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Hello Dear Readers! Easter’s almost here so today’s Pressing Matters will fill you in on a few Eastery things to do and a couple of other surprises too. Here’s what we’ll be discussing:

• Eggstravaganza • Easter Festivals • Easter Brunch In The Garden
• Japanese Garden • Butterflies • Explosive • Mockingbird

We’ll get the Easter stuff out of the way first — there’s a lot going on around LA and Orange County when it comes to egg hunts and Easter Bunnies so I’ll list a few activities for you to check out if you don’t have something on your list already. The Easter Eggstravaganza & Irvine Park Railroad has the Sue Kruse’s grandson stamp of approval — as the little dude just loves this celebration:

Easter Eggstravaganza at Irvine Regional Park is truly an extravaganza. Your kiddies can visit the Easter Bunny, take a ride on the Irvine Park Railroad, decorate Easter cookies, join in on an egg hunt, pose for Easter pictures with cute Eastery cutouts and a whole lot more.

All Easter activities are open now daily at Irvine Regional Park through Saturday, April 7th. If you can’t make it there before the 7th, even though the Easter Eggstravaganza will be over, Irvine Regional Park and Irvine Park Railroad will be open on Easter Sunday — so you can still take the kiddies for a train ride.

The Easter Eggstravaganza & Irvine Park Railroad are located at 1 Irvine Park Road in Orange, CA. For activity times, fees and more information, visit this link.

Next up — Easter Fest in Downtown Los Angeles:

Come Join Us for the 4th Annual Easter Fest on Easter Sunday at Grand Hope Park in Downtown Los Angeles. EasterFest is all free and open to everyone.  There will be a huge Easter egg hunt with thousands of eggs, multiple bounce houses, piñatas, face-painting, arts and crafts, pie eating contest, games, food, drinks, popcorns, and more.  KCBS-TV selected this as one of the best Easter events for kids in Los Angeles.  Last year, we had about a 700-1,000 people come, so bring your family and have an Easter blast.

Easter Fest takes place at Grand Hope Park which is located at 9th and Hope Street in Downtown Los Angeles on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012 from 12 noon to 3:00 PM. Park on the street — parking around the park is free on Sundays. For more information, visit this link.

Back in Orange County at the Orange County Market Place (aka the OC Fairgrounds) they’re also planning some Easter fun with the 6th Annual Easter Festival & Treasure Hunt:

Bring along an Easter basket and join in the free treasure hunt for candy and toys from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Orange County Market Place, the weekend swap meet at the Costa Mesa Fairgrounds. And if you find a Golden Ticket, that’ll get you a special prize. There will also be free face painting from 9:30 AM till 1:30 PM, and that lovable rabbit, the Easter Bunny, himself, will be on hand for photos from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

There will also be crafts, games, and lots of other activities to keep you busy. Everything takes place atthe Orange County Market Place on Saturday, April 7th from  9:30 AM to 2:30 PM.Entry fee is $2.00 and kids 12 and under are free. The Orange County Marketplace is located at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, visit this link.

For Northern California folks seeking Easter eggcitement, head on over to Playland-Not-At-The-Beach:

An Easter egg hunt in a setting like no other. Seek and ye shall find eggs-cellent surprises at Playland-Not-at-the-Beach! Throughout our Museum of Fun, kids can find eggs-tra-ordinary things among the antiques of our Penny Arcade, all among free play machines of Pinball Alley and around the classic games of the Carousel Carnival. Hunters big and small can search the exhibitions dedicated to bygone American amusements and eggs-change what they find for prizes! The yolks on us at Playland-Not-at-the-Beach's Easter Egg Hunt.

Playland-Not-At-The-Beach is open Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and is located at 10979 San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito. For more information, visit this link.

How about a nice Easter brunch in a beautiful garden setting? The Huntington Library in San Marino has just such a thing planned and at this writing, reservations for the brunch were still available:

Make your reservation now to join us Sunday, April 8th, for a delicious Easter brunch on the Garden Terrace Lawn, complete with an egg hunt and a visit from the Easter Bunny!

Seating times for the Brunch are — 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM & 2:30 PM. The cost is $49.99 per adult, $25.00 for children ages 4-12 and children 3 and under are free. (But do note there is also an additional charge for admission to The Huntington.) Easter Egg Hunts take place at 11:45 AM & 1:45 PM and you will need to bring your own Easter basket. The Easter Bunny will be available throughout the day for photo opportunities so don’t forget to bring your camera! For reservations call: 626-405-2249. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is located at 1151 Oxford Road in San Marino, CA.

That’s it for Eastery subjects but we’ll stick with the Huntington Library a little longer. One of the many things the Huntington Library is famous for is its beautiful Japanese Garden. For the past year, the garden has been closed to the public while it underwent an complete restoration and now the wait to step into that garden is almost at an end:

The wait is almost over! After a year-long closure and a $6.8 million renovation, the historic Japanese Garden is set to reopen to the public on April 11, marking its centennial as one of the most beloved and iconic landscapes at The Huntington. Completed in 1912, the nine-acre site, with its picture-postcard views of koi-filled ponds, distinctive moon bridge, and historic Japanese House, has attracted more than 20 million visitors since the institution opened to the public in 1928. The renovation project included the restoration of the Japanese House, a structure built in Japan around 1904.

