SOPHISTICATION & SPLURGING
The Book Cadillac
A $200 million rehab restored this Motor City landmark, which celebrated its grand opening in October, to its original 1920s glory, but with all the addictive amenities that the 21st Century offers — flat screen TVs, high-speed Internet access and stocked mini-fridges. After a night of ripping it up downtown, it's the most bougie place to lay your spinning head, or make a night of it at the hotel by digging dinner at the hotel's new restaurant, Roast, which provides carnivorous fine-dining at its most vivid — whole animals are roasted on a spit for the whole restaurant to see. Yum? At 1114 Washington Blvd., Detroit; 313-442-1600; bookcadillacwestin.com. New Year's Eve packages, which include a room service breakfast for two, start at $389.
Rumors are a-swirl about the Whitney's first full-on New Year's Eve gala. Beaucoup bucks are dispensed to construct the mother of all tents, complete with heat, lighting and hardwood floors. DJs Matt A and Rocboy with Tone on percussion will supply the sounds, while an open bar until 4 a.m. will keep everyone pleasantly tanked. Party access is $100, but for only $50 more you also get a four-course meal with wine pairings. At 4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-5700. Call for info on booth and hotel packages.
Twilight Benefit Ball
If the holiday season is supposed to be all about giving, such feely-fuzzy-good generosity is usually tossed to the wayside on New Year's Eve, when hedonism and indulgence hold court. With the Twilight Benefit Ball, you can get the best of giving and the best of receiving — all proceeds from the glitzy event benefit the American Cancer Society. The red carpet event will include ice sculptures, a light show, live entertainment, appetizers and a silent auction. At the Rock Financial Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave., Novi; 248-896-6182 or twilightbenefit.com for info; $95-$1,000 with perks increasing with price.
Besides the usual attractions — the dice roll, the card flip, the smell of stale cigarettes, proletarian desperation and the greedy desire for easy riches, the MGM will also host two different New Year's parties. At V, take a musical journey from the '60s to the present, complete with choreographed dancers decked out in each decade's fashions & bustin' the era's appropriate moves. As part of the same shindig, Ignite will feature an '80s cover band. In the Ballroom, the ante is upped with hors d'oeuvres, an open bar and entertainment by rock cover band Thique. Or you could always sweat it out at the slots. At MGM Grand, 1777 Third St., Detroit; 877-888-2121; mgmgrandetroit.com; tickets $100 and $200 respectively.
Since Casino Windsor's transformation into Caesar's Windsor, a nonstop parade of moneyed names has graced the casino's stage — from Ringo Starr to Bill Cosby and now, Jay Leno. The new year is a transitional one for the comic, who'll step down from his killer Tonight Show gig, giving reins to Conan O'Brien at the end of May. An avid car guy, Leno was an revved-up proponent for an auto bailout, a fact pretty much guaranteeing audience approval — no matter how much he makes fun of the Lions. At Caesar's Windsor, 377 Riverside Dr. E., Windsor; 519-258-7878; $150.
If you'd rather celebrate with that one special person rather than with a crushing sea of soused strangers, Omni Detroit offers two different packages befitting a romantic and sedate New Year's Eve. Posh accommodations along with dinner for two, Champagne, pizza favors and, the finishing touch, a single red rose can be enjoyed for upward of $359, while all that minus the dinner and the rose starts at $299. Lovebirds: enjoy the lap of luxury for the night, and save the rest of us the obnoxious public displays of affection. At 1000 River Place, Detroit; 313-567-1551; omnihotels.com.
Dinner at Forte
Splurging on haute cuisine's a swell way to celebrate the New Year — whether it's pre-party preparation (something's gotta sop up all that bubbly, natch!) or both the beginning and the end of the festivities (dine at nine, home for the ball drop, straight to bed). At Birmingham's classy-yet-casual trend-soaked eatery Forte, diners can enjoy a three- or four-course meal of innovative fare for, considering the quality, a fairly moderate price. 201 S. Old Woodward, Birmingham; 248-594-7300; forterestaurant.com. Seating at 5 p.m. for three-course meal, $30. Seatings at 7 and 9 p.m. for four-course meal, $40. Optional wine pairings at an extra charge.
