SPIKIN' THE EGGNOG
The Social Connection is generously sparing your company the expense of throwing an office holiday party by hosting its own, complete with DJ, premium bar (sorry, that's a cash bar), Christmas-carol karaoke and custom pics with Santa. The best part? You can drunkenly kiss people under the mistletoe who aren't actually your wacky co-workers! Oh, yeah, and it's free. Make it a night to regret at 5 p.m.-midnight at The Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-5451; RSVP at detroitslargestofficeparty.com; $20 VIP tickets, which include hors d'oeuvres, a private bar and seating, are also available.
THURS.-FRI. & SUNDAY 18, 19 & 21
SALIM WASHINGTON SEXTET
STRAIGHT FROM THE MINGUS BAND
Here's a group set to roar. The team of ex-Detroiters Salim Washington (saxophone, an original Sun Messenger way back when) and Hakim Jami (bass, remember the Street Band?) has blown out of its base in New York and slammed into its hometown at megaton-force in the past, including kicking up serious dust at last spring's improv fest at the Bo House. The added wild cards in this current lineup, however, include the trombonist Kuumba Frank Lacy, an archetypal inside-and-outside player who's a regular with the Mingus Big Band and who has also done his further-out thing in groups led by Henry Threadgill and Lester Bowie (and even fit in work with the Eurythmics). Thursday, Dec. 18, at Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-769-2999. Friday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. at 2739 Edwin Gallery, 2739 Edwin, Hamtramck. Sunday, Dec. 21, at Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park Ave.; 313-961-2543.
SOUNDS & SPIRITS
JINGLE BELL RAWK
The Old Fashioned Holiday Spectacular combines all of the best elements of the holiday season: charity, goodwill, libations and rock, rock, rock. The scenester event of the season, now in its seventh year, features lots of local glory including Hard Lessons, Blanche, Pop Project, the Javelins, Friendly Foes, American Mars, Sunshine Doray, the Nice Device, the Go and many more, as well as special "celebrity" hosts Phil Hall and Kevin Oates, twin bros of Hall and Oates (um, yeah ...). New this year is a Handmade Holiday Shoppe stocked with goodies by local crafters. As usual, all proceeds will benefit homeless aid organization Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS). Doors at 8 p.m. at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7665; majesticdetroit.com; $15.
JO SERRAPERE & THE WILLIE DUNNS
BACK TO THEIR ROOTS
Local singer-songwriter Jo Serrapere runs the gamut of roots music, from sweetly crooned folk ballads to sultry, crackling blues — infusing winning yarns of contemporary life into down-home sounds. While performing frequently about town with the Willie Dunns, she's also managed to complete her soon-to-be-released sophomore solo effort Love Going South, and take on yet another project, a country trio called Stella. This weekend, Jo and the boys return to their own roots, performing at the place they all met — the Cadieux Café, 4300 Cadieux Rd., Detroit; 313-882-8560; cadieuxcafe.com.
STROLL THROUGH THE CONSERVATORY
If cold weather tends to dampen your holiday spirit, then a visit to Belle Isle for the Belle Isle Botanical Society's annual Stroll Through the Conservatory may be in order. The 104-year-old conservatory sports five climate-controlled greenhouses designed by Albert Kahn; they'll be gussied up with all the expected yuletide trimmings. Free mulled cider and donuts will be served, with the choir from St. Charles Borremeo Catholic Church providing the entertainment. From 5 to 8 p.m. at the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, 8109 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; 313-823-1563; bibsociety.org.
NOIR ET BLANC
BLACK IS THE NEW CAT
Superstitions are outdated but their effect on our collective unconscious is still quite apparent. To wit: while most rational people scoff at the idea that ebony felines bring bad luck, they are still the least likely cats to be adopted. The Precious Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) wants to remedy this treatment of black kitties with an art exhibit-cum-adoption event. Noir et Blanc features more black-and-white art than you can swing a dead cat at (er, yeah), all by local animal-loving artists with proceeds benefiting PAWS. The opening is 6-10 p.m. Friday, with viewings 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, and 6-10 p.m. Sunday, at River's Edge Gallery, 3024 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-246-9880; artatthedge.com.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
A BAH HUMBUG MAKEOVER?
