So there's this guy named Mordechai. He's a young Orthodox Jew who also happens to be a superhero detective. He is recruited by the Jewish Justice League to save Hanukkah from the evil son of Santa Claus (Andy Dick), who wants to eradicate the holiday from calendars so that Christmas will never again have competition. Mordechai also joins forces with Mohammed (Mario Van Peebles), in case the evil son of Santa goes after Kwanzaa. And so goes the story of The Hebrew Hammer, a parody of the blaxploitation films of the '70s. This film has guilty pleasure written all over it, but in a good way. It's quick and witty, unlike Bad Santa, which just sucked. Check it out at Sunrise Cinemas 11, 4321 NW 88th Ave., Sunrise. Call 954-748-0333 for times. You can also catch it at Mizner Park, 301 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Call 561-368-7744.
With deadline approaching (technically, having passed several days ago), the attempt to write something about Paul Anka is difficult. The name "anka" itself even resembles the sound of a yawn. Difficult to keep the eyes open. What do people see in this man? Some desperate attempt to restore the glory days of their youth, circa 1955? A role model for the plastic-surgery bound (don't try to tell me that taut face is real, damn it)? I mean, come on -- the guy hasn't even released an album of new material in 20 years... Actually, that's not quite true. 1998's A Body of Work was made up of new material, but the title sounded so much like the title of a greatest-hits album that no one noticed. Ah, screw it. We won't pretend to understand the mystique. There are, apparently, two types of people in the world -- those who are entertained by Anka and those who drowse upon hearing his name. We are of the latter, and we've got deadlines to meet. Paul Anka performs at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts (701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach) at 8 p.m. Call 561-832-7469.
Cheap Trick sure seems to love South Florida, as it's made it an annual habit to play here in the past few years. While the novelty of having a band from the 1980s make its way down has certainly worn off (looking at you, Warrant), we'll make an exception for Robin Zander and the boys, because you know they'll play "Surrender" and "Dream Police," and, damn, those songs are catchy. And because, ya know, they're big in Japan. Cheap Trick is one of those bands that should have fallen off into one-hit wonderland, but 20-somethings will still admit to liking and being influenced by them, even if you can buy their T-shirt at Hot Topic. Kurt Cobain once said that Nirvana sounded like Cheap Trick with "way more guitar distortion." Call it kitsch, call it nostalgia, or call it luck. Catch the band at the Carefree Theatre, 2000 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. Show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $36. Call 561-833-7305.
Timb is rock. Timb is folk. Timb is emo. Timb is dance. Timb is a genre slut. And when he's caressing your eardrums with his audio erotic jams -- damn it, you'll like it. Timb is also quite prolific, having put out two CDs a year since 2001. His recent effort Commercially Viable offered a wonderful cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back," and who could forget classic tunes such as "When U Want 2 Twurk a Ho" and the Prince-flavored bacchanalia of "Bicycle Seat" (just use your imagination)? So to start the new year off with a bang, Timb is holding a CD-release party for his latest offering, Fitness: Advanced. Check him out at Dada (52 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach) at 9 p.m. Call 561-330-3232, or visit www.enchantogen.com.
After a lengthy stint blowing the sax in Lenny Kravitz's backing band and a tragically short-lived job in the late, great Greyboy Allstars, Karl Denson can now truly be said to be living in his own universe. But not in a weird, schizophrenic kind of way. Following the breakup of the Greyboy Allstars sometime in 1997 or 1998 -- the band sort of drifted apart rather than officially busting up -- Denson floated through the ether for another year before putting together Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. The Greyboy Allstars was one of those bands that was too good to last and certainly too good to be repeated, but KDTU does a damn fine job of laying down the funk-jazz. Although originally slated to perform at StarBar for the Jam Cruise's precruise kick off party, due to Venu/StarBar's ongoing and seemingly insurmountable problems, the party now takes place at the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale) at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $22.50 the day of the show. Call 954-564-1074.
Every now and again, we'll report in our Kids Stuff section about the puppet stylings of the folks at the Puppetry Arts Center or some similar entity. But have you ever wanted to actually get your hands wet in this ancient art form? Or, more accurately, get your hands covered? The American Health Association presents an open casting call at 2 p.m. today for people interested in volunteering to put on puppet shows. All ages are welcome, and you don't even need puppet experience to apply -- just a desire to entertain with puppetry. Call 561-361-9091.
The holiday season was a busy one for Chef Jean-Pierre. And it wasn't because he was cooking for hordes of people in some fancy Las Olas eatery. No, he was teaching people to prepare everything from Thanksgiving dinner, hors d'oeuvres, soups, and sauces to friggin' gingerbread houses. Jean-Pierre's Cooking School (1436 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale) offers cooking classes for pretty much anything you can think of. Now, you may not consider yourself a cook past reading recipes from a Lipton Cup-a-Soup packet or watching Iron Chef, but that doesn't matter. Jean-Pierre's classes are easy, interactive, and not too technical. Upcoming classes include a hands-on "Chocolate Fantasy Plated Dessert" class with Chef Rob Sobkowski, an introductory Thai cuisine class, and a crepe class. Wipe the drool from your mouth and call 954-563-2700 ahead of time for reservations, or visit www.chefjeanpierre.com for a full list of classes.