- In Pictures
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One final ho ho hurrah
Compiled by Scott Stiffler
CZECHOSLOVAK-AMERICAN MARIONETTE THEATER: “A CHRISTMAS CAROL, OY! HANUKKAH, MERRY KWANZAA (HAPPY RAMADAN)”
Just when you thought there wasn’t one more possible permutation of “A Christmas Carol,” along comes the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa (Happy Ramadan).” This adaptation of the holiday mainstay (which at this point in the season has overstayed its welcome) deserves serious consideration thanks to the sheer amount of non-Dickens names dropped in its long but promising title. Adapted, directed and performed by Vit Horejs, it features over 30 puppets. Along the way, the familiar tale gets injected with a blend of English, Jewish, African, American and Czech winter rituals, customs and holiday songs. Performed in Czech, English, Hebrew and Swahili.
Dec. 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30, at 7pm; Dec. 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and Jan. 1, at 4 pm. At Clockworks Puppet Theatre (196 Columbia St., btw. Sackett & DeGraw; Brooklyn; F or G Trains to Carroll St. Station). For tickets ($20; $12 for kids), call 212-868-4444 or visit smarttix.com. Also visit czechmarionettes.org.
WASHINGTON SQUARE CAROLING
You supply the vocal chords and the holiday spirit. The Washington Square Association will supply the songbooks. That, plus the Rob Susman Brass Quartet and a very tall Christmas tree, is all you’ll need to have a merry time singing holiday songs. The tree is lit from 4pm-1am, daily. The caroling festivities happen on Sat., Dec. 24, at 5pm — at the Washington Square Park Arch (located at the foot of Fifth Ave., one block south of Eighth St.). For info, call 212-252-3621 or visit washingtonsquarenyc.org.
A SWINGING BIRDLAND CHRISTMAS
Like a modern day Ed Sullivan — but with charisma and vocal talent — our favorite cabaret impresario Jim Caruso holds court every Monday night at Birdland, as he gleefully emcees “Cast Party.” The long-running cabaret-themed open mic features newcomers, Broadway babies and living legends. Throughout, smooth crooner Caruso and the unreasonably talented pianist Billy Stritch keep things moving with an easy, breezy brew of satire and sincerity.
That chemistry bodes very well for “A Swinging Birdland Christmas.” Return with Caruso and Stritch to those thrilling days of yesteryear — when seasonal specials from showbiz veterans lit up the small screen. Along for the sleigh ride is the equally compelling Klea Blackhurst (whose comedic chops can be consumed by watching her on the IFC channel’s “The Onion News Network”). The amiable trio will perform swinging arrangements of “Christmas Waltz,” Kay Thompson’s “Holiday Season,” “Sleigh Ride,” “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” and other favorites. Bonus track: Stritch, on piano, is joined by the other members of The Birdland Jazz Quartet (John Hart on guitar, Paul Gil on bass, Carmen Intorre on drums).
Through Sun., Dec. 25. All shows at 6pm (except Dec. 25, at 7pm & 10pm). At Birdland (315 W. 44 St.). For tickets ($30 cover, $10 food/drink minimum), call 212-581-3080 or visit birdlandjazz.com. Also visit jim-caruso.com, billystritch.com and kleablackhurst.com.
TRINITY WALL STREET’S CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE FOR CHILDREN
On Sat., Dec. 24 (at 4pm), Trinity Wall Street’s annual Christmas Eve Service for Children, Youth and Families features a sermon presented in a storytelling format. Children are “highly encouraged to participate,” and the Eucharist is celebrated. The Trinity Youth Chorus performs. At Trinity Church (Broadway at Wall St.). For info, call 212-602-0800 or visit trinitywallstreet.org.
HANUKKAH CONCERT: THE MACAROONS
Indie music fans, unite! The Macaroons — a spinoff band from acclaimed rockers The LeeVees — are brining their equally acclaimed songs to The Jewish Museum for three shows in one day. Many of the tunes will be from their 2010 debut album (“Let’s Go Coconuts”). The band’s guitar-based sound references everything from the Kinks to Queen to the Shins.
On Sun., Dec. 25, at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. At The Jewish Museum (1109 Fifth Ave., at 92nd St.). For tickets ($20; $15 for children). For info, call 212-423-3337 or visit thejewishmuseum.org.
THE MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE: “I LIFT MY LAMP”
On December 25, “I Lift My Lamp: A Statue-esque Hanukkah” pays homage to poet Emma Lazarus and the Lady of the Harbor, by featuring Statue of Liberty-inspired crafts and films (all activities are free with Museum admission). At 11am, a young Russian immigrant mouse gets separated from his family while arriving in America, in the 1986 animated film “An American Tail.” Lady Liberty also makes cameos in Hitchcock’s 1942 fugitive tale “Saboteur” (at 1pm) and in 1985’s “Ghostbusters II” (at 3pm). Tours of the exhibit “Emma Lazarus: Poet of Exiles” will be given throughout the day.
At the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place). For info, call 646-437-4202 or visit mjhnyc.org. Follow the museum, on Facebook, and at twitter@MJHnews.
