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Holidays Then and Now

See story on page 2. larchmontbuzz.com

The newly-published photographic history of Larchmont Boulevard was written by Larchmont Buzz Publisher and local resident Patricia Lombard. Book signing and celebration with the author at Chevalier's Books Tuesday, December 8, from 7 to 9 p.m.

126 North Larchmont Boulevard • Los Angeles 90004 323-465-1334 • Open Daily: 10am - 6pm chevaliersbooks.com




Larchmont Chronicle

Lombard’s new book grew from her love of Larchmont

Landis Gifts and Stationery celebrates 25 years on Blvd.

By Jane Gilman Patty Lombard first fell in love with Larchmont Village in 1988 when the family lived on Wilton Drive and she could walk her baby daughter in a stroller to the boulevard. She has compiled a history of her favorite village in a book titled “Larchmont,” a 128-page photographic history of the shopping area. Lombard will be signing the book on Tues., Dec. 8 at Chevalier’s bookstore from 7 to 9 p.m. Chevalier’s location was originally the offices of Julius LaBonte who developed much of the commercial street in 1921. The LaBonte Building and Loan Association safe remains in the store. The book documents the area’s history with photos of original buildings such as the movie theater and Dippell Realty. Many aerial pictures also portray the growth of the village. It contains copies of newspaper articles showing the village buildings when they were first erected. Chapters are divided into Early Larchmont, Larchmont Life, Modern Larchmont and Upper Larchmont. Business “legends” such as Bob Landis, Bob Balzer and the barber Jerry Cottone are featured plus others who have owned shops on Larchmont through the years. The author has combined extensive research on the village and area history with an array of photographs,

By Sondi Toll Sepenuk The name “Landis” is very familiar on Larchmont Boulevard. It all started with Arthur Landis’ original department store in 1933, then morphed throughout the years into separate storefronts: Landis General Store, Landis Labyrinth Toy Store, and Landis Gifts & Stationery. This past November, Edie Frère, owner of Landis Gifts & Stationery, 138 N. Larchmont Blvd., and a host of Larchmont area friends, family and loyal customers, celebrated the store’s 25th anniversary with a lively open house. “I feel happy and amazing and ready for the next 25 years!” exclaimed Edie while reveling with fellow partygoers. Loyal customers who shop at the stationery store love it for all that it offers: hostess gifts, greeting cards, monogrammed blankets, soaps, bowls, candles and of course, stationery. “The store is an artistic outlet for me,” enthuses Frère. “I can’t draw or sing, but I’m a great audience, and I have fun working with the companies and artists who create our collections for us.” Frère grew up in Hancock Park and attended Wilton Place Elementary and Marlborough School. After school, she often found herself shopping at Landis General Store. After college, she worked for the U.S. State Department for over a decade, first for the Chief of

PATTY LOMBARD holds the book she has written on the village.

mainly from the pages of the Larchmont Chronicle. Lombard, who is co-owner of the online publication, Larchmont Buzz, is president of the Fremont Place Association and on the board of the Ebell of Los Angeles and Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. She and her husband Bill Simon have two daughters, Emily and Alexandra. Published by Arcadia for its Images of America series, the book sells for $21.99.

EDIE FRÈRE is surrounded by two of her employees, Kjai Block and Josh Monje, at the 25th anniversary party.

Protocol in Washington D.C. and then at embassies in Copenhagen and Paris. It was in Paris that she met her husband Christian. But when she returned home, the store called out to her. She and her neighbor, Chris Wolfus, who lived across the street, decided to go into business together. They took over the original Landis Department Store from Arthur Landis’ son, Bob, and moved it across the street. The original store existed to sell (Please turn to page 7)

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Kip’s Toyland store celebrates 70 years of toys, family, fun By Sondi Toll Sepenuk It didn’t start out as fun. In fact, it started out as a nightmare. During World War II, Irvin Kipper, a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, was on his 26th combat mission when his B-17 bomber was shot down over Italy. He and his crew spent the next eight months in a POW camp. Upon returning home to Los Angeles after the war, Irvin decided to focus on a more innocent world­­—the world of children. “My dad was done eating meals out of a can,” says Don Kipper, Irvin’s son. “He had always been fascinated by the mechanical holiday displays in the department store windows, so he got the idea to open a toy store.” Toy stores didn’t exist back in the 1940s, so Irvin’s idea was rather revolutionary. He

opened his store in the Town ing on the floor!’” “This was not exactly my & Country Village (the site of Don continued to work at plan, but I gave it a shot and today’s Whole Foods Market the store through high school it turns out that I love it!” on 3rd St. and Fairfax) and and college, then left to says Don’s daughter, Lily, the began by sellstore’s managing balloons er. and other trin “After I gradkets. uated from “Because of Loyola Marytheir material, mount Uniballoons had versity, I never been rationed thought that during the war, I would go so those were into retail, but the most popugrandpa crelar items,” says ated and built Don, whose FOUNDER Irvin Kipper opened the store after flying combat mis- it—and I just first job as a sions in WW II. love our famnine-year-old ily story­—so was to tie the strings on the explore the world. Of course, here I am!” Lily exclaims with balloons. the pull of the toy store was amusement. In 1956, the store moved undeniable. Growing up around the toy across the street to the Farm- “We decided on my dad’s store as a child, Lily wasn’t ers Market. 95th birthday that it was time allowed to do much. “I remember it was my exact to pass the baton,” says Don. “My grandfather is a bit 10th birthday,” recalls Don. So he returned home to take old-school,” laughs Lily. “He “Dad gave me a chisel and over the store for good. didn’t think a girl should be hammer and said ‘start work- But he wasn’t alone. climbing ladders and stocking

