Your 2008 ‘Holigap’ guide

I apologize if the title is a bit confusing, so I’ll explain. I affectionately refer to the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah as “Holigap.” It’s the bridge from one fall/winter holiday to the next, and it’s packed with parties, shopping and probably more than one hangover. Whereas the holidays are filled with family commitments and travel, Holigap is for quality time with friends and colleagues. It’s a fun time of year, and there’s no vacuum of events and amusements. Here are some of my top picks!

Tonight at the Ethical Society of Philadelphia, 1906 Rittenhouse Square, the Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival is hosting their annual Holiday Ball and Silent Auction. One of the organization’s fabulous fundraising events, the Holiday Ball has all the trappings of an incredible evening, including an over-the-top staged reading of “Christmas with the Crawfords” featuring Carlota Ttendant as Joan Crawford. The event runs from 7-11 p.m., and a suggested donation of $35 will be collected at the door.

A week from tomorrow, on Dec. 13, is the AIDS Fund’s HO-HO-HO DOWN Gay Bingo at the Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad St. For a reasonable $15-$20 cover donation, participants will celebrate the season Country-Western style. It doesn’t get much gayer than tinsel, cowboy hats, drag queens and bingo blotters. That’s a campy cacophony guaranteed to thrill and entertain all evening. The action starts at 7 p.m., but don’t wait too long to get your tickets. Call AIDS Fund at (215) 731-9255 to reserve your spot today.

Even though Dec. 19 is just outside my window for this column, I’d be remiss to exclude PhillyGayCalendar’s Melt The Ice party from the Holigap guide. Benefiting ActionAIDS and Equity Fights AIDS, Steve McCann is pulling out all the stops for his event at PURE, 1221 St. James St. For a bargain cover of $10, participants will enjoy DJ Carl Michaels, a live performance from the touring company of “A Chorus Line” and a bevy of dancers featuring DNA magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive 2008, Bryan Thomas. The party starts at 9 p.m. Visit PhillyGayCalendar.com for more information.

For a slight departure from my ordinary listings, I’d like to offer a few film recommendations for the season. With escalating costs of living, not to mention gifts and general economic woes, I imagine studio films will continue to perform well through the end of the year. As a cost-effective alternative to spending a night out at the bars, these gay-friendly films are perfect.

— “Four Christmases” (already out): It has been some time since Reese Witherspoon’s last film project, and that’s reason enough for me. If you need more incentive, the film’s awkward family scenarios will help prepare you for whatever craziness your own family has to offer this season. — “Doubt” (select theaters Dec. 12): Two words: MERYL STREEP. The industry’s standard-bearer leads an all-star cast, including Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, in this film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning play. ’Nuff said. — “The Spirit” (Dec. 25): Yet another comic-inspired tale of corruption, crime and justice in a big, fictitious city. I’m not too familiar with the plot, but having Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes attached can’t be a bad thing. — “Marley & Me (Dec. 25): Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson star in this comedy about a rascally, but lovable dog, Marley. Inspired by a best-selling book of the same name, part of this film was shot in Center City Philly. Eric Dane (Dr. McSteamy from “Grey’s Anatomy”) also stars. — “Valkyrie” (Dec. 26): Tom Cruise looks like such a hot mess with that eye patch in the trailer that I may have to see this. Openly gay Bryan Singer (“X-Men,” “The Usual Suspects”) directs, so the film could actually be good if you can get past Cruise’s utter ridiculousness. — “Bride Wars (Jan. 9): OK, so it doesn’t come out for a few weeks, but pencil it in now. The amazing Ann Hathaway and Kate Hudson are best friends-turned-dueling brides in New York City. It’s supposedly campy and clever. Gay fave Candice Bergen of “Murphy Brown” fame also stars.

Lastly, don’t forget to stop by Tavern on Camac every Tuesday evening for karaoke on the main floor. That’s it for this week. ’Til next time, get offline and see what your community has to offer. Happy holidays!

If you have comments or information on upcoming events, e-mail [email protected], reference “Offline.”