At twin cinemas in Hollywood and Santa Monica, American Cinematheque preserves the thrill of classic films and introduces the newest works by modern auteurs. A relic of the glamorous past, the Egyptian Theatre was built in 1922 and inspired by the search for the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. From its first showing of Robin Hood until today, it has operated as a movie house, and now sends 60-foot-wide images and crystalline sound flashing through the ornate mirage of its interior.
Today, the screens' ever-unpredictable and constantly changing lineup can include anything from the lightweight whimsy of Citizen Kane to the modern masterpiece Spaceballs, and frequent festivals focus on themes from world cinema to film noir.
At both cinemas, modern works are often further illuminated by their creators, with events and post-show discussions featuring the directors and actors.
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.
When animals are rescued from dangerous living situations or seized from the hands of smugglers, STAR Eco Station provides second chances at peaceful lives. The facility offers a haven for more than 200 rescued animals and educates the public as an environmental science museum. During public tours, guides lead guests through exhibits of rescued exotic animals, such as parrots, pythons, and wildcats, while explaining the habits, history, and New Year's resolutions of each creature.
The recipient of multiple awards from media and government agencies, STAR Eco Station also provides educational outreach programs to more than 40 California school districts and works in concert with conservation organizations such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Paw Project, and Heal the Bay.
The squash-savvy staff at Shawn's Pumpkin Patch flaunts a cornucopia of variously sized pumpkins to adorn fall festivities. Against a rustic backdrop of straw bales and cornstalks, pyramids of gigantic, medium, small, and mini pumpkins ($1–$80) sit ready to be taken home and carved to mimic the visage of a zombie or a beloved imaginary friend. Although not included in today's Groupon, Shawn's Pumpkin Patch also hosts pony rides, mini-train trips, and a petting zoo ($3–$6/person).
Toyota Sports Center entices skaters of all ages with a trio of glassy rinks smooth enough to be commandeered for official practices by the L.A. Kings. When the pros aren't reigning over the ice, guests can practice axel jumps during skating lessons or show up for public skating sessions to lap the flattened glacier in search of preserved saber-toothed zambonis. Toyota Sports Center also educates aspiring Great Ones with beginners hockey classes, hosts youth and adult leagues, and encourages visitors to bulk up off the ice at the fitness center, which is outfitted with free weights and treadmills for those slowly reconnecting with exercise on solid ground.