shelves.” My, oh my, how things have changed. “I’m happy to let Lily do all the work!” laughs Don. “She’s the one who flies around on the ladders all day, stocking shelves and taking inventory!” Turns out, predicting inventory is the hardest part of the job. “It’s difficult to predict what people are going to want and how fast something is going to fly off the shelves,” says Lily. “Especially around the holidays, you really try to get those orders right.” Not only is Kip’s Toyland the oldest toy store in Los Angeles, it’s also known for shunning anything that plugs in. “We will never be a Toys R Us,” says Don proudly. Walking the aisles, shoppers can find anything from a retro Fisher Price “chatter tele(Please turn to page 5)

Chorale opens 21st season with two new carols

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ols—Glorious, Glorious and Completing the Circle—and gave the premiere rights to the choruses involved in the Consortium.” The evening will include a night of caroling, ranging from beloved favorites like “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “The First Noel” to carols by Benjamin Britten and Richard Rodney Bennett. HMC’s holiday brass quintet will join the chorale, and the singers will perform arrangements by Master of Carols David Willcocks, who recently passed away. “Our hope is that everyone will find a bit of music that tugs on their heartstrings,” says Schaer. “Bringing back warm memories of family, traditions, and song—what better gift is there?” Tickets to the event are available for $20 general admission and $15 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, go to HollywoodMasterChorale.org or call 323-960-4349.

Junior League honors Robitailles, Weitman Los Angeles Kings ex-hockey star Luc Robitaille and his wife Stacia will receive the Community Achievement Award from the Junior League of Los Angeles at its 16th annual Harvest Boutique on Sun., Dec. 6. The event, at the J.W. Marriott at LA LIVE, honors the couple for founding Echoes of Hope which aids foster and at-risk kids. Ellen Weitman will receive the Spirit of Voluntarism Award. Shopping, lunch and a silent auction are featured. Visit jlla.org.

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Hollywood Master Chorale (HMC) will open its 21st season with “Caroling, Caroling,” a musical event that will include the premiere of two new carols by local composer Dale Trumbore. The HMC will present the two new carols, commissioned by the “Christmas Past, Christmas Future” Carol Consortium, on Sun., Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church, 505 N. Rodeo Drive. “Dale Trumbore had the ingenious idea of putting together a Chorale Consortium and asking a number of choirs to participate,” explains Dr. Lauren Buckley Schaer, artistic director of the HMC. “She then composed two car-

Larchmont Chronicle




KIP'S TOYLAND CELEBRATES 70 (Continued from page 4)

phone” to Thomas the Train to magic kits to Legos to board games and more. Spy kits, ant farms, science kits, Play-Doh, and Don’s personal favorite—wooden building blocks—line the shelves in abundance. “They were my favorite toy BROTHERS William and Nelson LaBombard, Windsor Village, try to decide among the choices.

Fire dog Wilshire cast in ‘Peter Pan’ at Pasadena Playhouse Wilshire, the firehouse dog, will have his 15 minutes of fame when he appears in “Peter Pan and Tinker Bell — A Pirates Christmas.” The Dalmatian, who originally was a mascot at Station 29 in Windsor Square, is in the cast of the performance at the Pasadena Playhouse on Sun., Dec. 20 at noon. The musical, featuring comedy, music and dancing, begins Wed., Dec. 9 and continues through Sun., Jan. 3. The cast includes “Seinfeld” actor John O’Hurley as Captain Hook and Chrissie Fit as Tinker Bell. Produced by Lythgoe Family Productions, the annual pantomimes are based on fairytales that have been modernized with topical scripts for parents and pop songs for kids. Wilshire’s owner has transferred to Station 10 near Staples Center, taking the dog with him. The Pasadena Fire Department will participate in Wilshire’s appearance by providing a fire truck for photo opportunities before and after the show. They will also give safety demonstrations. Wilshire has served as a fire department dog since he was taken in as a rescue puppy by firefighters at the Wilshire

Blvd. station in 2006. For more information on the musical, visit pasadenaplayhouse.org.

in kindergarten and they’re my favorite toy now,” Don admits. Grand bash By the time this issue goes to print, Irvin will have turned 99 years old. He and his wife, Gertrude, along with the rest of the family, recently celebrated the store’s 70th birthday with a grand bash in the Farmers Market Plaza. The celebration included a photo booth, live toy soldier band, a giant Rubik’s Cube, life-size Barbie Photo Box, carnival booths, cake and Hiccups the clown, who created balloon animals for the celebrants, both big and small. Hundreds of toys were donated to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Our customers are very loyal,” says Don. “I love it when a customer walks in the door and says

DON KIPPER and daughter Lily commemorate 70 years of Kip’s Toyland at the Farmers Market.

