THE SEASON STARTS: Is that plastic orange bucket full of Halloween candy still sitting out? Better finish it off and right quick, too; the holidays are on their way, speeding in like a skater on full barrel. We used "skater" there because a trio of holiday ice rinks are set to make their wintry debut: The Skate Spectrum bows in Irvine on Thursday, Nov. 1, ICE at Santa Monica opens on Friday, Nov. 2, as does Woodland Hills Ice. Pershing Square? That's still a couple of weeks out; look for the downtown rink on Nov. 15. (Update: The Irvine opening has been delayed but the projected date should be early next week.)
SPACEFEST: So did you think that the Space Shuttle Endeavour would just linger about at the California Science Center, taking it easy following its mondo October? Please. That world-famous craft is a veritable party starter. Next up? A weekend of astronaut talks, Mars Rover fun, geodesic dome-based tomfoolery and more. It's on through Sunday, Nov. 4. Who knew science was where the action was at? Well, we did, and you probably did, too.
FLASHFEST AT GRAND PARK: The new City Hall-adjacent green space hasn't been open all that long, but it is already a hub of cultural come-on-outs and musical happenings. The weekend ahead had a cherry blossom tree dedication and Dia de los Muertos party on Friday, and then, on Sunday, Flashfest takes over. Roots music and a "participatory arts jam" is on the docket. Sunday, Nov. 4
DERBY DOLLS CHAMPIONSHIPS: A lot of us have spent the last few days spread across a sofa, surrounded by candy bar wrappers, moaning and napping in tandem. But LA's own rough-and-tumble banked-track goddesses? They've been toughening up and stretching out as they prepare for the Saturday, Nov. 3 face-off between the Varsity Brawlers and Sirens. (We're not saying the Dolls aren't candy lovers, but they know there's a time for being sweet and a time for tough, wheels-to-the-floor action.)
JAPANESE GARDEN FESTIVAL: Autumn is just about our favorite time of year at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge -- all of those leaves going vaguely gold -- and this weekend-long to-do is one of the best parts. Ikebana displays, chrysanthemums, taiko and sake are highlights of the Saturday, Nov. 3 and Sunday, Nov. 4 party. Oh, and camellias, too. Can it almost be time for Descanso's famous camellia-bedecked winter forest? It can be, and is.