a live bollywood concert and dinner with style every year. It's called 'A musical diwali night by Chilly Beatz'. In case you're wondering, they're an LA based band who specializes in bolly music so mark your calendar and keep a spare pair of comfy shoes in the trunk of your car for dancing the night away post dinner. Details at http://www.chilibeatz.com
If you feel like avoiding all the glitzy events and opting for something simple and unpretentious instead, I've got the right thing for you. Pasadena Hindu Temple presents Indian classical, movie and folk songs, dances, skits and a whole lot more along with some mouth watering ethnic food & spiced tea. ‘HTHF diwali cultural program’ is happening on October 10th 7 pm onwards in Monrovia. So go ahead, call all your uncles and aunts there and make a big family event out of it. Details at http://www.pasadenahindutemple.com/1.html
If your or your little sis have been procrastinating that one trial Indian classical dance forever, here's your chance. On October 10th at the Music Center Plaza in LA, Lakshmi Iyengar is offering Bharatanatyam classes as a part of the 'A Taste of Dance' - an Active Arts program. I bet you've taken those hula dance classes in Hawaii. They're so fun. Go ahead try Bharatanatyam this time around. Details at http://www.rangoli.org/newsevents.htm
One of you has gotta be up for Carnatic Music. A unique ‘Music concert with Kadri Gopalnath’ with a Saxophonist, a Violinist and a musician who plays the Mridangam is happening on October 10th at 5 pm in Lakewood. Details at http://www.geocities.com/southindianmusicacademy/upcomingevents.html
It's the biggest Indian festival and we haven't elaborated on food yet. So here goes. My two favorite Indian restaurants, Tanzore and Gaylord in Beverly Hills are having a 3 day fest from October 14th to 17th. During the ‘3rd annual festival of diwali’, each night the festival will include food, couture fashion & jewelry, henna artists, Bollywood videos & films, modern & traditional dances, live Tabla & Sitar and DJ's mixing the latest sounds of Bollywood. After dinner you can walk into their adjacent banquet room where they promise to have an elaborate dessert buffet and stunning and colorful exhibition booths. People, this is a must do. And if you go, give the chef my regards. Details at http://www.tanzore.com
Finally, if attending a Kumbh Mela in India is on your list of 500 must do things before turning 75, wait no more. A very special 'Diwali and Kumbh Mela' event is happening at the Vedic temple in Montclair on October 17th. Details at http://yogam4you.lifeblissnc.org/events.aspx
Are those tickets booked yet? Happy diwali!