‘my grandparents brought me here and now I’m bringing my own grandkids.’” It’s a sentiment that will take Kip’s Toyland into the

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next decades and beyond. “If you look to the past, we hope that will be our future,” says Don, sentimentally. “We keep on keeping on.”


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Get your Christmas trees at a lot that gives back By Billy Taylor It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Larchmont, thanks to the Wilshire Rotary Club tree lot at 568 N. Larchmont Blvd. And this year, they need your help to put shoes on underprivileged kids in the area. “We are collecting donations at our tree lot for the LAPD’s Olympic Division,” says Wendy Clifford, Rotary communications chair. “We are accepting new, kidssized shoes at our lot until Wed., Dec 9, which will then be taken to Olympic police station to be distributed.” “It’s a good time for members of the community to come out, get their Christmas trees and give back to their community,” Clifford adds. On the topic of community service, Clifford says Rotary donates about 50 decorated trees to local shelters and organizations with limited resources. In its ninth year on Larchmont Blvd., customers will find the freshest trees around, according to Clifford, who says the trees are cut from a farm in Oregon and delivered three days later. Fresh wreaths and garlands

will also be available. The tree lot will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Wed., Dec. 23. Delivery is available. Visit wilshirerotary.org.

Supper, photos with Mrs. Claus, Santa at Ebell Meet jolly Nick and Mrs. Claus and enjoy a gourmet holiday buffet at Supper with Santa Fri., Dec. 4 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Ebell of Los Angeles, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd. The 13th annual event for all ages includes the Bob Baker Marionettes, June’s Balloon animals, holiday crafts and photos that may be taken with Santa. “It’s the number one children’s event of the year,” said event chair Julie Stromberg. Wear festive holiday attire and bring a book for children 10 and under for Alexandria House. RSVP at 323-931-1277, x131. Tickets are $45/adults, $20/children. Children under 2 are free. Proceeds from the event benefit the Ebell Rest Cottage Association Charities.

Larchmont Chronicle

Journalism and Justice, Chorale, gala at Ebell

Hear the sounds of the season at the Ebell Chorale Concert on Mon., Dec. 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The event is followed by a Women in Leadership Luncheon with Associated Press special correspondent Linda Deutsch, “Journalism and Justice: A Reporter’s View of Trials that Made History.” Deutsch will discuss her experience covering trials from Manson to O.J. Simpson and Patty Hearst. Tickets are $25 for members, $30 nonmembers. Celebrate the magic of the season at the Ebell Holiday Ball on Sat., Dec. 12. Enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvre listening to a jazz trio beginning at 6 p.m. followed by a sit-down dinner. Keeping with tradition, a Grand March into the lounge features dancing to The Fabulous Esquires Big Band, dessert and coffee. Enjoy frivolity in the Art Salon and red carpet photography. Black tie or festive cocktail dress, no-host bar, and wine served with dinner. The Ebell is at 743 S. Lucerne Blvd. Tickets are $80 members; $90 non-members. Visit ebellla.org.

CAROLERS costumed as Dickens characters stroll the Farmers Market beginning Sat., Dec. 19.

Farmers Market kicks off holiday festivities The Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax launched its 81st holiday season last month with the L.A. Salvation Army Kettle Kickoff, hosted by Inside Edition’s Lisa Guerrero. The event featured a performance by five-year-old singer Heavenly Joy, free photos with Santa and included the lighting of the Farmers Market Christmas tree. Upcoming events Join the Farmers Market on

Sun., Dec. 6 at 2:30 p.m. to celebrate Hannukah with the lighting of a giant menorah, music and arts and crafts. Stop by the Market on Dec. 19-25 while it's decked out in Yuletide finery to welcome the season. As you stroll from each merchant, celebrate the holidays with music, arts and crafts, variety shows, Dickensian carolers and more. For more information, visit farmersmarketla.com.

Larchmont Chronicle


Landis Gifts celebrates 25 years (Continued from page 2) crafts, clothing, office and school supplies and housewares. When Wolfus and Frère took over, they added a stationery section that would eventually branch off into its own storefront, owned by Frère. Today’s Landis Gifts & Stationery is best known for its detailed and personalized baby announcements, birthday party and wedding invitations and more. One might think that the popularity of online invitations would have cut into Frère’s business model. But that would be wrong. “No one cherishes an email or a fax. When you receive a hand-written envelope in the mail, its still the first thing you open,” Frère says knowingly. When the stationery store opened in 1990, there were plenty of other small shops selling gifts and small items on the boulevard. Not so much anymore. “Things have evolved on the street. There are more restaurants and coffee shops now, less necessities like the hardware store,” observes Frère. “Larchmont is hipper than it used to be, but still oldfashioned. I enjoy seeing peo-

STARTING as a department store in 1933, it has morphed into three storefronts.

ple, especially young families, come to Larchmont for the experience. It’s still safe and cozy.” “Edie and her store represent what Larchmont should be,” says Sage Machado of The Sage Lifestyle. “Edie is smart and lovely and kind. She’s the face of the neighborhood.” As the street continues to evolve around her, Frère is happy where she stands. “I don’t see any reason to change,” declares Frère. “This is such a nice store with terrific people who work in it and nice people who shop here. I’ve found my niche. I like it here.”


