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24 Awesome Happenings in Southern California This Weekend

National Geographic Live presents a night that transports audiences at The Broad Stage into the Arctic. (Photo: Florian Schulz)
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Catch a body positive strip show or a Q&A with the cast of If Beale Street Could Talk. Shop J Dilla apparel or peruse the wares at Unique Market. Learn about Little Saigon and laugh along at the Pee Cast Blast. Listen to the Los Angeles Master Chorale in concert or just get blitzed at Blitzen's.

THURSDAY, DEC. 13 - FRIDAY, DEC. 14; 7:30 p.m.
National Geographic Live: Into the Arctic Kingdom
The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage -- 1310 11th St., Santa Monica
Over several years, photographer Florian Schulz documented life in the Arctic Circle, accompanying Inuit hunters, tracking families of polar bears, following caribou herds and capturing the Northern Lights. Through his images, he takes audiences on a journey to the Arctic. The event includes a post-show Q&A with Schulz.
COST: Tickets start at $55; MORE INFO

FRIDAY, DEC. 14; 7 p.m.
Holidaze: A Holiday Comedy Spectacular
Dynasty Typewriter -- 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Westlake
This comedy show doubles as a benefit fundraiser for the Northern California town of Paradise, devastated by the recent Camp Fire. The lineup includes Jermaine Fowler, Whitmer Thomas, Eliza Skinner, Nick Thune, Ahamed Weinberg, Rebecca Reid, Heather Pasternak, Kaseem Bentley and a few mystery guests. This show is 18+.
COST: $15 - $20; MORE INFO

Theater artist extraordinaire Taylor Mac celebrates the holidays at UCLA's Royce Hall this weekend. (Photo by Little Fang Photography)
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Taylor Mac's Holiday Sauce
UCLA's Royce Hall --10745 Dickson Ct., Westwood
The incomprable theater artist returns with the ultimate holiday survival guide. Joined by longtime collaborators -- set and costume designer Machine Dazzle and music director and arranger Matt Ray -- Mac celebrates the holidays and all the dysfunction that comes with them. Listen to singular takes on the "songs we love and the holidays we hate." Get there early for a drag pop-up station, related runway activities and an ugly sweater contest.
COST: $26-$116; MORE INFO

FRIDAY, DEC. 14; 4 - 10 p.m.
J Dilla Apparel Pop-Up Shop
Delicious Pizza Cafe -- 6601 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood
Delicious Vinyl hosts a pop-up with exclusive, limited-edition designs that won't be produced again. With the blessing of J Dilla's mom -- "Ma Dukes" -- the music label plans on developing new ways to honor the legacy of the late producer and rapper.

The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows
Laemmle Glendale -- 207 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale
Watch 15 thought-provoking, poignant and hilarious animated shorts from around the world. Artists from six countries are represented at the festival, which screens several student works as well as films that qualified for Academy Award consideration.
COST: $6 - $13; MORE INFO

FRIDAY, DEC. 14; 8 p.m.
Thicc Strip: A Body Positive Strip Show
Daf Creative Studios -- 2234 W Temple St., Westlake
This striptease exclusively features plus-size and body positive female-identifying dancers with varied experience. In addition to the dancing, there's music, vendors, raffle prizes and interactive activities, including a "tit tub." Proceeds from the evening go to the Downtown Women's Center. The event is 21+.

FRIDAY, DEC. 14; 8 p.m.
Shirt Show: An Improv Benefit featuring cast from NBC's The Good Place
Palace Theater -- 630 South Broadway, downtown L.A.
This improv show based on audience suggestions benefits the Detroit Creativity Project's (DCP) arts programs for Detroit youth. DCP founder Marc Evan Jackson is joined for this event by fellow The Good Place actors including Kristen Bell, D'Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto, Jason Mantzoukas, Maribeth Monroe, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Eugene Cordero and show creator Mike Schur.
COST: $15 - $75; MORE INFO

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
Pasadena Playhouse -- 39 South El Molino Ave., Pasadena
"Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!" Simon Helberg (Big Bang Theory) takes on the iconic role of George Bailey, made famous by Jimmy Stewart in the 1946 Frank Capra feature. The radio play was adapted from the film by Joe Landry and is directed by Cameron Watson.
COST: Tickets start at $25; MORE INFO

