In continual operation since 1965, the Hollywood Wax Museum captures the storied history of Tinseltown by recreating its most memorable faces and moments in lifelike detail. All rendered via intricate, multi-week processes, classic entertainers such as Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin pose alongside modern A-list stars such as Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, and Morgan Freeman. Visitors can step up to each figure for interactive photo ops with their favorite stars. For its efforts, the museum has received a 2012 Heroes of Hollywood award and a 2008 Charlie Award in Entertainment Arts. The museum was also awarded a civic scroll in the 1970s for helping to restore “glamour and gaiety” to the city of Los Angeles—a mission it continues today even with Hollywood’s ever-changing celebrity landscape.
The Skirball Cultural Center is a renowned museum, vibrant performing arts center, and prestigious educational institution that is dedicated to sustaining Jewish heritage while welcoming visitors of all ethnic and cultural identities. Members get unlimited year-round access to museum exhibits, including Noah's Ark. The popular interactive gallery inside a massive wooden ark is filled with animal puppets (made from recycled materials) and hours worth of creative, challenging activities for kids of every shoe size, all aimed at teaching the value of community and sustainability without having to live among Himalayan monks for seven years. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and members should call ahead to schedule a timed entry or book online.
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.
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.