By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
'Ronnie Spector's Christmas Party, Vol. 8'
She sang on the best Xmas album ever (her ex Phil's), and this wall-of-Santa shindig has become a real-life annual tradition for the leathery old softies of rock 'n' rollhalf Brill Building, half Coney Island High. It'll be a blue Christmas without the ageless Ronette's
familiar foil Joey Ramone, but the cast list over the last couple of years has variously included Keith Richards and the Angry Inch band, and she apparently tried for Sleater-Kinney once. Cross your fingers for your favorites. December 15 and 16 at 7 and 9, B.B. King Blues Club, 237 West 42nd Street, 997-4144. (WOLK)
'Carmen Mofongo's Coquito Christmas 2001'
Although she grew up in the same Bronx neighborhood as J.Lo, actress Michele Carlo admits to her tragic gringo-ness. "I'm like the most un-Puerto Rican Puerto Rican on the entire planet," she confesses. She funnels her camp take on Latino American culture into the guise of Carmen Mofongo. "A Nuyorican Bronx-styled Carmen Miranda," as described by Carlo, Carmen wears ridiculous hats piled with anything from fruits to packs of Caf* Bustelo and Goya cans. Her tembleque-thick accent makes her sound like she hasn't left Mayagez, but she casually peppers her speech with 25-cent words like effluvium and congruence while singing bastardized versions of '50s musical numbers. At the show, audience members get free coquito shots, "the traditional Puerto Rican holiday drink," Carlo says, "made with rum, milk, rum, eggs, rum, vanilla, rum, spices, rum, coconut, and rum." Those who aren't wary of falling down dead-ass drunk during the show will enjoy the scheduled cameos from LES art-stars Reverend Jen, Purple Organ, Johnny McGovern, and Bruce Malnoff. December 15 and 22 at 10, Surf Reality, 172 Allen Street, 673-4182. (GERMOSN)
'A Holiday Gospel Celebration'
Let us address a hard truth about the holidays: It's not the greatest time for good music. After a certain age, the canned, witless positivity of songs like "Jingle Bells" and "Let It Snow" slowly starts to deaden otherwise useful brain cells. Even the occasional instances of brillianceEsquivel doing a gamelan-tinged "White Christmas," Nat King Cole's showstopping version of "O Tannenbaum"are little solace. Wash that din out of your ears and head to an exclusive concert of holiday gospel by Liz McComb, a glorious belter of jazz-inflected tunes. Not too well-known here, McComb has been a diva of the genre in Europe since the early '80s. Her fiery, commanding mezzo tone is finding its way onto the listening palettes of American ears with live performances like this one, backed up by a specially assembled Harlem choir. December 16 at 3, Aaron Davis Hall, 138 Convent Avenue, at West 135th Street, 650-7100. (GERMOSN)
'Feliz Navidad With Jos Feliciano'
Growing up Latin meant that instead of cookies and milk we'd leave Santa steak and rice, and an obligatory bottle of Bacardi. And instead of Bing Crosby's too "White Christmas," we'd get all sappy to Jos* Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad." The Puerto Rican crooner brought a bag full of soulnot coalto the Bastidas household every year, and we were grateful from the bottom of our hearts. December 21 at 8 and 10, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd Street, 997-4144. (BASTIDAS)
Nervous New Yorker coughs a consumptive cough. After nine months of greedy living, she swears off all gluttonous goods and servicesdesigner jeans from Barneys, frothy cocktails at Bungalow 8, and the sexy chow of the Park. But alas, she is only human! So, she confesses, there's been the occasional night of dancing (for charity!) and afternoon of shopping (to fuel the economy!). But deep down, Nervous New Yorker knows there's more to patriotic goodwill than draping a flag across her SUV. So, this holiday season, catch her fetching hot meals for the elderly (Citymeals-on-Wheels, 355 Lexington Avenue, 687-1234) and those living with AIDS (God's Love We Deliver, 166 Sixth Avenue, 294-8104), not to mention carving turkey for the homeless (Coalition for the Homeless, 89 Chambers Street, 964-5900). Now Nervous New Yorker's just plain Nice New Yorker. (SPARTOS)
Frank Darabont's December '99 inspirational, The Green Mile, was a tribute to redemption, running time, and bladder control; here watch him loan a Capra halo to Jim Carrey, who plays a blacklisted '50s screenwriter determined to make a new life in a small town. Or you could catch It's a Wonderful Life on TV for free. Opens December 21. (LIM)
Those who aren't fortunate enough to have the dubious pleasure of sitting with their neurotic family and gorging themselves on the requisite turkey Christmas dinner can head to Carroll Gardens for an un-Christmas Christmas party. The third annual Jewish Christmas features a flick and an unlimited Chinese buffet for a $10 cover. Previous years have entertained atheists, displaced clubbers, and Jewish loners with Starship Troopers, Austin Powers, and Time Bandits. This year's flick is the so-bad-it's-good fourth Star Wars installment, The Phantom Menace, which will be accompanied by classic episodes of cartoon shorts. Oy vey! December 24 at 8, Halcyon, 227 Smith Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, 718-260-9299. (ROMANO)