Happy Chinese New Year/Tet! Unlike the Western new year – which builds up to counting down and is possibly one of the most anti-climatic holidays during the year – the Lunar New Year and Tet celebrations are a week-long fe(a)st: all sorts of foods (some of it specially prepared for the new year), parades with dragons, red envelopes, and symbolic animals. This year, the Chinese celebrate the Year of the Rabbit; the Vietnamese don’t have a rabbit in their calendar, so, for us, it’s the Year of the Cat. This weekend, then, is full of celebrations. Oh, and something about football.
- The Rose Parade’s Grand Marshal was Paula Deen; the Chinese New Year’s parade unofficial marshal is a golden dragon. Which do you prefer? Yes, I thought so. The celebratory dragon dances and snakes its way during the annual Chinese New Year’s parade in downtown LA; it delights as it scares the beejeezus out of toddlers. Trust me, I know from experience. Other festivities are planned throughout the weekend, including ping-pong tournaments, cultural workshops, and, of course, food. If you’re in the San Gabriel Valley, there will be a similar day-long celebration on Valley Blvd. Free. The downtown LA parade starts at 1pm at Temple and Hill. See this calendar for a somewhat informative listing of events. For those in the SGV, the festivities are from 10am to 5:30pm on Valley Blvd. between Garfield and Almansor.
- The Vietnamese’s version of new year, Tet, actually is in the OC and thus exceeds this blog’s geographical boundaries; nonetheless, I’d be a terrible Vietnamese if I didn’t mention it here. The Tet Festival – the world’s largest outside of Vietnam, owing to the huge population of my people living in the Garden Grove/Westminster area – ushers in the Year of the Cat with a weekend full of activities and eats. $5 adults/$4 children. Saturday, 10am to 10pm and Sunday, 10am to 9pm at Garden Grove Park, 9301 Westminster Ave. in Garden Grove.
- I saw a photo of an “indoor picnic” courtesy some poor New Yorkers trying to make do with the snow storm last month; I was sad, especially I watched my dog lazily munch on some green grass in the front yard. But, then again, we do things like make up snow. Take, for example, the “snow” in the forecast at the LA Zoo: for one weekend only, the zoo animals will get to experience the white stuff (you earned your Angeleno badge if you immediately associated “white stuff” with “coke” instead of “snow”). Presumably, you will be highly entertained by seeing a polar bear in its almost-natural habitat. $9-$14. Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm at the LA Zoo.
- The City of Santa Clarita will designate the day as “Charlie Chaplin Day” to coincide with the 75th anniversary of one of the earliest films about the progress of progress, Chaplin’s Modern Times. It also happens to coincide with ChaplinFest, a celebration of Chaplin that will include a screening of Modern Times, as well as a few other classic Chaplin films. There also will be “Chaplin vendors”, from which I presume you can buy yourself a nice bowler hat and cane. $15 for just the screening; additional passes available for admission to other parts of the fest. While the fest is all day, “Modern Times” screens at 6:30pm in Newhall.
- The official description says, “‘Poster Peepshow‘ celebrates the pin up girl by featuring original artwork by contemporary artists and pays homage to pin up masters such as George Petty, Gil Elvgren, and Alberto Vargas.” I think the presence of the Suicide Girls at this art reception is meant to indicate that this celebration fetes the art of the posters, not so much the misogyny and objectification of the women in them. Julie Newmar, who, even now, would make for a far, far better Catwoman than Anne Hathaway, will be make an appearance. Free. From 7pm to 11pm at Gallery Nucleus, 210 E. Main St. in Alhambra.
SUPER GLEE SUNDAY
- It’s Super Bowl Sunday, which means only one thing: the return of Glee! If you haven’t squared away your game day plans yet, check out Super Bowl XLV at XIV. For just $30, you’ll get AYCE wings, burgers, BBQ chicken, and pork burgers to nosh on while you watch the real men go head to head on a giant (10 feet x 15 feet) screen. No word on whether you’ll be able to watch a Super Sized version of Glee after the game, but I know you just can’t wait to see Brittany shot out of a cannon. $30. The coin toss is at 3:30pm, though I’d get there a few hours earlier to pre-game. XIV, 8117 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood.
- For those of you who want to get away from all that football and watch some futbol, head out to Echo Park for LA Filmforum’s screening ofFootball Like Never Before. Way before ESPN’s 30 for 30, Hellmuth Costard captured a story of an athlete (Manchester United’s George Best) by watching him play one game. Eight 16mm cameras focused on Best, and only Best, during the match. As the description notes, it wasn’t a particularly important game (i.e., it was no Super Bowl), but the filming technique was revolutionary. $6 students/$10 general. The screening starts at 7:30pm at the Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado Street at Sunset in Echo Park.
- Some people hate Bank of America more than they hate AT&T; nonetheless, even the bank’s card members begrudgingly may admit that this isn’t a bad deal: as part of the corporation’s Museums on Us weekends, flashing your B of A card at a participating museum will get you in, gratis. LACMA, the Autry Center, the Skirball, and the Hammer Museum all are participating. This doesn’t redeem the bank, it just makes one hate them a tiny bit less. Free admission with your BofA card. Full details of the program are on B of A’s website; check each museum for individual hours.