Archives for November 14, 2016

Grace is Pet of the Week!

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This is Grace. She’s gracious and she’s graceful, and she also loves a good solid rub on the head. That makes her Grace under pressure. Grace is a lovely, shiny little black cat, about 2 years old, and she’d love to go home to a loving family. Talk about saving Grace! Meet her at the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A576904.

 

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

 

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

Just Keep Swimming – Finding Dory, Now on DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital HD is Fun for the Whole Family!

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After 13 years, Dory and Nemo return to the big screen and now is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD. The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ryan R. comments, “I loved watching the brand new Blu-ray DVD Combo of Disney Pixar’s film, Finding Dory which is the sequel to Finding Nemo.  Fans of Finding Nemo will absolutely love this sequel.” Morgan B. adds, “Who knows what this crazy blue tang fish will do. This movie is about overcoming obstacles and finding your way through life. Even though Dory has short memory loss, somehow she always finds a way to make it work.” See their full reviews below.

Finding Dory Blu-Ray DVD Review

By Ryan R., KIDS First Film Critic, Age 12

 

 

 

I loved watching the brand new Blu-ray DVD Combo of Disney Pixar’s film, Finding Dory which is the sequel to Finding Nemo.  Fans of Finding Nemo will absolutely love this sequel. The animations in this film are amazing, the humor is hilarious and witty, and the plot is so heartfelt.  It does not disappoint. Dory, is a forgetful but fearless blue tang fish (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) suffers from short term memory loss and she has struggled with this for her entire life. Then one day something happens to Dory that triggers her memory and she remembers that she has a family.  She tries to find them with the help of Nemo (voiced by Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks). The question is will Dory find her family, or will she forget to find them?

 

In the Blu-ray DVD Combo, aside from having the actually film, there are many bonus features which talk about how Finding Dory came to be. In What Were We Talking About it shows us the difficult routes the filmmakers had to make a narrative that worked involving Dory and her short-term memory loss. There are also bonus features that have interesting facts about how this movie was made. For example, in Animating and Acting it shows us how the director, voice actors and animators worked together to make the animations and performances believable. Another thing that is included is a theatrical short called Piper which is about an adorable hatchling venturing from her nest for the first time to dig for food.  Additionally, there are directors commentaries, deleted scenes (which are fun to watch), and many more. You can also use the scene selection option, pick what language you want the movie in, and play the movie.  If you want to know more about these features, you should buy this Blu-ray DVD Combo.

 

I love this Blu-ray DVD Combo because of its many features which are interesting and funny. My favorite one was called, “The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar”, this talks about how Hank was the most difficult Pixar character to create because it didn’t have the same formula as other Disney characters. They also explain how Hank took 2 ½ years to make, which is a long time since it usually takes 9 months to create a character.  I also like how it shows and gives an explanation of why the deleted scenes didn’t make the final cut.
I give this Blu-ray DVD Combo of Finding Dory, 5 out of 5 amazing stars. I recommend this to kids ages 5 to 18 and I think adults might like this as well.  I also recommend this to people who like action, adventure, animation, comedy, and family movies.  Make sure to buy this Blu-ray DVD Combo coming out to a store near you. You can find it on DVD/Blu-ray/Digital HD on November 15, 2016.

 

Finding Dory

By Morgan Bertsch, KIDS FIRST Film Critic Age 12

 

 

 

“What would Dory do?” Who knows what this crazy blue tang fish will do. This movie is about overcoming obstacles and finding your way through life. Even though Dory has short memory loss, somehow she always finds a way to make it work. Hence “Just keep swimming.” This movie is available on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on Oct. 25. You can get the Disney PIXAR movie in Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and on On-Demand on November 15th just in time for the holidays.

 

I enjoyed this movie but I thought it was missing the silliness and the humor of the first movie Finding Nemo. I found myself worrying and wondering rather than laughing and having a good time. At the same time it had a unique story line and the way it all played out was entertaining.

 

My favorite new Character is Hank the septopus (Ed O’Neill). He is introverted while Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is very outgoing and this combo was fun to watch. The fact that Hank also wanted to be in a small habitat in the aquarium and not in the ocean where he could be free was hilarious.

 

The bonus features in this film include deleted scenes, crew interviews, and some screen savers. They were all fascinating and they all kept my interest. I loved the deleted scene (Meeting Hank) is when Dory fist meats Hank and he is trying to help Dory get to her parents, but they can’t find them anywhere. This scene was very quirky and I found myself laughing and giggling in two seconds flat. I liked this scene more than the one they used in the film because Hank was very silly and sarcastic. Then my favorite interview (Skating and Sketching with Jason Deamer) is when one of the animators was describing what he thought of as key points for all the characters in the film. I liked this scene because we actually got to see the shapes and objects the illustrator sees when he draws the characters. The way they showed this gave you a look into what he thinks the charters look like and gave us a different perspective. My favorite screen saver was the Open Ocean exhibit it was very colorful, playful, and fascinating all rolled up into one really cool clip.

