David Gockley is a fan of Berlioz for Christmas

Holiday Glee Club

The Examiner asked The City’s songbirds and community chorus members to describe their favorite seasonal music and why it inspires them.

David Gockley, San Francisco Opera general director

Favorite music: The 1943 “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” with Bing Crosby, and Berlioz’s “L’Enfance du Christ”

Why: “The [Berlioz] song always makes tears flow, the oratorio is something I can listen to over and over; what a treasure!”

What to read

Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas

By Rebecca Solnit ($24.95)

The activist and historian created her 13th book aided by artists, writers and cartographers; the result is a cool reinvention of a traditional atlas that illuminates The City as it’s experienced by a wide variety of its inhabitants.


Spire: Chef Laird Boles’ brunch menu combines local and southern flavors. Popular selections include the egg sliders — crispy pork belly, cheddar and avocado — and the thick-cut French toast with caramelized pears, sweet persimmons, almonds and chantilly. Drinks include bottomless mimosas. [11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 685 Third St., S.F.; (415) 947-0000]

Lend A Hand

San Francisco SPCA: Volunteers are needed to collect donations and answer questions about animals available for adoption in Macy’s windows. [8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Macy’s, Stockton and O’Farrell streets, S.F.; RSVP: (415) 554-3087 or www.sfspca.org]

Holiday events

Circus arts

Holiday circus: Sweet Can Productions presents “Candid,” a 60-minute circus. Traditional circus arts combine with physical theater, dance and music to create a topsy-turvy world. [4 and 6 p.m., Dance Mission, 3316 24th St., S.F.]


Dickens classic: American Conservatory Theater presents “A Christmas Carol,” its annual music-infused play based on Charles Dickens’ story about the transformation of mean Mr. Scrooge. [1 and 5:30 p.m., ACT, 415 Geary St., S.F.]


Holiday ballet: San Francisco Ballet presents “Nutcracker.” The popular production features Tchaikovsky’s music, 200 costumed characters and a San Francisco setting. [2 and 7 p.m., War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

Around town


Flamenco company: Yaelisa’s Caminos Flamencos, a locally based flamenco company, presents “Lo Clasico,” a concert of traditional dance and Iberian music. [3 p.m., Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, S.F.]


Very short plays: Local and national playwrights try to tell a cogent story in just 60 seconds at the “SF One-Minute Play Festival,” presented by the Playwrights Foundation. [7 p.m., Thick House, 1695 18th St., S.F.]

Last day: Cutting Ball Theater’s extended production of “The Tempest” — a contemporary take on Shakespeare’s tale of betrayal, revenge, redemption and magic — closes today. [5 p.m., Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor St., S.F.]


Kurosawa and Mifune: Viz Cinema is presenting a series of Akira Kurosawa’s films featuring Toshiro Mifune. Screening today: “The Lower Depths” (2:45 p.m.) and “The Idiot” (6 p.m.). [1746 Post St., S.F.]

Fairs and festivals

Old things: The Candlestick Park Antiques and Collectibles Faire features more than 500 booths of merchandise. All items are at least 20 years old. [6 a.m. to 3 p.m., Candlestick Park, 602 Jamestown Ave., S.F.]

City activities

All aboard: The Conservatory of Flowers presents its “Garden Railway,” an exhibit that re-creates Golden Gate Park sites in miniature with recycled and repurposed materials and dwarf plants. [10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Golden Gate Park, S.F.]

Victorian fair: The Great Dickens Christmas Fair re-creates Victorian-era London. Look for lamp-lit shops, pubs, music halls, costumed actors and more. [11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City]

Game of the day

College Women’s Basketball

  • No. 3 Stanford at No. 6 Tennessee
  • 4 p.m., ESPN2

Two of the country’s elite programs and top coaches meet when Tara VanDerveer’s Stanford club hits the road to take on Pat Summit’s Tennessee team.

Other highlight

NFL: The Packers meet the Patriots in a game with major playoff implications. [5:20 p.m., Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass., NBC (KNTV, Ch. 11)]

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