For those of you experiencing a fuller house than usual – with relatives aplenty – why not squeeze some ‘me’ time in between all that family togetherness with a trip or two to one of the venues below? Catch a movie in a nice dark theater at the New Beverly Cinema, finish up shopping outdoors at ROW DTLA, learn about the first woman animator – lost to the history books until now – at the Academy Museum, or immerse yourself in a sound bath at JAPAN HOUSE LA. You deserve it. The LA Phil is also bringing it again this week with Home Alone in Concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and CAAM will be teaching you about Kuumba – the Kwanzaa principle of creativity – this week as well. So, until we meet again, good night, and good luck!
Arts, Culture, and Holiday
For all you last minute shoppers out there, like me, I’m gonna start you off with West Coast Crafts Market coming to ROW DTLA this Saturday, Dec 17, and just in time to save you from your holiday shopping woes! You have just one day to find the greatest gifts and seasonal finds from 150+ artists and designer craftspeople. So swing by for a lovely day of outdoor shopping, creativity, and inspiration. The WCC Market LA is always free and open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Pets are welcome. Be sure to check out the other boutique shops and storefronts while you’re there. With lovely holiday window displays, winter workshops, Humbuggle Holiday Blend coffee from Go Get ‘Em Tiger, and festive atmosphere, you’ll want to stay all day. Check out ROW’s Holiday menu here.
And if you like a good mix of Christmas and horror, like most, then scoot your boot on down to The New Beverly Cinema for a week-long movie marathon that includes Elf, Gremlins, The Legend of Hell House, The Shining and Home Alone. There will be screenings everyday starting Saturday, Dec 17 through the end of the week and beyond, including Christmas Eve and Day. Check the full schedule here. Matinee tickets are $10 and evening showings are $12. Besides the New Bev for watching holiday flicks, you’ve also got the Rooftop Cinema Club screenings with two locations in DTLA to choose from, one on Olive St. and one in the Arts District, so if you’d rather cozy up under a blanket with friends and/or significant other, then perhaps an al fresco setting is the better option for you. Check out dates and times here. Tickets range from about $20-$26.
Learn about and celebrate Kuumba, the Kwanzaa principle of creativity with the fine folks at CAAM (California African American Museum) during its Kuumba Kwanzaa Celebration on Saturday, December 17 from 1-3 p.m. Join fellow guests for an afternoon of storytelling with Jayon and Jon Kev as they share songs, puppetry, and exciting tales during an interactive story time. Then, teaching artists from Able ARTS Work—a nonprofit organization that offers opportunities in the creative arts for people of all abilities—will lead a zine workshop to inspire participants to display their own Kuumba spirit. Participants are encouraged to bring their own images and materials from home, along with something comfy to sit on for story time. This is a free event for all ages; kindly RSVP HERE. And be sure to check out the Museum while you’re there! Regular hours are Wed-Sat, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sun, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
JAPAN HOUSE LA is offering 2 more days and 6 more sessions of its new immersive Soundscapes Series designed to complement its current exhibition, LIFE CYCLES: A Bamboo Exploration with Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, while also helping you to relax. The series will be getting you Zen again this week with Sound Bathing on Saturday, Dec 17, followed by a Shamisen (three-string Japanese instrument) performance on Sunday, Dec 18. There will be 20 min. sessions at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the JAPAN HOUSE Gallery on Level 2). This is the last weekend, so do try to come, and please stay tuned for similar events in the future. Soundscapes is free of charge. Be sure to check out the rest of The House, too. Hours are 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Mon-Fri and 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sat-Sun. Gallery and Library admission is always free.
More good news, a week’s worth of Holiday Fun will kick off at the Original Farmers Market this Sunday, Dec 18 with a Chanukah Celebration and end on Christmas Eve, Saturday, Dec 24, with strolling yuletide carolers! Come finish your shopping with festive scenery and good food to help ease the pain of parting with your money. Enjoy live jazz and calypso holiday music, crafting, carolers, Bob Baker Marionettes, Mariachi, a Christmas Party at Market Tavern, and more! The entertainment is free, just bring yourselves. Click there to view the flier. There will also be a separate Menorah Lighting Celebration happening next door at The Grove on Tue, Dec 20 from 5:30-7 p.m. The evening will include a musical performance from Nissim Black, magical snowfall (is there any other kind in LA?), Chanukah treats and goodies, blessings from Rabbi Fogelman and special guest appearances by Montana Tucker & Holocaust Survivor, Joseph Alexander. Lighting will take place near the Fountain. (Hanukkah is Dec 18-26 this year, btw).
LACMA is the gift that keeps on giving this week with two new exhibits coming atcha this Sunday, Dec 18. The first, and in no particular order, is titled Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group, 1938–1945, that involves a collective of New Mexican artists who came together in 1938 to form the Transcendental Painting Group led by painters Raymond Jonson and Emil Bisttram, and joined by painters such as Agnes Pelton and Lawren Harris. According to their manifesto they strove “to carry painting beyond the appearance of the physical world, through new concepts of space, color, light and design to imaginative realms that are idealistic and spiritual.” Unfortunately, the group was short-lived due to WWII, but their paintings “continue to emphasize how abstraction can be used in service of the spiritual.” Next up is The Five Directions: Lacquer Through East Asia, which traces the flow of materials and ideas throughout the region – drawing inspiration from a spatial conception where North, South, East, and West are joined by a fifth direction, ‘the Center.’ The Five Directions highlights lacquer works in regions of Japan, Korea, China, and the Ryūkyū kingdom (Okinawa) as meeting points as well as centers in their own right. Get tickets here.
If you’re in the mood to get drunk on hidden history and check out the Academy Museum at the same time, then this event was made for you. On Monday, Dec 19 come join fellow curious minds for a Preservation Conversation about “The Only Woman Animator” – Women at the Dawn of an Industry, starting at 7:30 p.m. In the earliest days of animation, there was one woman who animated and directed alongside the men (who later became titans of the artform), yet her name and work have been lost – until now! In a landmark event, this ground-breaking artist, and her surviving films, are finally introduced to the world, marking the debut of the earliest-known hand-drawn animation – animated and directed by a woman. I guess they’re going to keep us in suspense here, so you’ll have to attend to find out who. The discussion will be led by Academy Film Scholar Mindy Johnson with live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla. There’s other stuff on the calendar, too, like a Home Alone screening on Christmas Eve. Ticket prices vary, kids 17 and under are always free.
As I always like to end on a high note, this week will be no different. Starting on Tuesday, Dec 20 the LA Phil will be treating us all to Home Alone in Concert on not one, not two, but three nights this week, so come experience this holiday favorite in a whole new way. One of my personal all-time favorites, this cherished comedy classic features renowned composer John Williams’ nostalgic score conducted by David Newman and performed live to picture. All showtimes are at 8 p.m., so be there or be square. Tickets range from $94-$192 and are selling out fast, so don’t wait! Please note that no children under age two will be admitted. Bonus: Come early for Ugly Sweaters & Trivia in BP Hall before the show for fun and to test your Home Alone knowledge. The pre-show event will be hosted by Scum & Villainy Cantina. Then a little later in the week, on Friday, Dec 23, the Arturo Sandoval Swinging Holiday Concert will be jazzing the halls with Latin flavor, as 10-time Grammy-winner Arturo Sandoval makes it a “jumping, jiving, and jingling night”. Let Sandoval jazz up your December with a program of holiday favorites at the Walt Disney Concert Hall starting at 8 p.m. sharp! Tickets range from $47-$119.
Your local NC, the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council has just one virtual gathering on the books this week and it’s an Outreach Committee meeting on Tuesday, Dec 20. Click here to view the calendar for deets.
My goodness, the MCWNC (that’s the Mid City West Neighborhood Council to you) is taking care of business before the holidays make us slow our roll a bit, and it starts on Monday, Dec 19 with the Planning and Land Use Committee, along with the HRRRTs Committee (Homelessness, Refugees, and Renters’ Rights) who both have meetings that evening. Next, the Public Safety and Well-Being Committee will meet on Tuesday, Dec 20, and in person Wednesday Walks will continue on Wednesday, Dec 21. The week will wrap up with the Executive Council meeting on Thursday, Dec 22. Click here to check MCW’s calendar for details.
About Julia Christiansen
Julia is a native Angeleno and jack of all trades, having worked in television, visual effects, professional sports, health and wellness, and custom design. She currently resides in El Segundo.