 

I love the flash back scenes were we learn about Dory and her back story. These scenes are my favorite because we see who her parents are and how she got lost. Jenny (Diane Keaton) Dory’s mom was very sweet and she just wants her daughter to be happy and not feel left out. Charlie (Eugene Levy) Dory’s dad is the kind of dad that everyone would love to have. He loves his family and he wants the best for his adorable daughter Dory who suffers short term memory loss. I had the pleasure of meeting Eugene Levy and his daughter and they are just sweet hearts and a fun interview. The adorable younger Dory (Sloane Murray) is just too cute for words. Her voice really matches the character because she sounds so childlike and innocent which made her perfect for this part.

 

This movie is rated PG but I think younger kids will love the septopus, the seals, the beluga whale and all the new quirky characters. Some of the content is sad and serious and might worry a younger audience if they are sensitive. Just remind them you will always be there and you will never forget them.

I give this film 4 ½ out of 5 starfish.

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Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

Mech X4: Fun-filled adventure show with an amazing cast, great graphics and a fascinating storyline

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Mech-X4 is an American comedy television series created by Steve Marmel. The series stars Nathaniel James Potvin, Kamran Lucas, Pearce Joza and Raymond Cham. The series is scheduled to premiere on November 12, 2016, on Disney XD. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan B. comments, “I … was pleasantly surprised because this is not your typical Disney TV show. It made me feel like I was watching a movie with its wonderful storyline, graphics and acting. In this incredible show, there is an amazing cast, graphics and an awesome storyline – all of which are quite believable.” See her full review below.

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By Morgan Bertsch, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

 

Amazing! I got a sneak peek of the first episode of Mech-X4 and was pleasantly surprised because this is not your typical Disney TV show. It made me feel like I was watching a movie with its wonderful storyline, graphics and acting. In this incredible show, there is an amazing cast, graphics and an awesome storyline – all of which are quite believable. This fun-filled adventure show airs on Disney and Disney XD Saturday, November 12 so be sure to check it out.

This show stars Ryan Walker (Nathaniel James Potvin). With his dreamy eyes, he is a typical teenage boy who finds out that he is a technopath.  While chit chatting with Nathaniel, I discovered that he loves his super power which is being the master of all technology.  His personality matches his character perfectly as he is fun and easy to talk to. His new-found superpower awakens a 150 foot robot called Mech-X4 and its job is to protect the city from crazy monsters.

Ryan Walker then recruits his friends to help. Harris (Kamran Lucas) is the brains of the group. In real life, he has been doing Martial arts since he was 5 years old and he does most of his own stunts. Harris is cautious and protective of his friends and the new-found robot.  Harris is a geek who wants to make sure that everyone has their facts straight before they jump into things. He is amazing at martial arts and play his character quite believingly.

Spyder (Pearce Joza) is adventurous and ready for anything. I also met him and found his easy going nature quite enjoyable. In real life, he loves snowboarding. He provides the comedic relief for the group and is extremely funny. He loves all the gadgets for the robot and, since this is all new for them, sometimes things don’t work out as planned.

Ryan also recruits his brother Mark (Raymond Cham) to help. He is not a mechanic in real life, like his character and the two of them are exact opposites. Mark’s main job is to be the mechanic and fix everything. Mark is usually the leader in his family so he has to get used to the fact that he needs to let his brother shine and he has to stand back a bit. Raymond loves the idea of mixing two animals together to get cool and creative monsters for the show. He wishes he had the super power to see free movies at the box office. Skateboarding is his thing.

I was lucky enough to be able to meet all these fantastic actors and visit with them about their roles in this show. They are all so grateful to be a part of this magnificent show. The one thing that is missing is girl power. Disney already gave the green on Season 2 before Season 1 even airs. WOW ! And, the guys told me to keep a look out for girl power coming soon.

The graphics of this show are spectacular. I love the way the robot and monsters all seem so realistic. It feels like you really are there and as if you are going on this adventure with Ryan and his friends while protecting the world. I love all the amazing places they shot in Canada, the wonderful acting and the insight into each character.

My favorite scene in this episode is when Ryan, Spyder, Mark and Harris are fighting a gigantic snake/octopus monster with the robot. It is filled with action, adventure and a little comedy. Plus the graphics are incredible and realistic.