If Beale Street Could Talk
ArcLight Hollywood's Cinerama Dome -- 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood
Based on the novel by James Baldwin, Barry Jenkins' latest film follows a newly engaged woman from Harlem who races against time to prove her lover's innocence while pregnant with their first child. Q&As with cast members Kiki Layne, Dave Franco, Stephan James and Colman Domingo, along with producers Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner take place on Friday after the 8:30 p.m. show, Saturday after the 7 p.m. show and Sunday after the 4 p.m. show.
COST: $17 - $18; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, DEC. 15; 12 - 4 p.m.
Chef Christmas Cookie Swap
Friends & Family -- 5150 Hollywood Blvd., East Hollywood
The Arthur J -- 903 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach
Chef David LeFevre and friends are gearing up for the 3rd annual cookie bash with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Buy cookie tins featuring 12 cookies from six LA Chefs: Laurel Almerinda (Huckleberry/Milo & Olive), Della Gossett (Spago), Roxana Jullapat (Friends & Family), Uyen Kirshenbaum (M.B. Post/Fishing with Dynamite/The Arthur J), LeFevre (M.B. Post/Fishing with Dynamite/The Arthur J) and Sherry Yard (iPic). Tins are only available for pre-sale and will be ready for pick-up at the two locations.

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SATURDAY, DEC. 15; 8 - 11 p.m.
Mariachi Divas Christmas
Downey Theatre -- 8435 Firestone Blvd., Downey
Founded in 1999 by trumpet player Cindy Shea, the acclaimed, all-female mariachi ensemble plays traditional holiday songs from both the U.S. and Mexico.
COST: $32-$42; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, DEC. 15; 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Christmas Bird Count
Audubon Center at Debs Park -- 4700 N. Griffin Ave., Montecito Heights
For the last 119 years, the Audubon Society has organized the longest-running wildlife census in the world. Volunteer to count the number of species and individual birds as you hike around designated areas of the park. Hikes and teams will be led by experts including Marcos Trinidad, director of Audubon Center at Debs Park and John McCormack, director and curator of birds and mammals at Occidental College.
COST: FREE with RSVP to Cindy Castaneda; MORE INFO

Shop and sip by the sea at Unique Market's Santa Monica Pier edition this weekend. (Unique Markets)

SATURDAY, DEC. 15 - SUNDAY, DEC. 16; 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Unique Holiday Market
The Santa Monica Pier -- 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica
The pop-up market focuses on small businesses and local makers. Start or finish your holiday shopping, from accessories to home goods and paper goods to packaged foods, in one place. Vendors and brands participating include A.M. Jewelry, Poppy & Quail, Settlewell, silverfish LA, m. greenwood jams and FINEASSLINES.
COST: $15 - $35; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, DEC. 15 - SUNDAY, DEC. 16; 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Snow Days with the Critters
Santa Ana Zoo -- 1801 East Chestnut Ave., Santa Ana
The Santa Ana Zoo ushers in the winter season with family-friendly events all weekend long. Watch animals get icy treats, listen to festive music and learn how animals adapt and survive in freezing environments. For the young ones (or those young at heart), there are craft activities, storytelling and a snow play area.
COST: Included with zoo admission, $9 - $12 (FREE for Santa Ana residents with proof of residency); MORE INFO

SATURDAY, DEC. 15; 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Little Saigon: Six Field Trips Generating
The Institute of Vietnamese Studies -- 15355 Brookhurst St., Westminster
Artist Alan Nakagawa leads a tour of cultural sites of the area while discussing the complexities of cultural tourism. As an outsider to this community, Nakagawa wants to understand "how one can learn about a new place, and if there is a correct approach to this kind of exploration."