Gifts, volunteers needed for St. Brendan toy drive St. Brendan’s School and church are asking for your help to collect gift cards and toys for needy children in the community. New toys and $20 Target gift cards can be dropped off in collection bins until Fri., Dec. 18 at St. Brendan Church, 310 S. Van Ness Ave. Gifts from the toy drive will benefit two local organizations, including the St. Anne’s Social Service Agency and its Adopt-aFamily program, and children living at Alexandria House. St. Anne’s Adopt-a-Family helps out low-income families living near Skid Row. Alexandria House is a nonprofit transitional residence in Wilshire Center for women and children. Volunteers needed Using those donated gifts, St. Brendan will host two events on Sat., Dec. 19—a Breakfast with Santa at St. Anne’s, and an outreach party at Alexandria House. Activities at both events include Christmas caroling, breakfast or lunch, and a visit from Santa, who will distribute gifts to children. “We need volunteers to run craft tables at Alexandria House,” says Stacy Herman,

who co-chairs the event with Nancy Muller. “We also still need volunteers who can purchase craft items,” says Herman, “and a large crock pot, barbecue charcoal and water and sodas.” Herman says she needs volunteers to help serve food and clean up at both events on Dec. 19. If you would like to get involved, contact Stacy Herman at stacykherman@gmail. com or Nancy Muller at nancywmuller@gmail.com.

Norma to take L.A. Opera stage Bellini’s “Norma” takes visitors to the Roman Empire in L.A. Opera’s production at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave. The tale of a clandestine love affair brings two mortal enemies together during a time of war. More drama follows as told by a quartet of soloists led by Angela Meade. Directed by Anne Bogart, the opera will continue through Sun., Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. Visit laopera.org.

Carolers ride wagon through Brookside

A horse-drawn wagon will take residents through the streets of Brookside at the annual caroling event on Mon., Dec. 21 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Roy Forbes, chairman, said, “We’ll have hot chocolate for all and warm bourbon cider for adults as we sing holiday carols and songs of the season. “Everyone is welcome to join. We’ve got songbooks, so just show up in warm clothes and bring a festival spirit,” he added. For more information, contact Roy Forbes at 310-770-1303 or e-mail royforbes@aol.com.

Oceanaires to stage holiday concert Dec. 5 The Santa Monica Oceanaires, an all-male chorus, will perform its Happy Holidays Show on Sat., Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Palisades Lutheran Church, 15905 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. Tickets are $15, and children under 12 are admitted free. For information call 323247-SING.

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County hosts free holiday celebration at Music Center The 56th annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration returns this year to celebrate the season on Thurs., Dec. 24. The free, three-hour event— sponsored by the County Board of Supervisors—features music ensembles, choirs and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures of the region. Telecast live on PBS SoCal, the event takes place from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at The Music Center at 135 N. Grand Ave. Returning performers include Grammy-nominated ensemble Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers and the 50-member choral group Colburn Children’s Choir and Young Men’s Ensemble. Also taking the stage for the first time this year is contemporary dance company Body-

traffic and a Korean-American indie folk-rock band Run River North. And you won’t want to miss Mostly Kosher performing the Hanukkah song

Larchmont Chronicle

Ma’oz Tzur (Rock of Ages). Seating is first come, first served, with no reservations required. Parking is free in the Music Center parking garage. For more information, visit holidaycelebration.org.

Messiah sing-along among holiday favorites at Disney Hall this season Celebrate the season with “Christmas at Walt Disney Concert Hall” with four holiday programs at the landmark venue at 111 S. Grand Ave. Los Angeles Master Chorale artistic director Grant Gershon conducts 110 singers in “The Festival of Carols” Sat., Dec. 5, at 2 p.m. and Sat., Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. Handel’s “Messiah” is performed by the Grammy-nominated chorus, orchestra and soloists on Sun., Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. “Rejoice! Brass Tidings” includes 62 singers performing favorites Sun., Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. Pick up a score in the lobby and join the 2,200-member audience in the 35th annual Messiah Sing-Along on Wed., Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. No singing experience is necessary. 
 For information call 213-972-7282 or visit lamc.org.

SANTA was joined by the Top Hat Dancers at The Grove.

