<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Events]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/the-scene/events http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Thu, 27 Nov 2014 21:58:37 -0800 Thu, 27 Nov 2014 21:58:37 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[1st Look Loves: Shobha]]> Mon, 17 Dec 2012 13:18:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/2012_08_Shobha_Columbus_Circle.jpg

What’s not to love about the Shobha? When you want to look your best and you need your eyebrows groomed as well as other parts of your body tended to, Shobha is the place to go. With over a decade of experience and excellence in hair removal, Shobha caters to a clientele that includes top beauty editors, A-list celebrities and busy New Yorkers.

Shobha is known for its consistent quality and client sensitivity embodied in its line of products and all-inclusive treatments for the brows, body and bikini area. Shobha herself, founder and entrepreneur extraordinaire, has fused her Indian cultural heritage with a high-powered business education and background (Harvard MBA, Fortune 500 work) to create a successful company infused with warmth and fantastic services and goods.

Good news for Washington, D.C.! !ith four upscale locations in NYC, Shobha will be opening its doors in spring 2013 in Washington’s Dupont Circle neighborhood. D.C. will soon see what Lucky magazine says about Shobha, “fast, efficient and ultra-hygienic!"

For more information, visit the website.

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<![CDATA[Finding Love on the Ice]]> Mon, 17 Dec 2012 12:06:05 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/1-03-09what.jpg

Speed dating? If you've done it, you likely have stories. Perhaps we should even put that in italics: stories. You have a story about the guy who nervously checked his phone the whole seven minutes you were together, or the woman told the same joke twice.

Or you come away having met your perfect match.

But taking speed dating out of the bars and putting it in the great outdoors is something that doesn't happen too often. Sticking the whole to-do on an ice rink is kind of genius. You see what a potential mate is made of, out on the ice. Do they help you not fall? Do they brag about their skating prowess, only to flub it? Do you two laugh the whole time?

The Holiday Ice Rink at Culver City is going to try just that on Tuesday, Dec. 18. Speed daters and people wanting to test the water -- frozen water, that is -- on the love front can sign up to take some spins around the seasonal attraction.

Complimentary mistletoe headbands will be handed out to the first 50 looking-for-lovers who show. You'll totally hang onto that, right, to show your kids? When you meet a great person also wearing the same headband? Christmas magic.

Speed dating hours are 7 to 8 p.m., so it is hardly a time commitment to stress about. Figure you'll get some exercise, some fresh air, and maybe a new honey. That, friends, is the holiday spirit at work.

Oh, and bravo, Holiday Ice Rink, for so cagily employing the term "break the ice" and "falling" for a new love.

Here's hoping lovers out on the rink will think up more analogies for finding a sweetheart on skates.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Looking Back on 2012 with 1st Look]]> Sat, 15 Dec 2012 22:33:14 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LOOKINGBACK.jpg Join host Ali Fedotowsky as we take a look back at the best of 2012. ]]> <![CDATA[1st Look's Best of Adventure 2012]]> Sat, 15 Dec 2012 22:33:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/BESTOFADVENTURE.jpg Join host Ali Fedotowsky as she takes a look back at some of 1st Look's most exciting adventures of 2012.]]> <![CDATA[The Autry Celebrates Las Posadas]]> Fri, 14 Dec 2012 12:37:10 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/185*120/Lasposadasautry.jpg

Many people would say that traditions are most important at the holidays, specifically those celebrations that remain nearly constant regardless of where and when they're observed. It's the constant part that connects us and brings meaning to the moment.

Las Posadas is certain a beautiful and long-running example of just that. The song-filled procession detailing the Mary and Joseph's search for an inn is reenacted in towns throughout Mexico and the Southwest each December. Many of the events happen on Christmas Eve itself, but more and more Las Posadas fill the weeks leading up to the holiday.

There are many places to join the candlelit walk around Southern California -- Olvera Street famously throws a multi-night celebration, complete with warm drinks and old-fashioned treats -- but the kids in your family can get a closer look on Sunday, Dec. 16 at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park.

Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet, Harmonies Girls Choir, and more performers are set to join the song-filled festivity. And it is truly a festivity on the move, as all Las Posadas gatherings are; the walk will journey throughout the museum.

Hot chocolate and Mexican sweet bread will also be served.

Your Autry admission gets you in.

The Western Heritage Family Day is that same day as well. The spotlight? The holidays, of course. Consider it two convivial get-togethers under one cultural roof.



Photo Credit: Autry National Center]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Holiday Boats, Nightlife, and Films]]> Sat, 15 Dec 2012 19:54:18 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/184*120/SantaMonicaPubCrawlHorn.jpg

SANTA MONICA PUB CRAWL: The mischief-making, oh-so-adult Santacon has come and gone for another year, but our city-by-the-beach's own home-grown dress-up-in-red-and-have-a-drink party is yet to come. It's year four for the outing, and a number of local taverns are on the merry beat. You've heard Santa Monica has a good bar or two, right? We tease. It's the holidays. They've got plenty. Saturday, Dec. 15

NAPLES ISLAND HOLIDAY BOAT PARADE: Marina del Rey's lighted-boats-on-water sailed last weekend, and the famous Newport Beach affair is next week. But we have a treat 'round these parts just ahead, and it is the Long Beach-close procession. How many lights should your mast hold? It doesn't matter in the end, but creativity, fun, and sparkle does. The theme this year is "A Holiday Salute to Our Olympians." Saturday, Dec. 15

FREE HOLIDAY MOVIE: Pasadena's Playhouse District has an especially sweet way of giving back to the community each year: a free film screened at the Laemmle Playhouse 7. This year the movie is "Disney's A Christmas Carol," there shall be singing and a Santa sighting, and the whole thing is set to be very merry indeed. It's happening on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 15, in case you have party plans that night.

GINGERBREAD AT ROY'S WOODLAND HILLS: A classic gingerbread house is one of the icons of the season, and yet it remains the confection that many people refuse to even try. All of those gumdrops and details can overwhelm, and how to make the walls stand? Restaurant favorite Roy's annual addresses this with gingerbread-making events during the month of December. The one in Woodland Hills is set to roll - or, er, apply frosting -- on Sunday, Dec. 16.

LONG BEACH CHRISTMAS COOKIE CONTEST: And speaking of sugary things, the annual LBC cookie contest is set for 1 Granada on Saturday morning, Dec. 15. We've heard of bake-offs in community centers and such, but we do love a cookie event that is open to an entire city. That's thinking big. Say, Los Angeles, maybe we can do one of these next year? 



Photo Credit: Colin Young-Wolff Photography]]>
<![CDATA[Singing in the LA Phil's Lively Yuletide]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 15:51:44 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/189*120/DonTikiWaltDisney.jpg

It took about 7.8 seconds for Walt Disney Concert Hall to become a classic Christmas venue for the city of Los Angeles.

Really, before it even opened, people probably already understood that they'd be sitting in its warm-toned space listening to bassoons and voices raised in carol-sweet cheer. And it is a prediction that has come to pass: Catching a concert at the downtown landmark near the end of the year is a must-do on many a list.

But the LA Philharmonic makes it pretty easy, in terms of offering a variety of holiday shows. A tiki-themed Hawaiian Christmas with Don Tiki, a show from the forever hip Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a dramatic organ offering, and "Wicked" star Idina Menzel singing in the New Year are all on the seasonal slate.

We're especially looking forward to Aaron Neville on Tuesday, Dec. 18 -- Mr. Neville will bring a New Orleans vibe to his performance -- and Julie Andrews at the Saturday, Dec. 22 sing-along.

Julie. Andrews. At Christmas. Please. That's nearly a movie in itself, right there.

It's an instant cheer-maker, and just the dose of big-city-charm-ness that Christmas movies so often tell us we need this time of year. The LA Phil implores us to Deck the Hall each year. Given that the hall in question is so singular and spectacular, that's a pretty easy feat to complete.



Photo Credit: Don Tiki]]>
<![CDATA[1st Look's Best of 2012]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 08:15:12 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/1LK_3191_WEB_PROMO.jpg Join host Ali Fedotowsky to take a look at the best "1st Look" moments of 2012, Saturday after "Saturday Night Live" on NBC.]]> <![CDATA[Tippi Hedren Talks "The Birds"]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 22:14:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Tippi-Hedren.jpg

When a Hitchcock legend visits Hollywood for a screening and a Q&A, it is certainly a big deal for legions of cinephiles.

Take Kim Novak's visit to The Egyptian a few years back to talk all things "Vertigo." And next up? None other than Tippi Hedren will be calling up Grauman's Chinese Theatre to chat about the one, the only, the feathery, "The Birds." The claw-and-screecher will screen as well.

The date is Thursday, Jan. 17.

If you've seen the 1963 Hitchcock suspense masterpiece, you likely still have a few images fluttering, like so many winged creatures, around your brain: Ms. Hedren making the frantic phone call in the phone booth. Or the crows gathering on the schoolhouse jungle gym. Or the frightening scene with sparrows descending down the chimney.

Us? We like character Melanie's iconic mint green suit. (We know, we know, that has nothing to do with any birds, per se, but the director and costume designer Edith Head had a way of dressing Hitchcockian heroines in some truly memorable outfits.)

Ms. Hedren is known for being very friendly with fans of the film, so bet she'll arrive with a few stories. She's even journeyed a few times to Bodega Bay in Northern California, the setting for the film, to meet with dedicated fans. Nice.

Red Line Tours is the host, and the occasion? "The Birds" is turning 50. Also, the tour company is launching a set of collectors tickets featuring famous directors on that same day.

An adult ticket is $13.50. Be sure to wear your mint green suit, and a small bird brooch or two.



Photo Credit: The Birds]]>
<![CDATA[The Grinch's Max Helps Home-Needing Hounds]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 14:24:10 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/doguniversal2012_1.JPG

Southern California has excellent animal adoption weekends throughout the year. And while a number of them attract actors who are involved in pet causes, there's a notable event that has a major entertainment tie-in -- a tie-in that covers a book and the show and film it later inspired.

It's the Max to the Rescue adoption festival, and if the name in the title makes you think of the sweet, antler-wearing pup from "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," you're spot on.

Universal Studios Hollywood is the location, which makes sense, given how the theme park is home to Grinchmas every December.

And within Grinchmas? There's a real dog playing Max. The pooch is a rescue every year, chosen from adoptable dogs. And in that spirit, the pup, and the theme park, share the love and bring several other dogs in for a two-day adoption event.

The dates this year are Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15. The adoption will be held in front of the main gates to Universal Studios.

A few things to note: People who adopt get a paw print certificate to take home, along with their new charge. Oh, and if you're going into the park that day? Your doggie will be cared for while you're inside.

The Grinch's own Max appears nightly when the tree sparkles on, if you want to see the star pup in action. And if you want to see more stars, of the human sort, keep an eye on the Universal Studios site to see what celebs are stopping by to read the famous book each night.



Photo Credit: Universal Studios]]>
<![CDATA[Theatre in the Dark Shines On]]> Tue, 11 Dec 2012 16:40:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Theatre-in-the-Dark_12.jpg

It's revealing that we have to be reminded, either via a self-help book or acting coach or television program, that there is worth in focusing on some or one of our senses while letting others fall momentarily to the background.

We're asked to do this in wine-tasting classes (focus: smell). And we're asked to do this in listening booths and concerts (focus: hearing).

But forgoing a sense, and awakening the brain in the process, is not a daily, or even monthly, activity for most. It's an intriguing notion, however, and a theater troupe is exploring just this concept via Theatre in the Dark.

Here's the spoiler about that title, which really isn't a spoiler at all: It's theater that's in the dark.

As in, total darkness. "(T)he audience is intimately confronted by actors" while "sound and spatial perspectives" shift. And lest you think there may be a shaft of light flooding in from somewhere, the words "COMPLETE DARKNESS" appear several times on the play's site.

It's been a bit of a sensation everywhere it has played, a tidbit that's further bolstered by the fact that it has been extended. It runs at the Odyssey Theatre on Sepulveda through Saturday, Feb. 9.

Call it an interesting alternative to all the holiday fare currently out there. Call it an unusual way to play with your senses.

And, yes, LA has now experienced dining under darkness and a Halloween-month haunted house that was held in pitch-blackness. Theatre in the Dark, though, is a new angle on something that is a bit frightening for some but quite compelling and even a little mysterious for many others.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, Theatre in the Dark is 90 minutes. That seems like a perfect length of time in which to be bold and try out something new. Not too long, but long enough to feel immersed in an unusual experience.



Photo Credit: Vesna Hocevar]]>
<![CDATA[Ping Pong a Go Go: SPiN LA]]> Tue, 11 Dec 2012 08:49:30 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/spineveningorange.jpg

The date, whether it involves potential lovebirds or good friends, has evolved over the years. There may have been a couple or two who shared one malt with two straws way back when, but today an evening out typically involves a movie, a bar, a plate of nachos, or all of the above.

Those are all fine things, of course, but sometimes you want to show someone you're interested in that you've got mad skills with a small paddle and you're not afraid of winning. Enter Ping Pong, or table tennis, a semi-strenuous activity that's custom-made for a night out.

SPiN NYC, the Big Apple's swanky, table-laden Ping Pong club, understands this; it's made tons of headlines, and yep, some of 'em are probably because Susan Sarandon is a SPiN honcho but most are because people like to see retro pastimes gussied up and made cool again.

Now SPiN is debuting its permanent venue at The Standard downtown. The opening party is set for Dec. 11, and then the tables will open for boyfriends and girlfriends and friend-friends and spouses and anyone who is looking to mix up the whole dinner-and-a-movie night out.

Two things to say: Susan Sarandon is cool. Also? Ping Pong has always been the best, whether it is played at a high-stakes tournament level or in a suburban garage. Taking it to a hip hotel doesn't necessarily up its cachet. Rather, we see it as another feather in the sport's cap (or paddle in its belt, perhaps).

Memberships to SPiN LA are available, or you can book a table and try to remember all your moves over the course of a single night.



Photo Credit: SPiN NYC]]>
<![CDATA[Starry Auction: The Estate of Greta Garbo]]> Mon, 10 Dec 2012 19:45:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/189*120/gretagarbocropped.jpg

"I want to be alone" is, hands down, the singular line most often quoted when the legend of Greta Garbo is mentioned.

But the private star had so many wonderful film performances, beyond that oft-cited "Grand Hotel" scene. Think of the drama-filled "Camille" or the oh-so-funny "Ninotchka." We're fans, like many are, of the mirthful moment where the seemingly stoic lady breaks into happy gales. And when she slides down the wall upon a bottle of bubbly being uncorked? Devastatingly romantic.

The Academy Award-winning movie star passed away in 1990, but her legacy indeed lives on. Julien's Auctions of Beverly Hills and the Greta Garbo Estate have paired up on a major event happening on Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15. From clothes to furniture to accessories to photographs, the collection at auction will include a host of unique personal effects "rarely seen by others."

A grey silk dress and an ottoman overcoat are two items that will be auctioned, as well as a hefty Louis Vuitton trunk.

It is hard to overstate the impact that the Stockholm-born actress had on women in Hollywood as well as role types, fashions, and acting styles. She was a trendsetter for the era and beloved for her mystery and allure. Look no further than the fact that she is a performer who can forever be known solely by her last name.

That's one award that's never handed out in Hollywood but many an actor desires.

Want to view the catalog online? You can. Want to bid online? That can happen, too.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade: A Look Back]]> Mon, 10 Dec 2012 15:23:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/94670723.jpg One of the best-known holiday parades on the planet is about to turn 104. Here's a peek back at some truly vibrant vessels.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[First Lady's "Night Before Christmas"]]> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 12:14:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/michelleobamareads.jpg First lady Michelle Obama teamed with actor Rico Rodriguez this year for the reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Supporting The Reindeer Project]]> Mon, 10 Dec 2012 12:35:17 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/reindeerproject12.jpg

It's a fine sign that a place you're visiting has a healthy amount of whimsy, local pride, and a commitment to community. We're talking about the over-sized animals and figures that are painted and decorated by local artists and then placed around town, both as pleasing art objects and often as money-raisers for an area charity.

We've had angels here in these parts, while other cities have had wild ponies and bears and other symbolic figures. Now Westfield Century City will be home to a number of large and brightly rendered reindeer through Tuesday, Jan. 1.

Aaron Axelrod, Couto Brothers, Max Neutra, and several other SoCal artists have painted and fashioned the acrylic animals in colors that are both holiday-like and vibrant. But the reindeer of The Reindeer Project are not out on display at the shopping center solely to be admired; they'll be raising money for Inner-City Arts.

If you're sweet on a particular piece, and you want to help out an important local arts organization, you can place a bid on an artwork. Could it even be a fine holiday gift for a reindeer-loving, philanthropic-minded individual in your life? Indeed. Consider it a pretty one-of-a-kind, big-hearted present.

You can bid here or call Joann Socrates at Inner-City Arts at 213-627-9621 ext. 115 for purchase info. Or just swing by Century City for a little reindeer cheer before the end of the year arrives.



Photo Credit: The Reindeer Project]]>
<![CDATA[A Movie Theater's 24-Hour Mega Telethon ]]> Sat, 08 Dec 2012 09:44:04 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cinefamilytelethonexterior.jpg

Film-loving groups have long called LA home, but our town has likely never seen the loosey-goosey, dead-serious likes of Cinefamily before.

The loosey-goosey part comes from Cinefamily's outlandish, you-pick-we-pick programs that cover every movie genre known to man, and a few made-up ones, too. The dead-serious part is that they know their stuff, from silents to works in pre-pre-production, and can talk smartly about what a gaffer does and '70s disco musicals and how animation influences live-action.

Simply put, Cinefamily, which has made the historic Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax its base, is one of our town's, and possibly the planet's, most important film collectives. And to maintain their merry mission of bringing the best of moviedom to the good people of LA they throw an annual fundraiser called the Fantastic Elastic 24-Hour Holiday Telethon.

It indeed happens over a full twenty-four hours -- it will roll this year from 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15 through 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16 -- and it summons a host of stars and lovers of offbeat cinema to talk, dress in costumes, imbibe, and engage in high-spirited tomfoolery.

One person set to show this year? Robert Downey, Jr. (word has it that Iron Man himself will be opening a time capsule in the theater). Other guests will include Jason Schwartzman, Nick Offerman, and John Hawkes.

You can watch online or, better yet, head for the Silent Movie Theatre to see the all-night, coffee-pounding, stubble-growing, tired-eyed, mic-wielding action.

The fundraiser will stir up some cash for a new projector and other upgrades the vintage venue is very much in need of. There's a Kickstarter campaign in conjunction with the telethon.

Cinefamily really does summon the support of the people who make movies. The fact that major stars'll show to support the one-screener is a testament to its vital role in our movie town's movie-loving scene. Here's hoping Cinefamily, and the Silent Movie Theatre, can keep the keepin' on keepin' on.



Photo Credit: Cinefamily]]>
<![CDATA[Go Snow Sledding Downtown (Really)]]> Fri, 07 Dec 2012 17:41:38 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/PershingSquareSnow12.jpg

"Snow in downtown Los Angeles" sounds like it might be part of an especially creative screenwriter's big science-fiction script pitch (we're seeing a few spaceships and dinosaurs in the mix, too).

It's outlandish, is the thing, and made for the cinema. Except on that special day of the year when a whole bunch of cold flakery really does arrive in the heart of our metropolis for a day of sledding and snowplay. Arrives via truck, we should say, rather than clouds.

And making it extra special? It's free.

It's the annual Free Holiday Winter Festival at Pershing Square, which is presented by the LA Department of Parks & Rec in association with Downtown on Ice, the square's seasonal ice rink. 

So what's on at the fest, besides a whole bunch of strange-to-see-in-downtown snowflakes? Santa, concerts, choirs, and craft-making. Basically the major mondos of the merriest season, and for most of the day, too. The fest is on from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8.

Wear your mittens for sledding, or possibly skating, too. We should add that ice skating is not a free part of the day, so be sure to arrive with eight bucks -- six for skating and two dollars for skate rental.

But the rest of the day? All snowflakes, no dough.



Photo Credit: Downtown on Ice]]>
<![CDATA[Lighting the Menorah Around LA]]> Fri, 07 Dec 2012 11:21:38 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/HanukkahFarmersMarketLA_crFM.jpg

The shelves are stocked with latkes and chocolate coins -- one of the holiday candies we most look forward to seeing again -- and the menorahs, tall and taller, are in place around Southern California. The first night of Hanukkah is nearly here, and the celebrations and songs are set to begin. Here are a few festivities in Los Angeles:

The Original Farmers Market: The landmark at Third & Fairfax gets a lot of love over the spirited building of its giant LEGO menorah, but there are many reasons to like this true community gathering. Songs, games, and all of those delicious and traditional Hanukkah foodstuffs for sale inside the historic market round out the celebration. Plus? A cantor soloist, too. Everything starts around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9, with the menorah lighting ceremony happening at 5 p.m.

More Lightings: Winterlit in Santa Monica will have three menorah lightings on Dec. 8, 10, and 11, plus a festivity on Sunday, Dec. 9. The lightings are each night at sundown, while the Sunday morning party starts at 10 a.m. Downtown Burbank has a 10-foot menorah near the AMC. A party on Saturday, Dec. 15 includes latkes and a kids' choir. And Universal CityWalk celebrates the Festival of Lights on Sunday, Dec. 9 starting at 6 p.m.

Skirball Cultural Center: The Center's annual Lights of Hanukkah Family Tour runs throughout the multi-day holiday each year, and is well-worth a visit. Lamps that are in the Skirball's collection and dreidels are part of the tour, as are shared stories and information on the history of Hanukkah. The tour is part of your Skirball admission. There are a few dates coming up, including Saturday, Dec. 8 and Sunday, Dec. 9.



Photo Credit: Festival of Lights]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Marina del Rey's 50th Boat Parade]]> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 21:32:41 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/MarinadelReyChristmasboat1.jpg

MARINA DEL REY'S 50TH BOAT PARADE: It must be the holidays in Southern California when people in bikinis dance atop sparkly boats after nightfall. We tease, a little; most people are warmly attired as they sail their glowing, highly decorated vessels for applause and kudos. There are several good viewing spots for the Saturday, Dec. 8 parade, including Fisherman's Village and Burton Chace Park. And, truly, the season in SoCal only starts after the first lighted boat parade has taken to the waters.

