The Performant: Tradition! Tradition!


Golden Girls, Kung Pao Kosher, Merry Forking Christmas ... the holidays are coming whether you like it or not.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the holidays just keep on coming around. And unless you plan on hibernating the entire month of December away, sooner or later someone is going to force you into an ugly sweater and drag you to some seasonal entertainment designed to fill you with goodwill towards all humankind -- or some such optimistic twaddle. Even so, there’s certainly no reason you have to subject yourself to endless renditions of Tchaikovsky’s famous suite or stale Bing Crosby carols in order to fulfill your holiday spirit quota. Alternatives abound here in Babylon-by-the-Bay, and you’re sure to stumble across a few that speak to your own imitable tastes.

Call it nostalgia, or call it an abiding love for the dubious fashions of the late 80’s, but whatever the attraction, this year’s edition of Trannyshack’s “The Golden Girls Christmas Episodes,” (through Dec. 23) has been packing the house at the Victoria Theatre with its irreverent rendition of the iconic television show. The four Tranny Grannies -- Heklina, Cookie Dough, Pollo del Mar, and Matthew Martin -- embody their characters with real affection, as their enthusiastic audiences sing along to the retro jingles of old Dr. Pepper commercials while cat-calling each spectacular costume change.

Another tradition-in-the-making, Pianofight’s third annual production of “A Merry Forking Christmas,” (through Dec. 30) is also packing the house with a good mix of PianoFight first-timers and old “Forking” initiates who are easily identified by their crumpled brown paper BYOB bags. The concept of “Forking” is both deceptively simple and yet infinitely clever -- a choose-your-own-adventure story which “forks” off in several, audience-mandated directions, mostly determined by chaotic bursts of applause. Set in that oppressive microcosm otherwise known as “The Mall,” the play follows a handful of characters battling the stress and hopelessness of Christmas Eve either engaged in last minute selling, buying, security guarding, or Santa Claus-ing as the “true meaning” of the holiday in question eludes each.

Since nothing can make one feel more self-consciously Jewish than a month full of Christmas cheer, it’s good to know that Lisa Geduldig’s Kung Pao Kosher Comedy event (Dec. 23-25) has been stuffing holiday orphans of all faiths full of potstickers and potshots for nineteen years. This year’s headliner is Elayne Boosler, and if you go for the dinner show your ticket includes a seven-course feast, which sounds like my kind of Christmas. Or it would if it didn’t compete with the First Satanic Church’s annual Black X Mass (Sun/25) at the Elbo Room. Basically an excuse to throw a high-voltage rock show on the quietest night of the year, Black X Mass consistently boasts some of the most eclectic line-ups imaginable, combining costumed concept bands with “abstract metal” ensembles, mean-tempered go-go devils, various permutations of Mongoloid and Graves Bros. Deluxe, and a black-clad specialist in a rarified musical field -- “Theremin Wizard Barney.” It’s a season’s greeting more reminiscent of “The Shining” than “It’s a Wonderful Life” but let’s face it, sometimes that’s exactly the kind of tradition we like best.

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