MUSEUMS FREE-FOR-ALL: It's still January, the official month of saving a little dough and not going out too much. But what if you could go out and do it for free, or mostly? And get some culture to boot? If you think we're about to type "you can!" here, you're correct. Well over a dozen cultural institutions are waiving admission during the Saturday, Jan. 26 and Sunday, Jan. 27 weekend, some for one day, some for both days. Parking may not be free but the looking? Gratis. Breathe a sigh, January budgets.
LIGHTS. CAMERA. CURE. If you ever wonder why those huge dance-a-thons, the ones where people stay on the floor shakin' their stuff for a chunk of the day, don't happen nowadays, wonder not: They do. Make for Avalon Hollywood on Sunday, Jan. 27 for six hours of fundraising and grooving. Cause? Helping the rally cry against pediatric cancer.
LA ART SHOW: Sometimes when a major event talks big, we have to gloss by it, because, you know. Big talk. But this billing is completely true and perhaps doesn't even go far enough: LA Art Show, which is at the Los Angeles Convention Center through Sunday, Jan. 27, is "the west coast's most comprehensive art experience." It's huge, it covers lots of time periods, and many people are there to learn, buy, socialize and soak it all in. Don't be overwhelmed. Be excited.
JAPANESE ANIMATION FESTIVAL: Movie fans may love the fact that our city goes into full-tilt Academy Awards mode at this time of year, but they may long for a little variety, too, outside of the statue competition. The Egyptian and Aero are saluting Miyazaki and the masters of Japanese animation starting on Friday, Jan. 25. "Ponyo"? "Spirited Away"? Yes and yes. Plus more goodies, too.
CHEESE WEEK: Don't mistake us -- we do love a good restaurant week. Vast choices are welcome choices, especially if you can't decide where you want to enjoy your dining discount. But Downtown Long Beach is putting the focus just on cheese, and cheese dishes, for the week. It's on through Sunday, Jan. 27, and there are several dairylicious choices on the big roster, including pairings with wine and beer. Restaurant weeks of the world? Some focus kind of rocks.