Drag queens, 'Christmas Vacation,' Khruangbin, Evanescence, and more things to do in metro Detroit

click to enlarge Jinkx and BenDeLaCreme. - Andrew AB
Andrew AB
Jinkx and BenDeLaCreme.

Christmas Vacation live with Chevy Chase

Thursday, 12/9: Is it nipply, er, nippy, out here, or is our shitter full? Nipples? Shitters? It could mean only one thing: the hap-hap-happiest Christmas movie of all is headed to Detroit, featuring an appearance by the man without whom the Griswold family could not exist.

Actor (and notorious industry asshole) Chevy Chase, who plays Clark Griswold, will appear for a screening of his 1989 classic National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, where he'll also participate in a Q&A sesh following the screening. Hey, listen, it's fine that Chase is kind of a dick, because he's not the only Christmas Vacation cast member who has not aged well. Look no further than Cousin Eddie, the trailer-dwelling, black sheep of the Griswold clan, who provides some of the greatest moments in all of the National Lampoon vacation movies, but shines especially bright, er, dim, in the franchise's Christmas entry and is played by conspiracy theorist and loyal Trumper Randy Quaid. Anyway, the film follows Clark, the possibly cursed patriarch who strives to give the gift of the idyllic Christmas for his family — from the comically oversized and sap-filled Christmas tree he insists on installing, to the ambitious light display that causes a city-wide outage, to the swimming pool he put a down payment on in anticipation of a substantial work bonus that tragically ends up being nothing but a subscription to a Jelly of the Month club. In true Griswold fashion, however, Clark and company manage to turn jelly into golden memories, but not without an explosive, relatable, work-related rant and, well, explosion. —Jerilyn Jordan

Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Masonic; 500 Temple Ave., Detroit; themasonic.com. Tickets are $49.50+. *Venue requires proof of full vaccination or negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to entry. Masks are required.


Thursday, 12/9-Friday, 12/10: Three may be a crowd but it's also the number of people in Khruangbin, the Texas outfit that fuses Thai funk (the band's name is the Thai word for "airplane," pronounced "krung-bin"), Iranian pop, Jamaican dub, surf rock, soul, sixties psych-rock, and some big Tarantino/Cohen Brothers energy for good measure. Self-billed as "multilingual collagists," Khruangbin (Laura Lee, Mark Speer, and Donald Johnson) isn't aiming for the stars, moon, or sun, rather, they hope they are considered an "Earth" band, meaning, they make inclusive music for inclusive folks. Formed in 2009, Khruangbin unleashed their genre-bending Earth tunes in 2015 with The Universe Smiles Upon You. Last year, the trio released Mordechi, its third record and one critics say is evidence that the group has finally come into their own "thanks to the band's lyrical development and the honing of their fusion of intercontinental influences," as Slate review reads. "You're not crazy/ You're wild/ But you're not crazy," Lee sings on "If There is No Question" from Mordechi. "We're all in this world/ Promises won't last forever/ If there is no answer." Earlier this year, the band released Mordechai Remixes, which add a layer or two (or five) to the band's already layered sounds. Brooklyn-based musician Nick Hakim will serve as opener both nights.—Jerilyn Jordan

Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Royal Oak Music Theatre; 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-399-2980; royaloakmusictheatre.com. Tickets are $42.50+. *Venue requires proof of full vaccination or negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to entry.

The Jinkx & BenDeLaCreme Holiday Show Live

Friday, 12/10: Time to sleigh another day, henny. The holidays can be a total drag but, with a little padding, an exaggerated lip-line, some proper tucking underwear, a front lace wig, and a whole lotta camp, the holidays might just be the thing to drag you out of your Grinchian depression slump. However, if you need some help decking your halls (instead of, you know, decking your antivax relatives) or jingling some balls, leave it to two of the best queens in the biz: Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme who will, once again, spread some holiday cheer. The RuPaul's Drag Race alumnus (Ms. Monsoon took home the crown on season five and we still aren't over her Little Edie/Grey Gardens "Snatch Game" performance, while DeLa earned Miss Congeniality in Season 6 and won the most challenges ever on All Stars 3) will embark on their third holiday show following 2018's "To Jesus, Thanks for Everything" and 2019's "All I Want for Christmas Is Attention." Drag? Christmas? It doesn't compute ... or does it? For Jinkx, 34, and DeLa, 40, putting together a campy, dragtastic holiday extravaganza came from wanting to offer a message of inclusivity and a sense of home, which many queer people may not have this time of year. "No matter how the details of that message shift (from year to year,) it's always about acknowledging that the holidays are both joyous and very difficult, and those two things can coexist and we can find unity within all of that," Dela has said of their joint show. The show will include song parodies, comedy, pop culture references, puppets, and some of the best damn drag this side of the North Pole. Oh, and if you're wondering, Mama Ru says you're all on the naughty list. —Jerilyn Jordan

Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre; 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; majesticdetroit.com. Tickets are $35+.

