On the Cheap Listings

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WEDNESDAY 21

Cartoonist-palooza gift sale and concert Mercury Café, 201 Octavia, SF. www.stevelafler.net. 6-9 p.m., free. Lloyd Dangle, a longtime deft lampooner of the one percent in his Troubletown comic strip, headlines a night of comic-oriented holiday offerings and live music. Mats!?, Jeff Roysdon, Steve Lafler, and the Dick Nixon Experience (responsible for the one-and-only "Oaxacabilly" sound) join.

Winter Solstice celebration Muir Woods Visitor Center, 1 Muir Woods Rd., Mill Valley. www.parksconservancy.org. 3-8 p.m., free. You can spend the longest night of the year spent underneath the longest trees around. Solstice crown-making, musical performances, and luminaria-guided jaunts along Muir Woods trails light up the night.

THURSDAY 22

Objectified screening Phyllis Wattis Theater, SFMOMA, 151 Third St., SF. www.sfmoma.org. 7 p.m., $5. From the very same folks who examined glyphs and serifs in the film Helvetica comes a film on the design of some of our most mundane objects. Potato peelers and toothbrushes will both be under discussion.

Animation Workshop Rock Paper Scissors Collective, 2278 Telegraph, Oakl. www.rpscollective.org. 6-8 p.m., sliding scale. Before gifs, there was the even simpler stuff: cut-out and stop-motion animation. Rock Paper Scissors holds monthly workshops on such styles of yore. Eager would-be animators are invited to come and create their own short films.

FRIDAY 23

Berlin-Style Ping-Pong Project One, 251 Rhode Island, SF. 9 p.m., $5. With two whole reasons to celebrate (the first being that it's Friday, the second that it's Christmas Eve-Eve), there's absolutely no excuse to pass up the latest match of "Berlin-style" ping-pong, the paddled craze sweeping the city. Join the frantic runners-round-the-table.

SATURDAY 24

Mittens and Mistletoe Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., SF. www.dancemission.org. Also Sun/25. 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., $7.50 on www.brownpapertickets.com. Directed by two bonafide clowns, Coventry and Kaluza, the winter-themed variety show re-imagines trashcans, brooms, and similarly ordinary objects with the help of slack lines, acrobatics, and the usual circus magic.

SUNDAY 25

Free admission day Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission, SF. www.thecjm.org. 11 a.m.-4 p.m., free. Sure, there's Chinese food and the Cineplex. But for those Christmas Day wanderers looking for cultural enlightenment, the CJM opens its doors for a day of spinning top-making and guided tours (including one of that sweet Houdini exhibit).

"It's a Jewish Christmas" Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St., SF. www.makeoutroom.com. 5-11 p.m., $10. Strip dreidel, a real-deal Chanukah bush, alternating works of neurotic brilliance by Woody Allen and Larry David, and a lavish spread of chow mein make this the best un-Christmas ever.

Schlitz and free country music Bender's, 806 South Van Ness, SF. www.bendersbar.com. 9 p.m., free. Two dollars for the beer that made Milwaukee famous is great enough, but add the twanging grooves of local group the Dead Westerns and you may never make it out of Bender's.

MONDAY 26

Kwanzaa in San Francisco Through Jan. 1. Various times and places, SF. www.kwanzaasanfrancisco.com. Celebrate the African holiday of faith, self-determination, unity, and other universally clutch principles with these seven days of free events. Highlights: the Mon/26 keynote speech by City College trustee Dr. Brenda Wade, Dec. 28's one-woman play on the life of Harriet Tubman, and feasts every night of the festivities.

Holiday Animation Film Festival McBean Theater, Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon, SF. www.exploratorium.edu. Noon, 2, and 4 p.m., free with museum admission. Even if you start watching a holiday-themed short screened as part of the holiday animation festival and it doesn't tickle your fancy, chances are you've only got about a minute or two left to go before it's over, Scrooge. Hand-painted paper scraps, stop-motion animation, and stuffed animals headline the show.

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