10 Awesome Things To Do in L.A. This Weekend, 4/8

Ellie Goulding performs at the STAPLES Center, the Skirball Cultural Center opens a new baseball-themed exhibit, and bibliophiles head to USC for the Festival of Books

ART: Chasing Dreams: Playing Baseball and Becoming American
For many immigrants, participating in the national pastime imparts a sense of belonging. It also gives them heroes. More than 130 pieces of baseball ephemera illuminate how players like Sandy Koufax, Ichiro Suzuki, and Joe DiMaggio became role models for minority communities. More information (April 7 – October 30, Skirball Cultural Center)

THEATER: Shelter
Interviews with undocumented immigrants from Central America, their social workers, and teachers are the foundation of a site-specific theater piece by Marissa Chibas that takes place around a shipping container. The cargo vessel stands in for the trains the travelers rode on their perilous journeys to the States. More information (April 8-17, Lincoln Park)

THEATER: Phantom Limb Company: Memory Rings
Choreographed by L.A. dance titan Ryan Heffington, this performance, video, and dance hybrid was inspired by the Methuselah tree, the California bristlecone pine that dendrochronologists have determined to be more than 4,800 years old. More information (April 8-9, Freud Playhouse)

MUSIC: Ellie Goulding
Not your typical pop princess: award-winning Brit Ellie Goulding plays clarinet and guitar, has a three octave vocal range, produces her records, runs marathons, and still has time to raise money for charity. More information (April 8, STAPLES Center)

MUSIC: Jim Lauderdale and Luther Dickinson
It’s Americana night at The Mint as beloved country songwriter and collaborator extraordinaire, Jim Lauderdale, opens for Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars (whose impressive double album Blues and Ballads, A Folksinger’s Songbook: Volumes I & II came out in February). More information (April 8, The Mint)

BOOKS: Pasadena Festival of Women Authors
Pulitzer winner Jane Smiley joins a stellar cadre of scribes who discuss the writing process. The roster includes Kristin Hannah, whose novel The Nightingale won the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction. More information (April 9, Pasadena Hilton)

CONFAB: Ready to Run
In a display of some serious girl power, Mount St. Mary’s University will host a campaign training event designed to encourage women to run for political office. The day’s programming will feature 15 speakers including elected officials from across California, political strategists, and campaign veterans. More information (April 9, Mount St. Mary’s University)

BOOKS: L.A. Times Festival of Books
The annual bash just keeps on growing, as organizers add scores of stalls sponsored by zine fiends and big-time publishers alike, more talks by megafamous writers, and food and musical offerings. More information (April 9-10, University of Southern California)

ART: Guns for Art
Artist Richard Ransier has taken the polarizing issue of guns in America to an artistic level. He met with law enforcement officials who were melting down guns for scrap metal and turned the weapons into art. Inviting 15 collaborating artists to share their viewpoint on this subject, this unique exhibition features mixed media, sculptures and photographs created out of guns taken from the streets. More information (April 9-23, Stone Malone Gallery)

PHILANTHROPY: Michah’s Voice “Back In The Day” Benefit Concert
Boyz II Men singer Shawn Stockman and his wife Sharhonda will host their second annual concert benefitting families affected by autism. The couple founded Micah’s Voice to support to families living with an autism diagnosis after one of their twin sons was diagnosed with the disorder. The Late Night Show‘s James Corden will guest host the event, with music performances by Boyz II Men and R&B artist, Tank.  More information (April 10, Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills)