What do Mayim Bialik, will.i.am, and Patton Oswalt have in common? They’re all on the schedule for this year’s 2018 LA Times Festival of Books, held annually over two days at the University of Southern California campus.
What originated as a book sale and show in 1996 has since grown into the largest literary festival in the country; annually, the event draws over 150,000 attendees and features more than 500 authors, celebrities, musicians, artists, and chefs.
Not just for bookworms, the 2018 festival lineup features everything from musical performances to author talks, variety shows, and live podcast tapings—all free, family-friendly, and open to the public.
This April 21-22, check out these 10 can’t-miss highlights (and more!) at the LA Times Festival of Books.
April 21, 10:25am–6pm
Curated by singer-songwriter Beatie Wolfe, this inaugural day-long program will represent the best in musical innovation and creativity through interviews, panels, performances, and screening premieres, including the global premiere of an architectural music AR installation. Featured speakers include Emmy-winning writer and producer Donick Cary, singer-songwriter Linda Perry, and composer Walter Werzowa.
April 21, 12pm–1pm
This edition of Spotify’s Secret Genius songwriting program, which features the individuals behind hit songs, shines the spotlight on Larrance Dopson. Dopson has produced songs for artists including Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, and Sam Smith, and will give the audience a behind-the-scenes look into his production process at this event in the Norris Theater.
April 21 12:10pm–12:50pm
This conversation between LA Times entertainment writer Jen Yamato and actress, producer, and TV host Vivica A. Fox will center around her new book, Every Day I’m Hustling. Released April 3 2018, the book details the ways in which Fox has used her roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic and DIY philosophy to build a successful career, as well as shares behind-the-scenes moments from some of her most star-studded projects.
April 21, 4:30pm–5:30pm
The Black Eyed Peas may be best known for songs like “Where Is the Love?” and “I Got a Feeling”—but this visionary group works in multiple mediums, including a graphic novel published last year. In this discussion, they’ll talk about Masters of The Sun: The Zombie Chronicles and its companion augmented reality app, which tackle social issues including the crack epidemic, police brutality, and gang warfare in Los Angeles in the 1980s.
April 22, 10:30am–11:30am
Hosted by Mortified, this panel will feature founder Dave Nadelberg alongside Lauren Iungerich (creator, MTV’s Awkward), Tom Tenowich (showrunner, Saved by the Bell), and others for a conversation about the evolution of teenage depictions in pop culture. Mortified produces podcasts, stage shows, and a TV and film in which participants share embarrassing diary entries (or art and songs) from adolescence with the motto of “We are freaks, and we are fragile, but we all survived.”
April 22, 12pm–1pm
Ask any Angeleno and they’ll tell you—Los Angeles has the best Mexican food north of the border. This event will look at the evolving influence of Mexican food on LA’s culinary landscape through a discussion with Wes Avila, Chef at Guerrilla Tacos, and Bill Esparza, blogger at Street Gourmet LA and author of L.A. Mexicano.
April 22, 12pm–1pm
Though she’s perhaps best known as the former lead of Blossom and current star of CBS’ Big Bang Theory, Mayim Bialik isn’t just an actress—she’s also a neuroscientist and author of books including Beyond the Sling, Mayim’s Vegan Table, and her latest, Girling Up. For this conversation with Chris Denson for his Innovation Crush podcast, Bialik will explore the nexus of science, geeks, girl power, and the written word.
April 22, 12:30pm–1:30pm
Join LA Times books editor Carolyn Kellogg for this conversation with comedian, actor, voice actor, and writer Patton Oswalt. Oswalt is known for his roles on shows including The King of Queens and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as his voice work for programs such as Ratatouille and The Goldbergs, and has won both Grammy and Primetime Emmy awards.
April 22, 1pm–2pm
Dawn Brodey and Kevin Yee host this special edition of The Trailer Trash Talent Revue, a live variety comedy show that mixes interviews, music, comedy, and improvisation. Audience members whose names are drawn from ‘The Bucket of Destiny’ will have the chance to compete in a physical challenge or trivia contest for a prize.
April 22, 4pm–5pm
Ever wonder what an artist was inspired by when creating a certain piece of work? Find out at Cover to Cover, where musicians, comedians, and authors will perform and discuss the works that inspired them. This LA Times Festival of Books event is hosted by actor and improviser Tawny Newsome of Bajillion Dollar Propertie$, and features musical accompaniment by Jordan Katz & the Elements of Style.