Santa at The Grove through the holidays, snowfall nightly It was a winter whirlwind extravaganza when Santa Claus arrived at The Grove’s All-New Christmas Show last month. The season’s first snowfall, lighting of the Christmas tree,

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and a fireworks finale were included in the show Nov. 14. Seth MacFarlane entertained the crowd, backed by a 55-piece orchestra and the Top Hat Dancers. Grammy-nominated artist Meghan Trainor, among others, joined the show. Santa will continue to hear holiday wishes through Dec. 24 at The Grove. 'Dancing' finale The Grove hosted the finale of Dancing with the Stars Nov. 24 at the heart of the outdoor shopping center—above its dancing fountain. A floor covered the iconic water feature, where dancing pros and celebrity dancers from this season performed. The winner of the ABC show's 21st season took home the coveted mirror ball trophy at the conclusion of the live two-hour show—the second of a two-night finale.

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Dreaming of a White Christmas

Sing-along to the first-ever "White Christmas” with Bing Crosby from the 1954 classic film at Disney Hall on Tues., Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. It’s part of the new “Deck the Hall” holiday concert series which begins Thurs., Dec. 17 and includes a variety of holiday-themed programs, including New Year’s Eve with legendary songstress Gladys Knight. Visit laphil.com.

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Local ballerinas leap and bound in Daukayev's 'Nutcracker' A handsome prince, dancing snowflakes and a child's toy nutcracker come to life in this seasonal favorite—“The Nutcracker”—performed by students in the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet. Boys and girls through teen-age students at the Miracle Mile-based school will dance five performances at the Luckman Fine Arts Com- SNOW QUEEN Emma Daukayev. plex at Cal State Los Des Moines and Tulsa ballet Angeles. companies. Some continue at Showtimes are Fri., Dec. 11 schools at the Royal Ballet in through Sun., Dec. 13. Perfor- London, Princess Grace Acadmance times are Friday at 7 emy in Monaco and the Bolp.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 shoi. p.m., and Sunday at 12:30 and The inspiration behind the 4:30 p.m. troupe, Marat, was a soloist Some 90 percent of the stu- with the Kirov Ballet before dents at the school, located at he opened the school in 2001. the Dance Arts Academy on S. The couple's daughter, La Brea, are from the neighborhood, said Pamela Daukayev. Graduates have gone on to posts at the Zurich, Stuttgart, Vienna, Geneva,

Emma Daukayev, 13, who lives with her parents in Windsor Square and is an 8th grader at Immaculate Heart Middle School, has several roles in this year's production, including the role of the Snow Queen.  Also training at the school Photo on Page 1

since she was 3, Isabella Franco, 15 and a 10th grader at Marlborough School, will dance the leading role of the Sugar Plum Fairy at the Sunday 12:30 matinee. “Five Mashas” (aka “Clara") include two Hancock Park residents and Marlborough School students: Judith No, an 8th grader, and Eva Eisendrath a 7th grader. Eisendrath is dancing her eighth "Nutcracker" and has attended the school since she was five.

“FIVE MASHAS” performing this season include two Windsor Square residents: Judith No (back right), an 8th grader at Marlborough, and Eva Eisendrath (center), a 7th grader at Marlborough. Also pictured are Sophia Boghosian (back left), Kimika Ishikawa-Temple (kneeling right) and Sana Suzuki (kneeling left).

Film airs on PBS, screens at theaters

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If you missed the award-winning documentary about our local ballet troupe, “Getting to The Nutcracker,” which aired on public television last month, take heart. The film—which portrays the beauty, pain and hard work behind the magical holiday production—will have repeat performances on PBSSoCal Tues., Dec. 17 at 10 p.m., and Fri., Dec. 18 at 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. The 98-minute film will also be screened at several Laemmle Theaters from Sat., Dec. 5 to Thurs., Dec. 10. A Q & A session will follow after each show with the director, Serene Meshel-Dillma, with a guest dancer and parent from Marat Daukayev School. A former dancer at the School of American Ballet and a TV producer, Meshel-Dillman takes viewers behind-the-curtain to witness the Herculean effort it takes to bring the performance to the stage. "I cry every time I see it," says Pamela Daukayev. For more information including a schedule of screenings at several Laemmle Theaters visit maratdaukayev.com/performances.




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Nutcracker charms; Mother Teresa's 'Letters' reveal suffering Getting to the Nutcracker (10/10): This moving documentary about the Marat Daukayev Ballet Theater located at Wilshire and La Brea preparing its young (ages 6-18) dancers for The Nutcracker is as sweet and charming as Tchaikovsky’s music. Watching these eager little children, who basically are devoting every possible hour to the dance they obviously love, can’t help but bring tears to your eyes. Many of the dancers in the show live in our area. Don’t miss this when it

appears on PBS on Dec. 17 and 18. The Letters (9/10): This is the fascinating tale of how Mother Teresa (a brilliant Juliet Stevenson) started out and what she accomplished. The story is told by 85-year old Max von Sydow as a flashback. Apparently she wrote letters to her spiritual superiors throughout her lifetime (that she wanted destroyed) that reveal that she was a tortured soul. According to Rutger Hauer, investigating her for sainthood, “She suffered

