March to Honor Stan Lee
March to Honor Stan Lee
Nick Hall

12 Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week

From a groovy '60s dance party to a classy New Year's Eve, a Mondo-inspired film festival, an event to get your ass in gear for the new year and a celebration of black girlhood, here are the 12 best things to do in L.A. this week!

fri 12/28

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Writer-publisher Stan Lee created or co-created an entire universe populated by such flawed but relatable superheroes as the Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Scarlet Witch, the X-Men, Iron Man and Spider-Man, yet many of his most fantastic adventures for Marvel Comics took place amid the urban landscapes of Manhattan and other American cities. So it's perhaps fitting that GeekMaddness Cosplay's March to Honor Stan Lee takes place today on Lee's birthday along a boulevard that's inhabited by cosplay doppelgangers of some of his famous creations, including at least two variously moody Spider-Men. The march starts at Shake Shack and heads west toward Buffalo Wild Wings, near the site of Lee's star on Hollywood Boulevard. Shake Shack, 6201 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Dec. 28, 10 a.m.; free. facebook.com/events/362766260964560. —Falling James


Family Values

Christmas, Chanukah and all those Nutcracker ballets may have ended but Lula Washington Dance Theatre has one more winter celebration to share before the new year. For more than 35 years, choreographer Lula Washington and her respected contemporary dance company's Kwanzaa Celebration has been closely associated with the African-American community. Kwanzaa began in L.A. and its attention to values of children, family and community are cause for all to celebrate. The show includes dance and drumming honoring the various values Kwanzaa celebrates over the festival's seven days. Lula Washington Dance Theatre, 3773 Crenshaw Blvd., Baldwin Hills; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 28-29, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 30, 3 p.m.; $35-$100, $25 student & seniors, $15 children 12 & under, $10 children 2 & under in laps. brownpapertickets.com/event/3908032. —Ann Haskins

sat 12/29


Throw It Back to a Groovier Time

When it comes to music, December is often the bleakest month, as the deadly combination of too much sugar and holiday sentimentality inevitably turns most music into a treacly seasonal mush. But Chapel of Love's '60s Dance Party brings a ray of light into the wintry gloom with DJ Adam Stafford spinning "girl groups, sunshine pop, soft psych, bubble gum, yé-yé" and other vintage tunes. In keeping with the velvety spirit of the evening, a new Lee Hazlewood tribute band, We Hazlewood, makes its live debut. Zebulon, 2478 Fletcher Drive, Elysian Valley; Sat., Dec. 29, 8 p.m.; free. (323) 662-0966, zebulon.ticketfly.com/event/1795200-chapel-love-60s-dance-party-los-angeles. —Falling James


Mondo-Inspired Medley

"It's the 21st century, and the definitions of 'art' and 'cinema' no longer have to be inaccessible or pretentious," declare the folks behind Mondo Cult Film Variety Showcase #3. This evening's screenings of a dozen international short films encompasses both high art and low comedy, along with stranger experiments. The subject matter includes an artificial-intelligence machine making jokes inspired by the film Deathstalker II (MST3K_V3), the Queen of Meatloaf coming to the rescue of a '50s housewife (Commercial for the Queen), a pet-store fable based on an Aimee Bender story (End of the Line) and a lonely man looking for salvation by joining a cult from outer space (Cult Film). Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com/content/mondo-cult-film-variety-showcase-3-dystopia. —Falling James

Greene & Greene's Gamble House in PasadenaEXPAND
Greene & Greene's Gamble House in Pasadena
Courtesy Pasadena Heritage Foundation

sun 12/30


Pick Your Architectural Exploration

On what will most likely be a beautiful, crisp "winter" morning, the Pasadena Heritage Foundation offers a choice between two of its most popular Architectural Legacy walking tours. If you're feeling wide tree-lined streets leading to treasures of Craftsman-style estates and archetypal bungalows, the Hillcrest neighborhood is your Greene & Greene happy place. For those feeling a touch more urban (aka food and shopping–adjacent), try the Civic Center District and Fountains tour, which tells the stories of the area's National Planning Landmark Award for its 100-year-plus history of beautification and Mediterranean-inspired civic design, including some majestic and deeply Instagrammable public fountains. Pasadena (meeting location provided with tickets); Sun., Dec. 30, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; $15-$20. pasadenaheritage.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot

Pink MartiniEXPAND
Pink Martini
Chris Hornbecker

mon 12/31


Ring in 2019 With Class

The Portland, Oregon, mini-orchestra Pink Martini sends off the tattered remnants of the old year and welcomes the shiny new one with a blend of musical disguises that are borrowed from various regions around the globe and fashioned into a snazzy, jazzy pop spectacle. The group features two dynamic and charismatic vocalists, original singer China Forbes and former hard-rock wild woman Storm Large, who insinuate themselves within eight languages and even more genres on their recent album, Je dis oui! If at times the theatrical artifice gets a bit distancing, bandleader-pianist Thomas Lauderdale reins in the group with diplomatic aplomb, especially on the more nuanced cabaret ballads. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Mon., Dec. 31, 7 & 10:30 p.m.; $87-$226. (323) 850-2000, laphil.com/events/performances/319/2018-12-31/new-years-eve-with-pink-martini. —Falling James


