By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
Greetings from the Big Apple
Oklahoma oafs in sweatpants who walk really slow got you down? Well, with teen squatters, squeegee guys, dancing crackheads, and other nefarious spare-changers taking to Manhattan's streets in record 1980s numbers, it looks like those good old days of jeering tourists are over. Become a volunteer Big Apple Greeter (1 Centre Street, 380-2364, www.bigapplegreeter.org) and put the Disney back into the New Times Square. Better yet, be your cool New York self and take your visitors on the wildest fucking tour of their boring Midwestern lives! And be sure and tell them that, yes, you did vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton. (SPARTOS)
'Santa Claus is Coming Out'
The T is out! Santa Claus is down with the sisterhood and is finally revealing his homosexuality to the world, as recounted by friends and family in Jeffrey Soloman's Behind the Music-styled mockumentary. In his 80-minute one-man show, Soloman portrays the circle of pals and haters who bear witness to the intense drama of the world's most ubiquitous holiday icon, from Santa's fake actress/wife to his agent, his macho elf foreman, and Rudolph. St. Nick bares his soul to the world about his long-term affair with Italian toy maker Giovanni Gepetto (Pinocchio's daddy! Ain't that deep, tho!), wrought with anguish over pleasing the world's children and being honest about his true self. Through January 7, Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street, 206-1515. (GERMOSN)
What A Drag
In this time of heightened suicide rates, what can better assuage our nerves than the self-deprecating, callous humor of a drag queen? Joey Arias assumes the lockjaw pose and perilously penciled brows of Joan Crawford for Christmas With the Crawfords, a libertine re-creation of Mrs. Pepsi's 1944 radio show with Christina and Christopher, in which a cavalcade of uninvited guests stop by to witness the cheerfulness and the child beatings (through January 5, Chelsea Playhouse, 125 West 22nd Street, 439-5135). Also the haggard-yet-endearing barfly Kiki returns with Herb to tell more tales from her many years tugging at the coattails of the rich and famous, while doing her distinctive renditions of hits by Mary J. Blige, the Ramones, Tori, and Pink Floyd, in Kiki & Herb: "There's a Stranger in the Manger!" (through December 31, Westbeth Theater, 151 Bank Street, 741-0391). Speaking of holiday hagarellas, Fez (380 Lafayette Street, 462-9077) is hosting appearances by two very special entertainers. Bicoastal-BBW Jackie Beat, fierce in that guttural way, will do her best to wipe that Christmas cheer off your mug in Merry F***ing Christmas! (December 14 through 23). And for those of you who need a little moreor lessestrogen in your gender illusionism, Murray Hill returns with newfound patriotic fervor and a parade of guest stars including the Pontani Sisters, the Dazzle Dancers, and *BOB* (December 2, 9, and 16 at 10). (GERMOSN)
I Saw Santa at the Betting Window
Belmont Racetrack is transformed into a drive-through winter wonderland, with more than 2 million lights, and over 100 holiday displays, all accompanied by special in-car music. The 500 acres host lighted tunnels, gift vendors, entertainment, and photos with Santa. Food and clothing charity donations are appreciated. The cost is $20 per vehicle. I wonder if you can bet on reindeer races. Through December 31, Belmont Racetrack, Hempstead Turnpike and Cross Island Parkway, Queens, 516-293-4242, www.belmontholidaylights.com. (ABER)
To Your (Mental) Health!
This holiday season, don't wallow in self-pity. As 2001 draws to a close, confront your fears and acknowledge your pain to start the new year on the right foot. The Olive Leaf Wholeness Center (145 East 23rd Street, 477-0405) offers free group sessions titled Coping With Our New World on December 5 at 5:45. Go figureunlike family and friends, these folks actually want to hear all about your problems. What more can you ask for? (KIM)
Jews in Shanghai? That's right, unknowing public, especially in the 1930s. No, this ain't no wacky new sitcom, it's a new version of The Nutcracker, conceived and directed by Michael Mao, with narrative by Broadway's B.D. Wong and sets by superstar Ming Cho Lee. Two little Chinese-Jewish twins (triple-threat!) star. Instead of a Wooden Soldier, Mao's young female twin gets a holiday firecracker (!) that transforms into a glorious Fire Prince. Subsequent mind travel, like one big badass drug cartel, extends from Shanghai to Hawaii, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico, and stops off at one of NY's remaining public monuments: the Statue of Liberty. December 8 and 9 at 1, the Pepsi-Co Theatre, SUNY Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY, 914-251-6200. (PERETTI)
'Ass 'n' Titties 'n' Latkes'
You wouldn't normally associate ghetto tech as holiday-themed music. Perhaps Grandma would flinch at the prospect of "Ass 'N' Titties" replacing "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel," but this didn't stop the folks at Fun from booking the most offensive jockey on the planet. Detroit's DJ Assault spreads some goodwill (and raunch) in hopes that wayward Manhattanites will get a dose of naughtiness in addition to festive good cheer. Also on hand for the dancing and special menorah-lighting ceremonies are "big booty dreidel girlies," and opening DJs/mensches Ulysses and Koose. December 13 at 10, Fun, 130 Madison Street, 964-0303. (ROMANO)