noon & 2 p.m.
Need a respite from holiday shopping or from life in general? Then treat yourself to a jazz brunch featuring blues singer Sweet Baby J'ai and her backing trio of pianist Nate Morgan, bassist Roberto Miranda and drummer Roy McCurdy.
* Jazz brunch with Sweet Baby J'ai, Catalina Bar & Grill, 1640 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Noon and 2 p.m.; $10 cover, brunch ranges from $5-$12. (323) 466-2210.
12:30 & 4:30pm
The Shpieler Troupe's musical adventure, "Mac and the Bees," a Hanukkah celebration of the true meaning of the Festival of Lights, returns, featuring children's recording artist Cindy Paley, comedian Stan Taffel, musical stage veteran Andrea Massion and C. "Chutzpah" Craven.
* "Mac and the Bees," Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino, Sunday, 12:30 p.m., (818) 788-6000; Temple Menorah, 1101 Camino Real, Redondo Beach, Sunday, 4:30 p.m., (310) 316-8444; Kadima Hebrew Academy, 5717 Rudnick Ave., Woodland Hills, Dec. 12, 6:45 p.m., (818) 346-0849; Temple Beth Hillel, 12326 Riverside Drive, Valley Village, Dec. 17, 1 p.m., (818) 763-9148. $5 to $7.50.
Holiday dysfunction is the theme of "A Cracked Christmas," a benefit comedy show at the Wilshire-Ebell Theatre. Gillian Anderson is the honorary chair, and other participants in the third-annual event include "Drew Carey Show" cast members Carey, Kathy Kinney and Ryan Stiles. Teri Garr, Kathy Najimy, Olivia Newton John and Gina Gershon are also expected to participate. Proceeds from the show go to the Trevor Project, a program begun in 1998 aimed at promoting tolerance for gay and lesbian teenagers.
* "A Cracked Christmas," Wilshire-Ebell Theatre, 4401 W. 8th St., Los Angeles. 3 p.m. $50 to $100 per person. Call (818) 980-7336.
American mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, who triumphed as Dalila in Saint-Saens' opera last season with Los Angeles Opera, makes her Royce Hall debut in recital, assisted by pianist Warren Jones. Her program lists music by Handel, Elgar, Chausson, Burleigh and Montsalvatge.
* Denyce Graves sings in Royce Hall at UCLA, Westwood. 4 p.m. $30 to $50. (310) 825-2101.
Opening a new season, the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, conducted by Noreen Green, gives a Weill-Copland program noting the centenary of both composers. The Copland portion contains his "Vitebsk" Trio, Music for the Theater and selections from "American Songs." To celebrate Kurt Weill, Green will conduct excerpts from his epic opera, "The Eternal Road" (1937), a work practically forgotten until John Mauceri revived it in 1999 in Germany, Brooklyn and Tel Aviv.
* The L.A. Jewish Symphony plays at University Synagogue, 11960 Sunset Blvd., Brentwood. 7:30 p.m. $25 to $45. (818) 753-6681.
High-speed chases and a serial killer plague the streets of San Francisco in two films at the New Beverly Cinema beginning Sunday. Steve McQueen burns rubber in the City by the Bay in the 1968 film "Bullitt," playing a police detective who senses not all is what it seems with his assignment to guard a witness. Clint Eastwood stars as "Dirty Harry," another rogue S.F. cop, in the character's 1971 debut film in which he pursues the psychotic Scorpio killer. Eastwood has reprised the role in "Magnum Force," "The Enforcer," "Sudden Impact" and "The Dead Pool."
* San Francisco police double feature, New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd. Sunday: "Bullitt," 3:20 and 7:30 p.m.; "Dirty Harry," 5:30 and 9:40 p.m. Monday and Tuesday: "Bullitt," 7:30 p.m.; "Dirty Harry," 9:40 p.m. $3 to $6. (323) 938-4038.
Before three consecutive appearances for the Music Guild (Monday through Wednesday), the San Francisco-based Alexander String Quartet returns to play for the Fullerton Friends of Music at Sunny Hills High School, 1801 Warburton Way, Fullerton, at 3:30 p.m. (714) 529-7758.
Award-winning film composer Elmer Bernstein will talk about his collaborations with Charles and Ray Eames and introduce the film "Toccata for Toy Trains," which he scored, at 2 p.m. at the Eames Office Gallery and Store, 2665 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 396-5991.