Rudolph and Red Lights

Los Angeles has its fair share of luminous events and installations during the season of holiday lights: the Eastern-influenced Lantern Festival at the L.A. County Arboretum, Grand Park's Winter Glow in the heart of downtown, Descanso Gardens' Enchanted: Forest of Light. These are all excellent experiences, but if you wish your nighttime stroll bathed in wondrous colors had a little something more — say, actual and not just spectral animals — head over to L.A. Zoo Lights. On New Year's Eve, for a little extra, the zoo is offering a buffet, express entry and a broadcast of Times Square shenanigans. Even if you skip the NYE stuff, the base experience is well worth the price of admission. In addition to all manner of luminescence — from a tunnel that surrounds you with thousands of lights to a disco ball forest and World of Color–esque displays — reindeer (no word on what color their noses are), lizards, amphibians and Asian elephants will be on view. The self-guided experience takes 60 to 90 minutes. Los Angeles Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive, Griffith Park; thru Jan. 6, 6-10 p.m.; $14.95-$21.95, $11.95-$16.95 kids 2-12. (866) 949-8007, lazoolights.org. —Avery Bissett

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America's New Year

Before college football's Ohio State Buckeyes and Washington Huskies slug it out in the annual Rose Bowl game, the streets of Pasadena will be transformed into a massive garland of brightly colored flowers fashioned and festooned into elaborate floats that will unwind slowly through 5½ miles of Colorado Boulevard on what often feels like one of the coldest mornings of the year. Adding real warmth and soul to the sometimes-staid Tournament of Roses Parade will be this year's grand marshal, funk and R&B empress Chaka Khan, who will embody this year's theme, "The Melody of Life." Orange Grove & Colorado boulevards, Pasadena; Tue., Jan. 1, 8 a.m.-noon; free-$275. (626) 449-4100, tournamentofroses.com. —Falling James


Shoot for the Stars

Whether you're the type who has a notarized and framed list of goals ordered by priority and ready to shame your peers with at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1 or the person who changes the subject at the mere mention of resolutions, New Year's inevitably means New Year's resolutions. Provided you are awake and ambulatory at the perhaps painfully early hour of 2 p.m., make attending the second annual Go Day! your first goal of 2019. The event's premise is simple: "For all attendees to have started, put a dent in, completed or even just set a goal before the end of the first day of 2019, hangover be damned!" To that end, there will be work time with "curated workin' tunes at the perfect volume," a mandated stretch break and a panel of creative types to impart their wisdom. While the event is targeted at "artists," fear not — this is Los Angeles, which means that label applies to about 90 percent of the population. Dynasty Typewriter, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; Tue., Jan. 1, 2-4 p.m.; free. dynastytypewriter.com/calendar/godayjan1. —Avery Bissett

Scot Nery's Boobie TrapEXPAND
Scot Nery's Boobie Trap
Richard M. Johnson

wed 1/2


All the Entertainment You Can Ask for

The great thing about variety shows is that they present everything from magic and music to comedy and circuses in one hyperactively enthusiastic moment of total culture that helps you develop your taste in a way that few cultural confluences can. Scot Nery's Boobie Trap is one such pristine presentation of exhilarating expression in all its varieties. The heir apparent to the multisubjectival spirit that enlivened the great Ed Sullivan, Nery gives you a cavalcade of entertainment — a word that derives from its original meaning, that of "intertwinement" — that is at once captivating, charming and just a little bit frightening. King King, 6555 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., Jan. 2, 8 p.m.; $20. (323) 632-6735, boobiela.com. —David Cotner

The 38th annual Black Doll ShowEXPAND
The 38th annual Black Doll Show
Courtesy William Grant Still Arts Center

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Celebrating Black Girlhood

In 1939 and '40, psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark published papers detailing tests that showed that African-American children routinely chose to play with white dolls over black dolls. With this landmark study on self-image as an inspiration, the 38th annual Black Doll Show honors black girlhood in all its many splendors. Reclaiming the doll as both an affirming archetype and a blank canvas, the exhibition illustrates aspects of the black experience: activism, play ("Double Dutch — Black Girlhood" is the show's theme this year), pride and self-worth, and hair — as seen through the prism of a child's doll. William Grant Still Arts Center, 2520 S. West View St., West Adams; Thu., Jan. 3, noon; thru Feb. 16; free. (323) 734-1165, wgsac.wordpress.com/exhibition/annual-black-doll-show. —David Cotner


Pop and Politics

Curated by Narei Choi (New York) and Nicolas Orozco-Valdivia (L.A.), Take My Money/Take My Body is a deft examination of the consumer/big data/performance/surveillance complex — specifically as it manifests in the global entertainment realm of K-Pop. Essentially deconstructing the purportedly progressive and futuristic aesthetic of freedom that K-Pop represents, the curators have chosen interdisciplinary works by artists from South Korea, China, Cuba, Spain and the United States that express not only the irrational exuberance of the genre but the similarities to populist political movements employing the same cultural strategies. Fanatical appreciation, irrational devotion, willing self-subjugation, blindingly bright colors, infectious tunes, specialized lingo — these are all fun and games, until someone loses to a fascist. LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; opening reception, Thu., Jan. 3, 7-10 p.m.; exhibit: Wed.-Sun., noon-6 p.m., thru Feb. 24; free. (323) 957-1777, welcometolace.org. —Shana Nys Dambrot


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