This Week’s Picks: December 18 – 24, 2013

Pub date December 17, 2013

Keep the season safe from Gary Busey.



“Noir City Xmas”

Fans of sultry dames, smoking guns, and sinister characters — as well as anyone hankering for a break from fizzy, fuzzy holiday clatter — need only slink down a dark alley … er, Castro Street … to “Noir City Xmas,” hosted by Eddie “Czar of Noir” Muller and Audra “Ms. Noir City” Wolfmann. The 35mm double-bill kicks off with cult indie crime drama Blast of Silence (1961), with writer-director-star Allen Baron in person. Next up is 1947’s mega-rare Christmas Eve, which sounds like it might be sentimental until you hear its alternate title: Sinner’s Holiday. Now you’re talkin’! Attendees will also get first look at the program for Noir City 12, coming up next month. (Cheryl Eddy)

7pm, $10

Castro Theatre

420 Castro, SF



“Naked Girls Reading Presents: All I Want for Christmas”

Bookstores are closing, magazines are going out of print, and the classics go for pocket change on Amazon. To some, it would seem that the written word has gone out of fashion. The women of Naked Girls Reading disagree. Appearing in 18 cities worldwide, these ladies are proving that literature is as attractive as ever with their nude readings of everything from Homer’s The Odyssey to “Chicken Little.” San Francisco’s chapter includes a retired Harley mechanic and burlesque producer, an author-sexologist, a goldsmith-dominatrix, and an actor-dancer-clown. At their “All I Want for Christmas” event, the lovely ladies will read selections from their holiday favorites, including Charles Dickens to Lemony Snicket. (Janina Glasov)

8pm, $20

Center for Sex and Culture

1349 Mission, SF




Some bands would like to think that listening to their music is a religious experience. Swedish post-punk band Holograms takes this cliché to the next level. Hot off its second release, Forever, the band seeks to capture the feeling of music being played in a church or temple. The vocals echo hauntingly — and just like an old-timey church organ, the synthesizers seem to come in at the right time to elevate Hologram’s musical sermons. Though the band’s been compared to Joy Division on many an occasion, Holograms’ sound is also derivative of ’80s goth at times. Can I get an “amen”? (Erin Dage) With TV Ghost, G. Green 9pm, $12 Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St, SF



“Holiday StrEat Flicks:” Home Alone

While 14 members of the McCallister family rush around their three-story Winnetka, Ill., home, packing for their holiday vacation in Paris, you’re biting into a steamed Coca-Cola braised pork bun. When Kevin, the baby of the Home Alone (1990) family, wakes up to an empty house and realizes he’s been left behind, he orders himself a pizza, just as you grab your own wood-fired slice from Del Popolo. As Harry and Marv, shady burglars also known as the Wet Bandits, sneak around the yard looking for a way in, you’re trying to figure out how to bite into your frozen mousse pop. By the time Kevin’s family returns on Christmas day, you’re sipping mulled wine at this month’s StrEat Flicks and enjoying (not being) Home Alone. (Kaylen Baker).

7pm, free

SoMa StrEat Food Park

428 11th St, SF



Santa Claus Is Coming Out

This year, Father Christmas comes out of the closet instead of down the chimney in Jeffrey Solomon’s solo show, here for a limited run. The acclaimed off-Broadway play explores what happens when Santa admits that he has been living a lie: Mrs. Claus is just an actor, and Mr. Kringle’s true love is a man named Giovanni. Naturally, conservative parents freak out, and a “Santa-Gate” scandal follows Claus’ controversial confession. Solomon’s show probes the reasons why. “Would people be willing to cancel Christmas as we know it,” he wonders, “rather than let the red suited homosexual into their homes and hearts?” (Glasov)

Thu/19-Fri/20, 8pm; Sat/21, 9:30pm; Sun/22, 5pm; Mon/23, 6pm; Tues/24, 3pm, $25-$35

Eureka Theatre

215 Jackson, SF



Gremlins and Lethal Weapon

When it comes to films that are considered “holiday classics” by the majority of people, titles such as White Christmas (1954) and Miracle on 34th Street (1947) are likely tossed around. But two of the best Christmas movies — Gremlins (1984) and Lethal Weapon (1987) — are showing tonight at the Castro. What better way to celebrate the season than with Gizmo and pals fending off little green monsters that go caroling and scaring the hell out of mean old people? And Riggs and Murtaugh keeping the season safe from Gary Busey? It’s going to be an ’80s nostalgic blast — but remember, whatever you do, don’t feed any of your furry friends after midnight! (Sean McCourt)

Gremlins, 7pm; Lethal Weapon, 9pm, $8.50-$11

Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF

FRIDAY 12/20



If you’re not into the plethora of holiday-related events this week, go to a metal show instead. Credited as being the band that brought thrash to the Bay Area — helping spawn a scene that’s still thriving today — Richmond’s Exodus has been going strong for over 30 years. Playing a brand of aggressive, fast-tempo music, the band has remained a head-banging force through numerous lineup changes and studio albums. Also joining in on the fun is Oxnard’s Nails. Combining elements of early grindcore and power violence, this SoCal band simply rips. So forget the various parties and mixers, and put some money down on what could be one of the heaviest shows of the season. (Dage)