NYE '09 Final Frontier
New Year's Eve parties are all about hype, and the Final Frontier is no exception. Claiming to be the most exclusive party in town, Final Frontier's only open to the elite few willing to fork out the dough. And depending on the amount of coin, you may get nothing but hors d'oeuvres or you may get a gourmet buffet, private lounge access, an open premium bar and bottle service. A DJ and go go dancers will also be featured, but the best part may be the locale — the Detroit Science Center. (Drunken science experiment? Nice.) At 5020 John R, Detroit; info at 248-635-3774 or finalfrontier2009.com. Attire is fashion-forward to the extreme (this is Detroit, no?) and tickets range from $50-$200.
Detroit Repertory Theatre
New Year's Eve at the Rep is a long-standing D-Town tradition — '09 will be the 31st year ushered in at the storied theater. The celebration includes unlimited Champagne and hors d'oeuvres, Defiance (8 rec, show 9, cab buf midnight) a performance of Defiance by John Patrick Shanley (of Doubt fame) and a scrumptious dinner buffet featuring sweet and sour beef brisket, spiced buttercup squash, calico cole slaw and more delectable delights. With only 100 tickets available, the party's a cozy and intimate way to avoid the herds, but still revel in 2008's passing. At the Detroit Repertory Theatre, 13103 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit; 313-868-1347; detroitreptheatre.com; reception at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m.; $75.
If enough well-known names are slapped onto a party, then it must be good — or at least that's the theory behind Eve, which boasts so many hosts and promoters that it's all but impossible to name them all. Sushi displays by Crave, open bars heavily stocked with Grey Goose, pristine white leather sofas and over-the-top lighting are the hallmarks of Eve. Plus, the entire sixth floor has been reserved solely for attendees so that raucous shenanigans can continue all night without complaint. Bust out your sequins, touch up the spray tan and get a move on — the cheapest tickets have already sold out. At the Hyatt Regency, 600 Town Center Dr., Dearborn; 313-593-1234; eve09.com.
Hosted by well-known Detroit promoters Craig Jelinek and Kevin Cermak, Champagne Explosion 2009 claims to be many things — it's the premiere west side event, it's the biggest balloon drop in town, it's the party we all deserve, it's the only island dance floor in Michigan … what does that even mean? The event features an open premium bar, a late-night buffet, Champagne fountains, strolling magicians and sideshow performers. Music is provided by DJs Godfather, Prevu, Tom Keeling and Donovan Tate. And if you want to spend the night playing grab-ass in a hotel pool, this is the party for you. At Embassy Suites, 19525 Victor Parkway, Livonia; 248-929-1885; tickets are $125, VIP $150, but prices will rise as the event draws near. Dinner is an additional $50 and hotel rooms are $169-$229. Info at champagneexplosiondetroit.com.
The Cliff Bell's New Year's Eve Gala
Downtown's Detroit's chic jazz lounge says au revoir to aught-eight with an upscale gala featuring Colton Park and the Avenues. The seven-piece jazz orchestra will highlight hot hits from the roaring twenties and at midnight will perform what is alleged to be the jazziest version of Auld Lang Syne in the city. Guests will also be able to enjoy a strolling supper out of Cliff Bell's brand spanking new kitchen and a champagne toast. At 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543; $50 advance and at the door.
New Year's Eve Salsa Bash
This muy caliente bash features Detroit's Orquestra Inspiracion, a swinging 10-piece salsa band infused with touches of Latin jazz and various other Caribbean musical styles. But if soft-shoeing some sexy sway by yourself ain't an option, the event will also host a pro-amateur Latin dance show, as well as four DJs spinning everything from reggae to Motown. Depending on the ticket, you can partake of a buffet of Latin eats, a late-night breakfast and reserved seating. At the Holiday Resort Hotel, 26555 Telegraph Rd., Southfield; 248-246-0076; salsadetroit.com; $20 advance, $30 at the door, $45 VIP.
