Hip Christmas What can you do with a master's degree in English? Teach, for one thing (see Sunday listing), or become a hip hop MC, like 75 Degrees' Rick Bond. The lyrical wordsmith trades musical duties during sets with DJ/producer Malachi Padron and bassist/guitarist/ keyboardist Carl Robertson, son of local blues musician Carl "Good Rockin'" Robinson. Listen for their college-radio holiday slow jam "This Christmas in the Bay" when they play A Hip-Hop Christmas with Glide, and look for Meilan Carter to grab the mike and deliver the female MC's perspective. If everyone has been very good this year, the band might even favor us with a rendition of the Willie Nelson/Julio Iglesias ballad "To All the Girls I've Loved Before," done hip hop style. A 7 p.m. dinner show featuring Birdwatchers precedes the Christmas show, which begins at 10 p.m. at Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. Admission is $5; call 861-5016.
It's All Kosher Untraditional though they may be, a trio of Jewish-holiday parties are steeped in the very seasonal traditions of giving. An Evening of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy -- which is actually four evenings of seven-course Chinese banquets and comedy shows -- benefits WORLD (a network for women with HIV/AIDS) and the Bay Area Council for Jewish Rescue and Renewal. Headliners include famed Borscht Belt comedian Freddie Roman and wisecracking Manhattanite Sara Cytron, whose appearance at Josie's a few years back had 'em rolling in the aisles; Dan Lewis and Kung Pao creator Lisa Geduldig also perform. The Kung Pao Kosher Comedy Show offers a dinner performance at 6 p.m. and a cocktail show at 9:30 tonight through Sunday (Christmas Eve's dinner show has sold out) at the New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific (at Grant), S.F. Admission is $32-46; call 522-3737. New Wave nostalgists will want to drop in on The Latke Ball, where the '80s cover band Tainted Love plays Adam Ant and Culture Club, and DJs spin '90s dance music. Guests will be leaving at least some of their clothing at the door, so that the Young Adults Division of the Jewish Community Center can donate it to groups that serve the homeless. The ball begins at 8:30 p.m. at Club Ten 15, 1015 Folsom (at Sixth Street), S.F. Admission is $15-25; call 436-0711. And finally, The Torah Rave integrates the Kabalah with world-beat music, meditation, chanting, and ritual into a dance party benefiting the Jewish Arts and Culture School. The rave begins at 8 p.m. at Western Sky Dance Studios, 2526 Eighth St. (at Parker), Berkeley. Admission is $10-15; call (510) 232-9750.
Outside In While artists participating in the Jewish Museum show AlterNativity: The Other Side of Christmas ponder what it means to be Jewish on Christmas, guests of the museum's annual "Being Jewish On Christmas" party can weigh in on the issue too, with the interactive video installation Talking Tents. Created by the artists' collective Please Louise Productions/Museo Contempo, the video lets guests voice their thoughts and feelings about Christmas on camera. Their reactions, mixed with other previously conducted interviews, will be projected live on the walls and on multiple monitors throughout the museum during the party, held on the exhibit's opening day. Lisa Kokin's book Babes in Goyland, a wry account of the time she was hired to create a nativity scene, offers an outsider's perspective on the holiday, although not all the artists approach marginalization from a strictly Jewish perspective: Christopher Johnson's cardboard cityscape installation looks at the holidays from the viewpoint of the homeless. Rhonda Liberman's Christmas stockings filled with gelt, meanwhile, suggest a balance struck between two cultures. The art and the tents are only part of the party's entertainment: Ruth Halpern tells stories, California Klezmer and the Jewish Folk Chorus provide music, and kids can join in art workshops or peer into the tiny kosher kitchen of the Jewish Victorian dollhouse. The celebration, capped with a Shabbat candlelighting ceremony at 4 p.m., begins at 10 a.m. at the Jewish Museum, 121 Steuart (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free-$3; call 788-9990.
And You, And You, And Even You Were There! There couldn't be a better place, short of Kansas after a twister, to watch the newly restored The Wizard of Oz than at the Castro Theater's palatial digs, surrounded by enthusiastic friends of Dorothy cheering for camp idol Judy Garland. The timing is optimal too: Like the traditional holiday fare White Christmas, The Grinch, and It's a Wonderful Life), Oz threatens us with loss to remind us how lucky we are. And just like festive decorations and comfort food, the movie momentarily transports us back to our childhoods, although many people who've seen the film annually on TV since it came out nearly six decades ago have never seen it on the big screen -- which is yet another reason to make the trip. The picture and sound have been digitally improved, making Dorothy's ruby slippers sparklier and the Wicked Witch's evil shriek more bone-chilling than ever. The movie screens at 2, 4:30, 7, and 9:15 p.m. at the Castro Theater, 429 Castro (at Market), S.F. Admission is $6.50; call 621-6120.