Pacific Gray Whale Watching: The annual Pacific gray whale migration has begun in Southern California and whale watchers are already excited about the number of sightings near the South Bay this week. The season began Wednesday and lasts through mid-April. Whale watching boats: Redondo Beach Voyager Excursions offers daily trips at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person, and $15 for children 12 and under. Spirit Cruises in San Pedro has trips at 12:45 p.m. on weekends for a cost of $25 per adult and $15 per child. Weekday and weekend morning trips are also available for groups of 50 or more. Information: Voyager Excursions can be reached at Voyager Excursions website or 310-955-0512. Spirit Cruises can be reached at Spirit Cruises website or 310-548-8080. | » READ MORE
The Nutcracker: Los Angeles Ballet presents the classic Christmas ballet. 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd.; tickets $24-$95; reservations, 310-998-7782; Los Angeles Ballet.
Holiday Ice Rink: There's ice in the forecast for Culver City this holiday season, now through Jan. 7, with the debut of the Holiday Ice Rink, 9300 Culver Blvd., just off Washington Blvd. Admission is $10, and children 12 and under are $6 for one-hour sessions. Parking is available at the Ince Parking Structure, 9099 Washington Blvd. The first two hours are free; Holiday Ice Rink also has skating at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles. Holiday Ice Rink.
NEW YEAR'S EVE
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The New Year's Eve Show: Films, music and food, 8:30 p.m. Monday, Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo; tickets $25; reservations required, 310-322-2592; Old Town Music Hall.
New Year's Eve Celebration: With Tomorrows Bad Seeds and DJ Bobby B (of the Kottonmouth Kings), 9 p.m. Monday (doors open at 8:30 p.m.), Saint Rocke, 142 Pacific Coast Highway, Hermosa Beach; tickets $100/$150; 310-372-0035; Saint Rocke Calendar.
New Year at Korean Bell: Join Ma Griffe Galerie in celebrating the new year at its open house from 8 p.m. to midnight Monday at 3624 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro. The event promises merriment and munchies. Then ring in the New Year at the Korean Friendship Bell in Angels Gate Park, opposite the gallery.
Pier Plaza Festivities: The Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce will host a New Year's Eve celebration from 7:30 p.m. Monday to 12:30 a.m. Tuesday at Pier Plaza. Lou Giovannetti and His Big Band will perform. The evening includes an East Coast countdown and a West Coast replay of the New York Times Square ball drop on a video screen.
The English Beat: With Bad Apples. 9 p.m. Saturday (doors open at 6 p.m.), Saint Rocke, 142 Pacific Coast Highway, Hermosa Beach; tickets $30; 310-372-0035; Saint Rocke.
Through the Roots: With Kat Nestel, Urban Classics, Righteous Wave Movement. 8 p.m. Saturday (doors open at 7:30 p.m.), Brixton South Bay, 100 Fisherman's Wharf, Redondo Beach; tickets $10; 310-406-1931; Brixton South Bay.
The Aggrolites: With the Expanders and the Delirians, 9 p.m. Sunday (doors open at 5 p.m.
TAKE THE KIDS
Wednesday: Barney Bear Storytime: Puppet Barney Bear shares stories, songs and silliness; recommended for children ages 2-5; 10:15 and 11 a.m. every Wednesday, Peninsula Center Library, 701 Silver Spur Road, Rolling Hills Estates; pick up free tickets at Young Readers' Desk 15 minutes prior to story time; 310-377-9584.
"The Night Circus": Katy Geissert Civic Center Library, 3301 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, 310-618-5959. Science fiction and fantasy group, 7 p.m. first Wednesday: "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern.
Due to the New Year holiday, some cultural institutions may be closed or have special hours of operation. Call ahead.
Angels Gate Cultural Center: "Reef Cycle," eco-awareness exhibit by Melise Mestayer, in Project Space gallery, on view through Jan. 4. Gallery hours, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro; 310-519-0936; Angels Gate Art.
ARTS Manhattan: "Junk," by Bob Van Breda, on view through Jan. 29. Hours 2-6 p.m. Tuesday, 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, 2-6 p.m. Thursday, 1-5 p.m. Saturday; Manhattan Beach Creative Arts Center, 1560 Manhattan Beach Blvd.; 310-798-4904; Arts Manhattan.
Catalina's Role in World War II: Catalina Island Museum details the island's participation in World War II in an exhibition that opens Friday on Avalon. It will continue to April 28. "First Line of Defense: Catalina Island and World War II" will explore how Catalina was transformed from a carefree paradise into a Federal Military Zone (and designated the San Pedro Channel a controlled area for vessels) used for training, coastal defense and covert operations. Derived from the Catalina Island Museum's own extensive archive, the exhibt will feature letters, photographs, rare film footage of training exercises, top-secret weapons and recently declassified military documents. The museum, its digital theater and store are on the ground floor of Avalon's historic Casino and open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 310-510-2414 or visit Catalina Museum.
Los Angeles Maritime Museum: "Stranded: The Twilight of the Ocean Liner," black-and-white photos by Martin Cox of cruise ships in the days leading up to their being scrapped or sunk, on view through Jan. 6. Hours, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday- Sunday; Berth 84, Sixth Street and Harbor Boulevard, San Pedro, 310-548-7618; L.A. Maritime Museum.
Palos Verdes Art Center: Holiday Art Exhibition: Two- and three-dimensional wall-hung artwork, on view through Dec. 30. Annual ceramic art sale, begins at Friday's Holiday Art Exhibition opening reception and continues 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 25 percent of proceeds benefit the center/Beverly G. Alpay Center for Arts Education. "L'aura borealis: 100 Ways to Look at the Muse," and "The Muse" featuring Ruth Weisberg and F. Scott Hess, an exploration of what inspires artists to create, on view through Dec. 30. Hours, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Sunday; Promenade on the Peninsula, 550 Deep Valley Drive, Suite 261, Rolling Hills Estates, 310-541-2479; PV Art Center.
Palos Verdes Art Center: "L'aura borealis: 100 Ways to Look at the Muse," an exploration of what inspires artists to create, on view through Dec. 30. Hours, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday- Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Sunday; Promenade on the Peninsula, 550 Deep Valley Drive, Suite 261, Rolling Hills Estates (temporary location);, 5504 W. Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, 310-541-2479; PV Art Center.
PS Zask Gallery: "Place," artwork in a variety of media based on individual perceptions derived from a unique natural environment, on view through Jan. 12. Extended holiday hours, 1-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday;, Promenade on the Peninsula, 550 Deep Valley Drive, Suite 151, Rolling Hills Estates, 310-429-0973; PS Zask Gallery.
Summer Studios Arts Academy: December Holiday Sale: exhibit of local artists' handmade gifts, crafts, jewelry, ceramics, cards and more. Hours, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday; 2161 Lomita Blvd., Lomita, 310-325-8801; Summer Studios.