Feeling Scrooge-y this holiday season? Nothing like a holiday classic that calls out the worst in humanity to change your perspective. Independent Shakespeare Company (known for its Shakespeare shows in Griffith Park) presents A Christmas Carol With Charles Dickens for the 14th year in a row, and it's pretty much guaranteed to kick any "blah" humbug feelings to the curb. The holiday tradition features David Melville as Mr. Dickens, playing nearly all the characters in the famous story about Christmas past, present and future, and how the latter can be wonderful if we learn from the former. Melville is joined by Kalean Ung, providing interjections, sound effects and live music. Various dates and times. Independent Shakespeare Company, 3191 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village; Thu.-Sat., Dec. 20-22, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 p.m.; $25-$35. (818) 710-6306, iscla.org. —Lina Lecaro
Ho, Ho, Homeless
Like a bad dream or an out-of-control brush fire, Skid Row continues to expand boundlessly. What used to be a relatively finite area of a few blocks has exploded into a burgeoning anti-city in which newly homeless senior citizens and mothers with bewildered children wander aimlessly in shell-shock among the walking dead in a soul-crushing, Boschian nightmare. With a dithering Mayor Eric Garcetti firmly under the thumb of rapacious developers — and doing little more than stepping up police raids to harass poor people in the ubiquitous encampments all over the city — it's left to the public to try to help. The Dub Brothers' benefit for the homeless, Skid Row Xmas, features an acoustic concert by Sublime With Rome; L.A. Car Club's display of vintage cars; and artwork by Shepard Fairey, Risk and Retna. Merry fucking Christmas. Mayfair Hotel, 1256 W. Seventh St., downtown L.A.; Fri., Dec. 21, 8 p.m.; $50. brownpapertickets.com/event/3924103. —Falling James
Culinary Time Machine
There's a lot to see at the Getty Villa, both inside its galleries and across its landscaped grounds. Just as much as the architecture itself, the property is composed to reflect an elegant and authentic sense of how the ancient Romans would have done things. This includes vine-draped terraces, the famous majestic reflecting pool and lily-lined sculpture fountains. But there is another, more functional garden, dedicated to growing varieties of the Mediterranean herbs, fruits and vegetables that would have been popular in Roman cuisine, as well as the colorful, aromatic and "medicinal" plants a fancy household requires. Twice a week, a 30-minute guided Culinary Garden Tour of the mint, marjoram, sage, pomegranate, oleander and more obscure botanicals offers a culinary cultural perspective that helps bring ancient times to life. Also Thursday, Dec. 27. The Getty Villa, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades; Thu. & Sat., 2:30 p.m.; free with advance ticketing. (310) 440-7300, getty.edu. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Astronaut of Art
"Space" is the current exhibition from multimedia artist Christopher Richmond, and it's a multidimensional trip — literally. A suite of photographs as well as sculptural works and energetic drawings support the centerpiece of the project: the three-channel, feature-length video Hyperway. With shades of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, the film is an epic work of sci-fi surrealism with a decidedly philosophical bent. With the California desert standing in for alien planets, and a Honda doing the work of a rocketship, our protagonists have adventures in consciousness that prompt questions about the nature of reality, the purpose of art, the potential of unfettered imagination, and what it means to boldly go. Though it's on view during regular gallery hours through Dec. 22, on Sunday, Dec. 23, the gallery hosts a matinee screening of the entire film, popcorn provided. Moskowitz Bayse, 743 N. La Brea Ave., Fairfax; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 p.m.; free, RSVP required. (323) 790-4882, moskowitzbayse.com. —Shana Nys Dambrot
Every month, La Collectionneuse is "the totemic hostess" of a series of free screenings of classic and unusual French films at Zebulon. This afternoon, the salon presents Kirikou et la Sorcière (Kirikou and the Sorceress), a 1998 animated French-language film by writer-director Michel Ocelot. The film's simple animation — whose colorful imagery evokes "such disparate sources as Gustave Moreau, Henri Rousseau, ancient Egyptian art and African sculpture" — belies its fantastic tale of a boy who helps to save the people of a West African village from an evil sorceress. The film is sparked by enchanting, mesmerizing songs by legendary Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour. Zebulon, 2478 Fletcher Drive, Elysian Valley; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 p.m.; free. (323) 662-0966, zebulon.la. —Falling James
Wrestling With Santa
Anyone can trash-talk a bad movie, but doing it with an audience is a lot more fun. For the last seven years, Susan Wright and John Mathot have hosted Horrible Movie Night, mostly at the much-missed Nerdmelt Showroom at Meltdown Comics. Wright and Mathot, a storyboard artist whose credits include The Simpsons, Futurama, Phineas and Ferb and Star vs. the Forces of Evil, screen cinematic stinkers you've probably never heard of and invite members of the cast and crew for a Q&A. Tonight's Horrible Movie Night: Santa With Muscles is more of a Christmas mess than a miracle. Directed by John Murlowski, the 1996 comedy stars Hulk Hogan as a greedy, toupee-wearing, bodybuilding millionaire who bangs his head, gets amnesia, thinks he's Santa, regains his memory and saves an orphanage from an evil scientist, played by Ed Begley Jr. Do you care about the rest of the plot? No. But what other film do you know that includes a sword fight, a young Mila Kunis, Clint Howard and golden dialogue like, "See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya"? Stand-up comedian Keith Carey opens, and the audience is encouraged to jeer along to the screening; the loudest and funniest ones win related swag and giveaways. Dynasty Typewriter at the Hayworth, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; Sun., Dec. 23, 9 p.m.; $10. dynastytypewriter.com. —Siran Babayan
I'm Dreaming of a...
