20 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week
On Sunday, Lula Washington Dance Theatre performs its annual Kwanzaa Concert (Haniyyah Tahirah pictured here).
From Christmas Day through New Year's Eve, there's no shortage of fun stuff to do and see, from Christmas feasts to Kwanzaa concerts.
Eli Broad's got nothin' on Candace Frazee and Steve Lubanski. Their love of rabbits and each other led them to open the Bunny Museum in 1998, and this year you can celebrate their unique passion when you visit the Christmas Open House With Bunnies. At more than 30,000 items, theirs is the largest collection of rabbit-related ephemera the world has ever seen, and you can enjoy it all when you experience the museum's bunny-themed Christmas celebration, replete with bunny ornaments, carrot-colored lights and carrot-colored candy canes. If you want to feed actual bunnies, bring a festive platter of fruits and vegetables to share. The Bunny Museum, 1933 Jefferson Drive, Pasadena; Fri., Dec. 25, 1-6 p.m.; $5. (626) 798-8848, thebunnymuseum.com. —David Cotner
On this rare day when both misery and comedy love company, the 36th annual Free Christmas Day Feast represents that vital moment during which those picture-postcard notions about eating, drinking and being merry actually come true for once. Comics and celebrities man the dinner line, serving a full Christmas meal to those who might not have (or want) family with which to celebrate. After the banquet, the jokes come spilling out onstage, and your otherwise depressing day ends on a sparkling high note. Best of all, this traditional outpouring of loving kindness — the reason for this sometimes troubling season — is absolutely free. The Laugh Factory, 8001 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood Hills West; Fri., Dec. 25, 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. (arriving an hour early is recommended); free (first come, first served). (323) 656-1336, laughfactory.com/clubs/hollywood/date/2015-12-25. —David Cotner
In need of some Christmastime counterprogramming? Consider the New Beverly's screening of the only 35mm print in existence of Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair a personal gift from Quentin Tarantino. Despite being released in two volumes, the writer-director's revenge fantasy was originally conceived of as one extended opus. Opportunities to see the blood-spattered bride's saga unfold as Tarantino intended are understandably scarce, and there's no telling how long it'll be before this one is brought back from the archive. Time it right and you can even make a double feature out of this and The Hateful Eight, opening today — it happens to be Tarantino's best film since he introduced us to the five-point-palm exploding heart technique. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri., Dec. 25, 7:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com. —Michael Nordine
If you're still in the traditional holiday spirit, however, you may be better served by Cinefamily's presentation of It's a Wonderful Life. Little remains to be said about Frank Capra's always-in-season classic but, for as maddening as this time of year can be, there are few pop-culture artifacts that more lovingly (and accurately) convey what makes it so genuinely magical at times. Even if you've seen it dozens of times — most likely in bits and pieces, interrupted by commercial breaks and relatives in town for Christmas — you may find yourself surprised at how moving it remains. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Fri., Dec. 25, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine
Gabriel Iglesias knows how to tell a good story. His tales wind for minutes on end, taking unexpected turns as his voice moves from impression to impression and he drops in sound effects. He regales audiences with the strange encounters he's had with people on the road and vividly recalls adventures he's had with his friend Martin. Even when his stories take a dark turn — as they did multiple times in last year's The Fluffy Movie — they're always engaging. When he talks about reconnecting with his long-absent father, the ending isn't entirely happy, but it's just that range of emotion that keeps the listener connected. Iglesias performs the first of a two-night engagement on his #FluffyBreaksEven tour. Microsoft Theater, 777 Chick Hearn Court, downtown; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 26-27; 0x000A8 p.m.; $55.50-$125.50. (888) 9-AXS-TIX, axs.com. —Liz Ohanesian
If you're like most Americans who grew up in tropical or temperate climates, curling is not a sport you've attempted. You know what that means: You could be Olympic-level good and not even know it yet. Find out when Hollywood Curling Club hosts a pop-up curling lesson at the Holiday Ice Rink in Pershing Square. Hurl a 42-pound granite stone across the ice and finally learn what the hell those guys are doing with their brooms and brushes. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown; Sat., Dec. 26, 8:30-9:30 a.m.; $5. (213) 624-4289, hollywoodcurling.org/learntocurl. —Gwynedd Stuart
The Aero begins its Screwball Comedy Classics 2016 series a few days early with His Girl Friday and Topper, both on 35mm. Rapid-fire dialogue abounds in both halves of the Cary Grant–centric double bill, even from beyond the grave: Grant and Constance Bennett star as a recently deceased couple trying to secure a spot among the angels via a good deed in Topper. Directed by Howard Hawks, His Girl Friday is among the genre's all-time classics — one of those movies so endlessly imitated that it feels familiar the first time you see it. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sat., Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine
Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine and Shelley Winters are but a few of the actors who go down with the ship in The Poseidon Adventure. As has become something of a year-end tradition, the Egyptian is screening Ronald Neame's disaster classic as part of its Holiday Spirit on the Big Screen series. Those who arrive early will be treated to visual displays and a toast to the film in the lobby beforehand. If you're feeling really festive, you can dress up in whatever outfit is most apropos of New Year's Eve 1972. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine
Spend Christmas Day with small furry things.