FEASTING, CAROUSING AND PLEASUREFUL PURSUITS
New Year's Eve-olution
If you subscribe to the view that NYE should be all about extravagance, spectacle and overindulgence, then dig the wham-bang offerings of Eve-olution: aerial performances, fashion shows, stand-up comics, magician Guy Copeland, DJs Ryan Richards and Braz D., balloon drops, confetti, open bar, hors d'oeuvres, late-night pizza, continental breakfast, prizes, giveaways and even more for the VIPs. Phew … The excess commences at 9 p.m. at Clutch Cargo's, 65 E. Huron, Pontiac; 248-333-2362; general admission tickets are only $40, VIP $75.
New Year's Eve Inside Detroit Style
Attending one New Year's Eve party is so pre-millennium. Professional party peeps know good things come in threes, making Inside Detroit's bar-hopping bash the best bet for premium partying. The night begins at Bookie's Tavern (1265 Washington Blvd., Detroit; 313-963-2589) for laid-back mingling, aided by an open bar. Attendees then travel to Cliff Bell's (2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543) for a bit of cocktail-enhanced jazz before bouncing to the Resolution Ball at the Fillmore (2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-5451) for the requisite balloon drop, champagne toast and midnight make out. Sign up at insidedetroit.com/schedule. Tickets are only $40 until Dec. 28, $50 after — an unbelievable three-for-one deal.
Championship of Comedy
"King of Comedy" Steve Harvey and pimpin' comic bad-boy Katt Williams share the stage together for the first time for the Championship of Comedy showdown. The squeaky-clean Harvey is host of the nationally syndicated radio program Steve Harvey Morning Show, has his own men's clothing line of upscale suits and he works to improve education in urban areas through his eponymous foundation. And then there's Williams. In 2007, his Pimp Chronicles Tour was the second-highest-grossing act in the country, but this year hasn't been so peachy. After announcing that the Championship of Comedy would be his last stand-up gig ever, Williams has suffered "bouts of erratic behavior," an arrest and rumors of an untimely death after he failed to show up for an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Man, pimpin' ain't easy. At Joe Louis Arena, 600 Civic Center Dr., Detroit; 313-983-6606; $65-$250.
When the clock hits midnight, will you be ready to abstain, refrain or constrain? Breaking resolutions is highly encouraged at the 8th annual Resolution Ball, where more — as in more booze, more grub, more ladies with lowered inhibitions — is decidedly better. This chichi big-city-style shindig features That '80's Band, DJs Tommy Holiday and Sandman, a snack buffet of pizza, sliders & coneys and, depending on the number of bills you dish out, open or cash bars, hors d'oeuvres and food stations, a champagne reception and private mezzanine access. At the Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 248-543-1000 or resolutionballdetroit.com for info. Tickets are $30, $50 and $100. Mention the Resolution Ball at the Holiday Inn Express and The Sheraton Riverside for special rates; info at thesocialconnection.com.
Brew Year's Eve
We scoff at the notion that beer can only be part of plebeian, unrefined celebrations such as frat parties or car rallies or late-night street brawls. Even one of the classiest calendar nights can be celebrated by imbibing the yeasty nectar of the gods. At Arbor Brewing Company, a keg of celebratory brew will be tapped every hour from 9 p.m.-midnight. There'll be specials on their natural, locally grown grub and a DJ spinning tunes. At Arbor Brewing Company, 114 E. Washington, Ann Arbor; 734-213-1393; arborbrewing.com.; no cover.
White House Dining
Ever wonder what JFK used to nosh on? Or what recipes used to drive James Madison wild? Yeah, us neither, but an unusual dinner at Zingerman's Roadhouse — featuring specials that pleased presidential palates — makes for both a scrumptious and edifying experience. Try Mrs. Kennedy's wild mushroom and cheese soufflé or the Mount Vernon-style Smithfield Ham. You can't go wrong with Dolly Madion's pickled eggs (or can you?) and Jefferson's favorite drunken loaf. It's the most esculent history lesson you'll ever have. No shit. At 5-10 p.m. at Zingerman's Roadhouse, 2501 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-663-3663; $65 for a five-course meal.
