Wednesday, December 25
ACCT Philly Holiday Open House
Share your Christmas Day with the great folks at the ACCT animal shelter. Create cards, blankets and toys for shelter pets while enjoying free snacks and drinks. Hand out treats, toys and holiday cheer to animals who deserve to be loved all year round. 11am. Free. Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia, 111 W. Hunting Park Ave. 267.385.3800. acctphilly.org
Being [ ] at Christmas
The National Museum of American Jewish History hosts its annual fill-in-the-blank Christmas Day celebration. A full day of family fun is scheduled, including storytimes, art projects, food and comedy. 10am. $5-$12. NMAJH, 101 S. Independence Mall. 215.923.3811. nmajh.org
Thursday, December 26
Those who stopped paying attention to Jim Breuer after Half Baked did so at their own peril. The former Saturday Night Live cast member, while mostly failing to make a movie career out of looking like he’s high all the time, has made a pretty successful career out of hitting the road over the decades. Named one of the top 100 stand-up comedians of all time in 2005, Breuer has—for 20 years—continued delighting audiences internationally with his wired brand of stoner humor, and based on his schedule, isn’t slowing down. But he is changing.
In a recently interview with Westword, Denver’s alt-weekly, Breuer noted that his show is pretty much a family-friendly experience—even if it’s not necessarily for kids. “[Children] can’t relate to shit with my wife or my father,” he said. “But it’s clean. Is it Disney? No. It’s real life. It’s Cosby with a Metallica jacket.”
Also missing from his stand-up are any stoner scenarios from his past sets. Why? Because he doesn’t even smoke pot anymore. According to Breuer’s impressively titled 2010 autobiography, I’m Not High (But I’ve Got a Lot of Crazy Stories about Life as a Goat Boy, a Dad, and a Spiritual Warrior), his bong’s gone, and he’s even got a motivational speaker thing going with his act—if it is, in fact, an act anymore. Interested in what that’s like? Hit Helium this week. / RANDY LOBASSO
Though Sat., Dec 28. Various times. $32. Helium Comedy Club. 2031 Sansom St. 215.496.9001. heliumcomedy.com
Boxing Day Beer Festival
Boxing Day is traditionally the day after Christmas, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts or “Christmas boxes” from their employers. In that spirit, this beer fest offers $1 off each draft for every new children’s book you donate to benefit area school kids in need. 11:30am. Memphis Taproom, 2331 E. Cumberland St. memphistaproom.com
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
George Balanchine’s version of The Nutcracker is brought to life once again by the School of Pennsylvania Ballet along with the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra and Philadelphia Boys Choir belting out Tchaikovsky’s famous score. Through Dec. 29. Various times and prices. Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999. academyofmusic.org
Friday, December 27
Gov’t Mule and Soulive
It’s really a feat that Warren Haynes is still touring so constantly. The 53-year-old’s been a part of the Allman Brothers Band for nearly 25 years, and the man can jam. Seriously, he’s been on board since interest in the Brothers was renewed in the early 2000s as they played alongside folks like String Cheese Incident, moe. and Dave Matthews Band, including spots at some of the country’s biggest music fests. His side gig, Gov’t Mule, is kind of like Phil Lesh & Friends in that it’s a mix of new and old heads—most of the old heads being legendary high-functioning legends—who are deeply steeped in a classic rock tradition. And it’s heavily spiked with the blues and experimental improvisation.
But what makes this show extra awesome is that Soulive, one of my favorite live acts ever, opens for them on both of these nights. As a junior in high school and shepherd for my brother and his drunk friends, we saw Soulive at Irving Plaza in New York City on New Year’s Eve. It remains, to this day, one of my most treasured concert experiences. They’re a trio, mostly; Erik Krasno’s stellar guitar work is as funktastic and jazzy as the brothers Evans (Alan and Neal), on drums and Hammond B3 organ, keep time and solo masterfully. This combo of jazz and jam may seem a touch wacky, but trust us—it makes all the sense. Solos and improvs will be aplenty, just with different vibes, all of ‘em worth soaking in. / BILL CHENEVERT
Through Sat., Dec. 28. 7:30pm. $25-$35. Tower Theater, 69th and Ludlow sts., Upper Darby. 610.352.2887. thetowerphilly.com
The OG New York City ska band brings their soulful, rocksteady presence back to Philly. Combining elements of traditional Jamaican ska, rocksteady and dub, the band breaks down stereotypes that often pigeonhole the genre. Vocalist Vic Ruggerio and his deep Bronx accent take the stage tonight, with support from area ska jammers RK$TDY and the Bullbuckers. 8pm. $15-$17. North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St. northstarbar.com
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
Louis Sachar’s popular series of children’s books come to life in this theatre adaptation at the Arden. Bring the kids to watch the tale of a school built as a tower 30 stories high, and the unique narratives of the students and faculty that inhabit the structure. Noon and 4pm. $18-$36. Arden Theatre, 40 N. Second St. 215.922.1122. ardentheatre.org
Saturday, December 28
I Love Lucy: Live on Stage
One of the sitcoms that defined the TV era itself is coming to life in a fantastically creative post-Christmas event for the stage. On air from 1951 to 1957, I Love Lucy has been named one of the top 100 television shows of all time; the hysterical antics of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, partnered with their friends and landlords Fred and Ethel Mertz, have been delighting audiences continuously for half a century, and to this day, the show is still syndicated and translated into dozens of languages for viewers around the world—bringing in an average audience of 40 million each year in the U.S. alone.
As the first TV show to be shot using 35mm film in front of a live studio audience, it seems only fitting that this modern revival, I Love Lucy: Live On Stage, would follow suit. It takes place in a reproduction of the Desilu Playhouse sound stage, giving audiences the opportunity to witness the “live filming” of two episodes of the classic sitcom, set in the Ricardos’ New York City apartment. Attendees will also get to see the famed Tropicana nightclub and dig the Ricky Ricardo Orchestra’s hand-clapping, foot-stomping Cuban music. A charming host enlightens the crowd to the behind-the-scenes filming process, and the Crystaltone Singers perform advertisement jingles between scenes to complete the ambiance of 1950s television glamor.
Sirena Irwin has received critical acclaim for her evocation of Lucille Ball’s legendary comedic brilliance, as has her co-star, Bill Mendieta, for his reprisal of Desi Arnaz’s Ricky Ricardo. The more technical aspect of the production has not gone unrecognized either, receiving awards for best scenic design, best costumes, best sound and best lighting. Fans of theatre and television alike will enjoy the respite from the end-of-the-year hustle and bustle—their own, that is; Lucy will be as crazed as ever. / KENNEDY ALLEN
Through Sun., Dec. 29. Various times. The Merriam Theatre, 250 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999. merriamtheater.com
Sweet Loretta Fat
Philly-based pop rockers Fooling April take the stage tonight under the moniker Sweet Loretta Fat and pay tribute to the Beatles. The group has covered Beatles classics to perfection in the area since 2008; tonight, they’ll toss the costumes and wigs away, letting the tribute music speak for itself. 8pm. $15. With the Parsnip Revolt. World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St. worldcafelive.com
Philadelphia Swing Dance Society
Ring in the new year early and classy, jitterbugging and foxtrotting to the sounds of the Walt Wagner Big Swing Band. Beginner/review lessons are available before the dance, and a sparkling cider toast will be held for the “almost new year” at midnight. 7pm. The Commodore Barry Club, 6815 Emlen St. swingdance.org
MIND & BODY
Inner Peace Meditation Retreat
Join Buddhist monk and meditation teacher Gen Tenzin for a retreat to cleanse your spirit before the new year. No meditation experience is necessary for this inner peace retreat. 10am. $5-$15. Amitayus Kadampa Buddhist Center, 1102 Pine St. 267.702.3817. meditationinphiladelphia.org
Sunday, December 29
Mykki Blanco is Michael Quattlebaum, Jr., one of the last remaining vestiges of punk as we know it. His whole life is a performance piece. Inspired in equal parts by Bruce La Bruce and Lil’ Kim (Kimmy Blanco was one of her aliases), dude’s been fucking with gender for a good four years now. The thing that’s so great about him is that he plays up a persona, a teenage girl-lookin’ ‘round-the-way princess, but doesn’t ever really strive for “passing.” He takes his hip-hop obsession and mixes it with poetry, queercore, riot grrrl and drag. Take any of his stellar videos—for example the awe-inspiring “Haze.Boogie.Life” or the visually slick “Wavvy”—and your head will spin. And the drag piece is one of the most intriguing: Is he pretending to be a woman? Is he a rapper who just likes to wear wigs and lipstick and expose his midriff?
While we eagerly anticipate a proper LP debut, Michael, in 2014, we do have a few great EPs and mixtapes to confirm that he’s mad talented, especially, Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss, which yields the sickening “Kingpinning,” as well as a guest spot from a collaborator in queerness, Le1f. His most recent, Betty Rubble: The Initiation, depicts something brilliant on the cover, too, with his female persona getting dominantly seduced by a man who could very well be his male persona. Mykki Blanco is the most dynamic creature on the queer hip-hop scene—one that barely exists—and he’s doing it with so much brain power, creativity and vitriol that it’s incredibly inspiring. / B.C.
8pm. $13-$15. With D.J. Larry B + T.E.A.M.S. The Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave. 215.634.7400. thebarbary.org
Art Star Holiday Market
The Blue Cross River Rink celebrates 20 years with this winter festival full of food, music and gift shops featuring handmade items curated by local independent crafters. Local beer and holiday cocktails served under a massive, 400-person warming tent will keep you in festive spirits for their holiday light show. 11am. Free. Blue Cross River Rink, 201 S. Columbus Blvd. artstarphilly.com
Before they revolutionized technology and became pop culture icons, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were nerds. This critically acclaimed musical journey chronicles the lives of America’s favorite geeks, from high school swirlie victims to Silicon Valley billionaires. 3pm and 7:30pm. $69-$79. Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St. 215.985.0420. philadelphiatheatrecompany.org
Elf, the Musical
Based on the Will Ferrell holiday comedy of the same name, this lighthearted production focuses on an inept elf from the North Pole who discovers his true identity as a human. Santa’s helper travels to New York to meet his biological father and spread Christmas cheer in a world of cynics. 2pm and 8pm. $10-$75. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St. 215.574.3550. walnutstreettheatre.org
Monday, December 30
Lotus names both Philadelphia and Denver as hometowns, but that’s not the only odd combination that the so-called “jamtronica” band has put together. The five-piece, formed in 1999 in Indiana, has managed to successfully meld a multi-genre sound, sometimes even within the same songs. There are definitely elements of Phish and that late-’90s privileged suburban acid sound, but they’ve made it extremely listenable from a sober perspective—partially because they’ve combined that throwback sound with something that’s still in style. There’s a heavy electonica and prog rock thing going on, but Lotus also injects a unique hip-hop flavor into a handful of its tracks. Their newest album, Monks—named such because the tracks are supposed to “follow a monk’s journey”—features lyrics from CX, Mr. Lif, Lyrics Born, Ras Arcande and ex-Digable Planet resident Doodlebug aka Cee Knowledge, among others.
And don’t get a fan started on their live shows. Apparently, that’s really where it’s at. They are playing two this week. In addition to playing dress-up when applicable (when covering certain bands, they’ll dress as them; in 2008, each member dressed as a different musician who died at age 27), they’re well-known for a light, weird set-up. For a sound preview, check out their set at this year’s Camp Bisco on YouTube, where Netfreg.tv has posted the full set. / R.L.
9pm. $33.55. With Risky Disko (Crouse + Greg D). Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. 215.627.1332
Ronald McDonald Care Mobile
The world’s most famous clown partners up with St. Christopher’s Foundation to provide oral health care to those in need. Qualified children will receive dental work at no cost to their families. Through appointment only. 9am. Free. St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, N. Front St at Erie Ave. 215.291.0907. stchristophershospital.com
Cinematic Titanic 2-Movie Mini-Marathon
Called “The Masters of Movie Riffing,” Cinematic Titanic has made a living on spoofing classic B-movies. Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson leads the crew on its farewell tour, as the group heads for indefinite hiatus. 7pm. $39.50-$59.50. Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave, Glenside. 215.572.7650. keswicktheatre.com
Tuesday, December 31
New Year’s Eve at the Piazza
The Piazza in NoLibs rolls out its annual NYE celebration, one of the biggest in the city. The Piazza’s heated 20,000-square-foot tent encompasses the interior of the complex and allows guests to mingle between all five of the bars on-site. 9pm. $85-$125. The Piazza at Schmidts, 1001 N. Second St. 215.642.8656. atthepiazza.com
A Pop Muzik New Year’s Eve at the Dolphin
Philly music stalwart (and required presence at any official ‘80s appreciation event) DJ Robert Drake spins new wave hits and rough cuts all night. Admission includes an open bar of Tecate and well drinks from 9-11, with champagne popping at midnight. 9pm. $20. Dolphin Tavern, 1539 S. Broad St. 215.278.7950. thedolphinphilly.com
Eat Drink Sing New Year’s at Yakitori Boy
Attention, karaoke enthusiasts: Yakitori Boy is here to humor you this New Year’s Eve and to agree that yes, that song is just so good. This awesome establishment offers three different general admission packages for the main lounge, as well as private rooms and VIP treatment. Karaoke to sing (and hear!) will be center stage, accompanied by food, booze and a DJ. 9pm. Various prices. Yakitori Boy, 211 N. 11th St. 215.923.8088. yakinewyear2013.eventbrite.com
New Year’s with Tom Rhodes
One of Comedy Central’s original stars, Tom Rhodes brings his stand-up routine to Helium for three New Year’s Eve shows. Staggered throughout the night, a ticket for each of the three shows includes an open bar. Ring in the new year with Rhodes at the late show or get some laughs in at one of the earlier times while the night is still young. Various times. $30-$220. Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St. heliumcomedy.com
New Year’s Eve at the Boot and Saddle
Hard-driving local bluegrassers the Highwater Preachers are joined by honky-tonk heroes Red Skiles & the Country Ramblers for a night of finger-pickin’ fun. DJ Breakfast will be spinning classics from the ‘50s and ‘60s after the mics cool off, all while you reap the benefits of the open bar and midnight champagne toast. 9pm. $50. The Boot and Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St. 267.639.4528. bootandsaddlephilly.com
New Year’s Eve Fireworks Extravaganza Cruise
If you’re gonna ball out and spend the big bucks this NYE, you might as well do it on top of a yacht. The Ben Franklin Yacht, Philly’s premier party boat, offers an unforgettable night of music, dancing and top-shelf liquor. Not to mention, you’ll be on the water when the fireworks pop off—a position all of us land-faring plebs will envy. 9:30pm. $108. Ben Franklin Yacht, 401 North Columbus Blvd. 215.629.8687. benfranklinyacht.com
New Year’s Eve Ghost Tour
Mystery, legend and lore comes to the historic Powel House with the museum hosting its annual New Year’s ghost tour. Tours start on the hour, beginning at 7pm and running up till midnight. Celebrate Society Hill’s famous history, and bring in 2014 in the spookiest of fashions. 7pm. $25. Powel House. 244 S. Third Street. ghosttour.com
MIND & BODY
New Year’s Eve Yoga and Mochi
Studio 34 in West Philly is the place to be for those who wish to concentrate on the mind and body instead libations and debauchery on New Year’s. Morgan Andrews hosts a night of wringing out the old and welcoming 2014 through an exciting all-levels yoga workshop. After the lesson, enjoy some mochi (sweet and chewy rice cake treats). 8-10pm. $5-$15. Studio 34 Lounge. 4522 Baltimore Avenue. 215.387.3434. studio34yoga.com
New Year’s Eve with Screaming Females
New Jersey punk trio Screaming Females dominate at Johnny Brenda’s New Year’s bash this year. Still buzzing off 2012’s Ugly, the Females promise to ring in 2014 properly with plenty of booze and sweat and freaking the fuck out. DIY Philly heroes Swearin’ and local garage rockers Batty also take the stage. 8pm. $15. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Wednesday, January 1
Ice sculptures are alluring for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is their meticulous wonder. The impermanence of the medium grants ice sculpting a uniqueness with which most art forms cannot compete: The resulting pieces are very short-lived, and their fleeting existence only emphasizes the makers’ creative process.