A Christmas Carol is perhaps the best-known Christmas story — at least since the original starring the three wise men and a babe in swaddling clothes. But the familiar tale gets a makeover in this adaptation, which features a trio of clowns, puppets, mimes, improv and a bevy of non-Dickensian jokes. Scary, eh? Think old Dickens would be rolling in his grave? Hey, he only wrote the thing to make a quick buck, so chances are he'd get a good chortle out of it. At 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Trinity House Theatre, 38840 W. Six Mile Rd., Livonia; 734-464-6302; $15.
HOLIDAY FASHION INDUSTRY BENEFIT
Naysayers (those most likely tragically attired) dismiss the fashion industry as fatuous and superficial, but there's nothing trivial about the funds that the Detroit rag trade will raise in this glam-packed benefit for the Goodwill Industries of Detroit. More than 30 area models will showcase fashions by Royal Oak retailers Prodigy, Madison on 4th, The Annex and Ivy's Corsetry and thousands of dollars in door prizes will be up for grabs to all the big-hearted fashionistas in attendance. Doors at 9 p.m. at Via Nove, 344 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-336-9936; $20 available at detroitfashionweek.com.
MOTOR CITY ROCK AND ROLL BOOK SIGNING
This year, Arcadia Press, known for its appealing photo histories of U.S. places, came out with several paperback books focused on Detroit. One of them was Motor City Rock and Roll of the 1960s and 1970s, with loads of autographed stills, period ads and rare pics of historic acts and concert venues from the personal collection of then-concert promoters Bob Harris and John Douglas Peters. This week Harris and Peters appear in Southgate to sign copies of the book, which feature Harris upon the cover, standing next to a rats-nested Keef with the Stones. Sound like a stocking stuffer? 1-3 p.m. at Borders Express, 13667 Eureka Rd., Southgate; 734-282-4197.
PALMER WOODS MUSIC IN HOMES
SWINGING WITH FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
At least one avantish pianist grew up in a Frank Lloyd Wright home and went on to record music in his honor. And here's another rare link between the archetypal architect and the archetypal music form: The Palmer Woods Music in Homes series kicks off in the Wright-designed and newly renovated Turkel House. With the architect's knack for giving his homes one open room for communal gathering, the layout should be a good fit for the fete. What's more, it's a rare hometown gig for vocalist Kathy Kosins ("reminiscent of Peggy Lee ... worthy of Dinah Washington" gushed Jazz Times). The series continues in another half-dozen historic homes through June, with such musicians as Taslimah Bey, Griot Mady Kouyate and the team of Gabriel Bolkosky and Sarah Bob. Shows Saturday, Dec. 20, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 21, at 1 p.m. Info at palmerwoods.org or 313-891-2514. $30.
BRUNCH WITH SANTA
He may be just one more paunchy white dude, but chowing down with Santa is a beloved holiday tradition — or at least one more way for families to spend time (and money) together during the holidays. On Saturday, the Detroit Zoo (8450 W. 10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-541-5717, ext. 3750 for reservations) hosts its final breakfast with Santa, featuring photo ops and visits from some furry friends (is that sanitary?). The jolly old saint will also be dropping by The Whitney (4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-5700) for Saturday and Sunday brunch (butternut squash and spiced pecan pancakes sound delicious, but they're sure not going to diminish that wagon Santa's dragging).
DREDYL, DREDYL, DREDYL
Award-winning storyteller, author and educator Judy Sima drops by the DIA as part of Target Family Sundays with stories featuring the miracles, menorahs and dredyls of Hanukkah's eight crazy nights. Sima's yarn-spinning's sure to enthrall even the most ADD-frazzled little tykes, and adults will be hard-pressed to resist her humor and enthusiasm, making this an event the whole family can actually enjoy (instead of merely tolerate). At 2 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org.
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
This riotous celebration has less to do with drunken revelry and more with artistic carousing (although we're willing to bet booze was involved at some point in the creative process). Representatives of Detroit's eclectic musical mélange used paint, ink, found objects, trash, dirt, debris and who knows what else to create visual explorations of their sonic talent. Artists include a wonderfully varied cadre of miscreants including Tim Vulgar, T.M. Caldwell, Ron Zakrin, Danny Kroha, Wendy Case, Jaimie Easter and more. The show will be on display through Jan. 10 with a closing party that night at Izzy's Raw Art Gallery, 2572 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 248-207-7547.