Out of Africa

Kwanzaa is community, not characters and catchphrases

12/26

When it comes to holiday greetings and salutations there's always been "Merry Christmas!" for Christians, "Happy Hanukkah!" for your Jewish pals and "I hope you enjoy your extended weekend!" for any Jehovah's Witness acquaintances you may have. But ever since Kwanzaa became all the rage in the mid-'90s, the Afro-centric festival celebrated from December 26 to January 1 has been in need of a good catchphrase. Technically, the proper Kwanzaa greeting is in Swahili, and when somebody asks you "Habari gani?" you're supposed to answer with one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa (also in Swahili) depending on which day of the festival it is. But since few here are fluent in Swahili, just wishing somebody "Kwanzaa!" has been sufficient since the word itself implies enough good will and happy thoughts to last all year. But what Kwanzaa really needs is a peppy adjective to make it truly catchy. Maybe you could say "Have a groovy Kwanzaa!" or "Crazy Kwanzaa!" if you want some close-but-not-quite alliteration. Or if you're into Mary J. Blige and Lil Jon's influence on the modern vernacular, then how about "Let's get crunk for Kwanzaa"? Maybe not. Curse those lily-white kids on The O.C. for giving us the holiday catchall Chrismukkah without somehow working Kwanzaa into it. To learn more about Kwanzaa, show up at any of the numerous celebrations around town honoring the principles of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. The week kicks off with a parade on Sunday at 1 p.m., traveling along Malcolm X Boulevard to Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, 2901 Pennsylvania Ave. Call 214-426-1683. --Jay Webb

Big Time
12/25

Lessons Paul Reubens taught us: 1) There's no basement at the Alamo. 2) Enjoy the film Nurse Nancy in the privacy of your own home. 3) When in doubt, tell 'em Large Marge sent ya. As you may have deduced, more than 66 percent of our Pee-Wee Herman knowledge was gleaned from the seminal Tim Burton flick Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. This bizarro comedy chronicles the man-child's search for his beloved stolen bicycle. After the bike disappears, a fortuneteller directs Pee-Wee to Texas--the Alamo basement, more specifically--and his adventure across Middle America commences. If you're tired of doing the Time Warp and want to "Tequila!" again, journey over to The Magnolia theater, 3699 McKinney Ave., for this midnight movie on December 25 and January 1. Tickets are $8. Call 214-764-9106. --Michelle MartinezWindows Shopping
12/23

It's an IT supervisor's worst nightmare: Dozens of Microsoft computer products one by one succumb to a "blue screen of death" (the weird, technical error message that pops up whenever Windows crashes) and the IT guy has to run amok to fix each one as they die like falling dominoes. Sounds like the office workplace? Actually, it's the Windows on Wheels tour at Texas Christian University's Fort Worth Plains Capital Bowl, where Microsoft will showcase its latest products on Thursday from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Will the new phones, MP3 players and media centers crash? Wait and see. Visit windows-experience.com. --Sam MachkovechWalk in the Park
Ongoing

Six Flags Over Texas' bobsled ride is the park's token winter-related attraction. But riding a bobsled on a plastic track in the burning sun doesn't exactly inspire frosty thoughts. Save it for Holiday in the Park, Six Flags' Christmas-season makeover into a festive arctic landscape. Some people will identify with the performers of the Crazy Horse Saloon Honky Tonk Family. Others will enjoy Cool Yule covering bands such as N'Sync, Luther Vandross and Donny Osmond, which might inspire kids to participate in DJ Carol Kringle's Christmas Kids Karaoke where they can sing along to the Yuletide Top 100. Guests can simulate life at the North Pole with interactive displays such as the sled attraction Snow Hill and Mrs. Claus' Christmas Workshop where kids can make holiday crafts. Holiday in the Park runs through January 2 at Six Flags Over Texas, Interstate 30 and Angus Wynne Jr. Freeway in Arlington. Tickets are $20.99 to $32.99. Call 817-530-6000 or visit www.sixflags.com. --Stephanie Durham

Lost Labels
12/23

Buttery popcorn, classic comedy and a wacky, historical, educational look at common anti-Semitic stereotypes. That's what 3 Stars Cinema, North Texas' only Jewish film series, serves up when it hosts the film Shtick, Schmaltz and Shtereotypes--it's funny because it's alliteration--at the Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, on December 23. Along with a series of short films featuring major Jewish comedians, including Max Davison, Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny and Burns and Allen, Shtickincludes animated films depicting negative stereotypes of Jews and other oft-derided immigrant groups (i.e., any that aren't WASPs). The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and includes an introduction by Murray Glass, who has been touring the country with Shtick. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Call 214-443-1957. --Mary Monigold

 
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