New Year's Eve Blues Bash
Cheap drinks, low cover and a night of down-and-dirty blues are hallmarks of the weekly Blues and Brews events, which kick up each Friday and Saturday night at Guy Hollerin's inside Ann Arbor's Holiday Inn. But for the last night of the year, Blues and Brews is brushing off the ol' tux and throwing a tad more refined bash in the Holiday Inn ballroom. Jesse Sinatra will perform as Sinatra, followed by the Bluescasters and local guitar hero show-band Jimmy McCarty & Mystery Train. A three-course meal, open bar and room costs $250 per couple, while individual tickets without a room can be snagged for $80. At 3600 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor; 734-769-9800.
Bigger & Badder IV
Detroit's haven for hot reggae and dancehall will limbo into '09 (literally, there's a limbo contest) with their annual Caribbean-style soiree. Chicago's KillaFace Sound and Detroit's Strictly Roots Movement will be joined by DJ Killa, King Arubis, Doegla and LP & Rp. A Jamaican buffet will be served, the requisite showers of balloons and confetti will drop and midnight will be greeted with Trenchtown's "famous" cider toast. Bring your dancin' shoes, the party won't stop until 6 in the morning. At Trenchtown, 3919 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-831-8552; clubtrenchtown.com.
This year was a bumpy one for Barenaked Ladies: There were plane crashes, personal losses and, to top it all off, guitarist and singer Steven Page got nicked for coke possession (bummer, dude). But '09 holds more promise for the Canadian quintet, which will, you'll note, celebrates its 20th anniversary with a boxed set of demos, unreleased songs and other rarities, as well as a tour tentatively set for May. With a clean slate heading into the upcoming year, the boys should be back to their old form. Be prepared for lots of witty banter and improvised geek rap (and don't forget the macaroni) at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-6611; tickets are $55, $75 and $125.
German producer and DJ Markus Schulz spins energetic Euro-trance, jet-setting from his Miami base of operations to DJ at clubs and festivals throughout the world. He made a name for himself in the '90s when, as the resident DJ at the Works in Phoenix, he remixed chart-topping pop fluff by the likes of the Backstreet Boys and Madonna, and now he spreads trance throughout the globe with his straightforwardly titled radio show Global DJ Broadcast. The so-called ambassador of trance will spread his message into the new year at the Boom Boom Room, 315 Ouellete Ave., Windsor; 519-971-0000; boomboomroom.ca.
Rockin' Blues New Year's Eve
Sure, it's a New Year's Eve shindig, but the real celebration here is the 20th anniversary of Mark Pasman's Motor City Blues Project radio show. The WCSX program is one of the longest-running radio shows in Detroit, and one of the most successful blues shows in the country. The night will feature Pasman's Super Sessions — a rotating cast of blues mavericks — with special guest including Donald Kinsey of the Kinsey Report and Detroit's Harmonica Shah. At Callahan's, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills; 248-858-9508; $35 admission includes seated dinner, favors, champagne toast and midnight snack.
Rock 'n' Roll Ball featuring Blind Melon
Admit it — all you're going to be thinking about is that bumble bee girl. Sure, it's been some years since the chubby girl won hearts with carefree antics, but who can hear Blind Melon without thinking of her (who'd want to?) or its erstwhile singer Shannon Hood? The third annual rock 'n' roll ball also features SSM and the Delivery, as well as DJ Gabe Real in the club room — in case you went to an alleged rock 'n' roll ball but didn't want to, er, hear rock 'n' roll? $80 VIP tickets include unlimited beer and wine, general admission — sorry, rock tickets — are $45. Hotel packages are also available. At the Hyatt Regency, 600 Town Center Dr., Dearborn; 800-233-1234.
