22 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week
The Gay Men's Chorus wants to make your holidays spectacular (see Saturday).
Courtesy of Alex Theatre
Still reeling from Black Friday? As Christmas draws near, steer clear of bustling department stores and head to the Wells Fargo Center atrium to peruse indie oddities at the Bunker Hill Odd Market. Boasting a live DJ and a curated selection of 35-plus artisan vendors and food trucks, the Odd Market is the perfect place to snag a last-minute stocking stuffer or simply enjoy a seasonal afternoon stroll. Whether you fancy a mosaic for Mom, want to treat yourself to some vinyl or vintage or simply soak up the festive ambiance, the Odd Market promises a smorgasbord of fun, food and local wares. Wells Fargo Center Plaza, 330 S. Hope St., downtown; Fri., Dec. 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (323) 630-9795, theoddmarket.com. —Lucy Tiven
The local dance landscape is rife with companies led or populated by dancers trained at CalArts' dance program, and Jacques Heim is perhaps its most notable alum. His Diavolo Dance Theater has thrived for more than 20 years with a signature combination of engineered architectural constructs that fold, twist, bend and rotate along with Diavolo's dancers and gymnasts. Heim restages his Cubicle as the centerpiece of this concert, which includes a new work blending traditional Chinese movement with contemporary dance from Beijing Dance Theater's Yuanyuan Wang plus a premiere from Rosanna Gamson, whose masterful integration of dance, music and insightful commentary has made her company a must-see. REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 18-19, 8:30 p.m.; $20, $16 & $10. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org. —Ann Haskins
You may have heard a drinker or two spread the nasty rumor that addicts and alcoholics in recovery are no fun. Not so — in fact, people who've managed to face down their demons tend to have some pretty funny stories to tell. Brave people in the process of kicking a habit dredge up their pasts for AfterParty magazine's monthly live storytelling show about "drinking, drugging and other shit we don't do anymore." This month's show features author/Nickelodeon host Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, Sex Box host Danielle Stewart, comedian Mary Patterson Broome, writer Sevasti Iyama and author/AfterParty founder Anna David. As David puts it, "It's like a choreographed, funny AA meeting." Open Space Cafe, 457 N. Fairfax Ave., Beverly Grove; Fri., Dec. 18, 8 p.m.; free. (323) 424-3059, rehabreviews.com/afterparty-storytelling. —Gwynedd Stuart
Fans of the Star Wars franchise are so amped about the release of The Force Awakens that you could be forgiven for asking, "Is that a lightsaber in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" Tonight at Lightsaber Battle L.A., you'll have your answer. Organizers expect thousands of Jedi and Sith to descend upon Pershing Square for this nocturnal battle between two make-believe factions of adult men with light-up plastic swords. (They'll be in good company — associated events are happening in cities from San Diego to Seattle.) For stalwart Star Wars cosplayers who have their own sabers, the battle is free, but for 10 bucks, newbies can reserve a color-changing sword in advance to be picked up at downtown's Hive Gallery. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., downtown; Fri., Dec. 18, 8-11 p.m.; free, $10 with sword. thelightbattle.com. —Gwynedd Stuart
In one of few unseasonal offerings this week, the New Beverly delves into Sylvester Stallone's back catalog with Paradise Alley and Rocky II, both of which he wrote, directed and starred in. It's good timing, what with Creed having just reminded us that, when he's on, Sly is really on. The action star's classical sensibilities as a filmmaker may seem out of step with his onscreen machismo, but Stallone's fixation on the downside of success — how people who come from nothing tend toward the self-destructive when things start working out for them — goes a long way toward explaining his characters' capacity for violence. The 35mm print of Paradise Alley comes straight from Quentin Tarantino's personal collection. New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; Fri.-Sun., Dec. 18-20, 7 p.m. (Paradise Alley) and 9:15 p.m. (Rocky II); $8. (323) 938-4038, thenewbev.com.
Christmas comes early to Old Town Music Hall, whose annual festivities include a selection of classic comedy shorts, carol sing-alongs featuring the Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ and Scrooge, a silent adaptation of A Christmas Carol made in 1922. That's a special gift, considering the film's rarity, and not to be missed by Christmas completists. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 18-19, 8:15 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 19-20, 2:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 322-2592, oldtownmusichall.org.