Evanescence with Halestorm

Saturday, 12/11: Throw out your alarm clock because alt-rock's leading lady is here to wake us up inside. Evanescence — led by the incomparable and ultra-vampy Amy Lee — has teamed up with Halestorm, fronted by Lzzy Hale for their The Bitter Truth fall/winter tour and we ask that you stick it directly in our veins (of course, by "it" we mean vaccines and booster shots) because after nearly two years of pandemic pandemonium, we need to be brought back to life, aka bask in the darkness of our immortal nü-metal queen. The tour celebrates Evanescence's first record in a decade, 2021's The Bitter Truth, and welcomes a few new tunes from Halestorm, as the group released "Back From The Dead," Halestorm's first single since 2018's Vicious in August, with promise of a new record (Hale herself calls the album "an absolute banger") sometime in 2022. Oh, and not to get you too worked up but Lee and Hale did cover Linkin Park at a recent performance so, let's not get too numb just yet. —Jerilyn Jordan

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. at Little Caesars Arena; 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-7000; 313presents.com. Tickets are $ E. Congress St., Detroit; 313-961-8961; saintandrewsdetroit.com. Tickets are $39.50+. *Event requires proof of full vaccination or negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to entry.

It's A Wonderful Life

Friday, 12/10-Saturday, 12/11: Some things simply get better with age, while others only become more poignant. In the case of the 1946 classic It's a Wonderful Life, both are true. What was a box office flop when it was released has since become a longstanding holiday staple. The story of George Bailey, played by the incomparable James Stewart, is a tale of redemption and gratitude as he finds himself ready to end it all on Christmas Eve. Whoa! You talkin' suicide? Christmas? Where the hell is the holiday cheer in that? Well, before you get your knickers in a bunch, it gets better. Whoa, no spoiler alert? OMFG, can we just ... anyway. Before George can take the leap that would end it all forever, he is given a rare opportunity to see what it would be like had he never been born. Whoa, whoa, you sayin' this is a Christmas movie about suicide and abortion? Because I'm not here for that bullcrap. For the love of Old Saint Nick, will you please just shut up? What he finds is that the greatest gift of all is not a PS5 or, like, AirPods, but life itself. Nothing? Well, in that case pass the friggin' tissues. —Jerilyn Jordan

Screenings begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10 and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11 at the Redford Theatre; 17360 Lahser Rd., Detroit; 313-537-2560; redfordtheatre.com. Tickets are $5.

Kenny G

Sunday, 12/12: Kenny G is having a moment. Yes, as in the curly maned, saxophone-wielding, smooth jazz icon who has been the butt of many jokes throughout his nearly 50 year career. But the Guinness World Record holder for best-selling jazz artist is determined to have the last laugh. Kenny G née Kenneth Gorelick, 65, is the star of a new HBO documentary Music Box: Listening to Kenny G, out now, where he addresses the haters, like one guitarist who referred to Kenny's music as "lame-ass, jive, pseudo-bluesy, out-of-tune, noodling." Awkward. Honestly, Kenny G has heard it all before and despite being a perplexing musical pariah who happens to have more than 75 million record sales under his belt, he's not gonna quit filling the world with his brand of highly commercial department store muzak no matter how many times you call him a talentless hack. The Seattle-born sensation has embarked on a tour in conjunction with the documentary and his latest record, G New Standards, his first album since 2015's Brazilian Nights (Alexa, please play this immediately) so you can get up close and personal with the man, the myth, the man who has clearly missed an opportunity by not releasing a record of sensual tunes called G-Spot (sorry, not sorry.) Hey, we'd buy it. —Jerilyn Jordan

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. at Sound Board; 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-309-4614; soundboarddetroit.com. Tickets are $45+.

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