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Pre-Holiday Happenings This Weekend: Dec. 18- 20

George Clooney directs and stars in 'The Midnight Sky.' (© 2020 Netflix, Inc.)
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Listen to Christmas ghost stories. Do a pub crawl from home. Learn to make tamales. Discover details about the winter solstice. Play along with a choose-your-own online adventure.

Week of Friday, Dec. 18

Cinelounge Drive-In Films
1625 N. Las Palmas Blvd., Hollywood
The drive-in theater opens a new slate of films this week including The Midnight Sky, directed by and starring George Clooney. The post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine (Clooney), a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop a group of astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe. Other films include Breach with Bruce Willis and Sister of the Bride with Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott. Capacity is limited. Tickets and refreshments must be purchased in advance. FM radio is required for audio.
COST: $20 - $150 per car; MORE INFO

The Speakeasy Society adapts its immersive theatrical production of 'Ebenezer' for the COVID-19 era. (The Speakeasy Society)

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Friday, Dec. 18 - Saturday, Dec. 19; 7 p.m. PST

Ebenezer 2020: An Immersive Internet Spectacular
The Speakeasy Society closes out 2020 with an interactive, online adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Play charades with Scrooge's nephew Fred, have a beer with Bob Cratchit or witness Ebenezer's terror as he's visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future. The Speakeasy Society donates all proceeds from the event to Mutual Aid LA, which provides grocery, supply deliveries and community support services in L.A. The show is recommended for ages 14 and up.
COST: Suggested donation of $10 - $20; MORE INFO

Friday, Dec. 18; 8 p.m. PST

A Winter Solstice
Santa Monica College's live, virtual Friday night shows continue on its website immediately following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m. Senior lecturer Jim Mahon discusses ancient observances of the winter solstice and how they have evolved and mixed with our current holidays. The event also examines a planetary conjunction in 2 B.C., a leading candidate for a scientific explanation for the Star of Bethlehem. A Zoom link will be made available at

Friday, Dec. 18; 6 p.m. PST

El Patio Tecate Episode 4
Tecate presents an evening of throwback music that celebrates our mezcla (mixed) cultures and traditions. Listen to tunes from Grammy-winning artist Miguel, D-Smoke, Bo Bundy, MC Magic and Krystall Poppin. They'll be livestreamed via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Friday, Dec. 18; 6:30 p.m.

LACO: Close Quarters
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra presents a digital performance of Bach's Brandenburg 5 with music director Jaime Martín on flute, assistant concertmaster Tereza Stanislav on violin and conductor laureate Jeffrey Kahane on fortepiano. Available on demand beginning on Friday, the program also features Debussy's Syrinx and compelling visual elements directed by James Darrah. The program can be streamed at, on LACO's YouTube channel and Facebook live.
COST: FREE, but donations requested; MORE INFO

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Friday, Dec. 18; 7 p.m. PST

Storage Run: Holiday Choose-Your-Own-Adventure
The Rogue Artists Ensemble has created a holiday-themed, interactive theatrical experience that you can participate in from home. Help Mike escape from the depths of Rogue's storage caverns. Take multiple paths with hundreds of combinations and puzzles, and receive virtual gifts along the way. Part 1 is being released this week, with Parts 2 and 3 dropping on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
COST: $20 each show or pay-what-you-can; MORE INFO

The finalists' films for the 13th annual LACLA Student Film Festival will be released for viewing online on Friday, Dec. 18. (Courtesy of LACLA)

Friday, Dec. 18

13th Annual LACLA Student Film Festival
Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles promotes cultural exchange through films by screening the work of middle and high school students from underserved areas. The festival's 10 finalist films become available to view on the LACLA website on Friday. Winners will be selected for Best Film, Most Creative and Best Social Impact.

Aida Cuevas takes part in The Soraya's 'Nochebuena en la Casa' online celebration. (Ricki Quinn)

Friday, Dec. 18; 5 p.m. PDT

Nochebuena En Casa
The Soraya's Nochebuena celebration heads online to entertain audiences with a lineup that includes "The Queen of Ranchera" Aida Cuevas along with Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles, Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar, Suzanna Guzmán, Las Cafeteras, José "Pepe" Martínez Jr. and Susie García. Watch on the Soraya's website.

The cocktails will crawl to you this year as Santa Monica's annual pub crawl goes virtual with food, drinks and games delivered. (SANTA Monica Pub Crawl)

Saturday, Dec. 19; 6 - 8 p.m. PST

12th Annual SANTA Monica Pub Crawl's Bar Bingo
The annual pub crawl is being held virtually to support local bars and raise funds for the Westside Food Bank. This year's crawl features takeout specials through December and a virtual bingo game night on ZOOM. Hosted by Brian Thomas Smith from The Big Bang Theory and DJ Kooleo, the night includes games, trivia and prizes including hotel stays and gift certificates to local restaurants. Bingo night attendees are encouraged to order takeout and keep their receipts, because the more businesses they purchase from, the more chances they have to win. There's a nonalcoholic and drinks option, which includes a 4-pack of canned cocktails, chips & pico de gallo and a commemorative holiday mask from Lanea Cocktail Bar. The ticket price includes free delivery for those in Santa Monica or Venice, tax & gratuity.
COST: $20 - $55; MORE INFO

Saturday, Dec. 19; 5 - 9 p.m. PST

Shades & Shadows: The Ghosts of Christmas Present(s)
Since at least the Victorian era, ghost stories have been a part of Christmas tradition. The Shades & Shadows series revives the tradition to cap off a terrifying year. Author readings will be simulcast on YouTube and Facebook Live. The lineup includes Michael Paul Gonzales, Kate Maruyama, Jennifer Brody, Jeff Sweat, Del Howard and C.B. Lee.

