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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 cool happenings this month, some holiday-related, some not, so we're ready to help you plan your social calendar. Read on for all our event picks and details.

Dec. 1-23

CRAB BOIL: Coast at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica hosts its first ever crab boil this month with Santa Monica Brew Works—from Dec. 1-23. The restaurant features a $45 dinner prix-fixe for Dungeness crab season with a two-pound Dungeness Crab in beer & Cajun spices, a pint of Santa Monica Brew Works’ XPA (extra pale ale) or Modern Witbier and French fries. Dinner only: 4-10pm daily.

Dec. 4-6

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COMEDY: The 1st Annual Funny Women Festival takes over IO West from Dec. 4-6. The comedy fest is held on three stages at iO West and features the best female improv, sketch and stand-up performers in the nation. There are also panels, Q&As and other showcases. There are dozens of shows on the slate with tickets between $5-$10.

Dec. 4

TYPEWRITER EXHIBIT: File this under the kitschy-cool-geek category: On Dec. 4, The Paley Center opens the month-long exhibit The Soboroff Collection: From the Page to the Screen at 6 pm. Steve Soboroff, president of the L.A. Police Commission, loans his collection of 28 original typewriters, previously owned by Ernest Hemingway, John Lennon, Orson Welles, Truman Capote, Jerry Siegel, Tom Hanks, Tennessee Williams and Ted Kaczynski, among others. (Soboroff only selects typewriters whose owners were previously on the cover of TIME magazine.) The opening night event takes place from 6-8 pm, and Soboroff with Soboroff talking about his collection.

Dec. 4-7

SKI & SNOWBOARD EXPO: The 51st Annual Los Angeles Ski Show & Snowboard Expo is at the Los Angeles Convention Center’s South Hall from Dec. 4-7. Ski Dazzle features more than 250 exhibit booths from retailers and winter resorts. The expo also offers ski and snowboard brand name gear discounts. Regular adult admission: $20.

Dec. 5

BEER SYMPOSIUM: On Dec. 5 at 5 pm, serious beer geeks need to attend a Sour Symposium at the Library Alehouse in Santa Monica for a special evening with Lauren and Eric Salazar, New Belgium Brewing’s wood beer specialists. The session offers a “hands-on opportunity to experience beer making as guests experiment with their own blend, enjoy a pint of New Belgium’s La Folie, and take home a new appreciation of sour beers.” Tickets: $55.

Dec. 5-7

FILM: Truth and Soul, Inc.: The Films of Robert Downey Sr. (a prince) is the First Friends of Cinefamily Weekend, the theater’s annual fundraiser. The screening series opens on Dec. 5 with An Evening with Robert Downey Sr., hosted by Robert Downey Jr., featuring an archival 35mm print Chafed Elbows and Two Tons of Turquoise To Taos Tonight. Tickets still remain for the event at 2 pm on Dec. 7 at the Theater at Ace Hotel with Downey, Clown Prince of the Underground (hosted by Louis CK, Alan Arkin in person). General admission tickets: $45.

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Dec. 6-7

MUSIC CENTER CELEBRATION: The Music Center celebrates its 50th anniversary this weekend with two great parties. On Saturday night, the 50th Anniversary Spectacular begins at 6 pm with a champagne toast, followed by a 90-minute show with performances by the L.A. Master Chorale, Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center and The LA Phil, Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and other surprises. Tickets for Anniversary Spectacular start at $35. (The gala dinner tickets, which include the performances, start at $2,500). If that price is a little steep for your budget, then there’s a Next 50 Party in the Pavilion on Dec. 7 at 6 pm. Tickets start at $150 tickets and includes food, wine, beer and mixologist offerings (for the full bar option, those tickets are $250). The evening includes a dance party on the Pavilion stage, live music and performances.

Dec. 6

COMIC BOOK TALK: On Dec. 6 at 2 pm, the Hammer Museum presents the program 75 Years of Marvel with Marvel honchos Stan Lee and Roy Thomas and filmmaker Kevin Smith. A Q&A and limited book signing of Thomas’s new book, 75 Years of Marvel: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen follows the discussion. The event is free, but tickets required. Tickets are distributed on a first come, first-served basis—one per person—so get there early. If you can’t make it down to the Hammer, the event will be Livestreamed, too.

Dec. 6-7

HOLIDAY SHOPPING: The 7th annual Unique LA Holiday Markettakes over the Penthouse at California Market Center from 11 am-6 pm (both Saturday and Sunday). Admission is $10 (cash only at the door) and includes free drinks, snacks and a chance to take part in DIY craft workshops while checking out more than 350 vendors selling their goods. Unlimited re-entry throughout the weekend.

