It is a day and night that might well serve as a national holiday honoring procrastination.
The final hours of 1993 are ticking away. You knew you had months to make dinner reservations, to buy tickets for that concert or plan that small party at your place. And yet, here you are, with absolutely no idea how to spend New Year’s Eve.
You are not alone.
Many singles, couples and families, stung from hyperbolic expectations of New Year’s Eves past, have given up making plans for the very end--and beginning--of the year.
Last-minute would-be revelers still have options. Here are 10 activities and events to ensure a very Valley New Year:
One Date That’s a Real Icebreaker
Spend New Year’s Eve on ice at the CityWalk ice rink, the only outdoor skating rink in Southern California. Located across from the Cineplex, the rink is open through Sunday to skaters of all ability levels.
“It’s been pretty evenly divided between first-timers, novices, mediocre and good skaters,” rink manager Jim Jude said. “There are no lessons, but there are skate guards on the ice who will help the little kids or anyone else who needs assistance.”
Cost is $5 for a one-hour session, plus a $2 skate-rental fee (child’s size 7 to men’s 13) if you don’t have your own blades (and chances are, you probably don’t). The rink opens today at 11:30 a.m. Sessions begin every 90 minutes. The last session begins at 11:30 p.m.
Crystal Pepsi Ice Skating Rink, Universal CityWalk, Hollywood Freeway at Lankershim Boulevard, Universal City. Call (818) 622-2220.
Blame the Dark for All Those Gutter Balls
Roll in the New Year by taking part in “Moonlight Bowling” at Canoga Park Bowl. At 10 p.m., management turns the lights down at the 32-lane center so bowlers can shoot for strikes and spares sans glare.
For $21, you can bowl three games, collect 300 complimentary Blue Chip Stamps, wear shoes with numbers on them, receive party favors and dine on hot dogs, soft drinks and chips. Champagne at midnight for patrons 21 and older.
Canoga Park Bowl, 20122 Vanowen St., Canoga Park. (818) 340-5190.
A Night (Sort of) at the Races
“A Night at the Races” is the theme of the third annual Bootleggers Ball benefit at CalArts sponsored by the Assn. to Aid Victims of Domestic Violence.
For $75, party-goers can enjoy a buffet dinner, dancing, gaming tables and handicapping prerecorded horse races that are shown on televisions throughout the evening. (The betting is done with $25 worth of chips included in the admission price, and raffle tickets are won in return.)
“There’s plenty to do for everyone, so you can come alone, as a couple or in a group,” said Clara Stroup, director of the association. “It’s amazing when those horse races begin. Everyone just stops dancing, eating and everything else to see what happens.”
Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the door, and dress is anywhere from casual to formal.
Bootleggers Ball at CalArts, 24700 W. McBean Parkway, Valencia. (805) 259-8175.
Make Good on Last Year’s Resolution
How many times have you said, “This is the year I’m going to volunteer”? How many times have the demands of your own life gotten in the way?
Make good on that annual resolution by working as a volunteer at a New Year’s Eve party. The Canoga Care Center, a 185-bed convalescent and nursing facility, needs friendly visitors to help out from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the facility’s entertainment center, said Maribel Martinez, activities director. The Woodland Care Center, a 152-bed facility, also needs volunteers for a 90-minute party that begins at 2:30 p.m, according to Meldy Ship, activities director.
If you can’t donate your time today or this evening, contact the Volunteers Center of the San Fernando Valley in Panorama City.
“If they have an idea of what they would like to do, I’ll send them a list of agencies that can use their skills,” said Carlos Lopez, associate director of the Volunteer Involvement Program. “If they don’t know what they would like to do, I’ll be happy to start the process by sending them a general listing of what we have available.”
Canoga Care Center, 22029 Saticoy St., Canoga Park, (818) 887-7050; Woodland Care Center, 7120 Corbin Ave., Reseda, (818) 881-4540. Volunteers Center of San Fernando Valley, (818) 908-5066.
A Parent Must Have Thought This Up
The YMCA throws New Year’s Eve slumber parties for kids featuring swimming, movies, snacks and breakfast.
The East Valley YMCA accepts children ages 3 to 12. David Hartmire, executive director, said the night is supervised by YMCA staff, qualified child-care employees, parents and members of the swim team, who sponsor the evening as a fund-raiser. Cost is $20 for members, $30 for non-members. Parents must pick up their children by 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day. The Mid-Valley YMCA charges $25. About 50 children are expected to attend each event.
East Valley YMCA, 5142 Tujunga Ave., North Hollywood, (818) 763-5126; Mid-Valley YMCA, 6901 Lennox Ave, Van Nuys, (818) 989-3800. Parents must call ahead to reserve a space for their child.
A Late 20th-Century Adventure
The Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. is making final preparations for its 64th year in the New Year’s Day parade.
President Don Hames said visitors are welcome to view the “Medieval Adventure,” entry, which should be complete by 8 p.m.
“It’s a way for people to learn about us and the process,” Hames said. “It’s a chance to get a nice preview before going off to a party or something. What’s really amazing is how many people think we start this thing the week before the parade. This all started last February.”
Burbank Rose Parade float, under the Golden State Freeway overpass at Olive Avenue, Burbank.
Walk in Another Generation’s Footsteps
The Sportsmen’s Lodge, a Valley landmark established during the 1940s, is a traditional gathering place for New Year’s celebrations. Reservations are not required at the lodge’s lounge, which will feature jazz performed by Raw Silk.
Doors open at 9 p.m., and the price is $25. Light appetizers, party favors, discount coupons for one of the lodge’s restaurants and champagne at midnight are all part of the program, said Brad Scobey, director of special events.
Sportsmen’s Lodge, 12833 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. (818) 984-0202.
Get Away From It All, for 30 Minutes Anyway
Take in a private light show over the Valley and Los Angeles on a sunset or evening flight.
The 30-minute tour begins at Van Nuys Airport, moves toward Century City, the Sunset Strip, Hollywood, Griffith Park-area and Universal City before returning to Van Nuys. Price is $65 per person. Small plane tours also are available.
Klein Helicopters, Van Nuys Airport, 16431 Vanowen St., Van Nuys. (818) 781-8984.
For those who have thought about making either a small or extensive personal statement with body art, New Year’s Eve might be the perfect time to embolden yourself, said Danny Rivas, co-owner of Dr. John’s Tattoo Americana.
“People who have gotten tattoos on New Year’s Eve in the past have done it because it’s a new year, a chance for a fresh start,” Rivas said.
“Everyone goes through changes in their life. For them, getting a tattoo is not just a part, it’s a shedding of the skin.”
Rivas, who does simple and elaborate tattoos, said there is no particular New Year’s theme favored by customers. Appointments are not necessary on New Year’s Eve, but Rivas suggested calling before coming in.
Prices start at $40.
Dr. John’s Tattoo Americana, 6636 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. (818) 764-7775.
Still Renting a Video? Try One of These
OK, so you were going to rent a video anyway. But make it special. Buy some microwave popcorn, a bottle of Cold Duck and head to the video store in search of a flick with direct or veiled references to New Year’s Eve. “When Harry Met Sally,” “Out of Africa,” “The Apartment,” “The Horn Blows at Midnight” and “One Way Passage,” are some that fit the bill.
Many stores are open until midnight.
“If past years are any indication, it will be busier earlier in the evening,” said Andy Huff, manager of Tower Video in Sherman Oaks. “By 10:30 or 11 it dies off a bit. But for those people who wait until the last minute, we’ll be here until the very end of the year.”
Gary Klein is a regular contributor to The Times.