DIRT CHEAP AND DRUNKEN DEBAUCHERY
New Year's Eve at PJ's Lager House
Hot damn, do they know how to do the holidays right. Stellar line-ups abound at the refreshed and revamped Lager House, and the last night of '08 is no exception with a roll-call of Detroit rock 'n' roll razzmatazz. Party people rockers the Beggars are joined by the beautifully intense Octopus, '60s-esque Electric Lions and straight-up rocksters Los Vikings del Muerto. For those about to rock at 10 p.m. at PJ's Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668; $7.
It's hard to resist the so-bad-they're-good appeal of a bell-bottomed band with huge afros performing hits from the '70s. Complete with fabricated bios (brother of the dude who invented pet rocks?), Boogie Dynamite is all about not giving a fuck and embracing your inner dork — the mirror star who dances around the bedroom. Hey, after a few glasses (or bottles) of champagne, it won't be that hard to do in public. At Fifth Avenue Billiards, 215 W. Fifth St., Royal Oak; 248-542-9922; $25 includes pizza, champagne toast and favors.
Faster Pussycat emerged in the late '80s as part of Sunset strip's ersatz-glam metal explosion. It found gold-record success with its second album, 1989's Wake Me When it's Over, and then quickly vanished under the weight of its transparent songwriting abilities. The group eventually disbanded after the great grunge eruption in the early '90s, but FP frontman Taime Down reunited the band, or at least a version of it, in 2001. After many hits and misses (an industrial remix album, disputes with former band members that included two bands touring as Faster Pussycat and wonderfully fascinating MySpace pissing matches), Faster Pussycat (with singer Taime Down as the only original member) released its first album in nearly 20 years, 2006's industrial-tinged The Power and the Glory Hole. Constantly touring as part of the nostalgic (some might say misguided) resurgence of trashy '80s metal acts, Faster Pussycat will bust out their glam-now-goth aesthetic at another nostalgic resurgent — the newly re-opened Blondies. 2281 W. Fort St., Detroit; 313-740-8130; $25 advance, $30 day of.
Bling in the New Year
For its second New Year's Eve party since its sabbatical, Oslo's bringing in renowned house producer DJ Sneak to headline a night of hot beats (and perhaps eats? The noodles are delish!). From Chicago by way of Puerto Rico, Sneak is considered one of the most influential house producers in the United States — although he's now based in Toronto where he operates his own booking agency. He'll be joined by DJs Jason Hodges, Chuck Daniels, Tim Nobody, Lindsay Yeager, Christos and Kenny Johnson at 10 p.m.-4 a.m., 1456 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-962-7200; $15 advance at wanttickets.com, $20 before midnight at the door.
Disfresh & Maximal Music
A grab-bag of electronic music by more than 15 DJs will keep technophiles and electronic freaks moving at this third annual NYE event. Monty Luke, Gabe Real, Dan Bain and more will be spinning techno upstairs, while the likes of John Johr, Joshua Harrison and Big Joe Hix will be grooving house downstairs. A third room will feature a mix of music by Ronin Selecta, Thomas Emmanuel, Da' Beat Pimp and, well, the list goes on and on. But trust us, it's sweet. At TV Bar, 2554 Grand River Ave., Detroit; disfresh.com for info; $10.
An Irish New Year's Eve
There are no better revelers than the Irish — they drink like fish, dance with abandon and never heard a joke they didn't like. Spend the evening rubbing elbows with the Sons of St. Patrick at the Gaelic League (2068 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-964-8700) where, for only $10, you can enjoy a pot luck dinner and Irish tunes by Arranmore. On the west side, Conor O'Neill's (318 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-2968) starts the night with a Champagne toast when the clock strikes midnight in the old country (7 p.m. this side of the pond), followed by a four-course meal and late night breakfast buffet. Tickets are $60, advanced reservations recommended.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention everyone's favorite dance party as it freaks its way into yet another wet, sweaty and dance-alicious New Year. As a twist on the old classic, live bands — yes, actual bands, in the flesh — will perform. The flipping Friendly Foes (who are everywhere at once) will be joined by too-cute Kiddo. Said bands will be off by midnight, so you can get back to the bumping, grinding frenzy. At the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555; $15 for the 21-and-older crowd, $20 for 18-20.
