For fans of Malibu girl turned L. A. icon Sandra Tsing Loh, Christmas came early this year in the form of an outrageously offbeat holiday offering called “Sugar Plum Fairy.” The Geffen Playhouse was bopping with chardonnay-sipping, brie-eating KCRW listeners who couldn’t wait to see the performer’s new one-woman show. Ovation Award winner James Farentino and dealmaker Monty Hall were among the Loh lovers getting into the spirit.

Instead of boughs of holly, the halls were decked in classic Christmas kitsch – plastic Santas, lawn elves, silver bells, tinsel swags and ever so much more. It was the perfect backdrop for Loh’s over-the-top take on that most sacred of Yuletide traditions – “The Nutcracker.” Loh starred as her very own Christmas Scrooge who says “Bah Humbug” to the beloved ballet.

To kick things off, Loh came bounding into the room dressed as a human Christmas tree, who literally lights up the stage. For the next 90 minutes or so, the artist breathlessly vented her childhood frustrations over the Machiavellian complexities of “The Nutcracker.”

While ’tis cool to be Clara and swell to be Sugar Plum, it’s not quite as nice to be just another petal in the dancing-flower crowd.

But hang on to your mistletoe, because in the end “The Nutcracker” conquers all. Whether “Sugar Plum Fairy” turns into a cult classic remains to be seen. But one thing is certain, the woman behind such endeavors as “A Year in Van Nuys” and “Bad Sex with Bud Kemp” never seems to disappoint her fans. So if you’re high on Loh, there’s no better way to say Xmas. The production runs through Dec. 21.


In addition to whiskers on kittens, here’s a trio I always count among my favorite things – champagne, celebrities and shopping! And they all come together at that annual bargain extravaganza called Divine Design. Fashion mavens turned out in droves at the Barker Hanger, marching their Manolo Blahniks over to some of the best deals in town. There were deep discounts on everything from L.A. Eyeworks shades to Tommy Bahama baggies. DD vets Jennifer Tilly and Eric McCormack made the rounds as well as a Prada-clad Sarah Michelle Gellar, a sparkling Selma Blair and Oscar winner Adrien Brody. While the hunting continued, VIPs made their way into a festively decorated tent for the delectable gala dinner and awards presentation. The shop-a-thon, which features must-have fashion, home furnishings and beauty products, is now in its 11th year. Proceeds benefit those fine folks over at Project Angel Food, who do a heavenly job of helping those in need all year long. So remember when it comes to bubbly and bargains, to sip is human, to shop – divine!