Los Angeles Culture Challenge for December 2015 & Swedish Christmas Fair

December 2015December is always a busy time with the winter holidays approaching, but if you have some time left over, there’s plenty of special events happening to either explore your own heritage or open your mind to new cultures and traditions or global concerns. Another of my favorite Scandinavian events happens this month, the Swedish Christmas Fair. It’s a busy, festive one-day affair which always leaves me with a cozy Christmas feeling.

* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 5 & 6 *

Skirball-a-path-appearsA Path Appears: Actions for a Better World, Skirball Cultural Center, ongoing until February 21, 2016. Inspired by the bestselling book A Path Appears by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the exhibition is both a gallery installation and a community engagement project—a place where every visitor can take practical, results-driven steps to bring about social change. Get inspired inside innovatively designed pavilions exploring four critical humanitarian issues: education, health, good jobs, and empowerment. Tap into the power of grassroots action as you learn of organizations—both local and around the globe—that are developing workable solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Then join in building a better world as you engage with ActionLab, a mobile-friendly tool that uses storytelling to promote social change and spark a commitment to human rights.

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking TourThe Undiscovered Chinatown Tour, Chinatown, Downtown, Saturday, 10:30am-1pm. (Offered every first Saturday of the month). 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.

KIC_try_new_faceKids in the Courtyard: Try on a New Face!, Fowler Museum Courtyard at UCLA, Sunday, 1pm-4pm. Marvel at the ways artists in Disguise: Masks and Global African Art have transformed themselves and their surroundings. Then try your hand at disguising your appearance. Take on a whole new persona as you paint your face or have designs drawn on your face by artists in attendance at the event.

* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 12 & 13 *

LACMA_ICFFLos Angeles International Children’s Film Festival, LACMA, Saturday & Sunday. The 11th 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—organized for different age groups, from toddlers through teens. Select filmmakers and actors will be present for Q&A sessions after each screening.

SWEA_Xmas36th Annual Swedish Christmas Fair, Torrance Cultural Arts Center, Torrance, Sunday, 10am-5pm. The fair features artisans and stands presenting the best of Swedish fine art, handicraft, books, jewelry, toys, decorations, and much more. Enjoy a traditional Swedish lunch or “fika” (coffee break) with delicious home baked sweets. You can even enjoy an invigorating glass of hot glögg (mulled wine). The radiant Lucia Pageant is performed twice during the day, at noon and at 3pm. Make sure to time your visit so you’ll be there for the Lucia procession. There’s also a children’s corner with crafts, games, and a possible visit with Santa.

hanukkah-festival-2015Hanukkah Family Festival, Skirball Cultural Center, Sunday, 11am-4pm. The light of hope, courage, and perseverance that burns in each of us makes it possible to achieve amazing things together. At this year’s Hanukkah Family Festival, celebrate with music, dance, art making, storytelling, and a host of other family-friendly activities that explore this theme and more. Families of all backgrounds welcome!

USC Pacific Asia MuseumFree Day at USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, every 2nd Sunday of the month. Established in 1971, the museum is one of a few U.S. institutions dedicated to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands. The museum’s mission is to further intercultural understanding through the arts of Asia and the Pacific Islands. In addition to the permanent and special exhibitions, there is a special interactive family-friendly exhibition called Journeys: The Silk Road where visitors can explore the legendary trade route that linked Europe and Asia for more than a thousand years. Also, every second Sunday of the month is a special storytime and with a hands-on craft. This Sunday’s theme is Philippines.

* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 19 & 20 *

Hot Chocolate NutcrackerDebbie Allen’s The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Downtown, Friday at 7:30pm and Saturday at 1pm and 7pm. Following the idea of the original, it’s Christmas Eve and the Johnsons are having a grand party. The Christmas gifts are shared and young Kara receives a Nutcracker filled with hot chocolate – her favorite. She falls asleep and the journey begins when the Nutcracker comes alive! Kara takes the audience on a mystical, magical journey, from Candy Cane Land, Egypt, the Indian Rainforest, Bollywood, Jazzland, and the Land of the Kimono Dolls. Must buy tickets in advance.

Olvera Street Las PosadasLas Posadas at Olvera Street, El Pueblo Historical Monument, Downtown, Saturday and Sunday, 5:30pm-8:30pm. Every evening beginning December 16th and continuing through Christmas Eve, a procession depicting 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.

* WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 26 & 27 *

This seems to be a quiet weekend for events.

* WEEKEND OF JANUARY 2 & 3 *

Undiscovered Chinatown Walking TourThe Undiscovered Chinatown Tour, Chinatown, Downtown, Saturday, 10:30am-1pm. (Offered every first Saturday of the month). 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.

2016-Oshogatsu-Festival-Year-of-MonkeyOshogatsu Family Festival – Year of the Monkey, Japanese American National Museum, Sunday, 11am-5pm. Ring in the New Year and the Year of the Monkey with fun arts ‘n crafts, food, exciting cultural activities, and performances.

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