I recommend this series for ages 8 to 18 because the action and comedy. I also think adults will enjoy it, especially the story line and the characters. According to Steve Marmel and Anupam Nigam, Executive Producers of the show, their target audience is a wide range. They want parents to enjoy watching this TV show with their kids. Be sure to check out my amazing interviews and learn more about the cast on our YouTube Channel. I give this TV show 5 out of 5 gigantic robot stars.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

Extremely High Wow Factor – A Must Go for any Sci-Fi Fan

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When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team is brought together to investigate, led by expert linguist Louise Banks. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers and, to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “This movie can only be described as something that starts out with a very simple idea and ends up turning into a complex and exciting story. Arrival is a truly sci-fi movie that you watch with your mouth open in amazement that gets better by the minute with an unforgettable and unpredictable ending.” See his full review below.

Arrival
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

 

This movie can only be described as something that starts out with a very simple idea and ends up turning into a complex and exciting story. Arrival is a truly sci-fi movie that you watch with your mouth open in amazement that gets better by the minute with an unforgettable and unpredictable ending.

Arrival begins when 12 UFOs touch down in random places on Earth. The whole world is panicking and the United States looks to a talented linguist named Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and a gifted Theoretical Physicist named Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) to help translate what the aliens really want from us and what their purpose on Earth is. Once the new team starts uncovering the information about the mysterious species, they find very surprising things that go against everything we once knew.

The movie is great overall but the ending is what really makes Arrival so legendary. The special effects are spectacular and the acting is extraordinary. Amy Adams excels in her role of Dr. Banks. What I most liked about the movie is how it all comes together. Without spoiling anything, I will say that the ending is mysterious and can be interpreted in hundreds of different ways depending on what angle you look at it from. The only other movies that have such perfect endings and make you actually think deeply about  what exactly is happening are Interstellar and Inception. Another thing about this film that blew me away is the cinematography. From giant aerial shots of 1500 foot UFOs to a fleet of battleships about to start an attack, the cinematography truly adds to the intensity and amazement of the film. My one small criticism has to do with the last few minutes. The creators stretch it out about five minutes too long in their attempt to show in very deep detail what exactly happens at the end. I feel like they could have shortened it and explained the ending instead of stretching it out, but that only lasts a couple of minutes and is hardly noticeable. Another huge perk is the sound editing and the soundtrack. The sounds of the UFOs and the aliens are intense and the music perfectly suits the story. This combination makes your heart thump and works wonders with surround sound.

My favorite scene is when the aliens first start writing in their language. They write using something that resembles ink that stays in the air. It is truly beautiful and unique. It is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen before in a sci-fi movie with aliens. I also like this scene because it is when they start talking about their language and how they talk backward and forward at the same time. If they think like this, they can write and create a complex sentence in a split of a second, which amazed me. I also admired how the story treats their language almost like an art form and not just a way of communication.

There is a presence of some mature language in a few scenes as well as very intense and dramatic moments, so I recommend it for ages 13 to 18. I give it 5 out of 5 stars despite one small hiccup because of just how it makes you think about life and the future and gets your adrenaline pumping. This film opens in theaters November 11, 2016 so be sure to go check it out, especially if you are a sci-fi fan like me.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Marvel’s Doctor Strange

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Marvel’s Doctor Strange follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange acts as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilizing a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel Cinematic Universe. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “This superhero movie will disorient you, confuse you, make you ponder time itself and is easily the greatest superhero film ever made.” Benjamin P. adds, “Doctor Strange is an excellent introduction to magic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with mind-bending visuals and a great performance from Benedict Cumberbatch, who perfectly embodies the character of Dr. Stephen Strange.”  Miles T. wraps it up with, “This is one of my favorite Marvel movies because it might have the best animation in the world.” See their full reviews below.

Doctor Strange
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

 

This superhero movie will disorient you, confuse you, make you ponder time itself and is easily the greatest superhero film ever made. Doctor Strange combines humor, action and science fiction to make a legendary film unlike any other.

There are dozens of elements that make Doctor Strange so great. One of the main parts of this film is the action. The action is highly supported by the dramatic interactions between characters. There is also a large amount of perfectly timed humor. It’s so light and enjoyable that it makes you laugh every time. On top of that, there is even a small element of romance in Doctor Strange.

Doctor Strange begins when a very talented neurosurgeon, Steven Strange, (Benedict Cumberbatch) gets in a bad car accident and gets injured. His injuries make it impossible for him to continue practice medicine and he desperately looks for a cure. His search takes him to India where he meets a group of people that do magical things. He joins their group to be healed, but as he trains in their art, he learns there is much more then what meets the eye in the reality he lives in.

