My So-Called Jewish Life
SpeakeasyDC is celebrating Hanukkah the traditional way: with self-deprecation. “My So-Called Jewish Life” is an evening of stories recounted by comedians, rabbis and other miscellaneous Chosen People. Ophira Eisenberg, shown, will be there; she’s like a funnier, much-less-famous version of Whitney Cummings. Similarly fascinating-sounding is Adam Ruben, a stand-up comic and molecular biologist. Sorry, ladies, he’s married. Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW; Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m., $12-$15; 202-408-3100. (Gallery Place)
A John Waters Christmas
Charm City’s best-loved creep brings “A John Waters Christmas” to B’more’s Lyric Opera House and Alexandria’s Birchmere. The mustache behind such films as “Pink Flamingos” and “Hairspray” is hard at work on “Fruitcake,” a heartwarming movie about Christmas and shoplifting. Waters’ live holiday cheer will likely veer toward an R rating: “If you don’t have yourself a merry little Christmas, you might as well kill yourself,” he once wrote. Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria; Sun., 7:30 p.m., sold out; 703-549-7500; and Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mt Royal Ave., Baltimore; Dec. 21, 8 p.m., $62-$72; 410-685-5086.
A Dickens Christmas
An intriguing substitute for Santa: Charles Dickens. The Cathedral Choral Society and the esteemed Victorian author will appear together at the Strathmore in “A Dickens Christmas.” Urchins can have their photos taken with him, but we doubt he’ll let them sit on his lap. Ask him for better work hours, kids! Also: sing-along carols, choral performances and readings by you-know-who. (Not Santa.) The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda; Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m., $15-$65; 301-581-5100. (Grosvenor)
Singing along with Handel’s “Messiah” is a sure bet. We see a lot of horizon-expanding potential in “Deutsches Weihnachtskonzert” from the Washington Sängerbund, though. First of all, the name: a gorgeous German chain of syllables that could mean practically anything, such as “the concern that, although you are in your late 20s, you have no personal holiday traditions and thus cannot be considered an adult.” (We realize it means “German Christmas Concert.”) Second, German Christmas music is lovely and dark — these songs are to “Jingle Bells” what Grimm’s original fairy tales are to Disney’s “Snow White.” The United Church, 1920 G St. NW; Sun., 3 p.m., free; 202-310-4691. (Farragut West)
The Original L. Ron Hubbard House Tour
Interested in broadening your spiritual horizons this holiday season? (Carefully) consider a tour of the L. Ron Hubbard House, a museum housed in the Embassy Row townhouse where Hubbard established the Founding Church of Scientology in 1955. Remember, Santa Claus brings presents only to little girls and boys with acceptable Operating Thetan Levels. L. Ron Hubbard House, 1812 19th St. NW; daily (closed Dec. 25), 10 a.m.- 8 p.m., free; 202-234-7490. (Dupont Circle)
Holy Chef: Battle of the Spuds
In a move that is sure to trigger a second potato famine, Sixth and I is hosting a potato cook-off, encouraging all comers to cook their best, most creative spud-based dishes. The deadline to enter as a chef has passed, but the job of guests is arguably better: Sample and rate the curries, latkes and french fries everyone else slaved over. Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW; Sun., 7 p.m., $12-$15; 202-408-3100. (Gallery Place)
Holiday Trains and Planes
Say “trains” and “planes” together. You REALLY want to add “and automobiles,” don’t you? That’s what Hollywood movie titles do to our brains. The College Park Aviation Museum always has planes; the trains are special holidays guests, like that one cousin you don’t hate. The National Capital Trackers built the displays, which they do in assorted locations year-round. See their schedule at Trackers2010.org. College Park Aviation Museum, 1985 Cpl. Frank Scott Drive, College Park; Sat.-Dec. 23, free with museum admission ($2-$4); 301-864-6029.
First, our obligatory nod to ZooLights. It exists, details here: Nationalzoo.si.edu. On with the shows!
Garden Party: Brookside Gardens’ Garden of Lights is a good alternative to ZooLights. There are illuminated animals (not real ones) and far fewer of the most dangerous animal of all: man. Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, Md.; through Jan. 8, $20-$25; 301-962-1453.
Sit and See: Road trip! One in which you never actually have to get out of the car, because the light show at Bull Run is drive-through. Imagine traffic, only pretty. Bull Run Festival of Lights, 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, Va.; through Jan. 8, $15-$20 per car; 703-359-4633.
Homes Free: Residents along 34th Street in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood elaborately decorate their homes for the masses to enjoy, gratis. Why? Because they’re nice. That’s actually the reason. GPS/mapping address: 726 W 34th St., Baltimore; through Jan. 1, free; Christmasstreet.com.