Our Weekly Picks: December 21-27
Before closing out the year with the Sea of Dreams NYE blowout, the party people at Sunset Promotions (along with Metrowize.com) are throwing a community appreciation show and bringing out the U.K.'s Krafty Kuts. He's best known for his 2006 album Freak Show and a Fabriclive release in 2007, but is largely building a reputation as an international, multiple award-winning breakbeat DJ and turntablist through live performances. Krafty Kuts' most recent mix — for his November Canadian tour — unrelentingly shifts between the likes of Beastie Boys, Wolfgang Gartner, Fast Crew, and Bart B More. Like the best of breakbeat, Krafty Kuts plays a high wire act, always keeping energy up without growing tiresome nor ADD addled. (Ryan Prendiville)
With DJ Zeph, Motion Potion
9 p.m., free with RSVP; $5 at door
119 Utah, SF
How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical!
First published in 1957, Dr. Seuss'' How The Grinch Stole Christmas was adapted into an animated film in 1966, featuring the unforgettable narration of Boris Karloff, and a bevy of now-classic songs such as "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch," belted out by Thurl Ravenscroft. Fans of all ages can relive the beloved holiday special this month when How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical! brings the classic tale to life on stage with colorful costumes and amazing sets that recreate the magical world of Whoville and the inspirational events that transpire there. (Sean McCourt)
Through Dec. 29, times vary, $25–$85
Golden Gate Theatre
1 Taylor, SF
There is something about the shortest days of the year that invites you to become hopeful about what lies ahead. Perhaps it is that we know that the sun will be back. So you don't have to be a Christian or hooked on family traditions to celebrate what is an extraordinary, though yearly occurring season. "Nutcracker," often for sentimental reasons, is part of that feeling. Graham Lustig's 2000 version, now part of Oakland Ballet Company, has plenty of sentiments but little sentimentality. No whiff of Victorian attitudes inhabits this family's turn of the 20th century modernity. The home is what was considered high-tech at the time: tile, steel, concrete, and huge expanses of glass that invite the sunny, snow-covered outside in. The very fact that the Oakland Ballet Company exists again, is a sign of hope. (Rita Felciano)
Through Dec. 24; 2 and 7 p.m., $15–$59.50
2025 Broadway, Oakl.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum's RitLab (Ritual Laboratory) series stretches the idea of what can be done with such a space as the CJM. Often museums host children's interactive events, but RitLab is more like afterschool activity time for adults too — I once learned how to make my own spicy pickles at a RitLab event, m'kay? For this Hanukkah-Houdini version, there will be very-mature holiday crafting (magic card wallets, monkey-fist key chains, thaumatropes), a dreidel spin-off, and perhaps most importantly, a performance by Conspiracy of Beards — a local a capella Leonard Cohen cover group. It'll be fun for kids of all ages, especially those who dig magic and Cohen. (Emily Savage)
6-8 p.m., free with admission (admission is $5 after 5 p.m.)
Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission, SF
Dan the Automator
Popscene is bringing home someone special for its Xmas Gala. An innovative hip-hop and electronic producer, Dan "the Automator" Nakamura needs little introduction. Collaborating with Kool Keith, Del the Homosapien, Prince Paul, Damon Albarn, and Mike Patton on projects such as Dr. Octagon, Deltron, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Gorillaz, and Lovage (to name a few), Automator always looms large. He's recently produced albums for English rockers Kasabian and locals Dredg, while contributing to Albarn's Kinshasa One Two charity project along with the likes of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Jneiro Jarel. (And yes, continuing to tease the long awaited follow-up, Deltron 3040.) (Prendiville)
With DJs Omar, Miles the DJ
10 p.m., $10–$12
155 Fell, SF
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
"The Coca-Cola Santa Clause is a hoax," little Pietari tells his friend. He hands him a picture he's torn from an old book — St. Nicholas with goatish antlers, dropping a child into a boiling cauldron. "The real Santa Clause, he tears naughty kids to pieces." Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) — directed by Jalmari Helander and based on ancient Scandinavian mythology — might make the kids sooner want Freddy Kruger coming down the chimney on Christmas rather than Santa. When an archeology dig coincides with a bizarre series of events (slaughtered reindeer, missing children, stolen blow dryers), Pietari knows that the real Santa has been unearthed. Rare Exports is a dark tale that's full of unsuspecting and outlandish surprises. You'll never see Santa the same way again. (James H. Miller)
10:30 p.m., $9–$11
SF Film Society Cinema
1746 Post, SF
Charlie Chaplin's 1925 The Gold Rush