Santa conducts the Los Angeles Master Chorale during the Festival of Carols. (Photo: Patrick Brown)

Los Angeles Master Chorale Concerts
Walt Disney Concert Hall -- 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A.
Grant Gershon directs members of the chorale in three concerts this weekend. Saturday's Festival of Carols program features 100 voices singing traditional songs like "Angels We Have Heard on High," "The Christmas Song" and "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming." Nearly 50 members of the chorale perform Handel's Messiah on Sunday. On Monday, the 2,200-person audience performs as the chorus for the LAMC's 38th annual Messiah Sing-Along.
COST: Tickets start at $29; MORE INFO

Rockwell Table & Stage -- 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz
The new show is a holiday-themed, musical tribute to and parody of Tim Burton's film, Edward Scissorhands. The production explores gender equality, gender identity and the new middle class while the performers mix and mash up music from the '80s, '90s and today. The show includes holiday tunes from Lady Gaga, Florence and the Machine, Aerosmith, Tori Amos and ABBA. It runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
COST: $20 - $64 (with a two-item minimum); MORE INFO

SATURDAY, DEC. 15; 10 p.m.
Of The Dark I Dare + Trope
Bar Sinister -- 1652 N Cherokee Ave., Hollywood
It's goth night, so wear your best black. Listen to "electro-luxe cemetery pop" from Of the Dark I Dare and alt-rock from Trope.

SATURDAY, DEC. 15; 3:30 p.m.
Mary Poppins Returns
LACMA's Bing Theater -- 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire
Rob Marshall directs Disney's all-new original musical and sequel with an all-star cast: Emily Blunt, in the titular role, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep. Film at LACMA presents a special sneak peek. While online tickets are no longer available, a few stand-by tickets may be.

SATURDAY, DEC. 15; 3 p.m.
Pee Cast Blast '18
Theatre at Ace Hotel -- 929 South Broadway, downtown L.A.
This all-day podcast performance show features the talents of various podcasts, hosts and comics including Scott Aukerman's Comedy Bang! Bang!, The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project, Doughboys, Throwing Shade, Off Book: The Improvised Musical and Teachers' Lounge.
COST: $50 - $125; MORE INFO

SUNDAY, DEC. 16; 4 p.m.
Special Holiday Market
Vroman's -- 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
The Pasadena bookstore and the Journal of Alta California, a quarterly magazine, present a California-themed market that also includes author book signings with Lisa See, Edan Lepucki, Mark Haskell Smith, David Ulin and Naomi Hirahara. The market offers gift items and products made in California as well as refreshments and holiday musical performances.

The Troubies present 'A Year without a Santana Claus' at the El Portal Theatre. (Image: Troubadour Theater Company)

SUNDAY, DEC. 16; 4 p.m.
The Year Without A Santana Claus
El Portal Theatre -- 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood
The Troubadour Theater Company (aka "The Troubies") returns with its annual holiday send-up. This year's musical parody fuses the songs of Carlos Santana with the 1974 Rankin & Bass claymation TV special The Year Without A Santa Claus. After the Sunday afternoon shows on Dec. 16 and 23, fans are invited to stay for chips, salsa and salsa dancing lessons. The show runs Wednesdays to Sundays through Dec. 30.
COST: $45 - $75; MORE INFO

SUNDAY, DEC. 16; 2 p.m.
Red Hen Press: An Afternoon of Poetry and Performance
The East Wing at The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage -- 1310 11th St., Santa Monica
The afternoon includes music by Morten Lauridsen, paired with the voices of Rod and Carin Gilfry and poetry by Amber Flora Thomas and California State Poet Laureate Dana Gioia.
COST: Tickets start at $35; MORE INFO

Here and Now -- 300 S. Santa Fe Ave. Suite N, downtown L.A.
Va'La Hospitality (Aaron Melendrez, Damian Diaz and Othon Nolasco) and Westbound founder Sarah Meade, have turned the recently opened Here and Now into Blitzen's, a Christmas-themed pop-up bar. Step into a SoCal version of the North Pole with a snow machine, themed entertainment, carolers, winter food and drinks. Cocktail highlights include Frosty's Demise (Tullamore Dew, Laird's Apple Brandy, apple cider, maple, spices) and Gin & Tidings (Plymouth Gin, cranberry & persimmon relish, pine liqueur, lemon, martini bitters, soda).

How are you spending your weekend? Let us know on Twitter @christineziemba and @LeoHasACat.

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