You’ve been looking forward to it all year, shared said excitement with any and everyone, planned, dagnabit, you’ve planned on this all year — and then the night of or day after, oh, shitberries, you forgot.

Yah, me, too.

Here’s a partial list of Los Angeles and vicinity events, happenings, and do’s — some I attend faithfully others I tend to miss. Hope you do better with it, and please, oh, please, let me know of other cool reasons to love this city of angels. I’ll be updating this as my swiss-cheese brain is able, but you’ll probably fare better if you check-in on Angelenic (they’re on Facebook, too) or Metromix.

Let’s start with FREE annual events:

  • Unsilent Night, Decembers, join a thousand strangers to walk around playing tapes and mp3s of the same song all playing just slightly out of synch. Yeah, why didn’t you think of it?
  • Griffith Park Festival of Lights — December, not quite as grand as say, the Monet, MO water tower’s strand of red lights old man Tubb’s runs up every year, but OK by LA standards.
  • Doo Dah Parade, Pasadena, January. Still manages to be the antithesis of the Rose Parade; low key, no motors, home-made, and geeky-nerdy fun. There’s also an “All You Can Eat” pancake breakfast beforehand.
  • Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational , April. Yup, you read that right. So how much more can be said?
  • Haute Dog Howl’oween Dog Parade, October, Belmont Shore, Long Beach
  • Jingle Sing Along, December, Music Center, Los Angeles. A couple events vie for recognition if you google this, both good, totally different. The Music Center Holiday Sing-Along is a few hundred people and a five piece band standing around singing off key — you would be one of those people. The other event is the one you’ve seen on TV, LA Holiday Celebration at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion

How about seasonal events?

  • LA Conservancy Tours — downtown LA, Arts District, City Hall — many take place every weekend and are free
  • LA Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats, downtown LA various locations. See classic movies in classic movie houses. The Christmas shows are always extra special. $10-$25 depending upon event
  • Grand Performances, downtown LA, summers. Free outdoor concerts and performances
  • Angel City Drive-In, downtown LA, watch movies atop a parking garage at 4th & Spring Streets. Family Nights, too. Join their mailing list, friend them on MySpace for updates
  • South Pasadena Summer Outdoor Movies, welcome to Mayberry-lite. A sheet stretched over the train/ostrich museum serves home for about a hundred people 6 weekends every summer
  • Cinespia Cemetary Screenings
  • July 4th Drum Corps International, Rose Bowl, Pasadena
  • Ice Skating at Pershing Square, Thanksgiving – January. Santa Monica also has a rink

Consumerismo (odd gift buying)

  • Vinyl Toy Network, Pasadena, two days, first week of December, ~$5 entrance fee. Meet the kids who design the crazy cool vinyl characters stacked around your monitor.
  • Felt Club, downtown Shrine Auditorium Expo Center, one weekend, November, ~$5 entrance fee. DIY/handmade craft fair, lots of plush & printing (shirts, cards) plus knitting ‘n such

Weekly/Monthly, low key:

  • Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk, second Thursday of each month
  • South Pasadena Farmers Market, every Thursday afternoon

Special places:

  • Museum of Jurassic Technology, Culver City, suggested donation $5
  • Brand Library, Burbank/Glendale
  • LA Central Library. Yup, another library. The Gift Shop is a great, tiny boutique, the buyers really knowing how to select great and clever goods and the art galleries often house fine exhibits — all free, mind you.

Places to visit, cities:

  • Montrose, especially at Christmas to take a free horse-drawn wagon ride down Honolulu Ave and see the Martini Kings playing
  • Claremont
  • Fillmore as in Fillmore & Western Railway. The town is tiny, but the train rides are a hoot. Go on a pleasant day and enjoy the pokey 10 mph trek. Or go at Christmas or Halloween to arrive a tree or pumpkin patch.

Places to visit, parks:

  • Old Mill, San Marino, need to find the schedule of performances, and at Christmas it’s truly quaint
  • Franklin Canyon Ranch
  • Arroyo Canyon
  • Ernest Debbs Park
  • Huntington Gardens, San Marino. The new China garden, only 1/3 complete, is stellar.

Events too big for their britches (crowds!! no likes the crowds):

These events are fine and dandy and you should go, but I’ll probably be giving them a pass as is my nature when a thing grows beyond the klunky, awkward stage to a managed event, a bit overwhelming.

  • West Hollywood Halloween
  • Tournament of Roses Parade/Float Viewing
  • Sunset Junction Festival, Fall, Silver Lake
  • Lotus Flower Festival