"Go easy on the alcohol and don't expect much in the way of good food," he joked. "Don't get defensive or paranoid. If you think that cousin Heinrich is checking for horns on your head, it's probably just your imagination."
Tannenbaum, the music editor at Blender magazine, and his lounge-circuit cohort David Fagin alternately skewer and extol Jewish culture in tongue-in-cheek Rat Pack-y arrangements, hitting everything from Bible history to JDate. Good for the Jews headlines the Echoplex on -- yep -- Christmas, but if the background din of Christmas Muzak is already making you meshuga, Tannenbaum has tips to stop shvitzing and enjoy the day off in L.A.:
"Christmas is an excuse for single Jewish people to go to a disco with no goyim, get liquored up and go home with someone," Tannenbaum said. But Gentiles who venture out on Christmas night will find themselves in good company. For committed seasonal sad sacks we suggest the Biltmore Hotel bar followed by a jaunt to the kitsch fest at Bar 107, which is proudly open at 3 p.m. on Christmas.
Dining-wise, Tannenbaum knows you can do better than the old standbys. "In the band, we have a line where we sing, 'On Christmas day we'll eat Chinese and walk the streets until we freeze,' " he said. "But that's a relic of the past. If you live in a city with a big Jewish population, you have plenty of options."
If you must ride hard for dim sum, try NBC Seafood in Monterey Park, but if you want the freshest pastrami on rye, Greenblatt's Deli in West Hollywood will never steer you wrong.
Of course, opportunities for people-watching abound, because anyone out on the streets on Christmas obviously has a story to tell. "You could go to the Zoroastrian temple and see if they have midnight basketball, go check out the bus station and see who's getting off at 10 p.m.," Tannenbaum deadpans. While you're at it, volunteering at the Midnight Mission in downtown L.A. will help feed hungry people and atone for that time you never called that cute girl from Hillel back.