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"A Carrie White Christmas"
Brian De Palma's terrific 1976 film of Stephen King's Carrie swoops through the telekinesis and madness catalyzed by a girl's terrifying first period. This movie helped make stars out of Sissy Spacek, the homely, lonely Carrie White (she received an Oscar nomination); John Travolta, the sexy, dumb-ass boyfriend of bad girl Nancy Allen; and Amy Irving, the nice girl whose pity for Carrie leads to disaster. In addition, it features Piper Laurie's stupendous performance (also Oscar-nominated) as Carrie's mom. Margaret White loves Jesus and hates sex more than Ken Starr, and she makes her daughter pay.

Local filmmaker and impresario Mark Huestis remembered this funny, scary blend of sex, self-loathing, obsession, guilt, obligation, violence, and mayhem and thought, "Hmm. Christmas with the family." "A Carrie White Christmas" is the third holiday gala he's produced at the Castro Theater. Huestis enlisted Laurie, who says the invitation delighted her: "I told him, 'Absolutely.' When he sent the material it was so fancy and sparkly; sparkly is exactly how it made me feel." SF Weekly's own Michael Sragow will interview Laurie onstage and field questions from the audience. We should get the lowdown on everything from acting with Kyle MacLachlan in Twin Peaks and Paul Newman in The Hustler to working as a starlet in the Hollywood studio system.

Hosting the evening will be drag performer Varla Jean Merman. Performance artist Matthew Martin will dramatize the religious aspects of Margaret White's death. (St. Sebastian's got nothing on her.) Merman will sing selections from the hit London musical Carrie (a Broadway flop), singer Esmerelda will regale us with off-kilter carols, and a Carrie look-alike pageant (bring your own pig's blood) will climax with a coronation. (Losers may not use telekinesis to express displeasure.) Spacek and other surprise guests will provide Christmas greetings via videotape. It is a wonderful life.

Carrie White burns in hell and Huestis invites us all to join her there for a merry goddamn Christmas party.

-- Joe Mader

"A Carrie White Christmas" happens Friday, Dec. 18, at the Castro Theater, 429 Castro (at Market), S.F. The Gala, including a screening, begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $20. (Piper Laurie will introduce a second screening of the film at 10:45 p.m. Admission for this is $7.) Laurie will autograph anything at 10:15 p.m. in the Castro Mezzanine for attendees of both the Gala and the late-night showing. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the S.F. AIDS Emergency Fund; call 863-0611.

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