Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year

By Adam Warner

You’ll be running around these next few weeks, baking up a storm, decorating the house and crossing off everyone on your list. But don’t forget to take a step back and have fun with festivities that only come around once a year. Whether that means testing your dreidel skills, belting out a “Hallelujah” in Handel’s “Messiah,” or watching a scantily clad “Eve” perform some sacrilegious striptease, we’ve got you covered for the next month, thanks to our trusty holiday guide. Don’t leave home without it (and some mistletoe).


Don’t just sit there — get up, get in the game or simply shimmy off those sugar cookies at these holiday-themed parties, concerts and festivals.

Spin city: It’s not just football and basketball season — it’s dreidel season! Brooklyn’s top dreidelers will be descending on the Knitting Factory to spin their way to victory — and win Major League Dreidel’s coveted crystal trophy. There will be music, too, including holiday songs from the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus and serious face meling from Category Sixx, the “world’s greatest air band.”

Dreidel Tournament at the Knitting Factory [361 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg, (347) 529-6696], Dec. 9 at 7 pm. Tickets $10-$15. For info, visit www.majorleaguedreidel.com

Bowled over: ’Tis the season to give, but that doesn’t mean you can donate without a party. On Nov. 30, Brooklyn Bowl is hosting a fundraiser to support JDub records, a non-profit Jewish music label. Hosted by comedian Eugene Mirman, the show will feature JDub bands The Sway Machinery, DeLeon and Soulico. And there’s even a gift in store for you, if you’re early — first 150 people get a drink on the house.

“Festival of Strikes: A JDub Benefit Concert” at Brooklyn Bowl [61 Wythe Ave. between N. 11th and N. 12th streets in Williamsburg, (718) 963-3369], Nov. 30, 6 pm. $15. For info, visit www.brooklynbowl.com.   

Book ’em: If a sexy librarian is on your wish list this year, there’s no need to wait for old St. Nick. On Dec. 4, the Bell House hosts “Biblioball 2010: Spellbound,” a winter formal dance party to benefit the organization, Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, thrown by the ladies (and men) behind the library group, Desk Set. DJs will be spinning the beats of every decade, while bands like the Crazy Pills and Raindeer will get you rocking. And don’t forget your formal wear.

Biblioball 2010: Spellbound at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], Dec. 4 at 8:30 pm. Tickets $20, or $45 with the 7:30 pm happy hour. For info, visit www.thebellhouseny.com.  

Festival of light: An avant-garde art rave and fashion show isn’t the traditional way to mark the first night of Hanukkah, but that’s what makes this event so enticing. On Dec. 1, a Sunset Park warehouse will welcome music, live interactive art, fashion show, and more for the first night of the sixth annual Sephardic Music Festival. Live models will present the latest apparel by Dveykus — the label behind the controversial Israeli Keffiyeh scarf — and, this being a music festival and all, DJs Y-Love, DeScribe, and Diwon will bring the beats.

Warehouse Art Rave and Fashion Show (226 36th St. near Second Avenue in Sunset Park, no phone), Dec. 1 at 7 pm. Tickest $8 in advance, $10 at the door. For info, visit shemspeed.com

Unorthodox reggae: It wouldn’t be Hanukkah in Brooklyn without Matisyahu’s “Festival of Light” tour, now in its fifth year. The Crown Heights–based Jewish reggae star presents eight shows, of course, this holiday, with four of them at Brooklyn Bowl and Music Hall of Williamsburg, where he’ll break out his custom-made dreidel disco ball and songs spanning his entire catalogue. That’s sure to include his new song, “Miracle,” his own answer to Adam Sandler’s unmatched “Hanukkah Song.”

Matisyahu at Brooklyn Bowl [61 Wythe Ave. between N. 11th and N. 12th streets in Williamsburg, (718) 963-3369], Nov. 29 at 9 pm. Tickets, $25; Music Hall of Williamsburg [66 N. Sixth St. between Kent and Wythe avenues, (718) 486-5400], Nov. 30 at 8:30 pm; Dec. 4 (sold out) at 9 pm; and Dec. 5 at 8:30 pm. Tickets, $35. For info, visit www.matisyahuworld.com.


Forget Radio City — the best theatrical spectacles this holiday season are in Brooklyn:

Bible burlesque: Storybook Burlesque’s new show covers — or uncovers — stories from the Good Book in “Bible Show.” On Dec. 3, the sacrilegious striptease comes to Coney Island, with tassel twirling, Japanese theater, and lyrical dance that you won’t remember from Sunday School. Then again, your teachers weren’t Cherry Magdalene, Rosey La Rouge, or Victoria Privates. 

Storybook Burlesque’s Bible Show at Sideshows by the Seashore [1208 Surf Ave. at W. 12th Street in Coney Island, (718) 372-5159], Dec. 3 at 9 pm. Tickets $15. For info, visit www.storybookburlesque.com

Swinging time: Talk about rockin’ around the Christmas tree. Aerial theater company Suspended Cirque is back for another dizzying holiday show, “Under the Tree” (pictured above), starting Dec. 22 at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO. Christmas-themed “toys” like Barbie, a candy cane, and a tree angel come alive, swinging from chandeliers and art frames. Where else can you see circus, acrobatics, music, dance and theater in one place this season? 