Harry Shearer — actor, radio host, musician, man of many voices on The Simpsons and bass slapper from Spinal Tap — and his singer-songwriter wife, Judith Owen, return with their annual Largo tradition, Harry Shearer and Judith Owen's Christmas Without Tears (Does This Tree Make Me Look Fat?). Celebrating the 10th anniversary of their holiday variety show, which began as a post–Hurricane Katrina fundraiser at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2005, the two have released an EP, Christmas Without Tears, featuring songs such as "How Did This Thing Get in Me?" and "What Do You Get for the Man Who Has Nothing?" Past guests have included Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, Jane Lynch, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short and Christopher Guest. This weekend, Shearer and Owens are joined by Fred Willard, Mario Cantone, Alan Cumming, Olympia Dukakis, Bela Fleck, John Michael Higgins, Paul Shaffer and others, with proceeds benefiting My Friend's Place, a nonprofit for homeless youth. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 19-20, 8 p.m. (doors 7 p.m.); $50-$75. largo-la.com. —Siran Babayan
A seasonal favorite, this year's Gay Men's Chorus Holiday Spectacular delivers a parodic a cappella performance titled "Brassy, Classy & Sassy" to Glendale's Alex Theatre. Since its 1979 inception, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles has been hailed for its musical chops, as well as the group's charitable work. Raising awareness for LGBT issues, the show celebrates community victories and looks to the past, mourning the loss of many of the group's original members during the height of the AIDS epidemic. In addition to traditional carols, the 2015 show promises cheeky originals such as "All the Single Santas" — a gay ol' time is sure to be had by all. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 19, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 20, 3 p.m.; $20-$85. (424) 239-6514, gmcla.org. —Lucy Tiven
The Egyptian's Retro Format series continues with The Silent Man on 8mm. Cliff Retallick will be on hand to provide live musical accompaniment to the 98-year-old Western starring William S. Hart, an iconic presence in that particular genre and era, as a prospector who takes it upon himself to rid a mining town of the baddies who rob him of his hard-earned gold. Also on the docket is a 16-minute Edison Company short titled Santa Claus vs. Cupid. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
The rules for attending Cinespia's holiday party aren't as strict as those concerning mogwai ownership, but all attendees hoping to see Gremlins at the gorgeous Palace Theatre must be 21 or older. Joe Dante is the undisputed master of horror-comedy, and his best-known film — which, in case you've forgotten, happens to be set during Christmastime — will be preceded by seasonally appropriate cocktails, the record-spinning stylings of a few DJs and Cinespia's signature free photo booth. Palace Theatre, 630 S. Broadway, downtown; Sat., Dec. 19, 9 p.m. (doors at 7:30); $18. (213) 553-4567, cinespia.org.
Walk through a replica of Jerry Seinfeld's apartment (see Sunday).
Earlier this year, Hulu turned an apartment on NYC's Upper Westside into an exact replica of Jerry Seinfeld's apartment, overabundance of cereal boxes and all. In advance of our favorite fictional holiday, Festivus, the online network is bringing Seinfeld: The Apartment to L.A. — you know, where the show was actually filmed — and inviting fans to walk through it. This iteration of the pop-up exhibit includes a Festivus pole and some props from the original set. Sunday is your last chance to slide in the door like Kramer and have people roll their eyes at you. 8445 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Fri.-Sun., Dec. 18-20, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; free. —Gwynedd Stuart
Each week Community and Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon bares his soul and melts minds alongside Jeff B. Davis of Whose Line Is It Anyway? for Harmontown, which opens windows on everything from the creative process to freestyle rapping. Likely topics for this week's show: Harmon's recent divorce; Yahoo! giving him static about the money-losing sixth season of Community; the sudden, stratospheric success of Rick and Morty on Adult Swim; and working with Charlie Kaufman on his Kickstarted stop-motion film, Anomalisa. NerdMelt Showroom, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Dec. 20, 8 p.m.; $10. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. —David Cotner
Action-flick fanatics should head to the Egyptian for seasonal shoot-'em-up classic Die Hard. Bruce Willis is a stone-faced New York cop who can't even find holiday cheer in Run-DMC's hit "Christmas in Hollis." He heads out to the money- and cocaine-fueled world of downtown L.A. to try to make up with his wife, who is busy climbing the ladder of a Japanese corporation. The '80s-ness of Die Hard is ridiculous — garish materialism, T&A shots with little artistic merit — but Willis' barefoot badass John McClane remains one of the big screen's great action heroes. Fans have no shortage of chances to see the film this season — it's at the New Beverly on Christmas Eve — but this screening is a double feature with Lethal Weapon, for those who can't get enough '80s action. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Liz Ohanesian
Here's the go-to: It's a Wonderful Life plays at the Aero. Sure, you've seen Frank Capra's epochal yuletide story on TV more times than you can count, but have you ever experienced it free of commercials on the big screen? It's even easier to understand why Jimmy Stewart was such a larger-than-life presence for so many decades when you see him in literal larger-than-life proportions. At 6:30, Karie Bible and Mary Mallory, who will introduce the film, sign their book Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays in the lobby. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m.; $11. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