Courtesy the Bunny Museum
Living in a multicultural city such as L.A. means there are plenty of chances to experience an unmatched array of rich holiday traditions — segue from Hanukkah to Christmas to Kwanzaa, move on to Three Kings Day in January and even extend into February with Asian New Year's events. But the week from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 belongs to Kwanzaa, celebrating the African-American and Pan-African experience over seven days, each reflecting on one of seven laudable principles. Among the local festivities, Lula Washington Dance Theatre's 35th annual Kwanzaa Concert is a standout, with exuberant dancing, live jazz music and African drumming. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., Mid-City; Sun., Dec. 27, 3 p.m.; $35, $25 students and seniors, $20 children under 12. (323) 292-5852, lulawashington.org. —Ann Haskins
At its core, Home Alone is a terrifying movie. Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister is abandoned by his sociopathic family and left to fend for himself in the Chicago suburbs as he's preyed upon by a pair of career criminals, one of whom threatens to bite off his fingers one by one. Naturally, it's hilarious and beloved and ripe for parody. Although Christmas is over, there are still a few more chances to catch The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Home Alone, with a pair of women in the lead role of Kevin. And since songs from the '80s are part of the musicals soundtrack, we'd like to think Home Alone scribe John Hughes would approve. Rockwell Table & Stage, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Sun., Dec. 27 & Thu.-Sun., Dec. 31-Jan. 3, 8 p.m.; $20-$40. (323) 669-1550, rockwellvt.com. —Gwynedd Stuart
To prepare yourself for Werner Herzog's upcoming Queen of the Desert — a disjointed epic starring Nicole Kidman as writer-explorer Gertrude Bell — experience the silver-screen glory that is Lawrence of Arabia on 70mm. None of the many cinematic treks through this or that desert comes close to rivaling the scope and grandeur of David Lean's benchmark biopic of T.E. Lawrence, played here by Peter O'Toole in one of the greatest of all screen performances. Maurice Jarre's overture alone is more sweeping than some movies. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Dec. 27, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Michael Nordine
The Last Bookstore celebrates the return of the typewriter, which, like vinyl, seems to be making a comeback. At its Type-In, the Melrose Poetry Bureau holds poetry readings, and author Richard Polt discusses his new book, The Typewriter Revolution: A Typist's Companion for the 21st Century. The bookstore also displays Santa Monica artist L.A. Marler's typewriter-inspired art, as well as typewriters belonging to Ray Bradbury and Orson Welles from Steve Soboroff's collection, which includes vintage machines once used by famous people. The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring St., downtown; Mon., Dec. 28, 5-6:30 p.m.; free. (213) 488-0599, lastbookstorela.com. —Siran Babayan
This year, skip Sandra Lee's infamous Kwanzaa cake and head to UCB Sunset for 808 Hip-Hop Improv Presents: A Kwanzaa Rap Battle. The seven days of Kwanzaa (Dec. 26-Jan. 1) are dedicated to celebrating unity, self-determination, responsibility, cooperation, purpose, creativity and faith. Though 808 Hip-Hop is known for long-form comedic stylings, this time, members will take a brief detour from the usual formula of fictive hip-hop album–themed performance as members go head to head in a series of seasonal lyrical faceoffs. Expect a dope show with splashes of Swahili and maybe just a touch of white guilt. UCB Sunset, 5419 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Feliz; Mon., Dec. 28, 10:30 p.m.; $5. (323) 467-6600, sunset.ucbtheatre.com. —Lucy Tiven
Hold on to your chakras: The Sacred Tones Meditation Evening is your chance to reflect upon everything you've done this year and figure out if you want to keep doing what you've been doing. Whether it's your first time quieting your mind or if you're so good at meditating that people frequently mistake you for a corpse, the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens is a pleasant environment in which to simply exist as you dive deeper inward. If you're still dazzled by tonight's metaphysical brain-busters, just look around — you're in an actual labyrinth. What greater metaphor for your current condition could there be than that? Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens, 3500 W. Adams Blvd., Jefferson Park; Mon., Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 737-4055, peacelabyrinth.org. —David Cotner
