Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kids Off The Couch December Radar Screen - LA Phil Presents Denève Conducts Debussy Ticket Giveaway

DIY Gifts and Timeless Classics

We survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday but are pretty sure that a home made gift trumps all. Avoid the mall crush and get off the computer -- just put on some holiday music and muck up the kitchen table with crafts. What's better for putting everyone in a festive mood? (You'll be saving up for some of these splurge-worthy shows and exhibits around town).

LA Phil Presents Denève Conducts
Debussy -- a Matinee Ticket Giveaway: Over the past month, the LA Phil has helped us send Kids Off the Couch subscribers to several classical concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall. This week, we're excited to have two sets of two tickets to a matinee performance of LA Phil Presents Denève Conducts Debussy (Saturday, December 4 at 2:00 PM). Concert-goers will be treated not only to Debussy, but also a Beethoven piano concerto performed by a brilliant pianist, as well as the West Coast premiere of a contemporary work composed for the conductor. Click here for more details, including a link to hear some of the music and to purchase tickets for this weekend's series, which is also being performed on Friday night at 8:00 PM and Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM. Click here if you are free for this weekend's performance and please remember to leave us a telephone number; we'll notify the winner by Friday morning.

Scrooged This Weekend! Scrooge is one of the most adapted characters in all of cinema, so don't let Jim Carreybe your family's only vision of Dicken's cranky old man. Get the family downtown for Albert Finney's rendition this Sunday (12/5) at a screening of A Christmas Carol with the Los Angeles Conservancy at the glorious Million Dollar Theater. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $5 for kids under 12. If you can't get there, at least read the book to the kids this holiday. The Dickens story has timeless wisdom, and is always fun to revisit, especially with this cool pop-up story book.

DIY Ideas:
Remember hand-loomed pot holders? These days, there are so many better options for handmade gifts in the craft section of any toy store. Check out a new generation of Shrinky Dinks (our faves). Little kids can create beautiful beaded bracelets and necklaces, or string cranberry and popcorn garlands for the tree. Tweens and teens can mix their favorite song onto CDs for cousins and parents, and love being dropped at one of the many craft houses around town: throw pots at the Clayhouse, stop in for a class at The Urban Craft Center or pick up a manageable first project at Artesia Needlepoint shop or one of the many cool knit shops around town. And, ultimately there is nothing better than baked goods for teachers or neighbors. Martha Stewart can help you with a single sugar cookie recipe that can be adapted to tens of other treats.

Get to the Getty:
We love the villa's new Tea by the Sea service (Thursdays at 1:00 PM) which is an especially nice treat for visiting grandparents. While the weather is spectacular, why not spend Sunday (12/5) at a Getty Villa Family Festival Celebrating the Art of Greek Theater. From 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM. It's FREE, but click here for entry ticket. Children and adults can fashion their own Greek theater masks, costume themselves as ancient actors, and applaud or join in pint-sized versions of classical Greek comedies onstage.

Family Flicks at the Hammer:
This Sunday (12/5) the UCLA Film and Television Archive presents Family Flicks: Azur and Asmar, an unusual digital animation project about two rival princes. Screening is FREE and starts at 11:00. Enjoy free admission to the Hammer through December 18 as part of their 20th Anniversary celebration.

Kick Up Your Heels: From Radio City Music Hall, those famous legs travel across the nation and will be in Los Angeles for nine shows between December 9-12. Click here for tickets. These are pricey seats but doesn't everyone have to see this show once in their lifetime? Speaking of kicking up your heels the plastic starter ice rink at the W Hotel in Westwood is a fun and festive way for kids under ten to get their legs under them. Everyone else will love ICE at Santa Monica, open through February.

Yum Yum: The Westside just got even more delicious with Sweet Lady Jane opening a shop on Montana at 17th, and Thomas Keller's pastry chef opening his FarmShop at the Brentwood Country Mart.

Shop if you Must:
Click here for the Cool Mom Picks Holiday Gift Guide (including these cool Advent calendars). It's easy to purchase handmade gifts this year - start at a holiday bazaar at the Craft and Folk Art Museum this weekend (their Holiday Bazaar is on Saturday 12/4), and check out the Los Angeles Times' wonderful BUY LOCAL neighborhood guide to handmade things.

Sounds of the Season: We love classic Christmas songs sung by a full chorus, and also throw on the Special Olympics compilation albums (Sting singing "I Saw Three Ships" is pretty great). We aren't susceptible to every pop star that puts out a holiday album, but are tickled by Pink Martini's latest.

Giving Back:
Most charities have a wish list, so let the kids check out these lists and give a gift to a child their age. We always get Target gift cards and send them to foster kids through United Friends of the Children. Here is their Holiday Wish List. Our favorite charity for kids to learn about during the holidays is Heifer International. Choose how much you want your kids to give away and then let them choose whether they want to give a pig, a cow or some honeybees!

Our wishes for a happy holiday season.

Kids Off The Couch

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kids Off The Couch LA Weekend Tip: Family Fun Fest at Westfield Century City December 3rd - 5th

New Kids Play Area and Debut of Giggles N Hugs Restaurant
Family Four Pack to AMC Theaters with $200 purchase

Does holiday shopping stress you out? Get ready to cross a few items off your gift list when Westfield Century City hosts a weekend-long celebration for kids and families for the launch of the new Play Zone. The kids play area is sponsored by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and is surrounded by an animal themed mural. Inside is a Climbing Sculpture custom designed by Luckey Climbers. The weekend also marks the debut of a Giggles N Hugs Children's Restaurant so consider grabbing dinner before an outdoor screening of Happy Feet on Saturday evening.

Family Fun Fest: This weekend, from Friday December 3 to Sunday, December 5. Come for the Play Zone and stick around for raffles and games, special offers and afree screening. Take note of special offers like this one: you'll be eligible for a free family four-pack of AMC movie tickets when you spend $200 at participating stores each day. Click here for more details.

Friday, December 3

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM Fun and games with Radio Disney

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM Family Free Day at Giggles N Hugs Restaurant

Saturday, December 4

12:00PM - 6:00 PM Arts & crafts, face-painting and balloon twister

12:00 PM Jeff's Comedy Magic Show

1:00 PM Playtime activity with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

2:00 PM The Funny Eddie Juggling Show

3:00 PM Playtime activity with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

4:00 PM Rock music lesson with The School of Rock

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Outdoor movie Happy Feet

Sunday, December 5

12:00 PM - 6:00 PM Arts & crafts with face-painting and balloon twister

12:00 PM Scott's Puppet Show

1:00 PM Playtime activity with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

2:00 PM The Fantastick Patrick Show

3:00 PM Playtime activity with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

4:00 PM Rock music lesson with The School of Rock