As sure as there's an X in Xmas, progressive pastor Rob Bell will be there to ask questions about things that traditional Christians aren't supposed to second-guess. Tonight's salon on those prickly inexplicables, A Revolutionary Christmas With Rob Bell, examines the Nativity story in all its murky weirdness — from the biblical discrepancies to the strangeness of its dream logic — and just why, thousands of years later, people actually still give a hoot about a couple of kids trying to make a life for their new family without getting hassled by a bunch of religious fanatics out in the desert. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; Mon., Dec. 21, 7 p.m.; $30. (310) 855-0350, largo-la.com/event/987989-revolutionary-christmas-rob-los-angeles. —David Cotner
Watch comedians pretend to make their air guitars — and other air instruments — gently weep at Westside Comedy Theater's first Battle of the Air Bands. Fellow comedian JC Currais, along with judges Andrew Duvall and Jonathan London, host six bands composed of improv players and stand-up comics, and with names like Sissy Boy Slap Party and Torture Rack. The fake rock gods will go through three rounds, performing songs lasting three to five minutes, and must meet the judges' criteria of tight lip-syncing, guitar solos and other imaginary skills. Prizes include cash or a paid bar tab, both of which are real. M.I.'s Westside Comedy Theater, 1323-A Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica; Tue., Dec. 22, 8 p.m.; $5. (310) 451-0850, westsidecomedy.com. —Siran Babayan
Comedian-writer-director Allan McLeod, whose credits include Comedy Central's Drunk History and FX's You're the Worst, makes art funny by combining drawing with improv in Allan McLeod and His Beauties. UCB performers Nicole Byer, Casey Feigh, Jessica Jean Jardine, Nick Mandernach, Timm Sharp and others interview one lucky audience member as host McLeod sketches them. The cast then stages a fully improvised show inspired by the drawing. Since it's a holiday edition, expect there to be some Christmas-themed questions. UCB Franklin, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; Tue., Dec. 22, 8 p.m.; $5. (323) 908-8702, franklin.ucbtheatre.com. —Siran Babayan
Among many reasons to see White Christmas at LACMA is the fact that it was the first movie to be released in VistaVision, a gloriously colorful (and long-defunct) wide-screen process developed by Paramount in the 1950s. This is a reworked version of 1942's Holiday Inn, which is most famous for introducing Bing Crosby's original, standard-setting rendition of "White Christmas" to the world. Crosby and Danny Kaye star as a song-and-dance duo who fall for two sisters, also performers; together the quartet use their gifts to revitalize the struggling Vermont inn owned by Crosby and Kaye's former commanding officer in the military. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Dec. 22, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.
The sun is shining, the palm trees are swaying and all over the city young and old alike are strapping blades to their feet and cautiously tottering around on slicks of ice. Thanks to the wonders of modern refrigeration, there are a number of outdoor ice skating rinks to help Angelenos with strong ankles and resilient tailbones get in the holiday spirit. In the city's center, there's Downtown on Ice in Pershing Square and L.A. Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. Live. On the Westside, there's ICE at Santa Monica — all-day skating for $15 — and down Long Beach way, there's an outdoor rink as part of Chill at the Queen Mary. There's no greater gift than living in a place where you can go from skates to sandals. Downtown on Ice, Pershing Square, downtown; through Jan. 18; $9 plus $4 skate rental. holidayicerink0x200Bdowntown0x200Bla.com. L.A. Kings Holiday Ice, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown; through Dec. 31; $17. lalive.com/events-calendar/holiday0x200Bice. ICE at Santa Monica, Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica; through Jan. 18; $15. downtownsm.com/ice. Chill at the Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach; through Jan. 10; $15 for 45 min., on top of admission to Chill. queenmary.com/events/chill/ice-skating. —Gwynedd Stuart
La Collectionneuse, Cinefamily's monthly soiree geared toward Francophiles, gets in the holiday spirit with its presentation of A Christmas Tale. Arnaud Desplechin is one of contemporary France's finest auteurs, and his portrayal of a fractured family unit (including Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Devos) coming together on Christmas for lack of any better option blends the philosophical with the visceral like few others belonging to this rather specific subgenre. Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; Wed., Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. —Michael Nordine
Downtown on Ice in Pershing Square
The 56th annual Music Center Holiday Celebration offers not only free entertainment but free parking as well. This year's lineup includes music ensembles ranging from mariachi to Korean indie rock to Brazilian forró and choral groups including the ever-popular Gay Men's Chorus. The quintet of dance groups offers a small sampling from the broad spectrum of local dance, with a Korean drum dance from Korean American Youth Performing Artists, Mexican folkloric from Pacifico Dance Company, traditional Chinese dance from Shin Dance Company and contemporary dance from BODYTRAFFIC and Invertigo Dance Theatre. The three-hour event is broadcast locally and streamed on PBS SoCal, a rare opportunity for L.A.-based companies to perform at this county-owned venue and to be seen on local television. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Thu., Dec. 24, 3-6 p.m.; free. (213) 972-3099, musiccenter.org. —Ann Haskins
If the whole birth-of-Christ thing isn't your jam, spend the evening with a bunch of singing, dancing Russian Jews at Temple Beth Israel's Fiddler on the Roof Sing-Along. The 1971 film adaptation of the Broadway musical (still a hit after all these years) screens at Laemmle's Claremont 5, and attendees are invited to join in as Tevye and the gang sing "If I Were a Rich Man," "Matchmaker" and "Sunrise, Sunset." Costumes are encouraged. Laemmle's Claremont 5 Theater, 450 W. Second St., Claremont; Thu., Dec. 24, 7 p.m.; $12. (909) 626-1277, eventbrite.com/e/fiddler-on-the-roof-annual-sing-a-long-on-christmas-eve-tickets-19556528102. —Gwynedd Stuart
Get the Theater Newsletter
Get a rundown of upcoming theater events and ticket deals in Los Angeles.