NEW YEAR'S RACE: Half-marathons are typically about being up with the dawn, chilly mornings, and sunblock. Moonblock is the order of the day at this funky race -- wait, do they make moonblock? -- as is a love of downtown's twinkle-window'd beauty by night. The starts-at-7 p.m. run hoofs it past Plaza Olvera, through Chinatown, City Hall, by Dodger Stadium, and the many lit-up buildings that dot downtown. Plus, won't you want to go for your post-race pancakes close to midnight instead of at noon? No need to go into 2014 in the usual way, we say.
PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: While much of SoCal puts away the Christmas ornaments and spends the first weekend of January recovering from a surplus of nog consumption, movie stars and movie lovers will be cavorting in the desert at this fest, which runs through mid-January. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks are two of the 2014 honorees at this first cineparty of the year, but, even if you don't see them, you can still see films, and a few swimming pools, too, we hope. Weather. Is. Perfect.
WHALE WATCHING OFF VENTURA: The go-out calendar may be quiet, as relatives bid us adieu and the season wraps. (We figure it's so quiet because a third of LA is doing laundry left by those relatives.) But it isn't quiet in the Pacific -- is it ever, though? -- and the whale teams are out in full, blowhole-y force. Does this mean you'll see one, definitely? Well, it's a tricky biz, whale-watching, but you'll have a fine day out on the ocean. What's not to love, especially after you've washed twenty towels left by the out-of-towners?
LIGHTS OUT: If all of that towel-washing and nog-sipping kept you from taking in some holiday light enjoyment during the season, this is the last last last and we do mean last weekend to catch some seasonal sparkle. Some of the theme parks still have their holly and bows up, yep, and the Mission Inn's four-million lights dazzle through Sunday, Jan. 5. And we do mean dazzle. It's the new year, we're not going to say things we don't mean.
AND... if you've been doing plenty of time contemplation and future-thinking this week -- and please assure us you have, since the first week of the new year is the Official Week of Thinking About Time -- check it out: All three "Back to the Future" films will show, in a row, at The Egyptian on Saturday, Jan. 4. Nope, we're still not up to the date and year of the third (update: make that second) "Back to the Future" -- that's Oct. 21, 2015 -- but, crikey wow, that's next year now. What?