Today is, of course, that overwhelming tribute to mass market retail culture otherwise known as Black Friday. But if you’d prefer to avoid those crowds and that particular frenzy, we’d recommend that you to wait just one more day to start your holiday shopping, on Small Business Saturday. This annual event reminds us to think local and buy from our many beloved neighborhood retailers. As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, the Larchmont Boulevard Association is hosting its annual Holiday Open House at participating Larchmont retail outlets on Saturday, with a free tram to help you travel up and down the boulevard, as well as special sales and other events at its member shops. Also, not too far away, Miracle Mile retailers are participating in their own Small Business Saturday celebration, including celebrations at several local stores including Runway Boutique, which will host special music, live models, guest vendors and more from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A bit further west along Wilshire Blvd., the Craft and Folk Art Museum also gets into the local holiday spirit with its annual CAFAM Marketplace event, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and featuring the museum’s “favorite Los Angeles makers.” They’ll be selling special one-of-a-kind contemporary jewelry, art, textiles, housewares, and other beautiful hand-crafted gifts, from artists and vendors including the CSULB Fiber Department, Digital Mud Works, Earth + Element, Ena Dubnoff, Future Ancestors, Karlita Designs, Lizbeth Navarro Ceramics, Modern Glass Studio, Tome Ceramics, Venice Clay, and Zenbunni Chocolates. Again, a terrific alternative to mass-market holiday shopping.
Later, if you’d like a break from all things commercial, and some relief from what may already be a rather hectic holiday season, it would be great to spend Saturday Afternoon at the Peace Labyrinth, 3500 W. Adams Blvd. From 12 to 4 p.m., take some time to reflect in the beautiful Asian-themed meditation gardens, let the sounds of running water in fountains and the koi pond restore your spirit, and unwind your mind by walking the stone labyrinth. Find your peace and leave recharged…absolutely free of charge (though donations are, of course, welcome). See the above link for registration information. Labyrinth instructions and a complimentary journal are provided.
On Saturday evening, you can explore the darker side of an upcoming holiday, with lectures on the mythical Alpine Christmas-season character Krampus, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Goethe Institut. The program will feature local author and director Al Ridenour, who will present slides, video clips and costumed friends from Krampus Los Angeles. They’ll discuss “the superstitions, fears, and legends associated with “the old, dark Christmas” season, or die Rauhnächte”…and the “fearsome characters that haunted the Germanic landscape.” Habergeiß, the Schnabelpercht, and “bloody Thomas” are a few of the more than a dozen apparitions expected to appear.
For those in a movie mood on Saturday evening, the American Cinematheque is offering both dark and light options at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood (6712 Hollywood Blvd.). On the dark side, there’s a 7:30 screening of the 1972 ultri-violent German thriller Bloody Friday, based on true events about two bank robbers whose heist turns into a hostage situation. Starting at the same time, on a separate screen, is the much lighter (and appropriate for the whole family) Singin’ in the Rain, Gene Kelly’s buoyant and brilliant tribute to the movie industry and its transition from silent films to talkies…with some of the best song and dance routines ever to grace the silver screen. Patricia Ward Kelly, Gene Kelly’s widow and official biographer, will introduce the screening.
Sunday looks to be pretty quiet this week – a good time to relax and enjoy the end of your holiday weekend with friends and family – but you can enjoy a couple of longtime local traditions on Sunday evening.
First up is the 85th (!) annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, which starts at 5 p.m., at Hollywood Blvd. and Orange Dr., and will make its way along a U-shaped route to Vine St., then south on Vine to Sunset Blvd., and back to Orange Drive. This year’s celebrity Grand Marshal is Olivia Newton-John, and other celebrity guests include Dean Cain, Montel Williams, Elizabeth Stanton and Garrett Clayton, with performances by Kenny G, Cyndi Lauper, Scotty McCreary, War and others…in addition to the traditional retinue of marching bands, floats, balloons and more. See the above link for viewing, parking and traffic information.
And finally, if you’d like to avoid the big crowds in Hollywood, but would still love to take part in a venerable Los Angeles holiday tradition, try the 2016 Griffith Park Holiday Light Festival Train Ride, which begins its annual run tonight, continues through December 23, and then returns from December 26-30, weather permitting. The ride, run by the Griffith Park & Southern Railroad, provides a 1-mile ride with magical scnes and tens of thousands of ilghts to set the mood for the holiday season. Trains run from 5-8 p.m. on weeknights, and 5-9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $4 per person and can be purchased at the on-site ticket booth (no online sales at this time). Please also note that trains will not run if it rains.
Have a great weekend!