Peter Slavin and his cohorts Fear No Ice have been performing dynamic, live ice-sculpting shows since 1997. Slavin is a master of the craft, having represented the United States as an Olympic ice sculptor; Fear No Ice specializes in custom shows to fit any events’ boundaries, with each performance different in its details.
The run of their joint Ice Pop exhibit in Logan Square—which comes to a close on New Year’s Day—has included fantastic live carvings set to various soundtracks, from Beatles hits to Pixar film scores. Today’s final 2013 performance, an awe-inspiring showcase for a delightfully seasonal art form specialty, is fittingly themed “Holiday Favorites” and coincides with the citywide Mummers festivities. And those classic holiday songs will provide a festive backdrop to the series’ end. / DANIEL GELB
2pm. $10. The Courtyard at 3 Logan Square, 1717 Arch St. 215.834.4200. fearnoice.com
Local 44 Turns 5!
West Philly craft beer kings Local 44 celebrates its fifth anniversary on New Year’s Day. Nurse that hangover with a great selection of brews, and brunch till 10 p.m. (yes, PM). Noon. 4333 Spruce St. 215.222.BEER. local44beerbar.com
61 North on New Year’s Day
Blues rockers 61 North keep the festivities rolling after the Mummers parade with a show at Time in Center City. Their high-energy performance, coupled with Time’s selection of beers and whiskeys, is a great way to kick off 2014. 1pm. Free. Time, 1315 Sansom St. 215.985.4800. 61northband.com
New Year's Day: 2 Girl Parties in 1!
If NYE didn’t satisfy your party urges, check out Voyeur’s LGBT-themed New Year’s Day dance rager. All are welcome, and admission proceeds benefit The Support Center for Child Advocates. 3pm. $7. Voyeur Nightclub, 1221 St. James St. voyeurnightclub.com
Out of Town
The Amazing World of Magic
Hall of Fame magician Richard Gustafson returns with a wondrous presentation of illusion. Suitable for all ages, the show features magical circus extravaganzas, floating and disappearing women and a dazzling patriotic grand finale. Fri., Dec. 27, 7pm. $12-$15. Broadway Theatre of Pitman, 43 S. Broadway, Pitman, N.J. 856.384.8381. thebroadwaytheatre.org
Murray the Elf and the Case of the Terrifying Tinsel
The Tinsel Monster is wreaking havoc at the North Pole, and Mrs. Claus needs Murray the Elf and the audience to solve the case and save Christmas. This kid-friendly show will have your young ones jumping out of the seat to help the lovable Murray. Sat., Dec. 28, 11am. $8-$12. Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Ave, Ambler. 215.654.0200. act2.org
Life in Color
The rave formerly known as Dayglow boasts itself as “the world’s largest paint party.” If being blasted in paint and grinding with college kids on molly inside a massive heated tent is your thing, don’t wait to buy tickets; former incarnations of the show have been known to sell out quickly. Sat., Dec. 28, 7pm. $55-$535. Bader Field, 501 N. Albany Ave., Atlantic City, N.J. lifeincolor.com
Philly’s own Grammy Award-winning star has been wowing audiences since 1999. The R&B soul queen and spoken word maven is known for her transcendent and powerful live performances. Sun., Dec. 29, 9pm. $65-$125. Caesars, 2100 Pacific Ave., Atlantic City, N.J. 609.348.4411. caesarsac.com
Compiled by Drew O’Meara and Daniel Gelb.