Dec. 7

CICLAVIA: For the first time, CicLAvia takes over the streets of South L.A. on Sunday, Dec. 7. Thousands of participants are expected to explore the neighborhoods and bike, walk, skate historic Central Avenue, MLK Boulevard, Exposition Park and Leimert Park. There are plenty of family and kid friendly activities, live music along the route, a farmers market and a winter festival. The streets will be closed from 9 am to 3 pm.

Dec. 8-Jan. 13

FILM: 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 and include both studio and independent releases. Each of the screenings includes a conversation with the filmmaker. The series starts on Dec. 8 at 7:30 pm with Snowpiercer with director Bong Joon-ho. Tickets: $15.

Dec. 8

COMEDY-VARIETY: Fred Willard hosts Santa-thon 2014 at Largo with a bunch of celeb friends and guests to raise money for toys. Guests include: The Lampshades (Kate Flannery and Scot Robinson), Jo Anne Worley, Ted Lange, Jerry Minor, Edd Hall, Todd Sherry and Heather Olt, Bill Dwyer and more. Show at 8 pm. Tickets: $30.

Dec. 11

COCKTAIL CRAWL: Ludlows Cocktail Co. Jelly Shots has organized a Culver Arts District Holiday Crawl on Thursday, Dec. 11 from 7-10 pm. The $40 (+fees) ticket includes a wine and cheese tasting at Bar and Garden; a shopping stop with an 20% discount at Gramercy York; dinner at the New School of Cooking; a spirits tasting at Congenial Spirits; and ice cream sandwiches at Coolhaus. The crawl is limited to 50 people.

Dec. 11-21

PUPPETS: SparkleBlob presents its 7th annual Holiday Puppet Show—Jingle-Belling on the Outskirts of Greatness—at Automata in Chinatown from Dec. 11-21. “T year's show introduces audiences to exciting new handmade puppet characters, beautiful sets, and a laugh-out-loud script by Julianna Parr and Shannon Gallagher.” The show offers social satire through puppetry, suitable for both kids and adults. The DingleBell Hollies plays live through the show. Tickets: $20; $15 for Students/SparkleBlob Members/Automata Members and free for kids 3 and younger.

Dec. 13-14

CRAFT The Renegade Craft Fair takes over Grand Park featuring the talents and crafts of more than 250 makers. 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. 10 am-5 pm each day. There’s also an after party on Dec. 13 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Theatre at Ace Hotel with complimentary cocktails and a dance floor.

Dec. 13-May 3, 2015

PHOTOGRAPHY: The Annenberg Space for Photography’s presents the exhibition Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Change from Dec. 13, 2014, to May 3, 2015. The exhibition features new works from fine art, news and architectural photographers Iwan Baan, Stephen Wilkes, Paula Bronstein, Jonas Bendiksen and Monica Nouwens. “Sink or Swim explores the human story of resilience, from adaptation for survival to ambitious infrastructure planning, in some of the richest and poorest of the world’s coastal communities. Rather than showing pristine architectural photography, the photographs present viewers with various human responses to changes in their landscapes due to sea level rise.”

Dec. 13

BOAT PARADE: Marina del Rey’s 52nd Boat Parade takes place on Dec. 13 starting off at 5:55 pm with a fireworks show, followed by the decked-out boats parading around from 6-8 pm. There’s an after-party at Whiskey Red’s.

Dec. 13-Jan. 24, 2015

ART: Regen Projects opens everyone, a new solo show by British artist Gillian Wearing. The show debuts two new videos: We Are Here and Fear and Loathing and also features photographs and sculptures. The first video, We Are Here, is inspired by American poet Edgar Lee Masters' 1915 book Spoon River Anthology, with residents of returning from the dead to tell tales. The latter video is Wearing’s first work produced in the U.S. The opening reception is on Dec. 13 from 6-8 pm.

Dec. 16-31

DECK THE HALL: The LA Phil’s Annual Holiday Concert Series features a wide array of acts to appeal to different audiences, from the Holiday Singalong on Dec. 20 to the Klezmatics on Dec. 22 and Arturo Sandoval on Dec. 23. But the shows that caught our attention are the two Pink Martini shows on New Year’s Eve, with the special guests The von Trapps—yep of Sound of Music family fame. Ticket prices vary.

Dec. 24

HOLIDAY CELEBRATION: The 55th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration. The free, three-hour music and dance spectacular includes ensembles, choirs and dance companies from various SoCal neighborhoods and cultures to celebrate the season. The entertainment on the Music Center Plaza begins at noon, and doors to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion open at 2:30 pm (the line forms much earlier). The live show takes place from 3-6 pm and is broadcast live on KCET.

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