Joy Theatre straps young comedians to a fully packed parachute of theatre fundamentals—confidence, improvisation, acting, sketch comedy, stage fighting, character development, and more—before giving these young talents a chance to jump onstage in front of a live audience. Most classes meet on weekends and offer students the opportunity to perform in one of the theatre's Saturday or Sunday shows, which are open to the public. Kids 4–11 meet on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. for the Giggle Gaggle class (with performances starting at 2 p.m. and running the last hour of class); the older set, ages 12–19, meets on Saturdays and Sundays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for their own Detention Span class and performance. Shy comedians and outgoing gorillas keeping a low profile in people suits can sign up for The Sunday Funnies. This class for ages 4–19 teaches all the essentials of improvisational comedy through games in a fun and welcoming environment. Instead of a weekly performance, Sunday Funnies keeps young stars in demand with a live performance every 10 weeks.
The Autry is California’s only museum and cultural center dedicated to the history, art, and stories of the American West. Located in Griffith Park, the Autry features special exhibitions, lively programs, and hands-on activities for kids.
A non-profit venue for and supporter of avant-garde contemporary art, LACE provides an artistic outlet unfettered by the demands of commerce. In its 30-year history, the organization has opened eyeballs to the work of more than 5,000 creative minds, including artists such as Martin Kersels, Nancy Rubins, and Johanna Went. Use your friend-level membership to preview exhibitions—such as the upcoming Los Angeles Goes Live: Exploring a Social History of Performance Art in Southern California, 1970–1983, opening in October 2011—before they're open to the public, giving you a small window of time in which to observe the art before children can attempt to smear it with peanut butter. Members also receive complimentary or reduced admission to special events such as the annual winter fundraiser and the LACE 10K, a steptacular art walk that immerses culture vultures in the greatest art form of them all, physical fitness.
Teeming with curios and game-changing treasures, The Folk Tree specializes in the one-of-a-kind work of artisans and craftspeople from Mexico and cultures around the world. Dress up desks, end tables, and museum-quality cinder blocks with wooden carvings, clay figurines, pottery, and other objects d'art made with expert craftsmanship and high-level sorcery. Memorialize beloved armadillos of your childhood with an elaborately painted carving from the family of Pedro Ramirez ($68.50 and up), or make conversations with your walls seem normal by decorating them with coconut masks ($16.50). Shadow boxes ($26.50 and up) integrate three-dimensional tableaus and written text to satirical effect, and black-clay lanterns (starting at $9.50) combine an alluring sheen with tamed fire. T-shirts are also available to help keep customers as artfully ornamented as their décor.
Photographer Stuart Townsley uses a trained eye and high-tech equipment to capture memories into frameworthy prints and digital art, using 10 of LA's most attractive landmarks as backdrops. The famed local sites where he sets up camp—such as the roaring Pacific Ocean under Santa Monica Pier or the 1930s architecture and picturesque fountain of Union Station—elegantly complement subjects' smiling visages. His shutter snaps hundreds of times during each photo shoot, immortalizing the faces, poses, and secret handshakes of families and well-behaved pets. Well-versed in state-of-the-art retouching gear, Stuart unfurls his astutely edited creations onto glossy prints, canvases, and online albums.
Stuart's advice on what to wear and bring to shoots, garnered through 12 years of professional experience, conveniently resides online to aid in the selection of appropriate outfits for every mother, father, child, or hamster.