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All Play (and Some Work)

While your reasons for making the big move to La La Land may be entirely professional, your social life shouldn't be completely ignored. The events listed below should give you a good idea of some of the things L.A. has to offer. Moving to a new city can be tough, and meeting new people is a great way to network, gain advice, learn more about the city, and have some fun. Don't be afraid to get out there—you never know what you may find.

American Indian Festival and Market

A showcase of Native American arts and culture; the fun includes traditional dances, storytelling, and arts and crafts, as well as a chance to sample Native American foods. Los Angeles Natural History Museum. Late March. For further details, call (213) 744-3466.

California Poppy Blooming Season,

Less than an hour's drive north of Los Angeles lies the California Poppy Reserve, part of the state park system in Antelope Valley. In spring, miles of hillside blaze with brilliant hues of red and orange, dazzling the senses of motorists who flock to witness the display. For information and directions, call (805) 724-1180. From mid-March to mid-May. For information on the annual California Poppy Festival, held at full bloom—usually in April; call (805) 723-6000.

Chinese New Year, Los Angeles.

Dragon dancers parade through the streets of Downtown's Chinatown. Chinese opera and other events are scheduled. For next year's schedule, contact the Chinese Chamber of Commerce at (213) 617-0396. Late January or early February.

City of Santa Clarita Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival

At the Museum of Western Heritage, Wells Fargo Theatre, 4700 Western Heritage Way (across from the L.A. Zoo) (661) 286-4079.

Gardens of the World

The 4.5-acre cultural park features Japanese, English, French, and Italian gardens. 2001 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. (805) 557-1135

Great Women of Film Networking Events

Whether you are an established film professional or an ambitious newcomer, you will benefit from the valuable experience, concrete advice, and the candid stories shared at these events. www.

Hollywood Black Film Festival

Annual festival featuring film screenings, parties, panels, and networking receptions. This year's event runs Feb. 5-10.

Hollywood Farmers Market

Sundays, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Intersection of Ivar & Selma Ave., between Hollywood & Sunset boulevards.

Los Angeles Farmers Market

Wednesdays, 1-6 p.m. (2-5:30 p.m. September-May), held on Adams Boulevard immediately west of Vermont Avenue, at St. Agnes Church.

The Los Angeles People Connection

A nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Angelenos meet one another while exploring what the city has to offer. Join them for free weekly events held all over L.A.: monthly hikes, happy hours, dinner parties, or women-only pajama party breakfasts.

Lankershim Swap Meet

Saturdays, 7355 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.

Mardi Gras

The festivities—including live jazz and lots of food—take place along Santa Monica Boulevard, from Doheny Drive to La Brea Avenue, and in the alley behind Santa Monica Boulevard. Contact the West Hollywood Convention & Visitors Bureau for details. Late February or early March. (800) 368-6020.

Media District Farmers Market

Every Friday, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., held in the 1100 block of Cole Avenue, between Santa Monica and Lexington.

The Melrose Trading Post

Every Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Fairfax High School, Fairfax Ave., Hollywood.

Murder Mystery Weekends

Saturdays, 15130 Gault St., Van Nuys. (818) 785-7700.

National Date Festival

Crowds gather for two weeks to celebrate the Coachella Valley desert's most beloved cash crop with events like camel and ostrich races, the Blessing of the Date Garden, and festive Arabian Nights pageants. Plenty of date-sampling booths are set up, along with rides, food vendors, and other county-fair trappings. Two weeks in February. (800) 811-3247 or (760) 863-8247;

Pan African Film & Art Festival

This year held Feb. 7-18, the festival will feature 80 new black films from Africa, Europe, Canada, South Pacific, Asia, and the Caribbean, and more than 100 arts and crafts exhibits. Magic Johnson Theater; Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. www.paff .org

Renaissance Pleasure Faire, San Bernardino

Held weekends from late April to Memorial Day, this annual event in the relatively remote Glen Helen Regional Park is one of America's largest Renaissance festivals. It features an Elizabethan marketplace with costumed performers. The fair provides an entire day's activities, including shows, food, and crafts. You're encouraged to come in period costume. For ticket information, call (800) 523-2473 or (909) 880-3911, or logon to the national website,

Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace

Garden tours, held Saturdays, 10 a.m.-noon, 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda. (714) 993-5075, ext. 206.

Rose Bowl Flea Market/ Swap Meet

Held the second Sunday of every month in Pasadena. (323) 560-7469.

