Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

The ‘Week Before’ Week Ahead: Mostly Holiday Events for December 16-22, 2023

Come experience a classic holiday favorite, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), on the big screen, while you enjoy a glass of wine or two at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Cinegrill Theater, Tues, Dec 19 from 6-10 p.m.

It’s a week before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse… well, actually, I live in an apt, and hope to God I don’t have mice, but you catch my drift – it’s down to the wire and I hope you’re prepared. On the flipside, I want to encourage you all not to kill yourselves over it or go broke because of it, the holidays are a time for togetherness, and goodwill and all that, so just enjoy it and don’t beat yourself up for not finding the perfect gift. However, there may be hope in finding that perfect gift at one these events below, whether it be in the form of hard-to-find artist pieces, making a charitable donation, or simply sharing experiences with the special people in your life, I’m sure they’ll love it – or at least pretend they do because they love you!

Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

Dust off your finery, people, because it’s high time you tried Well Dressed – A Night Of Stand Up Comedy & Live Jazz at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Cinegrill Theater. “The classiest stand up show in LA” is once again gracing the Theater’s stage this Sat, Dec 16, so come dressed in your best to enjoy an evening of world-class jazz from the Daniel Rotem Trio, and primo stand-up from world class comics. Your swanky evening will play out from 7:30-10 p.m.  Tickets range from $25-$35, with a $30 food and beverage minimum per person. Cocktail attire recommended. 

Next up in a trio of great events from the Hollywood Roosevelt this week is one of its on-going series, Classic Cinema Night on Tues, Dec 19 from 6-10 p.m. Come experience the classic holiday film, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (which I’ve never seen, can you believe that? And I’m old!) on the big screen, while you sip on wine from Little Boat winery. The evening will be hosted by Film Critic and Wine Maker José Ignacio Cuenca. Tickets range from $20-$60.

And closing out the trio in fine style is La Cage!, a high-energy, immersive, glittering showcase of live music, dance, and flamboyant costumes inspired by the original world famous “La Cage” nightclub in Los Angeles. Secretly hidden behind a bookcase at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, audiences will be transported to a world of glitz and glamour with food and drink from the opulent Cinegrill Theater as accompaniments. The songs are familiar, the choreography is exciting, and the energy is contagious. This week’s show is on Fri, Dec 22 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $55-$110. See you there!

Last but not least, in a short but robust list of Arts & Culture, we move on to the biennial exhibition and 6th iteration of Made in LA: Acts of Living at the Hammer. This 6th edition highlights the practices of artists working throughout greater LA, exploring “art as an expanded field of culture that is entangled with everyday life; community networks; queer affect; and indigenous and diasporic histories.” The title of the exhibit – “ Acts of Living” was drawn from a quote by the renowned LA artist Noah Purifoy (Watts Towers): “One does not have to be a visual artist to utilize creative potential. Creativity can be an act of living, a way of life, and a formula for doing the right thing.” Well said. Museum admission is FREE. Galleries open Tues-Sun 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Mon. On display now through Dec 31.

Holiday Shopping, Gift Wrapping, and Cheer

Attention to all my fellow last minuters out there, BEYOND THE STREETS Holiday Market is here to save the day! This Sat and Sun, Dec 16-17, you’ll have the opportunity to browse and buy exclusive art treasures and cultural gems from a specially curated collection of hard-to-find artworks and collectibles from more than 100 artists, hip-hop heavyweights, and culture makers & shakers. Come find the perfect gift for all the special people in your life, while bathing yourself in a festive atmosphere complete with treats, free stickers and totes (while supplies last), gift wrapping, and free coffee drinks by The Mad Barista for all you early birds. Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the LA art community! The Market is located at 434 N. La Brea Ave, and open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. P.S. this event is dog-friendly, so feel free to bring poochie along for the fun. 

Next, be sure to stop off at the Vintage Larchmont Photo Wall this week to snap that perfect family holiday pic you’ve been meaning to get around to – what better backdrop, am I right? – and to get all those gifts you bought in Larchmont Village wrapped for FREE! A gift wrapping station, courtesy of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Outreach Committee and NC volunteers, will be set up in front of the photo wall located at the entry of the parking lot (215 N. Larchmont Blvd.) on Sun, Dec 17 from 1:00-5:00 p.m.

And the holiday cheer continues to mount with Yuletide Caroling at the Original Farmer’s Market – yay! Enjoy the joy it adds to your Market shopping and/or dining experience and relish the festive atmosphere while it lasts, from Wed, Dec 20 – Fri, Dec 22; 12-3 p.m. The OFM will also be hosting a Salvation Army Gift Wrapping station on Wed, Dec 20 – Sat, Dec 23 from 12-7 p.m. Get all your shopping and wrapping needs handled in one trip to the Market with help from The Salvation Army Hollywood Corp. And why not help them out in return by giving them a much appreciated donation. I thank you in advance – Happy Shopping!

Ongoing Seasonal Entertainment

Adding to this week’s ongoing entertainment list is a true legend – Bob Baker Marionette Theater’s adaptation of the Nutcracker has been delighting audiences of all ages since 1969, and this year, the Theater is thrilled to present even more magical merriment with new surprises and enchanting additions to its already endearing show. Go on an adventure through the wizardry of strings and into the enchanted world of Bob Baker’s Marionettes! Tickets are $25; kids 2 and under are free. Performances happening now – Jan 14. Saturday and Sunday showtimes: 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Weekday shows begin Wed, Dec 13.

And if you haven’t made it to the LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE yet, you’re missing out! Go with friends or bring the kiddos for a little taste of winter wonderland in DTLA. General Admission tickets are only available for purchase on-site at the ice rink box office during hours of operation. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for kids, seniors, and military. A limited quantity of Fast Pass tickets will be also available, but online only for $45 per person. Open now open through Dec 31. Pricing includes skate rental. Hours now – Dec 18: Daily 5 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. (4 sessions); Dec 18-31: Daily 4 p.m. – midnight (4 sessions).

And more ice skating! Get in your favorite form of seasonal exercise/making a fool of yourself at the Holiday Ice Skating Rink in DTLA’s Pershing SquareNow – Jan 7, get as close to a winter wonderland in LA as you can, cruising along the ice among skyscrapers, while you picture yourself surrounded by trees, on a lake, in a forest, somewhere far far away. Anyhoo, back to reality now, be sure to lookout for special events happening throughout the month as well. Skate rentals are included in admission ($20 per hour). Lockers and skating aids for the kiddos are $5 extra. Rink opens at 11:30 a.m. daily; closing times vary. And will be open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day, and New Years Eve/Day.

Christmas and the new year is almost here, and the L.A. Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow experience is giving us all those holiday feels with another illuminating season of joy! Come explore an immersive landscape filled with dazzling new lantern sculptures of animals, blooming flowers, towering trees, and more, for a nature-focused holiday celebration. Ticket prices vary depending on day of the week, check website for deets (and see the Buzz’s cool photos here). Zoo Lights on display now – Jan 7. 

Also lighting up our lives this season, is the third edition of Lightscape at the L.A. County Arboretum. Located a little east of LA in Arcadia, the Aboretum’s uplit trees and illuminated installations will once again dot the roughly mile-long pathway for the 2023 season, which has been “reimagined” this with an expanded trail. The light cathedral will, of course, make its return, as will the fire garden, one of events favorite highlights. Santa will also be there on select dates! Tickets range from $29-$35 and $14-$18 for kids (under 3 are free).  Lightscape will be yours to behold from now – Jan 2.

And even more magical light displays for your sight to see. Now – Jan 7, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in a shimmering nocturnal wonderland at Descanso Gardens Enchanted Forest of Light; an interactive, nighttime experience, featuring a one-mile magical route through the garden. There will be returning favorites, including an entire town of “stained glass” creations by contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin; sparkling geometric installations from HYBYCOZO; Flower Power on the Promenade; and exquisite lighting effects in the Ancient Forest, as well as fresh delights to keep you in awe (click here for a preview). Advance tickets are required for entry and will NOT be sold on-site. Entry times start at 5:30 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m. Gardens close at 10 p.m. Tickets are $35-$45 for adults and $25-$30 for kids ages 2-12.

Community and Local Government 

In the spirit of this giving season, the second edition of the Kitchen Sink Festival is bringing together artists and comedians for a one-night concert benefiting the Hollywood Food Coalition, a legacy nonprofit that has been serving meals to those in need since 1987. Hosted by actor John C. Reilly, the event’s purpose is to raise funds for the HoFoCo and shed light on food insecurity in Los Angeles. The event takes place on Tues, Dec 19 at Lodge Room in Highland Park, with its neighbor, Checker Hall Restaurant & Bar serving as the VIP lounge throughout the evening and after the concert. General admission tickets have sold out, but there are still limited VIP tickets available for $200. Doors at 6 p.m.; showtime at 7 p.m. And if the VIP price is a little too rich for your blood, especially ’round this time of year, please consider making a donation instead.

Next up, the Mid City West Neighborhood Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee will come together in-person on Mon, Dec 18 at 6:30 p.m., along with a Special Virtual Board meeting at the same time. And the Public Safety & Well-Being Committee will meet in-person the next night on Tues, Dec 19 at 7 p.m. All in-person MCWNC meetings take place at the Pan Pacific Park Senior Center (lunch room) located at 141 S. Gardner St. Check Mid City’s website for details, agendas, and full schedule. 

Lastly, the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council will hold its monthly Outreach Committee meeting on Tues, Dec 19 at the John C. Fremont Branch Library located at 6121 Melrose Ave. starting at 6:30 p.m. Check the GWNC website for agendas and supporting documents.


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Julia Christiansen
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.

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