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Who says nothing happens during the idyllic week after Christmas and before everyone really gets back to work on Jan. 5? To keep you busy, “The Arbiter” has picked through the dross and found plenty of gold in the last throes of 2008 and the early days of 2009:

Romper room

If 2008 is remembered for anything, it should be enshrined as the year that burlesque took Brooklyn by storm. There was the Pinchbottom Burlesque in Park Slope, Gigi LaFemme’s “G Spot Burlesque” in Williamsburg, and, of course, our favorite Sweet and Nasty Burlesque, which set up shop at Public Assembly in Williamsburg on Monday nights.

This Monday is your last chance of the year to experience “a night of decadence, voluptuousness, masked delights and baked goods — before the revolution comes,” the leading lady, Nasty Canasta, said about her Louis XVI–themed show. “Let them Eat Cake” (she’s Marie Antoinette, natch).

“It’s so rare that we get to see how the other half lives — the naked half,” adds Canasta. “We thought it was time for a little licentiousness of our own. So powder your tallest wig and tie on your best velvet mask [for] the most beautiful brats of burlesque.”

10 pm. Dec. 29. Public Assembly [70 N. Sixth St. between Kent and Wythe avenues in Williamsburg, (718) 782-5188]. $10. For info, visit www.sweet­andnasty­burlesque.com.

Shoot the ‘works’

Yes, there will be fireworks again in Prospect Park for New Year’s Eve this year — but don’t wait until a minute before midnight to head to Grand Army Plaza.

The action beings at 11 pm, when Starbucks begins handing out free coffee and other hot beverages and Borough President Markowitz presents an R&B concert by Blacksmith and Friends.

But, of course, the main event will be the rockets red glare over the park. Your best viewing areas are inside the park on the West Drive or anywhere along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and Ninth Street.

11 pm. Dec. 31. Grand Army Plaza (between Prospect Park West and Flatbush Avenue in Park Slope). Free. For info, call (718) 965-8999 or visit .

‘Cherry’ from heaven

None of the three sisters in Chekhov’s most-famous play ever said, “To Brooklyn! To Brooklyn!” but their fictional counterparts from the Russian writer’s best work, “The Cherry Orchard,” are doing just that, starting on Jan. 2 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Ethan Hawke (pictured) and Josh Hamilton headline the cast of this Sam Mendes-directed take on Chekhov, adapted by Tom Stoppard. It’s a joint production of BAM and the Old Vic in London, so you know this warhorse is ready for battle.

Here’s a refresher course for those of you who have forgotten it from Comp Lit 101: “The Cherry Orchard” is the most forward-looking of Chekhov’s works, a play that anticipates the coming of Communism and the fall of Russia’s landed gentry (I’m not making this up; I majored in this crap).

The play centers around an old aristocratic family (literally and, of course, symbolically) that returns to its estate in the country just in time to mortgage it off to pay debts (a symbol of the aristocracy’s fall). Of course, the family dawdles (classic Russian lit symbol!) and the property is sold (a symbol of the rise of the bourgeosie), and the play ends with the cutting down of the cherry trees (clearly a symbol of the failure of the rising new middle class to appreciate its own history and values).

7:30 pm. Jan. 2–March 8. BAM Harvey Theater [651 Fulton St. at Rockwell Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100]. Tickets: $30–$90. For info, visitwww.bam.org.

Posted 4:48 pm, December 20, 2008
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