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Los Straitjackets Holiday Party

Masked surf quartet Los Straitjackets (Mexican wrestling masks to be exact) will make their way through our humble hamlet yet again—with the world famous go-go trio the Pontani sisters in tow, no less—to play a holiday show at Savannah’s on Sunday. Having recently released ’Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets, chock-full of Christmas ditties done up surf style, the disguised crusaders are ready to take on the holiday-loving masses. Where else are you gonna witness fantastic Ventures-style twang served up by four guys in Mexican wrestling masks—performing “The Little Drummer Boy,” no less?

Now for the lovely Pontani sisters: With massive headwear—their feathers and pineapples will certainly mingle with holiday glitter—and sexy sequined outfits (go to and check out their photos), the sisters Pontani shake, shimmy and shine their way into your heart. Fixtures of Manhattan’s cabaret scene (and offering go-go robics on the side), these gals are doing their part to revive burlesque.

You can do your part by joining the Pontani Sisters and Los Straitjackets for a holiday party at Savannah’s (1 S. Pearl St., Albany) on Sunday (Dec. 8). Call the club, 426-9647, for further information.

Capitol Chamber Artists

In celebration of Ludwig’s number 232, Capitol Chamber Artists will throw a Beethoven Birthday Bash on Saturday at the First Congregational Church in Albany, and Sunday in Benson, Vt. While the group also will perform Felix Mendelssohn’s Concerto in D minor for violin, fortepiano and strings, the centerpiece of the evening will be the U.S. premiere of C.F. Ebers’ transcription of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 for quintet.

Capitol Chamber Artists are transcription specialists, performing symphonic works reimagined for a more intimate presentation. They earned raves for their presentation of a transcription of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 a few months ago. They have recorded all 12 Haydn London Symphonies in transcription, and performed rearranged versions of symphonic works by Mozart.

Symphony No. 5, with its dark opening—eight of the most familiar notes in western music—and joyous finale, will offer interesting challenges. Participating musicians will be Kei Ueyama, fortepiano; Mary Lou Saetta, violin; Irvin Gilman, flute; Petia Kassarova, cello; and Krassimir Ivanoff, bassoon.

Capitol Chamber Artists will present the Beethoven Birthday Bash Saturday (Dec. 7) at 8 PM at the First Congregational Church (405 Quail St., Albany). There will be a preconcert recital at 7 PM. The program also will be presented Sunday (Dec. 8) at 3 PM at the Community Hall (Benson, Vt.). The preconcert recital is at 2 PM. Tickets are $8-$16. Call 458-9231 for reservations and information.

The Circle of Christmas

It may be titled The Circle of Christmas, but this play is actually a brand new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ perennial classic A Christmas Carol. You remember: Scrooge. Ghosts. Bob Cratchit. Tiny Tim. We know what you’re going to say: “Yet another Christmas Carol? After Alastair Sim, Albert Finney, George C. Scott, Lionel Barrymore and Bill Murray? ‘God bless us everyone,’ again? Bah, humbug!”

Whoa—take it easy, Ebenezer. Where’s your holiday spirit? Under the direction of Harriet Nichols, this new production is being staged by the New York State Theatre Institute, and was adapted and written by W.A. Frankonis. These are the same folks that presented the beloved, award-winning A Tale of Cinderella, and the recent much-acclaimed production of The Killings Tale. Frankonis wrestled with the obvious question—Did the world really need another Scrooge?—before deciding he did have something new to bring to the story. Frankonis chose to downplay the broader philosophical aspects of Dickens’ tale in favor of a more personal study of the contrast between the happiness of the poor Cratchits and emotional alienation of the wealthy Scrooge. Don’t worry, however—the ghosts are still in the story.

There will be preview performances of The Circle of Christmas tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 6) at 10 AM and 8 PM at Russell Sage College’s Schacht Fine Arts Center (Troy). The opening performance will be Sunday (Dec. 8) at 2 PM. The play will run through Dec. 19. Tickets are $19, $10 children through age 12. Senior and student discounts are available. Call 274-3256 for showtimes, reservations and information.

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