$10 New Year's Eve Party
New Year's Eve is often the night where excess — as in excessive spending — hit full tilt. But there's a recession on, kids, and why does classy always have to equate with bustin' the bank? Luckily, the Bosco — Ferndale's hipster-swank lounge — is returning with its annual $10 New Year's Eve celebration featuring DJ Brian Gillespie spinning soul, funk and hip-hop, and an abundance of cardboard tiaras and noisemakers. And while there's no midnight pizza buffet (unlike at the big parties) there's a Pizza Hut a stumble away. 22930 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-541-8818; purchasing tickets in advance is recommended.
Fuck New Year's Fest
If champagne toasts, balloon drops and shitfaced suburbanites affecting garish faux glamour induce gag reflexes, then spend the last day of '08 at a party with a somewhat seedier bent (said with the utmost reverence, of course) by attending Double OO Pub's Fuck New Year's Fest. The free show features decidedly unglamorous and proud of it bands such as the Arrogant Bastards, Wreckless Fate, the Petafylers, the Idiots, Stupid Children with Hammers and more. Piss on Auld Lang Syne at 8 p.m.-4 a.m. at the Double OO Pub, 25044 Grand River Ave., Redford; 313-592-9705.
Descriptions of Human Eye often include such descriptors as "strange," "deranged" and "deviant." But if that's ain't some three-part recipe for some fucking awesome rock, then what is? And that doesn't even begin to touch on the savage pageantry of Eye's live show which incorporates a giant human eyeball (appropriately) and anything else that gifted frontman Timothy Vulgar pulls out of his proverbial magic hat — an octopus? Glitter? Fake blood? These avant-noise malcontents recently returned from a successful west coast tour (are there any other kind?) and have released their second LP Fragments of the Universe Nurse. With Druid Perfume, Gardens and DJ Naisammon at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7665; $8.
Oh, those crazy Scrummage kids. Despite being somewhat under radar in recent months, they've planned a show that'll rip the panties off you. The wailing horn and synth mania that is Child Bite performs along with rising rapper Danny Brown, Prussia, Noman, Manniken, Deastro and Benny Stoofy. No doubt the sweatiest mash-up of the New Year. At 9 p.m. at the Scrummage Insurance Agency, 2937 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit.
Dancing through the Decades
Participate in a musical hip-shimmerin' journey from the '70's through the '00s at Rainbow Room's Dancing through the Decades party. Boogie your way from the hustle to the robot to the cupid shuffle in one night while a host of impersonators — Amy Winehouse, Boy George, Tina Turner and Mary J. Blige — entertain those not bold enough (or liquored up enough) to hit the dance floor themselves. Appetizers, chocolate fountains, continental breakfast and a midnight champagne toast included. At 6640 Eight Mile Rd., Detroit; 313-891-1020; $15, $10 after midnight.
KICKS FOR KIDS AND OTHER SUBDUED PASTIMES
Out of This World: Extraordinary Costumes from Film and Television
If you ever wanted to get up close and personal with one of those tight bodysuits from Star Trek, now's your chance. Organized by the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (the high kingdom of geekdom), Out of This World features more than 40 costumes and accoutrements from films such as Terminator and Batman, as well as such TV shows as Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. In conjunction with the exhibit, Michael Keaton's Batmobile and the Ghost Busters' wonky ambulance will be displayed through January. At the Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn; 313-271-1621; exhibit runs through Jan. 11.
Divine Performing Arts
Traditional Chinese culture is explored through music and dance by this New York-based performing arts group. With lavish costumes and custom-designed digital backdrops, Divine Performing Arts presents a stunning picture of classical China, from the Manchurian court to the Mongolian plains. Divine Performing Arts has performed throughout the world, visiting 60 cities in 2008 with 75 stops scheduled in 2009. They end this season with shows on Dec. 30 and 31 at 7:30 p.m. at Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-943-2354; $49-99; info at divinearts.org.
