Holiday listings are compiled by Todd Lavoie. Listings for Wed/20-Tues/26 are below; check back each week for updated events. See Picks for information on how to submit items to the listings.
“Reindeer Romp” San Francisco Zoo, 1 Zoo Road, Sloat at 47th Ave; 753-7080, www.sfzoo.org. Daily, 10am-5pm. Through Jan 1, 2007. Free with paid zoo admission ($4.50-11). Here’s a chance to show the little tykes what reindeer actually look like. Take a trip to Reindeer Romp Village and admire the beautiful creatures.
“San Francisco SPCA Holiday Windows Express” Macy’s, Stockton at O’Farrell; 522-3500, www.sfspca.org. During store hours. Through Dec 26. Free. The SF Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals presents an adorable display of cats and dogs; all featured pets are available for adoption.
Knight Ridder’s Downtown Ice Circle of Palms, S Market across from Plaza de Cesar Chavez, San Jose; (408) 279-1775, ext 45, www.sjdowntown.com. Dec 20-24, 26-30, noon-midnight. Mon/25, 2pm-midnight. Dec 31-Jan 1: noon-10pm. $12-14. A glide around this outdoor rink is a perfect way to ring in the holidays; price includes skate rentals.
“Donna Sachet’s Songs of the Season” York Hotel, Empire Plush Room, 940 Sutter, SF; www.donnasachet.com. Wed/20, 8pm. $60. Deliciously entertaining MC Donna Sachet celebrates her 14th year of “Songs of the Season,” a variety show benefiting the AIDS Emergency Fund. Performers include Sharon McNight, T.J. and Sheba!, and Connie Champagne.
“A Chaos Christmas Carol with Chicken John and Friends” 12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission; 970-9777. Sun/24, 9pm. $7. Proclaimed by the mighty entertainer Chicken John as “either the greatest show anyone has ever seen or the worst show on earth,” this holiday game show in which everyone wins is a sure thing when it comes to hilarity. Make sure to bring a gift to insure that everyone goes home with a prize!
“Dark Sparkle Christmas” Cafe du Nord, 2170 Market; 861-5016. Sat/23, 10pm-2am. $7. If too much holiday cheer is bringing you down, you might as well revel in it, right? DJs Miz Margo and Sage spin only the finest in dark and gloomy sounds with a goth-, new wave-, and punk-themed holiday party.
“Golden Age of Hollywood’s Central Ave Holiday Show” Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa; www.oldtimey.net. Sat/23, 8:30pm-1:15am. $15. Dames and gents are encouraged to slip on their finest vintage threads and dance the night away to the sweet sounds of jazz, blues, and swing. Wax nostalgic with live music by Stompy Jones and Cari Lee and the Saddle-ites, as well as performances by the Chippenbelles and the Jitterdales. MoniKaBOOM and BeBop Becca heat things up with their Miss Sultry Claus act, and DJ Jumpin’ Jeff provides the proper martini-sipping tunes. Arrive early for Hep Jen’s helpful dance lessons.
“Latkes and Vodka Chanukah Party” Medjool, 2522 Mission; 512-6279. Thurs/21, 7pm. RSVP requested. $15. Mmmm, latkes. Sponsored by the SF Jewish Community Federation LGBT Alliance and Congregation Sha-ar Zahav, this evening of festive food and drink promises to fill the room with happy tummies and holiday cheer. Be sure to arrive early: the first 100 guests receive a free goodie bag!
“Unsilent Night” Starts at Mission Dolores Park, 18th St and Dolores; (707) 869-2778. Sat/23, 7pm. Free. New York composer Phil Kline’s free, all-volunteer outdoor boom box holiday concert and public art event returns for its fourth year of enchanting San Franciscans with glorious ambient music. Participants are invited to bring a stereo to the starting point, where Kline will hand out cassettes and CDs to be played as part of a huge, mobile sound system that will parade along a mile-long route through the Mission, Noe Valley, and Castro neighborhoods.
