Hanukkah Punks and Christmas Queens
FRIDAY, December 22
Though us gentiles have it much worse — a shiksa goddess like me has to be talked off the ledge every time “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire .?.?.” is played — no Jew should have to listen to Adam Sandler outing members of the tribe on every radio station this time of year. So, for the last day of the Festival of Lights head to the Workmen’s Circle for the final concert of Hanukkah Tour 2006, featuring eight Jewish punk bands that have toured across eight West Coast cities. Instead of spitting, throw dreidels at Yidcore, “the original Aussie Jewish punk pranksters”; Jewdriver, “a send-up of the neo-Nazi band Screwdriver”; and the Zydepunks, performing their “New Orleans Cajun Irish Breton Klezmer Slavic Zydeco punk.” Also on the program are screenings of Jericho’s Echo, a documentary about punk rock in Israel, and Tattoo Jew, which explores Jews with Judaism-themed tats. That’s the goyish influence right there. Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring, 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., L.A.; Fri., Dec. 22, 8 p.m.; donation only. (310) 552-2007.
SATURDAY, December 23
Your last hours of last-minute Christmas shopping might be better spent making a donation to the Love Is Alive Christmas Benefit Concert and toy-and-food drive for the homeless, where you’ll be rewarded with live R&B and gospel music by rapper and religious activist Tonex, the Gospel Wonders, L.A. Young Adult Choir of GMWA, Lady Shervonne Wells and many others. Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, 400 S. Santa Fe Ave., Compton; Sat., Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $15, $12 with wrapped toy or canned good. (310) 639-0568.
Their “Freddie Mercury” looks more like Burt Reynolds, and the wig on “Brian May” is just an insult. But having seen Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers front the real Queen at the Hollywood Bowl last year, even a cover band like Queen Nation has to be better. Singer and pianist Joe Retta wears the requisite wife beater and white jeans (Mercury’s famous overbite, though, is a challenge) and the band’s impressive repertoire includes Queen standards like “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Plus, some of yours truly’s favorites, including “I Want to Break Free,” the video for which featured all Queen members in drag. The days of watching a hairy man in a pink tank top and leather skirt on MTV are long gone, kids. The Canyon Club, 28912 Roadside Dr., Agoura Hills; Sat., Dec. 23, 8:30 p.m.; $15. (818) 879-5016.
SUNDAY, December 24
Olvera Street Merchants commemorates the final night of Las Posadas, the traditional celebration in Mexico that marks the journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of lodging (posada means lodging or shelter), with a candlelight procession starting at the historic Avila Adobe and continues with re-enactments, villancicos (Mexican Christmas carols), champurrado (hot chocolate) and pan dulce (sweet bread), and piñata time. El Pueblo Historical Monument, betw. Main & Alameda sts., dwntwn.; Sun., Dec. 24, 6 p.m.; free. (213) 625-7074.
In a nonfestive city such as ours, the 47th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration is as close to the Christmas spirit as you’re going to get. This free, six-hour spectacular includes more than 45 ensembles, choirs and dance companies, including the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Mariachi Divas, Gay Men’s Chorus, Jazz Antiqua, Vox Femina and Djanbazian Dance Company, just to name a few. Sheryl Lee Ralph (of the original Broadway cast of Dreamgirls), author Sandra Tsing Loh and actor Fred Willard are among the hosts, and making special appearances are American Idol alumni Amanda Avila and Jon Peter Lewis. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Sun., Dec. 24, 3-9 p.m.; free. (213) 972-3099 or www.holidaycelebration.org.
MONDAY, December 25
Unless you’re the Trump family, there are only so many gifts your kids can unwrap. So gently drag the little ones out of bed, while they’re still clad in their PJs, and take them to the Zimmer Children’s Museum’s Pajama Party. Activities include art projects, interactive exhibits — “Discovery Airplane” lets you pilot the Zimmer Plane, and “Music Island” allows you to compose your own music — snacks and a scavenger hunt. Zimmer Children’s Museum, 6505 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Mon., Dec. 25, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; $5, $3 children 3-12, under 2 free. (323) 761-8989.
TUESDAY, December 26
“Have you ever been so drunk you started your car twice?” Yes, George, we have. Except we weren’t drunk. George Lopez, star of stage, film and his own TV sitcom, hosts a six-night run at the Gibson Amphitheatre, where he’ll no doubt be taking a few jabs at Michael Richards and making his trademark Latino vs. whitey jokes, like, “Only white mothers are ever arrested in America for beating a child. Amateurs.” Having caught Lopez on tour at this same venue a few years back, we fondly remember the one about fast food: “Do you ever go to Jack in the Box and the voice that comes out of the speaker has a Mexican accent? ‘Welcome to Yack in the Bock. Can I tay your order?’?” Gibson Amphitheatre, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City; Tues.-Fri., Dec. 26-29, 8:15 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 31, 7:15 p.m.; $54.50-$79.50. (818) 777-3931.
WEDNESDAY, December 27
Some E.T. trivia: E.T.’s face was modeled after Carl Sandburg, Albert Einstein and a pug dog; one of the models was controlled by two dwarfs and a boy born without legs; and the voice was simultaneously provided by an actress named Pat Welsh, whose chain-smoking led to her raspy voice, and Debra Winger. Yup, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, everyone’s favorite movie about an alien 3 million light years from home who befriends a 10-year-old boy named Elliott (whatever happened to Henry Thomas?), will be screened after a day of ice-skating on the Southland’s largest ice-skating rink. Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., dwntwn.; Wed., Dec. 27, 7-9 p.m.; $6 per skating session, $2 skate rental. (888) 527-2757.
THURSDAY, December 28
Until Committing Suicide With the Stars hits the tube, you’ll just have to quench your thirst for bad reality TV by watching rhythmless has-beens and never-weres — who obviously never had their ballet teachers yell “Point your toes, young lady!” at them — trying to dance the jitterbug. Contestants from all three seasons of Dancing With the Stars, including Joey Lawrence, Lisa Rinna, Drew Lachey and Joey McIntyre, will be cha-cha-ing into your hearts again in a live version of the popular ABC show. With luck, competitive ballroom dancing will soon be an Olympic sport. Staples Center, 11th & Figueroa sts., dwntwn.; Thurs., Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m.; $38.50-$95. (213) 742-7340.
Costing half the ticket price of Cirque du Soleil, and without the annoying new-agey music, the New Shanghai Circus features Chinese acrobats and contortionists performing amazing feats, traditional Chinese dances and kung fu in exotic costumes. It takes years of training to learn to ride a unicycle while balancing, then flipping, a half dozen bowls on your head. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Dr., Cerritos; Thurs.-Sat., Dec. 28-30, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 31, 3 p.m.; $42, $31 children 12 & under. (562) 467-8818.
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