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The Best Los Angeles Events of December 2016

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In Hollywood, the holiday season doubles as the start of awards season. So while the best events in Los Angeles this December may be mostly for the holidays, there are still plenty of film screenings, actor Q&As, and director conversations throughout the month. Plus, as always, several with wine and food. Happy holidays!

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LA Zoo Lights (All Month Long) – L.A.’s brightest holiday tradition shines more brilliantly than ever as they “ZooLAbrate” their 50th year! Explore a dazzling wonderland of light with magical Golden Anniversary touches throughout. View real reindeer (including two babies!), visit with Santa on select dates, and enjoy seasonal treats and goodies, all under the stars at the beautiful Los Angeles Zoo. Plus, they’ll be doing two special holiday happy hours for adults only. December 8 is Ugly Sweater Night – Don your most festive, over-the-top apparel for an evening of holiday kitsch. December 15 is 60s Cocktail Night – In honor of the Zoo’s 50th Anniversary, travel back to 1966, with retro cocktails, appetizers and a cool soundtrack to match.

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Enchanted: Forest of Light (All Month Long) – Enchanted: Forest of Light returns to Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge. Enchanted: Forest of Light is an interactive, nighttime experience unlike anything else in Los Angeles, featuring a one-mile walk through 10 distinct lighting displays in some of the most beloved areas of Descanso Gardens. Tickets are timed and must be purchased in advance.

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Anton Yelchin: Photographs (All Month Long) – View the late actor’s photographic work at Other Gallery in Hollywood. 40 untitled photographs of Anton’s will be on display. And you can buy them. All artists proceeds from print sales will be donated to the Anton Yelchin Charitable Fund to be used for a variety of programs empowering children, as well as students of filmmaking.

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The Contenders at The Hammer (Dec. 1-2, 5-8, & 12-15) – See all the films with most Oscar buzz this awards (and holiday season). 10 nights of films, all screenings with special guests. Each year, MoMA’s Department of Film combs through major studio releases and the top film festivals around the world, selecting influential, innovative films made in the last 12 months that they believe will stand the test of time. Whether bound for awards glory or cult classic status, each of these films is a contender for lasting historical significance. Screenings include Loving and Q&A with Jeff Nichols & Joel Edgerton, Nocturnal Animals and Q&A with Tom Ford, Manchester by the Sea and Q&A with Kenneth Lonnergan, Jackie starring Natalie Portman, Arrival and Q&A with Amy Adams & Denis Villeneuve, Lion and Q&A with Dev Patel, Moonlight and Q&A with Barry Jenkins, and more.

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A Conversation with Martin Scorsese and Irwin Winkler (Saturday, Dec. 3rd) – Director Martin Scorsese and producer Irwin Winkler have teamed to create some of the most acclaimed motion pictures of all time, among them Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Join the discussion between the two Oscar winners as they talk about their longstanding collaboration and clips of their work together, including the upcoming period drama Silence. Tickets are $30.

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3rd Annual Holiday Marketplace at Grand Central Market (Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 3-4) – Kick off the holiday season at Grand Central Market featuring a pop-up village of local artisans and purveyors. From 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. retail and culinary pop-ups will transform the Market’s Hill Street platform into a festive emporium for all your holiday gift shopping. Pop-up participants include Birch & BoneBrown Bag Books, Courage & Craft, Farm LA, Hedley & Bennett, Ink + Smog, Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market, Los Angeles County Store, MADE by DWC, M.Greenwood Jams, Paper Pastries, Spread the Love: Peanut Butter, Ursa Minor Handmade and YA Living. Grand Central Market eateries will be joining in on the festivities with delicacies of the season such as holiday breads from Clark Street Bread, potato knishes from Wexler’s Deli, tamales from Chiles Secos, smoked beef rib from Horse Thief BBQ, butternut winter clam chowder and iced sugar cookies from Bombo, holiday on a hoagie sandwich from Belcampo, rotisserie chicken from Bar Moruno, artisanal food gift baskets from DTLA Cheese, and specialty chocolate boxes, fruitcakes and peppermint bark from Valerie Confections Bakery & Café. Throughout the day, the Market will also play host to a number of special musical guests, including the Grammy-nominated California Feetwarmers, steel drumming, a klezmer band, carolers, among others. On both Saturday and Sunday the Market will host a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus from 1 -3 p.m. and ornament making with Little Junebugs from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m

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Rustic Canyon Dinner Series (Thursday, Dec. 8) – Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Kitchen, the celebrated neighborhood dining destination, helmed by Chef Jeremy Fox, is turning ten years old on December 8, 2016. To ring in the anniversary, the Rustic Canyon Family is bringing together chef friends from around the country, as well as from the restaurant’s past, to collaborate a multi-course dinner. On Thursday, December 8, former Rustic Canyon chefs Samir Mohajer (Cabbage Patch) and Evan Funke (the forthcoming Felix) join current talent Jeremy Fox, Jun Tan, Zoe Nathan, Chef de Cuisine Brittany Cassidy, and Sous Chef Andy Doubrava for a six-course celebration on the restaurant’s actual anniversary.

