Aaaand, just like that, as we make our final approach into the biggest holiday week of the year – including both Hanukkah and Christmas – the holiday-themed events start to quiet down to leave room for celebrating the actual holidays. So this is a good weekend to take in a nice vintage (and maybe holiday-themed) movie. We’ve got quite a few, along with a couple of other fun and seasonal things to do.
First up, the Wilshire Branch Library, 149 N. St. Andrews Pl., will offer an adult craft workshop, starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, at which participants can decorate a coffee mug with colored markers, then take it home to bake, set and use…for yourself or as a last-minute gift. For more information, or to reserve a spot, call 323-957-4550, or e-mail [email protected]
Also starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday (and repeating at 2 p.m. on Sunday) is the first of this weekend’s local movie offerings – “The Muppet Christmas Carol” at the New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd. In this fun, family-friendly retelling of the Christmas classic, “Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) is the greediest, grumpiest git in all of London until he’s taken on a mystical journey of self-discovery by the three Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.” Also starring Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit…and all your other favorite muppet friends filling out the cast.
Later on Saturday, stick around the New Bev for a 7:30 p.m. screening of Quentin Tarantino’s recent epic, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (which repeats at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday). In the intricately-period-steeped film, “…Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.”
For another crime-soaked film, you could head over to the Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., where the American Cinematheque will present a screening of 1950’s “Backfire” as part of its “Christmas Noir: A Hardboiled Holiday” series. Starting at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, the film stars Virginia Mayo, Gordon Macrae, Edmond O’Brien and Viveca Lindfors “in this taut mystery about a war veteran whose attempt to investigate the disappearance of his army buddy follows a series of clues into a maze of murder and violence.”
Meanwhile, on another screen at the Egyptian, and also starting at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, the Cinematheque presents a 20th anniversary screening of “Eyes Wide Shut,” director Stanley Kubrick’s final film. It’s a “haunting meditation on marriage and infidelity,” in which “then-real-life couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman star as Dr. William Hartford and his art-curator wife, Alice, whose relationship is put to the test when she reveals she almost slept with another man.” There will also be a live introduction by actor and director’s assistant Leon Vitali.
And then, for the late-night film fans on Saturday, head back to the New Beverly, for a midnight (well, actually, 11:59 p.m.) screening of “Christmas Evil,” billed as a “psycho slasher treat!” in which a depressed toymaker, traumatized as a boy after learning the truth about St. Nick, “dons a Santa suit to finally cross the names off his naughty list in a Yuletide reign of terror.” According to the theater, “Lewis Jackson’s legendary holiday horror hit is filled with icy chills and pitch-black humor, making it mandatory annual viewing for all midnight movie maniacs!” (Rated R and not for kiddies, in case you weren’t sure.)
Moving into the relative brightness and light of Sunday morning, head over to the Miracle Mile Toy Hall, for an 11 a.m. performance of the Bob Baker’s Marionette Theater Holiday Classics. Come and soak up some holiday joy with this “heartfelt” show, followed by a meet and greet with the puppets. (This one is definitely appropriate for all ages.)
Next, and continuing the “light” theme, it’s just a short jaunt over to the Original Farmers Market, for its big annual Chanukah Celebration, running from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. According to the venue, “bring the family and celebrate the first night of Chanukah with music, arts and crafts, the building of a giant Lego menorah and a special [5 p.m.] menorah lighting ceremony.” It’s all free and open to everyone.
And finally on Sunday, and last for the weekend, you could head back to the Egyptian theater yet again, for a double feature of 1960’s Oscar-winning “The Apartment,” starring Shirley MacLaine, Jack Lemon and Fred MacMurray in an awkward (and hilarious) love triangle…and 2015’s “Tangerine,” a more modern take on the holidays, shot entirely on iPhones, about a Hollywood prostitute searching for answers about her possibly unfaithful pimp boyfriend on Christmas Eve. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Have a great weekend…and a great holiday week!