December 6, 2007
Picks, kicks and plugs for December 8-14
What would winter be without sugar-plum fairies pirouetting around a snowy stage, or toymaker Herr Drosselmeyer giving gifts that come to life, or even the evil Rat King setting out to ruin an otherwise magical fantasy? No need to worry, because Tchaikovsky's legendary, beautiful and romantic ballet, "The Nutcracker," written in 1892, returns to Glendale this year. Media City Ballet's production features Arsen Serobian as The Snow King who inhabits the dream of young Clara, whose beloved nutcracker leads her through a colorful fantasy world of dew drop and snowflake waltzes, marzipans and dancing flowers. 2:30 p.m. $20-$45. Also, Dec. 9. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. For tickets, call (818) 243-2539 or visit www.alextheatre.org.
Jewish Journal columnist and author Bill Boyarsky will discuss his new book, "Big Daddy: Jesse Unruh and the Art of Power Politics," about the fascinating life of one of California's most influential and charismatic politicians after World War II. Unruh is famous for saying, "Money is the mother's milk of politics." 3-5 p.m. Free. Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library, 2920 S. Overland Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 840-2142. www.lapl.org.
Chavurah by the Sea and Congregation Am Hayam provide the dreidles, songs, jelly doughnuts and beverages for this warm family gathering on the fifth night of Chanukah. Bring your own menorah and candles to fill the synagogue with light. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free. Congregation Am HaYam, 4839 Market St., Unit C, Ventura. (805) 236-7484. www.chavurahbythesea.org.
In this town, there are enough Chanukah parties to keep you party-hopping all eight nights. However, Temple Beth Israel's Chanukah Party has a special feature: a Latke Fry-Off. So bring your (secret) recipes to spread all over town. The host will supply potatoes, onions, oil and frying pans -- unless, of course, your kosher secret is organic potatoes. Everyone is invited to bring canned food for the SOVA food pantry, and it's worth noting there are some pretty fabulous menorahs being raffled off, so buy a ticket ... or five. 5:30 p.m. $5 (per raffle ticket). Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock, 5711 Monte Vista St., Los Angeles. (323) 255-5416. www.tbila.org.
Tchaikovsky meets klezmer in the Shirim Klezmer Orchestra's self-described "manic and humorous" re-interpretation of the classic non-Jewish holiday favorite, "The Nutcracker." In "Klezmer Nutcracker," there will be a dancing potato latke queen, marching Macabees, playful tunes and melancholy music all rolled into one big klezeriffic performance. 8-10 p.m. $30. Meng Concert Hall, Cal State Fullerton's Performing Arts Center, 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton. (714) 278-3371.
There's no hiking or biking involved at the "Fabulous Hanukkah House Party," organized by Mosaic Outdoor Club of Greater Los Angeles and Nexus. The only physical effort you'll have to exert is lifting your arm to hug a friend, light a menorah or pop a latke in your mouth. For the potluck dinner and gift exchange guidelines and RSVP instructions, visit the detailed listing on our online Community Calendar. 6:30-11:30 p.m. $5. Private home in Granada Hills. Hanukkah07@yahoo.com.
SUN | DECEMBER 9
It's hard to really know the enigmatic Danny Kaye. He was rumored to have had love affairs with men and women, and he endured accusations by the FBI for dodging the draft. Yet the world-famous comedian and beloved film actor channeled his troubles into entertainment. In "The Kid From Brooklyn: The Danny Kaye Story," his life, relationships and career are chronicled in an intimate musical that portrays his wife, Sylvia Fine, as the guiding light that solidified his stardom -- lending credence to the aphorism that behind every great man is a great woman. 8 p.m. (Thu.-Sat.), 3 p.m. (Sat.-Sun.). $35-$50. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hollywood. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111. www.kidfrombrooklynthemusical.com.
Light the menorah and dance the horah at one of the many Chabad Chanukah festivals all over town. "Chanukah at Fashion Island" will have a huge canned-food menorah that will then be dismantled and distributed to families in need, face painting and a collection of unwrapped gifts for needy children. The Klezundheit group will be lending a hand and their voices to the celebration. 3-4:30 p.m. Free. Fashion Island, Bloomingdale's Courtyard, 401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach. (949) 721-9800. www.jewishnewport.com.
Attack of the jelly doughnuts! Well actually they're not attacking -- they're stacking at The Giant Doughnut Menorah Lighting, Chabad's one-of-a-kind, delectable, incredible, powder-sugary holiday treat! 4 p.m. Free, but bring your I.D. for security. The New JCC at Milken, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. (818) 337-4544. www.chabadofwesthills.com.
Join Fairfax-district dwellers and tourists at the Farmers Market Chanukah festivities, held all afternoon today. Children can make dreidels and a menorah out of LEGOs, families can enjoy the traditional music of Alula, and everyone can light the sixth candle together. Co-hosted by Temple Israel of Hollywood and Chabad of Miracle Mile. 2:30-7 p.m. Free. Farmer's Market, corner of Third Street and Fairfax Avenue. (323) 933-9211. www.farmersmarketla.com.
Pack a picnic and your menorah for a community-wide Chanukah Family Party. Latkes and jelly donuts will already be on the scene for this special celebration of family welcoming the whole community. 5:30 p.m. Free. Beth Shir Sholom, 1827 California Ave., Los Angeles. Reservations required. Call Brenda, (310) 453-3361.
After the candles, the doughnuts, the dreidels and the presents, pack the whole family into the car for a rockin' Chanukah concert by Moshav. Their music -- which appeals to all ages -- is a fun mixture of folk, rock and reggae that blends Israeli and American cultures. 7-9 p.m. $15-$25. Shomrei Torah Synagogue, 7353 Valley Circle Blvd., West Hills. (818) 346-0811.
Afternoons at a Haifa beach ... Shabbat dinners in Jerusalem ... Chanukah in the Holy Land ... if you're contemplating a move to Israel, a perfect place to start your planning is at the Jewish Agency for Israel's "See the Lights Israel Fair." Get the lowdown on aliyah rights and benefits, employment opportunities and grants for college, while enjoying the sounds and tastes of Israel. 2-5 p.m. Free. Steven S. Wise Temple, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive, Los Angeles. (866) 835-0430.