Plan Your Weekend in L.A.

A chocolate and pastry festival, opening day at the racetrack, spiritual hip hop, and snowball fights

MUSIC: Blackalicious
Rapper Gift of Gab and DJ Chief Xcel met in Sacramento in the late 80’s and formed Blackalicious a few years later. The outfit, whose debut album Nia (a Swahili word for purporse) wasn’t released until 2000, are part of the spiritually aware “positive tip” movement in hip hop. Jazz-inspired hip hop quintet Maya Angeles is also on the bill. More information (December 26; Echoplex)

CELEBRATE: Winterbrew Fest
It’s opening day at Santa Anita Park and the racetrack has much to offer in addition to watching the ponies. This year’s main event is the trackside Winterbrew Fest. Enjoy specialty beer as DJ Skyler Gilmore cranks out classic swing mixed with modern sounds. The $40 package includes a keepsake pint glass. More information (December 26; Santa Anita Park) 

MOVIES: Sunset in Wyoming & The Cowboy and the Indians
The Autry Museum continues its series of double features starring Gene Autry with two classics from the cowboy-actor’s repertoire. Sunset in Wyoming from 1941 features Autry and his sidekick Frog Millhouse battling a lumber company with guns, guitars, and wild animals. In 1949’s The Cowboy and the Indians, Autry teams up with neighboring Navajos in the fight against a villainous trading post proprietor. More information (December 27; The Autry in Griffith Park)

TASTE: L.A. Chocolate Festival and Pastry Show
Top celebrity chefs, chocolatiers (including the world famous, Jean-Marie Auboine), and pastry wizards show their chops at this event benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital & Rock Against Trafficking. Exquisite pastries, cakes, sweets, and, chocolates are paired with wines, spirits, and champagne. Visitors are invited to indulge all the senses. More information (December 28; 11301 Olympic Blvd.)

MUSIC: Los Pinguos
Latin music mainstay Manu Chao’s influence on Argentinian Los Pinguos is undeniable, but the band dubbed “the Latin Beatles” by L.A. Times have their own completely idiosyncratic sound. Mixing Pop, fusion rock, and flamenco, Los Pinguos’s cocktail of South American sounds is a potent brew. Dancing is encouraged. More information (December 26; The Mint)

FAMILY: Snow Days
The holiday season isn’t complete without a boatload of real snow trucked in from out of town for your enjoyment. The Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena is hosting its annual Snow Days event, so bring mittens and a warm hat and build the perfect snowman or start a snowball fight. Live musical performances throughout the weekend. More information (December 26-28; Kidspace Children’s Museum)

COMEDY: Neil Hamburger
Armed with a bad combover and a cheap tux, old-school funnyman Neil Hamburger’s comedy is like a parody of standup on par with Andy Kaufman’s Tony Clifton character. Grab a martini and slap on a bowtie for this one. Donny Divanian, Lou Sanders, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and others are also on the bill. More information (December 28; The Satellite)