Should you stay home this New Year’s Eve? We think so. As the L.A. Weekly’s nightlife reporter, we’ve been providing NYE party guides for our readers for decades, literally — 2021 marked 30 years writing for this publication. But last year was the first time we did not, due to COVID-19. This year we’d been wrestling with whether or not to recommend going out, as the Omicron variant continued to spread like wildfire, affecting some of our favorite nightlife spots and their work forces. Announcements have come left and right the past few weeks that “outbreaks” amongst club, bar and restaurant staff throughout L.A. were forcing closures til a week or more into January.
We have a lot of friends in the industry and we’ve felt for their plight ever since coronavirus reared it ugly contagious head. Doing a big bash on the last night of the year takes a lot of planning and canceling it sucks. But for many it now seems irresponsible to ignore the surges. More cancellations of huge events continue to be announced as of this writing. Zombie Joe’s Underground in North Hollywood just cancelled their cool Killer Clowns from Outer Space event and yesterday, one of the best parties in town, The Boulet Brothers’ Queers Eve, announced cancellation as well.
There are still events going on in Los Angeles, and most have shared that vaccinations and masks will be mandatory, even the outdoor ones. If you opt to attend one of these events, it goes without saying that kissing drunken strangers –or friends for that matter– is out! We also recommend throwing some glitter on your KN 95 masks so you’re actually happy to keep it on as part of a festive outfit.
If you stay home like we plan to, have fun with it and throw on the sparkliest outfit in your closet, order something decadent to eat and don’t forget the bubbly. Here are some safe (online and televised) events to celebrate with.
Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve
Times Square celebrations have been scaled down this year but Rockin’ Eve will still take place with Ryan Seacrest doing his best to fill Dick’s shoes. LL Cool J, Chlöe, Journey and Karol G perform in NYC, while Billy Porter performs on a riverboat in the historic French Quarter. In L.A., AJR and Daisy The Great, Avril Lavigne and Travis Barker, Big Boi with singer Sleepy Brown, French Montana, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Ciara, and Club Quarantine’s D-Nice will be on the turntables. Watch it on ABC or stream it on ABC.com at 10 p.m.
Miley’s New Year’s Eve
Produced by Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels, this soiree replacing Carson Daly’s annual special offers Brandi Carlile, Billy Joe Armstrong, Saweetie, Jack Harlow, 24kGoldn and Miley Cyrus performing live along with touted “celebrity guests,” which, considering her co-host Pete Davidson’s current dating status, may or may not include a Kardashian. Watch it on NBC or stream it on Peacock.com starting at 10 p.m.
Though it was initially planned as a live invite-only gathering for L.A. County’s frontline workers and first responders, Grand Park’s big outdoor bash downtown headlined by Kinky has been turned into an online-only event, and it’s a great way to feel connected in L.A. The Music Center, working closely with the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health, decided to cancel the in-person part due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Now, the broadcast and streamed program at L.A.’s City Hall building, is accessible to all via Grand Park’s YouTube channel (@GrandParkLosAngeles) at 11:00 p.m. PST on December 31, 2021.
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