The AjA Project, an after-school program that uses photography as a therapeutic tool for refugee youth, was recently awarded the White House's Coming Up Taller Excellence in Youth award. From 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, the group will celebrate the honor at the New Children's Museum (200 West Island Drive, Downtown), and you're invited. Enjoy free admission to the museum and explore an interactive art display created by the children who participated in AjA Project this semester. The kids will be on hand to talk about their projects, and Congressmember Susan Davis will present the award and give a short speech. www.ajaproject.org, 619-223-7001.
A shopping party
The North Park Holiday Ho Ho Ho Down & Gift Show at U-31 (3112 University Ave.) is your chance to have the shops come to you instead of you going all over San Diego to get to the shops. Mimi & Red will be there with deals on clothing and accessories, as will Maeve Riley Boutique, Micha Design, Miss Wax, FeelIt and more. Shopping runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, but guests are invited to stick around after for photos with Santa (shot by the talented James Norton) and music by DJ 1979 and Junior the Disco Punk. www.mimiandred.com. Books and wine: From 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23, Warwick's Bookstore (7812 Girard Ave. in La Jolla) and other La Jolla retailers will keep their doors open late for all those last-minute shoppers out there for Tuesday Nights in the Village. Added incentive: The bookstore will offer wine, coffee and cookies to make your book perusing that much better, and La Jolla Village will provide free horse-drawn trolley rides. www.warwicks.com, 858-454-0347.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is currently touring its show Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement in Mexico City. To mark the momentous occasion, San Diego's favorite extreme Dadaists, The Infinity Lab, have put together an irreverent Chicano altar in Lui Velazquez art gallery (Calle Jose Maria Larroque, just across the border in Tijuana). “Confused as to when the ‘Post-Chicano' movement began,” writes The Infinity Lab, “we created a multi-media installation of misappropriated images so that you can decide who is and isn't relevant in the 21st Century.” The show celebrates its second opening from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20. Music and a community celebration will follow at La Casa del Tunel: Art Center just around the corner. Find directions at www.luivelazquez.com.
The School of Theatre, Television and Film at San Diego State University is gaining notoriety. While the program isn't yet as highly regarded as, say, the film program at the University of Southern California, SDSU students have been getting attention by winning awards at film festivals like The Blacklist, BestFest America, Trenton Film Festival and the Sacramento Film and Music Festival. At 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, San Diegans are invited to see the students' latest works at the Student Film Festival at the Don Powell Theatre on the SDSU campus. Documentaries, shorts, features, animation and experimental works will be screened. $7. ttf.sdsu.edu.
Men for sale
The chance to bid on men doesn't come around very often. That's why San Diego's single females are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity in the Jingle Bell Bachelor Bash Auction at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, at Stingaree, 454 Sixth Ave., Downtown. Fifteen of the city's sexiest bachelors will be up for grabs, and the night's highest bidder will win a date-night package along with a personal shopping experience to help find the perfect date-night outfit. Proceeds benefit the Junior League of San Diego. $20-$25. www.jinglebellbachelorbash.com.
While everyone else is too busy with family and holiday stuff to deal with organizing events, Jon Block of Walk the Walk is putting together his next Sight & Sound event, a night featuring performances by Gregory Page and Vagabond Society, plus exhibitions, free tastings, giveaways from local businesses and tickets to upcoming arts and music events. Sight & Sound is happening from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Dec. 20, at Planet Rooth and 4 Walls Gallery, 3811 Ray St. in North Park. $6. www.walkthewalkpresents.com. Promoting music: And Jon Block isn't stopping with Sight & Sound. From 7 to 11 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21, through Tuesday, Dec. 23, Block kicks off his new Winter WonderRock event, an all-ages night featuring performances by three bands a night, including Fever Sleeves, Weatherbox, Daysleeper and others at Zuri's Hall, 2200 University Ave. in North Park. In addition to the music, there'll be pool tables and video games plus food and drink (no alcohol, though). Block says he hopes Winter WonderRock will “expand the youthful fan base for San Diego's spectacular music talent.” $8-$10. www.walkthewalkpresents.com.
Carleen Maley Hutchins is the woman behind something called The Violin Octet, a set of eight proportionally sized violins. So far, the instruments are played only by the Hutchins Consort, a group of young Southern California musicians who'll perform at the Museum of Making Music, 5790 Armada Drive in Carlsbad, at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21. The group will play music from the Middle Ages to modern masters, along with a few original compositions written specifically for the octet of violins. Show up early and take a peek at the museum's current exhibition, The Magic & Mystery of Slide Guitar, featuring 70 rare and historic instruments, including lap-steel and pedal-steel guitars, Hawaiian lap-steel guitars and more. $20. 760-438-5996, www.museumofmakingmusic.org.