Watching the Rose Parade, it's tempting to think that the floats just sort of happen, like Athena springing fully formed from the head of Zeus. But those floats represent countless hours of tireless effort from hundreds of volunteers — one of whom could be you. This year's all-day Volunteer Float Decorating sees people getting together to add all those blossoms, seeds and bits of vegetation to the floats in anticipation of the big day. It's open to everyone, but dress casual (and warmly) because glue, dirt and crushed flowers are part and parcel of making masterpieces. Rose Palace, 835 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; and Rosemont Pavilion, 700 Seco St., Pasadena; Tue., Dec. 29, 9 a.m.; through Dec. 31; free. (626) 577-3100, tournamentofroses.com/events/float-decorating. —David Cotner
Breaking up is hard to do, even if you're Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly. In Country Girl, Crosby plays an alcoholic stage actor whose career is in decline, with Kelly as the wife whose support of her husband is constantly being called into question. In one of the Academy Awards' most (in)famous upsets, Grace Kelly beat A Star Is Born's Judy Garland for Best Actress — another memorable turn that, like O'Toole's, went unrecognized by Oscar. Try not to hold it against Kelly, whose onscreen presence is no less gripping. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Dec. 29, 1 p.m.; $5. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org. —Michael Nordine
The Laugh Factory is hosting a free Christmas Day Feast for all (first come, first served).
Photo by David Cotner
Upright Citizens Brigade says good riddance to another year of the Kardashians, not to mention Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Fifty Shades of Grey and Tidal in its annual awards show honoring the year's worst pop culture moments. Comedian Kate Berlant hosts the 2015 It Sucked! Awards with help from the club's performers and sketch groups, including Colton Dunn, Betsy Sodero, Mark Rennie, Melissa Hunter, Joan Ford, Scott Gairdner, Big Grande, White Women and The Wheel Show. Fake Oscar statuettes will be handed out in categories such as Most Uncomfortable Racial Moment of the Year, Shittiest Thing From the Internet and Lifetime Achievement in Being an Asshole. It's the only awards show where everyone is a loser. UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; Wed., Dec. 30, 8 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheater.com. —Siran Babayan
As a planet, Pluto was the cosmological equivalent of the girl in the corner at a party whom no one would talk to. But now that people have seen her up close and rhapsodized about how "amazing" and "stunning" her features are, everyone wants to party with her. Pluto's First Party is the "hypnagogic New Year odyssey" hosted by actress and gadfly Mel Shimkovitz, and it boasts a plethora of psychonauts for your partying pleasure: DJ Devendra Banhart; Awesome Tapes From Africa blog selectors; glitch-worshiping tarot designer Amy von Harrington; interstellar light installations by animator Galen Pehrson; "alien sightseeing" led by Jasmine Albuquerque Croissant; and more. Be there or be oblong! Upstairs at Ace Hotel, 929 Broadway, downtown; Thu., Dec. 31, 8 p.m.; free. (213) 623-3233, acehotel.com/calendar/losangeles/plutosfirst. —David Cotner
"If you don't fuckin' like Frasier, fuck the fuck off." That was director Kevin Smith's introduction to his and co-host Matt Mira's new podcast, Talk Salad & Scrambled Eggs: Frasier Reconsidered With Matt Mira & Kevin Smith, about the NBC comedy that ran from 1993 to 2004 "during the golden age of sitcom paychecks." In it, Smith and Mira — both of whom are behind several other podcasts on the SModcast and Nerdist networks — profess their late-blooming love for the sitcom about a persnickety Seattle radio host and his family, and provide commentary on episodes. They've even had guests including Frasier actress Peri Gilpin (aka Roz) and screenwriter Ken Levine. For tonight's live taping, Mira and Smith will dissect season-two episode "The Candidate" and do a live reading of another. And since it's New Year's Eve, your ticket price includes a glass of Champagne. The Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., Beverly Grove; $30. (323) 651-2583, hollywood.improv.com. —Siran Babayan
End the year at the movies with Old Town Music Hall's New Year's Eve Celebration. In addition to the theater's usual offerings — classic short films, a sing-along accompanied by the Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ — the evening's festivities will include a surprise feature film and sparkling apple cider. As this is one of Old Town's best-attended events, advance reservations are required; ensure your participation in the revelry by calling (310) 322-2592. May your 2016 be filled with moviegoing merriment. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; Thu., Dec. 31, 8:30 p.m.; $20. (310) 322-2592, oldtownmusichall.org. —Michael Nordine
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