We hear there's a long-standing Jewish tradition of going out for Chinese food and a movie -- two of the only types of businesses that are actually open -- on Christmas. Event-planners at the Jewish Community Center have chosen instead to endorse a Christmas Eve potato-pancake dinner and a Christmas Day Bagel Bingo Brunch. Tonight's Hanukkah Happening features a menorah-lighting, kosher dinner, holiday sing-along, treasure hunt and other games, plus a family trivia contest (Marilyn Fox Building, 16801 Baxter Road; 6 to 9 p.m.; $7.50 to $25). Tomorrow's gathering at the Carolyn H. Wohl Building (2 Millstone Campus Drive, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., $6) includes kids' craft activities, bingo, swimming and bagels. Yeah, we know that real bagels float, kids, so you don't have to throw them in the pool to show us. Call 314-442-3432 for reservations to both events.
Thursday, December 25
In the interest of total disclosure, there is no Christmas element in the New Jewish Theatre's production of Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! (at the Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive; 314-442-3175). And to be honest, that's a big relief. After a steady diet of mistletoe and jolliness for the past four weeks, a musical revue based on the songs of Allan Sherman is a soothing balm for the Yuletide-abused soul. Sherman, whose heyday was in the '50s, wrote funny, catchy little songs that relied on clever wordplay to delight and amuse, much like his peers Tom Lehrer and Stan Freberg. Hello Muddah strings more than a few of these songs together to create a simple story about the life of a young Jewish couple. Puns abound, silliness is rampant, and there's nary a Christmas tree to be seen. Showtimes are 8 p.m. tonight and again on Saturday, December 27, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 28. Tickets are $16 to $20.
Friday, December 26
Local funsters Brown Company, composers of the classic Christmas carol "All I Want Is for You to Get the Hell Out of My Life," have a lot more than just genius song titles going for them. Guitarist/maestro Chris Trull has an infectious, appealing way of stringing his songs together, and he has excellent taste, as evidenced by his appreciation of Agoraphobic Nosebleed (read his terse review on the AgN divider card at Vintage Vinyl) and his choice of musical partner-in-rhyme Matt Harnish (sometime freelancer for this paper, and also visible at Vintage Vinyl). Together, Trull and Harnish and drummer Karen Stephens craft a sort of hyper-intelligent bubblegum rock; sure, it's the bubblegum you stepped in and then scraped off your shoe, so it's kind of gritty and has a strangely metallic aftertaste -- like when you chew on those little silicate packets that come with new electronic equipment. But that's a good thing. Brown Company bring their dirty sugar love to Lemmons (5800 Gravois Avenue, 314-481-4812, $5) starting at 10 p.m.
Saturday, December 27
Kristeen Young, the keyboardist/songwriter who dared to bare a sliver of her pubic thatch in a press photo (and on the cover of this newspaper late last year) journeys from New York to her hometown for a holiday show at the Way Out Club (2525 South Jefferson Avenue). This coy musician, who screams and moans à la Diamanda Galas while pounding away at her sticker-covered keyboard, always gives a good show. But let's address the real question: Whatever will she wear? Notable outfits from past gigs include various translucent dresses, skeins of black tape affixed to her skin, a lime-green Slinky worn as a necklace and the pièce de résistance, the short skirt made entirely from Wonder Bread wrappers. An in-store performance at the University City Streetside Records a few years back made a few things clear: 1) Young has some kind of vocal range; 2) she's fond of abrupt time changes; 3) she is the wild and brainy child that every guy in the crowd wishes he could tame. The ambitious Young, who guested on a recent David Bowie album, promises she'll perform brand-new songs tonight; call 314-664-7638 for the start time and cover charge.
Sunday, December 28
The single set used for Agatha Christie's dramatization of Ten Little Indians at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' Loretto-Hilton Theatre building is just gorgeous. Imagine a green marble mansion built on a cliff wall, with natural rock outcroppings integrated with the walls and furniture inside the mansion's parlor. The palatial home, located on a remote island, was supposedly built for a movie starlet by her wealthy director husband. All that glamour turns chilling when the house is sold to a madman (or is it a madwoman?), who plans to murder nine hapless vacationers on the island. Christie's plays may not be as complex an experience as her novels, but they still keep the audience guessing and feature those well-placed red herrings. Try to guess whodunit at 2 or 7:30 p.m today, or at various times through January 2 ($11 to $55, 130 Edgar Road, 314-968-4925, www.repstl.org).
Monday, December 29
At last! Thanks to the pile-up of holidays that occur at the end of the year, the City Museum (701 North 15th Street, 314-231-2489) has decided to open on a Monday. It makes sense, what with all the kids out of school for another week or so, but screw the kids; this whole month has been about the kids. This is a chance for the working adults who still enjoy climbing, exploring and generally running around like sugar-crazed circus clowns to enjoy the palace of wonder that is the City Museum. If you don't have the day off, call in sick (it's not as if anyone actually works this time of year, anyway), and ride the slide, chase your friends through the tube maze, experience the mind-altering combination of beer and nougat at the Museum of Mirth and Mystery. Go on, already; it is your destiny. Admission is $7.50, and the museum is open from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. (just like your job, only more fun).
Tuesday, December 30
Historyonics Theatre -- it's taught thousands of local kids about Winston Churchill, Arthur Ashe, flappers, Gaslight Square and plenty of other stuff that could be dry if it came straight from a textbook. From actors onstage at the Missouri History Museum's Des Lee Auditorium (Lindell Boulevard at DeBaliviere Avenue), though, history can come across as a more lively enterprise. Today you can check out two of the newest plays from the company, Riverroads: Steamboats on the Mississippi and Footsteps West: Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery. The former features real-life (and larger-than-life) female captain Blanche Leathers; the latter spotlights the youngest member of the Corps, George Shannon, along with French trapper Jean Baptiste LePage. The dramas, geared for ages five and older, have a special admission fee: $4 for one play or $6 for both. The first of the 45-minute presentations, Riverroads, gets started at 2:30 p.m.; Footsteps begins at 3:30 p.m. Call 314-361-9017 for reservations and visit www.historyonics.org for more.