Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Announces First Fridays 2023 Season: Fandoms and Fantasy

This season kicks off Friday, February 3, with “Dragons, Lore, and More,” including
a conversation moderated by Dr. Yewande Pearse with Game of Thrones expert 
Dr. Rebecca C. Thompson, and live performance by Black Belt Eagle Scout
Los Angeles, CA (January 18, 2023) — The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) announced today the line-up for First Fridays, the Museum’s annual once-a-month, after hours series featuring a mix of science, live music, DJs, signature cocktails, and more. This year’s theme is First Fridays: Fandoms and Fantasy, which celebrates the intersection of pop-culture and fandom with science, research, and NHM’s own collections through thought-provoking discussions, up-close interactions with scientists and artists, and pop-up experiences. The returning moderator for this season is neuroscientist and science communicator Dr. Yewande Pearse. First Fridays at NHM launches on Friday, February 3.
This year’s theme focuses on how nature and science influence the creation of our favorite imagined worlds – from dragons and witchcraft to superheroes and giant monsters – and explores different fandoms and how specific areas of science have inspired the creation of characters, environments, and stories. Visitors will learn how the natural world influenced world-building and creature-making across all media, from feature films to comic books.
On Friday, February 3, the evening’s discussion will focus on Dragons, Lore, and More. Dr. Pearse, who is also the host of the podcast Sound Science, along with Rebecca C. Thompson, author of Fire, Ice, and Physics: The Science of Game Thrones, will talk about the science behind fantasy worlds and creature-building.
Live music and DJ sets will take place throughout the evening. February’s line up includes Chulita Vinyl Club, L.A.-based opener Ari Rivera, followed by headliner Black Belt Eagle Scout, an indie rock band that celebrates the beauty of being indigenous, fronted by Katherine Paul. Food trucks and cocktails will be available all evening in NHM’s outdoor Nature Gardens and guests can explore the Museum after hours.
Tickets for First Fridays are available now at NHM.ORG. The event is $20 for the public and FREE for Members. Advanced reservations recommended as limited tickets will be available at the door. For more information and to RSVP, visit NHM.ORG/firstfridays.
First Fridays 2023 is sponsored by Bank of America and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Returning for another season is First Fridays media sponsor KCRW. Event partner is IAMSOUND, INC.
First Fridays 2023: Fandom and Fantasy
Friday, February 3, 2023
Dragons, Lore, and More
DISCUSSION – 6:30-7:30pm (Level 2, North American Mammals Hall)
Dragons, Lore, and More with Dr. Rebecca C. Thompson and Moderator Dr. Yewande Pearse
What does the fantasy world’s made-up science, outlandish creatures, and fanciful environments look to the scrutinizing scientist? How can the fun fantasy science of our beloved books, shows, and movies be a gateway to the appreciation and understanding of fascinating real science? Join the Discussion with our guest Rebecca C. Thompson, author of Fire, Ice, and Physics; The Science of Game of Thrones and our moderator Dr. Yewande Pearse.
​​Rebecca C. Thompson, PhD, is a physicist and author of the popular Spectra series of comic books about physics. She is Head of the Office of Education and Public Outreach at Fermilab, the particle physics research facility near Chicago. She served as Director of Public Engagement for the American Physical Society from 2008 to 2019.
Moderator Dr. Yewande Pearse is a neuroscientist and science communicator. She has dedicated over ten years of research to understanding rare genetic brain disorders at both King’s College London and The Lundquist Institute at Harbor-UCLA. Her communication work includes hosting Sound Science on Dublab Radio and Inside Biotech, a podcast from Biotech Connection Los Angeles. She has also worked with Headspace, Seed, Deem Journal, NAVEL, Fathomers, Massive Science, TEDMED, and more.
DJ LOUNGE – 5-8pm (DJ Stage, Nature Gardens)
Chulita Vinyl Club / Linda Nuves, Que Madre, Trankis – 5pm-10pm 
Chulita Vinyl Club is made up of women, gender-non-conforming, non-binary, LGBTQ+ and self-identifying people of color. CVC launched with the context of providing a safe space for empowerment, togetherness and to utilize music and vinyl as a form of resistance against the erasure of culture. Each Chulita identifies with their own identity. They are not to be classified as one nationality or culture. The unifying denominator is that they come together over the belief that EL DISCO ES CULTURA and they believe that it is worth preserving and perpetuating.
LIVE MUSIC – 8-10pm (Level 1, North American Mammal Hall)
Headliner: Black Belt Eagle Scout
Black Belt Eagle Scout’s upcoming album, The Land, The Water, The Sky, rises and falls, in darkness and in light, but even in its most melancholy moments it is never despairing. That is the beauty of returning home. When you stand on ancestral lands it is impossible to be alone. You feel the arms and hands that hold you up, unwilling to let you fall into sorrow or abandonment. In her songs Katherine Paul has channeled that feeling of being held. In every note she has written a love letter to indigenous strength and healing.
Opener: Ari Rivera
Ari Rivera is a 20-year-old multimedia artist raised overseas and living in Los Angeles. A songwriter/producer who writes emo music with a pop sensibility, Ari released his debut EP ‘Leaving Flowers Out’ on the new year– a six-track project about teenage affection and processing loss. He is currently working on a follow-up project to be released later in the year and building the foundation for Harcourt Paloma, a creative studio/collective of artists and close friends.
Cosplay for Science (Ground Level, Otis Booth Pavilion)
The Cosplay for Science Initiative assembles scientists, educators, and cosplayers to bridge the connection between science and pop culture. Brought to you by the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology.
Golden Apple Comics and Art Foundation (Foyer, Next to the Dueling Dinos)
The Golden Apple Comic and Art Foundation was started by Kendra and Ryan Liebowitz, owner of the world-famous Golden Apple Comics on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The purpose of the foundation is to preserve, safeguard, and showcase private collections and ensure that comics, books, art, and collectibles are secured for future generations to enjoy.
UPCOMING FIRST FRIDAYS DATES (full schedules to be announced):
February 3, 2023: Dragons, Lore, and More
March 3, 2023: Witches, Wizards, and Magical Powers
April 7, 2023: Space, Time, and Beyond
May 5, 2023: Giant Monsters/Giant Robot
June 2, 2023: Superheroes