This Week's Day-by-Day Picks 

WED 31

Step into a time machine and transport yourself back to the 1940s tonight. It's easy. Just show up at the USS Hornet Museum for its New Year's Eve dance, A Starlight Affair. The celebration takes place on the heated Hangar Decks of the historic WWII-era aircraft carrier with music by the American Swing Orchestra, paying a musical tribute to clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman, the King of Swing. Dinner packages are available along with champagne and cocktail bars, and there will be hot sandwiches and desserts to go with the red-hot swing music. Proceeds go toward the preservation of the landmark former US Navy vessel. The Hornet is located at Pier 3 in the former Naval Air Station in Alameda. Info: 510-521-5448 or USS-Hornet.org -- Kelly Vance

THU 1

We wouldn't recommend trying to get a table at Mama's Royal Cafe today. So make sure you have company whenever you wake up, because this simple yet sumptuous recipe (from Gourmet magazine via Epicurious.com) for a "New Year's Morning Omelet" serves two. It takes 45 minutes or less to prepare, so you should be eating at around 3:15 p.m.

Ingredients:

  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons aquavit (a clear Scandinavian liquor flavored with caraway seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/4 cup sour cream plus additional as an accompaniment
  • Black bread as an accompaniment
Preparation: In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, the aquavit, and salt and pepper to taste. In an eight-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter over high heat until the foam subsides. Add the egg mixture, reduce the heat to moderate, and cook the mixture until the omelet is just set but still soft and moist. Arrange the smoked salmon on the omelet, sprinkle it with the scallions, and spoon 1/4 cup of the sour cream over it. Cook the omelet for ten to fifteen seconds more, or until the underside is golden, fold it over, and slide it onto a heated platter. Serve the omelet with the bread and the additional sour cream. -- Stefanie Kalem

FRI 2

Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney working together? It's true -- the flamboyant, mustachioed Catalonian Surrealist did indeed collaborate with the conservative, mustachioed French-American Hollywood visionary, and their six-minute short animation, Destino, has been unearthed for us all to enjoy. Seems Disney and Dalí met at a 1945 H'wood dinner party hosted by Jack Warner (one of the Bros.), while Dalí was in town creating his notorious dream sequence for Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound. D and D hit it off, and Dalí went to work on a short, a dialogue-free stream of consciousness about a Spanish ballerina on a journey through a series of strange tableaux: giant tuxedoed eyeballs, ants turning into cyclists, etc. You know, Surrealism. The project was left unfinished in 1946, but now Buena Vista (Disney's distribution arm) has finished Destino, and it's being shown with the French animated feature The Triplets of Belleville (a film well worth seeing on its own) during its run at Landmark's Act in Berkeley. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 3 Nourish your fantasy life on this second day of 2004: Go to Blackhawk and pretend you're rich. The Blackhawk Museum (3700 Blackhawk Circle, Danville) is open this long holiday weekend, with plenty of eye candy for kids and grownups who think like kids. Dad and Sonny can take a "ride" on the European Train Enthusiasts' HO-scale model railroad show "All Aboard!" Mom can admire the "Women of Our Time" photo exhibition, direct from the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. And the whole family can drool (discreetly, though: this is a high-class place) over the collection of international automotive treasures. Info: 925-736-2280 or BlackhawkMuseum.org -- Kelly Vance

SUN 4

Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees concerns itself with Lily Owen, a fourteen-year-old girl clinging to the sketchy recollections of a mother she barely remembers, and whom she may or may not have accidentally killed. Set against the racial tensions of early-'60s South Carolina, Kidd's best-selling slice of Southern Gothic paints a sweet but not overly sentimental picture of a young girl learning to love and nurture herself. And she goes on the lam from the law! What else could you ask for? Howzabout a fine group of gals to mull it over with? The Secret Life of Bees is the topic du jour at Change Makers' Sacred Feminine Book Club meeting tonight, from 7 to 9 p.m. Call 510-655-2405 to reserve a copy of the book, and 510-526-6454 for info on the club itself. 6536 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. -- Stefanie Kalem

MON 5

Rob "Bucket" Hingley's Moon Ska Records appears to be doing most of its business in Europe lately, but his 23-year-old ska band, the Toasters, is still going strong and long. The band that bridged the second and third waves released the critically acclaimed Enemy of the System on Asian Man in 2002, and this September came In Retrospect, a 21-track best-of on Union 2112's Stomp imprint. The band wraps up the California leg of its current tour with a stop tonight at Blake's on Telegraph, with the music starting at around 9:30. This is an 18-and-up show. 2367 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, 510-848-0886. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 6

It's new. It's slightly irregular. And it may or may not be called Van Kleef's Voluptuous Vaudeville Variety Extravaganza. But Devin Satterfield, aka Surly, will be putting together the finest the Bay Area's neo-vaudeville scene has to offer, most Tuesdays at Cafe Van Kleef (1621 Telegraph Ave., Oakland). At press time, acts with at least one foot in the hopper include Camanda Galactica, Sansa Asylum, members of the Extra Action Marching Band, Rube Waddell, Japonize Elephants, Yard Dogs Road Show, the Sour Mash Hug Band, and more. 510-763-7711. -- Stefanie Kalem

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