"A Christmas Dream" screens at Oddball Films on Friday
"A Christmas Dream" screens at Oddball Films on Friday
“A Christmas Dream” screens at Oddball Films on Friday

Hey Kids! is a weekly feature looking at what’s coming up for families and kids of all ages.

Catch a deelish fish dish new in the Mish. The attractively low-key Little Spot Cafe now serves sushi dinner. Toshi is making sushi Wednesday through Saturday evenings, closing shop at 9pm (or when they run out). Little Spot Cafe, 1199 South Van Ness Ave. (at 23rd.)

Enrollment has begun for Spring 2010 classes at City College of San Francisco. The Child Development and Family Studies department offers non-credit classes for parents and their infants/tots (including a preschool program) at Mission campus. And coming this weekend, Natural Resources presents two free informative events: Pediatric Vaccination Class and Infant & Toddler Carrier Clinic.

Remember childhood? The gorgeous comics section of Panorama brought back memories of waking early Sunday mornings to read the paper. Inside the accompanying magazine is the comic strip “Arab in America” by Toufic El-Rassi, a funny and disturbing insight into post-911 paranoia and pleasantries.

“Mishmish” means apricot in Arabic, and “mish” in Serbo-Croatian means “mouse”. This Friday, The Mish in the house. Guest curator Pete Gowdy and Oddball Films present “Weirdsville: Kooky Chrismas Capers.” Highlights include “On the 12th Day”, Fat Albert’s “A Christmas Story,” “A Christmas Dream” and “Mickey Plays Santa Claus,” Frank and Bing duets, bizarre holiday “soundies”, commercials, trailers and more.

“These films deal with myths and cultural identities, there is whimsy and fantasy, myth and magic,” says Stephen Parr, owner and director of Oddball Films.

I wonder if the Mickey Mouse flick was shown at old movie houses like New Mission Theater back in the day. Parr guesses “Mickey Plays Santa Claus” (1931) was a reduction (from the original 35mm that may have played in theaters) for home movie screenings – films that were purchased at a camera shop to play at home.

Fat Albert and the gang riff on the classic Dickens tale in “A Christmas Story” (1978), encountering eviction, a poor boy and his unemployed dad and pregnant mom, and hardhearted landlord Tightwad Tyrone in the role of Scrooge. “A Christmas Dream” (1940’s) combines live action with stop motion animation “done the old-fashioned way – by hand!” Directed and created by two Czech Brothers, Borivoj Zeman and Karel Zeman, it weaves a magical tale of a little girl and her rag doll. Both Zeman brothers continued making films for over thirty years, such as “The Fabulous World of Jules Verne”, “Baron Munchausen” and “The Phantom of Morrisville”.

The largest film archive in Northern California, Oddball Films has provided rare and esoteric footage for documentaries, web projects, television series, and feature films like “Bladerunner” and “Milk”. For their in-house programs, two projectors are used so films can run continuously without reel changes. Parr also double (and triple) projects programs to examine and explore the “artifice” of single screen projection.

“We have two eyes. Why not two projectors?” he asks. Other times Parr creates live mixes superimposing films, filtering light and changing image size.

An example of a still from a live film mix by Stephen Parr.
An example of a still from a live film mix by Stephen Parr.

“My philosophy is varied – as an imagemaker, I want to explore the collection I’ve built and reveal the various collections within the archive to others. Additionally it’s to examine, juxtapose and explore the systems of cinema, the various methods and genres of filmmaking.” ”The Wizard of Oz” screens at Castro Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 13th, and “Bicycle Thieves” will be playing at the Roxie Theater from Christmas to New Year’s Eve. Both movie classics reign in the top ten list of the British Film Institute’s 50 films you should see by the age of 14.

“I don’t really have a top ten list of films–we have over 50,000 prints in the collection and my taste varies,” Parr says. Favorite works include feature films by Federico Fellini, Tarkovsky, Vertov, Godard and Louis Malle, avante-garde films by Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger, as well as educational filmmakers Sid Davis and Philip Stapp, and ethnographic films of tribal and indigenous cultures.

“And let’s not forget home movies and amateur films,” he adds, “depicting life through the unfiltered eye of a family member.”

“Weirdsville: Kooky Christmas Capers” is an all ages show, screened inside the film archive. RSVP only–415-558-8117 or info@oddballfilm.com. Fri., Dec. 11. 8:30pm. $10. Oddball Films, 275 Capp St. (near 18th.)

Dance Brigade's "The Revolutionary Ntucracker Sweetie"
Dance Brigade’s “The Revolutionary Ntucracker Sweetie”

Upcoming events:
(subject to change, confirm times)
The Velveteen Rabbit
Margery Williams’ classic tale of enduring love between a boy and his threadbare toy rabbit is brought to stage with music, dance and dynamic narrative. Presented by contemporary dance company ODC/Dance, this holiday production is now in its 23rd season. Dec. 10–13. $15-45. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard St. (at Third St.)

December Celebrations with Francisco Herrera
Celebrate the holidays with songs from Latin America. Fri., Dec. 11. 3pm-3:45pm. Free. Mission Branch Library, 300 Bartlett St. (at 24th)

Pediatric Vaccinations Class
Dr. Minna Yoon, N.D., L.Ac. gives an overview on vaccinations, vaccine benefits and risks, possible side effects, and schedule options. Class is full–call 415-550-2611 to be added to the wait list. Fri., Dec. 11. 2pm-4pm. Free. Natural Resources, 1367 Valencia St. (btw 24th and 25th streets.)

Mission Holiday Block Party
Live music, art, shopping and hot beverages. Bring your “Bah humbug!” mug for extra brownie points. Fri., Dec. 11. 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Free. 16th Street and Valencia.

