For the first time in 823 years, July has five Fridays, five Saturdays and five Sundays. That's not exactly an excuse for the Radar Screen arriving later than usual (it's because we were on vacation, actually). But, be assured that there are still three fabulous July weekends to enjoy. Even if next weekend is the much anticipated Carmageddon!
Dino Hall Opens: The BIGGEST news this month is that the Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum is finally opening this Friday (7/16). Go online and reserve your timed entry tickets and then rent Land Before Time or Jurassic Park to bone up on the difference between an Allosaurus and a Velociraptor.
Elementary: Summer is a perfect time to visit the Descanso Gardens, especially on Family Tuesdays when the gardens stay open at night for music programs. You can brush up on your Dickens at the Pasadena Playhouse's TWIST: An American Musical, which is based on Oliver Twist and directed by Debbie Allen. Shrek the Musical will be at the Pantages for two weeks, starting July 13. Summer Reading Tips: We love the two new books about Jane Goodall's life and work (for the very young) and even though school is out, your 2nd and 3rd graders can lose themselves in Dan Gutman's My Weirder School series.
Middle School: Even if you're not traveling to Europe this summer, put Paris on your itinerary by touring Paris: Life and Luxury at the Getty, which is open only until the first week of August; be sure to pick up the Family Programming flyer. Check out the free concerts at the Santa Monica Pier, running all summer and featuring the Bangles this weekend. If local art is your thing, take a tour of Watts Towers, which LACMA is helping to preserve (their tours are sold out, but you can do it on your own easily). Get your tickets for the latest Cirque du Soleil production, IRIS, billed as "a journey through the world of cinema," opening July 21 at The Kodak Theater. Summer Reading Tip: Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series will take over your kids' brains, much as Harry Potter once did.
Teens: A perfect art and movie pairing, recommended by several subscribers, is to watch Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop and head down to Art in the Streets (the graffiti show) at MOCA. Slightly more highbrow would be the pairing of Ed Ruscha: On the Road, an exhibit at The Hammer through October, and picking up Jack Kerouac's classic novel of the same name. And you've gotta introduce your kids to Cameron MacIntosh's blockbuster musical, Les Miserables, at the Ahmanson through the end of this month, which has been re-staged for a new US tour. Summer Reading Tip: We just blew through this truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tale by Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Adults: Vermeer's "Woman with a Lute" is spending the summer at The Norton Simon, making her the only Vermeer on the West Coast. Be sure not to miss Christian Marclay's "The Clock", which won the Gold Lion at the Venice Bienalle, and is playing at LACMA through the month. Click here for Kenneth Turan's rave review. Summer Reading Tip: Pick up local author Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan -- the film version will be in theaters Friday.
If You Watch One Movie Together as a Family This Month: With Monday's successful launch of the last space shuttle, it's a great time to revisit Apollo 13, one of our favorite family movies. With spectacular direction from Ron Howard, memorable performances by Tom Hanks, Ed Harris and Joan Allen, you can celebrate the red, white and blue of it all, all month long. Click here for our Popcorn Adventure.