By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
For that special manufactured Times Square feeling — you know, mobs of people you don’t know blowing noisemakers in your face — Universal CityWalk delivers the madness. If dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe followed by virtual NASCAR racing sounds tempting, this is your scene. For CityWalk’s New Year’s Eve Bash, there will be live music by Fast Times and ’80s Rewind, plus DJs, dancing and a broadcast of the famous Times Square ball drop on the giant AstroVision screen. Warning: Don’t drink and buy Pez dispensers. Universal CityWalk, Universal City; Wed., Dec. 31, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; free (parking $5,000). (818) 622-4455.
With eight rooms offering eight different versions of “Auld Lang Syne” — including big band, country, jazz, disco, Latin — surely you’ll find one to suit your style at the Queen Mary’s Stars & Lights. This year, your ticket gets you Donna and the Lost Boys, Tony Guerrero and the Hi-Fi Quintet, the Platters (yes, those Platters), Red Loquita and much more. A balloon drop and fireworks ring in 2009. And with so many rooms to explore, you have another good option if you decide to lose your date! Queen Mary, 1126 Queen’s Hwy., Long Beach (south end of the 710 freeway); Wed., Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m.; $99.99. (562) 435-3511.
The founders of Marina del Rey continue to make good on their promise to bring fireworks to the people. And we thank them. Marina del Rey New Year’s Eve Fireworks display is a good one. Best view spots are Fisherman’s Wharf and Burton Chase Park. Get there early, and wear a diaper! Burton Chase Park: 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey;Fisherman’s Village, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina Del Rey. (310) 823-5411; Wed., Dec 31, 2007, 11:59 p.m; free. (310) 305-9545.
See Dance Clubs for much hipper, louder New Year’s Eve options.
THURSDAY, January 1
Great hangover cure: The 56th Annual First Swim of the New Year, presented by the Cabrillo Beach Polar Bears, who will crown King and Queen Polar Bear. Then it’s everybody into the water! (Attention women in your late 40s — this is for you!) The club’s been around since the early ’50s, which makes this tradition the L.A. equivalent of London’s Ceremony of the Keys on Tower Bridge! Cabrillo Beach Boathouse, 3800 Stephen M. White Dr., San Pedro; Thurs., Jan. 1, 11:30 a.m. (310) 548-7554 or www.cabrillobeachpolarbears.com/index.htm. You also have The 10th Annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim. Hansen Dam Aquatic Center, 11798 Foothill Blvd., Lake View Terrace; 8 a.m. (818) 899-3779. Also, there’s the Venice Penguin Swim Club New Year’s Dive. They dip at the more humane hour of noon. Call for location: (310) 390-5700.
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