WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 23
Turtleneck and Sweater Holiday Extravaganza
SEASONAL SARTORIAL CHEER
Celebrate Christmas with kitsch at the annual Turtleneck and Sweater Holiday Extravaganza, now in its 10th year of reviving bad fashions of holidays past. The original party was cooked up by a pair of college kids in Kalamazoo, who joined old-school sweaters with ironic mustaches to create a cheesy yuletide tradition. The 10th anniversary installment features entertainment by an honest-to-God barbershop quartet and, in the true spirit of the season, all proceeds will be donated to the Lighthouse of Pontiac PATH program, which helps homeless mothers move from poverty to self-sufficiency. It's Christmas 1982 all over again at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030; $10; doors at 8 p.m.
WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY, SATURDAY-SUNDAY DECEMBER 22-24, 26-27
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
The latest production in the Cirque Dreams catalogue, Holidaze is a whiz-bang, high-flying salute to the magic of the holiday season. Acrobats, aerialists, singers, dancers and musicians don elaborate costumes and perform to an original score (plus some yuletide favorites), offering an impressive showcase of flexibility and physicality. The centerpiece of the show is a 24-foot Christmas tree decked out with human ornaments that come to life. Add in toy soldiers marching across a high-wire, gingerbread men flipping through the air, soaring reindeer and caroling puppets, and you've got one hell of a seasonal spectacle! At the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-6611; tickets, $30-$65, are available through Ticketmaster; Holidaze will perform seven shows from Wednesday to Sunday; visit olympiaentertainment.com for a schedule.
SATURDAY DECEMBER 26
I GOT THE BLUES SO GOOD
One of the musical highpoints of 2009 hereabouts was the revival of Johnnie Bassett's recording career, which had been on hold for a decade after the collapse of Cannonball Records. Sure, he's been dependable for his own niche of blues onstage — sting-like-a-bee guitar solos that tell a story to boot, a just-rough-enough voice, a repertoire that's more R&B jump than low-down Chicago, etc. — but The Gentleman Is Back (Sly Dog) seems to be refocusing (and bringing national attention to) a body of work that goes back to session work for Fortune Records and the earliest days of Motown in the 1950s. His rendition of "Georgia on My Mind" is reportedly the tune that sealed the record deal, so if he doesn't offer it up, make sure you ask for it. At Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543.
SATURDAY DECEMBER 26
ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING!
Through most of the '90s, Telegraph's day-after-Christmas show was a tradition for local kids who couldn't get enough of that sweet ska-pop sound. Alas, when the group disbanded in 2001, the annual post-holiday blowout became just another memory of Christmases past. But after a sold-out reunion show in March, Telegraph decided to perform one last day-after-Christmas show, bringing their high-energy performance to the masses for the final time (or so they claim). The set list will feature more than 20 tunes from throughout the band's eight-year history, so get ready for one last bittersweet skank at Small's, 10339 Conant St., Hamtramck; 313-873-1117; $12; with the Koffin Kats and the A-Gang.
SUNDAY DECEMBER 27
Edible Art Show
The name says it all — this one-day show features works of art that make creative use of foodstuffs, from pictures made out of pancakes to creatures composed of vegetables to melon bowls to M&M portraits (but do they still melt in your mouth?). These esculent arrangements have a built-in expiration date, so see them before decay, mold or rot sets in. From 8 p.m. to midnight at the Trumbullplex, 4210 Trumbull St., Detroit; 313-832-7952.
TUESDAY DECEMBER 29
Walking with Dinosaurs
RAWR! RAWR! RAWR!
Dinosaurs come to life to mesmerize and terrorize modern-day audiences in Walking with Dinosaurs, an animatronic show based on the award-winning BBC television series. Ten species from throughout the 200 million-year existence of the dinosaurs are represented, including the tyrannosaurus rex, the plateosaurus, the stegosaurus, the allosaurus and the massive 36-foot-tall and 56-foot long brachiosaurus (if the size alone isn't sufficiently impressive, keep in mind that it took an entire year to build!). The show begins with the splitting of the Earth's continents and ends with the meteoroid strike that forces the extinction of the dinosaurs, providing gads of educational and pulse-pounding dino action along the way. Walking with Dinosaurs kicks off at 7 p.m. Tuesday and continues for seven more performances through Sunday, Jan. 2, at Cobo Arena, 600 Civic Center Dr., Detroit; info on tickets and schedule available at 313-471-6611 and olympiaentertainment.com.
Government Support for the Arts: WPA Prints from the 1930s
PRINTING FOR PROSPERITY
The Works Progress Administration employed millions of Americans during the Great Depression, including more than 5,000 artists, who created thousands of murals, prints, posters and paintings from 1935 to 1942 under the auspices of the Federal Art Project. The majority of the works were prints, created in printmaking centers across the country and displayed in buildings financed by federal dollars. Government Support for the Arts features about 100 of these works, which range from etchings and lithographs to wood engravings and silkscreens. Displayed together, the prints provide a fascinating insight into 1930s America, as well as represent a significant period in the country's printmaking history. In conjunction with the exhibit, the DIA has teamed up with cheerleading advocacy group Let's Save Michigan to offer local artists the chance to earn a grand by designing their own WPA-style posters that inspire Michiganders to revive the state. Through March 21, at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; details on the contest and the exhibit at dia.org.
A Forbidden Broadway Christmas
A Forbidden Broadway Christmas offers a lighthearted musical lampooning of Broadway's favorite shows and performers, from such old standbys as The Phantom of the Opera to such recent favorites as Jersey Boys. Though fans of musical theater will get extra joy from the carefree mockery, the myriad pop culture references, which include nods to Elvis, Britney and Cher, will give even Broadway novices plenty to chuckle over. The show returns to Detroit after a year hiatus with new spoofs and parodies through Dec. 31, at the Gem Theatre, 333 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-963-2787; $19.75-$45; gemtheatre.com.
Wild, Wonderful Winter: A Season's Tale
WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND
Winter often gets a bad wrap, but icy walkways and frostbitten fingertips are only part of the story. Wild, Wonderful Winter explores the reasons for the season, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about the winter solstice, the science behind snowstorms and even how a snowflake forms. The interactive exhibit includes drop-in workshops, outdoor hikes to search for signs of animal life and a temporary escape to sunnier climes with a tour of plants native to the southern hemisphere. The conservatory is also decked out for the chilly season, with white flowers galore and a tree decorated with Queen's Anne Lace. Through Jan. 17, at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor; 734-647-7600.