You loved The Artist, and now you're obsessed with seeing every silent movie you can jam into your sockets. The San Francisco Silent Film Festival isn't until next summer, but you can check out one of the genre's very best this week at the Smith Rafael: Charlie Chaplin's 1925 The Gold Rush, a delightful comedy even Buster Keaton 4-Lyfe Fan Club members can get behind. Unspooling in a snazzily restored 35mm print (with Chaplin's own 1942 score as accompaniment, arranged by composer Timothy Brock), this film follows the Little Tramp as he tries his luck prospecting in the frozen Yukon. As the Smith Rafael notes point out, "it's the one in which Chaplin eats his boot" and contains "The Dance of the Rolls," an iconic bit of playing-with-one's-food familiar to fans of 1993's Benny & Joon — and the current Muppets movie. (Cheryl Eddy)
Through Dec. 29, call for times, $6.75–$10.25
Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
1118 Fourth St., San Rafael
Jazz Mafia is a Bay Area institution. With its eclectic influences, cutting edge genre crossovers are this musical collective's forte. Jazz Mafia has featured a ton of talented players, with founding member and trombonist-bassist Adam Theis contributing to no less than 10 acts since its inception. The Shotgun Wedding Quintet is a dynamic hip-hop and jazz hybrid fronted by exceptionally cool lyricist Dublin. Brass Mafia is a weird and wonderful New Orleans-y brass ensemble that covers songs from the likes of Skatalites and the Rolling Stones. And, well, there are simply too many incredible acts to list. It's Jazz Mafia's 11th anniversary, and I'm sure this San Francisco family has plenty of surprises in store. (Frances Capell)
With Adam Theis and the Jazz Mafia String Quartet, Joe Bagale, and more
9 p.m., $8–$12
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
1710 Mission, SF
"Kung Pao Kosher Comedy"
For those who don't celebrate Christmas — or those who do, but could use a good laugh after spending the day with family — "The 19th Annual Kung Pao Kosher Comedy" show is a sure-fire bet for entertainment while much of the rest of the city shuts down for the holiday. With a line-up featuring Elayne Boosler, Avi Lieberman, Jeff Applebaum, and Lisa Geduldig, what better way to spend the night than with a bit a bit of Jewish comedy — and what better location than in a Chinese restaurant! (McCourt)
Through Sun/25; 6 and 9:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 5 and 8:30 p.m. Sun.; $42–$62.
New Asia Restaurant
772 Pacific, SF
Tony! Toni! Toné!
There's no expression of love more pure than early 1990s-era R&B. And in the golden age of sensual R&B, few could compete with Oakland's Tony! Toni! Toné!. During the late '80s and early '90s, this trio cranked out the jams, climbed the Billboard charts, and provided the soundtrack for countless moments of passion and romance. Did you slow dance with your high school sweetheart to "(Lay Your Head On My) Pillow?" Did you bump and grind to "Whatever You Want?" The holidays are a time for nostalgia; a time for showing our loved ones how much we care. Why not spend Christmas Eve with Tony! Toni! Toné!? (Frances Capell)
8 p.m., $26
510 Embarcadero West, Oakl.
"Death Guild: X-Mess Night"
Undeniably, the holiday season is an adorable one — children point in store windows and glow; Dads are donned in gay apparel; It's A Wonderful Life airs without end on basic cable; bells a-ringing, figgy pudding, fa la la la la and what have you. However, for some of us around this time of year, it feels like we're being smothered by a hand knit stocking. Thankfully Death Guild's "X-Mess Night" is here for anyone who prefers leather corsets instead of holiday turtle necks, The Sisters of Mercy over Bing Crosby, and of course, gin and tonics, not milk and cookies. DJs Decay, Melting Girl, Daniel Skellington, Sage, and Lexor spin gothic, industrial, synth pop and more. (Miller)
9 p.m., $5
375 Eleventh, SF
"It's a Jewish Christmas"
Christmas day falls on the fifth night of Hanukkah. It's also the Make-Out Room's "It's a Jewish Christmas," which means Jews and Gentiles both face a dilemma. In the case of us Jews, it comes down to either enduring Grandpa Eshkol, or shooting over to the Mission for a Woody Allen film festival, Chinese food, and a salacious game of strip dreidel. With all that being offered, I doubt old Eshkol would blame you for schlepping out without him. Hosted by none other than Broke-Ass Stuart, the travel writer behind the recent IFC documentary, Young, Broke & Beautiful, "It's a Jewish Christmas" also features the sounds of DJs J Dub and M.O.T. Mazz. Ah Freilichen Chanukah! (Miller)
5 p.m., $10
3225 22nd St., SF
Set amongst the swingin' nightclubs of San Francisco, 1957's Pal Joey stars Frank Sinatra as a womanizing singer who dreams of one day owning his own club — and plans to seduce a wealthy widow (portrayed by Rita Hayworth) to secure the funding. Things begin to go awry, however, when he meets Kim Novak's character, and starts to fall for her instead. Featuring the iconic tune "The Lady Is A Tramp," the film earned Ol' Blue Eyes a Golden Globe for Best Actor (in a Musical), and remains a shining example of why he was the king of the crooners. (McCourt)
Double feature with Bye Bye Birdie, which screens at 2:40 and 7 p.m.
4:45 and 9:05 p.m., $7.50–$10
429 Castro, SF.