Showbiz Brunch

The Creative Actors Alliance hosts a networking brunch every first Saturday of the month, with a different guest speaker each brunch. Past speakers have included Charlize Theron, Elliot Gould, Erin Gray, and Robert Forster. Attendance is free.

Westwood Village Farmers Market

Held Thursdays, 2-7 p.m. on Weyburn Avenue at Westwood Boulevard.

Charitable Services/ Religious Organizations

What better way to meet people than through community service? While some of the organizations listed below are religiously affiliated, many are non-denominational. For a more complete listing of religious events and activities going on in Los Angeles, check out the Religion Directory in the Saturday editions of the L.A. Times.

American Red Cross-Burbank

1001 W. Magnolia Blvd.

Burbank, CA 91506

(818) 842-5295

Anti-Defamation League of Southern California

10495 Santa Monica Blvd.

L.A., CA 90025

(310) 446-8000

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles

1486 Colorado Blvd.

L.A., CA 90041

(213) 258-3333

Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian agency that provides support from positive male and female role models to children a variety of mentoring programs.

Boy Scouts of America

1325 Grandview Ave.

Glendale, CA 91201

(818) 243-6282

Children's Hospital of Los Angeles

4650 Sunset Blvd.

L.A., CA 90027

The Children's Nature Institute of Southern California

1440 Harvard St.

Santa Monica, CA 90404

(310) 998-1151

Volunteer to lead nature walks for young children at any of more than 40 sites in L.A. and Ventura counties, weekdays or weekends. Volunteers must attend a training course. Minimum commitment of one walk per month.

Food for Body and Soul

138 North Brand, Ste. 303

Glendale, CA 91203

(818) 242-4700


Meals, music, and an ecumenical worship service for the homeless and hungry of Glendale. Begins at 1:30 p.m. every Sunday.

Four Brown Hats

P.O. Box 31430

L.A., CA 90031

(818) 841-6051

Four Brown Hats Entertainment works in all media producing socially relevant productions while maintaining a strong cultural integrity and combining it with economic viability and community accountability. FBHE is committed to maintaining artistic excellence and making it accessible to a cross-section of the community.

Free Arts

11965 Venice Blvd., Ste. 402

L.A., CA 90066

(310) 313-4278

Free Arts brings the joyful and healing power of the arts to abused and neglected children, and families in crisis in Southern California. Free Arts trains volunteers to work hands-on with victims of abuse. Dance, drama, writing, music, painting, and other avenues of creativity encourage them to channel emotions, release anger, and develop positive methods of communication.

Girls and Gangs of California

P.O. Box 60590

Pasadena, CA 91116

(626) 440-1972

The mission of Girls and Gangs is to provide support and advocacy for girls in the Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice System through program services that increase their self-esteem, self determination, and the chances for their successful reintegration into the communities while raising public awareness of their needs and potential.

Glendale Humane Society

717 Ivy St.

Glendale, CA

(818) 242-1128

Habitat for Humanity

1200 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 510

L.A., CA 90017

International Medical Corps

11500 West Olympic Blvd., Ste 506

L.A., CA 90064

(310) 826-7800

International Medical Corps (IMC) is a global humanitarian nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health-care training and medical relief programs.

Los Angeles City Volunteer Corps

200 N. Spring St., City Hall-Mezzanine Level

L.A., CA 90012

(888) 227-3452

Meals on Wheels

P.O. Box 7001

Santa Monica, CA 90406

(310) 394-5133

The Los Angeles Free Clinic

8405 Beverly Blvd.

L.A., CA 90048

(323) 653-8622, ext. 1617

The Los Angeles Free Clinic's mission is to serve as a community-based organization that identifies health-care and human-service needs of people who cannot or will not receive care elsewhere.

Odyssey Health Care of Los Angeles

1055 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 875

L.A., CA 90017

(213) 481-0009

Odyssey Health Care is looking for volunteers to work with terminally ill patients and their families.

Peace Corps of Southern Los Angeles

11000 Wilshire B

lvd., Ste. 8104

L.A., CA 90024

Reading to Kids

www.readingtokids .org

1600 Sawtelle Blvd., Ste. 210

L.A., CA 90025

(310) 475-7455

Reading to Kids is an organization composed of volunteers helping to provide children with an enthusiasm for reading and a brighter future. It organizes monthly reading clubs on the second Saturday of each month near Downtown L.A.