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greatly, stemming from her belief that she had been abandoned by God.” Spectre (9/10): There’s only one person alive who can kill James Bond—Daniel Craig. All the prior iterations had James as a womanizing, double-entendre dropping secret agent who never let a beautiful woman pass by unattended to. Craig, however, is unconvincing as a man who finds women sexually appealing; so gone are most of the womanizing, gags, and double-entendres. Craig turns this into a straight action film. The CGI and special effects are terrific, especially the opening. This is definitely not what we have come to expect as a Bond film, but it’s still a good actioner. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (7/10): Jennifer Lawrence is beautiful, easy to watch, and gives a good performance. With attractive special effects and CGI, it might be more interesting if you’ve seen the first three films, but this can stand on its own, too. The Peanuts Movie (5/10): I was one of the original fans of Peanuts, starting in the ‘50s. I still start each day reading that day’s strip. I liked all the TV shows, too. Unfortunately, this new try doesn’t have Charles Schulz to write the script and it doesn’t have Bill Melendez to direct and, maybe the biggest loss of all, it doesn’t have Vince Guaraldi to write the iconic, mood-capturing music. As a result, it pretty much fails

happy holidayS

on all levels. I started looking at my watch after 10 minutes. The Night Before (5/10): Seth Rogen admitted on The

At the Movies with

Tony Medley Today Show that when growing up as a Jewish kid in Canada, Christmas “alienated” him. So he’s getting his revenge with this F-bomb and expletive-filled thing that defies categorization. It’s not a comedy because it’s not funny. It’s not a romance because it’s not romantic. It’s not a Christmas movie because it can’t possibly be seen by children and Christmas is really about children. Worse, the only Santa Clauses shown are drunk. Youth (3/10): I can see no reason or justification for a

movie that makes aging seem so depressing, dispiriting, angry, and lonely, although viewing it does make two hours seem like 10. Trumbo (1/10): True to Hollywood’s political slant, this ignores the main problem with the Hollywood Ten, of which Trumbo was a charter member: all pledged allegiance to Joseph Stalin and actively pursued and disseminated their Communist ideology. This movie ignores most of what Trumbo and his Hollywood Ten comrades did other than being pro-union activists. For a decade they filled their films with subtle Communist propaganda, and Trumbo was a leader in this regard. The film conceals the fact that Trumbo wrote, “Every screen writer worth his salt wages the battle in his own way—a kind of literary guerilla warfare.” They were just as disloyal to America as Alger Hiss and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Read full reviews at tonymedley.com.

Indian drama, Japanese printmaker on calendar Dance and art programs are at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., this month. The Indian dance performance of “The Twentieth Wife” is scheduled on 
Sat., Dec. 5 at 8 p.m.
 Based on a novel, it tells of one of India’s most powerful women, Empress Noor Jahan, through dance, live music, multimedia, and narration. The performance is set

amidst the splendor of the opulent courts of the Mughal Empire of India. Noor Jahan is the 20th wife of Emperor Jahangir and exercises great influence from within the imperial harem. A lecture on Utagawa Kunisada, Japan’s most prolific print designer, (1786–1865), will be discussed on Sun., Dec. 6 at 3:30 p.m.
 He was the most sought-after print designer of his day.

John Jane


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Shanley drama takes us to Ireland, Fugard in South Africa Ave., 310-208-5454. geffenplayhouse.com. 4 Stars ••• The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek by Athol Fugard is inspired by real-life outsider artist Nukain Mabuza (a wonderful Theater Thomas SilReview cott). The by setting is a Patricia hillside in Foster Rye the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa in 1982 and 2003. On this hillside, Mabuza has spent his life transforming the rocks into a vibrant garden of painted flowers. His life is ending, and his young assistant Bokkie (Philip Solomon) urges him to complete his life work by finishing the last and largest boulder. The landowner’s wife Elmarie (Suanne Spoke) arrives, and the deep racial conflict in the country is exposed. Act Two takes place 20 years later. Bokkie is now an adult who’s taken the name Jona-

Santa, bands, Penn & Teller at Hollywood Parade Missed the 84th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade? Relax, sit back and watch it on television. Comedic magicians Penn & Teller were Grand Marshals, and bands from around the country performed. Equestrians, ornate floats, celebrity performers and Santa Claus were at the parade. Co-hosted by Erik Estrada,

Laura McKenzie, Dean Cain and Montel Williams, the event took place Nov. 29 on Hollywood Boulevard. Its premiere as a two-hour special will air on the CW Network on Fri., Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. The Hallmark Channel will air multiple runs beginning Sat., Dec. 19. The event benefits Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

than Sejake (Gilbert Glenn Brown) and Elmarie is now a very angry landowner. Director Simon Levy has mined the depth of these characters and found the dignity in each. Set designer Jeffrey McLaughlin has created an exquisite rock garden that radiates the African heat. We are fortunate that Fugard calls the Fountain Theatre his “artistic home on the West Coast.” Through Mon., Dec. 14. The Fountain Theater, 5060 Fountain Ave. 323-663-1525. 4 Stars ••• Having recently had lunch with two long-lost high school friends, I found the new musical Reunion, music by Marc Ellis, book and lyrics by Marc Ellis, Michael Lange and David Matthews, particularly interesting. My experience was one of surprise because my friends weren’t anything like I remembered. In "Reunion," how the disparate group of characters have changed or not changed isn’t the point. The main plot line involves Elliot (David Babich) whose unrequited love for Amelia (adult Amelia played by Kim

