From the start of Nutcracker season to a tamale festival to ring in the holidays, here are the 13 best things to do in Los Angeles this week.

fri 11/29


Albuquerque Staycation

With 100 percent of the RV meth lab but only a fraction of the twangy guitar that ordinarily accompanies your bathroom breaks, the Breaking Bad Experience is your chance to experience the show in all its glory and trivia. It’s where they had the Good Burger, Peach Pit and Saved by the Max pop-ups, and you’ll get chemical mocktails (try The One Who Knocks), Heisenburgers (which may or may not be meat, but no one is certain), Schraderbräu, a free cocktail and an entree — all served by wait staff in hazmat suits. Not open for breakfast — sorry, Walt Jr.! 7100 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; Fri., Nov. 29, 4 p.m.; $30. (323)  850-2355, —David Cotner

The Breaking Bad Experience (Nathaniel Wood)


Fall into this Trap

Contortionists, jugglers, magicians, aerialists, music, comedy and more make up the madcap cabaret known as Scot Nery’s Boobietrap. Nery who has hosted over 250 Boobietrap shows for the past five years (every Wednesday), has made the night a hit, booking bodacious acts of all stripes. Despite the suggestive name, it isn’t a burlesque show, though it is geared toward adults. But this weekend, the show welcomes the kiddies too. Boobietrap Family Fun Shows will be tailored to tykes and adults, with a live band onstage playing between the wacky and wondrous acts —15 to be exact. The non-stop procession on stage for this special edition touts circus people, performance artists, singers, dancers and more for fans of all ages. Boobietrap, 6555 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., Nov. 29-30,. 5 p.m. (show, 6 p.m.); $15-$30.—Lina Lecaro

sat 11/30


A Musical Volcano

When Igor Stravinsky’s epochal The Rite of Spring received its premiere in Paris in 1913, the work was considered so startling that the audience rioted and engaged in fistfights with one another, although reports from the time vary considerably. The Russian composer’s music was so inventive it opened up vast new ways of shaping sonic structures in the 20th century. Conductor Gustavo Dudamel and L.A. Philharmonic are especially attuned to the piece’s wild dynamics — a febrile collision of sinuously insistent melodies, hard and jagged rhythms, and volcanic eruptions of brass and percussion. L.A. Phil’s concert (non-dance) version of Rite is preceded by Sergei Rachmaninoff’s comparatively traditional but ridiculously lush and beautiful breakthrough, Piano Concerto No. 2, as unraveled with nuance and attentiveness by 25-year-old South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Sat., Nov. 30, 8 p.m., Sun., Dec. 1, 2 p.m.; $20-$265. (323) 850-2000,—Falling James

Los Angeles Ballet’s Nutcracker (Reed Hutchinson)


Nutcrackers on the March

Thanksgiving weekend isn’t just the official launch holiday shopping, it also marks the start of the Nutcracker ballet season. More than 100 Nutcracker productions, ranging from professional to training companies with guest artists to neighborhood dance studios, take the stage over the next five weeks.  The first of the professional ballet companies is L.A.’s own Los Angeles Ballet, starting its annual tour of theaters throughout metro L.A., bringing its Nutcracker to the audience rather than expecting folk to overcome gridlocked holiday traffic. Opening in Cerritos, LAB travels to Glendale, then Westwood, then Hollywood and closes the holiday season in Redondo Beach. Set in Los Angeles circa 1912, with choreography by company co-directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, this Nutcracker is an L.A. original that reflects this city’s diversity in superb dancers that have proven themselves a home team to root for. It’s notable that long before the recent move among ballet companies to rethink the dubious cultural references in the Chinese dance, the LAB version from the beginning presented that dance with two flirty European characters, Harlequin and Columbine. Cerritos Performing Arts Center, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos; Sat., Nov. 30, 5 p.m., Sun., Dec. 1, 1 p.m. $34-$109 (10 percent discount for children, students, seniors & military). Also at Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Dec. 7, 6 p.m., Sun., Dec. 8, 2 p.m., $34-$109 (10 percent discount for children, students, seniors & military). Also at UCLA Royce Hall, Westwood.; Fri., Dec. 13, 8 p.m., Sat.-Sun., Dec. 14-15, noon p.m. & 5 p.m., $34-$109 (10 percent discount for children, students, seniors & military). Also at Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Dec. 20, 8 p.m., Sat., Dec. 21, 5 p.m., Sun., Dec. 22, noon, Tue., Dec. 24, 3 p.m., $45-$131. Also at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach; Sat., Dec. 28, noon & 5 p.m., Sun., Dec. 29, noon, $36-$104 (10 percent discount for children, students, seniors & military). 310-998-7782, —Ann Haskins