“Russian Christmas Dance Party” Avalon Nightclub, 777 Lawrence Expwy, Santa Clara; www.novoeradio.com. Sat/23, 8:30pm-2am. $20-25. I don’t know about you, but when I think of Christmas, the words “psychedelic trance” spring to mind. NovoeRadio.com, the biggest Russian radio station in the United States, hosts a party to remember, with DJs Playdoughboy and Stranger and special guests Slon from Germany and Owonlapi from Switzerland.
“Solstice Celebration” Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo, Berk; (510) 525-5054. Sat/23, 6:30pm drum circle and potluck, 8pm concert. Free. Ashkenaz celebrates the solstice and honors founder David Nadel with an evening of food and music. The first portion of the program is a potluck dinner and drum jam; the second is a full itinerary of live performances, including the Afro-Caribbean flavors of the Sidewinders and the rollicking Balkan rhythms of Edessa.
“Telegraph Ave Holiday Street Fair” Telegraph between Bancroft and Dwight, Berk. Sat/23-Sun/24, 11am-6pm. Free. The Telegraph Business District transforms into a street party with an impressive array of live music, fine food, and unique handicrafts from area artisans.
“Winter Solstice Service and Celebration” Corte Madera Recreation Center, 498 Tamalpais Drive, Corte Madera; (415) 924-1494. Fri/22, 7-8:30pm. Free. The Golden Gate Center for Spiritual Living sponsors a family-friendly evening of celebrating new beginnings and spiritual fellowship. In addition to songs and prayers to warm the heart, there will be hot and hearty soup to warm the belly on a cold, cold night.
“A Cathedral Christmas” Grace Cathedral, 1100 California; 1-866-468-3399. Fri/22, 7pm; Sat/23, 3 and 7pm. $15-50. The Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, with orchestra, sings a program of holiday favorites.
“Celtic Christmas” Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento; www.oldfirstconcerts.org. Fri/22, 8pm. $12-15. Boasting a lively sound featuring fiddle, Celtic harp, tin whistle, and bouzouki, three-piece Golden Bough perform traditional and original holiday songs from Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.
“A Chanticleer Christmas” St Ignatius Church, 650 Parker; 392-4400. Sat/23, 8pm. $25-44. Grammy Award winners Chanticleer, a 12-man a cappella choir, sing a program of sacred and traditional holiday music. Along with holiday carols, the group performs medieval and Renaissance sacred works and African American spirituals.
“Christmas Winds” St John of God Church, 1290 Fifth Ave; 488-7632. Sat/23, 7:30pm. $15-20. Carol Negro directs the Baroque Arts Ensemble in a holiday show featuring Gregorian chants, medieval carols, madrigals, spirituals, and many other forms of celebratory music.
“Contra Costa Chorale Concert” Wells Fargo History Museum, 420 Montgomery; 396-2619. Wed/20, noon-1pm. Free. Treat yourself to an inspiring lunch break with a program of traditional and unusual Christmas carols performed by one of the oldest community choruses in the East Bay, the Contra Costa Chorale.
“Golden Gate Boys Choir and Bellringers Concert” Wells Fargo History Museum, 420 Montgomery; 396-2619. Thurs/21, noon-1pm. Free. Nothing beats breaking up your workday with an hour of festive song; the Golden Gate Boys Choir and Bellringers lift spirits with a show of seasonal favorites.
“Golden Gate Men’s Chorus Winter Concert” St Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 3281 16th St; www.ggmc.org. Wed/20, 8pm. $20. Musical Director Joseph Jennings guides the Golden Gate Men’s Chorus through a repertoire of holiday favorites and audience sing-alongs.
“Home for the Holidays” Castro Theatre, 429 Castro; 865-2787. Sun/24, 5, 7, and 9pm. $17-22. The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus celebrates its 16th annual holiday show, with a segment of the program dedicated to heartwarming tunes from the movies. The chorus will be joined by the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, directed by Stephanie Lynne Smith, for the 9pm show.
