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

Todd Robbins in "Play Dead." Photo by Michael Lamont

There's no place like home for the holidays, as the old song says. But while that may be true, there are also plenty of legitimate reasons to get out of the house. Perhaps you need a break from visiting family members. Perhaps you're looking for something to do with time off work. Or maybe you just like the sound of Woody Allen playing jazz, the start of a new horse racing season, a music-and-dance-filled holiday program, a macabre magic show, and a classic hip-hop concert. Read on for more.

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Woody Allen and His New Orleans Jazz Band at UCLA's Royce Hall | Event deatils
Woody Allen is best known as the iconic, idiosyncratic filmmaker behind such films as "Annie Hall," "Manhattan" and "Midnight in Paris," but he has also been performing as a jazz clarinetist for more than 35 years. Allen and his band's shows began as informal jam sessions in New York and still maintain an improvisational feel, as Allen and band director Eddy Davis spontaneously call out their next song. The band's repertoire comprises more than 1,200 songs (mostly early 20th-century tunes), so even if you've seen them before, it's safe to say you'll probably see and hear something new.

L.A. County Holiday Celebration at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion | Event details
Now in its 54th year, this annual holiday show features music groups, choirs and dance companies representing the diverse neighborhoods and cultures of Los Angeles. The lineup includes the Aditya Prakash Ensemble, which fuses jazz and Indian classical music; Invertigo Dance Theatre, an L.A.-based contemporary dance troupe; Harana Men's Chorus, which specializes in love-themed songs; Mariachi Divas, a Grammy-winning ensemble; the South Bay Children's Choir, featuring 120 voices; and more. If you can't make it, the show will be broadcast on KCET-TV and Dec. 24 at 3 p.m. (live) and 8 p.m. and Christmas Day at noon and 9 p.m.

Live Horse Racing at Santa Anita Park | Event details
Hollywood Park may have hosted its final races yesterday, but the sport of kings lives on at Santa Anita, which opens for its 77th season of live horse racing the day after Christmas. Opening day fun includes a special early first post time (noon, with gates opening at 10 a.m.); a free wall calendar souvenir for attendees; and a swanky Whiskey in Winter party with tastings, food and festivities (and an equally swanky $150 admission price). The park's usual winter meeting will run through April 20, and due to the closing of Hollywood Park, a separate spring meeting will run April 25-June. 29.

"Play Dead" at the Geffen Playhouse | Event details
As the name suggests, this evening of storytelling and illusionism combines the merry and the macabre. Conceived by Teller (of Penn and Teller), who also directs, and Todd Robbins, the main performer, the interactive show is billed as "a mesmerizing and terrorizing look at life, death and the horrific wonder between." Be warned: the production contains some disturbing images, strobe effects, theatrical haze and brief nudity -- but also plenty of fun.

Fresh Fest at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live | Event details
West Coast rap is well represented at this concert presented by the throwback hip-hop station KDAY, with headliners including Compton's own the Game, a prodigy of Dr. Dre, and Bay Area stalwarts E-40 and Too Short. Also scheduled to perform are Queens rapper Ja Rule, New Orleans rapper Mystikal, Houston rapper Scarface and more.

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About the Author

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


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


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