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Arts and Entertainment

Your Ultimate Guide to December: 20 Cool Events Happening in Los Angeles

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We found a number of notable happenings in December to help plan your social calendar. Read on for all our event picks and details. Did we miss something? Add your event to our comments section.

Dec. 1-10

Bento Box Entertainment presents an original art show from the artists, animators and creative minds of Bob’s Burgers. Running from Dec. 1-10 at Unit 120 in DTLA, the free exhibition features paintings, sculptures and mixed medium originals from 16 Bento Box artists who work on the show. The art exhibition is open from 11 am to 10 pm daily. The pop-up space will feature gourmet burgers from chefs Alvin Cailan, owner, and Isa Fabro during the public opening on Dec. 1 from 7-10 pm and during the rest of the exhibition from 11 am-4 pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Dec. 1-15

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Each year, the Museum of Modern Art’s Film Department selects a handful of films to include its screening series, The Contenders. These films, made in the last 12 months, are ones MoMA believes will stand the test of time, are bound for awards glory or cult status. The series includes both studio and independent releases. The L.A. edition of The Contenders takes place at the Hammer Museum this month. Each of the screenings is followed by a conversation with the filmmaker and/or actors. The films selected this year are: Loving, Nocturnal Animals, Manchester by the Sea, Jackie, Arrival, Lion, Moonlight, Into the Inferno, Weiner and Hell or High Water. Tickets: $8-$12.

Dec. 1-11

The Cinefamily and Don’t Knock the Rock present several films that feature and honor Leonard Cohen and his music. The series includes Bird on a Wire (1974), Ladies & Gentlemen… Mr. Leonard Cohen (1965) and Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 (2009). Admission: $12.

Dec. 3-4

The Sixth Annual Los Angeles International Tea Festival, presented by the Chado Tea Room, takes place on Dec. 3-4 from 11 am-5 pm at the Japanese American National Museum in DTLA. The expo brings together authors, experts, buyers, retailers, artists, educators and tea lovers from around the country. Attendees get to sample teas from all over the world, listen in on workshops and support JANM. General admission is $20 with classes sold separately.

Dec. 3-4

UNIQUE LA (Shopping)
Unique LA’s Holiday Market takes over The Penthouse at California Market Center from 11 am to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Snack and shop until you drop because there are more than 350 local makers and vendors selling their wares. Entry includes: free drinks from Califia and GT’s Kombucha, snacks from Luna, make-your-own ornaments with Paul Frank and other activities. Admission: $15, free for children 12 and younger.

Dec. 5-12

HENRY ROLLINS (Spoken word)
Henry Rollins—musician, artist, author, DJ, and pop culture and political voice—opens an eight-night stand of spoken-word performances at Largo at the Coronet, beginning on Monday, Dec. 5. Unfortunately, every single night is sold out online, so try you luck for tickets by other alternative means. Tickets: $30. 8 pm.

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Dec. 9-10

Singer-songwriterConor Oberst (Bright Eyes) performs in L.A. on Dec. 9-10 at Cathedral Sanctuary at Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Oberst released his solo acoustic album Ruminations earlier this year. Tickets: $39.50.

Dec. 9

A Wonder Winter's Night Presents the 20th Anniversary of Stevie Wonder’s House Full Of Toys Benefit Concert on Dec. 9 at the Microsoft Theatre at L.A. Live. The concert features Stevie Wonder and special guests John Legend, Lionel Richie and others. Concertgoers are asked to bring an unwrapped toy. Proceeds will benefit the We Are You Foundation, which assists children and families in need. Tickets: $69.50-$159.50. All ages. 8 pm.

Dec. 9-10

Benjamin Millepied and his L.A. Dance Project return to Los Angeles and The Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA on Dec 9 and 10 at 8 pm. The production showcases four pieces, including Millepied's "On The Other Side" featuring the music of Philip Glass and art by Mark Bradford, and a world premiere of "Homecoming" with music composed and performed live by Rufus Wainwright. Tickets are $30, $60 and $80.

