Tis the season to lift our voices in song... or at least to hum along as professional singers ring out the music of the season. We love that in our diverse city we can enjoy the holiday classics in multiple ways -- we can sing along with the Messiah, or listen to the LA Master Chorale do it perfectly.
We can watch the Joffrey Ballet dance the Nutcracker, and can also see local kids offer up their rendition at the Westside Ballet Company. We never miss the chance to revisit classics like A Christmas Carol, but also like to learn seasonal traditions from other cultures.
Movie Update: Despite a plethora of family films in the theaters, only The Muppets movie broke away from the pack and it would seem as though families spent more of their Thanksgiving time together chasing Black Friday deals than heading to the multiplex (which could explain why two of our local theaters are shutting down this month -- the Crest and the Avco, both in Westwood).
The Muppets are thriving, Puss in Boots 3D is still lapping up box office receipts, and Hugo, which arrived with critical acclaim, gets our Must-See Award for the holiday season... at least until Spielberg's two holiday gifts arrive in late December: The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse. (Hugo, based on the wonderful book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is directed by Martin Scorsese and we thought it was truly magical).
Elementary: Another wonderful World City event takes place on December 3 at the Music Center. Kitka & Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre features an all-female singing group accompanying a marionette show performing stories and skits handed down from the puppeteer's Czech grandfather. Performances take place on Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Free tickets are distributed on Grand Avenue at 2nd Street. Tickets for the 11:00 a.m. performance are distributed beginning at 10:00 a.m. Tickets for the 12:30 p.m. show are distributed beginning at 11:00 a.m. Free art workshops are available during each World City engagement.
Middle School: A nice thing to do while in-laws are in town is to head on up the coast to the Getty Villa and take in "Modern Antiquity: Picasso, de Chirico, Leger and Picabia in the Presence of the Antique" -- which examines how the artists looked to ancient sculpture to inspire their work. The show will be in town only until mid-January when it travels to the Picasso Museum in Antibes, France. And, while you're at the Villa, grandma will adore Tea by the Sea. Get ready for the holidays by purchasing a boxed set of Harry Potter DVDs -- the studio is pulling all of the movies off the shelf at the end of 2011 and will then plan limited releases of the titles (as Disney does with its classic titles).
Teen: Reading a little Shakespeare at school? Let actors help with your homework by heading out to A Noise Within's Twelfth Night, or What You Will from now until mid-December at the company's exciting new stage in Pasadena. And find some cool gifts for your teens by shopping (RED), Bono's line of products that helps fight the spread of AIDS (last Thursday was World AIDS Day).
Adults: Possibly the coolest film title sequences of all time were created by Saul Bass -- you know him from the opening credits of countless Hitchcock movies. Come learn more at a lecture titled Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design at the Hammer on Tuesday, December 13, and meet the author of a beautiful new book about his life's work (this book is at the top of our holiday gift list!). Annette Bening and friends will do two readings of It's a Wonderful Life! at the Geffen Theater on December 10.
Ready-Set-Shop: Unique LA will be held December 3-4 downtown at the California Market Center, where you can get hand-made, original gifts for everyone on your list. Kids under 12 get in free. The Craft and Folk Art Museum holds a boutique this Saturday, as well, from 10-4 p.m. If you haven't gotten your holiday card yet, check out our new fave design shop, Pinhole Press. Also, the gals at Cool Mom Picks put out their 2011 Holiday Gift Guide today and it rocks. Did you know Lego had an Architectural series??
Looking Ahead: Pick up tickets to a family show by They Might Be Giants at UCLA Live on January 28 at Royce Hall. Teens might be into a traveling show from the Discovery series, Mythbusters, coming to town on January 15