Nov. 23 2015 03:45 PM

Our top picks for things to do this week

John Waters
Photo by Greg Gorman


John Waters loves to take the piss out of things. Even himself.

When asked about a popular meme that features a picture and quote from the legendary director about not sleeping with people who don't have books in their house, he's quick to brush it off.

"I'm lying," Waters says on the phone from his office in Baltimore. "If they're cute enough, who's looking at the book shelves?"

We've come to expect that kind of razor-sharp wit and sass when it comes to the man behind cult classics like Pink Flamingos, Hairspray and Cry-Baby, and audiences should expect it in bulk at the annual A John Waters Christmas, which happens at 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, at the Observatory in North Park (2891 University Ave.). The annual show works like a combination of stand-up and storytelling, with Waters speaking about topical issues while also entertaining audiences with his personal stories about the holidays. For him, the show can almost serve as a how-to guide to surviving the holidays.

"People can love Christmas or hate Christmas and still feel really great at my show," Waters says. "You have to have a defensive plan for Christmas and that's what I think my show is: A hopefully happy, defensive, practical plan on how to get through this holiday. If you're rich or poor, if you're schizophrenic, no matter who you are, I think I can help you get through it."

This is the 11th year he's done a touring Christmas show and says, given current events, it's never hard to come up with new material. And while the show is hilariously crass and politically incorrect, Waters says it still keeps with the familial spirit of the season.

"I'm most touched when mothers and fathers bring their angry, fucked-up teenage kids to a show in a last-ditch effort to bond with them," laughs Waters. "I'm always touched by that. That's very different from when I was young. When I was young, parents would call the police when they found their kids with my movies." Tickets start at $45.

Finest City Improv
Photo courtesy of Finest City Improv


Peppermint schnapps, forced small talk and inescapably NSFW secret Santa gifts—holiday office parties are always an exercise in futility. In Finest City Improv's It's F**king Christmas, troupers such as Kat Brown, Jesse Suphan and more than a dozen others will spoof the search for the Christmas spirit(s) after Santa shows up at their mock seasonal soiree. A Bible-thumping accountant, a Jersey Shore party planner and the douchiest of CFOs are just a few of the characters that make up the show's fictional ad agency staffers. With an interactive approach, audience members could risk the naughty list, but everyone still gets cookies and prizes. Ugly Christmas sweaters and antlers are encouraged. It happens at 8 p.m. each Saturday from Saturday, Nov. 28 to Dec. 12. at Finest City Improv's stage (4250 Louisiana St.). Tickets are $15.

Photo by Lucy Dumas


The cliche of a community tree lighting event gets a funky revamp at South Park's second Luminaria. Local artist Todd Williams built the event's custom-made holiday tree. He used recycled scrap metal and wood from a torn down fence to complete the three-week-long art project. The new neighborhood tradition is organized by the South Park Business Group and will feature decorated storefronts, as well as music from the San Diego Mandolin Orchestra and refreshments from Target Express. There will also be a hot chocolate station, live ice sculpting, a snow globe photo booth and So Childish will have holiday-themed crafts for youngsters. The lighting of the tree begins at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29, at Grape Street Square on Grape and Fern streets.


See all events on Friday, Oct 21