STROLLING STREETS CELEBRATE: Just about every December weekend brings another thoroughfare or stretch where businesses are banding together to put out cookies and good deals for lookie-loos and shoppers. Three nice ones are just ahead: vintage-sweet Fourth Street in Long Beach hosts its open house on Saturday, Dec. 8; Santa Monica's Montana Avenue strolls on Friday, Dec. 7; and food trucks and more will show at La Brea Avenue near First Street on Saturday, Dec. 8.

RENEGADE CRAFT FAIR: This traveling indie items-and-such festival visits some pretty cool places -- think London, Austin, and New York -- and of course our very own cool place. It's landing at LA State Historic Park on Saturday, Dec. 8 and Sunday, Dec. 9. Food trucks, tunes, DIY to-dos, and things to buy that are very good and giftable will be in the mix. Don't we have a bevy of excellent indie craft opportunities now 'round these parts? Shop local movement, you're looking quite healthy indeed.

GRAPHIC DESIGN FAMILY DAY: A lot of art-focused days for kids are fairly general. That's a great thing, and we're certainly applauding it where we see it. But this free Hammer day has a more specific focus -- think of the poster and typeset corner of the artistic spectrum. Graphic design isn't something that's often taught to young'uns, especially in a museum setting -- so, yeah, this feels fresh. Sunday, Dec. 9.

SANTACON: It's a bit notorious, it's a bit high-jinks-y, and it is definitely for the grown-ups. It's the annual Kris Kringle-attired flash mob that roams the lanes and pubs of our cities, looking to live it up and raise a glass or two. Even if you don't join, you're likely to see roaming packs of red-suited revelers if you're out in any particularly public spots on Saturday, Dec. 8. Oh, and LA is just one of dozens of cities around the world that is set to be be-Santa'd over the coming days. Ho ho ho.



Photo Credit: Marina del Rey Boat Parade]]>
<![CDATA[The Little Lane That Could]]> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 12:14:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ChristmasTreeLane2010.jpg

One takes pause prior to referring to the massive deodars that line Altadena's famous Christmas Tree Lane as "little." So when we call Christmas Tree Lane "the little lane that could" it is for other reasons.

A principal reason is it is a thoroughfare with a lot of pluck. Intense and destructive windstorms whipped through the area in late November and early December of 2011, taking down some branches and giving organizers a lot to chew on. Should the show go on, the annual lighting of the tall deodars, only a couple of weeks following the winds?

The answer to that was a big yes. The show did go on, the trees were lit, and it became a moment of community coming-together-ness and celebration. And the show is set to go on again, as it has for the last 92 years. The beautiful and historic sentinels that line the lane will go a-twinkle for the first time this year on Saturday, Dec. 8.

Santa Rosa and Mariposa is the corner you want to head for. The party starts earlier in the afternoon, and the trees get glowing at 6 p.m.

If you can't make opening night, the trees will be on every night through Jan. 6. They usually twinkle on around 6 p.m. and stay on through 11 p.m. to midnight. They're free to view.

Oh, and the other reason we cited the vintage-sweet "Little Lane That Could" phrase? Christmas Tree Lane marks its 92nd year this year, meaning it is one of SoCal's finest stories of weathering the good times and the windy times, too. It's certainly one of our best living monuments, a stretch that will soon celebrate its centennial.

And props to all those volunteers who start stringing the lights in mid-October, too. A huge task, indeed.



Photo Credit: Christmas Tree Lane]]>
<![CDATA[Van Gogh Self-Portrait Makes SoCal Stop]]> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 13:52:08 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/VanGoghPortraitNortonSimon.jpg

While Southern California is home to many a famous work by Vincent van Gogh -- though we'd amend that statement to say there probably aren't any truly unfamous works by the 19th-Century painter -- there are no portraits among our museums' permanent collections.

Perhaps you've seen the master's "Irises" at the Getty Center or "The Postman Joseph Roulin" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. But that classic van Gogh portrait, with the form and feel that's so iconic? Not here.

That will change, at least for a good four-month stretch, when van Gogh's "Self-Portrait," painted in 1889, goes on display at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. The masterpiece, on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, goes on display on Friday, Dec. 7 and will be on view through March 4 of next year.

It's "the first time the painting has been on view on the West Coast," says the museum. It's also a significant work, given the fact that the artist painted it while resting at Saint-Remy following one of his tragic breakdowns.

The museum is also the permanent home of the artist's vibrant "Mulberry Tree," so be sure to see that if you make a date to see the portrait.

It's a brief window, to be sure, but consider the institution's front-and-center placement during the upcoming Tournament of Roses. Many a visitor will see the artwork, in addition to locals, one can hope and presume.

Image: "Self-Portrait," 1889, Vincent van Gogh (Dutch 1853-1890), oil on canvas, 57.2 x 43.8 cm (22 1/2 x 17 1/4 in.), Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney, National Gallery of Art, Washington



Photo Credit: National Gallery of Art]]>
<![CDATA[Lots of Tubas Playing All at Once]]> Fri, 07 Dec 2012 15:17:43 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TubeXmas51888738.jpg

Remember when you were just a tot and you'd see a rather artsy cartoon come on? It was about the symphony or the arts and it featured classical music and an introduction to the orchestra.

All the big animation houses dabbled in this sort of cultural cartoon a few decades back, and all portrayed the tuba in pretty much the same way, as a gruff, deep-voiced character who simultaneously was a bit comical and a bit commanding.

It's an instrument with mettle and moxie, in short. 

And when dozens of tubas, and their players, line up in a row come December to toot out a few brassy carols, the effect is rather spectacular. The event is called Tuba Christmas, though dubbing it a mere "event" seems deeply unfair.

Why? Because it has been around for almost 40 years and continues to grow. Because it raises the profile of a wonderful instrument. And because hundreds of Tuba Christmases show up around the country each December. They're festive -- the tubas are often decorated -- and draw big crowds wearing their holiday best (or at least lots of green and red).

It's just a fact that people like hearing, and seeing, 100+ giant brass beauties all playing "Jingle Bells" at the same time. It's rather epic, in a way.

Now, where to find one? The Tuba Christmas site has a drop-down of places around California set to tuba it up this season. There's a show in Anaheim at Downtown Disney on Saturday, Dec. 22 and one in Los Angeles at Forest Lawn's Hall of Liberty on Sunday, Dec. 16. Need more locations? Okay.

And here's a fun factoid: Scott Wilkinson, coordinator and conductor of TubaChristmas Los Angeles, tells us some 200 tubas are expected at the LA show and about 500 in Anaheim. Five. Hundred. Tubas.

Tuba Christmas is free to attend. Now that's something to get a bit brassy about.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Free Family Art Day Focuses on Graphic Design]]> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 10:30:09 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/graphicdesignhammer1.jpg

We're lucky to live in a city where the free family art day reigns supreme. Whether a table or two is set out with some construction paper and rubber cement or an instructor swings by a playground for a quick dance lesson, there are a bevy of ways to introduce tots to culture.

But narrowing down the art to specific forms, at least in terms of kid days, is less common. That's why the Graphic Design Family Day at the Hammer Museum is catching our curious eye. The Sunday, Dec. 9 day, which is indeed free (though parking below the Westwood institution is a couple of bucks), will put the focus on typeset and posters and the other hallmarks of the graphic design world.