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Echo Park Community Parade (Saturday, Dec. 10) – The historic community of Echo Park will host the annual Echo Park Community Parade on Saturday, December 10, 2016 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. The parade route is along Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park from Vin Scully Avenue to Park Avenue. The parade is free for all to enjoy and participate in. Thousands of residents from Echo Park and surrounding neighborhoods sit along Sunset Boulevard to welcome Santa Claus and celebrate the holiday season with over 40 parade entries. Each year the parade features a theme that explores the neighborhood of Echo Park and helps inspire ideas for the artwork contest as well as parade floats. This year’s theme is “Celebrating the Artists of Echo Park.”

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Bergamot Station Holiday Open House (Saturday, Dec. 10) – Join Bergamot Station in Santa Monica as they celebrate the holiday season at the legendary arts center. Over 30 galleries will be open with exciting new exhibitions, a book signing event, live music, festive food, and more! Support local businesses this holiday season – Bergamot Station’s creative community boasts limitless gifts for everyone on your list!

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Echo Park Craft Fair (Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 10-11) – While no longer in Echo Park, the Echo Park Craft Fair returns to Mack Sennet Studios this year! The Echo Park Craft Fair is a 2-day art and design event in Silver Lake, California, featuring work by over 120 artists and drawing thousands of guests. The Fair has become a pioneering showcase for the thriving Makers Movement.  Featuring a meticulous curation of work from some of the finest artists in America, the Fair celebrates innovators creating in a vast array of mediums – from ceramics to jewelry, perfumery to clothing design, woodworking to fabric art. Hosting thousands over the course of a highly anticipated 2-day event, the Fair draws style icons, celebrities and trendsetters, a creative-minded, discerning crowd who cull inspiration from the careful curation of vendors and vibrant communal atmosphere.

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Studio City Winter Family Fest (Sunday, Dec. 11) – Last year, more than 5,000 people got into the holiday spirit and gave back to the community at this popular free event. The 2015 event, the largest to-date, saw thousands playing in more than 70 tons of snow, with slides, snowball fights and snowman making. Guests attending the event donated more than 500 pieces of clothing and more than 250 pounds of food. Guests also enjoyed samples from local restaurants, craft-making, free photos with Santa, food trucks and many other activities. Winter Family festival attendees also enjoyed A Taste of the Holidays, which featured free samples from local restaurants. Restaurant participants included Chin Chin, Gangadin, Lemonade, Local Ice, Mendocino Farms, Pizza Rev, The Village, Tuning Fork, Chantel & Bella and The Front Yard. Samples were also provided by Blue Can Water. Parking for the Festival is always free with a free shuttle located at CBS Studio Center.

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Christmas Concert at The Bradbury Building (Dec. 11) – You will want to check out “CHRISTMAS AT THE BRADBURY Puer Natus Est: A Medieval Christmas.” Voices soar and ancient instruments resound in The Bradbury’s resonant five-story atrium. Take a Christmas journey through Mediaeval France, Italy, England and Provence with “America’s foremost early music ensemble” (Le Monde, Paris). Their “jubilant and inspiring” (The Boston Globe) program of festive carols, songs and processionals is “beautifully honed simplicity…performed with heartbreaking purity” (The Guardian, London) – A unique holiday celebration in L.A.’s most iconic interior!

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Holly Jolly Day at L.A. LIVE (Saturday, Dec. 17) – This holiday event is perfect for the whole family at JW Marriott Los Angeles!  Tickets include private access to the L.A. LIVE ice skating rink with a Hot Chocolate & Holiday Sweets Laboratory: a hands-on treat station with cupcake decorating and chocolate fondue. For adults, festive cocktails and spiked hot chocolate with a variety of toppings will be available at the bar. Santa Claus, the man of the hour, makes special appearances in the life-size Gingerbread House from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. for photos and a meet-and-greet.

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LA County Holiday Celebration at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Saturday, Dec. 24) – Perfect for the whole family! Bands, choirs and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures of the region celebrate the season during this free three-hour holiday show. Beloved by Angelenos, the L.A. County Holiday Celebration takes place every Christmas Eve at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at The Music Center. The show will be broadcast live on PBS SoCal KOCE and pbssocal.org. Admission is FREE. No reservations or tickets; first come, first seated. Doors open at 2:30 PM. Entertainment on the plaza begins at 12:30 PM. You may come and go throughout the three-hour performance.

Happy holidays!


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