Night + Day

wednesday
december 24
Sweet Dreams Are Made of This 'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house/ All the children were flipping out from the sugar high they got at the third annual Gingerbread Architecture Extravaganza. Junior architects ages 1 to 10 can build their dream creations from gummy bears, gumdrops, and graham crackers, scarfing down any evidence of construction errors as they go. Parents can stand back, smile benevolently, and remind themselves that Christmas comes but once a year. The party begins at 11 a.m. at the Bay Area Discovery Museum at Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds, Sausalito. Admission is $6-7 plus a $2 materials fee, and kids must be accompanied by an adult; call 487-4398.

Castro Christmas The Gay Men's Chorus Christmas Eve concert usually begins around 10 in the morning, with the customary plugging-in of the giant generator powering the show's festive stage lights. This year's show, "Home for the Holidays," officially begins later in the afternoon with ensembles and small groups from the chorus serenading the long lines of listeners waiting to get into the theater, where organist Don Thompson pounds out carols on the mighty Wurlitzer as everyone finds a seat. New to this year's concert is a brass ensemble, which will be playing excerpts from John Williams' original score for Home Alone and a fanfare written by SFGMC Artistic Director Stan Hill. The chorus, backed by veteran accompanist Richard Rogers, takes over with traditional songs like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" along with newer works like "Hallelujah" from the Quincy Jones show A Soulful Celebration: "It rocks," says Hill. "It just gets down." The concert closes out with "Seasons of Love" from the Broadway hit Rent. Shows begin at 5, 7, and 9 p.m. at the Castro Theater, 429 Castro (at Market), S.F. Admission is $10; call 863-4472. The concert is general seating -- audiences are advised to arrive early before each show.

thursday
december 25
Hands-On Hanukkah The candles on the menorah won't be the only thing glowing at "Being Jewish on Christmas," a daylong family celebration. The computer screens in the hands-on Jewish CD-ROM Computer Lab and the Jewish Film Festival videos screening both ought to give off a nice glimmer of their own. Tom Herz and the Saralie Pennington Jewish Minstrels kick off the day's live entertainment, followed by performances from the Jewish Folk Chorus, storyteller Joel Ben Izzy relating Jewish folk tales, and Judy Frankel singing the 14th-century "Songs of the Sephardim." The third night of the Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony begins at 4:40 p.m. and the exhibit "L'Chaim! A Kiddush Cup Invitational" will be open for viewing. Free refreshments will be served throughout the day. The event begins at 11 a.m. at the Jewish Museum, 121 Steuart (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free-$5 (families who arrive with representatives from three generations get in free); call 543-2090, ext. 212.

Rep Sheet Unless you work nights and weekends, today is one of those rare weekdays you can spend an afternoon at the movies with total impunity. If holiday blockbusters like Titanic or Flubber don't appeal, look to your local repertory houses for left-of-center selections. Wallace and Gromit, the amusing model-animation characters featured in several adventures of a man and his wiseacre dog, are the stars of "The Best of Aardman Animation," which concludes its run at 2, 4, 6, and 8 p.m. at the Roxie, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is $3-6.50; call 863-1087. Ron Fricke's lush, Sufi-inspired travelogue Baraka screens at 2, 4:15, 7:15, and 9:30 p.m. at the Red Vic, 1727 Haight (at Clayton), S.F. Admission is $4.50-6; call 668-3994. Director Sally Potter (Orlando) concocts a stormy relationship between a filmmaker and a dancer in The Tango Lesson, which screens at 2, 4:30, 7, and 9:20 p.m. at the Castro Theater, 429 Castro (at Market), S.F. Admission is $6.50; call 621-6120. The sweetly comic tale of a Japanese businessman who takes ballroom dance lessons surreptitiously, Shall We Dance?, screens at 2, 4:30, and 7 p.m. at the Lark Theater, 549 Magnolia (at Dougherty), Larkspur. Admission is $4-6; call 383-5256. And lastly, Jackie Chan demonstrates true holiday spirit as an inebriated brawler in Drunken Master, which screens at 3:35 and 7:30 p.m. (also, Operation Condor screens at 1:45, 5:45, and 9:40 p.m.) at the UC Theater, 2036 University (at Shattuck), Berkeley. Admission is $6.50; call (510) 843-FILM.

friday
december 26
Have You a Little Faerie in Your Home? Usher in the new year with a parade of biblical heroes, jugglers, arms dealers, and other questionable characters as the Tennessee-based Eggplant Faerie Players stage their cross-country touring production of Next Year in Sodom. The players take on multiple roles and use nutty costumes and props in this circus-style musical comedy about a gay couple whose Seder celebration with Mom commences with the usual housekeeping and cooking chores but concludes with a series of unexpected visitors knocking at the front door. The troupe took the show with them last year on their radical faerie pilgrimage to the Middle East, where the gay love scene they performed on Israeli national television didn't exactly go over well. But the company isn't known for shying from controversy; its first show, Person Livid With AIDS, was based on the members' own lives and experience with the disease, and played throughout the Deep South. The show begins at 8 p.m. (also Saturday and Sunday) at 848 Community Space, 848 Divisadero (at Fulton), S.F. Admission is $10; call 922-2385.

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