Birthday party The estimable Orchestra 2001 celebrates conductor James Freeman's 70th birthday with a concert of works by Freeman, Andrea Clearfield, David Finko, Gerald Levinson, Jay Reise, Andrew Rudin, and Thomas Whitman, all commissioned for the occasion, plus a new song cycle by George Crumb. The concert is at 3 p.m. at Swarthmore College's Lang Concert Hall, Route 320 and College Avenue, Swarthmore. Admission is free. Call 215-922-2190.

Purple power Starting with the first book in the series in 1955, Crockett Johnson's The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon has had an enduring legacy. The simple story of a small boy in footie pajamas who both creates and explores the world through his drawings has, upon examination, philosophical depths having to do with imagination and self-awareness. It also has a dragon, a balloon, a picnic, a hungry moose, and a deserving porcupine, not to mention a circus and a king in a castle, and - well, just about anything. The Enchantment Theatre Company presents the tale with video, puppets, masks, magic, and a jazz score by Charles Gilbert, at 2 p.m. today at the Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St., and continuing on a Tuesday-through-Sunday schedule to Jan. 3 (no performances Dec. 24, 25 and 31 and Jan. 1). Tickets are $27; $15 for ages 12 and under. Call 215-893-1999


Super pop The California quintet Rooney plays crunchy Brit-pop shot through with the sunny vibe of their home state. (As an added attraction, they did the theme for the Iron Man: Armored Adventures cartoon.) Excellent! They play at 8 p.m. at the Note, 142 E. Market St., West Chester. Tickets are $17. Call 1-800-594-8499.


Cutting edge Author Julie Powell, whose Julie & Julia chronicled her feat of cooking every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, now turns to the art of the butcher in Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession. She discusses her work at 7:30 p.m. at the Free Library's Montgomery Auditorium, 19th and Vine Streets. Admission is free. Call 215-567-4341.


Scrooge times six Our holiday film of choice is the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge - but, we admit, always in the background to Sim's great performance is the first experience we had with the story, the 1962 version starring Mr. Magoo. So, it's a wonder that it's taken all this time for someone to come up with this brilliant idea: Ian Abrams' composite Very Special "A Christmas Carol," telling the story by editing together the Scrooge performances of Sim, Michael Caine, George C. Scott, Bill Murray, Patrick Stewart, and Magoo (Jim Backus), plus cameos by Reginald Owen, Marc McDermott (in a 1910 silent), Vanessa Williams, Seymour Hicks, and Jack Palance. The film screens, followed by a discussion with Abrams, at 7 p.m. at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, 824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr. Tickets are $9.50; $6.75 for seniors and students. Call 610-527-4008.

X-mess pageant Leave it to the ineffable Dumpsta Players to come up with the perfect holiday show for our times: Jon and Kate Plus Hate in Outer Space. Who can resist this heartwarming story about everyone's favorite reality-TV fame strumpets, in which Jon leaves Kate while rehearsing the eight kids for a Regis Philbin Christmas special and falls into the clutches of the Octomom (in reality, an extraterrestrial, and that's no suprise), leaving the original Eightfold Mom to come to the rescue. Meanwhile, the kids - uh, the kids - well, it's never really been about the kids, has it? The troupe performs this destined-to-be-a-classic at 11 p.m. at Bob and Barbara's, 1509 South St. Tickets are $1.99. Call 215-545-4511.


Word in dance The Eleone Dance Theatre performs Carols in Color, a retelling of the Gospel according to Matthew, at the New Freedom Theatre, 1346 N. Broad St., at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 4 p.m. next Sunday. Tickets are $28; $25 for seniors and students. Call 1-800-838-3006.

Renaissance woman Former Renaissance front woman Annie Haslam performs songs by that group and holiday favorites at 8 p.m. at Sellersville Theater 1894, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville. Tickets are $35 and $49.50. Call 215-257-5808.

Friday & Saturday

Sounds of the season The luminous vocal ensemble Anonymous 4 performs Christmas songs and carols at St. Mark's Church, 1625 Locust St., at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $23. Call 215-569-8080.

The multiverse The program Hapa Happy is described by organizers as a family-friendly event "celebrating all that is mixed and multi." This month's event is hosted by the poetry duo Yellow Rage (Michelle Myers and Catzie Vilayphonh), and features slam poet Thaddeus Rutkowski and a film by Jessica Chen Drammeh. It all happens at the Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St., at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $5 to $10. Call 215-557-0455.

Holiday cheer One of our favorite holiday events is here: Tuba Christmas, the gathering of up to 100 tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium players performing seasonal tunes, at the Kimmel Center's Commonwealth Plaza, Broad and Spruce Streets, at noon Saturday. Admission is free. Call 215-569-8050.