Perfect. That is the only word that can describe Doctor Strange. Easily the most breathtaking part is the special effects. There are scenes where they warp and distort the world around them in such elegant and spectacular ways that it makes you feel slightly disoriented. That is not where the special effects end though. The powers they have look magical and so realistic, you won’t think it is done by CGI. The acting is another perk for the film. Benedict Cumberbatch excels as Doctor Strange, not only in the intense action scenes but also in the comedy scenes. He truly makes the character come to life and the entire cast portrays the story perfectly. On top of that, the costume design and makeup is another huge achievement in the movie. There are parts where even slight details on a character’s face or costume add huge additional meaning to the story. The costumes in general are beautiful and amazingly well constructed.

My favorite scene is when Doctor Strange discovers how to warp and twist time. He tries it on an apple he is eating and you watch the apple turn from half eaten to ripe and new, to fully eaten and slowly decaying. I love this scene for so many reasons, primarily the extraordinary special effects. This is an example of how well they integrate set design, the live footage and the CGI. This is not the only scene where they integrate these so well. On top of that, just looking at how Doctor Strange discovers this power is very entertaining and enjoyable to watch.

Although Doctor Strange is a great movie, it is clearly not meant for young kids. There are lots of scenes containing gore and violence and scenes that are dark in general. For that reason, I recommend it for ages 12 to 18. I also absolutely give it 5 out of 5 stars for its phenomenal special effects, beautiful costumes and sets, breathtaking acting and exciting story.

Doctor Strange

By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

 

 

 

Doctor Strange is an excellent introduction to magic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with mind-bending visuals and a great performance from Benedict Cumberbatch, who perfectly embodies the character of Dr. Stephen Strange.

 

This film centers on an egotistical neurosurgeon named Stephen Strange. After a terrible car accident ruins his hands, he searches for treatment that can help him heal and return to the operating room. He ends up in Nepal and meets Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who saves him from being robbed and shows him to Kamar-Taj, a place where healing is done through spirit.

 

At first, Stephen thinks it is all a hoax, but The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), a teacher of the mystic arts shows him what he’s capable of. When the world’s sanctums are under threat from Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a former student of The Ancient One, Stephen must step up and become the sorcerer supreme.

 

My favorite part of this film is when the New York sanctum is under attack. This scene is rewarding as a comic book fan, as you finally get to see Doctor Strange don the Cloak of Levitation, a trademark for the character.

 

My favorite character in this film is The Ancient One. This character is very wise and helps Stephen become Doctor Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch excellently captures the arrogant personality of Stephen Strange at the beginning of the film as well as the changes the character undergoes throughout the movie.

 

The special effects in this film are crazy, at times psychedelic. This makes the action scenes all the more captivating. I recommend you see this in IMAX 3D. It’s worth the extra money for the visuals. In fact, there is more than an hour of IMAX footage in this film. Michael Giacchino’s almost gothic score captures the trippy nature of this film.

 

I like that this film doesn’t take itself too seriously and has a sense of humor. My only problem with this film is I feel there is a little too much going on plot-wise. I give Doctor Strange an age rating of 12 to 18 because of its fantasy violence and language and a scene involving a car crash.

 

I give Doctor Strange 4 out of 5 stars. Make sure to stay after the credits for not one, but two post-credit scenes.

 

Doctor Strange

By Miles T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

 

 

 

This movie is filled with the type of CGI everybody wants in every movie. I was trying to turn my head around it the whole movie since it is so detailed. 160 million dollars went into this film making the Marvel Universe much wider a possibility. Doctor Strange makes the mind confused and entertained at the same time. Along with the fact that it is in IMax 3D, which makes it that much better, the settings are something you would imagine in a Harry Potter property.

 

In this movie, Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is hurt in a car accident and wants to get healed but his hands are too damaged. He asks the one and only recovered person who had the same medical condition how he relieved it and goes to the place he refers him to and discovers a place of magic and wisdom.

 

This is one of my favorite Marvel movies because it might have the best animation in the world. Yes, this movie takes place around the world. I really cannot explain the amazingness of this animation. It is so detailed that it looks totally real. However, the music does not compare with Guardians of the Galaxy. If it did, this movie would be my favorite movie. The acting is impeccable. The animation is stunning. And the plot is enjoyably complicated. Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong and Rachel McAdams deliver incredible performances as they show struggle, heartbreak and wisdom. One of the biggest holes in this movie is the characters. Doctor Strange is deep and well defined, but all the other characters come out of nowhere. It would have been better had they made the characters deeper and more profound.

