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Damasio and Quick Kick Off First Fridays

USC College neuroscientists collaborate on opening forum of monthly discussion series at Natural History Museum.

Damasio and Quick Kick Off First Fridays


The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s popular First Fridays programs return Jan. 4 with a program on “Conscious Minds and the Minds of Others” that features two USC College neuroscientists.

Antonio Damasio, holder of the David Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience in the College and director of USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute, will speak on how the brain processes memory, language, emotions and decisions in a public forum moderated by neuroscientist Michael Quick, executive vice dean of USC College.

The inaugural evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a guided tour of “Treasures From the Vault,” an exhibit of some of the museum’s rarest and most delicate objects. The tour will be led by Margaret Hardin, the museum’s curator of anthropology.

The neuroscience discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m. At 8 p.m., indie-rock groups Sea Wolf and afternoons will perform in the Mammal Halls. DJs Allen and Hoseh of will spin throughout the night in the museum’s grand foyer, home of the famous dueling dinos.

This year’s First Fridays series has as its theme “Discovery in the Age of Mammals: Building Brains and Making Minds.” From the surprising ways that elephants communicate and the psychobiology of love to the creative practices of some of Southern California’s edgiest musicians, the series celebrates the complexities of the brain, how it allows mammals to express themselves and what its evolution can teach us.

Each evening begins with a curator-guided gallery tour, followed by a forum led by distinguished scientists, conservationists and authors. Neuroscientist Quick, who organized all the discussions, will moderate each forum.

After the forums, creative expression will be seen in action with live performances by musicians and DJs. Silverlake’s Spaceland Productions is a partner with the museum in curating the concerts, which range from alt-pop to acoustic acts. DJs from will play at each of the events.

The museum will stay open for these concerts until 10 p.m.

The other First Friday dates and themes are:

  • Feb. 1 – “The Elephant’s Secret Sense”
  • March 7 – “From Animal to Person: How Cultural Evolution Furnishes Our Minds With Thinking Tools”
  • April 4 – “Love and Feeling in the Age of Mammals”
  • May 2 – “How Does Evolution Build a Complex Brain?”
  • June 6 – “Beautiful Minds: The Parallel Evolution of Apes and Dolphins and What It Means for Human Origins”

Admission to First Fridays is free for museum members. For others, tickets are $9 for adults, $6.50 for students and children ages 13 through 17, and $5 for children ages 5 through 12. Advance tickets are sold via For more information, visit the museum’s Web site or call (213) 763-3466.

The National History Museum of Los Angeles County, open to the public since 1913, is the city’s second-oldest cultural institution. It has more than 35 million objects of natural and cultural history, one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections.