TOAST OL' RED EYES
Gasp — it's sacrilege to sully Sinatra, 'specially around eggnog season. But the satiric Forbidden Christmas revue, based on the Forbidden Broadway production, does exactly that. The uproarious show pokes fun at holiday staples like Frank and Bing, as well as at pop trash (Britney Spears and Cher), and such hit musicals as the Phantom of the Opera and Wicked. Forbidden Christmas will run until Dec. 31 at the Gem Theatre, 333 Madison St., Detroit; 313-963-9800.
Detroit Sounds and Spirits Holiday Spectacular
A FOOKIN' ROCK SHOW
Now in its sixth year, the Detroit Sounds and Spirits Holiday Spectacular has become a Motor City rock 'n' roll tradition, coming a long way since the first sold-out show at Detroit's CPop Gallery, which famously featured an appearance by Sir Jack White. The White Stripes head won't be around this year, of course, but the appropriately titled Spectacular — curated by ever-hep David Feeny of Blanche — will feature performances by some of the city's best, including the Hard Lessons, the Go, Great Lakes Myth Society, American Mars, Sunshine Doray (the latter two featured on D-Town's great new Christmas compilation benefit CD, Holiday Hootenanny) and others. The show starts promptly at 10 p.m., with all proceeds going to benefit the Detroit Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS), which aids the homeless. At the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7655.
HOLIDAY CHEER 'N' BEER
Spike that eggnog with extra gusto (Sinatra maybe?) this weekend — it's the festive alt to some dumb hangover cure-all. (Though one might argue that, with a celery garnish, the Bloody Mary is crimson and green enough to service. To each his own.) Because, if you head up to Washtenaw, more than 16 hours of live music and boozing await. Sure, Detroit Sounds and Spirits spotlights some of metro Detroit's most popular bands, but Mittenfest II picks up the slack and features, well, just about everyone else. The show begins Friday, featuring Starling Electric, Canada, the Decks, Lightning Love and Jason Gibner at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555 for info. On Saturday, the party starts at 1 p.m. with Misty Lyn and the Big Beautiful, the Victrolas, Old Big Bear, Emily Jane Powers and more at the Corner Brewery, 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti; 734-480-2739. Then, a Pied Piper will lead drunken revelers down the street for performances by Bathgate 'n' Pals, the Mighty Narwhale, Deastro, Charlie Slick and Champions of Breakfast at the Elbow Room, 6 S. Washington, Ypsilanti; 734-483-6374 for info. All proceeds go to 826michigan, which supports grade schoolers with their expository skills.
Hot Club of Detroit featuring James Carter
GYPSY IN THEIR SOULS
Through their 2006 Mack Avenue debut record, Hot Club of Detroit are arguably the best-known American proponents of the music of Django Reinhart. And among his stellar albums, Detroiter James Carter has Chasin' the Gypsy, his 2000 exploration of the late Belgian guitarist's oeuvre and style; not surprisingly, Carter pursues Django's music in Coltranesque heat. Teaming up seemed inevitable when they tried it last year. Expect even more sparks this time. Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543.
Jim Rotondi-Joe Locke Quartet
JAZZ WITH A CERTAIN VIBE
One of the handful of vibraphonists to make a big splash in the last decade of jazz, Joe Locke has the range to go one-on-one in duets with Cecil Taylor and record such mainstream fare as tributes to Henry Mancini and Detroit-born vibes legend Milt Jackson. And while there've been plenty of good young trumpeters on the scene in recent times, Jim Rotondi (well-known for his work with the collective One For All) is one well worth hearing. Joining forces, they lead a combo including Billy Drummond on the trap set. Jazz Café at Music Hall, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-887-8501.
Palmer Woods Music in Home
PARTY AT THE MANSE
A while ago we wrote about the appeal of private home concerts. The monthly Palmer Woods Music in Homes series takes it to another level putting jazz, world and classical music in five magnificent homes and the Detroit Golf Club. Series begins with vocalist Shahida Nurullah in a 1929 mansion designed by C. Howard Crane, best known for the likes of the Fox Theatre and Orchestra Hall. One of a handful of Crane homes, this one built for a theatrical and radio entrepreneur includes a projection room and Pewabic floor tiles. Tickets are $25 per home concert, $100 for the home series; $55 for golf club dinner-dance; 313-920-4864 or palmerwoods.org.
Skate with Santa
You'd never guess it, but corpulence ain't no thang — Claus has moves, B. Bring along your favorite kid who still believes, and travel north (to the burbs, not the Pole) and skate with the big jolly red man himself. Helpful hint: Like Santa, stuff your drawers with cotton wool; bruising from falling on your ass should be kept to a minimum. 11:30 a.m. at the Farmington Hills Ice Arena, 35500 Eight Mile Rd., Farmington Hills; call 248-478-8800 for info.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Ah, the pain of celebrity: R. Kelly is a man as well-known for his chart-topping music as he is for his kid-topping antics. Sure, in a fair world, we'd acknowledge the artist's many Grammy nabs and nods, his impressive vocal range and his ability to take charge of a stage and captivate a crowd. But no — lyrics like, "Girl, are you ready to go all the way? It seems like you're ready (seems like you're ready)" will always take on a stomach-churning double meaning. Watch the R&B musician muscle his way into the psyches of countless screaming young gals (in the audience, silly) at Joe Louis Arena, 600 Civic Center Dr., Detroit; 313-471-6606 for info.
Ugly Radio Rebellion with Ike Willis
It's one degree of separation from any tribute band's most electrifying wet dream: Ugly Radio Rebellion, a local Frank Zappa tribute band (?!), is performing with Zappa's guitarist and vocalist Ike Willis. Willis, you'll note, performed with Zappa for 17 years, most notably contributing to the albums Joe's Garage, Tinsel Town Rebellion and You Are What You Is. The band plays an early show from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at King's Brewery, 895 Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Pontiac; 248-745-5900; and at 9:30 p.m. at Cadieux Café, 4300 Cadieux Rd., Detroit; 313-882-8560.
Torch with a Twist
EYES, EARS, HEAD & LOINS
The monthly revue, where some of Detroit's more offbeat performers celebrate old-time vaudeville, has graced downtown Detroit's Cliff Bell's since earlier this year, relying solely on vigorous word-of-mouth and MySpace as publicity. For months, the show's fans have jammed the tables and stacked the bar two deep in the midsized club to see the Bowery-meets-Burning Man show, featuring burlesque stars, jugglers, comedians, hula-hoopers and numerous jazz and R&B numbers performed by a live band fronted by the show's organizer, chanteuse Grace Detroit. Expect shades of P.T. Barnum too, with Shetan Noir, a full-figured belly dancer who walks on broken glass, and Chantal, a sinuous dancer whose routines include live snakes. And this gem of a show, recently featured as a cover story here, has a 24-karat setting: the gloriously art deco splendor of Cliff Bell's, where it's not hard to get lost in the illusion of being in Detroit's bustling past. At 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543; $10; doors 8 p.m.
The Hard Lessons' Second Annual Detroit After Christmas Concert
POWER CORDS & SHANTIES
The show begins with an anticlimax, or so you'd think. Lyrics go: "It's Dec. 26, Christmastime has come and gone, now we're stuck here, waiting for the New Year, playing music for you people to hear. ..." Humbug. But get this — they're donning ludicrous elf-and-Santa getups. And they're playing a slideshow montage of campy Sears photos — complete with terrible Christmas sweaters and reindeer props. Oh, yeah, and they're the Hard Lessons — the best three-minute songsters in all of Michigan. TV stars the Muggs and Great Lakes Myth Society will also perform. At St. Andrew's Hall, 431 E. Congress, Detroit; 313-961-6358; $8.90.
Occasionally grumpy, definitely old, the men in CPop Gallery’s Six Artists show have been involved in the creative community since the days when College for Creative Studies was the School of Arts and Crafts, back in the 1940s. Decades later and they still got talent to take on any young whippersnapper with a digital camera. Meet the old masters of photography, sculpture, painting and more — Tony Williams, Bob Vigiletti, Bill Rauhauser, Gordon O’Rear, Jay Holland and Bill Gerard are icons of Detroit art who’ve themselves taught a generation of our city’s best professors. Through Dec. 31 at CPop Gallery, 4160 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-664-7800.
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