Take a chill pill this pre-holiday weekend. Here are Jackalope Ranch's top five picks for things to do in metro Phoenix.
A Christmas Carol @ Theater Works Give it up to the 170 years of the greatest holiday grump we've known. Ebenezer Scrooge gets down in the West Valley with his miserly self Friday, December 20, in Theater Works' production of A Christmas Carol.
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Charles Dickens' classic tale of spiritual turnaround was first conceived in 1843 as a way to stir up compassion for the poor and downtrodden. Scrooge, the grizzled old businessman, despises Christmas as a sham that gets in the way of his moneymaking. It takes a warning from the ghost of his dead business partner and visits from The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future for the old coot to rethink his greed and misanthropy.
A Christmas Carol will be performed by Theater Works at the Peoria Center for the Arts, 8355 West Peoria Avenue. General admission tickets are $13 each. Performances run through Saturday, December 22. Visit www.theaterworks.org or call 623-815-7930 for more information. -- Jose Gonzalez
Chill @ W Hotel Scottsdale Celebrating the holidays in Arizona means having the best of both worlds. While avoiding such winter drawbacks as blizzards, icy roads, and negative temperatures, Phoenix still manages to serve up some of our favorite seasonal pastimes.
Once a year, the W Hotel in Scottsdale transforms its rooftop pool into an impressive 1,500-square-foot ice skating rink called Chill. This seasonal skating venue features winter cabanas, scheduled musical performances, and special winter cocktails at the rooftop bar.
Chill is now open through Sunday, December 29, at 7277 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale. Ice rink hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday; noon to midnight on Saturday; and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 for one hour of ice skating and includes skate rental. For more information, visit www.wscottsdalehotel.com or call 480-970-2100. -- Katie Johnson
Seven Minutes Under the Mistletoe @ Space 55 Remember when a harmless game of spin the bottle progressed into the titillating yet terrifying seven minutes in heaven? Remember the paralyzing fear, the awkward seven minutes that followed, crammed in a too-tiny closet?
Or perhaps you were one of the fortunate souls who escaped their formative years without enduring it.
Either way, downtown's quirky collective Space 55 is sure to bring up some memories during its upcoming presentation of Seven Minutes Under the Mistletoe.
The annual holiday spin on their standing variety show Seven Minutes in Heaven, is less of a Yuletide opportunity to revisit your youth and more a chance to relish in improv -- or cringe at a mortifying performance. The entirely random, diverse acts might include anything from music to magic and slapstick comedy to crude monologues, so leave the kiddos at home.
Meet under the mistletoe at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, December 21, at 636 East Pierce Street. Tickets are $10. Visit www.space55.org. -- Janessa Hilliard
Winter Solstice Celebration @ Irish Cultural Center A brief history lesson, courtesy of the Irish (sort of).
During the reign of the Julian calendar -- until its replacement by the Gregorian calendar in 1582 -- Christmas fell on December 21. These days, the twenty-first represents winter solstice, when the sun is at the lowest point above the horizon and the winter months are ushered in. And the Irish custom of solstice celebration dates all the way back to 3200 B.C. -- which pretty much trumps us all.
For 14 years the Valley's Irish community has hosted a celebration of the longest night of the year with music, poetry, and presentations. Stories of the peaks and valleys of Irish history follow this year's outdoor sunset ceremonies, which begin at 5 p.m. A traditional Irish meal and a Ribbon Tree, signifying spiritual unity, round out the cultural affair.
Celebrate the season starting at 4 p.m. Saturday, December 21, at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 North Central Avenue. Cost is $5 for presentations and an additional $10 for dinner. Reservations are required for dinner. Visit www.azirish.org or call 602-258-0109. -- Janessa Hilliard
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The Hebrew Hammer @ FilmBar When Andy Dick's Damien Santa decides to wage war against Hannukah-celebrating Jews and Kwanzaa-observing African-Americans, the fate of the non-Gentiles is put in the hands of detective Mordechai Jefferson Carver (a.k.a. the main character in Jonathan Kesselman's The Hebrew Hammer). Described as part man, part street, and 100 percent kosher, the Hammer (Adam Goldberg) rallies his Christmas-free compadres for international battle, meets total babe Esther Bloomenbergensteinenthal (Judy Greer), and sets out on a profanity-laden, not at all PC adventure.
Whatever the hell you celebrate, you're welcome to attend FilmBar's screening of the 2003 Jewsploitation comedy at 812 North Second Street. Though, with a nod toward the unorthodox, show-goers are encouraged to sport their best/worst ugly holiday sweater for a chance to win a Hebrew Hammer prize pack. Tickets are $9 to the 21-and-over screening at 6 p.m. Sunday, December 22. Visit www.thefilmbarphx.com or call 602-595-9187. -- Becky Bartkowski