The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, which the Huffington Post calls “the gold standard of the avant garde in LA,” introduces members to emerging local and international artists with gallery exhibitions and innovative performances in art, music, dance, film, and multimedia. In time for the debut of the 2012 schedule, individual members enjoy a 20% discount on up to two tickets to each of REDCAT’s theatrical productions, which include Lars Jan’s genre-defying Abacus, with high-tech effects and compelling performances that explore media’s persuasive power. With 24 hours’ notice, members can trade in tickets for another date, increasing their chances of catching chats with filmmakers such as William E. Jones, comedy sets by jokesters such as Sandra Bernhard, or recollections of '70s New York by former Yankees shortstop Lou Reed.
Vancouver hometown heroes Theory of a Deadman return to their roost in an exertive panorama of stadium-sized riffs and hard-rocking party anthems. Like the letter E at an optometrist’s office, the band has grown accustomed to the top of the charts, with mainstream rock hits such as “Lowlife” and “Bad Girlfriend” and the life-affirming sing-along “Hate My Life.” Stuffing kevlar crunch, post-grunge, and rockabilly into its sonic calzone, Theory of a Deadman dethaws January fans with seasoned classics and newborn cuts from its latest smash The Truth Is…. Locally acclaimed indie rockers Louder Than Love whet aural appetites in their opening performance as they juggle genres without falling off their tandem unicycle.
Naya's Garden safely shelters energetic youngsters in its 3,000-square-foot building replete with indoor and outdoor play structures that promote social skills and strengthen physical development. After shielding feet in mandatory socks, tykes can navigate a maze, romp through a ball pit, scale a climbing wall, or play real-estate agent by accompanying newlywed squirrels on a tree-house tour. Hopping sessions in a bouncy castle help burn calories, snacks nourish famished frolickers, and frequently cleaned toys and friendly staffers ensure participant well-being. Thrice weekly half-hour sing-alongs commence at 11 a.m., imbuing whippersnappers with catchy folk tunes and world music chants each Tuesday and Thursday. Each Friday, tots learn Spanish versions of their favorite English melodies or German versions of their favorite birdcalls.
On November 6, 1913, Californians strolled from downtown Los Angeles to the newly minted Exposition Park in a ceremonial procession celebrating a new cultural milestone for the city: the opening of the Museum of History, Science, and Art. A century later, the museum, now known as the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, celebrates its 100 years as a scientific resource while also showcasing a suite of technologically advanced exhibits developed over an eight-year transformation. Proud past and dynamic future meet most prominently in the museum’s original Beaux-Arts-style edifice, now called the 1913 Building. With its handsome rotunda and a façade of neoclassical columns, the building has earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places—but its considerable historical legacy may become overshadowed by a more recent addition: the Dinosaur Hall, a 14,000-square-foot interactive exhibit featuring more than 300 fossils and 20 full-body mounts. The mounts include the world’s only Tyrannosaurus rex growth series, with side-by-side reconstructions of the youngest-known baby skeleton, a rare juvenile skeleton, and the young-adult skeleton of Thomas the T.rex, among the world’s top 10 most complete T.rex skeletons. Designed to let patrons get as near as possible to its specimens, the exhibit gives visitors the experience of walking beneath a dinosaur’s neck or staring straight up at a T.rex’s skull. Next to each mount, murals and graphic displays project how scientists believe the creatures would have looked before time stripped away their reptilian scales and dinosaur friendship bracelets. The museum’s centennial year also includes the midsummer opening of Nature Gardens, a 3.5-acre outdoor habitat teeming with hummingbirds, gardening exhibits, and displays chronicling how the city’s flora has evolved over time. Nature Gardens will eventually frame the museum’s new main entrance, Otis Booth Pavilion, whose glass structure will provide a lasting sanctuary for one of the museum’s oldest displays: a 63-foot, 7,000-pound fin whale specimen. The lush flowers of the outdoor grounds also serve as a habitat for the roaming winged creatures of the seasonal Butterfly Pavilion. The Natural History Museum’s centennial transformation will also include the addition of a permanent exhibit called Becoming L.A., opening in July, 2013. The 14,000-square-foot exhibit will showcase a collection of rare artifacts from the area’s Native American, Spanish Colonial, and Early American eras, as well as objects that reflect more contemporary L.A., such as the animation stand Walt Disney used to film Steamboat Willie, the first cartoon to feature Mickey Mouse.
Since 1971, the Peck family has kept abreast of the trends and tools of their trade, amassing a dizzying array of video games, pinball machines, and entertainment gizmos. The diverse menagerie of video machines entertain joystickers with the realistic simulations of modern racing and fighting games, and the old-school nostalgia of steam-powered coin-ops from the ’70s and ’80s please vintage gamers. A vast library of tunes from the Internet jukebox sets button mashing to music, and pinball machines record high scores for posterity amid the glittering neon and mirrors of the arcade's hallowed halls. In addition to seeking onscreen amusement, button pushers can suit up for friendly bouts of air hockey, and foosball fans can show their love of the game with diminutive hooligan antics.
As Karie Bible strides across Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the hem of her mourning gown absorbs dew from the gravesites of Douglas Fairbanks and Jayne Mansfield. She tours the cemetery for a living, leading groups to crypts and monuments that mark the remains of deceased celebrities. Whether recounting the legacy of actress Marion Davies or kneeling at the spike of grass that marks Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer's final resting place, she immerses tour-goers in Hollywood history. Each tour lasts about two hours and sheds light on cherished stars, as well as lesser-known entertainers and community members.