“Oakland Interfaith Gospel Ensemble” Slim’s, 333 11th St; www.slims-sf.com. Sun/24, 7 and 9:30pm. $15. Raise your spirits with a family-oriented holiday show bringing messages of peace, love, and joy. The soaring harmonies of the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Ensemble will provide inspiration lasting well into the New Year.
“12 Bands of Christmas” 12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission; 970-9777. Fri/22-Sat/23, 9pm. $8 one-night ticket, $12 two-night ticket. All caroled out? For a more amped-up Christmas concert, 12 Galaxies offers an eclectic roster including Ryan Auffenberg, Joel Streeter, and the Bittersweets.
“Amahl and the Night Visitors” Masquers Playhouse, 105 Park Place, Point Richmond; www.masquers.org. Dec 23, 28-30, 8pm. $10 suggested donation. Members of the Masquers Playhouse and the Joyful Noise Choir of the First United Methodist Church of Point Richmond deliver a heartwarming rendition of the Gian Carlo Menotti winter favorite.
“Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Extravaganza” Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City; (650) FOX-4119.Thurs/21, 7:30pm; Fri/22, 8pm. $60-85. Swing-lovin’ rockabilly king Brian Setzer returns with his 18-piece big band for an evening of toe-tapping, poodle-skirt-twirling holiday fun.
“A Chanticleer Christmas” First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berk; 1-800-407-1400. Thurs/21, 8pm. $25-44. Grammy Award winners Chanticleer, a 12-man a cappella choir, sing a program of sacred and traditional holiday music. Along with holiday carols, the group performs medieval and Renaissance sacred works and African American spirituals.
“Expect a Miracle Holiday Benefit Concert” Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo, Berk; (510) 525-5054. Thurs/21, 9pm. $10-20, sliding scale. Reggae performances by Ras Kidus, Undah P, Hurricane, and Mcguyva heat things up this holiday season in an evening of spiritually uplifting music. Proceeds benefit the Urban Community Action Network and Roots Connection Reggae University Project.
“From the Darkness, Solace” Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont, Oakl; (510) 228-3207. Thurs/21, 7pm. $10-20. In honor of the darkest day of the year, more than 35 solo artists perform original music in this winter solstice celebration.
“In Harmony’s Way” Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 1111 Addison, Berk; (510) 548-1761. Fri/22, 8pm. $18.50. Renowned Irish singer Shay Black MCs a program of traditional carols, sea chanteys, folk ballads, and much more. Performers include Riggy Rackin, Pam Swan, and members of a cappella ensemble Oak, Ash, and Thorn.
NUTCRACKERS AND CRACKED NUTS
“Ronn Guidi’s Nutcracker Ballet” Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakl; (510) 625-8497. Fri/22-Sat/23, 8pm (also Sat/23, 2pm); Sun/24, 11am. $15-50. Watch the Sugar Plum Fairy and her handsome Cavalier dance along with the rest of the charming characters of the Kingdom of Delights. Members of the Oakland East Bay Symphony provide the whimsical musical accompaniment.
THEATER, COMEDY, AND PERFORMANCE
“Beach Blanket Babylon’s Seasonal Extravaganza” Club Fugazi, 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd (Green St); 421-4222. Wed/20-Thurs/21, 8pm (also Wed/20, 5pm); Fri/22-Sat/23, 7 and 10pm; Sun/24, 2 and 5pm. Through Dec 31. $25-77. Sure, the label gets used a lot, but Steve Silver’s musical comedy is really and truly an extravaganza, with topical humor, dancing Christmas trees, outrageous costumes, and the biggest Christmas hat you’ve ever seen in your life.
“Black X Mass” Elbo Room, 647 Valencia; 552-7788, www.elbo.com. Mon/25, 9pm. $6.66 (of course). High Priestess Karla LaVey of the First Satanic Church hosts a variety show focusing on the darker side of things. Performers include Mongoloid, Graves Brothers Deluxe, Sergio Iglesias, Meathole Bitches, Wealthy Whore Entertainment, Theremin Wizard Barney, Tallulah Bankheist, and Ginger the Stripper. See pick box.
