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Arts and Entertainment

Best Things To Do This Weekend In Los Angeles And SoCal: Dec. 16 - 19

Five ballerina dancers stand on one foot with arms outstretched.
The Long Beach Ballet continues its annual holiday tradition of presenting "The Nutcracker."
(Katie Ging
courtesy of Long Beach Ballet)
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Join CAAM’s Kuumba Kwanzaa Celebration. Tour the seedier side of Bunker Hill. View The Last Unicorn’s group art show. Celebrate the holidays with Stevie Wonder.

Friday, Dec. 16 - Friday, Dec. 23 (select dates)

The Long Beach Nutcracker
Terrace Theatre, Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center
300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach 
The Long Beach Ballet, under the artistic direction of David Wilcox, celebrates the 40th anniversary of the classic ballet’s staging. This production features a full symphony orchestra, a flying sleigh, a real horse, on-stage pyrotechnics and a cast of more than 250. Seth Orza performs as the Nutcracker Prince and Megan Wilcox dances as the Sugarplum Fairy. Six performances are scheduled for Dec. 16 - 18 and 22 - 23.
COST: $34 - $125; MORE INFO

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Friday, Dec. 16 - Saturday, Dec. 17; 6:30 and 9 p.m

Candlelight Concert: Vitamin String Quartet
Immanuel Presbyterian Church
663 S. Berendo St., Koreatown
Listen to top pop hits and Christmas favorites performed by the Vitamin String Quartet by Candlelight. The tentative program includes “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee, Daft Punk’s “Touch” and “Carol of the Bells.”
COST: $35 - $75; MORE INFO

Friday, Dec. 16

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and The Night Before
Rooftop Cinema Club

1310 E. Franklin Ave., El Segundo

777 S. Alameda St., Arts District

Celebrate National Ugly Sweater Day with your best of the worst Christmas attire. Rooftop Cinema Club screens National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at 6 p.m. in El Segundo and The Night Before at 9 p.m. The Arts District location also screens The Night Before at 9 p.m. with an ugly sweater contest before each screening.

COST: Tickets start at $19.50; MORE INFO

Saturday, Dec. 17; 1 - 3 p.m.

CAAM Kuumba Kwanzaa Celebration
California African American Museum
600 State Dr., Exposition Park
Celebrate Kuumba, one of Kwanzaa’s seven principles, which focuses on creativity. Listen to an afternoon of storytelling with Jayon and Jon Kev as they share songs, puppetry, and interactive tales. (Bring something comfy to sit on.) Teaching artists from the nonprofit Able ARTS Work lead a zine workshop for participants to focus on their Kuumba spirit.

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Saturday, Dec. 17; 10:30 a.m.

Bunker Noir! True Crime On Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill Tour
Horse Thief BBQ Patio outside Grand Central Market
324 S. Hill St., downtown L.A.
Esotouric and author Nathan Marsak (Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Essence of Sunshine and Noir) presents a walking tour through time and a lost downtown neighborhood, viewed through the lens of its true crime history.

Saturday, Dec. 17; 8 p.m.

Stevie Wonder House Full of Toys - Admissions
Microsoft Theater
777 Chick Hearn Ct., Downtown L.A.
Wonder’s annual benefit concert returns for its 24th year with the music legend and friends entertaining for the holiday season. Guests are asked to bring an unwrapped toy or gift to benefit children, families and people with disabilities in need.
COST: Tickets start at $59; MORE INFO

A cartoonish picture of a white unicorn and other fantastical creates in multiple colors by Gary Baseman.
Corey Helford Gallery celebrates the 40th anniversary of 'The Last Unicorn' with a group art show.
(Courtesy of Gary Baseman)

Saturday, Dec. 17; 7 - 11 p.m.

The Last Unicorn 40th Anniversary Group Show Opening Night
Corey Helford Gallery
571 S. Anderson St., Boyle Heights
The gallery celebrates the 40th anniversary of the 1982 Rankin/Bass animated musical film with a group art show. View new works from more than 70 contemporary artists, original film production art (including hundreds of meticulously restored frames), and a pop-up shop of movie merch. If you can’t miss the opening night party, the works will be on view through Jan. 21.

Saturday, Dec. 17; 7 p.m.

Alton Brown Live
The Soraya
18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge 
The former Food TV host (of Good Eats) brings his cooking variety show on the road in time for the holidays. Watch cooking, comedy, music, mayhem and science-adjacent fun.
COST: $46 - $156; MORE INFO

Saturday, Dec. 17; 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sticky Holiday Market
Night Gallery
2050 Imperial St., downtown L.A.  
Bailey Hikawa and Zizia Botanicals are bringing together a small community of L.A. brands from the practice of art, design and life in this holiday market. Shop from 30 small businesses while sipping wine, noshing and listening to music.

