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Downtown Culture: Onward to 2011

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, December 29, 2010, at 02:05PM
Oshgatsu 9656 Ed Fuentes

Dignitaries crack open drums of saki during Little Tokyo’s opening ceremony for New Year's Day 2009 Oshogatsu festival, based on the Japanese custom of bringing family together for the holiday.

As the city picks back up to normal speed, the final evening of 2011 will have bars and restaurants dressed up in their finest New Year's Eve attire for one more bash. Easily, one can celebrate 2010 as a year that saw Downtown's reputation as a cultural center grow. So if you are out at The Biltmore having champagne, at the Down 'N Out with a PBR, or home with hot tea and a rented movie from Old Bank DVD, raise your stemware, bottle or ceramic mug and make a toast to Downtown's arts and culture scene.

Holiday Children’s Author Showcase: Friends of Children and Literature (FOCAL) host Ann Stalcup, author of "Leo Politi: Artist of the Angels.” The biography of the famed Olvera Street artist, aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, will be shared in a program for children and adults. Wed Dec 29 4pm / Los Angeles Central Library / 630 W. 5th

Playing The Rink: The coolness that is the free Winter Concert Series continues December 29 with Slim Jim Phantom, who co-founded The Stray Cats with Brian Seltzer and Lee Rocker. Also, Slim Jim Phantom returns to play the rink on January 5 with his '80s retro band Flashback Heart Attack. As a side note, Lee Rocker, who played a concert with Flash Back Heart Attack back in July, will join the Broadway cast of ‘Million Dollar Quartet” for twelve weeks. Wed Dec 29 8pm / Pershing Square / 532 S. Olive

Club Notes: The Blue Whale hosts jazz bassist Ryan McGillicuddy on Thursday, December 30. The Redwood brings in The Gene Taylor Blues Band (9pm).

Sports: Yes, sports is a big part of Downtown's culture, and there is full slate of games at Staples Center, including a New Year's Eve game where the surprisingly losing Lakers will try to make something happen against the 76ers at 7:30pm. Plus, there is New Years Day hockey game with the Kings and Sharks at 6pm, and on January 2 the surprisingly winning Clippers host the Hawks at 12:30pm. That same day, the Lakers play the Grizzlies at 6:30pm.

Nokia Plaza: Don't be surprised to see Horned Frogs and Badgers around Downtown for the next few days. They are here for the 2011 Rose Bowl, and L.A. Live is the venue for official pep rallies on December 31. Texas Christian University Pep Rally will feature the TCU Band, Cheerleaders, Show Girls and their mascot, Superfrog. They'll take to Nokia Plaza at 2:30pm. The University of Wisconsin Band and Spirit Squad will rally the troops at 8:30pm Dec 31 2:30 & 8:30pm / L.A. Live / 777 Chick Hearn Ct.

Kristin Chenoweth: Broadway’s ruling star is known for her roles in “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown,” “Wicked,” and “Promises, Promises.” She has just learned she will have a sitcom being built around her by "Glee" Creator Ryan Murphy. She ends the year performing at Walt Disney Concert Hall (111 S. Grand) with two shows, one at 7pm and another at 10:30pm that will bring in the New Year.

Wake Up in Little Tokyo: Little Tokyo’s annual day-long celebration of the new year includes Taiko drumming, Japanese folk performances, kite making, mochi giveaways, a swordsmanship show, and rice pounding. The opening ceremony will be held in Weller Court, and includes a family festival at the Japanese American National Museum (369 E. 1st).

Salute To Vienna: The re-creation of the authentic Viennese New Year's celebration features 75 musicians led by European maestro Mika Eichenholz, Viennese soprano Patricia Nessy, Viennese tenor Alexandru Badea and members of the Vienna City Ballet. Sun Jan 2 2:30pm / Walt Disney Concert Hall / 111 S. Grand

DOS LOBOS: David Hidalgo and Louie Perez will perform a noon concert Wednesday, January 5, at the Music Center Plaza. The performance by the two leaders of Los Lobos is the centerpiece for the L.A. Arts Month Kick-Off Festival, a free celebration that is open to the public. Also performing, after brief speeches, are members of Cirque du Soleil. Wed Jan 5 noon / Music Center / 135 N. Grand

And The Winner Is: The results from a record-breaking 175 million votes will be presented at the 2011 People's Choice Awards. Hosted by Queen Latifah and broadcast from L.A. Live, you can expect a big fuss about this year's winners being revealed by smart phone instead of by envelope. Wed Jan 5 6pm / Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE / 777 Chick Hearn Court

Coming and Going: “Next to Normal” ends its Los Angeles run at the Ahmanson Theater on January 2, the first of 20 cities in a national tour. John Lithgow’s personal stories about his parents and grandmother, “Stories by Heart,” opens at the Mark Taper Forum on January 4. Center Theatre Group / 135 N. Grand

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