Top 5 Things to Do in L.A. This Week

One of the puppets from Bob Baker's Holiday Spectacular

Welcome to a very special holiday edition of our weekly roundup. With Christmas, New Year's, Kwanzaa and Festivus around the corner (and Hanukkah just in the rear view), it's no surprise that there's plenty of spirit, singing and celebrating to go around. This week's top events include a fantastical puppet show with more than 100 characters; an "extra, extra cozy" violin concert; a showcase of seasonal cinema; a pair of holiday sing-alongs; and a 5K run with an amusingly unattractive twist. Read on for more.

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Holiday Spectacular at Bob Baker Marionettes | Event details
A puppeteer since the age of 8, Bob Baker has been entertaining audiences with his intricately crafted marionettes for 53 years at his theater at the edge of Echo Park and downtown L.A. His annual holiday show features more than 100 fantastical puppets in a story about a wizard and his starry sidekick who embark on a magical journey and celebrate everything from the eight days of Hanukkah to Santa's workshop. The show, which both delights kids and charms adults, runs through Jan. 5.

Andrew Bird at Immanuel Presbyterian | Event details
On the heels of his recent EP "I Want to See Pulaski at Night" and his move to Los Angeles, the multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird will perform his first-ever Gezelligheid shows in the Southland. Named after a Dutch term that loosely translates to "extra, extra cozy," Bird's winter holiday shows focus on instrumental violin pieces amplified by his signature Specimen horn speakers. Bird will be joined by special guest Tift Merritt.

Holiday Spirit on the Big Screen at the Egyptian and the Aero | Egyptian details | Aero details
The holidays just wouldn't be the same without "It's a Wonderful Life," the Frank Capra-Jimmy Stewart classic about a suicidal business man whose guardian angel appears on Christmas Eve and shows him how he's touched the lives of others. Fortunately, the American Cinematheque is screening the film three times as parts of its holiday movie series, which also includes a "Die Hard"/"Die Hard 2" double feature" and showings of "Auntie Mame," "White Christmas," "Elf" and more.

Holiday Music Sing-Alongs at Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Music Center | WDCH details | Music Center details
Door-to-door Christmas caroling has never really caught on in balmy, car-centric Los Angeles, but that doesn't mean folks hoping to belt out a few holiday classics are out of luck. Singers of all ages and experience levels are invited to sing along to seasonal favorites like "Jingle Bells," "Winter Wonderland" and "Joy to the World" with live accompaniment at the Music Center (outside) and Disney Concert Hall (inside). Don't worry if you're a little foggy on the words, as lyrics sheets will be provided.

Ugly Sweater Run at L.A. State Historic Park | Event details
This seasonal 5K run offers up lots of ugly, sweaty fun. Really? Really. Participants are invited to suit up in their most ridiculous sweaters for the 3.1-mile trot, after which they'll be rewarded with hot chocolate and a choice of Sam Adams winter lager or Boston lager, or Orchard hard cider -- enjoy responsibly! -- plus other post-race festivities. Runners are also encouraged to grow a mustache if possible, or to wear a fake one if not (some will be provided). Awards will be presented for best real mustache, best fake mustache, best beard, best sweater, and of course, worst sweater.

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About the Author

Oliver Gettell is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles.


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Top 5 Things to Do in L.A. This Week