David Hammons’ Bag Lady in Flight (credit: ucla.edu)

Let’s get real for a moment. You will overeat on Thanksgiving. Even if the turkey that your mother-in-law made is drier than the Mojave Desert during August, you will manage to replace whatever bird you don’t consume with mashed potatoes, stuffing, and green bean casserole – all of which, of course, will totally rock. And you just know you are going to have at least two slices of pie afterward. It’s okay to admit this. You’re among friends.

So rather than feel guilty about your inevitable day of stomach-warping indulgence, why not nip any potential feelings of remorse in the bud before you shovel that first spoonful of cranberry sauce into your mouth? If you think that’s not possible, think again. For this Thursday is not only turkey day, it is Turkey Trot Day. Of course, there are a whole slew of other fun things to do during the week that don’t involve the word “turkey,” which are listed here for your convenience.

(credit: lacma.org)

Monday, November 21

California Design, 1930-1965: Living the Modern Way

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 857-6000
More Info

We admit it – we miss “Mad Men” terribly, and we can’t wait until Don Draper brings his old-school, manly swagger back to the tube. Fortunately, until that fateful day comes, we can at least enjoy in ultra sleek, streamlined coolness of Mid-Century Modern style that defined Califonia’s very soul from the early ‘30s to the mid ‘60s. Over 300 pieces from this timeless era of swank fashion, architecture, and accessories will be on hand to remind you that the flimsy futon that you have in your den will never, ever look cool.

Time: 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Cost: $15 for Adults; $10 for Seniors and Students; Free for Children 17 and Under and LACMA Members

(credit: californiatheatre.net)

Tuesday, November 22

The Wizard of Oz

California Theatre of the Performing Arts
562 W. Fourth St.
San Bernadino, CA 92402
(909) 663-2293
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We all grew up with the story of Dorothy and her pals from the magical Land of Oz – the classic tale, not the one that the musical “Wicked” ret-conned to turn the Wicked Witch of the West into a somewhat sympathetic character. What better way to reconnect with the days of childhood bliss than to watch this production? Enjoy classic tunes like “If I Only Had a Brain” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as you get transported to an enchanting world of music, color, and timeless characters.

Time: 8:00 PM
Cost: $38.50 -$77.50

William Pajaud’s Holy Family (credit: ucla.edu)

Wednesday, November 23

Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-80

Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 443-7000
More Info

The ’60 and ‘70s was a vital era marked by important social change and empowerment amongst the local African-American community. Nothing reflected this crucial movement quite like the L.A. art scene, as several black artists produced passionate expressions of societal commentary that still speaks strongly to us today. This exhibit features 140 different works in various mediums, all of which bring to light the legacy and impact that these talented men and women had, and continue to have, throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

Time: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Cost: $10

(credit: Justin Rudd)

Thursday, November 24

Turkey Trots

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They are only 5Ks and 10Ks, so they don’t take that long to complete. The races start as early as 7:00 AM, so it’s not like they will run too much interference with your Thanksgiving Day plans. Several cities are holding them, making it a rather convenient activity in which to participate. And after you are done, you can totally justify that third helping of mashed potatoes with lumpy gravy. You are now without excuses.

(credit: bowers.org)

Friday, November 25

Warriors, Tombs, and Temples: China’s Enduring Legacy

Bowers Museum of Cultural Art
2002 N. Main St. Santa Ana, CA 92706
(714) 567-3600
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Imperial China has long been the source for some of the world’s most fascinating artifacts. For archaeologists, it is also the gift that keeps on giving. This exhibit showcases newly excavated artifacts including the legendary terra-cotta warriors pulled from the tomb compound of China’s first emperor, whose mausoleum is considered to be the 8th Wonder of the World (sorry, Astrodome). Patrons will also be able to come down and check out various ornaments, clothing, armor, and artwork that have been extracted from decades of archeological digs.

Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Cost: $21 Adults, $14 Seniors and Students, $12 Student (6-17), Free Children 5 and Under

(credit: Metals 5)

Saturday, November 26

Metales M5

Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center
6200 Atherton St.
Long Beach, CA 90815
(562) 985-7000
More Info

The music of brass instruments is a lot more versatile than we like to give it credit for. Indeed, this is the message that the talented brass quintet Metales M5 seems intent on spreading. Experience a host of barrier-breaking tunes in this rollicking show, spreading across all kinds of genres from classical and opera to movie scores and world music.

Time: 7:00 PM
Cost: $25

(credit: ocparks.com)

Sunday, November 27

Birding Hike

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
18751 Laguna Canyon Rd.
Laguna Beach, CA 92657
(949) 923-2235
More Info

So you’ve spent the entire weekend gorging yourself on leftovers. Even if you’ve participated in a Turkey Trot (good for you!), your subsequent gluttonous indulgence in the 72 hours that followed (give or take) has filled you with some pretty hefty guilt. This moderate 2-mile hike through the rugged beauty of Laguna Canyon is the perfect solution to make you feel better. Grab your binoculars and be prepared to spot some of Southern California’s most beautiful birds during this guided tour.

Time: 8:00 AM
Cost: $2

Rich Manning is an Orange County writer who blogs at Foodie a Go Go.