Holiday events and shows
by David-Elijah Nahmod
Ho, ho ho! It’s that time of year again. December’s holiday-themed live shows and concerts should please anyone with alternative and traditional tastes.
December 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of our world renowned San Francisco Symphony. On Friday, December 8, 1911, conductor Henry Hadley picked up his baton to lead the newly formed San Francisco Orchestra’s first ever concert. The Symphony celebrates its centennial and the holidays with a plethora of fun events, some for us grown-ups and some that our LGBT families can bring the kids to. All events are at Davies Symphony Hall (201 Van Ness, 864-6000). www.sfsymphony.org
On Saturday, December 10 at 1 and 4pm, Sunday December 11 at 3pm, bask in the star power of Broadway legend and gay icon Chita Rivera as she narrates the Symphony’s holiday production of Peter and the Wolf. Musical selections include Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Tickets range from $15-57.
Sunday December 11 also hosts holiday hits from the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Tommy James conducts, beginning at 8pm. $15-68.
Join Jennifer Holliday, the original Dreamgirl, and other Broadway luminaries such as Ben Vereen, Lea Salonga, and pop icon Peabo Bryson for the Symphony’s presentation of The Colors of Christmas. On Wednesday, December 14, and Thursday December 15, at 8pm on both evenings, the stars will perform holiday favorites, plus their own hits. $15-86.
Davies Symphony Hall might be the place to ring in 2012. Come join the Symphony for a wild and wonderful New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball. Masks will be provided. The Martini Brothers will perform swing music in the lobby, or you can dance on the fabulous Davies stage while the Peter Minton Orchestra serenades you. The fun starts at 9PM. $85-195. www.sfsymphony.org
The uber-elegant Rrazz Room inside the Hotel Nikko (222 Mason, 394-1189) has plenty of classy entertainment for the Holiday season. Katya Smirnoff-Skky serves up a “tipsy” night of new and classic holiday cheer, Tuesday, December 6 at 8pm. $30. On Wednesday, December 7, at 8PM, folk-rock songbird Maria Muldaur (“Midnight at the Oasis”) offers her annual Blues and Jazz Christmas Concert. $35.
The following week, San Francisco is visited by another legend of the Great White Way. Franc D’Ambrosio, best known as the longest running Phantom of the Opera in Broadway history, will perform his show It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas. The handsome, openly gay singer will perform from Tuesday, December 13-Saturday December 17 at 8pm, with an added show on Sunday, December 18 at 7pm. $30-40.
Two gay icons, both inhabiting the same body, ring in the holidays when local legend Connie Champagne performs as cinema legend Judy Garland. What’s Christmas without Judy? In Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, you can bask in holiday songs, special guests, and Santa Claus. Sunday December 18 at 4pm, and Monday December 19 at 8pm. $32-50.
Sharon McNight will “sleigh” you when she tosses Twisted Xmas: A Druid’s View of the Holidays at you on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 20 and 21, at 8pm. An irreverent look at the holidays, McNight presents an alternative choice from the expected holiday songs. She has stockpiled myriad and outrageous wacky musical commentaries about the 12 Days of Christmas. Targets include Santa, Jesus, Teddy Bears, elves, snow and Bette Davis. $30.
Finally, spend Christmas Night with the Fabulous Bud. E. Luv. On Sunday, December 25 at 7PM. Comedy, music, and, bad hair. $25. www.therrazzroom
If you’re feeling like “the only kid on the block without a Christmas tree,” then head over to the New Asia Restaurant (722 Pacific St.) for an evening of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy. It’s Jewish Comedy on Christmas Day in a Chinese restaurant (where else?). In answering the question “What are Jews supposed to do on Christmas?” host Lisa Geduldig and her headliners, Elayne Boosler, Avi Lieberman and Jeff Applebaum will give you the Bar Mitzvah you never had. It’s a real reprieve from “Jingle Bells.” Check it out on Friday and Saturday December 23 and 24. Dinner show at 6pm, ($62) or the 9:30pm cocktail show ($42); or on Sunday, Christmas Day, for a 5pm dinner show, 8:30Pm cocktail show, same prices. (925) 275-9005. www.Koshercomedy.com
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is a more traditional state of mind than a holiday for Jews. Join Rabbi Camille Angel at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav (290 Dolores, 861-6932), San Francisco’s LGBT Temple, for a Klezmer Shabbat (Sabbath). On Friday, December 23 at 8:15pm, come to the Shul (temple) as everyone lights candles, dances, and sings familiar tunes melded with klezmer rhythms and melodies. Cantor Sharon Bernstein, plus Stuart Brotman (on bass), and Sheldon Brown (on clarinet) will lead you in song, as your spirit soars wit the delights of Chanukah. All are welcome.
Unfortunately, Bibi SF, the promoters of fabulous dance parties for LGBT Middle Easterners (shake those hips! is Bibi’s motto) will be sitting out this holiday season. But do keep an eye on Bibi’s My Space and Facebook pages. Rostam, the brains behind all those great parties, has a few events in the works. www.BibiSF.org
Christmas carols will fill the halls at our beloved Castro Theater (429 Castro St. 865-2787). Stop by that stunning cinema palace on Christmas Eve, December 24, for a fabulous concert by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. Be prepared to laugh, jingle your sleigh bells and feel those goose bumps! Special guests include Melody Moore and Donna Sachet. Showtimes at 5, 7 and 9pm. The Lesbian/Gay Chorus will join the Men’s Chorus at 5pm only. $10. www.sfgmc.org
Why cook when you can enjoy a holiday feast downtown at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (5 Embarcadero Center, 788-1234)? For $21-$37, on Christmas Day, between 4-10pm, the Hyatt will cook your holiday dinner and wash the dishes too.