With Hellfire

8pm, $25


333 11th St., SF




I didn’t see the Growlers at Outside Lands last summer, or when the band played a VICE party in Mexico City while I traveled there that same month. Alas, I’ll be home for Christmas during its two nights at the Independent, so I’ll miss out again. Fortunately I can absorb the Costa Mesa band’s cult-like hippie vibes and appreciate its spooky, retro aesthetic through videos. You, however, should go. With a new EP, Gilded Pleasures, there’s a chance to hear some fresh material — and if the videos are any indication of the live experience, you’ll find the finger is on some filthy, reverb-rich pulse and you won’t be able to look away. (Andre Torrez)

With Abigails, Mystic Braves

Fri/20-Sat/21, 9pm, $20


628 Divisadero



Youth Brigade

Formed by brothers Adam, Mark, and Shawn Stern in 1980, Youth Brigade made its mark on the early California punk scene not only with empowering anthems like “Fight to Unite,” but also with the DIY attitude with which members went about making their music. The Los Angeles-born band started the Better Youth Organization to promote shows and put out records for themselves and for their friends’ bands, and after more than 30 years, the label continues to go strong, and the group still plays with a raw, rebellious energy and spirit. (McCourt)

With Civil War Rust, Rats in the Wall, Bum City Saints

9pm, $12

Thee Parkside

1600 17th St., SF



UpSwing Aerial Dance

Cherie Carson’s UpSwing Aerial Dance Company is a small, Berkeley-based group of people who love to spend their time on ropes and trapezes — and even, at times, on stilts and unicycles. Only three years old, the group grew out of a pickup ensemble that wanted to perform on a more regular basis. At home in the Eighth Street arts complex, where it also presents its shows, UpSwing honors the longest night of the year and the return of the sun with a Winter Solstice celebration. In addition to the UpSwing dancers, junior group Teens Who Fly will make an appearance. Alissa Kaplan Soto designed an interactive visual installation, and musicians Dave Worm, Midnight Ramblers, and Sahib Amar and Amar Singh will do their share to make this a welcoming, audience-participation-invited holiday event. (Rita Felciano)

5:30 and 8pm, $10-$25

Studio 12

2525 Eighth St, Berk



Saturday Write Fever

Do you do some of your best writing under extreme duress? Can you act the hell out of a script that’s just been handed to you? Time to stretch your spontaneity muscles at Saturday Write Fever. Every third Saturday, EXIT Theatre and the San Francisco Theater Pub host writers and performers for a mixer that gives way to a 30-minute writing sprint on a topic chosen that night, during which participants turn out original monologues. Actors are then cast from the audience (no previous acting experience necessary!) for flash performances of these hot-off-the-press works. Hosted by local writers Stuart Bousel and Megan Cohen, this coming together of creative community may move at lightning speed, but it is certain to be unforgettable. (Kirstie Haruta)

8:30pm, free

EXIT Theatre

156 Eddy, SF



Kung Pao Kosher Comedy

Years ago, comedian Lisa Geduldig put a new twist on the old unwritten law that says “Jews must go to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas” after finding herself telling Jewish jokes at the Peking Garden Club in South Hadley, Mass. Soon thereafter, Kung Pao Kosher Comedy was born. With two shows a night over three days, the 21st annual show offers six chances to escape the holiday madness and have a good laugh. This year’s headliner is Gary Gulman, a Boston native whose resume brims with late-night talk show appearances and Comedy Central spots; he was also a runner-up on Last Comic Standing. Joining him are stand-up and improv star Adrianne Tolsch; Asian American Theater Company Comedy Competition winner Samson Koletkar; and, of course, host Geduldig. Proceeds from the shows benefit San Francisco and Marin Food Banks’ Healthy Children Pantries and the San Francisco Jewish Home’s Esther Weintraub Comedy Clinic. (Haruta)

Dec 24-26, 6pm (dinner show); 9:30pm (cocktail show), $44-$64

New Asia Restaurant 772 Pacific, SF Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Rise up, clap your hands, and sway to the beat, because tonight the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir hollers holy at its 25th annual Holiday Concert. Rumor has it that temporary architectural reinforcements may be added to the walls at Slim’s, because the soulful bellowing of these gospel crooners could easily blow the roof off and bring down the house. Though the December holidays don’t immediately conjure up the deep timber and breathtaking vibrato of gospel and spiritual music, the OIGC’s mission — “to inspire joy and unity among all people” — coincides harmoniously with the holiday spirit. Joyful noise, indeed! (Baker) 7 and 9:30pm, $15 Slim’s 333 11th St, SF