Dec. 9-10

There’s a fan event at Hollywood & Highland on Dec. 9-10 to celebrate the release of Game of Thrones: Season 6 Blu-ray and DVD release. Fans will get the chance to participate in five interactive displays, a VR experience and other installations that are themed to bonus features found on the DVD. The exhibit will also mimic set pieces and production elements from the show, including the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen, holding the door to save Bran, fighting in the Battle of the Bastards and sitting on the Iron Throne. The fan experience is open from 12:30-8 pm on both days. There are a limited number of fast passes available for those who pre-register for the event. Free.

Dec. 10-11

The Renegade Craft Fair takes over Grand Park on Dec. 10-11 featuring the talents and crafts of nearly 300 makers from 10 am to 5 pm. The free shopping event also features music, food trucks and free craft workshops. It makes a great stop to do holiday shopping while supporting local artists.

Dec. 10-11

The Echo Park Craft Fair returns to Mack Sennett Studios in Silver Lake on Dec. 10-11 (10 am to 6 pm each day) featuring more than 120 artists, designers, artisans, food purveyors and craftspeople. Tickets: $10-16.

Dec. 10

Marina del Rey’s annual Boat Parade takes place on Dec. 10 starting off at 5:55 pm with a fireworks show, followed by the decked-out boats parading around in the Marina from 6-8 pm. There are family activities before the parade from 12-6 pm at Burton Chace Park.

Dec. 14

L.A.’s own Rooney holds the Ho Ho Ho Holiday Show at Dec. 14 at the El Rey Theatre with support from special guests La Sera and Machineheart and comedy by Nick Thune, who serves as MC. Doors at 7:30 pm, show at 8:30 pm. Tickets: $25. All ages.

Dec. 15

The Petersen Museum presents Unconventional Canvases, an exhibition that brings together five vehicles that have been painted or drawn on by pop artist Keith Haring (1958-1990). This marks the first time these five objects will be together for an exclusive exhibit. There’s an opening reception on Dec. 15 from 8-10 pm which includes a special DJ performance and visual interpretation of 70's and 80's art culture by Peanut Butter Wolf of Stones Throw Records. Food will be provided by Drago and beverages will be provided by Papas Pilar and Einstok. Must be 21+ to drink. Reception tickets: $25-$35. The exhibition opens officially to the public on Dec. 17.

Dec. 16-17

Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA) teams with The Music Center and The Annenberg Foundation to bring the family friendly production of The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in DTLA on Dec. 16 (7:30 pm) and Dec. 17 (1 and 7 pm). The show stars Debbie Allen, Tisha Campbell, Carlo Imperato, Tichina Arnold, Clifford Williams, Kristopher Nobles and DADA. Tickets: $34-$125.

Dec. 17

THE YOGA EXPO (Lifestyle expo)
The 2016 Yoga Expo debuts at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Dec. 17 from 10 am to 6 pm. The expo features more than 80 yoga and meditation classes, sound-healing concerts, vendors and more. Attendees have access to unlimited yoga and meditation, live music, programs and food samples throughout the day. Tickets: $35.

Dec. 18

The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 36th Annual Messiah Sing-Along is on Dec. 18 at 8 pm at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Artistic Director Grant Gershon conducts 2,200 audience members who become the choir. Sopranos, altos, tenors and basses of all levels—and newbies with no singing experience are welcome to join in the fun. For the first time, members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale will also perform with the ad hoc chorus. Tickets: $39-$99.

Dec. 20-April 30, 2017

BREAKING NEWS (Art + news)
The Getty Center presents the exhibition Breaking News: Turning the Lens on Mass Mediafrom Dec. 20-April 30, 2017. The exhibition presents works by artists “who have employed appropriation, juxtaposition, and mimicry, among other means, to create photographs and videos that effectively comment on the role of the news media in determining the meaning of images.”

Dec. 24

L.A. County’s Holiday Celebration takes place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at The Music Center on Christmas Eve. The free, three-hour music and dance spectacular (from 3-6 pm) features performances by ensembles, choirs and dance companies from various SoCal neighborhoods and cultures to celebrate the season. The entertainment on the Music Center Plaza begins at 12:30 pm, and doors to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion open at 2:30 pm (the line forms much earlier).

Want the 411 on additional events and happenings in L.A.? Follow @LAistor me (@christineziemba) on Twitter.