Happy New Year and Congratulations for making it through 2020! I spent the last week going on driving trips to the Vasquez Rocks and to see the snow in the Angeles National Forest and the site of the St. Francis Dam Disaster. But if you’d like to stay in the neighborhood or on your sofa, there are a whole bunch of events in town and online you can attend to start your year off right — like classic drive-in movies, a celebration of the Year of the Ox with the Japanese American National Museum, some LA history, and more.
Arts & Culture
The Hollywood Legion Theater is joining forces with American Cinematheque for a very special drive-in double feature of the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup & Horse Feathers on Tuesday, January 5th at 7:30 p.m.: a perfect activity for those of you who have family members who make a lot of references to Freedonia and other family members who don’t understand them.
For a movie perhaps more relevant to today, catch a panel discussion about Palm Springs (2020) (about three people stuck in a time loop reliving the same day over and over again), also from American Cinematheque, with stars Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti and J.K. Simmons on Wednesday, January 6th at 6:00 p.m.. RSVP for the conversation here. (The RSVP will include a screener link, and the film is also streaming on Hulu.)
The novel Better Luck Next Time seems just as cinematic as those selections: set in 1938, it’s about “women seeking a quick, no-questions split from their husbands [who] head to the ‘divorce capital of the world’ Reno, Nevada. There’s one catch: they have to wait six-weeks to become ‘residents.’ Many of these wealthy, soon-to-be divorcees flock to the Flying Leap, a dude ranch that caters to their every need.” You can hear its author Julia Claiborne Johnson in conversation about it via Larchmont’s own Chevalier’s on Wednesday, January 6th at 4:00 p.m., with purchase of the book.
Community & History
Keep the New Years celebrations going as you ring in the Year of the Ox virtually with the Japanese American National Museum’s Oshogatsu Family Festival starting on Sunday, January 3rd through Friday, January 8th. Events include crafts and a scavenger hunt activity perfect for kids, a virtual peek inside the museum’s permanent collection, and a conversation around traditional Oshogatsu foods with “guests from local businesses and restaurants in Little Tokyo to chat about how they share Oshogatsu recipes and traditions today.”
For more Japanese food, join Japan House Los Angeles’s Japanese Food Lab Program. Now through January 31st, watch Los Angeles-based chef Kuniko Yagi teach “easy, adaptable ways to bring a Japanese twist to a typical meal: dressings and sauces! Chef Yagi will share recipes for several dressings, sauces, and vinaigrettes beloved in Japan, along with suggestions on salads, proteins, and other dishes as ideal pairings.”
If you’ve been drinking a lot more wine since March and now your New Year’s resolution is to learn more about all those wines, wineLA’s Wine Camp is for you. On Sunday, January 3rd at 3:00 p.m., enjoy a “2-hour wine experience jam-packed with useful information” where “you’ll learn how wine is made, improve your ability to describe wine, find out the best way to serve wine, and we’ll even discuss food and wine pairings.” When you register for the event you even get the wines you’ll be tasting in class delivered.
Esotouric’ is kicking off the 2021 by looking back on what went wrong in the past with Pershing Square, Los Angeles: The History, Tragedy And Potential Of Our Original Central Park, 1866-2020 on Saturday, January 2nd at 12:00 p.m.. In this webinar, you’ll learn how “a concrete hell-scape, a confused collection of purple protuberances, a zone of repulsion with no shade, no place to sit, nothing to look at— just a flat slab over a parking garage” was once “the most beautiful and lively place in town, a communal garden beloved by Downtown office workers and the boarding house and hotel dwellers of Bunker Hill and Skid Row”…and how it all went down.
If you’re more curious about history on the West Side, join LA Walking Tours’ virtual tour of the Venice Boardwalk & Canals on Sunday, January 3rd at 11:30 a.m. and explore “the famous canals that once supported the area’s title of “Venice of America, see the bungalow courts that house the creatives, and join the chaotic beauty that is the Venice Boardwalk.”
The Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council Outreach Committee meets Saturday, January 2nd at 9:30 a.m. And mark your calendars for next week, when the GWNC will be presenting another installment of its Los Angeles Civics 101 Series: County 101 (which I am hosting) on Monday, January 11th at 7:00 p.m., with Fernando Morales, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s District Director for West/Metro Los Angeles (who will break down how the County is organized and what it does), and Cristin Mondy, RN, MSN, MPH—SPA 4’s Area Health Officer— who will talk about how the County is combatting COVID-19 and outline its plans for vaccine distribution.