The plot rarely matters much in many of the beloved musicals from Hollywood's Golden Age. Michael Curtiz's 1954 film White Christmas spotlights the friendship of two U.S. Army soldiers (Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby) who team up to put on musicals once they're back home in New York. The merry shenanigans continue at a snowless Vermont inn and are highlighted by performances by singer-actor Rosemary Clooney and dancer Vera-Ellen. Beyond several enjoyable dance sequences, the film is made memorable by Irving Berlin's timeless songs (including the title tune). Today's screenings include on-screen lyrics for the annual audience sing-along. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Sun., Dec. 23, 3 & 8 p.m.; $34-$69. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com. —Falling James
Christmas in L.A.
Boasting a three-hour lineup of professional and polished amateur dance, music and choral groups, the L.A. County Holiday Celebration annually showcases performers drawn from all over Los Angeles. This year's dance contributions sample the spectrum of L.A.'s diversity, including Le Ballet Dembaya (West African dance), Kayamanan Ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts, Infinite Flow (able and wheelchair-using ballroom dancers), Halau Keali'i o Nalani (Hawaiian), Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy, Paso de Oro Dance Company and Pacifico Dance Company (both Mexican and Latinx). Among several returning groups, this 59th edition marks the 24th appearance of the perennially popular Gay Men's Chorus. And if you can't make it downtown? The performance airs live on PBS SoCal and KCET. A full schedule of performers, rebroadcast and screening info is available on the website, and parking is free! Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Mon., Dec. 24, 3 p.m., free. musiccenter.org/tickets/events-by-the-music-center/holidaycelebration. —Ann Haskins
Love. Lack. Want. These are cornerstones of every holiday season from Christmas to Kwanzaa. Some aspects of the holidays are less likely to be fulfilled or acknowledged than others, but at today's Christmas Banquet of Love, charities and activist leagues like CityX1 (assisting LGBTQIA+ youth) and My Friend's Place (helping homeless kids in Los Angeles) gather to try to fulfill a need — even if only momentarily — for those LGBTQIA+ kids, ages 14 to 25 (as well as their allies) who, for various reasons too gory and depressing to go into here, may not otherwise have a holiday brunch to enjoy. Founders Metropolitan Community Church, 4607 Prospect Ave., Los Feliz; Tue., Dec. 25, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; free. (323) 669-3434, facebook.com/events/268548067163622/. —David Cotner
FOOD & DRINK
Was your attempt at concocting a multicourse Christmas meal a disaster, or are you just feeling lazy? Don't want to chance it with (insert family member's name)'s cooking? Need neutral ground for keep that tense family dinner from escalating to a familial free-for-all, or just want a swankier ambiance? (Or all of the above?) Christmas Buffet 2018 at the Sofitel Los Angeles has got you covered. The menu features holiday standards like maple-glazed ham and less standard entrees such as lobster mac & cheese. There will be sides galore — sausage and apple stuffing, glazed carrots with walnuts, roasted Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta, and spinach and potato gratin with forest mushrooms — and dessert options include a decadent chocolate fountain. Sofitel Los Angeles, 8555 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Grove; Tue., Dec. 25, noon-8 p.m.; $65, $30 children 12 & under. (310) 278-5444, sofitel-los-angeles.com/offers/christmas-buffet-2018/. —Avery Bissett
Choose Your Adventure
VR (virtual reality) is getting better and more sophisticated every day, and Dreamscape Immersive aims to take it to another, more cinematic level. The brand-new VR studio, which just opened last week, is backed by movie industry folk from 21st Century Fox, WarnerMedia and Viacom as well as composer Hans Zimmer and filmmaker Steven Spielberg. It definitely promises an interactive experience, touting new technology that allows audiences to become part of three different adventures of their choosing: "Alien Zoo" (a journey into an intergalactic wildlife refuge), "Deep Rescue" (a watery submersion into ocean depths with a mission: helping a family of whales reunite after becoming separated), and "Avan's Magic Projector: The Lost Pearl" (which allows patrons to step through a virtual movie screen and join in on a quest). Experiences run daily at different times. Choose your slot and get tickets at dreamscapeimmersive.com. Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City; shows daily; $20. westfield.com/centurycity. —Lina Lecaro
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Putting Portraits in Perspective
American photographer Sally Mann gained wide recognition and a devoted fan base in the 1980s, as well as stirring up some controversy, with the publication of provocative black-and-white portraits of her family, especially her young children. Seen by some as shocking for their hint of feral eroticism, and by others as revolutionary in their iconic intimacy, it is impossible to overstate their impact. But as this epic 40-year career survey demonstrates, there was always more to the story. Lost in arguments about those works was the fact the pictures were always also landscapes — emotional studies of her own and humanity's occupation of the natural world, especially the American South, where she was and is from. This show rectifies that perceived imbalance, as her portraits can be seen in the continuum of architecture studies, landscapes that bore witness to history and, finally, mortality itself. The exhibition is on view through Feb. 10, and every day at 2:45 p.m., a free 15-minute spotlight tour offers the perfect introduction. The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; daily (closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1), 2:45 p.m., thru Feb. 10; free (parking $15). (310) 440-7300, getty.edu. —Shana Nys Dambrot