THE HOLIDAY TRAIN SHOW and GINGERBREAD ADVENTURES
Within the enchanting setting of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, model trains zip over bridges and past replicas of New York landmarks made of plant parts such as nuts, bark and leaves. Marvel at the replicas, stroll the spectacular grounds, decorate (and eat!) gingersnaps — then break for some hot chocolate. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for students/seniors (free admission for children under 2).
Included in the price of admission to the Train Show: “Gingerbread Adventures.” Explore the plant ingredients (such as cinnamon and ginger) that make up a classic gingerbread recipe. Step inside a child-sized gingerbread playhouse, decorating a gingersnap cookie with frosting and candies and examine gingerbread ingredients under a microscope. In the Adventure Garden, you’ll see a display of gingerbread houses designed by some of New York’s most imaginative bakers. Kids can take home a pot decorated with wheat seeds that will quickly grow into a miniature head of wheat hair (a living reminder that flour — a key gingerbread ingredient — is derived from a plant).
The Train Show and Gingerbread Adventures run through Jan. 16. At New York Botanical Garden (2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx). Open 10am-6pm, Tues.-Sun. Closed Dec. 25. On Dec. 24, closed at 3pm. On holiday weeks (Dec.19-Jan. 2), hours are 10am-7pm. For tickets and info, call 718-817-8700 or visit nybg.org.
HEDDA LETTUCE: “LETTUCE REJOICE 2011!”
Scott Thompson, as Buddy Cole (in a Kids in the Hall sketch), once pointed out that, “An angry drag queen is scarier than a Minotaur.” That being said, it’s worth noting that when the divine Hedda Lettuce gets her dander up, the wit that flows forth from her focused rage is like a little prayer. So don’t think for a minute that all this seasonal cheer and goodwill toward men is going to mellow Hedda.
Reading the press release for her upcoming show (“Lettuce Rejoice 2011!”) is like taking a Master Class in how to offend and amuse. In Hedda’s world, beloved Christmas classics like “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” get a bad girl makeover — and emerge as “Here Comes Tranny Clause” and “Do You Think That He’s Queer.” Later in the show, other bitter little pills to swallow include Hedda’s homage to the recently departed Amy Winehouse. “Too soon perhaps,” Hedda wonders aloud. “Not for the sardonic Miss Lettuce,” she immediately replies. If that’s not enough for you, consider this: Each night, one of the faithful comers will win a basket filled with Boy Butter Lubricant! Perhaps the happy winner will put that provocative tub down long enough to catch Hedda as she hosts her monthly screening of a classic movie (at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas).
Dec. 23 and 28. At 7:30pm, at The Metropolitan Room (34 W. 22nd St., btw. 5th & 6th Aves.). For tickets ($22), call 212-206-0440. Visit heddalettuce.com and themetropolitanroom.com.
MANHATTAN CHILDREN’S THEATRE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL
This presentation of the Charles Dickens holiday classic (adapted and directed by MCT Artistic Director Bruce Merrill) features original music by Eric V. Hachikian. Through Dec. 24; Sat., Sun., at 12pm and 2pm; also on Fri., Dec. 23, at 12pm and 2pm. At Manhattan Children’s Theatre (380 Broadway, 4th floor; two blocks south of Canal St., at Broadway & White). Tickets are sold online for $18 (adults) and $16 (children). At the door, $20. For reservations and info, call 212-352-3101 or visit mctny.org.
VIRIDIAN ARTISTS: “HOLIDAY PRESENCE” EXHIBITION
Born on Long Island in the ’60s, Viridian Artists Inc. grew up in SoHo, spent the ’70s on 57th Street and has called Chelsea home for over a decade. Each year at this time, Viridian invites its regulars (and guest artists) to “create some small but special artworks to share during this season of celebration, contemplation and giving.” In addition to the exhibition of those works, Viridian is bringing back its Holiday Store — stocked with art cards, prints, artist books, small art and art jewelry (items are under $100).
“Holiday Presence” is on view through Dec. 31. At Viridian Artists (548 W. 28th St., btw. 10th and 11th Aves., 6th fl.). Gallery hours: Tues. through Sat., 12-6pm. For info, 212-414-4040 or viridianartists.com.
HOLIDAY EVENTS AT THE MERCHANT’S HOUSE MUSEUM
Prior to the last 75 years, the Merchant’s House Museum was home to a prosperous merchant-class family for nearly a century. Their slice of domestic life as lived from 1835-1865 has been preserved by displaying original furnishings and personal possessions. It was during the Tredwell era that many of our beloved Christmas activities (trimming trees, singing carols, sending cards) began. Sadly, however, this was a time bereft of molded-plastic, lit-from-within Frostys — and the 19th century Hit Parade didn’t include “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Those 1950s innovations (now holiday classics in their own right) can be seen alongside their 1850s counterparts in “From Candlelight to Bubble Light: A 1950s Christmas in an 1850s House.” This visionary mash-up of times and traditions finds the museum’s halls retro-decked with conceptual stylist (and East Village icon) Deb O’Nair’s collection of vintage holiday decorations and 1950s/60s Americana.
Through Jan 9. At Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery). Regular hours: 12-5pm (closed Tues. & Wed.). Admission: $10 ($5 for students/seniors). For info, call 212-777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org.