Golden Dragon Parade: The Year of the Rooster is here, and one of the best-known celebrations will dance — make that lion dance — through Chinatown. It's the 118th year of this historic party, and the vibrant dragons, traditional costumes, and festive spirit are happy hallmarks found from start to finish. Other new year's revelries will be happening around the neighborhood, including a eats- and activity-filled festival at Central Plaza (calligraphy, dough sculpting, food trucks, and fruit carving await).
Kitten Bowl: If the Super Bowl is on approach, you're bound to see a bevy of events with "bowl" in the name. One of the heart-tugging-iest of all these happenings involve little furry critters pushing around toy footballs and meowing/barking while standing in a pup- or cat-sized "stadium." We can find this cuteness on television, but to see it in person, and to adopt a new friend (wiht the fees waived), head for the Pasadena Humane Society on Feb. 3 and 4. Cats'll frolic on Friday and dogs on Saturday, awww.
First Fridays open: No one would argue with you if you were to claim that dinosaur bones are some of the most popular things inside the Natural History Museum. But also popular? This first-half-of-the-year series, which happens every first Friday of the month (hence the easy name). Science-themed talks — the Feb. 3 event is all about food — and live music and DJs and strolls by the diorama displays are part of the party. It's popular, so ticket-up now.
Photography and Art: If you dig the flashy fashion-oriented snapshots of Len Steckler, a titan of 1960s and '70s-era advertising, swing by TheMattress Art Gallery at 10545 W. Pico Boulevard through Feb. 4 for a peek at "Reflections of the Man Behind the Mirror." And at the LA Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park? "Ours Is a City of Writers" debuts, an exploration of "the intersection of contemporary art and writing." It's on view from Feb. 5 through March 26.
Poppy Reserve Volunteer Training: Now hold up just one moment. It is not, repeat not poppy time in the Antelope Valley just yet. Not for weeks, and we don't even know what the bloom will be. But word is that January's storms could bring some solid poppy action, maybe, in March and April. Want to be a part of a SoCal sight spectacular beloved by many? Sign up to volunteer. You'll need to attend two volunteer sessions, on Feb. 4 and 11, to bone up on your poppy 411. Seriously, though: What if we have a carpet-type situation this year, after a few years of low poppy turnout? Dream big, poppy people.