In the midst of our crazed holiday shopping sprees, eggnog lattes (spiked, we prefer) and lame office parties, we pause a moment to remember those less fortunate than ourselves: elves. No, not those elves, the ones cozied up by Santa's wood-burning stove, drinking hot cocoa, and happily singing carols as they tinker with children's toys. No, they have it pretty damn good. We're speaking of those poor saps stuck in department stores, pretending to like the children they toss on Santa's lap for the customary "What would you like for Christmas, little boy? Oh, he pissed on my leg!" ritual this time of year. To show our sympathy, we'll fork over $20 to see the Artists' Theatre Project production of David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries & Season's Greetings at Scottsdale's Tinseltown Tavern, 2017 North Scottsdale Road, beginning Friday, December 3. The play, in which "psychotic Santas, demonic children and unbearable parents are just the tip of the artificial iceberg," was adapted from Sedaris' series of NPR essays on the holidays. The ATP production is directed by Jim Linde and stars Scott Campbell, Stacie Lambeth and Neil V. Cohen, through December 12. The December 3 show starts at 8 p.m. Call 602-413-0507 or see www.artiststheatreproject.org.
At the risk of sounding misogynistic, a woman's place is in a short, plaid miniskirt begging for a spanking. Got a beef with that? Well, don't picket us, we just report this stuff! If you and your DiFranco DiFeminists feel like protesting -- or, more appealing to us, at least, you wanna play saucy student to our tormented teacher -- head over to Acme Roadhouse, 855 South Rural in Tempe, on Saturday, December 4, for Naughty Schoolgirl Night. Ladies who wear their youth on the inside are encouraged to prove it on the outside and compete in the "Sexiest Schoolgirl" contest. Niki Kwik, the Fondells, and Hung Destiny provide live music to be naughty to, or to scoff at, killjoy. Call 480-517-1818 or see www.acmeroadhouse.com.
We're so glad that someone has finally recognized that writing is truly an art. Case in point: the weekendlong Tempe Festival of the Arts, which shuts down Mill Avenue through Sunday, December 5. The fall festival, as in years past, will showcase 20 different categories of art -- including jewelry, paintings, photography, ceramics, and mixed-media works -- at more than 500 booths between University Drive and Rio Salado Parkway on Mill. This year's edition of the festival includes "Book Street," a first-time TFOA attraction that will feature such acclaimed authors as Martin Cruz Smith (Gorky Park), Diana Gabaldon (Outlander), Christopher Moore (The Stupidest Angel) and Paul Perry (Jesus in Egypt). Admission to the festival is free. For more information, call 480-921-2300 or see www.tempefestivalofthearts.com.
What this town needs is some shit-talkin' rocker pigs, yo. Check that: Make it some shit-talkin' rocker pigs who can back up their smack with a mean set of bona fide alternative tuneage. And we think we have a winner in Mesa's Batter the Drag, which plays a four-banger with A Soft Heart Breakbeat, and L.A. bands Safety, and Ragsy on Monday, December 6, at the Emerald Lounge, 1514 North Seventh Avenue, starting at 8 p.m. Batter the Drag will play in support of its debut EP, Unfathomable Depths, which the band is selling "dirt cheap" at $5 a pop. And that goes for its swag, too, according to the band's Web site (www.batterthedrag.com), on which the members scribe: "Sometimes bands we play with get mad because we always undercut their merch prices. We, then, get mad because those bands can't fucking rock 1/16th as hard as we do." We like your moxie, boys. No cover charge. Call 602-256-9705.
Thanks in large part to the religious right, Election Day made Jesus Christ a superstar once again. Doubt it? O, ye of little faith. What say you, surly skeptic, if we told ya there'd be a revival hosted by the Messiah himself beginning Tuesday, December 7, when the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber masterpiece Jesus Christ Superstar blesses the stage at ASU's Gammage Auditorium, at the intersection of Mill Avenue and Apache Boulevard in Tempe? Seen the light yet? The musical production's score includes the Broadway hymns "I Don't Know How to Love Him," "Everything's Alright" and "Heaven on Their Mind." The Pearly Gates open at 7:30 p.m. through December 12, with Saturday and Sunday matinees. Tickets are $19.75 to $65. Call 480-965-3434 or see www.ticketmaster.com.