There are a lot of reasons you may not have something to do, or some place to be, on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Your relatives may live out of town. You may be Jewish or Muslim. Or you may think the whole thing's an overblown load of consumerist claptrap. Either way, between the baker's dozen Nutcracker productions going on right now and the Waitresses' "Christmas Rapping" on KALX, you'll find it hard to escape this weekend. Worry not, though, sweet heathens -- 924 Gilman feels your pain. The legendary Berkeley punk space is hosting an all-ages, free-admission Anti-Christmas Slumberfest from Friday night into Saturday morn, where, their answering machine says, "We're gonna watch movies, make fun of Christians, and things like that." Sorry to have no better info than that, kiddies, but the nonprofit is notorious about not calling the press back, and their Web site simply says, "Fuck Presents, Come Watch Movies with Punks!" See if you have any better luck: 924Gilman.org. -- Stefanie Kalem
While away a long dark month of rainy days by enrolling your little angels in the Martinez Library's winter book clubs. Signups start today for both the School Age Club (for readers in grades one through five) and the Read to Me Club (for listeners from newborn to age five). Plough through a lot of pages by January 31 and win fun prizes (Wed., 10 a.m.). ... Loved Stitch 'n' Bitch and Ready, Set, Crochet and want to live the life? The Hooks, Yarn and Needles group of knitters and readers meets monthly at Borders Pleasant Hill. Bring your own skeins and implements (Wed., 6 p.m.). ... ¿Quieres oir los cuentos más divertidos y más profundos? It's Bilingual Story Time at the Antioch Library, with tales suitable for la familia entera read aloud in English and Spanish (Wed., 7 p.m.). ... Got a sonnet about Sekhmet or a canto about Coyolxauhqui you've been just dying to read aloud? Bring poetry -- and a potluck dish -- to the all-female full-moon gathering at Oakland's Changemakers for Women. Songs, drums, rattles, and plans for group exercises are also welcome. Reservations are requested; call 510-655-2405 (Sun., 7 p.m.). ... Animal stories aren't only about the Three Bears, the Three Pigs, the Three Billygoats Gruff, Puss in Boots, and Chicken Little. Meet more at the Fremont Main Library's Our Furry Friends afternoon. Kids in second through fourth grades and their handlers are invited, but preregistration is suggested (call 510-745-1421) (Tue., 2 p.m.). ... Will 2005 be a Hermit kind of year for you, or a Six of Swords one? Tarot readings by Joy Schulenburg, versatile author of Gay Parenting: a Complete Guide for Gay Men and Lesbians with Children, last all day at Premayala (1713 University Ave., Berkeley) (Tue., 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus
Regift Without Guilt
Hey, Jews! Recovered from your Christmas-day MSG hangovers yet? Ready to get rid of the Fair Isle sweater your tante Debbie gave you on the fifth night, or that copy of He's Just Not That Into You from your dad? Wrap it up and bring it to BayJews Havurah Young Adults' Post-Hanukkah White Elephant Party where, starting at 3 p.m., ages twenty to forty are invited to trade gifts. Please RSVP at BayJews.org no later than December 24. They'll give you the Oakland location when you do. $10-$14 sliding scale, plus money for a vegetarian pizza. -- Stefanie "It's okay, I'm Jewish" Kalem
House for the Holidays
Oh. My. God. Is it Christmas Eve Eve already? Do you need to get your festive freak on? How about heading to Luka's Taproom (the old Hofbrau, at 2221 Broadway in downtown Oakland) for Brothers & Sisters, a no-cover soulful house and old-school underground dance music party with DJs Dedan, Daniela, and guests? It happens every Thursday from 9 p.m. till closing. LukasOakland.com, 510-451-4677. -- Stefanie Kalem
I saw Mommy stomping Santa Claus
Whether you're a holiday orphan or just want to spend the night doing something more exciting than waiting around for a fun, fur-clad senior to drop by and eat the cookies on the mantelpiece, radical Berkeley has the cure for your Xmas blues. That bastion of free will, the Long Haul Infoshop, cordially invites you to ditch your family obligations and spend Friday night doing something you actually enjoy -- such as watching flicks or shaking a tail feather at their Christmas Eve hootenanny. First, you can vicariously sabotage Santa along with Tim Burton's animated cult classic The Nightmare Before Christmas at 7:30 p.m. Follow Jack Skellington on his wayward journey through Christmastown, where he and his ghoulish crew dismember Yuletide and all its consumer kitsch while struggling to locate the emotional relevance of it all. Like the Brothers Quay meets Fred Astaire, it's an animation treat even grown-up kids will dig.
After the film, you can work out all your shopping-mall-induced anxiety by getting down for a "mix-tape line-dance party." It'll be the perfect opportunity for all you punks to learn the Elvira while your country friends sway to the harmony of a good ol' ditty from the Vandals. Instead of participating in the Hallmark holiday tradition of purchasing and dispensing generic consumer products, everyone is encouraged to get a little of the DIY spirit and bring a mix tape or line-dancing routine to share, or just about anything to get your stocking feet bouncin' to the beat.
Deck the halls at 3124 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley. For more info, call 510-540-0751 or visit TheLongHaul.org -- Amrah Johnson
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