The Los Angeles Ballet is a group of more than two dozen dancers who prance across the stage like marionettes controlled by Santa's team of bethumbed reindeer. See this renowned company perform a holiday classic to the choreography of experienced husband and wife team Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary.
Like many great movies, the San Pedro International Film Festival began with a little romance. In 2012, the festival's inaugural year, a comedy-drama titled Silver Linings Playbook made its LA festival premiere, screening alongside other inspirational films with unique and global perspectives—reflective of the city's diverse culture. Silver Linings Playbook won Best Feature film, and a few months later, in the same city, went on to take home more than a dozen heavy-weight awards.
SPIFF, as the festival calls itself, shows its commitment to great cinematic works in ways that go beyond honoring excellent movies. The festival dives into the inner workings of the film industry with workshops and speakers slotted between its screenings. And before the festival even begins, a two-day Youth Film Intensive held at San Pedro's Croatian Cultural Center introduces budding Spielbergs to techniques in storytelling and structure, as well as the ins-and-outs of casting, producing, and sneaking subliminal messages into the title credits.
Facilitating the fan-delighting collision of comic-book universes and intergalactic heroes, Wizard World organizes Comic Cons and pop-culture conventions across the continent. At each event, stars from the silver screen set down roots in booths across the convention floor, wielding markers for autographs and their photo-op-ready smiles. Past guests have run the gamut from William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and the cast of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Away from the crowds, stars also participate in talks and Q&A panels as part of the event’s programming. Along with beloved actors, Wizard World’s conventions grant guests a chance to interact with writers and artists as well as partake in activities such as gaming tournaments and costume contests.
Although it takes place at the Orange County Fair and Event Center, the Anatolian Cultures & Food Festival actually exists at the nexus of thousands of years of Anatolian history. That's the way it feels, at least. Upon arrival, guests begin this trek through time at the Gates of Civilizations, whose waypoints honor 14 historic and present-day nations ranging from the mighty Hittite Empire to the modern Turkish Republic. Towering, ornate arches and a staff of highly knowledgeable costumed actors guide them through this journey, sharing the traditional dress and customs of bygone regional residents including the Ottomans, Romans, Phrygians, and Byzantines.
Once inside, guests can extend their explorations within stunning recreations of nine different Anatolian cities, grabbing lifelike views of everything from the Topkapi Palace—once occupied by Ottoman sultans—or the Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the ancient seat of the Armenian Orthodox patriarch. Along the way, they can stop for souvenirs at the bustling Grand Bazaar, where more than 100 vendor hawk traditional Near Eastern good. A traditional Turkish coffeehouse also occupies part of the festival grounds, tempting guests with cups of rich Turkish coffee that par well with the kebabs, stews, and baked goods prepared by the festival’s food vendors.
The Festival of Arts has showcased the paintings, sculptures, and creations of local artists in an outdoor gallery alongside hands-on workshops and live music shows for 79 years. A carefully curated bumper crop of local artwork from 140 artists brightens gallery walls in a spectrum of styles, from romantic gemstone jewelry and modern abstract painting to neo-classical busts of Colonel Sanders. Mere blocks from the ocean, the exhibits ring a spacious lawn, which brims with spectators for the festival's many events, including celebrity meet and greets, live jazz concerts, and eco-friendly fashion shows. During daily workshops, spectators become participants, stretching fingers into paint, pressing prints, molding clay, and post-modernly trying to eat a bottle of glitter. Check the calendar for daily events.
A summer staple of Laguna Beach since 1966, Art-A-Fair corrals creative works from around the world, unfurling them across the apropos, color-splashed gardens of Laguna Canyon. Festival visitors meander leisurely through the web of imagination, stopping to soak up content that is as rich in quality as it is in diversity. Between brush strokes and spontaneous games of frisbee with their palette, working artists take a breather to chat about their pieces and the inspirations that drive their craft. From year to year, the festival features a wide spectrum of 2- and 3-D art, and, should one of those gems seduce the heart of a passerby, everything at the festival is available for purchase.