As we get closer to the actual holidays, the number of holiday events tends to slow down a bit…but that just means more time to focus on the specific offerings, which will still keep you plenty busy this weekend.
First, on Saturday at 2 p.m., is the great (and free!) monthly BARK: Read with Dogs event at the John C. Fremont Library (6121 Melrose Ave.). BARK is an all-volunteer program that encourages children to increase their reading skills and self-confidence by reading aloud to certified therapy dogs. Studies show that reading to these ultra-gentle dogs actually leads to improvement in reading skills. All the dogs are trained to work with children, and the owner is present at all times. All ages are welcome…and both kids and adults also get to chat with the dog owners and learn more about their very special canine companions (in addition to the reading practice).
Later, there are two new art exhibits opening on Saturday.
First, An Irruption of the Rainbow: Color in 20th-Century Art opens at LACMA, looking at various ways that modern artists have used color in their work. According to the museum, “Artists began to experiment with color in the late 19th century, employing it not only descriptively but also scientifically, politically, formally, and to stimulate the senses.” Artists represented in the show include Paul Signac, Wassily Kandinsky, El Lissitzky, Pyotr Konchalovsky, Sister Mary Corita Kent, Henri Matisse…and many more. The show is included in the museum’s General Admission ticket prices.
Across the street at the Petersen Museum, you can check out the new “Unconventional Canvases,” the first-ever exhibit of five vehicles painted by artist Keith Haring, which have never before been shown together. Haring first became widely known for his simple, spontaneous chalk drawings in New York City subway stations. According to the Petersen, his “simple and assured lines were meant to translate art in a manner that all viewers could experience and consume.” Haring’s efforts to communicate to a broad audience also led to the creation of “unconventional fine art – works on a variety of surfaces and structures that thematically fit the time, place and audience he was painting for.” The painted vehicles on display include a 1987 Honda CBR1000F Hurricane motorcycle, a 1990 BMW Z1, a 1962 SCAF/Mortarini Mini Ferrari 330 P2 motorized child’s automobile, a 1971 Land Rover Series III, and a 1963 Buick Special.
Finally on Saturday, to help feed your more specifically holiday spirit, there are several holiday-themed film screenings worth noting. First, at noon, Cinefamily will present “The Very Merry Stop-Motion Xmas Extravaganza.” The event begins at 11 a.m. and is free for kids under 14 (adult tickets are $12). It begins with a potluck lunch (yes, bring food!), and includes several hours of vintage animation favorites, including “handpicked Xmas goodies, rarities and classics.” Among the offerings are “Wil Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration,” a 24-minute short featuring a dinosaur movie-critic duo giving their thumbs up and down to a “series of magical musical vignettes, lovingly rendered in Vinton’s inimitable (and, for many, overwhelmingly nostalgic) style”…and the stop-motion “Nutcracker Fantasy,” in which the Sanrio folks (of “Hello Kitty” fame) create a “vaguely festive, awesomely bizarro sugar plum dream — one in which all the signifiers of Christmas fare are there, except Christmas is never once mentioned.” The rarely-shown film includes the voice talents of Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall, Dick Van Patten and Jo Anne Worley (“as the “Nut of Darkness”-wielding, two-headed rat queen, naturally”).
Also, just down the street, the New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., will screen two other holiday classics – Santa Claus: The Movie (at 2 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday), and A Christmas Story (midnight on Saturday).
On Sunday, you can return to the Petersen for a very useful Teen Driver Safety Talk with Doug Herbert. Starting at 10:30 a.m. in the Bruce Meyer Family Gallery, Herbert, the first driver to run over 300 MPH during NHRA eliminations (with a career-best speed over 317 MPH), will talk about putting his racing career aside after losing his two young sons in a tragic car crash. As a result of that event, Herbert created a free driving program that teaches advanced safe driving techniques, and founded B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe), a non-profit 501(c)(3) Teen Pro-Active Defensive Driving Program. Sounds like a great resource for all parents of teen drivers.
Later, over at the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park, “Diamonds: Rare Brilliance,” a new exhibit open through March 19, opens the Museum’s Gem and Mineral Vault for an up-close look at the “incredible properties of gemstones and how the interplay of light and chemistry gives diamonds color.” (Useful information if gemstones are on your holiday shopping list this year…and fascinating even if they’re not.)
And finally on Sunday, there’s some good old-fashioned holiday cheer on tap, as local teen Leo Viscomi and the Rhodes School of Music hold their third annual Larchmont caroling event. Carolers, including Rhodes students, staff and friends, will gather at the school (215 N. Larchmont Blvd.) at 5 p.m. and proceed through neighborhood streets, serenading local residents and spreading the holiday spirit through music. Fifteen year old Viscomi, a long-time music student and part-time employee at Rhodes, launched the event three years ago as a fundraiser in support of the Harmony Project, a Los Angeles non-profit organization supporting music education for disadvantaged youth. Word is there will also be cookies and cocoa involved…so definitely a great way to end your pre-holiday weekend.
Have a great one!
One more thing — FYI Starting at 8 pm Friday, December 16 through Saturday, December 17 at noon, Wilshire Blvd. will be reduced to one lane in each direction with left turn restrictions between Crenshaw Blvd. and Arden Blvd. for Metro rail construction. Also, note that only right turns will be permitted at Lorraine Blvd., Windsor Ave., Arden Blvd. and Fremont Pl.
The reason for the closures is the installation of the k-rail and striping set up for the next jet grouting location at Wilshire Blvd./Windsor Blvd. Following the traffic control installation, Wilshire Blvd. will be two lanes in each direction between Plymouth Blvd. and Lorraine Blvd., which will be in place for approximately 6 to 8 weeks. Left turns from Windsor Blvd. to Wilshire Blvd. will be restricted, and thru traffic on Windsor Blvd. at Wilshire Blvd. will be restricted. Additional intermittent closures will occur in the area to support the work.