PUNK ROCK SAUSAGEFEST
In the early 1980s, inspired by the emerging hardcore scene and earlier music like Frank Zappa and the Fugs, a 6-foot, 5-inch dude called Tesco Vee created the Midwest's most over-the-top punk band, the Meatmen. Unlike such illiterate shock-rockers as G.G. Allin and El Duce, Vee's devastating wit rampaged through his songs, which made fun of masturbation ("Orgy of One"), deformity ("Crippled Children Suck"), Lennon's assassination ("One Down, Three to Go"), gay bars ("Tooling for Anus") and society at large ("We're the Meatmen and You Suck!"). Back in the 1990s, Vee swore to God he was done with recording and touring, vowing to hang up the fake fur forever. But after opening for Negative Approach last year, Vee couldn't resist the roar of the crowd, putting together a band and hitting the road again this year. Reprising his first Detroit-area performance in more than a decade, Vee brings his Meatmen back to town to for a post-Christmas show at Small's Bar, 10339 Conant St., Hamtramck; 313-873-1117.
OF MIXTAPES & RING TONES
It takes some chutzpah to declare that you're the greatest rapper alive, but if anyone can make that claim, it's Lil Wayne. His work with the Beat Boys and his prolific output of solo albums established him in the rap game, while his countless guest appearances on the albums of not only hip-hop artists, but also pop tarts like Britney Spears, made him a genre-spanning household name. Through a number of mixtapes and well-timed Internet leaks, Wayne built up so much buzz about his skills that his latest album, 2008's Tha Carter III, was named the most anticipated album of 2008 by hip-hop mag XXL before topping Best Of 2008 lists and garnering multiple Grammy nominations. And if you need anymore proof of his status as a crossover superstar, consider the fact that "Lollipop," the debut single of The Carter III, is one of the fastest-selling ringtones in history. Ah, the sweet sound of success. With Keyisha Cole, T-Pain, Gym Class Heroes and Keri Hilson at 7 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena, 600 Civic Center Dr., Detroit; 313-983-6606; olympiaentertainment.com.
POP, HOP AND LOCK DANCE PARTY
SHAKE THAT (NEON-CLAD) ASS
If you're a fan of neon spandex and dancing until you have to peel the sweat-soaked elastic fiber from your exhausted body, then you should vibrate, gyrate and shimmy the night away at the Pop, Hop and Lock Dance Party, presented by hip boutique gallery 323East (which is neon-green itself, by the way) and the Crofoot. Millions of Brazilians, Vicious Cycles and Tour Detroit DJs will provide the soundtrack, while a Peace Love Spandex fashion show will serve up the hotly colored eye candy. But the special attraction of the night is live booty-hopping, an activity in which well-endowed derrieres are, well, hopped over. What can we say? These days, entertainment comes cheap. At 8 p.m. at the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-858-9333; thecrofoot.com.
FRIDAY, SATURDAY, AND SUNDAY 26-28
SING A SONG FOR LITERACY
The third annual Mittenfest arrives just in time to divert our attention from the snow, the recession and our eggnog hangovers. The weekend is jammed with a whopping 27, mostly local, bands including the Mighty Narwhale, This is Deer Country, Great Lakes Myth Society, Carjack, Deastro, Black Jack & the Carnies, Chris Bathgate, Pop Project and the cardboard-guitar-wielding Champions of Breakfast. Proceeds will go toward 826michigan, a nonprofit organization that helps students ages 6-18 develop their creative and expository writing skills (skills we believe are very important, for obvious reasons). You could pay $5 at the door each night or $12 for a three-day wristband, available at Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair, 115 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. Doors at 5 p.m., music at 6 p.m at the Elbow Room, 6 S. Washington St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-6374. For a complete schedule visit mittenfest.wordpress.com.
BARRY HARRIS TRIO
21ST ANNIVERSARY KWANZAA JAZZ CONCERT
No point in not stating the obvious about Barry Harris, who turned 79 on Dec. 15: Virtually all of the older jazz stars who were on the scene when Harris first went to New York in the early 1960s have passed away. As have most of his contemporaries, and as have many of the players who came up behind him. Nearly 15 years ago, saxophonist Jimmy Heath (also still with us, hooray!) hailed Harris as "the keeper of the bebop flame" — and the flame-keeper's import grows by the year. And, for the 21st time now, Harris is returning to his hometown to play a Kwanzaa concert at First Unitarian-Universalist Church. He's one of those players who makes you wonder how the world ever got along without bebop. WDET jazz host Ed Love, a longtime friend of Harris, hosts. At 5 p.m. at First Unitarian-Universalist Church, 4605 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9107. $25 donation ($5, children under 12) includes afterglow.
THE HARD LESSONS POST-CHRISTMAS BLOWOUT
POP-POWERED HOLIDAY CHEER
The Hard Lessons are promising that their third annual post-Christmas rock extravaganza is going to be the biggest and best-est yet. The reigning king and queen of Detroit's scene are taking time out from working on their forthcoming album so they can beat down holiday malaise by headlining a stellar lineup of up-and-coming Detroit rock royalty featuring Javelins, My Dear Disco and Child Bite. There's also a Santa Station, limited edition holiday T-shirts (and you thought Christmas shopping was over!) and surprise treats for all the good little rockers in attendance. Doors at 7 p.m. at St. Andrew's Hall, 431 E. Congress, Detroit; 313-961-8137; $12; all ages.
CENTER COURT CONTORTIONS
Polished uniforms of red, white and blue, crowd-pleasing acrobatics and a theme so infectious it pulls the unsuspecting into a prolonged whistling fit: Who else could we be talking about but the original Harlem Globetrotters? The "magicians of basketball" have been a major part of American society for 82 years, and their ability to inspire and entertain has spanned generations and cultures — how else would we have a photo of the pope holding a multicolored basketball? They'll showcase their superhuman dexterity at 6 p.m. at the Palace of Auburn Hills, 5 Championship Dr., Auburn Hills; 248-377-0100; palacenet.com. $12-$126.50.
WE'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE
Based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire, the musical Wicked tells the history of Elphaba, better known as the Wicked Witch of the West. As a green-skinned social pariah, Elphaba is somehow befriended by the glittering Galinda, the future Good Witch of the North. The story centers on the difficulties of their unlikely friendship — constant personality conflicts, relationship rivalries and differing attitudes toward the Wizard's fascist government. An exploration of good and evil (to sum up, appearances are deceiving), Wicked has broken box office and attendance records around the world — and in Detroit when it premiered here in 2006. This time around, tickets are still selling like hotcakes, with best availability for the performances on Dec. 30 and New Year's Eve. Wednesdays-Sundays through Jan. 4 at the Detroit Opera House, 1426 Broadway St., Detroit; 313-965-4052; info at nederlanderdetroit.com.