Saturday, Dec. 17; 7:30 p.m.

Auntie Mame 
Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica
Outfest and the American Cinematheque’s holiday tradition returns, screening the 1958 film starring Rosalind Russell as a Park Avenue socialite who suddenly becomes guardian to her young nephew. She takes him through the free-wheeling 1920s, the Great Depression, her personal crises, and her plea for social justice. Dress in your best Auntie Mame-inspired outfit to enter the costume contest with prizes from Outfest.
COST: $8 - $13; MORE INFO

A chorale in black attire on stage singing.
The Los Angeles Master Chorale performs Handel's 'Messiah' live on stage at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
(Marie Noorbergen and Tao Ruspoli)

Sunday, Dec. 18; 7 p.m.

Handel’s “Messiah”
Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A.
Listen to the joyous refrains, arias, and, of course, all those Hallelujahs as the Los Angeles Master Chorale performs Handel’s Baroque masterwork.
COST: Tickets start at $65; MORE INFO

Sunday, Dec. 18; 3 p.m.

Wow in the World Pop Up Party: Laboratory of Bad Ideas
Wilshire Ebell Theatre 
4401 W. 8th St., Mid-Wilshire'
Attend a live show of the popular podcast "Wow in the World," hosted by Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz. They weave STEM-themed interactive games, comedy, sound effects and music for curious kids and their adults.
COST: Tickets start at $28; MORE INFO

Sunday, Dec. 18; 7 p.m.

Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama 2
Los Feliz Theatre
1822 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz 
Etheria presents the sequel to the 1988 horror comedy Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, screening for one night only. Directed by Brinke Stevens, who reprises her role as Taffy from the original film, the Tri-Delta sorority is in need of recruits. Meanwhile, the Bowl-O-Rama bowling alley has had a break-in — and a breakout of the riddling and murderous Imp. Q&A with Brinke Stevens, producer William Butler, and cast member Kelli Maroney.
COST: $8 - $13; MORE INFO

Through Friday, Jan. 6, 2023

Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn
Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
3649 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside
Millions of lights illuminate the hotel, decked out in its holiday best with animated angels, elves and holiday decor. The city’s surrounding festival runs through Dec. 31, but the light display at the hotel will run through Jan. 6.


Queen Mary Tours
Queen Mary
1126 Queen Hwy., Long Beach
The city of Long Beach announced limited-time tours to access the Queen Mary while it continues renovations. The select dates promptly sold out, but additional dates will be announced.

Outdoor Pick

Polar Bear Swim
Take a plunge into the Pacific for Santa Monica’s Annual Polar Bear Swim, taking place on Sunday, Dec. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Check-in at guest services at the Annenberg Beach House before heading to the shoreline. The first plunge takes place around 10:15 a.m. starting with the youngest Polar Bears. The heartiest / craziest of polar bears can swim 300 yards around a buoy. Pool admission ($4 - $10) will be charged for Polar Bears and others entering the pool deck to visit, soak, swim in the heated pool, or take a hot shower. In-person registration may be limited on the day of the event.

Viewing Pick

The Dutton family saga continues as Tyler Sheridan’s Yellowstone universe expands again with 1923, with this Western drama nestled between the timeline of Yellowstone and its prequel 1883. The series, which covers the Depression and Prohibition, stars heavy hitters: Harrison Ford as the patriarch of the ranch with Helen Mirren as his wife. 1923 premieres on Sunday, Dec. 18 on Paramount+.

Dine and Drink Deals

Check out the 411 on restaurant, bar, and food happenings in SoCal this week:

  • The 14th Annual SANTA Monica Pub Crawl— purportedly the largest pub crawl on the West Coast — returns on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 5 p.m. The holiday fundraiser features discounted eats and drinks from 25 of the city's best bars and restaurants, with three distinct routes. Participating locations include The Victorian, Red O, The Viceroy, Circle Bar, Library Alehouse, and Ye Olde King's Head. Tickets range from $20 to $35. 
  • Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel’s monthly Drag Me to Brunch at Blue Streak restaurant returns this Sunday, Dec. 18 from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. The $85 ticket includes the buffet brunch, bottomless mimosas and the drag show. 
  • West & Co., located inside Hilton Los Angeles Culver City, offers a Teddy Bear Tea on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 1 to 4 p.m.  The $25 tickets include teas, hot chocolate, scones, assorted sandwiches, and a meet and greet with a live teddy bear. Each child also receives a signature Build-A-Bear teddy bear gift to take home.
  • Asi Asi Projects final pop-up for the year is inspired by the trails of Griffith Park with two seatings on Saturday, Dec. 17. The $75 ticket includes two cocktails incorporating plants and herbs native to the Griffith Park area, food, and cool trail vibes.