Weirdsville: Kooky Christmas Capers
See above. Fri., Dec. 11. 8:30 p.m. $10 RSVP only– 415-558-8117 or info@oddballfilm.com. Oddball Films, 275 Capp St. (near 18th.)

The Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie – The Kidz Version
Dance Brigade’s holiday extravaganza takes Clara on a magical journey with the Freedom Fighting Nutcracker featuring Dance Mission Theater’s Youth Program, the GRRRL Brigade and company teachers. Students perform Taiko, Tap, Modern, Trapeze, African, Salsa, Ballet, Bungee, Flamenco and Hip Hop while addressing contemporary concerns such as global warming and consumerism, but always with the humor and artistry that is Dance Brigade’s signature. Sat., Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Sun., Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. & 6 p.m. $10-15. Brava Theater, 2781 24th St. (at York.)

Fun-Derful Holidaze
The Bay Area’s beloved clown Unique Derique is joined by poi-twirling daughter Mali and Prescott Clown Circus theater alumni for a fun-filled holiday extravaganza. Amazing youth jugglers, hambone body music team, hip hop dancers, and dynamic movin’ and groovin’ clowning. 60 minutes, no intermission. Dec. 12 – Jan. 3 (see website for dates). All shows at 2 p.m. $7-$50. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia St. (near 22nd St.)

2nd Annual Christmas on the Plaza
Tree lighting ceremony, crafts, refreshments and a good, old-fashioned carol sing-along. Sat., Dec. 12. 5 p.m. Bethel Christian Church, 1325 Valencia St. (at 24th.)

End of Semester Show
Performance and exhibition from a fall semester of hard work. Argentine tango, Egyptian belly dance, Nicaraguan folkloric dance, keyboard/piano, Latin dance grooves, Latin American folkloric dance, Samba Jan Brazilian percussion, paper and textile silkscreen and more. Sat., Dec.12. Noon-2pm exhibition in Raymi Gallery. Free. 2 p.m.-5 p.m. performance in theater. $5. Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission St. (at 25th.)

Clouds of Tea
Meanwhile in East Bay, performance artist Sha Sha Higby performs fluid otherworldly dance-sculpture. Be still my puppet heart! Here’s a video. Sat. & Sun., Dec. 12 & 13. 8 p.m. $10-15. Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck Ave. (at Berryman), Berkeley.

Parol Festival and Parade
Three mega-holidays in the Philippines are Christmas, Easter and Manny Pacquiao boxing matches. The parol (derived from “farol”, Spanish for lantern) is a star-shaped lantern made of bamboo sticks and paper. It’s hung from balconies and windows, symbolizing the star of Bethlehem and Christmastime to Filipinos, just as the decorated evergreen tree is to Westerners. Catch a stream of parol stars in SoMa, and enjoy this fantastic Christmas celebration in the Filipino tradition. Sat., Dec. 12. 3 p.m.-6 p.m. games and demonstrations in Jessie Square. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. parol lantern parade and performances Yerba Buena Lane to Jessie Square. Free.

Infant & Toddler Carrier Clinic
Babywearing has proven benefits. Not to mention how warm you’ll both feel while braving the tundra. Golden Gate Mother’s Group members and others are invited to drop by and learn more about babywearing, try out and select carriers with expert assistance, and receive a 10% discount coupon on structured carriers, mei tais, ring slings, pouches and wraps. Sun., Dec. 13. 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Free. Natural Resources, 1367 Valencia St. (btw 24th and 25th.)

Holiday Fundraiser Party
Trees are beaming in a necklace of lights, the street is a pretty sight. Lower 24th Street Merchants and Neighbors Association is raising funds for replacement holiday lights, permits and possibly insurance to maintain the festive glow. Community building, good food, raffles, and local jazz trio, The Association. Sun., Dec. 13. 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Suggested donation $25 (all donations appreciated, large and small). L’s Caffe, 2871 24th St. (btw Florida & Bryant.)

The Greatest Bubble Show On Earth
Gobs of bubbles brew in the Marsh: flying saucer bubbles, smoky square bubbles, cosmic bubbles, centipede bubbles, even kids in bubbles. Float into an iridescent paradise with Louis Pearl, the Amazing Bubble Man. Accompanied by winsome live accordion and vocal music. Sun., Dec. 13. 1 p.m. $7-10. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia St. (near 22nd St.)

Community Music Center Annual Holiday Party
Enjoy the popular holiday opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” by Gian Carlo Menotti, performed by the Ina Chalis Opera Ensemble and featuring 9-year-old Eugeno Frew as Amahl. Performance followed by reception for revelers of all ages, with visit from Santa Claus. Sun., Dec. 13. 11:30 a.m. Free. Community Music Center, 544 Capp St. (btw 20th and 21st.)

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
There’s no place like home. Click, click, click, google. Sun., Dec. 13. 1 p.m. matinee, 3:30, 5:45 & 8:00 p.m. $7.50-$10. Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St. (at Market)

A Christmas Memory
Directed by JoAnne Winter. In Truman Capote’s largely autobiographical story of seven-year-old Buddy and his much older cousin Sook, a trip to find fruitcake ingredients becomes a memorable adventure, told through the eyes of Capote’s seven year-old self. Mon., Dec. 14. 7pm. Theater Artaud, 450 Florida St. (btw 17th and Mariposa streets.)

Coming up:
Dec. 18 – Jan. 3 Yes Sweet Can
Surreal circus, transmuting mundane things into magical.

Dec. 18-Jan. 3 Mr. Yoowho’s Holiday
European clown/mime/Japanese Kyogen/Yiddish absurdism.

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