“Bud E. Luv Xmas Show” Red Devil Lounge, 1695 Polk; 921-1695. Mon/25, 8pm. $12. San Francisco’s smoothest operator, lounge lizard extraordinaire Bud E. Luv, throws a Christmas bash you aren’t likely to forget for a long, long time. Brace yourself: his disco and ’80s medleys contain artery-clogging amounts of cheese.
“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon; www.exploratorium.edu. Sun/24, noon. Free with regular admission. The museum hosts a screening of the 1963 classic written and narrated by Dylan Thomas. Also showing will be the animated film The Sweater, a tale of boyhood in rural Quebec in the 1940s.
“Christmas Ballet” Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, theater bldg, 700 Howard; 978-2787. Wed/20-Sat/23, 8pm (also Thurs/21, Sat/23, 2pm); Sun/24, Tues/26, Dec 28, 2pm; Dec 27, 7pm. $45-55. The Smuin Ballet offers a mix of ballet, tap, swing, and many other dance styles in a holiday performance set to music by everyone from Placido Domingo to Eartha Kitt.
“A Christmas Carol” American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary; 749-2228, www.act-sf.org. Wed/20-Sat/23, 7pm (also Wed/20, Fri/22-Sat/23, 2pm); Sun/24, noon. $13.50-81.50. The American Conservatory Theater presents Carey Perloff and Paul Walsh’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens holiday story, featuring sets by Tony Award-winning designer John Arnone, original songs by Karl Lundeberg, costumes by Beaver Bauer, and choreography by Val Caniparoli.
“The Da Vinci Files” Brava Theatre, 2781 24th St; 206-0577. Thurs/21, 6pm. Free. Mystery-exploring Spanish-language network Infinito hosts a celebration dedicated to the San Francisco Latino community with a free screening of its new documentary, The Da Vinci Files, which covers the myths and mysteries surrounding the master painter. Infinito will be giving away prizes at this screening.
“Holiday Animation Film Festival” Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon; www.exploratorium.edu. Dec 26-30, noon, 1 and 2pm. Free with regular admission. The Exploratorium’s McBean Theater screens a series of quirky animated shorts and minidocumentaries certain to stimulate the mind as well as tickle the funny bone.
“It Could Have Been a Wonderful Life” Phoenix Theater, 414 Mason; 820-1400. Fri/22-Sat/23, 8pm; Sun/24, 3pm. $20-25. Fred Raker’s laugh-filled retelling of the Christmas classic delivers a distinctly Jewish spin on the Frank Capra story.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” Actors Theatre of San Francisco, 855 Bush; 345-1287. Thurs/21, 8pm; Fri/22-Sat/23, 2pm. $10-30. Joe Landry’s adaptation of Frank Capra’s classic holiday film, directed by Kenneth Vandenberg, is performed in the style of live radio broadcasts from the ’40s.
“Kung Pao Kosher Comedy” New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific; www.koshercomedy.com. Fri/22-Sun/24, 6pm dinner show, 9:30pm cocktail show; Mon/25, 5pm dinner show, 8:30pm cocktail show. $40 cocktail show, $60 seven-course dinner show. Celebrating Christmas with Jewish comedy in a Chinese restaurant, Kung Pao Kosher Comedy throws its 14th annual bash with hilarity from Cathy Ladman, Stephanie Blum, and Dan Ahdoot. Kung Pao mastermind Lisa Geduldig hosts the show.
“Oy Vey in a Manger” Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness; 392-4400. Sat/23, 8pm. $25-35. “America’s favorite dragapella beautyshop quartet” the Kinsey Sicks leave no taboo untouched with their over-the-top drag, fierce comedy, and truly twisted renditions of holiday classics, including the perennial fave “God Bless Ye Femmy Lesbians.”
“A Queer Carol” New Conservatory Theatre, Decker Theatre, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctsf.org. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Dec 31, 2 pm. Through Dec 31. $22-40. The New Conservatory Theatre Center presents Joe Godfrey’s comedy A Queer Carol, a retelling of Charles Dickens’s classic tale with gay themes and characters.
