Five things to do this weekend: Feb. 22-23
Cultural Rhythms 2014 (including host LL Cool J) at 3 and 8 p.m. at Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St., near Harvard Square. Tickets are $20 for the afternoon portion and $5 for the evening portion.
Cultural Rhythms is a daylong cultural festival showcasing performances and ethnic cuisine from more than 30 student organizations, and in this 29th year of its celebration part will be hosted by rap legend LL Cool J. (To be clear: He is hosting, not performing, in addition to being named named the Harvard Foundation’s 2014 Artist of the Year.) Tickets can be bought at the Harvard Box Office at 1350 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square (formerly the Holyoke Center, now called the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center) or at the event; or, with an additional $4 service fee, tickets can be bought by calling (617) 496-2222 or going online.
Fashion art and music from 6:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Out of the Blue Art Gallery, 106 Prospect St. Entry is $5 to $10 on a sliding scale.
Tara Ozella founded her Church of Vanity in 2010 to promote fashion as an art form and bring a specific kind of fashion fantasy to life: “avant garde fairy-tale princess with a dark glam-rock edge.” Along with a showing of her fashion art comes the music of Sophia Belle (“spicy folk alt-rock”) at 8, Anda Volley (“new harp vocal art songs”) at 8:45 and Audrey Harrer (“avante-rock chanteuse”) at 9:15 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided. Event information is here.
“Smoking Lesson” presented by the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Loeb Experimental Theater, 64 Brattle St., Harvard Square. Free.
Julia Jordan’s coming of age tale looks at the cost of growing up too fast. The students behind the play, including director Lelaina Vogel, describe the play this way: “Three 15-year old girls, made up of ringleader Mary Kate, follower Lisa Ann and outcast Tare go to the side of the Mississippi River every year to stand vigil for a friend who jumped off the bridge to her death. Twenty-seven-year-old Tom, the town ne’er-do-well mysteriously associated with their friend’s death, interrupts their ceremony to teach them to smoke. When Tare begins to pursue Tom’s affection, the characters hurtle down a path toward their destruction.” Reserve free tickets by emailing your name, desired showtime and number of tickets. (“Smoking Lesson” also shows at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27-28 and March 1.)
The Macrotones play very cool afrofunk at 10 p.m. Saturday at Atwoods Tavern, 877 Cambridge St., East Cambridge. The cover is $8, or $9.27 if buying online.
The 10-piece Macrotones formed in Allston in 2007 with a traditional afrobeat sound – but that didn’t last long. Now funk, soul, ethiojazz and rock infuse Macrotones performances, resulting in dark, persistent, interlaced rhythms with powerfully dense horn lines that give the tunes a bit of a retro feel and a sophisticated, dangerous lilt reminiscent of your years as a swinging spy in Paris, Berlin and Istanbul.
Chinese New Year festivities from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday in Harvard Square.
The Chinese New Year (we’re in a Year of the Horse) actually began Jan. 31, but since it only ends Feb. 18, 2015, it’s not so terrible to wait for mid-to-late February for this Eighth Annual Chinese New Year Celebration from the Harvard Square Business Association and The Hong Kong, the square’s 60-year-old Chinese restaurant.
The event begins at 1 p.m. as a Lion Dance Parade assembles in Winthrop Park at JFK and Mount Auburn streets. A half-hour later the parade takes off down JFK Street and then Massachusetts Avenue to The Hong Kong, 1238 Massachusetts Ave. From 2 to 4 p.m. there are musical performances, Chinese dancing and a magic show on the restaurant’s third floor and arts and crafts on the second floor including calligraphy, rice dough sculpture and lantern making. There will also be lantern riddles and prizes for participating winners. For information, call (617) 864-5311.
In addition, Sweet Cupcakes is offering “Year of the Horse”-themed cupcakes with fondant tops for $4.25. Sweet is at Zero Brattle Street.