Valentine’s Day is around the corner and families, singles and couples alike are expected to attend Kulov’s eighth annual Valentine’s Tea Festival at 3 p.m. Sunday, February 10th, at Venice’s Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave.
The festival will feature teas and flavors from China, as well as an art exhibit and dance performances. Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door, while children under 12 are free.
The event is produced by creative director and producer Kulov, a communications specialist with a single moniker, and it has personal roots for the Bulgarian native, who says he started the festival with tea parties for his nieces in Holland eight years ago.
After he moved to Los Angeles, Kulov had the fourth and fifth installments as private parties for friends and clients around Valentine’s Day because his name contains part of the word “love.”
By the sixth installment he decided to make the event open to the public with a focus on different countries, starting with India. Then last year the festival took place at the Electric Lodge with a Japanese premise, and this year it’s Chinese.
While tea exhibitors such as 1001 Plateaus, Art of Tea and Dr. Tea’s will be on hand this year, the beverage isn’t the only feature of the Chinese culture celebration.
“The event revolves around the tea, but it’s really a cultural festival,” Kulov says.
The cultural aspect is evident with the event that coincides with the Chinese New Year of the Rat. In addition to tea tasting and ceremonies, there will be calligraphy and herbal medicine workshops, food specialties, music and dance.
Also, the Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art will have a reception in conjunction with the festival, and it runs through Thursday, February 28th.
It has brought out participants including Karon Morono of the Morono Kiang Gallery, which focuses on Chinese artists.
“We’ve been interested in doing a lot of more reaching out to the community, in terms of art and culture,” Morono says about her gallery’s involvement.
So they’ve loaned works from Beijing native Hong Hao, who has a map series that geographically reshapes the world according to various forces, and New York-based Emily Cheng.
Morono points out Cheng, who is Chinese with a Taiwan-Hong Kong origin, as one who particularly crosses cultures.
“She embodies the best of Eastern and Western culture,” Morono says, “just the way her work has evolved that way.”
According to information from the exhibit’s planners, Cheng takes fragments of images from past civilizations to create expressions of various internal states. So, the transformation ultimately re-contextualizes the images’ origins.
Among the other impressions set to be experienced at the festival are those provided by performances from the Chinese Cultural Dance Club at UCLA and the American Chinese Culture Association.
Grace Lin, a third-year undergraduate at UCLA, says the Chinese Cultural Dance Club got involved with the event because it relates to the group’s mission of sharing culture through dance.
The group plans to perform a Mongolian dance from Northern China and Mongolia, a Dai dance that is similar to those from the Thai culture, and a contemporary Chinese dance.
Lin says the latter dance will be “a mixture of the traditional Chinese dances of fans and ribbons with the contemporary element of ballet and modern dance.”
Kulov believes that the community element is influential for attendees.
“I think people just like that community feel of it,” Kulov says. “A few have said they wish L.A. was always like that.”
Information, www.kulovtea fest.com/