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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA‹Opening its doors for the 19th year to provide holiday cheer, the Laugh Factory on Sunset Blvd. will host its free Christmas dinners for struggling and/or lonely comics, actors, and others in the entertainment community. Turkey and all the trimmings, along with healthy portions of comedy, will begin at 1 p.m. on Christmas day. There will be other seatings at 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. Advance reservations are recommended. The Laugh Factory is also holding its annual "Comics for Kids" toy drive throughout December. Bring a toy valued at $10 or more to the door any night this month and receive free admission to the club. (323) 656-1336...

Dance Kaleidoscope, the annual showcase that demonstrates the diversity and richness of Southern California dance, now has applications for its July, 1999 festival. Kaleidoscope seeks Southern California-based solo artists and companies. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum of two years of professional choreographic experience. Auditions will be held on the campus of Cal State L.A., where the festival will also be held, on Feb. 6, 7, 13, and 14, 1999. The deadline to apply is Jan. 8. (323) 343-5124...

The Mark Taper Forum's Other Voices Project recently received funds from the California Arts Council's Artists-in-Residence Program to support the residency of poet/playwright Lynn Manning at the Taper through August, 1999. Manning and the Other Voices Project will set up two separate theatre workshops for young people who have acquired a disability from some act of violence. Manning, who is blind, has written or adapted such plays as Private Battle, Love Is Blind, and The Central Ave. Chalk Circle. Interested participants should call (213) 972-0790...

The Big Cheap Theatre Roundtable, an ongoing celebration of theatre in Los Angeles for theatre artists, presents a special "pay-what-you-can" performance of Theatre of NOTE's Hollywood Hanai, Dec. 16. Actors, directors, designers, writers, producers, and technicians get the discounted ticket price when they bring a headshot, resum , or union card. (323) 856-8611...

Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera has announced the creative team for its upcoming production of the musical 1776. Michael Michetti, who directed Circle X's The Rover at the Actor's Gang earlier this year, will direct. Choreography will be handled by Brad Setser, with music direction by Elise Unruh. 1776, which had a smash revival on Broadway this past year, will open Feb. 12, 1999 at run through Mar. 7 at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. (800) 366-6064...

The Skirball Cultural Center welcomes the first night of Hanukkah with a family celebration, Dec. 13. The festivities will include a theatrical production called Mac and the Bees, art workshops, and a klezmer performance by the Golden State Klezmer Band. In the evening at 6:30, KCRW will present a live performance and broadcast of Jewish Stories from the Old World to the New, hosted by Leonard Nimoy. Celebrated actors, including Elliot Gould, will read stories. (323) 660-8587...

After successful runs in 1992, '93, and '96, Stories of the Season returns to the Gascon Center Theatre in Culver City, Dec. 11-20. The show, for children and adults, incorporates masks and tales that celebrate the winter season. (626) 355-5843...

Marie Chambers will perform her one-woman theatrical arrangement, An Excess of Light‹The Poetry of Anne Sexton, at a holiday benefit gala to raise funds for the Amadeus Company, Dec. 14 at the Gascon Center Theatre in Culver City. (310) 289-2277...

Borders Books and Music in Westwood will present the latest All Things Comedic, featuring Jeff Garlin, Wayne Federman, Jackie Wollner, and more, Dec. 12. (213) 960-5799...

A special holiday production of Benjamin and Judah, A Hanukkah Musical, featuring the Stacey Cane Youth Theater, will take place as part of the University of Judaism's Festival of the Arts series on Dec. 13 at the school's Gindi Auditorium. The show weaves together original and traditional songs, tap numbers, folk dances, Jewish historical vignettes, and the struggles of a contemporary Jewish family. (310) 476-9777, ext. 203...

The Namaste Theatre Company will present O, Tannenbaum! A Magical Benefit Celebration, Dec. 12 at the 24th St. Theatre in Los Angeles. Enjoy food, dancing, and the finest in holiday libations. Experience real snow, chop down a Douglas fir, and wrestle live reindeer. Donate three cans of food and receive a free doorprize from Frosty the Barkeep. (323) 644-1432...

The winner of FirstStage's second annual One-Act Play Contest will be selected at a public performance of the three finalist plays (John H. Corcoran's The Big Time Last Time Horizontal Bop Club, Brad J. Sergi's Time to Talk, and John Lisbon Wood's The Crucifixion of Nellie Duncan) on Dec. 12 at the theatre in Hollywood. The winning playwright will receive an honorarium of $100 and the two runners-up will each receive $50. (323) 850-6271...

George Carlin will present his work-in-progress in preparation for his 11th HBO Special at the Comedy Store in Hollywood, Dec. 17-19 and Jan. 7-9. (213) 656-6225...

Voices, the Fountain Theatre's HIV/ AIDS theatre workshop, will present its third original production, Vid Enblom's The Guilt and Innocence of Citizen Zed, Dec. 12-19 at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood. (323) 663-1525...

Howard Korder's The Hollow Lands, about an Irish immigrant who begins life anew as a grocery clerk in 1815's Manhattan, will be the second NewSCRipts reading at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa on Dec. 14. (714) 708-5555...

Conrad Janis and the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band joins the Stella Adler Theatre in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Embassy Club, where Charles Chaplin, Sid Grauman, and other Hollywood legends danced many nights away, Dec. 12 at the theatre in Hollywood. The Stella Adler Theatre is located in the historic Embassy Club location. Period dress (1928-'39) is requested, but not required. All proceeds for the evening will benefit the theatre's Community Outreach Program. (323) 465-4446...

Dominic Domingo, grandson of opera star Placido Domingo, will star as Paquito, in Paquito's Christmas, the musical story of a young boy's discovery of the meaning of Christmas, returning for its fifth year to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Dec. 12-13. (626) 449-7360...

Storytellers in the Pasadena-based Stories of Spirit series will join forces with Los Angeles DreamShapers for a special storytelling benefit for and at Angels of Light, a family and volunteer facility patients in Ontario on Dec. 13. (626) 286-6960...

New Voices Playwrights Workshop will present The 12 Days of Christmas, a benefit show featuring fully produced 10-minute plays, Dec. 16-20 at the Theatre District in Costa Mesa. (949) 225-4125.

‹Jamie Painter/Scott Proudfit

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