‘Tis the season to get weird — Philly’s weirdest ways to celebrate the holidays

weird holidays Philly
The Roddenberries’ Star Trekkified Sci-Fi Holiday Spectacular takes place this Thursday, Dec. 14.
Chris K. Photography

While it is the season for sugar and spice, and everything nice, there is an alternative to the traditional holiday celebrations — events that are slightly stranger, doubly alluring and just as sacred in their own ways.

Here is a list of Metro’s merriest, weirdest ways to live dangerously during the holiday season.

Trestle Inn’s Jingle Bell Pop

In order to festively preview its celebrated annual NYE-A-Go Go Disco Dance Party on Dec. 31, Philly’s only whiskey-and-go-go dancing den of inequity tries its hand at Christmas with its weekend Jingle Bell Pop event, slated for this Friday, Dec. 15. Expect a hot night in a fully decked-out Trestle Inn with 1960s/70s holiday classics and rarities on vinyl spun by DJ Hardbargain and dancing from Go Go by Trestle Special Artist Stevie Ryeder. Yes, Inn owner Ian Cross is cooking up some holiday cocktail specials between 6 and 9 p.m., and there’s no cover.

The Trestle Inn, 339 N. 11th Street

The Roddenberries’ Star Trekkified Sci-Fi Holiday Spectacular

Responsible, in part, for the first-ever GIS Galactic Diversity and Inclusivity Convention with the GAAAYS IN SPAAACE organization, The Roddenberries — Philly’s most colorful live musical adventure dedicated to the sounds and spirits of all things Star Trek, Voyager 9, Dr. Who and Star Wars — brings its Christmas groove to the Fashion District’s City Winery on Thursday, Dec. 14.

Roddenberries co-founder Scott Johnston once called his multi-genre, multi-sex, multi-racial ensemble “a very punk rock, avant-garde theatrical experience, all held together with duct tape.” And this night celebrates the absurdist dramedy of this ensemble with the release of its new Live Album, and a party featuring guest star/ Star Trek Prodigy actor-computer voice artist Bonnie Gordon. Along with this “extraordinary evening” and its focus on the songs of the Live Album so familiar to the Roddenberries’ rabid fan base, everyone on stage and in the crowd will celebrate the Christmas season (and Hannukah and Kwanza and Festivus) with cosplay revelry involving your favorite Star Trek characters, along with a few Santa costumes in the mix.

City Winery Philadelphia, 990 Filbert St.

A John Waters Christmas: Let’s Blow It Up 

Legendary filmmaker John Waters is renowned for creating a line-up of some of independent cinema’s best (or worst) bad taste-ing masterpieces such as 1972’s ‘Pink Flamingos’ and 1981’s ‘Polyester.’ And when it comes to Philadelphia, Baltimore’s Waters has been tag-teaming local jewelry designer, friend and Halloween party thrower Henri David since the early 70s, as each man has his own brand of outrageous-ness up their sleeves.

Beyond making movies, making pals and creating the original film from which Broadway’s weirdest musical, ‘Hairspray’, stems, Waters is famous for his ribald and politically non-conscious live, one-man comedy shows. While it is certain that he’ll bring a Santa-like goodie bag of rude toys to give out during this seated event at Union Transfer, expect Waters, the self-named king of filth, to discuss a non-binary Mrs. Claus, un-merry-Trumps and social issues you normally wouldn’t expect at the Christmas dinner table. It all goes down this Friday, Dec. 15.

Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street

weird holidays Philly

Skeletor Karaoke/Gung Show Holiday Extravaganza

First things first: Skeletor is not a man, but one of the principle supervillains from the Masters of the Universe franchise, a blue-tinted skull-faced sorcerer universally disliked by all. For at least 20 years, Philadelphia performance artist and musician Carmen Martella III has performed around town as Skeltor — full cape and make-up — hosting the coolest, goofiest, crowd interactive events in the guise of Skeltor — and never breaking the fourth wall to let fans in on the joke during karaoke parties and amateur talent shows.

So why not marry the most sinister character known to cartoon lore with Christmas and Santa appropriate costuming? Sounds perfectly legit. See for yourself at World Café Live on Friday, Dec. 22.

World Café Live, 3025 Walnut Street 

weird holidays Philly

I Pity the Scrooge: A Mr. T Inspired Holiday Celebration

Philadelphia’s home to the most mad-inspired gallery exhibitions, film screenings, live cult artist music and comic events, PhilaMOCA, has more than its fair share of oddball Christmas events in December. There’s the not-for-children video showcase of rare rude Grinch cartoons (Dec. 10), and the first-ever Philadelphia screening of 1971 kitsch Canadian holiday classic ‘The Christmas Martian’ (Dec. 11), to name a few.

Most notable, however, for all fans of camp goofiness, is the screening of the rare television special ‘A Christmas Dream’ starring Mr. T and Emmanuel Lewis, and a show-and-tell with New Jersey’s Ben Leach — the owner of one of the largest collections of Mr. T memorabilia — taking place on Thursday, Dec. 14.

“The holidays are a time for nostalgia, and Mr. T brings back a lot of great memories for children of a certain generation,” said Leach, who’ll bring Mr.T goodies from his huge collection while hosting interactive games with Mr. T-themed prizes. “I’m planning on taking the audience through a fun and interactive look at his career, and I pity the fool who isn’t put into the Christmas spirit after watching this rare holiday special that’s definitely a product of the early 1980s.”

Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Arts (PhilaMOCA), 531 N. 12th Street