“Santaland Diaries” Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission; 1-866-811-4111, www.theatermania.com. Dec 22-23, 27-31, 8 (also Fri-Sat, 10pm; Dec 31, 10:30pm); Sun/24-Mon/25, 7pm (also Sun/24, 3pm). Through Dec 31. $20-30. Steinbeck Presents and Combined Art Form Entertainment bring shrieks of glee with their adaptation of David Sedaris’s hilarious play featuring the comic genius of actors John Michael Beck and David Sinaiko.
“Trimming the Holidays: The Second Annual Shorts Project” Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; 503-0437, www.lveproductions.com. Fri/22-Sat/23, 8pm. $17-20. La Vache Enragee Productions presents a holiday-themed evening of short plays and silent films accompanied by music composed by Christine McClintock.
“A Very Brechty Christmas” Custom Stage at Off-Market, 965 Mission; 1-800-838-3006. Thurs/21-Sat/23, 8pm. $15-35. The Custom Made Theatre Co., under the direction of Lewis Campbell and Brian Katz, brings two short socially conscious plays to the stage for a bit of holiday season perspective: Bertolt Brecht’s The Exception and the Rule and Daniel Gerould’s Candaules, Commissioner.
“Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XIV” Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College, Berk; www.juliamorgan.org. Tues/26, 8pm. $15-17. Political satirist Will Durst is joined by a cast of barbed-tongued comics in an evening of comedy addressing the major news stories of the year.
“A Christmas Carol” Sonoma County Repertory Theater, 104 North Main, Sebastopol; (707) 823-0177. Thurs/21-Sat/23, 8pm. $15-20; Thurs, pay what you can. Artistic director Scott Phillips leads the Sonoma Country Repertory in an inventive rendition of the Charles Dickens tale.
“A Christmas Carol: A Solo Performance” Marin Art and Garden Center, Barn Theatre, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Ross; (415) 226-1316. Thurs/21-Sat/23, 8pm (also Sat/23, 1pm); Sun/24, 1pm. $10-25. Talk about juggling many balls at once! Ron Severdia portrays more than 40 different characters in his ambitious solo-show adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic.
“Christmas Dreamland” Heritage Theatre, One W Campbell, Campbell; 1-888-455-7469. Wed/20-Thurs/21, 2 and 7pm; Fri/22-Sat/23, 8pm (also Sat/23, 2pm); Sun/24, 1pm. $48-73. Artistic director Tim Bair leads the American Musical Theatre of San Jose in the world premiere of its multimedia holiday showcase.
“A Christmas Memory” Berkeley South Branch Library, 1901 Russell, Berk; (510) 981-6107. Wed/20, 4:30pm. Free. Actor Thomas Lynch performs a 40-minute abridged reading of Truman Capote’s holiday favorite, A Christmas Memory. Refreshments will be served after the performance.
“Circus Finelli’s Holiday Extravaganza” Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College, Berk; www.juliamorgan.org. Wed/20-Sun/24, 1 and 3pm (also Thurs/21, 9pm). $8-15. The Clown Conservatory of the SF Circus Center brings holiday cheer with a comedy stage show filled with acrobatics, juggling, dance, live music, and yes, clown high jinks.
“Freight Holiday Revue and Fundraiser” Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 1111 Addison, Berk; (510) 548-1761. Thurs/21, 8pm. $17.50. The nonprofit community arts organization Freight and Salvage hosts an evening of music, food, and Charles Dickens readings. Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum perform blazing bluegrass numbers, Cascada de Flores explore Mexican and Cuban musical traditions, and famed Dickens actor Martin Harris reads passages from the timeless classic A Christmas Carol.
“Keep the Yuletide Gay” Dragon Theater, 535 Alma, Palo Alto; (415) 439-2456, www.theatrereq.org. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Dec 30. $10-25. Theatre Q presents this world premiere of its irreverent comedy about a Christmas Eve dinner party that devolves into chaos when one of the guests hires a mystic to try to make their gay friend straight for the hostess.
