Wednesday, Dec. 22
A Very Jewish Christmas at Zahav
There isn’t a huge come-down for Jews after Hanukkah. After eight days, we’re generally over the greasy potatoes, our wrists hurt from dreidel-spinning and our tolerance for the Maccabeats is at the year’s low. Plus, we good cultural Jews have another festival to look forward to: Christmas. See, the Sandler-spun misconception is that Jews feel excluded from the joy and magic of Christmas. Not so! In fact, many goys* envy our archetypical low-maintenance, deliciously entertaining Christmas ritual—Chinese food and a movie. Zahav will make everyone feel like that enviable Jew on Christmas—and you don’t even have to blow off Baby Jesus. They’re serving Chinese-inspired fine food and screening an ’80s movie, the title of which is a well-kept secret. But, best of all, the Dec. 22 date means that no one will have to betray their commercialism. I mean faith. -Pamela Takefman
*That’s non-Jews, for all you goys out there.
6pm and 8:30pm. $50. Zahav, 237 St. James Pl. 215.625.8800. zahavrestaurant.com
Joe Strummer Tribute
Reverence, thy name is Strummer. It’s been eight years since the premature death of the unparalleled Joe Strummer from a heart defect. He left behind one of the most influential and acclaimed careers in rock music: By 24, Strummer had formed the Clash, holy icon of bands who rock in the name of resistance miles above the whine and eyeliner that’s been passed of as punk for the better part of two decades. There is much to exalt in Strummer’s hard-working career beyond the Clash, like the Pogues, the Mescaleros and his dedication to political and civil issues. The candle burns brightly at Tattooed Mom, which hosts the Joe Strummer Tribute Night every year on the anniversary of his passing. Songs from the entirety of his career will be played, so go raise your glass to this punk who passed, know your rights and shout amen. -Micaela Hester
9pm. Free. Tattooed Mom, 530 South St. myspace.com/tattooed_mom
If Lady Gaga has always been, at heart, a drag queen who happened to be female, then what are we supposed to make of Rad Bromance? This five-dude, burb-metal tribute to the platinum one could not be more regular-guy macho if its members were playing Halo 3 right on stage. The only thing is, instead of Whitesnake and Loverboy covers, the Philly band’s drop D, falsetto-and-flashpot anthems have titles like “Poker Face,” “Just Dance” and, of course, “Bad Romance.” All of which is fine, freaky and even occasionally fabulous, but do we smell litigation potential? Hardly—Lady G had Rad Bromance open for her at the Wells-Fargo Center this past September. -Jennifer Kelly
8pm. $13-$15. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
Thursday, Dec. 23
Nobody Ever Dies On Christmas (Except Toshiro Mifune)
Even if you’re shrewdly eschewing the dual stress-fests of family and traveling to stick out the last week and a half of 2010 stubbornly planted at home, you’ll need a little cheer to help the Yuletide Specials (that’s nog spiked with Heaven Hill and chased with PBR) go down. Comedy troupe Secret Pants has swathed the loins of Philadelphia at the Fringe; now they bring a dose of wackitude to the dark, cold time of year when we need it most. And for any sketch-snobs who can’t believe a Philly-based troupe is worth your Christmas Eve-Eve time, know that Secret Pants are 1/4 British and 1/8 Canadian, so they’ve got a more cultivated pedigree than most. The show also includes burlesque, fun with PowerPoint, music, and more funnytimes from Meg & Rob and Bare Hug. (For the record, Wikipedia has the show’s namesake Akira Kurosawa collaborator as shuffling off on Dec. 24, but whatevs.) -Alexandra Jones
8pm. $10. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Siblings, when they’re not busy beating the shit out of each other (see: the Kinks, Oasis, etc.), often make excellent bandmates: Nothing like sharing the same gene pool to forge the kind of chemistry necessary to making great music. Philadelphia’s brothers Murphy—vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Dan, bassist Pat, and drummer Tom, the three of them operating under the name Penrose—display that sort of preternatural connection and musicianship as they wring the stomping, bluesy rock from Zeppelin and the Black Keys, and the trippy, spacey atmospherics from Floyd and Radiohead, for the songs that comprise their new LP Devil’s Grip, the release of which they’re celebrating tonight. Note: Once the show’s over, the fun continues with an afterparty next door at Murph’s, where Penrose may play even more tunes. -Michael Alan Goldberg
7pm. $10-$12. With the Great Vibration, Hollis Brown + TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. kungfunecktie.com
Friday, Dec. 24
Moo Shu Jew
They didn’t have sesame tofu or chow fun in the shtetl, but Jewish families spending Christmas Eve at Chinese food restaurants seems as old as the rock of ages. Whether it’s a temporary suspension of kosher law, the family style servings or just because they’re the only places open while the goys are praising baby Jesus and Santa, it used to be every Tom, Dick and Moeshe Cohen hit up some deep-fried-and-noodled goodness during the holiday. Moo Shu Jew Show pays homage to not only this gastronomical custom, but to another deeply held cultural love: stand-up comedy. Host Cory Kahaney and special guests Jon Fisch, Dan Naturman and Marion Grodin will bring the yuks. Make sure you bring your mother—it’s a buffet and she hasn’t eaten since the last time time you spoke. She didn’t want her mouth to be full if you should call.
6pm. $65. Joy Tsin Lau, 1026 Race St. 215.545.4400. mooshujewshow.com
Saturday, Dec. 25
Jewtacular X-mas Party
Rejoice, ye mourners of the Khyber of olde! Though the Philadelphia landmark’s recent conversion into something a bit more gastropubby may have signalled the end of the era of frequent, sweaty upstairs shows and dance parties, it’s not entirely a ghost of X-mas parties past. On Christmas Day, the now-Khyber Pass Pub is celebrating the seventh coming of their Jewtacular X-mas Dance Party with DJs Julie G., Stacie George and Mr. Moonboots on hand to deck the halls with decks of fury. And hey, if you need to get away from the traditional family affair a little earlier than the 9 p.m. start time, why not pop by the downstairs and sample some of the new menu items you’ve been avoiding out of protest? We hear the chicken’s good... ’Tis the seasoning.
9pm. Free. The Khyber, 56 S. Second St. 215.238.5888. khyberpasspub.com
Sunday, Dec. 26
Forget the fruitcake. Sweet or spicy winter beers blended with toffee or fig, cinnamon or clove, have special, cold-weather, extra-alcohol warming properties and make for especially palatable day after Christmas bonus presents. With delicious options from Bells, Flying Dog, Left Hand, Boulder, The Bruery, Tournay, Abbey Corsendonk, Dogfish Head, Sly Fox, Harpoon, Arcadia, Victory, Rogue, Troegs and Flying Fish (whew!), World Café Live aims to please even the pickiest craft-brew connoisseurs at this year’s Winterfest tasting event. Waste your free holiday calories by sipping hearty, creatively named brews like Elysian’s Dragonstooth Stout or Lost Abbey’s Gift of the Magi from a souvenir pilsner glass while munching on free appetizers. Winterfest is kept purposely small to allow participants to bolster their boozy knowledge by chatting up the brewmasters and distributers. Just remember—an endless array of beers may be good, but drunken driving is not, so take the bus home or draw D.D. straws (D.D. tickets are only $20).
Noon. $20-$45. World Cafe Live. 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
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Calendar: January 7-14