A still from 'Alex Prager: Farewell, Work Holiday Parties,' an installation at LACMA that is being used to inspire a MOTH storytelling event. (Photo courtesy Alex Prager Studio and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London)

Saturday, Dec. 19; 6:30 p.m. PST

Moth Virtual StorySLAM: After-hours--Alex Prager: Farewell, Work Holiday Parties
Moth Virtual StorySLAM teams with LACMA for a night of stories inspired by Alex Prager's installation Farewell, Work Holiday Parties on view at LACMA. If you have a five-minute story to tell on who you are when the sun sets, then sign up as a possible storyteller. Or attend as a listener and sit back and enjoy the fun.
COST: $8 - $10; MORE INFO

Saturday, Dec. 19; 5 p.m. PST

Tamal Cooking Class
Learn how to make and cook tamales from Dora and "Mama" Socorro Herrera of Yuca's Restaurants. RSVP for the Zoom link and ingredients list. Secure your spot by emailing Registration deadline is Friday at 5 p.m.
COST: $20 per student; MORE INFO

Lythgoe Family Panto's virtual 'Carols for Kids' show features a few special guests. ( Snow White, Maddie Isaacs; Cinderella, Jon York; Santa, Sebastian Jungwirth)

Sunday, Dec. 20; 5 p.m. PST

Lythgoe Family Panto's Carols for Kids
This virtual sing-along concert benefits Children's Hospital Los Angeles with carolers from A Snow White Christmas, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell; A Pirates Christmas, A Cinderella Christmas, Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight, Aladdin and His Winter Wish, The Wonderful Winter of Oz, and Beauty and The Beast: A Christmas Rose. Expect special appearances from Snow White, Cinderella and the man of the hour, Santa Claus.

Trey Lyford, Geoff Sobelle and Steve Cuiffo will appear in 'Elephant Room: Dust from the Stars' on Center Theatre Group's Digital Stage. (Maria Baranova-Suzuki)

Through Sunday, Dec. 20

Elephant Room: Dust from the Stars
Directed by Paul Lazar, magicians turned astro-nots Daryl Hannah, Dennis Diamond and Louie Magic return in this live, interactive sci-fi sequel to Elephant Room, which was produced at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2012. The play is set in 2020 on an Earth on the verge of collapse. A plague ravages the planet and chaos rules the streets. Sound familiar?

The William Grant Still Arts Center celebrates 40 years of the Black Doll Show--the longest running display of Black dolls in L.A. -- online this year. (G. Cifarelli)

Through Thursday, Jan. 21

40th Anniversary of the Black Doll Show and Workshop
All Dolled Up is a virtual retrospective that reflects on four decades of Black dolls. The online exhibition, which is the longest running display of Black dolls in Los Angeles, showcases historical, artistic and commercial Black dolls.


Flea Market Sale
California Heritage Museum
2612 Main St., Santa Monica
The California Heritage Museum holds a sale of art including signed and numbered, limited-edition prints by Ed Moses, Guy Dill, Michael McMillen, D.J. Hall, Martha Alf, Frank Romero, Rodolfo Morales, Laddie John Dill, William Claxton and Julius Shulman. In addition, there's furniture, jewelry, posters, skateboards, surfboards, glassware, china, dolls, photos and sculpture. Because of COVID-19, visits to the museum's sale must be made by appointment only (at or by calling 310-392-8537). Funds raised from the sale will go back into the museum's community art programs.

Cassia offers the ultimate comfort food meal: a pastrami hoagie with a Ceasar salad and french fries. (Bryant Ng)

Dine & Drink Deals

Who doesn't miss going out to eat or stopping by a bar for a drink? Here are a few options from restaurants and bars as we work our way back toward normal.

  • Remember Little Nero's Pizza from the 1990 movie Home Alone? Neither do we because we were born centuries after the movie came out. We are young. Very, very young. Nonetheless, the CVT Soft Serve ice cream truck has teamed up with Studio City's LBK Pizza to revive the fictional brand. It's happening this weekend only at 4359 Tujunga Ave. You can pick up your order directly from the restaurant or via most third party food delivery apps.
  • Chef Bryant Ng of Cassia in Santa Monica has created a brand-new special -- a pastrami hoagie, available for takeout through Tock until Wednesday, Dec. 30. The sandwich comes on a garlic-scallion roll with brown mustard, Provolone, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing, coleslaw and curried ground short rib. It's served with a small Caesar salad and French Fries dusted with Vietnamese-Cajun seasoning. The entire meal costs $39.
  • L.A. chocolatier Compartes recently partnered with Truly Hard Seltzer to create a 5-piece, Gourmet Chocolate Truffles Gift Box ($19.95). The combo combines a chocolate ganache spiked with hard seltzer inspired by Truly's Berry Mix Pack and wrapped in a chocolate exterior.
  • Santa Monica Brew Works releases two new beers that celebrate iconic Santa Monica establishments such as family-owned Italian deli Bay Cities, known for its sandwiches made on homemade filone bread. To give these limited-edition beers an authentic Bay Cities constitution, SMBW brewers added fresh loaves right into the mash. The Godmother Hazy IPA and the Works West Coast-Style IPA can be purchased from the brewery's tasting room (1920 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica) in 16-oz. cans in combo 4-packs.
  • Off the Menu, a dining-membership club, partners with some of L.A.'s hottest restaurants, including L'Antica Pizzeria Da Michele, Howlin Rays, Tacos 1986 and Prince St Pizza, for a 12-day giveaway through Thursday, Dec. 24. Check out the rules and take part in the contests through Off The Menu's Instagram (@offthemenu) to win $50 and $100 gift cards.
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