Workshops will include You're Just My Type! Experimental Typography + Collaborative Design -- that's for ages 6 and above -- and class in Graphic Posters. Oh, and zine-making, too.

Kids are already inclined towards many of the graphic arts, so consider this an outgrowth of the things they naturally like to play at, including poster-making and book-making and the putting together of images and words, either from cut-outs or their own drawings.

In short, graphic design isn't the sole area of serious-minded adults on a career path. It can start younger, and bring focus, to an aspiring designer. And all for free, too.

A photo booth and a free picnic lunch are part of the day.



Photo Credit: Hammer Museum]]>
<![CDATA["The Nutcracker" Gets a Local Twist]]> Thu, 20 Dec 2012 22:12:37 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NutcrackerSwingsLA.jpg

All cities are laden with historic highlights, of course, but it takes a certain sort of place to be rich in myth and legend and fable and story-making ability.

If you think the sentence that follows such a grandiose statement will include the words "and Los Angeles is such a place," you'd be right. Pretty much any neighborhood or era associated with our metropolis could be re-imagined and honored through the prism of a classic tale.

Like "The Nutcracker," for instance. Tchaikovsky's famous ballet is famously re-imagined year-in and year-out, but rarely does it get a distinctly local treatment. It will in the hands (and toe shoes) of the City Ballet of Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 21 and Saturday, Dec. 22. That's when "The Nutcracker Swings" gets swingin' at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Hancock Park.

Tickets range from $25 to $50.

You know the historic Ebell is in Hancock Park, of course, but we mention the location because that is also the setting of this particular "Nutcracker." Picture Hancock Park in the early 1940s, with Duke Ellington on the radios and a World War II hero on stage.

Don't you love watching a production when it is staged in the place that happens to be the setting for the production? Call it meta. Call it satisfying, even.

The City Ballet of Los Angeles is both cutting-edge and community-oriented. Cutting-edge because the troupe's productions very often incorporate music genres not normally found in ballets, and styles, too; call the approach avant-garde-ism, with flair.

And the community-oriented part stems from the fact that they are very much about helping kids who might not be able to take dance lessons because of cost factors.

Cheers, City Ballet, and cheers to all companies that set a classic tale right here at home.



Photo Credit: City Ballet of Los Angeles]]>
<![CDATA[Pasadena's Free Holiday Treat]]> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 10:12:55 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/PasSantaMovieDec.jpg

December is a pretty famous coming-together time for a lot of people, both physically and in spirit.

We also come together on the things we like and don't like about the holidays. Dislikes may include hustle, bustle, not being able to find the item your child specifically requested, and an excess of egg nog consumption.

Likes? Those are plentiful, thank goodness: helping others and heartwarming movies and all the free, community-oriented stuff that pops up over nearly every weekend of the month.

The Pasadena Playhouse District regularly leads that particular pack every yuletide with its Merry, Merry Movie presentation. The upshot? It's a free movie at the Laemmle Playhouse 7, Santa typically shows, and there are other holiday goodies hither and thither.

Oh, we used "hither and thither" there because this year's flick is "Disney's A Christmas Carol," and that phrase just sounds like something Scrooge might bust out in a ye olde English moment. This is the Robert Zemeckis film starring Jim Carrey (there are dozens of versions out there, so we wanted to clarify.)

Date is Saturday, Dec. 15; time is 10 a.m.

Plus, you'll be in the Plahouse District, and near Old Town Pas, meaning any shopping you still need to do can be done. We know, "hustle" and "bustle" both fall on your "do not like" list, but they're just part of the month, right?



Photo Credit: Pasadena Playhouse District]]>
<![CDATA[1st Look Loves: "The Dash Snow Initiative"]]> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 12:25:10 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/dash-snow-initiative.jpg

Among the glittering events happening in Miami for Art Basel is a private dinner and auction presented by Chanel and Paddle8.com to benefit the Henry Street Settlement’s Boys & Girls Republic (BGR) and the Dash Snow Initiative.

A group of Snow’s closest friends are honoring his memory by raising funds for an after-school program in his name, and the artists donating works include high-wattage names, such as Julian Schnabel, Ryan McGuinley, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince and Dan Colen, among many others.

This unique project honors Snow’s legacy by giving back to the most vulnerable youth in BGR's community, a neighborhood with significant meaning in Snow's life.

Bidding is open until tomorrow, December 5th at 12pm EST — please visit Paddle8.com for more information.

]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Elephant Plays with Mom]]> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 13:50:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/BabyElephant1204.jpg The Oregon Zoo's new Asian elephant calf plays in wood shavings with her mom, Rose-Tu. The female calf was born at 2:17 a.m. on Nov. 30 and weighed 300 pounds. ]]> <![CDATA[The 25¢ Chinese Theatre Flicks Bid a "Wonderful" Farewell]]> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 18:36:59 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/201*120/WonderfulLifeGraumans.jpg

It'll be a few years before Grauman's Chinese Theatre hits a milestone -- and its centennial is 15 years away -- so we hope everyone soaked up all of those 85th anniversary deals.

Oh, you hadn't heard? The Hollywood landmark lowered the prices of several screenings to something recalling a 1927 admission fee. Hello, 25 cents!

The multi-movie celebration was a hit, with several sell-out nights, but as anniversary years come to an end so do anniversary-year celebrations. Meaning that the final flick on the Grauman's pay-only-a-quarter schedule is set to roll.

And it is a doozy, totally big leagues, the Christmas movie among Christmas movies. It's "It's a Wonderful Life."

The date is Monday, Dec. 10. As mentioned, the price is 25¢.

Honest? Fans of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed paid more than that to see it in theaters back when it debuted in 1946.

There's an additional treat, too, as there often is with the Chinese Theatre: Mr. Stewart's cement hand-prints have been restored and will be on display, as will his Madame Tussauds wax figure. Also? Show with an unwrapped toy that's ten dollars or more (and get a free popcorn).

We love that this is the final film of the theater's big year. After all, the film's fabled Bedford Falls is actually Los Angeles. Well, it was actually constructed in Encino, to be exactly accurate.

Isn't that the coolest, citizens of Encino? We'd break out that factoid every few days, if we were you.



Photo Credit: It's a Wonderful Life]]>
<![CDATA[Christmas with the LA Master Chorale]]> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 12:40:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SantaLAMasterChorale.jpg

It's hard to talk about the seasons of singing in a city like ours, because a lot of people here make a living from their voices and musical talents.

But for many people, both here and in other places, their desire to sing remains hidden throughout the year. There just aren't opportunities to raise the voice in song, except for the shower, the car, and during a warbly rendition of "Happy Birthday."

December, though, is the official month for coming together to sing, which means that every opportunity should be seized. A fine one, of course, and perhaps the most famous 'round these parts, is the LA Master Chorale's "Messiah" sing-along.

It's popular, it's joyful, and audience participants come out to SING, all capitals. Believe it. Picture with your ears, if you will, some 2200 voices warming the epic spaces of Walt Disney Concert Hall. Nice, right? That's on Monday, Dec. 17.

Should you not want to sing along, but rather would prefer to be sung to, the Chorale can oblige. Handel's "Messiah" comes back around on Saturday, Dec. 22.

There are other seasonal concerts in store from the huge, hefty-piped chorus, including a Festival of Carols on Saturday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 15.

And shouldn't we all make a resolution to sing throughout the year, not just in the shower? Take inspiration from all of our neighbors who work in the music business. Singing, loud and proud, is a happy thing.