“Under the Tree” at Galapagos Art Space [16 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 222-8500], Dec. 22 and 23 at 8 pm. Tickets $20. For info, visit www.suspendedcirque.com

Pirate shtick: Sick of the typical saccharine holiday fare? Then you’ll love “Dar and Matey’s ‘Christmas SpectaculARGH!’ ” Written by Robert Ross Parker of Vampire Cowboys, this new play at the Brick follows pirates Dar and Matey as they brave the North Pole, polar bears and Tiny Tim to rescue their from the torturous clutches of Old St. Nick, that fat bastard. It’s part of the theater’s “Fight Fest,” a celebration of stage combat, so you know punches will be thrown.

“Dar and Matey’s ‘Christmas SpectaculARGH!’ ” at the Brick Theater [575 Metropolitan Ave. near Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 907-6189], Dec. 4-22. Tickets $15. For info, visit www.bricktheater.com.


Arty performances in warehouse spaces not your cup of tea? For more traditional holiday fare, look no further:

Narrow minded: Starting on Dec. 3, Narrows Community Theater presents its “Musical Christmas Ball,” a melodic extravaganza featuring more than 30 singers and dancers that brings together myriad seasonal tunes, including songs from “A Christmas Carol,” “Polar Express,” and “White Christmas.” There’s also a nativity scene accompanied by a five-part choral arrangement of “We Have Seen His Star.” And let us not forget the tap dancing battle between real and artificial Christmas trees.

NCT’s “Musical Christmas Ball” at St. Patrick’s Auditorium [9511 Fourth Ave. at 97th Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 482-3173], Dec. 3 and 4 at 8 pm, and Dec. 5 at 3 pm. Tickets $10 adults, $5 children. For info, visit www.narrowscommunitytheater.com

Old school: One of the biggest names in Christian vocal jazz will be singing in the holiday season on Dec. 11, as Grammy-winning Christian vocal jazz group Take 6 heads to Brooklyn College for its seasonal show, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” The program will feature some of the most beloved traditional and contemporary holiday songs, including many off the group’s numerous Christmas albums.

Take 6’s “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College [2900 Campus Rd. at Hillel Place in Flatbush, (718) 951-4500], Dec. 11 at 8 pm. Tickets, $35-$45 (at the door). For info, visit www.brooklyncenteronline.org.  

Capra nostra: The only thing wrong with Frank Capra’s 1946 classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” is that it’s the same old movie every year. But starting on Dec. 3, the Heights Players brings the heart-warming tale of George Bailey to the stage. We can already anticipate the standing ovation when he finds Zuzu’s petals in his pocket!

“It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Heights Players [26 Willow Pl. between Joralemon and State streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 237-2752], Dec. 3-19. Tickets, $20. For info, visit www.heightsplayers.org

Fa la la la la: It’s a giant Christmas sing-along — and you’re the chorus! Emerging Brooklyn vocalists will join musicians from Union Church and Brooklyn College to sing with audience members at the Union Church of Bay Ridge on Dec. 12. One lucky bidder will get the chance to conduct the Hallelujah Chorus as it performs Handel’s Christmas classic, “Messiah,” during the show. 

“Sing-It-Yourself Messiah” at Union Church of Bay Ridge [8101 Ridge Blvd. at 81st Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 745-0438], Dec. 12 at 4 pm. Tickets $15. For info, visit www.ucbr.org

A Yiddish Christmas: Join one of the world’s most acclaimed authorities of Yiddish song, as Zalmen Mlotek performs “100 Years of Yiddish Musical Theatre” at Kingsborough Community College. This elegant piece by the National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene’s artistic director celebrates the Jewish musical accent in American theater. Beginning with the origins of the Yiddish theater in the wine cellars of Romania, you will hear operetta arias, humorous vaudeville ballads, backstage renditions of Fiddler on the Roof, and more.

“Zalmen Mlotek’s 100 years of Yiddish Musical Theatre” at Kingsborough Community College [2001 Oriental Blvd. at Decatur Avenue in Manhattan Beach, (718) 368-5596], Dec. 12 at 3 pm. Tickets $25. For info, visit www.kcckpac.org.

A good man: No holiday season would be complete without Charlie Brown and the gang. Starting on Dec. 8, the Brooklyn Lyceum will present a live-action rendition of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” featuring the familiar cast of characters — Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Snoopy, and, of course, the football-missing Charlie. A live jazz trio plays Vince Guaraldi’s classic soundtrack.  

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” at the Brooklyn Lyceum [227 Fourth Ave. at President Street in Park Slope, (718) 857-4816], Dec. 9-19. Tickets $10. For info, visit www.brooklynlyceum.com.


Baby it’s cold outside, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking out these annual lighting festivities:

• Borough President Markowitz will kick off the first night of Hanukkah by helping light a 29-foot menorah at Borough Hall [209 Joralemon St. at Court Street in Downtown, (718) 802-3700] on Dec. 2 at 5:30 pm.

• Half an hour later, the first candle is lit at Grand Army Plaza (Union Street between Flatbush Avenue and Prospect Park West). Hot latkes will be served.

• The borough’s “official” Christmas tree lighting — usually the best tree in town — is at Borough Hall [209 Joralemon St. at Court Street in Downtown, (718) 802-3700] on Dec. 8 at 5:30 pm.

— with Meredith Deliso and Michelle Manetti


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This kind of festival are amazing,I would like to be there, excellent pictures and examples

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