North America agenda: Coachella kicks off festival season, major graffiti expo 'Art in the Streets' opens in LA

Outstanding art exhibits, film and music festivals, award galas for top chefs and websites, and the auto show in New York City mark the upcoming spring events in the US and Canada. Also, days of note include April Fool's Day, Easter Sunday and Earth Day.

25th WonderCon
April 1-3
San Francisco, California

The upcoming comic book conference at San Francisco's Moscone Center offers a preview of ComicCon and several upcoming films. DC Comics will showcase Green Lantern with its star Ryan Reynolds, appearing with co-stars for a panel discussion. Other divisions unveil an animated film, a comic book, and video game. In addition to films, the event is a showcase for upcoming films appealing to the comic book crowd including speakers who've illustrated books such as Batman, Wonder Woman and Wolverine. There will be anime and a masquerade, among other features in the festivities.


12th Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
April 15-17
Indio, California

The US summer music festivals kick off with 'Coachella' in California attracting more than 100,000 fans with acts performing on multiple stages. Headliners include Grammy winners Arcade Fire, Kanye West, Kings of Leon, and The Strokes. Also the three days will feature PJ Harvey, The National, Robyn, Interpol, Lauryn Hill, Cee Lo Green, The Black Keys, The Kills, the reunion of Big Audio Dynamite and Suede, the
Chemical Brothers, and much more. Next up, Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Lollapalooza in Chicago, and in Europe there's Reading, Leeds and Glastonbury in the UK, Rockskilde in Denmark, and Fuji Rock Fest in Japan.


'Art in the Streets'
Museum of Contemporary Art/The Geffen Contemporary
April 17 - August 8
Los Angeles, California

This massive exhibit is the first by a major museum on the history of graffiti and street art in America, from the 1970s to present day, with a focus on the legacy of Los Angeles. From cholo graffiti to skate culture-inspired works, more than 100 artists will be featured will including work by Michel Basquiat, Blu, Banksy, Martha Cooper, Shepard Fairey, Stelios Faitakis, Futura, Keith Haring, Lady Pink, and Swoon. Also, two dozen artists have been commissioned to create installations and murals for the exhibit.


10th Tribeca Film Festival
April 20-May 1, 2011
New York City, New York

Co-founded by Robert De Niro, this event screens 135 narrative, documentaries and short films from American and international filmmakers in venues around town, as well as streaming and video-on-demand, to reach beyond the 410,000 attendees. With galas and awards, this spring event has eclipsed Lincoln Center's New York Film Festival in fall.


54th San Francisco International Film Festival
April 21-May 5
San Francisco, California

America's longest-running film fest, SFIFF screens 200 films and presents 15 juried awards, featuring live events with filmmakers in conversations, workshops and salons, attracting more than 80,000 attendees. The Film Society also presents the Persistence of Vision and Golden Gate awards to renowned filmmakers. A festival favorite is a special screening accompanied by a live musical performance. Other big spring film festivals in the US include the SXSW, Tribeca in New York, Miami and Seattle.

2011 New York International Auto Show
April 22 - May 1
New York City, New York

Since 1900, New York rounds off the North American Auto Show season and normally boasts a couple of high-profile debuts for the benefit of its visitors, which number over one million. The show traditionally hosts the prestigious World Car of the Year competition, selecting the winner from new models introduced around the world. Follow the event on Twitter@NYAutoShow.

42nd New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
April 29-May 8
New Orleans, Louisiana

A 10-day cultural feast filled with thousands of musicians and an audience of 400,000 enjoying music on 12 stages, spanning genres from blues to R&B and African to Latin. Artists have included Senegal's Youssou N'Dour to Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Connick Jr. and B.B. King. Arts and cuisine are also features of the fair. A hybrid of the city's Mardi Gras event and summer jazz fests from Detroit to Montreal.

15th Toronto Photography Festival CONTACT 2011
May 1-31
Toronto, Ontario

CONTACT is the world's largest annual photography event. It attracts more than 1,500,000 visitors each year. The month-long festival is organized in collaboration with 200+ galleries and museums throughout Toronto and exhibits work from 1,000 photographers. The year's theme, 'Figure and Ground,' will be explored at lectures, workshops and films. Additional photography events in 2011 include PHotoEspaña, Les Rencontres d'Arles, the New York Photo Festival, Photo London, Paris Photo and the Hereford Photography Festival.

15th Webby Awards
May 3 winners announced/June 13 gala
New York, New York

An international prize for the best of the internet for websites, interactive advertising, online film and video, mobile and mobile apps. Each of the 70 categories gets a Webby, awarded by the 750-member academy, including David Bowie and Richard Branson, and The People's Voice award is announced. Entries come from more than 60 countries with over 750 million media impressions and winners have included Google, Twitter, Flickr and iTunes.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Metropolitan Museum of Art/The Costume Institute
May 4-July 31
New York City, New York

Five collections from the fashion designer's 19-year career span Dante (1996-97), Number 13 (1999), Voss (2001), Irere (2003), and Plato's Atlantis (2010), as well as videos of his runway presentations up to McQueen's death last February. His dramatic and imaginative culture and identity display iconic designs, including his signature kimono jacket and Origami frock coat, as well exaggerated silhouettes spanning the 1860s to the 1950s. Approximately 100 examples include works crafted into romantic
narratives with technical ingenuity and innovative vision.

21st James Beard Foundation Awards
May 9
New York City, New York

Considered the "Oscars" of the US culinary world, this annual ceremony at Lincoln Center recognizes the "best and brightest" in America's culinary world. The gala event, begun by chef and food writer James Beard, also presents television and journalism awards on May 6 along with the 'Ultimate Melting Pot' reception featuring dishes created by chefs from across the country, representing the diverse ethnic variety. Similar awards include the International Association of Culinary Professionals competition and the World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards.