The holidays are actually upon us now (half way through Hanukkah and Christmas is less than 10 days away), and it’s still easy to find special seasonal fun in our corner of the city.
But first up on Saturday is one of the few non-seasonal announcements on our list this week — a heads-up that the Wilshire Branch Library, 149 N. St. Andrews Place (entrance on Council St.), offers free tutoring for adults every week from 9:40 to 11:40 a.m. Subjects include reading, writing, English conversation, interview practice, filling out forms and more. No reservations necessary; just drop in!
A bit later, starting at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, you can get back into the holiday groove with the second annual holiday party at Knowles Karate Academy, 4378 W. Third St. Saturday morning classes will be held as usual starting at 10 a.m., but students are invited to bring along family and friends to show them a few new techniques, and then stay for the potluck lunch. Please bring a dish to share.
If you’re more in the mood for some mid-season holiday shopping, the LaunchLA gallery, 170 S. La Brea, will be happy to help with their Staff Picks Holiday Boutique, running 12 to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 12-5 on Sunday. The boutique will feature “some of our favorite things” to make gift giving easier this holiday season. Artistic creations available include custom silkscreened t-shirts, pillows and tea towels by Tandie Mast (Nest a Home), wood block workshops to create your own custom designs on t-shirts, bandanas, scarves, hats and more, hand bags by Saveida Sethi, contemporary dresses, jackets and jump suits by Sorella Couture, custom jewelry by Maude Carrin Jewelry, skin care by Akamai Basics, ceramics by Terry Cervantes, Alina Hayes, and Stanton Hunter, flipbooks by Mark Rosen and Wendy Marvel, fine art décor by Jessica O’Dowd, and paintings, pins, and coloring books by Sugar Fueled.
Meanwhile, for the younger set, starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, you can join the folks at the Miracle Mile Toy Hall for the Bob Baker Marionettes Traveling Holiday Show, one of a series of very special holiday events in the store’s new event space. It’s a great place to bring your visiting family and friends…and you can also stay for a meet and greet after the show to learn more about the legendary puppets and their operators. Tickets available at the link above.
Later, for families with train-fan kids (of all ages), head over to Track 14 at downtown’s Union Station for a Holiday Train Fest and Toy Drive from 4 to 8 p.m. This free, family-friendly event, supporting Toys for Tots, will feature the historic Santa Fe 3751 steam locomotive (weighing 874,346 pounds and decked out for the holidays), vintage rail cars from the 1940s and ’50s (also decorated in holiday finery), Amtrak and Metrolink train cars, a vintage 1930s era fire engine, local police and firefighters, holiday refreshments including hot cocoa and cookies, holiday music, a visit from Santa, and staff on hand to collect your donations of new, unwrapped toys and new socks to distribute as holiday gifts to less fortunate children in the community.
On both Saturday and Sunday evenings, for vintage film fans, the American Cinematheque will be screening a new 70mm print of the 1962 multi-Academy-Award-winning classic Lawrence of Arabia, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. Sunday’s show will also include an introduction by film historian Jeremy Arnold and author of Lawrence of Arabia: The 50th Anniversary.
Also for film fans, the 13th Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival will be held at LACMA on Sunday, with screenings from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Bing Theater. The full schedule includes nearly 50 films from around the world — full-length and short animation, live action, and documentary films…organized into programs for specific age groups from toddlers through teenagers. Select filmmakers and actors will also present for Q&A sessions after each screening. And all shows are free and open to the public.
Just a few blocks back up the street, you could also head back to the Miracle Mile Toy Hall on Sunday afternoon, where Lionheart Fitness Kids will hold a free dance party for children ages 2-6, starting at 2 p.m. The little ones will learn how to comfortably groove in a non-competitive environment, with traditional dance games and fun moves. And if you enjoy the free class, you can sign up for more dancing in the new year with a longer dance class series. Please RSVP at the link above if you’re interested.
Later, starting at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, join musical artist Doda Mollie (“Auntie Mollie”) and her band to rock the clock tower at the Original Farmers’ Market with a Chanukah Pajamikah! concert. Your whole family is invited to sing along and dance in your jammies to the fun and festive songs from Mollie’s Chanukah Pajamikah! album. The event is free, and CDs will be for sale at the show.
Back at LACMA, a bit later, starting at 6 p.m., you can also enjoy some more traditional music as the Capitol Ensemble performs a Beethoven celebration: Piano trio no:8 in one movement, B flat WoO 39, and Piano trio no:7 in B flat Op.97 “Archduke.” The ensemble includes Phillip Levy (violin), Eric Byers (cello), and Rina Dokshitsky (piano), who are “dedicated to the live performance of an eclectic range of repertoire, ranging from the Baroque to the 21st century.” They’re in their 15th season as Artists in Residence for LACMA’s Sundays Live radio broadcasts and are featured on the program’s theme music. And if you can’t make it to the free show, you can also listen to a live stream.
Finally, a couple of important reminders:
First, today is yet another “no burn day,” according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. All indoor and outdoor residential wood burning (including in fireplaces, firepits and wood-fired ovens), and the burning of manufactured fire logs, is prohibited due to high air pollution. For more information, or to sign up for e-mailed air alerts, see http://www.AirAlerts.org.
And second, please remember that Wilshire Blvd., between Western Ave. and Manhattan Pl., will be fully closed until 6 a.m. on Monday, for Purple Line subway construction work. See https://www.metro.net/projects/notices/notice_purpleline1_102517/ for more information.
Have a great weekend…and Happy Hanukkah to all who are celebrating!