St. Jude Project Loaves & Fishes

P.O. Box 2729

Toluca Lake, CA 91610

Contact: Judy Janiak

(818) 842-9211

Saint Jude Project Loaves and Fishes was established to promote human dignity and to feed and care for the hungry, homeless, poor, and aged.

Volunteer Center of Los Angeles

2117 West Temple St., 3rd Fl.

L.A., CA 90026

(213) 484-2849

Volunteer Center of Los Angeles is an organization devoted to matching potential volunteers with the social service organization that needs them.

There's nothing like a good workout to blow off a little steam after a hard day of auditioning. Sports are one of the best ways to meet new people. The clubs listed below are for adults only. Most accept athletes at all playing levels and do not charge fees.

Los Angeles Marathon

This 26.2-mile, early March run attracts thousands of participants, from world champions to the guy next door; the big day also features a 5K run/walk and a bike marathon on the same route. The run starts Downtown. Call (310) 444-5544 or visit www.lamarathon .com for registration or spectator information.

L.A. Leggers

P.O. Box 761

Santa Monica, CA 90406

(310) 577-8000

Frontrunners Track Club

P.O. Box 691772

West Hollywood, CA 90069

(323) 460-2554

www.lafrontrunners .com


Meets Sunday mornings at Dock 52, Fisherman's Wharf in Marina Del Rey at 13485 Fiji Way.

L.A. Bike Tours

6729 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood

(323) 466-5890

(888) 775-2453

L.A. Bike Tours offers a number of different rides, including beginner rides to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach/ canals, and a Beverly Hills Family Tour. Advanced rides head to the Hollywood sign/Griffith Park, Santa Monica mountains, Getty Center, and a two-day trek from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles.

Hike-a-Trail sponsors thousands of outdoor activities each year. Check the website for a schedule

Guided Hikes and Mountain Cycle Rides

The Nature Conservancy at the Irvine County Open Space Preserve

3142 Irvine Blvd., Irvine

(714) 832-7478

James Dilley Preserve Hiking

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

20101 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Laguna Beach

(949) 488-0287

L.A. Soccer League

(818) 548-6420

Contact: Chris Fries


Los Angeles West Side Women's Soccer

Contact Judy in the recruitment office.

(323) 651-1331

Southern California Walkers

Contact Elaine Ward

(626) 441-5459

Walkers Club of L.A.

Contact Carol Ferris

(818) 243-8818

The African Violet

Contact Danielle at MsCherokee98@

Meets 10 times per year (January-October) on the third Sunday of each month at 4 p.m.

Circle of Friends

Contact jmejus4u@ yahoo .com.

Started by one person, through word of mouth the circle was developed to—currently—13 members.

Infinite Journey Book Club

Contact Angela Harvey at or (323) 296-4066.

Infinite Journey Book Club is a group of professional women between the ages of 27-37 who love to read literature by African-American authors. Meets the third Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m. to discuss selected book of the month. They also plan other activities such as family outings, picnics, parties, vacations, and book signings. Membership is by invitation only.

Page Readers Group

www.pagesreadersgroup .com

This book club has been meeting since 1994.

Roundtable Book Group

Contact MuseNews1

Roundtable Book Group is located in the Los Angeles/San Gabriel Valley area. Founded in 1996 it currently has 25 members. The reading selections are varied and the club attempts to include titles from the major literary genres—fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, biographical, as well as international authors.


Contact tabahani@

Tabahani Book Circle is a circle of readers dedicated to increasing literacy in the African-American community. They read at least one book every month written by an author of African descent, as well as participate in reading to children at the A.C. Bilbrew Library in L.A. They also host literary events to expose others to the works of African-American authors.

The list below is by no means comprehensive—there are way too many gay/lesbian clubs, organizations, and events to list here, but hopefully the resources listed below will be enough to get you started.

Bears L.A.

P.O. Box 4614

Valley Village, CA 91617

(323) 850-8958

Sponsors tons of events all over Los Angeles.

Gay Days West

Ongoing events all over Los Angeles.

Gay Men's Chorus L.A.

8235 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste. 210

West Hollywood, CA 90046

(323) 650-0756

Lists tons of events specific to Southern California


5455 Wilshire Blvd, Ste. 1500

L.A., CA 90036

(323) 933-2240

Great Outdoors

P.O. Box 39470

L.A., CA 90039-0470

(213) 694-2160

Great Outdoors is a nonprofit, all-volunteer gay and lesbian organization dedicated to the enjoyment of outdoor recreation

L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center

1625 N. Schrader Blvd.

L.A., CA

(323) 993-7600

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