La Habra Tamale Festival (City of La Habra, Community Services Dept.)

sun 12/1


Tamale Time

For many Latino families, Christmas is a time for preparing and eating tamales. To celebrate this tradition, La Habra’s Tamale Festival, the largest in O.C., hosts dozens of vendors selling tamales, in addition to other traditional Mexican food. If you think your version of the staple holiday food is the best, you can enter one of the tamale contests — both savory and sweet categories — as well as take part in classes that teach you how to make them and how to pair them with beer and wine. The festival also features a cantina, marketplace, children’s museum, art walk, tree lighting and four stages of live performances, including bands, DJs, folk dancing and mariachi music. Along Euclid St., between La Habra Boulevard & Bridenbecker Avenue, La Habra; Sun., Dec. 1, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. Babayan


A Day to Remember

World AIDS Day’s arts-focused partners at Visual AIDS commemorates the 30th anniversary of their urgent message to activism and education this December 1st. Since 1989, the day (its name was shifted from Day Without Art to Day With(out) Art in 1998) has highlighted the decimating and mournful effects of the AIDS crisis on the world’s creative communities, as well as the power of the arts to spread the message of knowledge and engagement. What began as a ceremonial shrouding or shuttering of exhibitions to symbolize the absence of lost fellows, has since blossomed into a robust array of screenings, performances and topical happenings. The network of participating museums and cultural partners is in the high hundreds nationwide, with several L.A. institutions taking part. The Hammer and the ICA LA each screen the “Still Beginning” commissioned video-art series produced by Visual AIDS and distributed around the world for this purpose. The Fowler Museum at UCLA hosts a full day of in-gallery performances and a book release in conjunction with its current exhibition “Through Positive Eyes” as well as a screening of the powerful documentary How To Survive a Plague. And The Broad screens artist Isaac Julien’s 1987 video “This Is Not an AIDS Advertisement.” Throughout Los Angeles; Sun., Dec. 1; check website for exact times and locations;—Shana Nys Dambrot


A Cavalcade of Stars

If you stand in one place along various parts of Hollywood and Sunset boulevards, Hollywood comes to you, in a nighttime promenade of marching bands, floats, gigantic cartoonlike balloons, and a constellation of stars (and semi-stars) perched in vintage cars. The grand marshal of The 88th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade is Saved by the Bell’s Mario Lopez, and the co-hosts are Elizabeth Stanton, Erik Estrada, Laura McKenzie, Dean Cain and Montel Williams, with appearances by Lorenzo Lamas, Finola Hughes, Lidya Jewett, Burt Ward, Lacey Evans and others. The eternally cool and elegant Dionne Warwick presides over a group of musical performers that includes David Archuleta, Sheléa, The Boo Crew, Brandon Jenner, Ace Young & Diana DeGarmo, and Phil Vassar. While the quaint choice of celebrities tends to favor actors from the distant past rather than the more charismatic forces in Hollywood today, it’s always a kick to see the streets of Tinseltown shut down for an evening of glitzy pomp and kitschy circumstance. The parade starts at Hollywood Boulevard & Orange Drive, continues east to Vine Street and then south to Sunset Boulevard; Sun., Dec. 1, 5 p.m.; free (grandstand seats $65 & $85). (866) 727-2331,—Falling James

(Courtesy of Dark Delicacies)


Dark Stocking Stuffers

Opened in 1994, Dark Delicacies is a Burbank institution selling everything horror-related, from books and DVDs to apparel and collectibles. Over the years, it’s also been the sight of many signings by noted horror-genre directors, authors and actors. Due to skyrocketing rent in the city’s Magnolia Park neighborhood, the store was recently in danger of shutting down. But thanks to a GoFundMe campaign, and support from director/frequent patron Guillermo del Toro and other famous fans, owners Del and Sue Howison were able to raise more than $30,000 to relocate the shop just a few blocks away, on Hollywood Way, earlier this year. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Dark Delicacies hosts a party that includes free signed posters, prizes and special anniversary gifts, with proceeds benefiting the Wildlife Care of Southern California. You can also buy that unique Christmas gift here, whether it’s books on witchcraft or cemeteries, a Krampus tree topper or Stranger Things Ouija board. Dark Delicacies, 822 N. Hollywood Way, Burbank; Sun., Dec. 1, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; free. (818) 556-6660,—Siran Babayan

