. . . And to All Some Good Nights

Festive fun that's both naughty and nice

Jaded New Yorkers bored with the usual holiday fare take heed. No need to ooh and aah at big trees and sleep through dancing fairies in order to indulge the family. We're here to help. Our list of seasonal entertainment is filled with gay Santas, boozing reindeer, and other offbeat fun. And if you decide not to venture out until 2006, we've got some long DVDs to keep you busy till then. Enjoy!

'A Very Bette Christmas'

illustration: Gina Triplett and Matt Curtius

Welcome to bitchery beneath the mistletoe. Novelist Elizabeth Fuller, who once played host to Bette Davis during an impromptu month-long stay, imagines the difficult Ms. Davis as star of a 1962 televised special. Through song, story, and hissed aside, famed female impersonator Tommy Femia will play Bette as she cows co-host Joan Crawford and spars with the show's director. SOLOSKI

Through Jan 8, Don't Tell Mama, 343 W 46th, 212-757-0788

'The Eight: Reindeer Monologues'

Apparently Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, et al. get up to some fairly kinky reindeer games. In this series of monologues by Jeff Goode, Santa's eight-deer team gathers on-stage and dashes away eggnog-curdling confessions of boozing, bestiality, and the indignities suffered at the hands of Santa Claus. Come buck the Christmas spirit. SOLOSKI

Through Dec 17, Red Room, 85 E 4th, 212-868-4444

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

Dreamy and even a little grotesque, the Christmas lights in Dyker Heights seem to get increasingly elaborate every year. By mid December, the lawns on Tenth Avenue are littered with high-voltage dioramas, 20-foot toys, and life-size reindeer. Approximately 100,000 people visit each season (many in SUVs)—it's best to walk, not drive. AVIV

83rd & 84th sts, btwn Tenth & 13th aves, Bklyn

'The Baby Jesus One-Act Jubilee'

If exchanging shiny commodities and drinking too much at the office party are popular ways of celebrating the birth of the Christ, then commissioning a one-act-play festival to honor his natal day isn't such an odd choice. Williamsburg's Brick Theatre presents 12 15-minute plays in two programs: "Shepherds" and "Magi." SOLOSKI

Dec 1 through 17, Brick Theatre, 575 Metropolitan Ave, Bklyn, 718-907-3457

'Balletto Stiletto'

Mary Fulham, an original member of the '80s all-girl comedy act the High Heeled Women, directs a multimedia play about nine daughters who can't stop doing ballet. It's like the Grimm fairy tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," except the sisters are "drugged out," fond of beer, and live in New Jersey. AVIV

Dec 1 through 18, La MaMa E.T.C., 74A E 4th, 212-475-7710

'Celebrating Fifty Years of Jim Henson & the Muppets'

Whether you're five or 55, the odds are good you've been charmed by one of Henson's colorful, furry oddballs. (Even our government's given them accolades with their own postage stamp!) This two-month retrospective celebrates Henson's creations—Kermit, Miss Piggy, Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster—with rare screenings of specials (many holiday related, such as The Great Santa Claus Switch), episodes, clips, and gems from various TV appearances. BOSLER

Dec 2 through Jan 26, Museum of Television & Radio, 25 W 52nd, 212-621-6800, mtr.org

Holiday Cooking Courses

Caught in a teary rush of sentimentality, many people with absolutely no culinary talents volunteer to cook massive Christmas feasts every year. Looking out for the guests, the Institute of Culinary Education offers several one-day courses on various kinds of holiday food, including ham, cakes, stews, puddings, biscuits, and eggnog. AVIV

Dec 3 through 31, Institute of Culinary Education, 50 W 23rd, 212-847-0700

'4th Annual Gingerbread on Broadway'

After spending hundreds of hours creating new candy forms, students from various culinary schools across the East Coast will showcase their best attempt at a gingerbread home. In previous years, the chefs have created more colorful versions of the Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park carousel. AVIV

Dec 5, New York Marriott Marquis, 1535 Bway, 212-398-1900

Holiday Poetry Book Sale

The largest poetry library in the country offers a "maddeningly various" selection of obscure journals, recordings, and chapbooks, some of them written at the beginning of the century. Many of these books (which sell for $7 or less) are long out of print and impossible to purchase elsewhere. AVIV

Dec 9 & 10, Poets House, 72 Spring, 212-431-7920

'A Christmas Carol'

What with Tiny Tim's crippling illness, Jacob Marley's rattling chains, and the spooky Ghost of Christmas Future, we've always found Dickens's story a rather creepy holiday classic. But the family-oriented Theatreworks/NYC has tempered the tale into a musical appropriate for children five and up. With a live band and a cast of Broadway vets, audiences won't likely be saying "Bah, humbug." SOLOSKI

Dec 10 through 31, Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher, 212-279-4200

'Original Holiday Doo-Wop Extravaganza'

Ever wonder where all the boybands of a few years back stole their moves and vocal harmony ideas from? Your ole uncle Barney knows, and b'gosh, instead of getting him another bad tie or shaving kit this season, treat him to a time-machine ride to his past via Dick Fox's doo-wop holiday show. Featuring (the probably not-so-young) Frankie Lymon's Teenagers, Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge, and Kenny Vance & the Planotones. BOSLER

Dec 10, 8 pm, North Fork Theatre, Westbury Music Fair, 960 Brush Hollow Rd, Westbury, NY, 516-334-0800

Early Music New York

Dressed in black and holding various excit- ing medieval instruments like shawm and sackbuts, the men's vocal ensemble will sing 14th-century motets in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 20-foot Christmas tree. Many of their songs honor the Good King Wenceslas, the Duke of Bohemia, born in 907 and murdered on his way to church. AVIV

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