Just Do Art: Extra-Festive Holiday Edition
HOTSY TOTSY BURLESQUE TRIBUTES THE “STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL” | A long time ago, in a far-out, far, far away place known as the pop culture landscape of 1970s America, confidence gained from the phenomenal box office success of “Star Wars” got the best of its creator, George Lucas, who would almost immediately disavow the debacle that was the “Star Wars Holiday Special.”
Long the stuff of VHS-only legend before the days of YouTube, the thoroughly bizarre Wookie-centric plot concerns efforts to properly celebrate “Life Day,” and includes a musical number from cantina owner Bea Arthur that’s actually pretty good, except for the part where it’s bookended by an interminably long scene that has very little purpose besides, perhaps, to fill time between cameos from Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill.
To the rescue of this cultural curiosity comes Hotsy Totsy Burlesque, an ongoing series where skin meets satire, in the form of loving, libido-friendly tributes to everything from “Doctor Who” to “Harry Potter” (the first two months of 2017 will tackle The Muppets and the “Ladies of Disney,” respectively). As for December’s show, hosts Cherry Pitz and Handsome Brad present performances from Bimini Cricket, Brief Sweat, Fem Appeal, GoGo Incognito, Le Grand Chaton, and Rosie Cheeks, and Dolly Dagger — names that put the seemingly clever monikers of “BB-8” and “C-3PO” to shame!
PEN PARENTIS LITERARY SALON HOLIDAY AUTHOR MINGLE | Assure the kids that any bad behavior will be duly noted when Santa does a final pass on his “Naughty” list — then head to Lower Manhattan, with the confidence that your baby sitter won’t have to seek treatment for night terrors. An evening of no worries and the chance to have intelligent conversation with a roomful of other likeminded creative types: That’s the promise of a Pen Parentis Salon, where inspiration to keep (or start) writing comes in the form of shop talk and readings from successful authors, who also excel at meeting the sort of ongoing deadlines associated with raising children.
Before those readings and a panel discussion, sip wine and schmooze, as you enjoy music from award-winning jazz guitarist Wilson Montuori. This month’s featured authors are Eleni Gage, Christine Rice, and Elizabeth Isadora Gold. Moms and pops may be the target audience, but everyone is welcome. The series returns on Jan. 10, with an annual Poetry Night featuring Stella Padnos-Shea, Matthew Thorburn, and Christina Cook.
Free. Tues., Dec. 13, 7–9:30pm, at Andaz Wall Street (75 Wall St., entrance at Water St., second floor). Light refreshments and wine provided by the venue. RSVP to this 21+ event is encouraged, via penparentis.org.calendar.
CHELSEA SYMPHONY HOLIDAY CONCERT | Chelsea’s very own symphony delivers all of the high-caliber musicianship you’d expect, along with consistently innovative programming and an ongoing commitment to collaboration via “upending the traditional hierarchy of the classical orchestra” by having its members rotate as featured soloists, conductors, and composers. Affable and wry Caroline Rhea (comedian, sitcom star and Reality TV host) adds some star power to Chelsea Symphony’s Dec. 2 holiday concert, when she appears as guest narrator of “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” which is recited to orchestral accompaniment. Other concert selections include Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” Victor Herbert’s “March of the Toys,” and Ottorino Respighi’s “Adagio con variazioni” (with soloist Hsuanyu I, cello). Reuben Blundell and Mark Seto conduct.
The Symphony returns for concerts on Jan. 27/28, Mar. 10/11, and Apr. 21/22, at St. Paul’s German Lutheran Church. Their 2016-2017 season — whose “Flight Paths” theme is devoted to the music of composers who have been inspired by, or have immigrated to, the United States of America — concludes on June 3/4, at W. 37th St.’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music.
The holiday concert is performed on Fri., Dec. 2, 8pm, at St. Paul’s (315 W. 22nd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Suggested donation: $20 general admission at the door. For $25 unassigned seats in the premium reserved section, visit eventbrite.com/o/the-chelsea-symphony-8502263127. Also visit chelseasymphony.org.
THE ARChive OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC HOLIDAY RECORD & CD SALE | Sure, the event listing you’re about to read ran in a recent issue — but this is one of those rare occasions when we don’t mind sounding like a broken record. That’s because it’s almost the most wonderful time of the year — when lovers of LPs, groovy givers of global music, and Secret Santas of all stripes can sleigh (okay, slay) their appointed tasks at this one-stop shopping opportunity. Day in and day out, the busy elves at the ARChive of Contemporary Music nonprofit library and research center labor to collect and preserve information on the popular music of all cultures and races throughout the world from 1950 to the present. Having amassed 3 million sound recordings so far, ARC’s noble Noah’s Arc mission inevitably wracks up duplicate copies from record companies and collectors — hence this holiday sale, one of two annual events where the general public has the run of the place.
Up for grabs this December are over 30,000 items: pop, rock, jazz, blues, classical, and world music recordings; videos and DVDs; music books and magazines; picture discs; original vintage ’60s psychedelic posters from the Grande Ballroom in Detroit; and rare Fillmore East programs. Formats? They’ve got 78s, LPs, 45s, and CDs (new and out-of-print CDs start at $3; classical LPs start at $1!).
Dec. 3–18, daily, 11am–6pm. At the ARChive of Contemporary Music ground floor office at 54 White St. (3 blocks south of Canal St., btw. Broadway & Church St.). Call 212-226-6967 or visit arcmusic.org.
—BY SCOTT STIFFLER