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  1. Photograph: Leal Vona
    Photograph: Leal Vona

    Naked Holidays

  2. Photograph: Carlos Detres
    Photograph: Carlos Detres

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  3. Photograph: Austin Young
    Photograph: Austin Young

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  4. Photograph: Clinton Hild
    Photograph: Clinton Hild

    Gotham Burlesque Holiday Show

  5. Photograph: Laura Sterling
    Photograph: Laura Sterling

    Nutcracker: Rated R

  6. Starsky + Cox: Haul at the Holly

  7. Ghoul a Go-Go Holiday Krampus Party

  8. Scream Along with Billy Christmas Special: Suck My Dickens or Scrooge U

  9. Photograph: Erica Beckman
    Photograph: Erica Beckman

    A Murray Little Christmas

  10. Photograph: Nerd Nite
    Photograph: Nerd Nite

    Nerd Nite

The best offbeat and alternative holiday events

Embrace the quirkier side of Christmas at these offbeat holiday events, featuring a naughty Nutcracker and yuletide burly-Q.


If you’ve already overdosed on Christmas cheer, check out some of the city’s best quirky holiday events. You’ll find plenty of offbeat alternatives to popular Christmas shows, including Nutcracker: Rated R (a naughty retelling of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale) and the latest scarefest from the team behind Nightmare Haunted House.

RECOMMENDED: Christmas in New York guide

  • price 2 of 4

For years, drag icon Jackie Beat’s crabby seasonal shows have helped make Christmas endurable for holiday haters. At this year’s iteration, she turns her claws on pretty much every single festival of light and/or joy. Whether she’s having St. Nick’s love child (“Santa’s Baby”) or coping with yuletide STDs (“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Syphilis”), Jackie is the patron saint of dirty-minded grinches everywhere. $22.

Pretty much what it says on the package, this starkers vaudeville show is made up of six vignettes and many more boobs and dongs. The 22-person cast performs short comic plays about weredeer, lascivious elves, gay dads, Fox News and, of course, nudity. Now in its sixth year, this show is a dark-humored antidote to the aggressive cheer pervading the city this time of year. $57.50.

Nerd Nite
Photograph: Nerd Nite

Nerd Nite

Settle in for three festive lectures at the yule edition of these monthly geek gatherings. First, Victorian studies scholar Kate Hind discusses why Dickens and his fellow 19th-centurians had such a thing for ghosts at Christmastime. Next up, Aaron Foster (of Murray’s Cheese) holds forth on the science of fromage, so you can serve your holiday party hors d’oeuvres with a side of learned commentary. Rachel Cherwitz of OneTaste Incorporated will end the night by talking about, ahem, orgasmic meditation. (It’s the gift that keeps on giving?) Swing by early to take part in a team trivia competition. $10–$14.

  • price 2 of 4

This very unmerry scarefest may be the only thing more nerve-racking than your in-laws’ annual feud around the Christmas tree. The deranged minds of Psycho Clan have devised ten “experiments” that play on primal fears, which they inflict on audiences in an intimate space. Be warned: If the phrase ho ho ho ends up inducing irrational screaming fits in you, don’t come crying to us. $30.

  • Clubs

Burlesque MC extraordinaire Bastard Keith hosts this salacious yuletide offering. Look for a wintry act by hula hoop virtuoso Miss Saturn, a medley of naughty carols from Shelly Watson and the New York City Burlesque Choir, and a “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” routine by Keith and his partner, Madame Rosebud. Other performers strutting and shaking their stuff include Nasty Canasta and Darlinda Just Darlinda. $37–$49 plus two-drink minimum.

  • Comedy
  • price 2 of 4

Murray Hill sets his sights on Hurricane Sandy in the latest incarnation of his annual holiday bonanza. This year’s variety evening sees the king of drag kings downcast after the storm kills the power in the theater where he’s set to perform. But thanks to a little candlelight, ingenuity and a “magical hipster elf,” the show goes on. Featured performers include alt-cabaret goddess Bridget Everett, performance artist Erin Markey and the New York City Burlesque Choir. $20–$50.

  • price 2 of 4

There are as many alt Nutcrackers each year as there are rodents in the Mouse King’s army, but director-choreographer Angela Harriell offers NYC’s most reliably twisted take. In this spin on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale, Clara is a bratty teenager whose Uncle Drosselmeyer magically transports her to early-’80s Gotham, where the nightclubs are as glittery as they are seedy. The show mixes ballet with burlesque, presenting a festive fairyland with a decidedly dark underbelly.

Starsky + Cox: Haul at the Holly
  • price 2 of 4

Fete the heathen holiday from whence Christmas sprung at this night hosted by cabaret personalities Stella Starsky and Quinn Cox. The “posh-pagan” variety show features filmmaker and performer John Cameron Mitchell, cabaret stars John Kelly, Lady Rizo and Cole Escola, antifolkie Dan Fishback and many others. $20 plus $12 minimum.

Ghoul a Go-Go Holiday Krampus Party

Ghoul a Go-Go Holiday Krampus Party

According to Germanic legend, Krampus is a demonic creature who kidnaps naughty children and eats them for Christmas supper. Morbid Anatomy pays tribute to the sadistic myth at this shindig, centered on the premiere of public-access horror series Ghoul a Go-Go’s latest episode. Also on the roster: mulled wine for all and a screening of 1959 Mexican B-movie classic Santa Claus, which sees St. Nick joining forces with Merlin to battle Satan. $13.

Scream Along with Billy Christmas Special: Suck My Dickens or Scrooge U
  • price 2 of 4

You know you’re weirdo royalty when John Waters gives you his stamp of approval. Absurdist rock star–theater artist Billy Hough can claim that distinction, so naturally he’s the one you’ll want to spend your warped Christmas Eve Eve with. Hough, along with bassist Sue Goldberg and (Billy’s brother) drummer Paul Hough, will tear A Christmas Carol a new one, staring old Charles D. down the barrel of a punk-rock gun. $20 plus $12 minimum.


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