mon 12/2


Crooks, Comedy and Pop Culture

There a lot of dumb people in this world, but when it comes to crime, it seems the dummies converge in dramatic fashion. Dumb People Town, hosted by brothers Randy and Jason Sklar, along with improvisational storyteller Daniel Van Kirk, presents its popular podcast (focused on true crime with a dimwitted twist in Florida and beyond) told and riffed on with comedic flair, special guests and live music. It’s one of the few podcasts that also entertains in a live format, and this week, its L.A. recording event promises to be particularly punny and pizzazz-y. Deadpan funnyman Demetri Martin joins the trio, as does the legendary “Weird Al” Yankovic, to talk crooks, comedy and pop culture. The Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth provides sounds. Largo at the Coronet, 366 N La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills; Mon., Dec. 12, 8:30 p.m.; $30. —Lina Lecaro 

tue 12/3


Prints, Process, Politics

Few artists have ever captured the sheer hopelessness of an era quite like German printmaker Käthe Kollwitz. Her illustrations of human cruelty, passion and suffering are almost deific in their depiction of the nuances of the human experience — and the exhibition Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics aims to capture the artist at her finest, with one of the most comprehensive surveys of her work presented in Los Angeles in years. Works on paper — prints, sketches and proofs — reveal an artist deeply invested in portraying the social upheavals that wracked the world around her. Through March 29, 2020. The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; Tue., Dec. 3, 10 a.m.; free. (310) 440-7300,—David Cotner

Wed 12/4


Please Respond

Maybe worse than suffering from chronic anxiety is how social stigmas enforce silence around mental health, and how that leads to the feeling that you’re suffering alone. In a bid to dispel the myths and remedy that loneliness, author Amanda Hunt published Little Panic, a memoir sharing her experiences as a young woman struggling with an as yet undiagnosed anxiety disorder. Such was the overwhelming response — she received many hundreds of personal story shares from readers — that she decided to expand the conversation more fully and officially. Anxiously Yours: A Night of Our Collective Anxiety brings together half a dozen readers, from fellow authors like Chris Kraus, to therapy and mindfulness experts, a comedian, and actress Rumer Willis, who will each follow Hunt’s lead and narrate their personal stories navigating anxiety with empathy, emotion, wit, humor and perspective. Central Library, 630 W. 5th Street, downtown; Wed., Dec. 4, 7:30pm; free w/ registration.—Shana Nys Dambrot

thu 12/5


Waiting for Their Lou

Even at their best, musical homages are inevitably faint replicas of their original inspirations, but there’s something potentially exciting about Satellite of Lou, a tribute to Lou Reed with a particular focus on his songs from 1969 to 1973. The idea of Reed’s peers, such as Mary Woronov and Angela Bowie, looking back on old St. Lou is intriguing. Woronov is, of course, the former Warhol superstar, painter and actor who (among other things) tried to terrorize the Ramones in Rock ’n’ Roll High School, while the ever-lively Bowie (who will be backed by local indie-pop duo LoveyDove) had a considerable impact on her ex-husband David’s sound and vision. Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice; Thu., Dec. 5, 8 p.m.; $10. (310) 822-3006,—Falling James

Frank Ockenfels 3, “40, Coffee with Mr. Lynch, Spike” at Fahey-Klein


Dear Diary

Many artists keep journals, generating voluminous notebooks that evolve into marvelous compendiums of drawings, notes, doodles, photographs, collages and artifacts. But not everyone has the source material or feral imagination of Frank Ockenfels 3. His raw and romantic, punk-inflected effusion of embellishments frequently augments compelling portraits made over the past few decades during his acclaimed work as a celebrity and editorial photographer for Rolling StoneVanity FairVogue and so on. His new exhibition Volume 3 opens this week at Fahey/Klein Gallery and is accompanied by the artist’s first monograph — and what promises to be a memorable opening night. Fahey/Klein Gallery, 148 N. La Brea, Mid-Wilshire; opening reception: Thu., Dec. 5, 7-9 p.m.;  book signing: Sat., Dec. 7, 2-4 p.m.; exhibition through Jan. 11; free. —Shana Nys Dambrot

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