Photo Credit: LA Master Chorale]]>
<![CDATA[Universal's Grinchmas Welcomes Celeb Readers]]> Mon, 03 Dec 2012 09:30:03 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Grinchmas12_107499076.jpg

If ever one is allowed to be overly sentimental and nostalgic, it is during the month of December. We long from things from our childhoods, and memories of those things grow.

Us? We've been wishing for a good televised holiday variety special, where, at the end, the audience finds out the role of Santa or Jack Frost was actually played by some major celebrity.

That thrill of the changing-holiday-celebrity, though, still exists, and it exists in person, at Universal Studios every December. That's the time the theme park stages Grinchmas, its annual Who-stravaganza. But it is also a bit of a who's who, too; different actors and notable types show at the park each day of the Grinchmas run to read the famous Dr. Seuss tale aloud.

Past celebrity readers have included Bob Newhart, Fred Savage, and Brandy.

But hearing a beloved tale told by a notable personage isn't the only Christmassy element to the green 'n furry extravaganza. Whos will run amok, singing and acting cheery, as Whos tend to do. Max will cameo, in the form of a real pup. And there's a visit to Who-ville on the Universal Studios backlot, too, to plan for.

Plus the Grinch himself. He may be a mean one, but he's certainly not a shy one, so you'll see him around, scampering and glowering in a Grinchly fashion.

Your park admission gets you into all the Who-y doings.

Grinchmas opens at the Universal City destination on Saturday, Dec. 8. It's on on that Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9, then it gets going in earnest from Dec. 15 through Dec. 31, when the Grinchmassy goings-on will happen daily. To follow what celebrities are set to read, click here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cirque du Soleil Announces the End of "IRIS"]]> Sat, 01 Dec 2012 10:20:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Hybride_Cirque.jpg

Every Hollywood-based enterprise hopes for that hallowed Hollywood ending, but for Cirque du Soleil's "IRIS" it was not to be.

The elaborate production, which has held a permanent home at the Dolby Theatre since July 2011, announced on Friday night that it would be ending its Tinseltown run. The reason given to Facebook fans? "(D)emand has not met projections."

The circus-y spectacular, which featured whimsical reveries about the film industry, is produced by the Montreal-based company, an organization known for sending its quirky, clown-packed extravaganzas to all points of the globe. When "IRIS" was announced in 2010 no end date was given to the run; a multi-year show that could anchor live entertainment on the heart of the boulevard was the initial hope.

"IRIS" has been performed over 500 times. The company will "redeploy" the performers and behind-the-scenes-ers employed by the show to other Cirque projects.

The final date is Jan. 19, and all later shows in January have now been canceled. Cirque du Soleil is offering refunds or exchanges for those tickets; details are here.

Certainly the colorful cameo by "IRIS" characters in the recent Hollywood Christmas Parade feels bittersweet, indeed.



Photo Credit: Mark Dulong/Cirque du Soleil]]>
<![CDATA["A Christmas Carol," However You Want It]]> Fri, 30 Nov 2012 13:01:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/242*120/ComedySecondXmas1.jpg

There's a very small yet iconic subset of plays and movies and books that regularly get revisited and updated for modern times.

"The Wizard of Oz" is certainly one such property; how many sitcoms have gone down the Yellow Brick Road? "Pride & Prejudice" is up there, too.

But no other property has shown the staying power, or perhaps come-back-around-every-December power, of "A Christmas Carol."

It's easy to see why, of course. The Charles Dickens tale of a sour, parsimonious man, some nocturnal ghosts, and the beauty of redemption and reawakening of the soul, will resonate as long as there are humans to read and watch it.

And every year multiple theater companies in Southern California and around the world revisit the story, in faithful and satiric and musical ways. 

There are a number of offbeat "Carols" playing now, or soon to debut, so fans have their pick as to how they wants to get their ghost on. 

Here are three unusual choices around town:

"The Second City's A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens" is on now at the Kirk Douglas in Culver City. It's mirthful, it's sassy, it's beyond irreverent, and you'll see shout-outs to other classic stories of the season. Plus, random celeb cameos! 

"Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol" takes a look at the story through the ghostly eyes of Scrooge's former business partner. That's interesting, right? We always liked Marley -- well, and felt sorry for him, too -- so he deserves more stage time. It's happening downtown.

"A Mulholland Christmas Carol" has a name in the title that suggests it definitely has a local focus. And is there also a dam in the plotline? Indeed there is. The Theatre of Note once again presents its cheeky and acclaimed musical about a certain historic figure.

Yep, it's a musical. Oh, "A Christmas Carol." Is there no form you can't take?



Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz]]>
<![CDATA[White House Holiday Decorations ]]> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 12:14:26 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/Michelle-Obama-Christmas.jpg With the holiday season just around the corner, Christmas trees and piles of present decorate the White House. Take a look at some of its best decorations.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Making Merry With Santa in Malibu]]> Fri, 30 Nov 2012 12:18:38 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/SantainMalibu12.jpg

When we think of ambassadors for our city, we're apt to think of real people, or perhaps characters, or even icons (we vote for the Felix the Cat neon sign in that category).

But there's a whole community that serves as SoCal's most enduring ambassador to the world, to myth, and to the Land of Pop Culturedom. It's Malibu, of course, a city so famous it has joined the "known by two letters" rank. (LA, NY, and SF, you're all chill with the 'Bu, right? Good.)

Sometimes, however, Malibu can get a bit pigeonholed as the place where summer never ends and bikinis are rarely hung out to dry. That can make it tricky come the holidays, which PCH-adjacent people celebrate just like the rest of us. 

What does a place do when they're so associated with sunshine and warmth come December?

Well, invite Santa to stop by, for starters, which Malibu Country Mart will be doing in December.

The seasonal revelries will unfurl over three weekends starting on Saturday, Dec. 8.

On the docket? Mr. Claus, as mentioned, real reindeer, and dreidel- and cookie-decorating parties. This is all happening in the convivial central spaces of the Mart, so those classic Pacific breezes will provide the desired chilly air. 

Yes, world, winter does come to Malibu; sometimes it even drops to the high 40s at night.

Meaning, in the end, that Kris Kringle is in his element, regardless of the area's beach-and-sun-loving reputation.

And that tony reputation the city carries, too? Check this: All holiday happenings at the Mart are free. That's the 'Bu, feeling the holiday love.



Photo Credit: Malibu Country Mart]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: LA Auto Show and More]]> Fri, 30 Nov 2012 14:04:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/223*120/LAAuto_157074084.jpg

LA AUTO SHOW: There's so much razzmatazz associated with this gleaming fender of an event that it is hard to land on what one likes best. The applause-filled unveilings? The vehicles that do everything short of making you breakfast? The test drives and big-name appearances? Or the vintage beauties that get another look? You'll have time to decide what you like best, or perhaps you can like a little of everything: The mega show's on at the Los Angeles Convention Center from Friday, Nov. 30 through Sunday, Dec. 9.

IT'S A WRAP: With the end of November comes the end of Movember -- funny how that works -- meaning that all the guys who've been growing mustaches to raise funds for men's health will now turn to the shaving kit. Or turn to hair specialists to shave off their fundraising 'staches. A few wrap-up parties, including one at Rudy's Barbershop in Santa Monica, are filling out the weekend calendar. We're just wondering how many lads intend to keep the 'stachery going through the winter after being told how facial hair works for them? We bet a lot.