Reed, young Amelia is played by Ali Axelrad), a fellow classmate, may or may not be declared. Only if she arrives in time, traffic permitting. This is an outstanding cast with great singing voices, a requisite for this rock score. However, the entertainment value of the evening is due to director Kay Cole who has crystallized each of these characters’ cores, kept the story

lines straight and the pace comedic. Her clever choreography is the bubbles on this cherry coke. There is a cringe factor in some of the dialogue and lyrics that would make any high schoolers’ mom blush a bit, but that is SOP for today’s audiences. Through Sun., Dec. 13, NoHo Arts Center 11136 Magnolia Blvd. 3 Stars

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Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley (of “Doubt” and “Moonstruck” fame) takes place in Killucan, rural Ireland, between 2008 and 2013, although it feels like it’s further back in history. Anthony Reilly (Dan Donohue) and Rosemary Muldoon (Jessica Collins) live on neighboring farms, but more than real estate is keeping them apart. The play opens as Aoife Muldoon (Robin Pearson Rose), recently widowed, has come to call on neighbor Tony Reilly (Jarlath Conroy). As in most Irish plays, the subject of death and inheritance comes up for discussion. Tony reveals that he’s leaving the farm to an American cousin instead of his son, but illness and death bring forgiveness. The final scene is a perfectly crafted mating dance between Rosemary and Anthony, and the outcome, though predictable, is very satisfying. This is a comedy, and the laughs are plentiful. Through Sun., Dec. 20. Geffen Playhouse 10886 Le Conte

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Neighborhood Italian spot; new 'best of' Taqueria At the eastern end of Third Street’s restaurant and boutique row, just shy of La Cienega, sits the small Ital-

ian restaurant Gusto. Perhaps the best way to describe it is by listing everything Gusto is not. It is not a giant

food emporium newly opened on a seedy block downtown. It is not filled with expenseaccount suits or hat-wearing hipsters. It is not a foodie haven that features chili-lime pig ears. It is not impossibly loud. Instead Gusto is the kind of place one delights in stumbling across on a side street in Florence or a drive through the Umbrian countryside: small, friendly and delicious. Lively enough to make you feel lucky to be included, quiet enough for real conversation. Chef Vic Casanova’s menu hits all the greatest dishes of modern Italian cooking, and then some. Starters include garlic broccolini, bone marrow with anchovy breadcrumbs, meatballs al forno and grilled octopus. Pastas run the gamut from black spaghetti with crab, corn and sea urchin to casarecci (short twisted pasta tubes) with pork shoulder ragu. My perennial favorite pasta dish, orecchiette (little “ears”), was a wonderfully chewy al dente and perfectly balanced with

sweet sausage and torn kale. Entrees showcase every major protein, from roasted lamb and beans to free-range chicken with king trumpet mushrooms to salmon with celery root and black truffles. Try the classic affogato for dessert— gelato “drenched in espresso” somehow is so much better On the than a bowl of Menu ice cream with by a cup of joe on the side. Helene Everything Seifer tasted authentic and fresh, with enough creativity to keep things interesting. “Esquire” named it Best New Restaurant in 2012 and it’s every bit as good today. Most starters hover around $14; pastas $17$24; mains $20-$29. Gusto. 8432 West 3rd St. 323-782-1778. Beer and Italian wine only. ••• Los Angeles must be the most competitive taco market in the country. Every day, it seems, another taco truck rolls out and another brick-and-mortar lays claim to offering the most unusual,

Larchmont Chronicle most Instagram-worthy filled corn tortilla. Chef Ray Garcia’s B.S. Taqueria threw its sombrero in the “best of” ring last April and immediately made a splash with its clam and lardo tacos, colorful décor and casual vibe. Where else can one get lemon-pepper chicken chicharrones (fried chicken skin) or cactus and hibiscus tacos? Their lengua tacos are meaty with an acidic salsa counterpunch, but if tongue isn’t your thing, try chorizo and papas (sausage and potatoes). There’s a refreshing campechana verde (a kind of ceviche) for seafood lovers, birria for those who prefer goat. Chipotle spare ribs are smoky, spicy and tender, but rather pricey at $12 for two small ribs. One of the Julian Cox-designed mezcal cocktails will quickly make you forget. Tacos (2 blue corn tacos per order) run $8-$14. Nothing on the menu is over $20. B.S. Taqueria. 514 W. 7th St. 213-622-3744. Full bar.