Belle Isle Family Fun Run and Walk
Start your resolution to get in shape a day early with this Detroit tradition. Now in its 39th year, the Belle Isle Family Fun Run and Walk features a one-mile and four-mile event, which neither rain nor snow nor sleet can postpone. All runners and walkers receive long-sleeve T-shirts, food and beverages, and an award (because there's no confidence-booster like a plaque that says "participant"). Line up at the starting gate at 3:30 p.m. at the Belle Isle Casino. Registration takes place from noon to 3 p.m. before the race and on Monday, Dec. 29. Info and entry forms at michiganrunner.com/belleisle or runmichigan.com.
A Honey Pot of Pooh Stories
As part of Detroit Institute of Arts' holiday week festivities, Ann Arbor's Wild Swan Theatre will perform A Honey Pot of Pooh Stories, a collection of tales starring Pooh, Piglet and the gang. The perfect way to clock some togetherness hours before handing the kids over to the babysitter in order to enjoy some adults-only debauchery. At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900. Other shows at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 29, and Tuesday, Dec. 30. Visit dia.org for info.
Bust out your poodle skirt and saddle shoes (if you own any, which really, you shouldn't) for a '50's-style sock-hop featuring music, carnival games, wood crafts, face-painting, inflatable games and a sock hop dance finale. All-American staples of pizza and hot dogs will be available for purchase. The fun only lasts until 8 p.m., but keeping the Eisenhower-era party going until midnight is as easy as scrounging up an old hula-hoop. Gee whiz! At 4:30 p.m. at the Recreation Center at Hillside, 700 W. Baseline Rd., Northville; 248-349-0203; northvilleparksandrec.org; $5 adults, $10 children.
24-Hour Puppet show
Patrick Elkins and the Dreamland Puppet Troupe are staging a grand production of marionettes, shadow puppets, rod puppets and every other puppet they can get their hands into from noon on New Year's Eve until noon on New Year's Day — with absolutely no intermissions (Yowzah, that's a whole lot of puppetry!). Audience members can come and go as they please (leave for a champagne toast at a nearby bar, return to view dancing marionettes) and tickets are only $2 a pop and/or a dish to pass. At the Dreamland Theater, 26 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti; info at dreamlandtheater.com.
Chenille Sisters and Royal Garden Trio
A little bit vampy and pretty campy, the Chenille Sisters hit on their Andrews Sisters-meet-the Roches approach more than 20 years ago, and they keep swingin', and three-part harmonizin' and crackin' wise. If they haven't conquered the world — despite a good bit of national exposure and a good rep performing for both wee ones and their folks — well, maybe it's the world's loss. And they remain a perennial fave in their Ann Arbor base and hereabouts. What's new for the Chenilles is teaming up with the Royal Garden Trio, simpatico retro-swingers whose influences range from old New Orleans and Chicago jazz to gypsy swing. $35. Doors at 9 p.m., show starts at 10; at the Ark, 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor; 734-763-8587.
2008 Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Mother Nature and all her hairy, scaly and thick-skinned progeny are on full display in this annual exhibition, organized by London's Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine. The largest exhibit and contest of its kind, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year highlights the best wildlife photography from around the world. The 2008 exhibit makes its North American premiere for the fifth consecutive year at the Detroit Zoo with 83 photographs by 72 different photographers from 28 countries. The exhibit is on display through April 26. Visit detroitzoo.org to download a printable educational guide to the show. At 8450 W. 10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-398-0900; free with admission.
Mt. Clemens Downtown New Year's Eve Gala
If cold weather is no deterrent to celebration, then bundle up the kids and check out the 15th Annual Mt. Clemens Downtown New Year's Eve Gala. Take part in karaoke, groove to a Motown music revue featuring Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder impersonators and enjoy a midnight fireworks display. And some guy will break flaming bricks with his hands! It's just like Times Square, minus the crowds, the big screens, the ball drop and the drunk guy peeing on your shoe. Festivities begin at 10:30 p.m. on Main Street at New Street; info at 586-469-4168 or downtownmtclemens.com.