DOWNTOWN BURBANK HOLIDAY CHEER: How does Burbank do it? "Big" is always the answer, regardless of the question. When you're the official home of Mediadom, you have to go all out during the splashiest month of the year. And Burbank intends to, from Saturday, Dec. 1 right through to New Year's Day. Santa sightings, tree lightings, and a bevy of spend-no-cash happenings heavy on the tinsel will fill the calendar. Burbank, ILU.

UNIQUE LA: Small Business Saturday certainly got the buzz over the holiday weekend, but buying local and supporting the efforts of your neighbors goes on. Example A? This mega crafts-and-arts fair, which is set to take over the California Market Center's penthouse on Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2. Cocktails, a photo booth, and other quirky goodness are on the bill, which includes tons of offbeat items for you to purchase. Entry's ten bucks.

HISTORIC PLACES: We are never ones for passing up a good lookie-loo-ing opportunity, and there are two fine ones just ahead. Castle Green is holding its annual holiday tour on Sunday, Dec. 2, and if you've never peeked inside one of Pasadena's more stately buildings, take this opportunity. It's usually just open to residents. Also that day? LA Conservancy is screening "A Christmas Story" at The Orpheum. Ohhh, Orpheum. We realize we just told Burbank we loved it, but you are very high on our favorites list, too. Please know that, 'k?



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rockefeller Tree-Lighting Time Lapse]]> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 11:52:32 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tree_add_P10.jpg A time-lapse video of the tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Love, the Sea, a Song, and Cole Porter]]> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 11:36:33 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/AnythingGoes2012.jpg

True or false: A big musical that runs during the holiday season must arrive with all the traditional trimmings. There has to be a chorus performed around a blazing hearth, a man in a Santa suit, some dancing toys, and a sleigh that flies above the audience.

Lovely things, all, but the answer, of course, is false; our theatrical past offers a bevy of productions well-suited to running during the glitteriest time of the year, sleigh bells or no sleigh bells. And at the top of that stellar stack sits "Anything Goes," Cole Porter's hit-filled swoon-a-thon that's all about high seas, high emotions, and approximately 74 percent of the greatest musical songs ever written.

"Anything Goes" opened at the Ahmanson Theatre on Wednesday, Nov. 28. Closing date is Sunday, Jan. 6.

Now, about that "74 percent of the greatest musical songs ever written" claim. Take a look at the ditties that sparkle from this production, like so many jewels around a dowager's neck: "You're the Top," "It's De-Lovely," "I Get a Kick Out of You," and "Anything Goes." Any musical worth its big-eyed ingénue and plucky guy down on his luck would wish for a fourth of those hits.

And as for the plot? There's a trip out to sea, amour, disguises, rumors, intrigue, comedy, and a whole bunch of lovey-dovey eyes being made across the stage. "Anything Goes" was born in the early '30s, a time when people were looking for a lot of lovey-dovey-ocean-liner high jinx in their entertainment. This plot certainly delivered, and delivers still.

It's a perfect holiday treat, right? We're certainly not knocking the tropes of yuletide entertainment, but given the number of cheery, affirming musicals out there, with songs we all adore, why not put a spin on the season now and then?



Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[An Ocean of Yuletide Cheer]]> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 15:04:05 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/AquariumSantaTwo.jpg

Zoo animals may be given pumpkins to eat (and play with and roll around and dig inside) around Halloween, but the aquarium fish are very often visited by Diver Santa come the holidays.

We couldn't choose what event is more picture-ready -- a monkey sitting inside a gourd is pretty dang cute -- but Diver Santa is definitely growing in popularity, and certainly at the bigger aquariums around the globe. Our own Aquarium of the Pacific puts out the invitation to Kris Kringle every year, and the Jolly Old Elf obliges, as he will again on Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2.

The crowd-pleaser is indeed the man in the red suit swimming inside the aquarium's mega lobby tank, but there are other holiday-sweet parts of the day. Otters savor candy cane-shaped ice treats and lobster tails. A few snowmen will show up in various parts of the ocean-loving institution as well. Plus there'll be snowfall in the Blue Cavern.

Meet-and-greets with Santa Otter, holiday storytelling, and other seasonal haps are on the agenda. Which you'll want to check out if you want to see a particular feeding or show. It's a pdf.

If you have some extra time at the aquarium, a new show opens on Saturday, Dec. 1 Name? Ocean Soul/National Geographic Photography Exhibit. The photos'll run through March 1.

bottom photo: Hugh Ryono



Photo Credit: Hugh Ryono]]>
<![CDATA[The Universe Inside Downtown]]> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 11:29:55 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/177*120/shutterstock_6998314.jpg

Southern California is home to the Mars Rover headquarters and the Space Shuttle Endeavour, so it makes sense that our art and entertainment offerings might take on a somewhat cosmic bent.

The movies have rocketed into space for years, but parties and art gatherings and musical happenings that love on the lab coat set are a bit rarer. Or have been, in the past. Now science, art, hobnobbing, and cocktails are a common quartet seen around town these days, and they'll certainly be in attendance at Galaxy.

Galaxy, an eight-hour art party, will unfurl over 15,000 square feet of LA Mart downtown on Saturday, Dec. 8. The spacey spectacular may not rival a real galaxy in size but it will boast installations, screenings, and experiments, all with a science-forward, avant-garde-y twist.

Bill Nye will be in the house. Doesn't that pretty much say everything? Bowties on, party people.

Music and craft beers and fashion -- someone show up in a classic, B-movie Martian outfit, pretty please -- are all on the bill, too. And as for the art end? Fifteen artists will have a hand in creating "the ultimate cosmic playground."

That sounds good to us. We enjoy it when the cosmos comes down to earth for a day. Because,  space? Very chilly. Also, helmets are generally required, for breathing and whatnot, meaning quaffing cocktails can be a challenge.

Galaxy is the creation of the mad minds behind Brokechella, the on-the-cheap answer to a certain mega desert festival. It's sure to have indie flair and downtown-meets-the-Crab-Nebula-coolness. Plus, tickets are eleven bucks, which is a lot less than actually getting to space.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[The Meaning Behind Rockefeller Christmas Tree]]> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 12:14:30 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/134312125.jpg This year's lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree represents joy and hope at the start of the Holiday season.

Photo Credit: WireImage]]>
<![CDATA[Getting to the Heart of the Brain]]> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 12:38:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/brain3.jpg

What would we do without our brains?

Not literally, of course (rumor has it we take them with us wherever we go). But pop culture would be less without a certain upstairs organ to reference.

You've heard the saying "the brain is the only organ to have named itself?" And you've watched the countless B movies that have sensationalized monster-human brain transplants in lurid Technicolor? 

Yep, the brain is a superstar on all counts: film, novels, science, and life.

The California Institute of Technology and TEDx are ready to celebrate all of that cerebralness, in ways that are both high-minded and highly cheeky, on Friday, Jan. 18.

The name of the event-packed day? The Brain. (Easy enough for a brain to remember.)

On the schedule? Talks from people who know about the organ, think about the organ, and have theories as to all of the brain's whys and hows and becauses.

If you know TEDx, you know that the chitchat will be an invigorating mix of highbrow science and not-quite-so-highbrow everything-else-ness.

And if you know TEDx, you know this booked up practically when it was announced. But, good news: A waiting list has been started, and televisions may be set up outside of the proceedings at Caltech. You love the brainy Pasadena campus? You love your brain? Sign up.

Perhaps all Januarys to come can feature such a brain-focused event. The holidays are very much about the heart, with our gray matter playing second fiddle. Though, of course, our uppermost organ is the seat of our emotions, right? Regardless of what the long-ago poets might claim?

