Marquee is packing its bags and taking a vacation, which means no newsletter the week of Friday, December 28th (we’ve included a few events below that take place through January 3rd). Marquee returns, Champagne hangover be damned, January 4th; in the meantime, visit Last Girl Standing for more last-minute New Year’s Eve ideas.

A Little Cheese is Good for You
At least once during the holidays, it’s permissible to abandon all cynicism and surrender to unabashed seasonal cheer. Do it up big-time with the 24th annual Christmas Sing-Along and Double Feature at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.; 312-902-1500), a tradition as integral to Christmas in Chicago as Marshall Field’s windows once were. Back-to-back screenings of It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas sandwich organ-accompanied sing-along carols, with four showings a day between Friday the 21st and Sunday the 23rd, plus two showings on Christmas Eve. Tickets are $15 for the double feature or $10 for one movie at

Best Bets for Things to Do This Year

• Sick of the usual overpriced-Champagne-at-a-crowded-bar scene? ComedySportz at Chicago Center for the Performing Arts (777 N. Green St.; 312-733-6000) hosts a family-friendly improv set at 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, followed by an adults-only show at 10 p.m.; the latter includes entrance to an afterparty with favors and a midnight toast. Tickets are $19 for the early show, $35 for the late.

• Get a jumpstart on that “be more active” resolution: Everyone is invited to bring an instrument or noisemaker and play along when a group of local jazz heavyweights leads a New Year’s Eve concert at Heaven Gallery (1550 N. Milwaukee, second floor; The festivities kick off at 9 p.m.; a first set—featuring fab flautist Nicole Mitchell, among other notables—starts around 10:30 p.m.; and a third set rings in 2008 at midnight. Admission, $15, includes a Champagne toast.

• Wondering what to do with that closet full of tacky wool numbers? Don your best (or worst?) example for the Bad Christmas Sweater Party at Goodbar (2512 N. Halsted St.; 773-296-9700), Friday, December 21st from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. The most egregious sweater wins $250.

• For those who find claymation Christmas specials a little creepy, Hell in a Handbag Productions sends up the TV classics in Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, about a cross-dressing Rudy and a “not gay enough” elf. The show runs Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through December 30th at Bailiwick Repertory Theatre (1229 W. Belmont Ave.; 773-883-1090). Tickets are $20.

• Get a 30-minute tutorial on the museum’s most famous holdings at the Art Institute’s Masterpiece of the Day (111 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-443-3600). Tours start at noon every day between December 24th and 31st (no tour December 25th) and cover a different artwork each outing, from Grant Wood’s American Gothic to El Greco’s Assumption of the Virgin. Tickets are $12.

• Canadians aren’t the only ones who can swing from the rafters. America’s answer to Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, places contortionists, aerial artists, strong men, and balancing acts in an enchanted forest, and sets the whole thing to a live musical score. The show runs Wednesday, December 26th through Monday, December 31st at the Chicago Theatre (175 N. State St.; 312-902-1500). Tickets are $20 to $57.50.

• It’s daunting to tackle as monumental an icon as the inimitable Katharine Hepburn, but four-time Tony-nominee Tovah Feldshuh does it with perfect pitch. In the one-woman play Tea at Five, Feldshuh-as-Hepburn reflects on the legendary actress’s childhood, career, and relationship with Spencer Tracy. The show runs through Monday, December 23rd at Centre East in the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie; 847-673-6300). Tickets are $45 to $55.

PLEASE NOTE: Events may be postponed or simply canceled. Please call ahead to make sure they are still scheduled to take place. Send tips or comments to