So many ways to celebrate

Holiday activities are not just about 'The Nutcracker' any more.

December 16, 2010|By Candice Baker
  • Colleen Smith, left, Ted Michaels and Brian Henson in the off-Broadway hit "Stuffed and Unstrung."
Colleen Smith, left, Ted Michaels and Brian Henson in… (Courtesy Carol…)

Still need to get into the holiday spirit (or avoid it at all costs)? Check out our holiday activity guide for something to suit everybody — and we mean everybody.

For the Scrooge

If your goal each December is to get as far away as possible from Santa-ish saccharine, your best bet is to grab a ticket to the off-Broadway hit "Stuffed and Unstrung," which takes the Jim Henson Co.'s puppeteers and puppets and gives them a shot of scotch and an open mic.

The West Coast premiere of this uncensored improvisational comedy and variety show from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, features the actual crew and puppets that generations have grown up with — but like the puppet musical "Avenue Q," it's strictly for adults. Hosted by comedian Patrick Bristow, the show features 80 Henson puppets taking audience suggestions for skits and songs, while their six puppeteers are in full view onstage.


One of the puppeteers in "Stuffed and Unstrung" is Academy Award winner Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson. Now the co-chief executive of the Jim Henson Co., along with his sister Lisa, Brian Henson also is working on other projects including a film version of "Fraggle Rock."

Tickets are $38 to $55. Call (949) 854-4646 or visit

For the purist

Pacific Symphony is gearing up for its Holiday Organ Spectacular featuring noted organist Todd Wilson, curator of the E.M. Skinner pipe organ at Severance Hall in Cleveland.

The concert, at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, also will feature soprano Lori Stinton and instruments including a harp, cello, trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba. The evening presents a blend of sacred hymns and holiday favorites, as well as a Christmas carol sing-along.

Tickets are $25 to $79; many sections have very limited seating available. Call (714) 755-5799 or visit

For the socialite

Stop by party organizer Kalida's latest singles affair at 7 p.m. Saturday night at the Wyndham Hotel, 3350 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa. Cover for the holiday dance party is $10; bring an unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots. An included dinner will be from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., followed by a deejayed dance party. Average age is 30 and older.


For the wishful

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