News and reviews of local family dance, theater and movies in Los Angeles.

Stage & Screen

January L.A. Events

7 Things L.A. Families Should Do in January

The first month in 2019 promises great fun for families. You’ll find tricky bricks, historical figures, classic literature, amazing acrobats and terrific concerts among our top picks. Lego lovers will find bliss at Bricks LA, which offers big-time Lego brick play, amazing Lego displays and an array of Lego vendors at the Pasadena Convention Center Jan. 5. Join Ben Franklin and some of his “revolutionary” pals Jan. 19 to celebrate...

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nbc's this is us

‘This Is Us’ Star Lonnie Chavis Expands His #FixYourHeart Message

When NBC’s “This Is Us” star Lonnie Chavis discovered that a few people trolling his Instagram account were making fun of the gap in his teeth, he clapped back. Not with retaliatory words; instead, the 10-year-old sent a message that prescribes self-reflection and self-acceptance as antidotes to eradicating a culture of bullying and low self-esteem. “I could get my gap fixed. Braces can fix this, but can you fix your...

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Black-Ish

Rainbow Edwards-Barris: The Real Bow Tackles Parenting in New Book

If you’ve ever watched ABC’s “Black-ish,” you know that though Rainbow Johnson’s character (played by Tracee Ellis Ross) is a medical professional and mom of five, she is far from a parenting expert. Creator Kenya Barris uses irreverent humor to tackle family matters and societal issues on the show, and Rainbow, despite her best intentions, often finds herself in the midst of a parenting dilemma. While “Black-ish” is a work...

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the darkest minds

Mia Cech Shines Brightly in ‘The Darkest Minds’

For Miya Cech’s first feature film, “The Darkest Minds,” she landed an unusual role: She plays Zu, a girl who can control electricity with her mind but doesn't really talk. "That was kind of hard for me, because I talk a lot," says Cech, 11. "You have to do everything with your face, and it’s so hard to be emotional when you can’t scream or yell." In the film, which...

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making it tv

‘Making It’ Show Expands Artist’s Territory

As an artist and sports enthusiast, Billy Kheel enjoyed flexing some creative muscle while taping NBC TV’s “Making It,” a competition crafts series that premiered July 31 and will feature six episodes. Each episode consists of two projects – a fast, timed round and a longer, themed challenge. Kheel is one of eight contestants from around the country vying for the title of “Master Maker” and a $100,000 grand prize....

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Parental Love Wins in ‘Far From the Tree’

As parents, we hold grand dreams for our children – even while they are still in utero – but these dreams can become hindrances when they do not fit the people our children actually become. The new documentary film “Far From the Tree” explores families who have children with wildly different realities –  autism, Down syndrome, dwarfism, a murder conviction – than their parents’ hopes for them, but the universal...

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john august

L.A. Parent Chat Room: Meet Screenwriter and Author John August

You may know L.A. local John August from his screenwriting credits, which include “Big Fish,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” But, now he’s notched up a new credit: middle-grade novelist. “Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire,” an engaging and exciting blend of magic, mayhem and mystery, introduces readers to 12-year-old Arlo, a newcomer to Pine Mountain, Col. Arlo soon makes friends and is invited to join...

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County Library Users Get Free Film Access

The County of Los Angeles Public Library is now offering library card holders free access to Kanopy, a film streaming service with more than 30,000 titles. The Los Angeles Public library system acquired Kanopy early last year, making it possible for nearly every Angeleno to now have access to this service. Kanopy is an on-demand video platform that allows users to experience a curated collection of more than 30,000 films...

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this is us

Mackenzie Hancsicsak of ‘This is Us’: Tackling Big Issues With Her TV Family

On a recent morning, sandwiched between a hair appointment, a Golden Globes gifting suite and a wardrobe fitting at Paramount Studios is Mackenzie Hancsicsak’s interview with me at the L.A. Parent office in Woodland Hills.   The 10-year-old has grown used to the schedule that her role as young Kate Pearson on the Screen Actors Guild Award-winning NBC series “This is Us” demands – and to navigating a range of emotional...

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monster trucks movie

Making Play Hands-On with Monster Trucks Movie’s Special FX Coordinator Jim Schwalm

Monster trucks jump over highway railings in playrooms all too often, but seeing it on the big screen is a spectacle that piques a child's imagination. This and more mechanical feats can be seen in Paramount Pictures' "Monster Trucks" movie, which just released on BluRay and DVD this month. We recently sat down with Jim Schwalm, Special FX Coordinator for the film, and talked about how to make play more hands-on...

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Why This Dad Is On Pokemon Go

Last year, Los Angeles TV producer Brant Pinvidic found himself equally baffled by two things. One was the exploding popularity of the smartphone game Pokemon Go, which in the summer of 2016 was played by millions of people, including his whole family. The other was how to find common ground with his 13-year-old daughter, who had become obsessed with catching its virtual characters to the point where he caught her...

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