 

The moral of this story is that no matter what anybody else does, you can always do what you want to do. That’s my take away. You might have a different message that you get from the film.

 

I recommend this movie for kids ages 7 to 18 and adults will love it too. If you are one of those parents who don’t let their kids see Marvel movies, you should know that I caught no cursing. I give this movie 4 ½ out of stars because the characters aren’t so deep and the music could be better. But, everything else is spot on! Even the post-credit scenes have really interesting things that set new things up for more future movies.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

DANA POINT HARBOR WELCOMES UNDER THE SEA 42ND ANNUAL BOAT PARADE OF LIGHTS WITH FESTIVE HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES DEC. 2-17

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The County of Orange, OC Parks and Dana Point Harbor invite families to deck the halls “Under the Sea” at the 42nd Annual Boat Parade of Lights. Enjoy festive family activities and celebrations by the waters’ edge on select dates December 2 – 17.

The 42nd Annual Boat Parade of Lights will take place on December 9, 10, 16 and 17 beginning at 7:30 p.m. On each evening of the parade, OC Parks will host free festive family activities throughout Mariner’s Village, Mariner’s Alley and Dana Wharf beginning at 5:30 p.m. Parking will be available at the Doheny State Beach lot for $2 per hour. Free trolleys will be running from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. and will be dropping off and picking up along Dana Point Harbor Drive.

The holiday season at Dana Point Harbor kicks off on Friday, December 2 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. with the Holiday In The Harbor Open House at Mariner’s Village, Mariner’s Alley and Dana Wharf.

Take a boat ride in the harbor with Santa Claus himself on Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Rides launch from Dana Wharf Sportfishing.

 

Santa will be available for photos and selfies on Friday, December 2 from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, December 8 from 3 – 5 p.m. in the El Torito Courtyard and Thursday, December 15 from 3 – 5 p.m. at the Dana Wharf Courtyard. Saturday, December 3 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. also welcomes Santa Paws, for festive photos with the furry friends in your life.

Get into the holiday spirit this year “Under the Sea” at Dana Point Harbor. Visit DanaPointHarbor.com for more information.

Credit: DanaPointHarbor.com.

2nd Annual Go Little Tokyo Holiday Marketplace Announces Festive Programs and Workshops Shop Local Little Tokyo & Celebrate the Season December 3-4 Workshop Registration Opens Friday, Nov. 18

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Go Little Tokyo, the community campaign offering insights into one of LA’s most vibrant neighborhoods, is pleased to host another year of gift-giving and merry-making with the 2nd Annual Go Little Tokyo Holiday Marketplace. On Saturday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 4th, enjoy gift shopping, special promotions at local businesses, free drawings and a series of unique, interactive and holiday-themed workshops and demos for the whole family to enjoy.

Activities for the weekend include a step back in time with an exclusive Historic Walking Tour led by the Little Tokyo Historical Society, where participants will be guided through the neighborhood’s landmark, historical shops and discover hard-to-find treasures. Learn the art of crochet and create a festive, stuffed snowman with a Beginners “Amigurumi” Knitting Workshop led by Opodz. Children will also have an opportunity to learn the history of and make traditional Japanese rice cakes and mochi at a Kids “Mochitsuki” Mochi-Pounding Workshop with Kizuna.

Also planned for this year’s Go Little Tokyo Holiday Marketplace is a Holiday Cocktail Demo with Wolf & Crane Bar, and a “Furoshiki” Gift Wrapping Workshop with Bunkado and the Little Tokyo Service Center. A Family Crepe-Making Workshop will be led by Four Leaf Café, a “Kadomatsu” Japanese New Years Floral Arrangement Workshop by Kuragami Little Tokyo Flower Shop, and Wellness Workshops offered from B.E.S.T. Chiropractic Clinic. Shoppers will have the opportunity to explore the fun and accessible four-stringed ukulele with Beginners Ukulele Workshop led by U-Space.

Registration for all workshops opens to the public on Friday, November 18. Participation at most workshops are free, some requiring a low-cost materials fee. Space is limited and a minimal number of spots will be reserved for walk-ups on a first-come, first-served basis. Subscribe to the mailing list for exclusive access to early registration on Wednesday, November 16th and to stay current on all event information. More activities as part of the 2nd Annual Go Little Tokyo Holiday Marketplace will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information on festive programs, workshops, and promotions visit: golittletokyo.com/holidays.

The Go Little Tokyo Holiday Marketplace is brought to you by Go Little Tokyo: a Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC) run neighborhood marketing campaign created by Community Arts Resources (CARS) and funded by Metro Los Angeles.

Credit: Go Little Tokyo.