“A Little Cole in Your Stocking” Aurora Theatre Company, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Dec 30. $25. Bay Area husband-and-wife cabaret duo Meg Mackay and Billy Philadelphia weave Cole Porter tunes and swinging holiday ditties into a mischievous, irreverent show.
TREE LIGHTINGS AND FAMILY EVENTS
“Bill Graham Menorah” Union Square; 753-0910. Sixth candle lighting: Wed/20, 5pm. Seventh: Thurs/21, 5pm. Final: Fri/22, 3pm. Observe the Festival of Lights by visiting the impressively large public menorah in Union Square.
“Boudin at the Wharf’s Old-Fashioned North Pole” Boudin at the Wharf, 160 Jefferson; 928-1849. Sat/23, 10am-5pm. Carolers, refreshments, and special visits from Santa mean family fun as Pier 43
“Children’s Tea” Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, One Nob Hill; 616-6916. Sat-Sun, noon-3pm. Through Dec 30. $39. The legendary Top of the Mark sky lounge hosts a holiday-themed afternoon tea for families. In addition to some fine views of the city, guests will be treated to a magic show.
“Young and Young at Heart Open House” Wells Fargo Museum, 420 Montgomery; 396-2619. Wed/20, 11am-2pm. Free. This family event will feature stagecoach rides, trivia treasure hunts, and many other activities with a holiday theme.
“Gingerbread House Party” Habitot Children’s Museum, 2065 Kittredge, Berk; www.habitot.org. Wed/20, 9:30am-1pm. Free. Take your little ones, along with a bag of candy, to the museum for a chance to decorate a giant gingerbread house. Once completed, the mouthwatering creation will be donated to a local family shelter for the children to enjoy.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
Creativity Explored’s Holiday Art Sale 3245 16th St; 863-2108, www.creativityexplored.org. Regular hours: Mon-Fri, 10am-3pm; Sat, 1-6pm. Through Dec 28. Free. The nonprofit visual arts center offers works created by artists with developmental, psychiatric, and physical disabilities.
“Great Dickens Christmas Fair” Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva; 1-800-510-1558. Sat/23, 11am-7pm. $8-20. For a slower-paced shopping experience, this winter wonderland offers a range of theater and entertainment, costumed Victorian-era characters, sumptuous feasts, and gift ideas aplenty.
“Peace, Love, Joy, ART” ARTworkSF, main gallery, 49 Geary; 673-3080. Gallery hours: Tues-Sat, noon-5:30pm. Through Dec 30. Browse locally made handiworks for holiday gift ideas.
“Public Glass Artist Showcase” Crocker Galleria, 50 Post; 671-4916. Wed/20-Fri/22, 10am-7pm. Free. More than 15 local glass artists will exhibit their work, offering many one-of-a-kind gifts. Public Glass is the city’s only nonprofit center for glassworking, and this will be its sole downtown event of the year.
“Berkeley Potters Guild Gallery Show and Holiday Sale” 731 Jones, Berk; (510) 524-7031. Wed/20-Sun/24, 10am-5pm. Free. Browse through the wares of the oldest and largest clay collaborative group on the West Coast.
“EclectiXmas Art Show and Sale” Eclectix Store and Gallery, 7523 Fairmount, El Cerrito; (510) 364-7261. Wed/20, noon-6pm; Thurs/21, 11am-7pm; Fri/22, 10am-7pm; Sat/23, 10am-6pm; Sun/24, 10am-2pm. Free. Nothing says “I love you” like a sculpture or painting or photograph. Browse the gallery’s group show for imaginative gifts.
“Pro Arts Holiday Sale” 550 Second St, Oakl; (510) 763-4361. Wed/20-Thurs/21, noon-6pm. Free. This nonprofit organization supporting Bay Area artists offers jewelry, glassware, ceramics, and other potential gifts.<\!s>