Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday because it's about Family and Food. It's a relatively non-material holiday (except for those steep airfares…) so you won't be hearing much about Black Friday deals here!
1. Get To LACMA – The Number One destination, whether you're hosting out-of-towners or looking to get your family unplugged for some togetherness, is LACMA's Resnick Pavilion which has three spectacular shows on view: Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic, James Turrell: A Retrospective, and finally a new video installation from David Hockney that is literally sublime — Hockney mounted 9 cameras on a car and drove through the British countryside, so you can sit in a room with 18 connected screens and view the bucolic scenery. Don't miss the Ganzfeld room in the Turrell show, either. The Rock and Urban Light are not-to-be-missed, either.
You can see all 3 shows easily in one visit — they're in the same building. If you do nothing else but watch football and wash dishes, choose this!
2. Tchaikovsky or Mozart? 'Tis the season to splurge on theater tickets. Get the family downtown for a few of the eye-popping stage shows taking place this weekend. There's Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty, which ends on Sunday. And, The Magic Flute from LA Opera, has just gotten stunning reviews, and plays through mid-December. With a cartoon-theme and a director who is turning heads, this might be worth a first foray into the land of Opera.
3. Thanksgiving DVD choices – Our Laura Cornell illustration was done when The Blind Side came out in 2009 and we love the movie because it captures everything about the holiday – from taking care of each other, to football and food. Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her commanding performance as a mother who takes a nearly-homeless boy under her family's wing. Based on a true story about a Southern woman who adopted a boy and turned him into an NFL football player, this film delivers on it's message about the transformative power of giving. Another seasonal pick would be to explore the Pocahantas and John Smith story: by Disney in Pocahantas or by master filmmaker Terrance Malick in The New World.
4. Support Hollywood and Watch Movies in the Theaters – Frozen is our top pick for Elementary, Middle School and Everyone (yes, Disney's baaack why not all see this one together?). Some will not be able to rip themselves away from Hunger Games: Catching Fire which is, we admit, pretty great. If you have grandma in town, try Philomena. Every interested in the Oscar Race have lots to do to get up to speed (click for a list of 30 contenders!) but we like All is Lost, Gravity, and Captain Philips.
5. Classic Films at the Egyptian and Areo – The American Cinematheque provides full screen, theater viewing of the best films of old – from Planes, Trains and Automobiles (about getting home for Thanksgiving), or inter-generational crowd pleasers such as American in Paris and Singing in the Rain.
6. Get to Know Plimoth Plantation – Okay, it's in Massachusetts but in case any readers are visiting New England, there are still seats available to spend Thanksgiving on site of the original meal! (It's worth clicking over, just to see the dinner that will be served!). If you don't know Plimoth Plantation, make a note to visit on your next trip east. It's a fully realized, historically accurate recreation of the original Pilgrim settlement. As visitors wander the village, they "meet" the original settlers — actors playing characters of real figures from the past — making it easy to understand how rough those early yeasr in America were. Here's a primer on Thanksgiving's history from Plimoth's site.
7. Give Back – Nearly 60,000 people are homeless in Los Angeles, and Thanksgiving is a natural time to teach your children about the reality of how some among us are living their lives. It's shaping up to be a cold winter so food and shelter are key right now. The food kitchens are swamped with extra food and help at this time of year (as opposed to the rest of the year, when folks are just as needy), but there's nothing wrong with turning our focus to these important issues at this time of year, if we find ways to make our efforts stretch across the months. You can give to housing organizations and food foodbanks on an annual basis, you can donate gently used clothing to shelters, or you can offer to volunteer your time. Often a local solution is best, and your community probably has urgent needs. Here are a few organizations that we trust-The Los Angeles Food Bank and United Way of Greater LA.
Be sure to read this article (from the cover of today's NYTimes) about Ted Landreth – a man who has been feeding the homeless every night for 25 years, and whose ability to continue doing so is at risk.
8. Christmas Classics – There are dozens of chances to take in a performance of The Nutcracker, starting Friday. We're partial to the Westside Ballet version, which goes up at The Broad. The Los Angeles Ballet's production start on December 7, and plays all around town (from UCLA to Redondo Beach to the Valley Performing Arts Center). Gustavo Dudamel directs the LA Phil's version starting on December 12.
9. Go for a Family Hike – What better way to burn off the calories consumed than trekking up one of the fabulous trails in the midst of our city. Bring the dogs (bring a bag) and a camera – you'll want to capture the moment of unplugged togetherness!
10. Peruse Our Site – Check out all our Top Ten List for easy to follow lists of how to tour around the major museums in town, or visit off-the-beaten spots like Watts Tower and Lake Hollywood. You'll find the Top Ten Lists on our new Features Page; scroll down for a title that reads Top Ten.