Sounds like a ready-made debate for TEDx and Caltech to take on, for our enjoyment, entertainment, and education.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A Museum's New "Game Room"]]> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 09:35:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/gameroomhammer.JPG

Sometimes facts can't do much to topple feeling, especially if a certain feeling or opinion has existed for some time.

For example? That certain realms of entertainment are made for kids (aka not serious enough for adults). Think animation, think toys, and, yep, think games. Most people know this is not so -- about a hundred thousand of them can be found at Comic-Con each summer -- and most people know that those forms each contain complicated paradigms and patterns and themes worthy of a major museum art exhibit.

Games are about to get their moment in the cultural institution spotlight when "Game Room" debuts at the Hammer Museum on Saturday, Dec. 1. This exhibit looks downright cool, and we're not even going to type "for lack of a better word" there. Games are cool, and that they'll have a two-and-a-half-month show at the Hammer seems right.

So, what will games lovers and others find in the lobby gallery at the Westwood museum? Nope, not board games thumbtacked to the wall (that's a different exhibit someone should totally do); rather, viewers will see artworks inspired by strategy and cunning and planning and luck, all of the things that go into a good game.

Artist Eddo Stern will take on digital fare -- that's rather popular these days, we hear -- while Samara Smith has a "place-related game" that features Westwood. Again, we say it: cool.

The show's on through Feb. 17 and, as always, the Hammer is free on Thursdays. Would Thursday, then, be considered the "free space" on the board of the Hammer game? We can picture placing our playing piece upon it now.



Photo Credit: Hammer Museum]]>
<![CDATA[Rockin' with the Rockettes at Radio City]]> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 13:51:33 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/rockettes1stlook.jpg Join us for the Rockettes 85th celebration at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. ]]> <![CDATA[LA Live Tree Lighting: Hello, Manilow]]> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 23:59:12 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/BarryITW.jpg

When you're home to the Grammy Museum, and a major theater known for attracting marquee acts, you tend to go big in all things. (It's just a solid policy, really.)

And LA Live does, especially at the holidays. If you've swung by the downtown entertainment mega-center in recent days, you've seen the giant faux fir and Kings-ready skating rink going up in anticipation of the Wednesday, Nov. 28 switch-on-the-lights affair. An affair you can guess will be LA Live-sized.

Indeed it is: Barry Manilow was just announced as a performer at the Nokia Plaza shindig. (We're pretty sure Mr. Manilow and the Grammys are on a first-name basis, right? For sure.) Also set to take the stage? Cody Simpson, Sarah Brightman, and LA's own Ozomatli, plus a cavalcade of others. NBC4 is a host of the evening, along with AEG, the company behind LA Live.

Time's 7 p.m. on the 28th.

Let's note two more stars of the night, and more nights to come: the artificial sequoia and the ice rink. The sequoia's 66 feet tall and boasts over 120,000 mini LEDs and the LA Kings Holiday rink? Almost twice as big as in years past, making it the largest outdoor rink in LA. Even better than that, though, is the fact that a different charity or non-profit will receive the spotlight each night the rink is open.

The rink is open through Jan. 2, meaning if you can't see the tree, you've got time. The stars, however, sing just on Nov. 28th, so make for downtown if you love the Manilow. (He's got a new Christmas album out, too, so bet you'll hear a cut.)



Photo Credit: Andreas Rentz]]>
<![CDATA[Old Pasadena's Season Begins]]> Thu, 22 Nov 2012 10:26:27 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/shutterstock_21587632.jpg

When do the holidays end?

It's not a riddle but an actual question. Do they end when stores take down the last of the half-off wrapping paper around mid-January? Do they end when we pack away the turkey pan and ornaments? Is there an official cut-off for merry and cheer?

The answers likely vary, but we have a thought as to when the season officially wraps up 'round these parts: When the very last float of the Tournament of Roses parade gently pumps the brakes on New Year's Day. Meaning that Pasadena is a city that's integral to our merriest season in SoCal.

So when the Crown City wants to kick off the sparkle, we take note, seeing the major holiday role they play in our lives.

And Old Pasadena will be doing just that on Friday, Nov. 23. Twenty tons of snow, sparkly crafts, caroling, kid to-dos and other festive doings will take over the historic clutch of buildings off Colorado Boulevard. A tree lighting and a cameo by Santa are on the sked, too. (Of course.)

Pasadena, you rock. We know you've got some bigger plans a month or so from now, but we do love that you step up and put on an early show, too. That's being all in on the holiday front, a plan we support.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Skating Rinks Open on Thanksgiving]]> Thu, 22 Nov 2012 11:50:06 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/1-03-09what.jpg

If you've lived in Southern California for a bit and you always anticipate the seasonal doings of the holidays, you may have noted what others began to note a decade or so ago: There was a sudden proliferation of temporary ice rinks around here come late November.

It's not that the occasional mall or theme park wouldn't set one up before that time, but suddenly there seemed to be one in every zip code. Majors like ICE in Santa Monica and the one in Irvine got attention, but the real question for many people was this: Will the holiday ice rinks close on the holidays?

The answer in large part has been: No. In fact, our seasonal rinks are some of the only open places now on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. (We know, several stores are opening on Thanksgiving night, but we're talking straight-up recreation.)

So, who is keeping the doors wide on Thursday, Nov. 22? 

Downtown on Ice at Pershing Square will mark its first week with 10 skating hours on Thanksgiving afternoon and night. Woodland Hills has a nighttime Thanksgiving thing going, too. And ICE near the Third Street Promenade will be keeping things cool from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Turkey Day. (Hours will vary, of course, so check before heading out.)

Note that Skate Spectrum in Orange County is closed on Thursday, Nov. 22.

Now, we know, we know, there are controversies a-broilin' over what can and should be open on a big holiday and what should remained closed. But an ice rink can hardly be quibbled over. Figure it is exercise, crisp air, and a way to hobnob with the visiting relatives. Plus, you totally have to work off all that pie, right?



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Renal Teen Prom Dress Drive Opens]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2012 17:19:39 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TeenRenalProm.jpg

Prom night is a mythical moment, at least in the movies and young adult novels. But the small dramas over corsage color or hem length pale in comparison to not actually getting to attend your prom because of medical treatments or hospital stays.

This is all too common for many young people living with kidney disease -- their big night comes and goes and they couldn't make it -- but the Renal Support Network thought up a marvelous solution: the Renal Teen Prom.

Typically held in the winter, the dance gathers together gussied-up revelers ages 14 to 24 for a night of par-tay-ing in "a non-medical setting." It's an important distinction, that last point; prom and a balloon-y filled, low-lit room just go together.

We also like the wider age range on the celebration, too. Prom is more a state of mind than a tight window restricted to high school seniors, after all.

Beyond hosting the prom, the network also organizes a drive to collect dresses and accessories. The Renal Teen Prom Dress Drive opened at the Glendale Galleria on Wednesday, Nov. 21. It's an ideal kick-off considering a lot of people will be heading to shop over the holiday weekend.

Have something ruffled and fabulous sitting at the back of your closet? There's a teenager who is just right for it, we bet.

The Dress Drive runs through Jan. 4, and the prom itself is on Jan. 20 in Sherman Oaks. And the theme? Midnight in Paris. Oh, romantic prom themes, we do love you so. We also love people lending a hand to help make a special night even more so.

Drop off your dresses and other prom-y gewgaws at the Customer Service Desk on Level 2 (near LEGO).



Photo Credit: Renal Teen Prom]]>