The library has made a set of videos available on iTunes about the garden’s restoration:

In this set of audio slideshows of the Japanese Garden, several members of the restoration project team reflect on what the garden means to them—from the ways the garden has evolved over the past century to the calm tranquility it will continue to provide to visitors after it reopens April 11, 2012.

The videos are free and you can download them at this link. For more information about the Huntington Library’s Japanese Garden, visit this link.

What’s more enchanting to see in a garden than a butterfly flitting from flower to flower? The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is just about ready to open their annual Butterfly Pavilion:

Opening on Easter Sunday, April 8th, and running through September 3rd, more than 53 different butterfly and moth species and an array of plants take up residence in our much-anticipated seasonal exhibit, the Butterfly Pavilion. Wander through a unique changing ecosystem, witness free-flying creatures interacting with plant life, and emerge with a better understanding of the environment needed for the survival of these spectacular animals.

The Butterfly Pavilion showcases the fascinating dance between butterflies, moths, and the plants that surround them, an interaction that has been refined over the course of millions of years. See up close how butterflies use their tubular mouthparts to obtain nectar and witness caterpillars feed on leaves and go through the process of their transformation into adults. Various butterflies are present at different points during the season and the plants will grow and change. This means that each visit to the Butterfly Pavilion throughout the summer can be a different experience!

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is open seven days a week from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM (except Jan. 1st, July  4th, Thanksgiving Day, & Dec 25th). Entry for Adults is $12.00, Seniors (62 +) is $9.00, College Students with ID is $9.00, Youth (Age 13-17) is $8.00, Children (Age 5-12) is $5.00, children under 4 and Members are free. The museum is located at 900 Exposition Blvd. In Los Angeles. For more information, visit this link.

At another LA-area museum a completely different thing is about to happen when MOCA presents Cai Guo-Qiang: Sky Ladder:

MOCA presents Cai Guo-Qiang: Sky Ladder, the first West Coast solo exhibition of the New York–based artist, known for his gunpowder drawings, installations, and explosion events. The exhibition will be on view at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA from April 8–July 30, 2012, and will feature new works commissioned by MOCA, including three gunpowder drawings and an outdoor explosion event created onsite at the museum.

Cai Guo-Qiang: Sky Ladder explores Cai’s lifelong fascination with the unseen forces in the physical and metaphysical worlds. His view of the universe is one Cai came to on his own, through popular books, folk traditions, his curiosity about cosmological phenomena, and realizations about life. For Cai, time and space are one entity because the word for “universe” in Chinese, yuzhou, consists of space (yu) and time (zhou).

Yep. Opening night there will be an explosion:

To celebrate the opening of his first solo museum exhibition on the West Coast, Cai will present his site-specific work created for MOCA, Mystery Circle: Explosion Event for The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, which includes the ignition of 40,000 firework rockets.

MOCA members are given priority entry for the event but non-members are also welcome to attend. The explosion will occur on the exterior wall of the museum on Saturday, April 7th, at 7:30 PM sharp. To view the explosion, plan to arrive no later than 6:45 PM. The Geffen Contemporary At MOCA is located at 152 North Central Avenue in Los Angeles. For more information, visit this link.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will be offering a screening of particular interest — A 50th Anniversary Screening featuring a new digital restoration of To Kill A Mockingbird:

As much of a classic as the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962) is the film that would come to define Gregory Peck’s career. Produced by Alan J. Pakula and directed by Robert Mulligan, the film features Peck as a Depression-era lawyer struggling against a prejudiced system to exonerate a falsely accused African-American man. For his iconic portrayal of Atticus Finch, Peck earned his only Oscar for acting, after four previous nominations. Co-star Robert Duvall made his film debut as the mysterious Boo Radley, while Mary Badham also made her first screen appearance, as Atticus’s daughter, Scout.

Seen through her eyes, the film also becomes Scout’s coming-of-age story as she learns about injustice, the frailties of human nature and the definition of heroism. Badham’s performance earned her an Oscar nomination at the tender age of 10, making her at the time the youngest actress ever to be nominated. The film’s remarkable ability to connect with viewers of all ages and backgrounds has made it a versatile teaching tool. In high schools and colleges, whether for classes in cinema, literature, history or sociology, "To Kill a Mockingbird" continues to impart powerful lessons.

The film will be introduced by Tavis Smiley and there will be special guests in attendance including Mary Badham. The screening will take place on Wednesday, April 11th at 7:30 PM at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Doors open at 6:30 PM and all seating is unreserved. Tickets are $5 general admission/$3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID, and are on sale now online, in person at the Academy Box Office, and by mail. For more information, visit this link.

Okey-dokey, that’s it for another week of Pressing Matters, thanks for stopping by.  I’ve got some egg dying to take care of so I’ll leave you and say good-bye till next week. In the mean time, if you want to know what I’m up to, you need to follow Pressing Matters on Twitter. You never know what you’ll find there — food, museums, shopping, Disneyland, Mockingbirds! Follow along as I search for the all the latest Pressing Matters & tweet about what I find:


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FTC-Mandated Disclosure: As of December 2009, bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose payments and freebies. Sue Kruse and Al Lutz did not receive any payments, free items, or free services from any of the parties discussed in this article. They pay for their own admission to theme parks and their associated events, unless otherwise explicitly noted.

© 2012 Sue Kruse