Critic's Choice for the week of December 21-27, 2005 

Global dance, screamo sentimentality, and choral odes to Charlie Brown.


Forget Christmas: You're too broke, you're tired of the fam, and you've run afoul of that Alvin and the Chipmunks album one too many times. While other folks ratchet up the holiday cheer, you're starting to feel like an indolent and wayward soul. Time to head over to 924 Gilman for an all-ages Anti-Christmas Slumber Party, featuring nineteen hours of free movies, popcorn, and best of all, the chance to sing a happy "Kumbaya" with all your fellow grinches. The fun starts at 8 p.m. Saturday night, and costs nothing. (Rachel Swan)


Once, Kelly Clarkson was a snidely regarded reality TV has-been with no future; in 2005, she's a superstar diva, presiding over the year's can't-miss radio-rock anthem "Since U Been Gone," enthusiastically revered by Ted Leo and your mom alike. Scoot down to San Jose's HP Pavilion tonight (Wednesday) and pay homage at an arena hoedown that's sure to be tasteful and understated. Turn off your Cred Meter and you'll enjoy yourself thoroughly. $49.50, 8 p.m. (Rob Harvilla)


Omissa is everything you love about hard rock, metal, and (ahem) "screamo": melodic guitar lines, crackling feedback, staggeringly fiendish and achingly confessional vocals, and lyrics that alternately disgorge the singer-screamer's insecurities while shoring up the sentimentality. Check 'em out Friday night at Blake's on Telegraph, headlining a rock showcase that also features Forthmorning, Normal Like You, Sheol, and Charlie Hustle. $8, 8 p.m. (R.S.)


Admittedly, it's sometimes hard to tell whether your appreciation for Black Sheep is mere nostalgia for a time when it was actually cool to wear a high-ass fade and satirize gangsta rap, or whether the duo's cheeky rhymes and purposefully clunky but nonetheless catchy beats are genuinely superior to hip-hop's tastemakers today. Decide for yourself Friday night at Oakland's 2232 MLK, where BS will perform alongside Professor Pitt, Stevie Harris and Tyson of Remarkable Current, and a whole bevy of dazzling, fly-ass DJs from 2232's new Young and Sexy Wednesday event, including Abel Dee, Toure from Hieroglyphics, and yes, those dashing Vinyl Brothers. Hosted by the Oakland-based crew Delinquent Monastery, this show kicks off at 9 p.m. and costs $15. (R.S.)


Balkan Beat Box is a loose musical collective masterminded by Tamir Muskat and Ori Kaplan, associates of the increasingly lauded Gogol Bordello. Like the GB cabal, Muskat and Kaplan have an omnivorous appetite for electronica and Eastern European folk music -- their performances are a riot of guest MCs, singers, dancers, and video artists moving to the music of the Middle East, from North Africa to Bulgaria to Israel and beyond. Thursday at the Cafe du Nord in SF. $12-$15, 9 p.m. 415-861-5016 or (j. poet)


East Bay classical musicians seem to either head for a church or a cocoon during Christmas week, but Saturday night (i.e. Christmas Eve), the venerable San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus' Home for the Holidays: A Charlie Brown Christmas will fill SF's Castro Theater with joy. Sing-alongs from the Peanuts classic and Messiah, other Christmas, Chanukah, NS Winter Solstice selections, Hip-Hop Santas, and guest appearances by the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco and gospel artist Rev. Dr. Bishop Yvette Flunder round out the program. $20; 5, 7, and 9 p.m. 415-865-2787 (Jason Victor Serinus)


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