Thousands to benefit from annual Clothing Giveaway Volunteers are needed to help sort and lend a hand in the annual National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Shop Clothing Giveaway. The event takes place on Sun., Dec. 6, from 8 a.m. to noon. at the Council House, 543 N. Fairfax Ave. NCJW/LA invites in-need and at-risk members of the community to select from thousands of pieces of clothing and children’s books at the giveaway. Attendees will also be able to receive information from local social service providers at a Community Resource Fair. Council thrift shops provided more than 2,500 people with

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75,000 pieces of clothing at last year’s Clothing Giveaway. Some 250 volunteers donated their time and even more volunteers will be needed this year. If you are interested write to: maryam@ncjwla.org Fashion Show The group’s Young Professionals Leadership Circle Festival of Lights Fashion Show takes place Wed., Dec. 9 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Council House to benefit the group’s thrift shops and Back 2 School Store. Latkes and drinks will be served. Contact alexa@ ncjwla.org for more info. Feeling stressed? Openings for free to low-fee therapy are available through the group’s Community Mental Health and Supportive Services. Call the Talkline at 323655-3807.

Swedish holiday fair The 36th annual Swedish Christmas Fair on Sun., Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. will showcase scandanavian crafts, culture and cuisine. Sponsored by the Swedish Women's Education Association, the event will feature jewelry, books, arts and crafts and toys. This year the fair is at the Torrance Cultural & Arts Center, at 3330 Civic Center Drive, Torrance. For information, go to swea. org/losangeles.

Larchmont Chronicle




'Nutcracker' to twirl at Holiday kickoff on Larchmont Blvd. numerous stages, theaters Carolers, a trolley and visits with Sanney, from Candy Cane Land, Egypt, the Indian Rainforest, Bollywood, Jazzland and the Land of the Kimono Dolls. For information go to thehotchocolatenutcracker.com. Long Beach Ballet A symphony orchestra and children’s choir will provide music for the Long Beach Ballet’s staging of the annual production. The 33rd annual production opens Sat., Dec. 12 and continues through Sun., Dec. 20 at the Long Beach Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd. For ticket information go to longbeachnutcracker.com. Los Angeles Ballet The Los Angeles Ballet will be bringing back its production of “The Nutcracker” on stages through the city beginning with the Alex Theater,

Performances of “The Nutcracker” ballet will appear on a variety of stages. The Marat Daukayev School of Ballet’s performance is at the Luckman Theater, Cal State LA (see page 11, section three). Debbie Allen Ballet Actress, dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen’s fresh spin on the Tchaikovsky holiday ballet will be at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Fri., Dec. 18 and Sat., Dec. 19. “The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” gives the seasonal favorite a cultural context and updated characters, and features original songs from multiple-Grammy winner Mariah Carey, Arturo Sandoval, James Ingram and others. The ballet takes the audience on a mystical, magical jour-

ta were part of the celebration marking the holiday shopping kickoff and Small Business Saturday on Larchmont Blvd. on Nov. 28. The Christmas Matters caroling group and students from Larchmont Charter School strolled the boulevard crooning holiday songs. A Starline Trolley provided rides along the boulevard to see Santa Claus at the Wilshire Rotary Club tree lot. Small Business Saturday is a national event reminding shoppers to patronize their local stores. The holiday activities were sponsored by the Larchmont Boulevard Associa- A STARLINE TROLLEY transported shoppers up and tion. down Larchmont Boulevard. located at 216 N. Brand Blvd., on Sat., Dec. 5 and Sun., Dec. 6. Additional theaters hosting the company's performance of "The Nutcracker" include the Valley Performing Arts Center,

1811 Nordhoff St., on Tues, Dec. 8 and Wed., Dec. 9. The Dolby Theater on Hollywood Blvd. will be the site for performances on Sat., Dec. 12 and Sun., Dec. 13. UCLA’s Royce Hall will see

the Tchaikovsky favorite on Fri., Dec. 18, Sat., Dec. 19 and Sun., Dec. 20. Redondo Beach’s Performing Arts Center will host a performance of "The Nutcracker" on Sat., Dec. 26 and Sun., 27.


Calling all volunteers to brighten children's season great needs and that other people were eager to help.” Opportunities include buying holiday presents for needy children, teenagers and adults, as well as feeding the hungry at Hanukkah and Christmas. Volunteers can take a group of family and friends to sing songs at a nursing home or organize their office or school to assemble holiday gift baskets for poor families. Other projects are helping prepare care packages for soldiers overseas, donating dry and canned goods to local food pantries facing dire shortages or helping collect toiletries, blankets, clothing, school and art supplies. See more at bigsunday. org.

DeaDlIne For tHe January 2016 Issue Is Wed., deC. 16, 2015

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The holiday season is a time for giving, and Big Sunday has opportunities for those who can donate their time and talent. To find projects go to Big Sunday’s holiday volunteering and giving opportunities list. Nonprofits, schools and other groups that need donations, supplies and people power from early November through January 1 are detailed on the list. The list of holiday projects evolved from Big Sunday’s volunteer weekend in May. “Every year after Big Sunday is over (in May), I would continue to get calls from people seeking our help,” said David Levinson, executive director. “It was clear that people had

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Lc issue holiday 12 15 100  

Local news for Hancock Park • Windsor Square • Fremont Place • Park LaBrea • Larchmont Village • Miracle Mile • los angeles, local news, lar...

Lc issue holiday 12 15 100  

Local news for Hancock Park • Windsor Square • Fremont Place • Park LaBrea • Larchmont Village • Miracle Mile • los angeles, local news, lar...