"Naked Girls Reading: Winter Wonderland"
This season, why not skip the traditional holiday fare in favor of the satirical, risque or irreverent? Here are our top picks to help you keep your sanity this busy holiday season. More picks next week and at www.vita.mn.
‘Nutcracker (Not So) Suite’
Ballet of the Dolls’ perennial holiday favorite. Set in New York City in 1973, this year’s show has the heart of the original “Nutcracker” and all the glitter and quirk of the Dolls, with breakdancing rats, glittery costumes and hilariously stiff-limbed dancing by a pair of Barbie and Ken dolls. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., 8 p.m. next Thu. Through Dec. 31. $23.50-$150. Ritz Theater, 345 13th Av. NE., Mpls. 612-436-1129. www.ritz-theater.org.)
‘A Very Die Hard Christmas’
Dana’s Boys’ comic riff on the blockbuster Bruce Willis vehicle is back. Like the film, the plot centers around a Christmas-hating, off-duty cop who must defeat a group of terrorists. Unlike the film, the show features singing, dancing and a decidedly low budget. (10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 9 p.m. Sun. Ends Dec. 22. $13-$15. Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St., Mpls. 612-825-8949. www.bryantlakebowl.com.)
Rockstar Storytellers: ‘Booze, Food and Feelings’
The holidays can be stressful. The ever-irreverent Rockstar Storytellers will air their holiday angst in stories with titles like “Are You Sure You Want to Get Picked Up in a Gay Bar on Christmas Eve, Teenage Homosexual?” The troupe will also invite audience members to submit their own anonymous grievances to be read aloud. (7 p.m. Mon. $10-$15. Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St., Mpls. 612-825-8949. www.bryantlakebowl.com.)
‘Sweet & Sour Richfield Made in China’
For 14 consecutive holidays, Miss Richfield 1981 — known out of drag as Russ King — has been the bawdy-mouthed hostess with the mostest, serving up an off-color mix of stand-up, singalongs, sketches and audience participation. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m. Sun., 8 p.m. next Thu. Ends Dec. 22. $30-$40. Illusion Theater, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 612-339-4944. www.illusiontheater.org.)
The New Standards Holiday Show
Twin Cities jazz ensemble the New Standards are known for their quirky takes on modern pop songs, from Britney Spears’ “Toxic” to the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize?” Now in its seventh year, their annual holiday show is always a sell-out affair -- which is probably why they decided to move from their usual home at the Fitzgerald Theater to the State Theatre this year. As usual, expect their stylish renditions of holiday classics with surprise special guests (past years have included Dan Wilson, Jeremy Messersmith and Haley Bonar). (8 p.m. Sat. & 6:30 p.m. Sun. $35-100. State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Av., Mpls. 1-800-982-2787. www.hennepintheatretrust.org.)
‘Star Wars Holiday Special’ 35th Anniversary Spectacular
Airing only once in 1978, the “Star Wars Holiday Special” has gone down in geek lore as a camp classic. One part low-budget narrative, one part variety show, the TV special combines the old gang with a singing Bea Arthur, a performance by Jefferson Starship and bad jokes from Art Carney. It screens this weekend as part of a Toys for Tots toy drive. (7 p.m. & 10 p.m. Wed. Free w/ toy donation. Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St., Mpls. 612-825-8949. bryantlakebowl.com.)
Santa Pub Crawls in St. Paul
St. Paul is playing host to not one but two Santa-themed pub crawls on the same day (Dec. 14). Dedicated to the spirit of St. Nick and flash mobs alike, the crawls encourage revelers to dress as Santa Claus — or a reindeer or gingerbread man or elf (you get the idea).The free, sixth annual St. Paul SantaCon gets the edge for sheer spectacle, with traveling entertainment from Foxy Tann, the Brass Messengers and Santa’s dark companion, Krampus. From the brains behind the Zombie Pub Crawl comes the newer St. Paul Santa Crawl, which is certainly a contender. A wristband gains you entry to 14 bars, with drink specials and free party-bus transport between stops, plus drunken gift-wrapping contests, costume contests, photo booths, dance parties, Blingo, retro video game tournaments and “live reindeer.” (St. Paul SantaCon: 6 p.m. Dec. 14, free, www.lowertownsantacon.info. St. Paul Santa Crawl: 5 p.m. Dec. 14, $20, www.stpaulsantacrawl.com.)