If you have no idea what to do this weekend, have no fear: Santa Monica Patch has come to the rescue. We’ve got the best bets for your done-work-outta-here time. Check our picks for the activities to hit and new bars/restaurants/shops to explore.
1. "Love, Laughs, & Linguini!"
Where/When: (Banquet Room), Friday, 8 p.m.
Why Go: Hearty laughter and hearty food are on the bill for a special pre-Valentine's Day event concocted by the folks at and Bravo Cucina. One of the comedy venue's most familiar acts, Mission IMPROVable, will provide humor while the Bravo chefs will craft a three-course dinner. Wine is also included, and with only 30 people able to fit in the Banquet Room, the event should be as intimate as it is unique. RSVP to 310.451.0850.
Pricing: $90 per couple
2. Gem Faire
Where/When: ; Friday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Why Go: For crafts lovers, the Gem Faire is the place to bead this weekend. Along with beads, jewelry, fossils and gemstones will be available. Everyone from jewelry designers and manufactures to beadings instructors and certified gemologists will descend on the Civic Auditorium for this precious event.
Pricing: $5, free for children under 12
3. Retracing Histories, Re-Dancing the Past
Where/When: , Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
Why Go: If you've ever wondered about the role that a dancer’s body plays in North Indian kathak and Cambodian classical dance, this multifaceted performance should enlighten you. Artists Cynthia Ling Lee and Prumsodun Ok are collaborating for the
Pricing: $20; five dollars less for members, seniors and students
4. Ping-Pong Tournament
Where/When: Westside Table Tennis Center (11755 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles); Saturday, 4 to 7 p.m.
Why Go: U.S. table-tennis champ Wei Wang will be on hand for the first-ever ping-pong tournament to benefit the Santa Monica nonprofit group, which cultivates relationships between at-risk youth and shelter dogs. Along with the tourney, there will be food, Valentine's Day-themed arts and crafts, prizes, and a ping-pong demonstration by Wang.
Pricing: $25 for adults, $10 for children under 10 years old
5. Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf
Where/When: ; Saturday, 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Why Go: Part of the Broad Stage's Saturday Morning Mash-Ups series, attendees will see the classic children's concert transform into a multimedia show, right before their eyes. Spoken-word, music and interactive elements are all part of the show.
6. LWV Celebration & Lunch With the Mayor
Where/When: (in the penthouse); Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Why Go: The League of Women Voters are celebrating an impressive milestone: the organization's 90-year birthday. Mayor Richard Bloom will take part in the luncheon, but if you'd like to as well, you needed to have .
7. John de Heras Opening Reception
Where/When: ; Saturday, 5 to 7 p.m.
Why Go: The painter has a proven track record: De Heras has been exhibiting his works for roughly 50 years now, and he's an art professor at California State University, Long Beach. Expect to see paintings that weave together folk art with contemporary sights De Heras witnessed while traveling in India, Central America and Asia.
8. Theo Bleckmann: Berlin to Las Vegas
Where/When: The Edye Second Space (1310 11th St.); Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Why Go: NPR's Terry Gross has given this performance a thumbs-up, having featured it on her Fresh Air program, and Bleckmann has also won praise from The New York Times. While a pianist and string quartet will be performing, all eyes—and ears—will be on Bleckmann's impressive skills as he flaunts his five-octave range.
9. Jacaranda Presents "Meeting Place"
Where/When: ; Saturday, 8 p.m.
Why Go: Jacaranda’s chamber-music series continues with this program, which touches on works by Bela Bartók, Antonín Dvorák and more.
Pricing: $35, $15 for students (in advance); $40, $20 for students (at the door)
10. Joyce DiDonato Concert
Where/When: ; Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Why Go: The day after a sold-out show by classical-music icon Joshua Bell, the Broad Stage turns its gaze to opera with a performance by Di Donato. A mezzo-soprano, she starred in the LA Opera's rendition of The Barber of Seville.
11. Hellride Concert
Where/When: ; Saturday; doors open at 7 p.m.; Hellride performs at 11:45 p.m.
Why Go: Inimitable underground-rock bassist Mike Watt and his Hellride project used to regularly perform at the now-defunct 14 Below. Watt, along with Jane's Addiction percussionist Stephen Perkins and MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer return to the same location—which is occupied by a new venue, The Central—and will likely get a warm homecoming reception.
We know you have your favorites that we missed. So share the goodness in our comment box below.
Correction made at 3:26 p.m. on Friday: "Dvoák" has been replaced with the proper spelling, "Dvorák."