For Angelenos, December brings a multitude of opportunities to continue exploring other cultures and celebrations while staying close to home. Many of the events are part of an ongoing series, others are special to the season. I personally am a great fan of CicLAvia and the Swedish Christmas Fair, which unfortunately happen to fall on the same day this year. I’ve also seen I AM ELEVEN with my soon-to-be eleven-year-old son, which I highly recommend. This month I would love to see some of the films at the International Children’s Film Festival and maybe even make it to the Barnsdall Art Sunday when they focus on Scandinavian folk motifs for holiday cards. Continue reading to see what other cultures and celebrations are highlighted this month. What strikes your interest and may be worth an outing?
* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 6 & 7 *
The Undiscovered Chinatown Tour, Chinatown, Saturday, 10:30am-1pm. Visit a temple, an herbal shop, art galleries, antique stores, and more when guided to the unique treasures–not to mention great bargains–to be found in Chinatown. Wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to wind your way through a myriad of alleyways, plaza stalls, and classical courtyards to discover the charm of L.A.’s Chinatown.
Silk Road Story Time: Pakistan, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Saturday, 10:30am. Gather in the travelers’ tent for fabulous tales from along the Silk Road, plus a fun hands-on craft, Asian snack, and balloon.
Fowler on the Town: Tastes of Indonesia, Saturday, 3pm-6pm. The flavors of Indonesia are as vibrant and diverse as the archipelago itself. On this off-site adventure with a Fowler Museum curator, you will sample a selection of traditional Indonesian dishes, learn about the ingredients used, and receive recipes to make the dishes at home. Expect funky furnishings and fabulous food at a West Los Angeles establishment! Not recommended for those with restricted diets.
CicLAvia – South LA, Various hubs, Sunday, 9am-3pm. Leave your car behind and explore a new area of LA by bike, foot, skateboard, or stroller. The South LA route connects beautiful Leimert Park with historic Central Avenue, traveling along Martin Luther King Boulevard. You will enjoy the sights, music, food, and culture that makes South LA such a vibrant part of Los Angeles.
Barnsdall Art Sunday: Italy, Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Sunday, 10am-12pm. Participate in a free art class in the park. Each Sunday a different culture is featured. The focus of this week’s workshop is Italy: Deruta Motif Plates.
35th Annual Swedish Christmas Fair, Los Angeles Theater, Downtown, Sunday, 10am-5pm. The fair features artisans and stands presenting the best of Swedish crafts, culture, and cuisine. You can enjoy traditional Swedish home baked sweets, meatballs, hot glögg (mulled wine), and many other foods. Don’t miss the radiant Lucia pageant which performs twice during the day, at noon and at 3 pm. There’s also a children’s corner with crafts, games, and a possible visit with Santa.
Kids in the Courtyard: Holiday Charm, Fowler Museum Courtyard at UCLA, Sunday, 1pm-4pm. Take inspiration from Cameroonian Pascale Marthine Tayou’s Black Diamonds and manipulate wire and other materials in creative ways to make your own holiday charm.
* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 13 & 14 *
Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival, LACMA, Saturday and Sunday. The 10th annual Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival returns to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The festival will present more than 100 films from around the world—full-length and short animation, live action, and documentary films—clustered for different age groups, toddlers through teens. Select filmmakers and actors will be present for Q&A sessions after each screening. See website for schedule.
Barnsdall Art Sunday: Japan, Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Sunday, 10am-12pm. Participate in a free art class in the park. Each Sunday a different culture is featured. The focus of this week’s workshop is Japan: Giant Origami Cranes.
Hanukkah Family Festival: Luz y Libertad, Skirball Cultural Center, Sunday, 11am-4pm. This year’s Hanukkah Family Festival highlights two major themes of the holiday—light and freedom (luz y libertad)—through the lens of Latin American culture. Enjoy live performances, storytelling, art making, and a host of other family-friendly activities. See website for ticket information and performance schedule.
I AM ELEVEN, LACMA, Sunday, 1pm. Australian filmmaker Genevieve Bailey travelled the world for six years talking with 11-year-olds to compose this insightful, funny and moving documentary portrait of childhood. From an orphanage in India, to a single-parent household in inner-city Melbourne, to bathing with elephants in Thailand, I AM ELEVEN explores the lives and thoughts of children from 15 countries. It is presented here as part of the LACMA’s International Children’s Film Festival.
* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 20 & 21 *
Las Posadas, El Pueblo Historical Monument, Downtown, Saturday and Sunday, 5:30pm-8:30pm. Every evening beginning December 16th and continuing through Christmas Eve, Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem is presented by Olvera Street merchants. Visitors are encouraged to join the candlelight procession singing Christmas carols in English and Spanish. There is a children’s piñata breaking and live entertainment each evening, along with complimentary champurrado and pan dulce.
Barnsdall Art Sunday: Scandinavia, Junior Arts Center at Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Sunday, 10am-12pm. Participate in a free art class in the park. Each Sunday a different culture is featured. The focus of this week’s workshop is Scandinavia: Folk Motif Holiday Cards.
* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 27 & 28 *
Kwanzaa Dance Concerts, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Saturday at 3pm and 7pm and Sunday at 3pm. The Lula Washington Dance Theatre presents an exuberant celebration of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration open to people of all backgrounds, ethnicities and religions. It is a community-focused festival and not a religious holiday.